Top Five Winter Hotspots for Snowbirds

October 14th, 2015 | Posted by Pacrec in Bike Racks | Hitch Carriers | Hitch Racks | Road Trips | Road Trips with the StowAway Carrier | Tailgating Grill - (Comments Off on Top Five Winter Hotspots for Snowbirds)

Heading south for the winter?

Along with Canada geese, many retirees begin flocking to warmer climates this time of year to avoid the doldrums that accompany the cold, wet winters in the north. And who can blame them? After all, while it’s snowing and blowing with temperatures below freezing up north, these lucky folks will be wandering about the golf course, basking in the sunny warmth of a balmy 75-degree day.

Once things begin to thaw again in the spring, those who choose to make this yearly trek head north once again to their permanent residence. It’s this yearly migration that sets these fortunate few apart, and earns them the nickname of “snowbird.” (more…)

5 Crazy (but oh, so practical) Ways Milk Crates Can Carry Your Tailgate to the Next Level

October 10th, 2014 | Posted by Pacrec in Road Trips with the StowAway Carrier | Tailgating Grill - (Comments Off on 5 Crazy (but oh, so practical) Ways Milk Crates Can Carry Your Tailgate to the Next Level)
Photo Credit: Instructables.com

Photo Credit: Instructables.com

The fabulous, functional milk crate. What could be more handy, less expensive, and endlessly versatile?

I was thinking about tailgating the other day, and all the things I have to stow and organize and haul and set up and cook and serve. Then I have to pack it all up, stow it, and haul it home again.

[Insert light bulb here and enter the plastic milk crate!]

Beyond their use in storage, milk crates are also helpful in serving food and beverages. They are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, and you can typically find them in your team colors. Below are my five favorite ways for milk crates to carry your tailgate to the next level.

1.  Stow & Haul Stuff

Photo Credit: AlwaysInTransit.com

Photo Credit: EverInTransit.com

Organize your kitchen tools, grilling supplies, condiments, paper products and other essentials in inexpensive, plastic milk crates. Put labels on each crate so the same things go back in the crates they came in. If you tailgate often, many of these supplies can stay in their crates, stacked neatly in the garage until your next outing. Just grab and go. When you get to the tailgate, crates can be turned sideways for easy access to all your things.

2. Paper Towel Holder

The folks at the food and travel blog, Ever in Transit, came up with the idea to turn a milk crate into a paper towel holder. How clever is that? Paper towels always seem to be unraveling themselves, blowing away or falling on the ground.

3. Stackable Buffet Line

Photo Credit: Scholastic.com

Photo Credit: Scholastic.com

It occurs to me that if you can use the back of your vehicle – say it’s an SUV, pickup truck, or hatchback of some sort, that you can safely use the vertical space to make more out of your buffet line. Turn the crates on their sides and stack two rows in the back of your rig. Plates, silverware and napkins go to the far left, food in the middle, and condiments on the end. How easy is that?

(Speaking your vehicle’s back-end, check out the Hitch Grill Station that attaches to your hitch receiver and pivots 90 degrees to create an outdoor kitchen space. More details below. )

4. Chairs

With the help of a pillow, milk crates actually make pretty sturdy little chairs. If you don’t need them to help you cook or serve the burgers and dogs, turn them upside down and sit on them while you eat the burgers and dogs. With dog-in-basket-on-bike-familyonbikes.orgsome extra time and attention, you can even turn ordinary mild crates into padded storage seats.

5. Be an Ambassador of Good Cheer

I can think of several things to do with a milk crate on wheels –strapped to a bike or a luggage cart or prefabricated with wheels and handle. You’ve just got yourself a mobile beer keg, a grocery cart, or a throne for the Traveling Tailgate Ambassador of Good Cheer.

Bonus Ideas:

Decorate with Ribbons: The store doesn’t have your team colors? Want to jazz up your look from basic plastic? Here is how to weave ribbons through your milk crate in team colors.

Seat Slip Covers: If you’re the creative, artsy, sewing type, here are directions for creating swanky slip covers for your milk crates.

Trailer hitch tailgate open frame

The Tailgate Grill Station attaches to your trailer hitch, pivots to give you access to the rear of your vehicle, and creates a perfect outdoor grilling space

Hitch Grill Station: One of the very best ways to create a safe, convenient, functional kitchen space at my tailgate is with the Hitch Grill Station.

Features

  • Pivots 90° to the perfect grill station
  • Allows full access to back of vehicle
  • Cuisinart grill with 240 sq. in. surface
  • Large, removable cutting board
  • Rack allows room for cooler & extras
  • 10-year warranty on Frame & Rack

Follow us on Facebook for more tailgating/camping/road tripping ideas for the grill.

 

7 Ways to Score Big at Your Next Tailgate Party

September 8th, 2014 | Posted by Pacrec in Road Trips with the StowAway Carrier | Tailgating | Tailgating Grill - (Comments Off on 7 Ways to Score Big at Your Next Tailgate Party)

Tailgating party buffet table decorationAnyone can wear a logo sweatshirt or a giant foam finger. In fact, who doesn’t?  But in the spirit of competitive sports, why not score some tailgating points with a few unexpected plays? With tailgating season upon us, I scoured the web for fun tailgating ideas, from recipes to games to decorations. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Turn Your Buffet Table into a Football Field Ask the “Hostess with the Mostess” how to decorate for a tailgate party and Jenn Sbranti, founder of the popular party blog, has plenty of ideas. One of my fav’s is the football field table cover. Sbranti explains, “Make a bold statement by covering your main buffet area with inexpensive artificial grass in order to mimic the look of a football field. Artificial turf is available at home stores like Home Depot and Lowes, and they can cut it down to size for you. Dark green felt or fabric will also work as an alternative option. Use white ribbon to add “yard lines”, or paint them on if you’re feeling extra crafty.”

Cake that looks like a fottball2. Bake a Football Shaped Cake Liz Ward, contributor to eHow, promises that cakes shaped and decorated like footballs are easy to make. (One might say “easy as pie” to make. Er … make that “a piece of cake” to make.) “You don’t need special pans or recipes to make football shaped cakes,” writes Ward. “And it doesn’t take a professional cake decorator to get professional results.” Link here to get a recipe for chocolate cake as well as decorating instructions.

3. Make Your Own Cornhole Game Cornhole has become the most popular pastime at tailgating parties, second only to the consumption of food and beverages. You can purchase a custom cornhole game, resplendent with your team colors from companies such as Victory Tailgate. Or you handy folks who have a saw and some sandpaper – and know how to use them – can construct your own. Download free diagrams and instructions to build your own cornhole game set. Learn more about cornhole, what it is and how to play, as well as the official rules from the American Cornhole Association (yes, there is such a thing!). More about playing the hottest new tailgating game here.buffalo chicken cupcakes

4. Serve Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes Touchdown! What’s not to love about this recipe? What started out as something of a joke, turned into a great, crowd-pleasing recipe. Served as an appetizer, the cupcakes – which include hot sauce and blue cheese in the batter – are topped with your favorite chicken wings. They’re sweet, because they are also made with sugar, but not as sugary as say a double- chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles would be. Note: They are only as spicy as you choose to make them. Give them a try and let me know how it goes! Get the recipe here. tailgating cocktail decorated

5. Customize your Cocktails I’ve seen several ways to give your drinks a little extra splash this season, including Astroturf coozies, sweet and simple labels to keep things straight, and – my fav – colorful drinks served in mason jars, dyed with a school color, and topped with a cupcake liner. Turn the back of your car into a cocktail bar

6. Convert the Back of Your Car into a Cocktail Bar Of the 41 tailgating ideas that BuzzFeed dubbed “borderline genius,” the cocktail bar most exemplifies the reason tailgaters can get a bad rap for inebriated guests. That said, it’s a cool idea. With a set of wooden shelves, you can store bottles, mixers, glasses, paper towels, ice bucket, etc. for easy access. (Please drink responsibly.) You could do the same with condiments, plates, cups, bowls, napkins, tongs, silverware, etc. to make your grilling station the most convenient kitchen in the parking lot.

Trailer hitch tailgate open frame

The Tailgate Grill Station attaches to your trailer hitch

7. Set Up a Convenient, 90-Degree Kitchen Space

Speaking of a grilling station … by using a hitch-mounted grill on a pivoting frame, you can create the perfect grilling kitchen for your tailgate party. With complete access to the back of your vehicle – where you’ve stored coolers, condiments and chairs – you’ll be able to reach, grill and serve in your own personal tailgating kitchen. The Tailgate Grill Station includes a Cuisinart Grill (available in 3 colors) that runs on propane, and a jumbo-sized, commercial-grade cutting board. Stow the cutting board on the bottom of the rack and you have plenty of room to haul the cooler on the back of your rig, because the rack supports over 200 pounds.   Decorate-cooler

Extra Point: Decorate Your Cooler

Here’s one more great idea for your tailgate party: Decorate the cooler. Your cooler can be so much more than a place to store cold food and beverages when you paint it with your team spirit. Here’s a tutorial on painting coolers, which gives you the inside tips on making paint stick to plastic.

A little extra effort earns you lots of extra points at your tailgate party. For more tailgating ideas, games and recipes, join us on Facebook.

Fly! Wrigley Fly!

Wrigley and Meghan travel to competitions with their StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier

Wrigley jumped over 26 feet to land the longest jump of the Dock Dogs Regional Championships in August

The farthest dock-jumping Weimaraner in the history of the sport, Wrigley, owned and trained by Meghan Williams, didn’t seem to be a born leaper. He started late in life (4 years of age), never swam before, and had to wear a life jacket to dock-jumping class.

But don’t tell him that. Wrigley just leapt away with two titles at the Dock Dogs North Central Regional Championship in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, August 8-10, 2014.

“It’s not natural for Weimaraners to jump into water,” reports Williams. Given this, and the fact that there are only ten competing across the country, Willams calls Wrigley’s success “astonishing.” At 9½ years of age, for example, Wrigley was the most decorated veteran jumper at the regional championships, with invitations to compete in the World Championships. His average jump is 25 feet; his farthest is nearly 28.

To travel to competitions, Meghan, Wrigley, and their family of four pack themselves into a small Trailblazer. “We wouldn’t be able to go anywhere without our hitch cargo carrier,” says Williams. “We’ve got two children and Wrigley in the back of the car. Everything else goes in the StowAway. It’s incredible.”

‘Everything else’ includes suitcases, chairs, all of Wrigley’s gear – leashes, collars, toys, dog food, and water bucket, plus a 24-pack of water bottles for the family, and more. “It’s amazing how much stuff will fit in there,” says Williams. “Once we put in a double stroller, and they’re huge!”

Meghan and Wrigley after the toss

Meghan has perfected the timing of the toss that enables Wrigley to jump nearly 28 feet

The wife, mother of two, full-time employee, and Wrigley’s trainer/partner, Williams is a busy woman. Add to that, her skill at throwing Wrigley’s toy off the dock is 50% of the team effort that has brought them so much success.

Kudos to Wrigley and Meghan for these amazing results at the Dock Dogs Regional Championships, where they competed in Big Air Elite and Big Air Veteran Divisions:

  • 1st place in Elite Division, earning a World Championship Invitation
  • 1st place in Veteran Division, earning a World Championship Invitation
  • At 9-1/2 years old, Wrigley out jumped every single dog at the competition, with an incredible 26’1″ for the longest jump of the weekend – of all dogs, all ages
  • Re-titled himself into the Super Elite Division (25’+ average) by having countless jumps over 25′ during the weekend competition. (This has only happened a handful of times in the history of the sport)
  • 16th overall world ranking in Big Air (out of 600 dogs)
  • Ranked 2nd in the World for DockDogs Worldwide Veteran Dogs
Wrigley and Meghan travel to regional and national championships with the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier

Wrigley always travels with the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier

Where’s Wrigley Going Next?

Wrigley and Meghan’s next event will be September 6-7 in Springfield, Illinois at The Super Retriever Series. They will also be jumping in Carol Stream, Illinois at the Ultimate Air Dogs on September 14. Follow them on their Facebook page, and the StowAway Facebook.

 Congrats Wrigley and Meghan! All of us at StowAway Hitch Cargo Carriers are so proud of you.

Father’s Day Camping Trips: The West’s Best National Parks

June 20th, 2014 | Posted by Pacrec in Road Trips with the StowAway Carrier - (Comments Off on Father’s Day Camping Trips: The West’s Best National Parks)
The StowAway makes its way through Yellowstone National Park on a fully-loaded camping trip

The StowAway makes its way through Yellowstone National Park on a fully-loaded camping trip

Here is a fantastic idea: Take your Dad to one of the West’s best national parks this year. Here’s a round-up of some of the most fascinating geological places in America, as well as those teeming with wildlife and great camping adventures. (To make your trip more comfortable, and to be sure you don’t leave anything behind for lack of cargo space, be sure to take the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier with you.) Follow the links below for more great information on camping in America’ national parks, courtesy of the National Park Service.

Glacier National Park: Experience Glacier’s pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes. With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a hiker’s paradise for adventurous visitors seeking wilderness and solitude. Relive the days of old through historic chalets, lodges, transportation, and stories of Native Americans. Explore Glacier National Park and discover what awaits you.

Grand Canyon National Park: A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. Unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep.

Grand Teton National Park: Rising above a scene rich with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain, the Teton Range stands monument to the people who fought to protect it. These are mountains of the imagination. Mountains that led to the creation of Grand Teton National Park where you can explore over two hundred miles of trails, float the Snake River or enjoy the serenity of this remarkable place.

Hawai’i Volcanoes: Volcanoes are monuments to Earth’s origin, evidence that its primordial forces are still at work. During a volcanic eruption, we are reminded that our planet is an ever-changing environment whose basic processes are beyond human control. As much as we have altered the face of the Earth to suit our needs, we can only stand in awe before the power of an eruption.

Olympic National Park: Olympic National Park is a land of beauty and variety.  A day’s exploration can take you from breathtaking mountain vistas with meadows of wildflowers to colorful ocean tidepools. Nestled in the valleys are some of the largest remnants of ancient forests left in the country. Olympic is like many magical parks in one. Take some time to explore its different faces.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon: This landscape testifies to nature’s size, beauty, and diversity – huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world’s largest trees. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks lie side-by-side in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of the San Joaquin Valley. Visitor activities vary by season and elevation (1,370 to 14,494 feet).

Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone has the World’s Largest Collection of Geysers. Old Faithful and the majority of the world’s geysers are preserved here. They are the main reason the park was established in 1872 as America’s first national park—an idea that spread worldwide. A mountain wild-land, home to grizzly bears, wolves, and herds of bison and elk, the park is the core of one of the last, nearly intact, natural ecosystems in the Earth’s temperate zone.

Yosemite National Park: Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra. First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more. Source: National Park Service.

Zion National Park: Follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked. Gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. Experience wilderness in a narrow slot canyon. Zion’s unique array of plants and animals will enchant you as you absorb the rich history of the past and enjoy the excitement of present day adventures.

 

 

Packing for Team Sports: Hitch, Haul and Play Ball!

June 6th, 2014 | Posted by Pacrec in Road Trips with the StowAway Carrier | Teams and Events - (Comments Off on Packing for Team Sports: Hitch, Haul and Play Ball!)
Team Sports

Win big by packing for team sports with the Hitch Cargo Carrier

The camaraderie, competition and collective energy of team sports is intoxicating. Whether you’re part of a relay race, cycling in the peloton, kicking your way down the soccer field, driving the SAG Wagon with support and gear, or cheering others at the Finish Line, the team spirit takes you places you simply cannot go on your own.

To get you and your team where you’re going, with all your gear and supplies safely intact, you won’t find a better teammate than the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier. The cargo carrier gives you up to 16 cubit feet of extra storage space in a heavy-duty box with a locking lid latch, rear tail lights, and a 10-year warranty.

Here are some fantastic, real-life applications of sports teams using the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier:

• In the photo above, you’ll see the professional cycling team, “Team Basis,” who used the hitch cargo carrier as they traveled across America competing in events.

• Baseball teams can store bats, balls, cleats and gloves in the hitch cargo carrier, making more room on the inside for players, hot dogs and apple pie.

The StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier is a great teammate for team sports packing

The StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier makes a great teammate

Capacity: The StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier nearly doubles the average SUV’s functional carrying capacity. The MAX cargo carrier, for example, can hold four carry-on bags, two duffel bags and two camp chairs. The standard carrier box, with 12 cubic feet of storage capacity, accommodates four carry-on bags and two camp chairs. In either sized box, you can load up to 200 pounds of gear – from bike parts to basketballs, swim suits to suitcases, and wine bottles to bottled water.

Accessibility: Rather than balancing on your vehicle’s door jam to access your rooftop carrier, StowAway Cargo Carriers are exponentially more accessible, because they are mounted directly into your vehicle’s trailer hitch providing easy, ground-level access to your gear. The StowAway SwingAway frame pivots 180 degrees so that you can open your rear lift gate, door, hatch or tailgate, allowing full access to the contents in the back of your vehicle. The SwingAway frame will lock at 90 degrees or pivot up to 180 degrees for gear access.

Durability: StowAway Cargo Carriers have survived accidents, blizzards, tailgate parties and even a few wild animals because they are constructed from a super durable polymer, the same material used to mold high-performance whitewater kayaks. They have twice the wall thickness of some competitive boxes and are designed to take a beating without cracking.

Packing for team sports – with easy access to everything inside your vehicle as well as that in the cargo box – is a team advantage with the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier.

Take Your Picnic and Your Table With You!

May 15th, 2014 | Posted by Pacrec in Accessories | Road Trips with the StowAway Carrier - (Comments Off on Take Your Picnic and Your Table With You!)
StowAway's buffet board lets you prepare and serve an elegant email in the great outdoors

StowAway’s buffet board lets you prepare and serve an elegant meal in the great outdoors

One of my favorite things about recreational pursuits – aside from the recreation itself – is creating a juxtaposition of the elegant with the rustic. For example, I once trekked to the top of Tumalo Butte in Central Oregon, in the dead of winter, on Nordic skis, with a backpack holding warm brie baked in a puff pastry, rice crackers, grapes, and champagne.

At the risk of bragging, I will tell you that while my friends shared granola bars, cheese sticks, mini-carrots, and apples, I rocked the adventure with my four-star menu and a checkered tablecloth.

So, to create an elegant picnic by the beach, after spending the morning kayaking in the sea, is my idea of … perfection.

Imagine my delight when I came across the MAX Hitch Carrier Team Package with a buffet board from StowAway2.com. This is a rock star accessory to the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier that rides behind my SUV (also very cool).

The thing I love most about this carrier team package, is that I can pack everything I need for my gourmet picnic in the Hitch Cargo Carrier and then lay out my banquet on the buffet board. (Anyone who has ever gone camping or picnicking knows the value of a solid, horizontal surface off the ground.) The board fits snugly at the top of the cargo box, creating a generous surface (23″ x 19″) to prepare my food and then present it on a buffet table. Voila!

On the technical side, the buffet board is made from a commercial-grade polyethylene that will not dull my knives, which I appreciate. On the practical side, for large gatherings, I can place two boards side by side to create a work space and buffet table twice the size. When our meal is over, I store the buffet board inside the carrier. The artistic side? That’s all up to me. And it makes me happy to create an elegant meal and serve it in the rough and rugged beauty of the natural world.

The MAX Hitch Carrier Team Package also comes with an assortment of Custom Taillight Reflectors in the rainbow colors of blue, green, orange, red, silver and yellow, adding a little more bling to my rugged adventures.

Want some other ideas for incorporating the buffet board into your recreational pursuits? I would suggest an afternoon picnic of after a day of hardcore mountain biking. To eat as vigorously as you rode, create an abundant Italian antipasto buffet of prosciutto, roasted turkey, salami, Havarti cheese, assorted olives and sliced baguettes.

Camping? Serve hearty omelets stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, spinach, and feta cheese. Then tuck the dishes and pans inside the cargo carrier while you head to the lake or the river or the mountains – wherever your heart leads you.