Get ready, football fans — the season is upon us. That means tailgating on sunny fall Saturdays: Grilling up some burgers, cracking open a cold beer and, of course, cheering on your favorite teams with friends and family. If you’re serious about football season, you’re probably serious about tailgating. (more…)
The shorter days before the holiday season bring outdoor football games, corn mazes and fall colors. Before the autumn passes you by, find a few hours to get out and enjoy the colors as the seasons change.
Fall Colors: Seasonal Predictions
Many forecasters like to predict the degree of brilliance the fall leaves may bring to the season. Depending on where in the United States you happen to live, these changes are influenced by weather.
Accuweather.com gathered the opinions of several leaf watchers and forecasts that the mid-Atlantic states may have the best outcome this fall, especially if the weather patterns aren’t too wet or too dry. Similarly, Weather.com concurs. Ideal weather conditions usually produce ideal fall colors.
An especially useful website to chart color changes is maintained by the U.S. Forest Service. Based on eyewitness accounts, the USFS follows changes in the fall colors and provides an easy-to-use visual guide to the parts of the country where leaves are in peak turnover. The USDA even has a handy YouTube video about finding a great place to gaze.
For the detail-oriented, there’s also a link to the science behind the fall color changes.
Fall Foliage by State
A peak fall foliage map by state is also available from a very no-nonsense website called StormFax.com. The map allows users to click on a state to find a site specific website with information or tools to determine if the leaf peeping is good. Not all the states have links, but enough of the map is hyperlinked to get a good sense of what’s going on in the regions where many good views can be found.
And, if all else fails, try StormFax’s handy Fall Foliage Hotline phone listing. Whatever plans develop for your trip out into the fall weather, remember to take a snapshot or two and send it to us at StowAway. We’d love to see your travels.
The Auto Show’s here! The Auto show’s here!
Yep, it’s that time of year again when the auto makers roll out their latest models in an attempt to seduce you to purchase a new ride. It’s their big chance to get potential buyers to check out the selection, compare prices and maybe do a little test-driving. And with Americans holding on to their cars longer due to economic issues, dealers see this as a great opportunity to get you to part with that junker and slip behind the wheel of… a… BRAND… NEW… CAR!
While a lot of folks head to the auto show to just look at or sit in a car they would never buy because of practicality issues (Camaros… Challengers… Corvettes…Oh my!), or could never afford (sorry, the Ferraris and Lamborghinis are roped off, so no test sittings for the great unwashed), many attendees are serious buyers. In fact, most dealers experience an upswing in sales during the event.
So, if you’re someone who’s actually considering buying a new vehicle, what have you got in mind? The focus in recent years has been on smaller, fuel-efficient, earth-friendly vehicles. But people also love their outdoor adventure wheels, like SUVs and Jeeps. Many people are stalled out between downsizing to a smaller SUV for budget-tightening reasons, or space issues (small garage, sketchy street parking) and still wanting the room and storage space of a larger SUV or truck for their camping, biking, travel, snow sports, hunting, fishing and other gear. What’s an eco-conscious sportsman to do?
Easy! Shift your storage solution into high gear with a StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier. With 16 cubic feet of storage space and a 200 lb. capacity, the StowAway slides easily and securely into your receiver hitch, providing convenient ground level access to all your gear, putting the brakes on the inconvenience (and fuel-inefficiency!) of a rooftop carrier. A secure locking mechanism keeps your gear safe while you’re stretching your legs at rest-stops or chowing down at roadside diners, and a weather tight seal keeps everything nice and dry. Plus, a well-placed drain plug makes your post-adventure clean-up as easy as a Sunday drive.
So go enjoy the auto show. It’s a cool event whether you’re “just-looking” or ready to buy. And with a StowAway Cargo Carrier, the decision of choosing economy or size will be in the rear-view mirror.
So the family all got new snowshoes for Christmas and you can’t wait to get up to the mountain and try them out, right? Or maybe you’re just going for a day of tubing on the bunny slope. Or you could be saying to heck with winter altogether and are heading out of the frigid north to the sunny south until things thaw out.
Well whatever winter adventure or expedition you have planned, if it involves winter driving you need to be prepared for the worst. Winter driving can be treacherous, hazardous, and heck, downright scary (The leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents. Yikes!). Weather conditions can change very quickly. But with proper preparation (the old ounce of prevention) you can greatly reduce the risks of a winter driving mishap.
First of all, if you can avoid driving in bad weather, well then… avoid driving in it! Check local, regional and even national weather reports beforehand to check for possible winter storms on the agenda. But if you still insist on traveling under sketchy conditions, make sure your vehicle is ready for the worst that Ma Nature can hurl at it. Your vehicle’s ignition, battery, headlights and taillights, brakes, wiper blades, fuel and exhaust systems, heater/defroster and your anti-freeze level (whew!) need to be at the top of their game. And your tires. Especially your tires. Many states require traction tires, or that chains be carried in the vehicle when traveling through mountain passes and at higher snow-zone elevations.
And don’t forget an emergency safety kit in case you’re stalled or stranded in inclement conditions. In addition to the aforementioned tire chains, your grocery list should include blankets and warm clothes, flares, shovel and scraper, flashlight and batteries, candles, lighter or matches, first aid kit, booster cables, non-perishable food and plenty of water.
Yeah, that’s a lot of stuff. Along with all your luggage and/or winter sports gear things can get pretty tight in your vehicle. That’s where the extra cargo space of a StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier can come to the rescue. With up to 16 cubic feet of storage space and a 200 lb. capacity, it has plenty of room for your chains, blankets, food and other safety equipment, as well as all your winter sports gear. Sliding quickly and securely into your vehicle’s receiver hitch, it provides easy ground level access to all your gear. (Do you really want to be climbing up to a roof-top carrier in a blizzard?)
So have fun and enjoy the snow, whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledding, or just traveling to a warmer climate. Just make sure you’ve got your winter driving gloves on in case you have to duke it out with Old Man Winter.
Ah, yet another Christmas season is bearing down upon us like a Himalayan avalanche. And like most people, yours is likely to be action-packed. And some of that action probably includes Christmas travel, whether a short distance to visit relatives or a familyvacation to take advantage of the long Holiday break (Two weeks! Yikes!).
But be prepared. Christmas is peak travel time, so you’ll have plenty of company out there on the roads. This can add to an already stressful season. So breathe, stay calm and relax. Go to your happy place. We’ll get you there.
First, give yourself plenty of time. Pack up the night before. Leave a day or two early. Take the scenic route. Add in plenty of time for rest stops and a roadside attraction or two (extravagant light displays, giant gingerbread houses,etc.). And if you’re not staying with friends or relatives, make sure to book your room reservations well in advance and double check that you’re confirmed. You may have reservations about staying there when you see the place, but at least you’ll have a reservation! Plus, by booking early you may get a better deal, which might allow you stay in a fancier place. (Great room deals can often be obtained in many cities the four or five days before Christmas Eve, i.e., Las Vegas!).
Wherever you’re bound for, you probably know by now that family + luggage + gifts = cramped driving conditions. Which in turn can lead to not only physical discomfort, but emotional trauma (Are we there yet?!) You can take some of the pressure off with a StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier. With up to 16 cubic feet of storage space and 200 pound capacity, it will seriously ease any in-car congestion issues, making for a more comfortable and relaxed ride. There’s also plenty of room for the gifts you receive! With it’s secure locking mechanism, you’ll be able to avoid leaving your gifts and valuables in plain sight. And with all that vacation time on your hands, you’ll have plenty of room to take the kids skiing or snowboarding!
Speaking of kids – keep them occupied! Bring books, games, puzzles, CD’s, or, more likely, their favorite electronic device (portable DVD players do the trick nicely). And have plenty of snacks on hand. Kids are always hungry.
Okay, looks like you’re set (except for the shopping thing). Whether your Christmas travels take you a hundred miles to visit the grandparents for a few days, or on a longer, get-away-from-the-madness vacation to the beach or the ski slopes, drive carefully and have a safe journey.
AAA is predicting that 42.5 million Americans will travel during the Thanksgiving week this year, up 4% from last year. And with airfares up 20 percent (plus all those pesky fees), more stringent security, cancelled, delayed and overbooked flights, 38.2 million of those Americans will be driving. That’s a lot of Buicks on the blacktop.
Whether you view it as a welcome tradition or guilt-laden obligation, the Thanksgiving road trip is an American classic. Over the river and all that. But just because you’re not dealing with the insanity of an airport doesn’t make driving a piece of cake (or pumpkin pie). Here are a few tips to take some of the kinks out of that long and winding road.
Let’s face it there’s going to be traffic. So if possible try to avoid the peak rush hours, like Wednesday afternoon and evening. If you can leave a day or two early, and if that’s not too much family face time for you, go for it. If you don’t have too long of a drive ahead of you, get up early and leave on Thanksgiving morning. The traffic is usually light and it can make for a mellow drive.
Or try an alternate route, like a state or county road. It may take a little longer, but the scenery is better and you’ll probably find it much less stressful than being on the Interstate, which can unknowingly take it’s toll tension-wise. This is also a good back-up plan in case of freeway wrecks and closures.
Make sure everyone is comfortable. Too many people and possessions crammed in a small space can cause not only physical discomfort but emotional trauma as well with all the whining and complaining. A good way to alleviate crowding is with the addition of a cargo carrier, like the StowAway MAX Hitch Cargo Carrier. With 16 cubic feet of storage space and 200 lbs of gear capacity, it comes complete with taillights, side reflectors, lock and weep holes on a swingaway or fixed frame.
Make sure you take frequent rest breaks. The act of just walking a little bit, even if it’s just to use the facilities or stretch out will significantly reduce stiffness in muscles and joints, especially in the “chronologically gifted”. And it helps keep those nasty blood clots at bay.
So now you’re ready. Get packed, load up and head out. Join that other 38.2 of your fellow Thanksgiving travelers and have a fun, and most importantly, safe trip.
With a little over a week until Halloween, you may be looking for ways to use your StowAway Cargo Carrier for the seasonal festivities. We have come up with some interesting ways to use the StowAway Cargo Carrier while you are preparing for the various activities associated with Halloween. If you are doing any traveling next weekend, a hitch mounted cargo carrier is perfect for carrying your extra bags and giving your passengers a little more leg room. You can also add custom orange reflectors to give your cargo carrier some Halloween spirit.
Another great options is our tailgate package. This comes with colored reflective tape and a cutting board that fits perfectly to the inside of the box (great for cutting those leftover bobbing apples).
The StowAway Cargo Carrier would be perfect for your trip to the pumpkin patch. A cargo capacity of 200lbs (2″ frames) will let you carry back plenty of pumpkins without getting the inside of you vehicle dirty.
Don’t forget Trick-or-Treating! While the kids can only dream of filling all 16 cubic feet the MAX cargo carrier with candy, the cargo carrier can be a great place to store flashlights, first aid kits, and other trick-or-treat gear while you follow your kids around the neighborhood.
And if you don’t find a use for our cargo carriers for Halloween, have fun next weekend. Be safe and watch out for those zombies, werewolves and vampires!
Today, September 23, 2011 marks the autumnal equinox. In layman’s terms, today is the first day of fall. This event is celebrated around the world with various festivals. Although today is not as recognized in the Western Hemisphere, it is a good time to consider plans for the fall. As most outdoor activities are coming to an end, we should all think about how we store our summer gear. This is a perfect time to thoroughly clean your camping , biking, and fishing gear for proper storage during the fall and winter months.
We would like to give you some tips on how to properly store your StowAway Cargo Carrier during the off-season.
- Wash your StowAway – All you need is water, mild detergent, and a wash rag. Simply wipe it down and rinse.
- Find a secure location – Whether it’s in your garage or outside your house, try to find an area that provides some protection from the elements. While the StowAway is weather resistant, we suggest using a trap if you must store the carrier outdoors.
- Close the lid – Our boxes are made of an extremely durable material but it does tend to expand and contract with varying temperature. We suggest you store the box in the closed position to keep the two section from expanding/contracting too much.
Our cargo boxes are perfect for storing equipment during the off-months. Might also want to keep you accessories (hitch tightener, keys, hitch lock) in the carrier so you’re ready to go as soon as next season rolls along.
Whether you’re a duffer or a Tiger, bulky golf clubs can clog up your car’s interior in no time. A StowAway Hitch Carrier solves this problem by adding handy, much-needed storage space to the back of almost any SUV.
The MAX Swingaway hitch carrier is the top-of-the-line golf club hitch carrier and a hole-in-one for golfers nationwide. Equipped with all the necessary amenities– a drain plug for cleaning, a secure locking mechanism, and a swinging frame to provide easy access to your vehicle’s trunk– the MAX hitch carrier is 51 inches wide, perfect for accommodating those extra-long drivers. With a total of 16 cubic feet of storage space, the MAX will fit your shoes, balls, tees, and towels; it will even fit a full-sized cooler or two, so you can turn your vehicle’s tailgate into the 19th hole in a matter of seconds.
It’s no wonder golfers liken the convenience of our Hitch Carriers to that of a caddy (except without the required tipping).