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Hiking Knob Hill Trail Dallas

Knob Hill Trail is an 11 mile trail to the West of Lake Grapevine in the DFW area.  I hiked this fully for the first time last Monday afternoon and evening after having previously visited for a short one hour like just before sunset a couple of weeks ago.

The first thing I noticed this trip is that in just the first half mile the trail was been completely rerouted since my original visit.  It was previously a hard packed – obviously long used – path with lots of ups and downs thru mostly dry creek beds.  Now this old path has been blocked off with tree branches, and a new much flatter path is open.  I don’t know if this is a permanent of temporary change, but I’m sure the offroad bikers will not be happy with this new more mellow path.

Anyway, moving on!  After the first half mile the path rejoined what was clearly the normal hard packed path,  following this for another half mile it weaves thru trees and follows Denton Creek – which flows into Lake Grapevine.  Shortly after the first mile marker the path levels out and becomes very simple to follow, so for other Knob Hill hikers know that the first – and the last on the return – mile will be the most physically challenging.

The walk is pleasant in general.  I’ll touch a few of the ‘highlights’ briefly.  At about the 2.5 miles mark it gets a little shady…and not in the cool sense.  Lots of empty beer bottles, trash, and a bench that looks suspiciously like part of a meth lab can be seen in the remote woods off the path.  While I wouldn’t want to frequent that spot in the dark, it is fine during the day.  Thankfully this rather ugly area only lasts for about a half mile and things improve again.

At the 3.5 mile is a nice little bench on a hill.  You can sit here for a snack or a break and look out over Lake Grapevine.  It is not Grade A scenery, but a nice reward for making it out that far.  Knob Hill trail itself does go further, so do not head back thinking you are at the halfway point!

One point worthy of note – the mile markers on this trail are marked on both sides – so you can tell both how far in you are and how far there is to go.  For example, when I got to Mile 4 the backside of the pole indicated I had 7 more mile left on my hike.  Shortly after mile 4 I was surprised to see another hiker – only the second person I had seen all day – materialize shortly ahead of me.  When I got to the point he had appeared I discovered there was another short trail joining the main path from a parking lot.

The Knob Kill Trailhead is accessed by road from Hwy 377 just south of FM1171.  Apparently this guy had discovered another way in about four miles from the beginning, but I’m not quite sure what road he was parked on.

Shortly after this point the trail gets a little tricky.  It splits into two, and lacking a map I wasn’t sure which way to go.  I ended up veering right simply because the left path looked muddier:)  I was now a little worried about where I should be going however, I knew that I should get back to the fork within the next 3 miles (according to the 11 mile round trip rule) so I decided if I went that far and wasn’t sure where I was I would just double back.

What I eventually discovered is that the last couple of miles of this out and back trail is in fact a loop – and judging by the mile posters I probably took the loop the wrong way.  No harm done however!  The ‘far point’ of the trail occurred at a rather run down looking road with a ‘NO PARKING’ sign.  Up the road I could see a house, and in the other direction I saw the lake.  From memory I also believe I saw a sign saying ‘Cross Timbers’.  Hopefully that helps if you find yourself in the same spot.

From there I simply followed the loop around, and eventually I ended up back at the fork.  From that point it was simply a matter of trudging 4.5 miles back the same way I had come.  As usual I had overestimated my hiking speed – as opposed to my road speed – so the route as a whole took a little longer than anticipated.  I left around 2:45pm, and returned to the car close to 4 hours later.

Unfortunately, dusk is about 6:15!  While this did make for good wildlife viewing – I had an up close encounter with an Armadillo who didn’t even seem to notice me 10 feet away while he snuffled around off the edge of the trail – I did run out of light.  I was close enough I could have found  to the car in the darkness  – I could see the lights of road traffic in the distance – but I might have sprained an ankle getting there.

Thankfully I had placed my recently purchased Petzl Tikka XP2 headlamp in my backpack for just such an emergency! I tried briefly using its red light to illuminate my way, but kept losing the path.  Being rather tired, and admittedly a little stressed at finding myself roaming around in the woods in the dark, I cranked up its powerful white LED and finished up the last quarter mile of my trek.

While the route is marked as 11 mles, my GPS said I walked closer to 12.  I will put that down to the occasionally stroll off the trail – and doubling back a couple of times in the dark at the end off the hike:)  The weather was great, overcast and slightly chilly but no rain.  I completed the hike feeling fine physically, my legs are definitely gaining endurance as they could easily have gone further.

I really need new shoes!  My old walking shoes are really not up to off road hiking,  and I’m paying for it in blisters.  My feet are definitely building character, but I’m sure they will appreciate decent hiking boots when they arrive.

I recommend Knob Hill trail for anyone looking for an uncrowded hike or run that is not too difficult.

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Hiking – Perfect Pursuit for RV Dwellers

One downside about living in a Recreational Vehicle is that it can impose some limits on your hobbies.  Even the largest RV has only so much space for the various accessories associated with different activities.  Hiking, however, is the perfect passion for this lifestyle choice.  Both for reasons of freedom of movement and due to the minimal gear requirements of the hobby.

In an RV you can easily go to the best hiking locations.  This is a huge advantage over stick home living.  Even if your house is in the most scenic location imaginable – Colorado perhaps? – there are only going to be so many hiking options nearby.  If you read about a great hike that sounds appealing half way across the country, it is going to be a really big deal to actually go out and experience it.  You’ll need to schedule time out of your regular routine, budget travel and accommodation expenses, determine how to get to the trail head, etc…

With an RV, most of these issues go away.  See a great hike you’d like to go on in a far flung state like Oregon?  All you need to do is make a note of it.  Next time you find yourself out that way (maybe 6 months, or even 6 years later) you can make a point of stopping nearby to experience it.  If you are a really keen hiker, you can even plan your roaming across the country around the best hiking locations; the freedom of living in an RV is unprecedented in the advantages it offers in this regard.

 

 

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What You Need To Know About RV Insurance

People often travel long distances in their RVs, treating them as second homes. As a form of transportation, state minimum insurance coverage is necessary for RVs- however, there are some special insurance needs and options when it comes to covering all bases in insuring an RV.

  • What is the most basic RV insurance? How does it differ from car insurance?

The most basic insurance coverage available for RVs is comprehensive and collision coverage, which can be provided by many auto insurance companies. The difference between insuring an RV and insuring a regular motor vehicle is that the living quarters of the RV contain personal effects that require additional insurance in order to assure adequate coverage. Liability and loss of personal belongings are not covered by policies offered by most auto insurers.

  • What other types of insurance may be appropriate for an RV?

The amount of use the RV gets and the personal effects it generally contains are relevant to the types of insurance coverage that would be appropriate. Two of the most commonly used specialty insurances for RVs are liability insurance and personal property insurance. Liability insurance ensures that any damage caused by the RV to the property of someone else for which the owner of the RV would normally be liable is covered. Personal property insurance covers damage or loss to personal belongings. For people who use their RV as a full time home, full-timers insurance is available. This covers personal belongings, comprehensive personal liability and some living expenses.

  • What companies offer RV insurance?

Specialized RV insurance is available through a variety of sources with coverage and cost depending on a variety of factors including the type and model of the RV, the insurance laws in the state of policy issuance, other vehicles on the plan, driving history and level of coverage. Some of the most highly recommended companies for RV insurance include:

  • Good Sam VIP Insurance
  • Explorer RV
  • Foremost
  • Progressive
  • RV America
  • Twin Peaks Insurance
  • What other considerations should be taken by owners of RVs?

Some primary considerations that should be taken include maintaining the safety of the vehicle, its occupants and other people on the road by driving safely and using carbon monoxide, smoke and gas detectors with regular battery changes. Propane systems should also be maintained to prevent incident. When traveling internationally, RV owners should be aware of the efficacy of their insurance in the country in which they are traveling. For individuals who are renting an RV, consideration should be given to the insurance policy chosen for the rental duration, as options beyond those offered by the renter are available.

As with all automotive insurances, it’s important to take the time to compare rates and insurance coverage with different providers in your area. Depending on your prior driving history, age and state, you will find a wide range in pricing and policy premiums.

Thanks to the internet, we can rely on insurance coverage comparison sites to discover the many different policies that are out there and can compare quotes with a lot more ease. Make sure you don’t take the first policy that looks good to you, as many companies will lower their rates if you contact them directly with competitor rates.

This article was written by Paula, who writes about auto insurance coverage. You can view some of her publications by clicking here.

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How To Beat The Dealer – Get the Best Price On Your Next RV

Buying a vehicle of any sort is a nerve-wracking experience. When it is an RV that will become your living quarters, you really need to do your homework. Unless you’re sitting on a pile of money, payments will comprise a large chunk of your monthly budget for years after you actually select your ride. Consequently, the process of negotiating over the price can mean the difference of hundreds to thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. No wonder the buying process causes so much stress.

I learned this process the hard way. Although I’m satisfied with the last vehicle I bought, I realized later how much the dealer got the better end of the bargain due to my lack of planning. There are things you can do to overcome nerves and be prepared for anything at the negotiation table.

Strangely enough, learning to negotiate well on a big purchase will help you in all aspects of your life. You can turn conversations to your advantage by educating yourself about the options and utilizing a calm demeanor in your bargaining. What follows are some tips to help you get the deal you want.

Go Online

Rather than have a face-to-face encounter at the onset, where you are likely to be charmed into paying more, it is better to spend some time comparing costs before stepping foot on a dealership lot. Start by listing reliable dealers near your area. From here, you can gather contact details and send out quotation requests to begin comparing prices.

Prep Up

The biggest advantage you can have over these crafty dealers is your knowledge. The more you know, the less likely you will fall for their sugar-coated words and high pressure tactics. As you negotiate for a better deal, make sure to feel and, more importantly, look calm and collected. Never divulge to the dealer just how much you are willing to spend and let the salesman know that you are in control and not the other way around.

Price, Not Payments

Don’t get suckered into talking payments before settling on a final price of the vehicle. This was my downfall when I purchased my first car. Payments hide all manner of sins and extra fees. Agree on the sales price first. Then, you can start to discuss payment terms and loan periods.

Financing

It really does not matter whether you pay in cold hard cash or through financing. When choosing the latter, however, it is better to get a preapproval from an accredited bank or lending institution rather than go through the dealers themselves. Dealerships are likely to put in an extra markup to earn a bonus for themselves. Use an automobile calculator to set your maximum purchase price and plan for the monthly cost of your new RV.

Ask for Rebates and Freebies

Never hesitate to find additional ways to save. Rebates, for instance, are typically offered by dealers and manufacturers. Apart from the standard discounts, some providers also offer special deals for military, college students, and handicapped individuals.

If they won’t give you a discount, then ask for free upgrades. Adding a nicer stereo, TV system, or interior upgrades cost the dealer very little. It can be a better deal for them to offer $1000 in free upgrades versus lowering the price by the same amount.

Timing is Key

A great trick when purchasing your RV is to buy at the end of the month. It is likely that you will get additional incentives from your purchase because dealers are given monthly incentives and bonuses from their sales at this time. With the right timing, you can end up with the dream mobile living space of your choice for hundreds less.

Play Hard to Get

If the dealers are playing it tough, play tougher. If you don’t get what you want, simply walk away and leave them to pursue you instead. Keep in mind that the last thing any dealer wants is to see a prospective customer walk away.

Even though negotiation is what car sales people do, they often will not expect someone to be well-informed come in from a position of strength. They are just as desperate to make a sale as they believe you are to own a vehicle. The most important thing is to remain calm and collected. Making yourself hard to read in a bargaining situation will give you the upper hand in the negotiations, and ensure you get the best price on your new vehicle.

Tim is a writer for OnlineLoanCalculator.org, and routinely helps car, truck, and RV buyers get the best deal on their next purchase.