Summer Travel in the BC Coast, Jasper and Banff

You’ve taken your rig to Pleasureland RV, and you know it’s ready for the open road. But are you really ready? Do you have your reservations and campgrounds picked? If your summer travel plans include the Jasper/Banff and BC coast areas, you’ll want to plan strategically, because summer is peak season for these areas.

 

Get Reservations Early

When it comes to summer RV travel Canada is difficult to beat. This means that stunning views and relaxing atmospheres await you, but it also means there are numerous other RV enthusiasts joining you on the road. Because of this, particular in popular areas along the BC coast and the Banff/Jasper region, you will want to get reservations early. As soon as you know your dates for travel, start calling campgrounds to find a spot.

 

Traveling Without Reservations

If you have waited too long and will be traveling without reservations, you will want to look for parks that don’t take reservations. Chances are the parks that do will be full. Some campgrounds in Banff and Jasper don’t take reservations, so this might be an option. Be sure to arrive early to find a spot.

For private campgrounds, summer is peak season, so you won’t likely find a spot without a reservation. If you must travel without reservations, try to travel towards the beginning or end of summer, and during the week. Weekends will be the most challenging time to find a spot.

As you pick up your RV from Pleasureland and head out on the road this summer, make sure you have planned well this is a popular area to tour this time of year, so get your reservations in early, and you will have a great time.

The Minnesota Roads Will Be Extra Crowed During the Holidays

Hey Minnesota RVers, what are your plans for the holiday? AAA is forecasting that more Americans are planning to travel this year for the holidays, and that 91.9 million will travel 50 miles or more from their home during the year-end travel season, up from last year’s figure of 90.7 million. For those of you out there who are full-timers, it looks like the roads are going to get a little crowded this holiday season!

AAA also said that the majority of these holiday travelers will take to the roads. Some 83.6 million people (91 percent of total holiday travelers) plan to travel by car, a 2.1 percent increase compared to last year. The year-end holiday season is defined by AAA as beginning Friday, December 23, 2011 and ending Monday, January 2, 2012. So if you are thinking you’ll be on the road during one of those 11 days, be sure to take extra caution.

It’s been reported by the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) that 40 percent of traffic-related deaths during Christmas and New Year’s involve drunk drivers — a 12 percent increase over the rest of the month of December. So make sure you keep your attention on the other drivers around you. Stay safe out there Minnesota RVers!

Thinking About Becoming A Full-Timer in Your Minnesota RV?

If you’ve been living in the RV world for awhile now, I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “full-timer“. You may even have several friends who are currently living this lifestyle. But for those of you who are thinking about buying a new or used RV in Minnesota for the first time, this may be a new concept to you. Whether you already own a motorhome, travel trailer or fifth wheel or you’re thinking about owning one and moving your life to road full-time, there are some things you need to consider first.

First, let’s define the term. Full-time RVing literally means living in your RV 365 days of the year. Your RV, travel trailer or fifth wheel is your permanent address. For many people, full-time rving simplifies their life by living more economically. If you’d rather spend all of your time at a national park or campground, then full-timing is definitely a great way to do this.

It’s been reported that there are more than a million people currently living on the road in their RVs. It used to be that retired couples made up the majority of the full-time population, but more and more families, couples and even singles are being to join the community.

As with all things, there are a few downsides to becoming a full-timer. Now that I think about it, these may even be considered as more advantages to some… it all depends on your lifestyle, really. The first downside is you’ll have to part with your current residence. This most likely includes a large chunk of your personal belongings. Odds are, your RV is a lot smaller compared to your home. If you’re used to spending a lot of time with your family and friends who aren’t in living in the RV world, you’ll have to get used to seeing less of them. This is something you’ll need to prepare yourself for before making the decision.

If full-time RVing is the choice for you, I have one huge recommendation: stay connected. With this advanced technological world we live in today, it’s extremely easy to keep in touch with your family, friends and the world. If you have any questions about this decision, or you’re in the market for a new or used RV to take on the road, come by and see us. Pleasureland RV is happy to help with all of your RV lifestyle needs.

Minnesota Wildlife – Black Bears

The black bear: a symbol of Minnesota’s wilderness. As a Minnesota RVer who enjoys camping in the great outdoors, it is important to be mindful of what type of wildlife, and in this case bears, you may encounter. Bears are most common in the northern parts of Minnesota, although they have been known to wander into more urban areas.

Conflicts between people and bears have increased as more people build homes and cabins in northern Minnesota. These types of conflicts between bear and human can arise when bears damage personal property, beehives, livestock and even agricultural crops.

The black bears natural source for food are nuts, fish, berries, insects and certain types of vegetation. However, when their natural food sources become scarce, a bear will take advantage of any food they find available and eat anything that might resemble food by its look, smell or even taste. It is when a bear’s desperate search food occurs that they will often come in contact with people.

Reducing Bear Encounters

  • Move campsites if there are any signs that a bear has been there recently.
  • Never leave food in your tent or outside your RV.
  • Use canned or dried foods to minimize the scent of food.
  • Store foods out of a bear’s reach, either in a bear safety storage box or by hanging it at least 15 feet off the ground from a
    tree limb.
  • Burn any used napkins or paper towels in your campfire.
  • Remove all garbage and any fish or other meat remains from your campsite immediately after use.

People share in the responsibility to avoid conflicts with bears. Learning effective measures to prevent bear problems will help both bears and people. The best way to avoid bear conflicts is to not attract them in the first place. If you would like more information about bear safety, we’d be happy to help!

7 Tips For Backing Up and Parking Your New RV

I ran into a friend of mine who purchased his first RV, a 2002 Forest River Georgetown, at the beginning of the summer. I hadn’t seen him since he made the purchase, and I was dying to know how his first few RV trips had gone. Come to find out… he hadn’t taken his new RV out once! I couldn’t believe it! When I asked him why, he was a little bit reluctant to tell me, but I finally got it out of him. He didn’t know how to back-up and park the RV. At first, I was shocked that this had kept him from using his beautiful, new home-away-from-home. But the more I thought about it, I realized that he was probably not alone with this fear.

If you’re a first-time RV owner, getting out on the road can seem a little scary.  After all, RVs drive a lot differently than your average four-door sedan.  Whether it’s a motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer, there are several things you should know about backing up and parking. I found seven excellent and helpful tips from the Fun Times Guide that I shared with him and would now like to share with you.

7 Tips For Parking & Backing Up RVs

#1  Stop right where you are, when you reach the point where you no longer have clear vision of where you want to go. Never attempt to move into tight quarters, if you can’t see all possible hazards.  That is, unless you have someone positioned where they can see the obstructions and they can warn you.  Your assistant must be positioned so they can see both you and the possible dangerous situation

#2  Avoid places that are impossible to get into, or nearly so. Don’t blindly pull into an unfamiliar driveway, dead end street, or parking lot that doesn’t have a second exit.

When you pull into shopping areas, stay out near the perimeter and chose your parking spot so that you can simply pull ahead to leave. Don’t go down the aisles of parked cars — because you’re likely to be making a sharp corner in a confined spot, when you get to the end of the aisle.

 

#3  Learn to rely on your mirrors. An RV isn’t like the family sedan. Looking over your right shoulder and down through the center of your motorhome or tow vehicle to back up won’t work. You have to rely on the image in your side mirrors.

Straight vehicles, without trailers, are pretty easy to back up — because a properly adjusted mirror should give you a view of the side all the way back to the rear bumper. As long as you can see daylight between your RV and the obstruction, you’re good.

 

#4  Set up temporary parking & driving patterns, using safety cones or milk jugs. Head out to a closed supermarket parking lot and set up your cones like a driveway or camping spot. Practice backing into those spots until you can do it without hitting any cones.

 

#5 Practice blind side parking. If your luck is like mine, more often than not you’ll end up backing into a campsite from the blind side with your trailer.

The blind side is the right (passenger) side of your vehicle. It’s known as the blind side because at some point, as you’re turning, your tow vehicle will no longer be in a straight line with your trailer.  You will no longer be able to see what’s happening on at least one side of your RV. This is where an outside helper is essential to keep you posted on your progress.

A trick I’ve used to increase my range of vision when backing around corners is to readjust my side mirrors at a different angle as I start making my turn. Most motorhomes, and many trucks, have electrically adjustable mirrors that you can control with a switch from the driver’s seat. Adjusting the mirrors, as you proceed through the corner, will give you a clear view most of the way.

 

#6  Never rely on rear vision cameras, because they’re pointed down toward the ground behind you and don’t give you a broad enough picture. There are overhead obstacles to be concerned about too.  Low-hanging branches, building overhangs, even sagging power lines can hook your RV. By far the best way to back into a tight spot is to have a person (or even 2) outside watching all the angles. Maneuver with your windows down, and instruct your helper to talk loud enough so you can clearly hear them. A set of inexpensive walkie talkies can be very handy for just this purpose.

 

#7  Use extreme caution when backing a motorhome with a tow vehicle attached. In fact, backing up with a toad (car) on a tow bar more than a foot or so is impossible. Since the steering axle of the car being towed is free to track wherever it wants, as soon as you start backwards it will immediately turn the wheels, causing extreme pressure to be applied to the front end components of your vehicle in tow.

Damage can occur, because you will be skidding the car sideways, with the front wheels turned all the way to the stops. If you need to back up when towing a car, just unhook the car first.  After you’re situated where you can go forward again, re-hook the tow bar. It’s the only safe way to do it.

[The Fun Times Guide]

Something else that can seem tricky at first is backing into a camping spot (especially if the two spots next to you are both occupied). There is a little trick, though, that some of us RV vets use called The Scoop. Once you nail this technique down, you’ll be pulling into camp spots like a pro. Check out this little illustration video showing exactly how it’s done. If you need any help at all with anything RV-related, don’t hesitate to give us a call or swing by.

 

The Boondocking Code of Ethics

For those of you new RV owners who may be unfamiliar with the term, boondocking, also known as dry camping or primitive camping is basically camping without the electic, sewer or water hookups.  There are generally two types of boondocking – blacktop and boonies – and there is a certain code of ethics associated with each one that we should follow. The general rule of thumb is to always leave the place nicer than it was when you got there. Let’s check out some other rules we should follow.

Blacktop boondocking is when you pos up in a parking lot (Wal-Mart, Casinos, etc.). The main appeal of this type of camping is the convenience and budget. Some places have actually passed bans on this type of boondocking. To make sure bans aren’t passed, RV clubs like The Escapees, have come up with their own code of ethics for blacktop boondocking. They have even gone far enough to post a print out of these rules that you can leave on offender’s vehicles.

Blacktop Boondocking Rules

1. DO obtain permission from a qualified individual. This way you’ll never have to worry if you are violating any sort of code or law.

2. DO try and park out of the way. Most of these parking lots are huge, and most likely there are spots way in the back that will be vacant.

3. DON’T use your awnings, chairs, or barbecue grill. These things tend to send the message that you are here to stay.

4. DON’T use slide-outs if at all possible for the same reason as mentioned above.

5. DON’T use your leveling jacks on asphalt.

6. DO try and limit your stay – one night is best, and two is the absolute maximum. We recommend staying two night only if you must.

7. DO purchase gas, food, or supplies as a way of saying “thank you”.

8. DO leave the area cleaner than you found it. This one is sometimes dificult for people to folllow, but think of it this way… you’re only helping blacktoppers reputation climb by cleaning up. Even if it’s after other’s.

9. DO practice safety precautions. This is important in any situation.

You can print out of these rules and then leave them on offender’s vehicles. Everyone should know proper boondocking etiquette.

[The Escapees]

Now let’s switch gears and take a look at the guidelines we should follow for boondocking in the boonies. As you can probably guess from its name, this type of boondocking is done out in the wilderness. A lot of campers do this purely for the wilderness experience and enjoy the peace and quiet they wouldn’t necessisarily have at a slotted campground. The more serious boondockers even modify their vehicles with solar panels and an inverter to charge their batteries so they can freely camp in the beautiful wilderness.

Rules for Boondocking in the Boonies

  • Park in previously used areas. Do not create a new road or parking spot or run over vegetation.
  • Park away from other RVs so each can enjoy the peace and quiet. If you do have a generator you plan to run, park far away from other RVs and limit your use to an hour or so in the morning and another in early evening. Generator noise carries and is not part of the wilderness experience.
  • Respect quiet hours. Do not run generators or play TVs or radios loudly after 10 p.m. or before 7 a.m. (Some areas may have different quiet hours so check with the agency.)
  • In some areas dumping grey water on the ground is permissible. Always check with the agency first. Dumping black water on the ground is never permitted.
  • Leave the area cleaner than you found it. Dispose of trash in a trash container after you leave.
  • Read and follow the agency’s rules regarding fires, collecting firewood, and quiet hours. Respect time limits, which are typically 14 days.

Boondocking is one of my favorite aspects of owning an RV, but we have to remember to always follow that golden rule in order to continue boondocking for years and years to come. Leave the place nicer than it was before you arrived.

Vote and You Could Help the Soudan Underground Mine State Park Win $100,000

Hey Minnesota RV owners, have you heard of the competition Coca-Cola is holding to find America’s favorite park? Well guess what, the Soudan Underground Mine State Park is currently ranked number two in votes!

Let’s help push the park up to the number-one ranking.  Voting is simple.  All you have to do is visit LivePositvely.com. The three parks that receive the highest number of votes by September 6, 2011, will be awarded recreation grants. First place will receive $100,000, second will receive $50,000 and third place will receive $25,000. That’s a lot of money to help restore, rebuild or enhance your park’s amenities.

Voting is unlimited and there is more than one way you can vote. Here are your options:

  • Interactive Map – Use the map to find the park youíd like to vote for, then click on the vote button. Each map vote gives your park 1 point.
  • Facebook Places Check-In – Vote while youíre inside your park and your park will receive 5 points.
  • Upload Photos – Share your familyís park activities and receive an extra 5 points for the park. Upload them through your Facebook account or directly from your computer.

Well, what are you waiting for Minnesota RV lovers?? Head over to LivePositively.com and let’s win one of our state’s greatest parks some money!

RV ABCs: Fifth Wheels

The hardest thing do when it comes to buying or renting a new RV is determining which RV is right for you. For the last few weeks, Pleasureland RV has been going through the RV alphabet in order to help make that decision a little bit easier. So far, we’ve discussed three classes of motorhomes: Class A, Class B and Class C. Now let’s move on to the towable class of RVs starting with the Fifth Wheel.

Fifth Wheels

Description: Fifth wheels are the most spacious RVs available, but don’t let the size intimidate you, they are delightfully easy to handle. They are towed by pick-up trucks with a special “fifth wheel” hitch and generally have taller ceilings and more slide-out rooms with as many as four in some models.

2012 Dutchmen Infinity 3470RE

Let’s see how CampingEarth.com breaks down the advantages and disadvantages of Fifth Wheels.

As with any type and style of RV, camper, or travel trailer, a 5th wheel has its advantages and disadvantages. Its main advantages are:

  • Easy Towing because of the gooseneck hitch.
  • Spacious and roomy inside. A 5th wheel has lots of room inside. If the weather outside is inclement, there is plenty of room for everyone to be inside enjoying the amenities.
  • 5th wheel can be detached at destination which frees up the towing vehicle for excursions and trips around the area.

The main disadvantages are:

  • A towing vehicle, outfitted with a special package to house the gooseneck hitch is needed. Because most 5th wheels are heavy, the towing vehicle needs to be heavy duty. But, on the bright side, manufacturers have begun to introduce lightweight 5th wheels that can be pulled by smaller trucks.
  • The steps. Some people don’t like the bi-level design of a 5th wheel travel trailer and don’t like having interior steps that lead to either the master bedroom that is typically housed in the area of the trailer that sits over the bed of the towing vehicle (although this area is also sometimes the living room area). If interior steps are a problem, you may want to consider a travel trailer or consider a motorized RV.
  • The cost. Fifth wheel campers are the most expensive of the towable RV’s which can make them too expensive for entry level buyers. If you really have your heart set on a 5th wheel, consider purchasing a used 5th wheel. There are some very good deals available on “previously road tested” 5th wheels.

Ready to make a decision? Come down and check out on this beauties! If you still haven’t found the right RV for you, stick around. Next week, we’ll continue with the towable RV class and talk about travel trailes.

RV ABCs: Class C Motorhomes

Two weeks ago, we began working our way down the RV alphabet. If you’re in the market to purchase an RV, new or used, or just looking to rent an RV for an upcoming vacation, it’s important to have a general understanding of the various types.

RVs come in all shapes and sizes  and like everything else in life, there are ups and downs to each class of an RV. But I’m willing to bet you’ll have no problem at all finding the one that fits your lifestyle the best. In case you missed them, let’s do a quick recap of the two classes we’ve covered.

Class A Motorhomes. There are the big, square and boxy RVs that are considered the most luxurious due to their top-of-the-line ammenities. However, the biggest draw back to Class A’s is the fuel economy.

Class B Motorhomes. These RVs use a cargo ban as their base and are very easy to store. The biggest draw back to this class? Most likely the lack of a master bedroom. Because they are easier to store than Class A’s means they are significantly smaller. But if you’re looking for weekend get-a-ways or short road trips, then this Class may be just the one for you.

Today, let’s take another step down the RV alphabet and talk about Class C Motorhomes.  Think of Class C’s as a mini-motorhome.  You’ll get the same conveniences of a Class A in a scaled-down version and lower price. Though it’s technically smaller than a Class A, the Class C is equipped with full sleeping, kitchen, dining, and bathroom facilities.

 

Let’s see how The Fun Times Guide breaks down a Class C Motorhome.

Advantages:

  • It is somewhat easier to obtain service and warranty work on the driving portion of the RV than it is with a Class A motorhome. With a brand name cab and drive train, auto dealers can hardly say, “Sorry, it’s not ours.”
  • The smaller overall size can get you into secluded and more enjoyable campgrounds with plenty of beds to sleep the entire family.
  • Your mileage in a Class C motorhome may be a bit better than in a Class A, but not much.

Disadvantages

  • If your RV is one with the over-the-cab bed, it probably has a large window across the front of the RV. These are notorious for leaking water when it rains. I owned a used one and spent a good amount of time repairing water damage and sealing the window.
  • If you’re looking for open square footage, this probably isn’t the best RV for you. At the most, you may have one small slideout.
  • The ones that have a rear bedroom also have a long rear overhang beyond the rear wheels. You’ll get a heck of an excessive tail swing when you go around corners, you’ll be watching in the mirror on every maneuver to make sure you don’t tag someone.

Now that you have a basic knowledge of the three motorhome classes, maybe you’ve found the right fit for you!  If not, stick around. Next week we’ll take a look at fifth wheels! And remember, you can always come down and take a look at some of these beauties yourself! We’re more than happy to help you in your big decision.

The Smallest RV in the World

Photo Courtesy of BornRich.com

Leave it to the geniuses who created the all-in-one, coolest tool of all time to create an all-in-one RV system. Allow me to introduce the swissRoomBox™. This little bad boy turns any regular old minivan or SUV into a fully-loaded campsite. It’s made up of several modules that serve as containers, countertops, a stove, a sink, a table, a chair and bed frame and provides hot water, gas and electricity in 220V, 12V and 5V USB! Hard to believe that’s even possible, isn’t it? But according to the manufactuers, it takes less than five minutes to transform the modules into a shower, kitchen, bed and dining room. Did I forget to mention that no tools are necessary to do this? Check out the company’s video and see this pure work of art for yourself!

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cy3gKwirLk