Extreme RV Weather: Fog

Photo Courtesy of OutOfTheFog.com

Driving a Minnesota RV through inclement weather can be somewhat difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ve already talked about driving our RVs through high winds and what to look out for, and today we’ll discuss another extreme condition: fog. Some of you are probably wondering why I consider fog to be an “extreme” condition, but when you take into account that your visibility drops significantly, you may change your mind.

Fog is basically a huge cloud that has dipped down to ground level. It happens when the temperature drops to the dew point and invisible water vapor in the air condenses to form suspended water droplets.  The main threat posed by fog? Visibility. Fog can reduce our visibility to a quarter mile or less. This is not only dangerous for us in the RV, but those around us in passenger vehicles. Obviously, our RV outsize and outweigh almost every passenger car. The damage we can cause is bad enough when we can see that we’re about to hit something or someone. So imagine how bad it would be to have a collision when you didn’t see it coming at all.

Luckily, we don’t have to be completely in the dark when driving through fog. There are several things we can do to increase our chances of arriving at our destination safely.

Don’t turn on your brights. High beams reflect back off the fog and make your visibility worse. Use your low beams only.

Reduce your speed. I know we all hate getting stuck in traffic, but trust me. Reducing your speed is crucial especially because there are a lot of people out there who continue to drive at high speeds in inclement weather. Make sure you keep an eye on your speedometer because fog can create an illusion of slow motion, and you may not realize that your speeding.

Use your windshield wipers and defrosters. It’s also a good idea to crack your RV’s windows so you can hear potential traffic that you can’t see. If you’re having a really hard time seeing the lanes in front of you, use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.

Don’t stop on a highway or heavily traveled road. If you have RV trouble, do your best to move as far away from other vehicles as possible. Headlights off. Hazards on. Foot off the brake pedal. It’s a known fact that other drivers will subconsciously follow tail lights in fog, and they may not realize you are stopped.

The number one thing you can do when driving your RV through Minnesota fog? Be patient. Take your time, survey your surrounding and remember all of the tips above. Fog tends to appear in the early morning and late afternoon, so if you can avoid traveling through it, I would. Get a few extra hours of sleep or have an earlier dinner. When it comes to foggy conditions, you won’t want to take any chances of damaging your beautiful Minnesota motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer.

Zap the Sap on Your RV Minnesota

During the summer months, the inside of your RV can get really hot. Even on a mild day of 80 degree weather, the inside of your RV can rise to over 100 degrees in just a half hour! There’s really no way around the heat, and you probably looked for any shaded area including trees to park under and try and combat it. The only problem with parking under those wooded areas (especially on a campground) is that your RV could become covered in sticky and relentless tree sap. Recently I noticed tree sap on the hood of my RV and I decided to give her a good washing to clean it off. Initially I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult and just required a little extra scrubbing. Boy was I mistaken. Normal washing techniques and car wash product just won’t do the trick. After doing some research about tree sap removal while trying to find the best product and method for the job, I found a few different ways that work well in order to zap the sap.

  • Bug and Tar Remover – Follow the directions and this should do the trick for most sticky sap situations, just takes some extra elbow grease.
  • Rain-X – This window cleaner works well by simply using a cloth and wiping it off.
  • Mineral Spirit – Wet a cloth with this product and rub in a circular motion.
  • Ice – Because the sap can be gooey and sticky, using ice to harden it can help you to simply chip it away.

With any method you choose to use to clean the tree sap off your RV, be sure to always read the directions carefully and try a test spot (like on the top of your RV) to make sure the product or method you use doesn’t harm your paint. If you know of any other remedies to rid your RV of tree sap, let us know!

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.

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.

Vintage RV Group Holds Summer Rally in Minnesota

Photo Courtesy of RedwoodFallsGazette.com

One of my favorites sites for getting the latest on RVs is RV News Magazine’s website. I recently became addicted to their new section called “RV News Digest” which is where I found a story about a vintage RV group who recently met in Redwood Falls, MN, for its summer rally. The group, named Greater Midwest Classics,  is made up of people who share a passion for the General Motors RVs manufactured between 1973-78. Members reside in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois. There’s even a member from Australia! These folks know all there is to know about the history of these RVs and each have a story of there own about how they came to own one (read the full story from the Redwood Falls Gazette).

Reading about these vintage RVs got me wondering about what the very first RV might have looked like. As I surfed the Internet, I found a brilliant montage YouTube of vintage RVs dating back all the way to the thirties! Check it out!

Are you a proud, vintage RV owner? Come by and show it off!

 

RV ABCs: Class A Motorhome

When it comes to buying or renting an RV, there are many things you should consider. First and foremost, you need to decide what type of RV you are looking for. RVs come in all shapes and sizes and each class has its respective advantages and disadvantages. Here at Pleasureland RV, we want to make sure you find the perfect fit. So let’s take it back to elementary school and learn the ABCs of RVs starting with Class A Motorhomes.

Class A Motorhome

Description: Class A Motorhomes are big, square and boxy and are considered the most luxurious of all RVs due to their top-of-the-line amenities. You’ll often here people refer to Class A Motorhomes as their home-away-from-home.

2012 Winnebago Vista

Advantages: Class A RVs can be as long as 45 feet. With all of this space inside, they’re usually equipped with a rear master suite including a full bathroom with a glass-enclosed shower. The water closet may be in its own separate room, and there’s probably a washer/dryer unit on board to handle the laundry.

Today’s Class A motorhomes tend to have multiple slideouts. Some can expand to a width of over 14 feet. Large flat screen HDTV’s, surround sound systems, even dishwashers and ice machines are common options. The list of upgrades and options is almost endless.

Basement storage can swallow enough supplies to keep you on the road permanently. These are great traveling machines that let you drive comfortably all day and sleep comfortably all night so you can get up the next morning to do it all over again.

Disadvantages: For Class A RVs, fuel economy is a big one. With their boxy and large profile, you’ll be spending big dollars to keep a Class A motorhome rolling down the highway.

Once you get to your destination and set up camp, you’re pretty much stuck there. Unless you tow a car for local transportation, you’ll be staying put at camp. That is unless you want to put everything away, roll up the awning, and suck in the slide-outs so you can motor on down the road again.

If you’re timid about driving something this large, keep in mind that close area maneuvering is a learned skill.

[The Fun Times Guide]

 

So, is the Class A Motorhome for you? Maybe yes, maybe no. Stay tuned for the next two letters of the RV alphabet.

Extreme RV Weather: High Winds

You don’t have to be in the middle of a hurricane or F3 tornado to experience high winds while on the road. The skies may be clear and the sun brightly shining, but we should never forget about that unseen force of nature that can so easily leave you’re fifth wheel or travel trailer overturned on the side of highway 90. I’m pretty sure this RV driver did not see this coming…

Crosswinds pose the greatest threat to fifth wheels and travel trailers because they can push the vehicle into another lane, or as we saw above, they can cause the vehicle to turnover.

So how can we avoid this situation, Minnesota RV enthusiasts? You can do one of two things: slow down to a speed where you feel comfortable or pull over and wait for conditions to clear. Unfortunately, these are really your only two options. If you have any questions or need some more tips on how to handle your RV in high winds, you can always give us a call or stop by one of our locations.

Got an iPhone and An RV? Check This Out!

As the years have passed, it has become overwhelming apparent that technology is going to make its way into our life.  We have social networks, seach engines, You-Tube, and informational blogs like this one!  And while all these different mediums have helped RV users out in some way, some of the newer technology has been lacking when it comes to getting quick information on your phone.

In comes a new iPhone application called Camping Finder made by CampingRoadTrip.com.  This handy app allows for a bunch of features to help an RVer or camper plan and execute a great trip.

“Camp Finder puts 14,000 U.S. campgrounds and RV parks in your pocket,” says Julian Fenn founder of CampingRoadTrip.com. “We want to help people have a great time in the outdoors and also save a few trees by getting rid of the big paper based camping directories. Camp Finder app is all about giving campers and RVers the freedom and spontaneity to have a great time on the road.”

The reality of being on the road means that plans do change. RVers and campers can now use the Camp Finder iPhone app to access the most up to date information and search for campgrounds and RV parks by name, city and state or current location. With just one touch campers and RVers can check out rates, amenities, camping discounts, contact details and even photos and reviews posted by others. “Camp Finder is even smart enough to give you directions to your destination. The only thing it won’t do is drive your RV or car there!”

Check out a video demonstration below:

httpv://www.youtube.com/campingroadtrip

So if you do have an iPhone, make sure you spend the $1.99 to purchase this very helpful and informative application.  And when you do download the app, make sure you put in Pleasureland RV first!!

[Source: PR Web]