Hard as it may have been to believe 20 years ago, pretty much everyone today has a cell phone. The type of device may vary from person to person with respect to brand, look, operating system and features, but virtually everyone over the age of 13 has a mobile device close at hand. It’s rare today to see a group of people sitting at a café, bar or restaurant without at least three or four of those little boxes laid out on the table.
There’s a good reason for this. Those little boxes are a lot more than a way to call a friend. Every smartphone today is a powerful computer that can do things a roomful of computers couldn’t do just a few decades ago. One of the ways this miraculous technology is most useful is when you’re on the road.
Cell Phones and RVs
The RV lifestyle is a fun one, but it comes with some uncertainty. You’re separated from the nest, and everything you need you bring with you as you navigate the open road. Your cell phone can make being out in the world a little less alienating. In addition to the security knowing that you can call someone for help in case of an emergency, a good smartphone also provides:
Gone are the days when you had to fold out a map the size of your torso and awkwardly try to tame it in order to plot your route. Today’s cell phones almost invariably have some kind of GPS system. A GPS for your RV can tell you exactly where you are, and a map application can show you the best way to get where you’re going. On some GPS models, such as the Rand McNally 7730LM, you can use a mobile hotspot from your smartphone to connect the GPS unit. This connection can provide the latest weather and gas prices information right at your fingertips!
2. Tourism Info
Want to do a little sightseeing but not sure what the best tourist sites are in the area you’re driving through? A quick Internet search can tell you about all the historic landmarks nearby, as well as offer reviews of local restaurants and attractions from people who have already tried them.
3. Convenient Applications
If you’ve stopped for the night but need to get around, either inside or outside the RV, you can use your cell phone as a flashlight. You can even download a flashlight application for more power and control over your cell phone’s light. If you need to wake up at a certain time, no need for a separate alarm clock. You can just use your phone’s alarm clock to wake you using music or a variety of sounds. Radio not playing the music you like? You can download your favorite hits to your phone.
Cell Phone Booster for Your RV
The cell phone truly is the perfect accompaniment to RV living. But if you can’t get a signal, it can be frustrating. It’s ironic that the times you need your cell phone’s reception the most is often when it’s least available. Unless, that is, you come prepared with a cell phone booster. Cell phone boosters for your RV can help make sure you have your cell phone’s best advantages when you need them, without having to worry about spotty, slow or no coverage at all.
Detects signals your cellular device wouldn’t normally get
Allows you to get the full level of data speed that your carrier provides
This cell phone booster is also great for families, since it works with all devices and on multiple carriers simultaneously. If you’ve got a different service than someone traveling with you, you’ll all be able to stay connected.
Being on the road, away from civilization, off the grid, can be a great feeling of freedom. It’s sometimes nice to be unreachable and to know you don’t need to rely on technology to get by.
But that doesn’t mean you have to give up convenience and safety for you and your family. Bring along your cell phones on your next RV trip, along with a powerful cell phone booster. You can always turn off your cell phones when you want to immerse yourself in the real world, but it’s nice to know they’re close by in case you need assistance, directions or a little help planning the next stage of your journey.
These days, we rely on our cell phones more than ever. For RV owners, this comes with a certain amount of irony. The further off the beaten path you stray, the worse your cell reception gets – and yet, the more important it is to have a working phone than can provide GPS, communication and safety. Even when traveling on main roads, poor reception can be a major frustration.
For too long, RV owners have accepted shaky cell signals as one of the realities of life on the road. Previous generation cell phone booster kits rarely lived up to their promise. However, a new generation of technology has recently come on the market. Today’s cell phone boosters are more reliable, easier to use and, most importantly, more effective than ever before. Here’s what you need to know about how they work.
What Causes Bad Reception?
Being on the road in an RV creates a perfect storm of factors that can compromise the strength of your cell signal.
Common causes of bad reception for cell signals include:
Being constantly on the move means you never know where the nearest cell tower is. The further away you are from a tower, the weaker your cell signal will be.
Being on the highway means you are constantly surrounded by things that can cause interference, such as trees, billboards and tall buildings. When physical objects are blocking your signal, there’s less likelihood of getting connected, even when you’re near a cell tower.
Being inside a large, insulated vehicle made of metal and glass provides an additional layer of interference. If the signal leaving your vehicle is weakened, it may struggle to reach a tower, even if there are no other objects in its way.
Any or all of these factors can lead to dropped calls, slow internet, missed text messages, poor voice quality and a number of other problems.
How a Cell Phone Booster Kit Works
Cell phone signal boosters work exactly as the name implies – they take the signal coming from your cell phone and amplify it. In the case of boosters for RV use, this is done by connecting a pair of antennas to a base unit. One antenna, placed in the RV, picks up the signal from your phone and sends it to the base unit. From the base unit, the signal is amplified and sent to a second antenna, mounted outside your vehicle. The external antenna then sends the amplified signal to the nearest cell tower.
RV cell phone boosters work because most phones today are limited in the strength of the signal they produce. Because cell towers are so prevalent in urban and suburban areas, manufacturers have been gradually reducing the power of the antennas in their phones. While this is fine in most parts of the country, when you’re on the road it’s a difference you’ll notice right away. Installing a cell phone booster kit in your RV gives your signal the boost it needs to withstand the rigors of the road – an important benefit that will help you stay connected no matter where in the world you are.
Introducing the MAX-AMP MOBILE 5 Band Wireless 4G/LTE Cellular RV Amplifier
Designed specifically for RV use, the MAX-AMP MOBILE RV amplifier is an advanced cell phone signal booster designed to keep you connected while on the road.
One of the most sophisticated products on the market today, the Max Amp will instantly provide crystal-clear reception, lightning-fast data and more reliable connectivity in any RV. Key features and benefits include:
Patent-pending five-band wireless technology that works with all 3G, 4G and voice networks, as well as upcoming 5G technology
An industry-leading range with no dead zones, no matter how big your RV is
Industry leading sensitivity – The Max Amp has more than 16 times more sensitivity than other boosters and cell phones
Takes weak and “dirty” signal and “cleans” it before amplifying it. This results in higher data speeds and fewer voice drop outs.
Seamless support for up to eight connections at a time – even if those devices use different carriers
Reduced Antenna Separation Software (RASS) that minimizes antenna separation, so there’s no dropoff in strength
Fully automatic performance that requires no adjustments or calibration
Built-in compliance with all current FCC/IC carrier requirements
A one-year warranty covering all manufacturer’s defects
USA-made quality you can trust to last for years to come
The cell phone booster kit includes both the Max Amp Mobile RV amplifier, as well as a set of internal and external antennas, and all connections you need to install the unit on your RV. For more information, visit the product website or contact TVForMyRV today!
The Max Amp Mobile RV system works where other phones and systems simply don’t function! Stay Connected!
Frequently Asked Questions
Thinking of adding a cell phone booster kit to your RV? Here are some of the questions we receive most frequently from our customers.
Will a cell phone booster work with my carrier?
Our cell phone signal booster kit is designed to work out-of-the-box with all U.S. carriers. However, it’s always best to confirm with your carrier that the use of a booster device is allowed under their policies and most carriers have a process to register your booster on their network.
How is the cell phone booster powered?
The Max Amp Mobile Amplifier features a mini-USB adapter that can be connected to either a standard 110V or 12V auxiliary power outlet. The antennas require no external power sources.
Does the cell phone boost work on Wi-Fi signals, too?
Unfortunately, the Max Amp Mobile RV Amplifier only works with cellphone voice and data signals. If you’re using your phone over Wi-Fi at a park or campsite, you won’t experience any improvement in performance using a cell signal booster.
Does an RV cell phone signal booster need to be installed by a professional?
The system is “Plug and Play” no electronics knowledge or programming is required. To make a permanent installation, you will need to route the antenna cables from the roof to the amplifier and from the amplifier to the indoor antenna.
Where is the best place to put the interior antenna?
The Max Amp Mobile RV Amplifier is powerful enough to easily pick up any signal in an RV of 53 feet or longer. For the best performance, place it at a high point, near the middle of the RV, with at least 12 feet of horizontal separation and 2 feet of vertical separation between the antennas. If you mount the antennas oriented in the instructions, the 2 feet of vertical separation is not required, only the 12 feet of horizontal separation.
Contact TVforMyRV.com to Learn More
Not convinced a cell phone signal booster kit is right for your RV? Give TVForMyRV a call today to learn more about the many benefits of this innovative, exclusive product.
Spring is an exciting time for an RV owner. We all dream of getting back out on the open road with our RVs. Whether you’re returning to the campground you’ve known and loved for years, or zig zagging across multiple states to explore more of our great country, you want your RV to be a comfortable and enjoyable part of your journey. Here at TVForMyRV we have brought together a huge catalog of parts and upgrades for your RV. For this coming RV season, we wanted to share 7 upgrades you must do to your RV before travelling this summer. They’ll make all your RV adventures more exciting and relaxed for you and your family.
RV TV Mounting Brackets: On a cool evening or rainy afternoon, it’s nice to have a TV to help pass the time. It allows you and your family to enjoy your favorite videos, and check out the local news and weather reports. Not all RVs, especially older ones, are designed to accommodate a flat-screen TV. We carry many different types of mounts, including wall mount, articulated, tilting, swivel, and sliding. Depending on the size and layout of your RV, you will want the flexibility to mount your TV as you like for maximum viewing comfort. Save space and add convenience with an RV TV mount.
Sliding Cargo Trays: The whole point of an RV is to combine the comforts of home with the ease of travelling when and where you like. Most modern RVs offer lots of storage space, but it isn’t always easily accessible. Make your life easier by installing sliding cargo trays in your storage areas. We carry many different sizes that are simple to install, and allow you access all of your cargo without having to pull everything out and repack every time. You’ll be amazed at just how much you can bring with you when you pack it correctly and have the easy access afforded by sliding cargo trays for your RV!
RV Toilet Parts: When you’re travelling in your RV you want the maximum in comfort and convenience, and that means NOT being bothered by a broken or malfunctioning toilet! It’s bad enough when you have toilet problems at home, but it’s the last thing you want to worry about when on vacation. Check out our selection of RV toilet parts and accessories to maintain or upgrade your current toilet facilities. We carry attractive, durable toilets in a range of sizes, including compact models for small bathrooms, along with many maintenance parts and repair kits.
RV Refrigerators and Freezers: One of the greatest pleasures when you’re out enjoying your RV with your family and friends is the ability to prepare delicious meals. Before you leave home you can stock up on fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables, or stop at small-town markets and choose some of the best local produce. Spacious, easy to clean, and durable, we carry portable refrigerators and freezers that will provide you with tasty, fresh food for years, and can be easily moved if you change RVs or simply want to use it around your home or campsite.
HD Satellite Antenna: When you’re away from home and looking to keep on top of your favorite TV programs and movies, trusting a simple antenna is tricky. In many rural areas, it’s hard to get any signal at all. With an HD satellite antenna for your RV, you can be sure to find all the shows you like. Perfect on those rainy days where the kids can’t get outside to play, or when you want to be informed of important news and weather forecasts, a satellite antenna for your RV is a must. Easy to install and set up, our selection of HD satellite antennas will be beaming all your shows to you in no time!
RV Backup Camera: Even the best and safest RV driver knows that backing up is a tricky affair. A spot check before climbing behind the wheel and proper mirror placement can help, but there’s always the danger that someone or something might move into your blind spot. The installation of an RV backup camera can eliminate that danger and ensure that you can maneuver in safety. Our selection wireless RV backup cameras are easy to install and offer a crystal-clear image of what’s going on behind your RV. Once you’ve tried it you’ll wonder how you ever drove without one!
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS): Safety is key when you’re traveling with your family and friends in your RV. At the very least a low tire pressure can be a hassle, and in extreme cases can even lead to an accident. You’re hauling a lot of weight around on your RV tries, so make sure that you’re aware of each individual tire pressure at all times. You wouldn’t drive without looking at your oil temperature, coolant temperature, or fuel level, so adding a tire pressure monitoring system for an RV gives you one more vital piece of operating information. Accurate and reliable, we carry monitoring systems that can be customized to your RVs tire pressure requirements.
As you can see, taking care of these 7 great RV upgrades before you start your travels this summer will help ensure a safe and comfortable vacation. We offer these and many other cool upgrades for all types and sizes of RVs and motorhomes. Take a look at our online catalog, and learn more about our great prices and free shipping on orders over $75. Many of our customers find that instead of buying a new RV, they can choose many of our great upgrades and custom-build the perfect RV at an affordable price. Let TVForMyRV be your partner for all things RV!
Check out our site for all the great brand names you know and trust, or contact us by email or by phone. We’re more than happy to discuss your RV upgrade needs, and can help you place your order and arrange for shipping. Make this summer your best RV travel summer yet with these 7 great upgrades from TVForMyRV!
RV solar charging is experiencing a groundswell, but a lack of unified platforms is still allowing many RV owners to use solar charging how they see fit. While applications are limited, more and more RV solar charging kits are becoming available each sunny season.
The problem with the lack of a clear market leader or standard practice means that solar charging for your RV requires specialized experience and products. For you to safely install any solar charging expansion kits, it’s important you find a partner who knows RVs well — not just solar — in order to get the right equipment for your RV.
Understanding RV Solar Panels
Solar charging your RV usually accomplishes one of two goals: 1) to slowly charge your house batteries or 2) to provide an eco-friendly and primary source of your RV’s electrical power. Your choice for an RV solar charging kit depends on which of these two you wish to achieve.
Solar Trickle, Slow Charging
As your RV sits, it runs your battery down. Dead batteries can be a hassle, and if they’re left for a long time, they can end up experiencing damage that can also harm your RV. Slow charging of these batteries through a solar trickle charger can be the answer to this concern.
Solar trickle chargers typically operate as a stand-alone solar charging kit that feeds a few watts of power to your batteries whenever deployed. These are the simplest of solar charging expansion kits that often connect through a 12V DC plug. You simply place the panel and secure it in a sunny place, then plug it into your RV for the steady juice.
Some newer RVs will come with specific places and plug-ins for these panels or may even have the option for a solar trickle charger to come pre-installed.
Full Power Options
If you’re in need of a complete power overhaul, you’ll want to invest in a set of RV solar charging expansion kits that are permanently installed on your RV. They sit securely in place as you travel and often must be opened up to the sun to achieve their full power status.
RV solar power kits are essentially a large battery charger that keeps everything up and running. These models tend to be more expensive initially, but you’ll save money over the life or your RV. You’ll also be doing your part to protect the environment that you love to visit in your RV.
RV solar panels and kits supply electricity at a specific voltage that you’ll need to match with your battery. Voltage on the panels should be higher than your batteries because it allows them to meet the charge requirements of your battery when the weather is cloudy and grey.
Temperature shifts, shade and other environmental factors can shift your voltage, causing drops. We recommend installing your panels in parallel in order to minimize this and maintain a better power flow regardless of the weather. Solar charge controllers are able to adjust the battery voltage and power flow in order to keep everything running smoothly, preventing any overcharging that could lead to damage.
RV Solar Charging Kits
The great news is that RV solar charging kits are available to meet your specific needs. They’re capable and affordable, especially when you use them to replace other power sources on a consistent basis.
Visiting Texas this winter? You and your RV will be happy to pull into any one of the 23 Buc-ee’s locations for a food and fuel stop. Many of the locations for this convenience store and gas station exemplify the saying “Everything’s Bigger in Texas” and as a whole, the stores can claim the cleanest bathrooms around.
Miles before you get to some locations, there are billboards announcing how long it is to the next one. Trust me, it’s worth the wait for a clean bathroom. The bathrooms are not just stalls, but little tiny rooms with real doors. There is also hand sanitizer inside the “stall” to clean your hands before you walk out to the sink area. I like the idea of cleaning before I wash. I have children and am a little loony around public restrooms, but I’d almost let my last born eat off the floor. Okay so maybe that’s more because of tired parenting (and a complete exaggeration), but the bathrooms really are clean.
You don’t even have to take my word for it. The New Braunfels, TX location was awarded First Place in 2012 by Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom Contest for its restrooms. Check out other Hall of Fame winners. If you’re not in Texas, maybe you’ll find another fun place to stop. 2014′s winner is Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia, PA.
Buc-ee’s doesn’t just have clean bathrooms. They have a variety of Buc-ee’s brand snacks; my favorite being Beaver Nuggets, caramelized puffs of corn. Deliciousness in a bag. There’s popcorn, jerky, candy and fudge, too. They offer various pre-packaged, fresh (is that an oxymoron?) items like salads, sandwiches and fresh fruit cups, but you can also purchase items made to your taste buds’ fantasies with a touch-screen ordering system. A variety of fountain drinks and slushed iced as well as bottles of your favorite drink are available. They are not a restaurant though, and do not offer tables for dining. That shouldn’t be a problem, as you can head back to your RV and just eat there.
In addition, it’s a one-stop shop with Texas collectibles and gifts. There are handmade items and other wares like signs, framed pictures and metal decorations. You might buy them with the intention of giving them away, but decide to keep because you like them so much. While an earlier post recommended choosing one item as a souvenir, that might be difficult here. And if you’re a t-shirt lover, you will certainly find your share at Buc-ee’s. There’s not just t-shirts, but other clothing items like hats, sweatpants and one-piece bodysuits for babies. There are also stuffed beavers, the Buc-ee’s famous mascot.
Around these parts of Texas, people plan their trips and rest stops around Buc-ee’s locations. Some people take it to a whole new level, almost like a cult, and won’t go anywhere else. I haven’t been to all of them, but have visited several of the locations and they have me wanting more. They are a unique stop and will give you a chance to stretch your legs, keep your waste out of the RV and pick up a snack, meal or souvenir.
Bucket lists increased in popularity after the movie by the same name from 2007. By definition, a bucket list is a list of things you hope to accomplish by the time you pass away. The list cements what’s important and gives a goal to work toward. The same idea can be applied to a specific, shorter time like a summer or two-week vacation (as opposed to a lifetime). Writing down your hopes for the upcoming road trip will help to make sure your priorities are realized.
Compile the List
Grab a piece of scratch paper and brainstorm what you want to do or see. You might want to carry it with you for a few days or keep it handy while you search travel guides and the internet. Make sure you get input from everyone who will be traveling with you. For the initial list, write EVERYTHING down, no matter how far-fetched it seems with time or money constraints. A bucket list is supposed to include specific and sometimes out of the ordinary goals. So, if you often make a plan, maybe something on your bucket list will be two or three completely spur-of-the-moment days. I realize that even in suggesting that, you are planning for unplanned days, but at least you will be trying something a little different.
Organize the List
Armed with a list, you can make some decisions about how to organize your list. Maybe you’ll organize it by a timeline and calendar of your anticipated destinations. If you have more than one traveler, maybe you’ll prioritize it by majority votes. You might be surprised that everyone wants to do something slightly out of the way. But if everyone wants to do it, it might be worth the detour. Maybe you’ll organize it by state or city. Any way you chose to do it, classify your ideas so you can move to the next step.
Adjust the List
In the first step, you write everything down, but clearly you cannot visit 10 museums in 2 days (and do it well). Now is the time to put the list into perspective. If you have several high-dollar items on your list, consult with your budget and decide what you really want to do. Adjusting the list doesn’t mean you try to plan your itinerary or only include things you know will get crossed off: try to be both realistic AND hopeful. Part of the purpose of the bucket list is to bring to fruition things that might not get accomplished if left to chance. If there are multiple contributors, make sure everyone gets at least one of their ideas on the final list.
Post the List
As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Don’t let this be the case with your trip bucket list. My children and I have made bucket lists of our wishes for the summer. In our house, we have the room to print them in an expanded, poster version that are two sheets by two sheets of computer paper. I have the older children write their own lists and I write for the little ones. We include pictures, either drawn or from clipart. Over the course of the summer, we have fun completing the list because it’s right there in front of us. You probably don’t have room for 4 sheets of paper to hang on the walls of your RV, but a simple 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper on the fridge will do the job. Make it colorful. Add pictures. Or simply leave it plain. Any way you do it, make sure you display the list.
Do the List
Now that the list is there, get ready to start making your dreams come true. Go see the sights. Taste the foods. Visit the museums. Be thrilled on the roller coasters. Hike the trails. Check. Check. Check. Experience your trip the way you imagined it.
Remember the List
At the end of the summer, we use our list to make a journal of the past three months, though the descriptions might be better if we didn’t wait until the end of the summer to write about the experiences. Use a journal, make a scrapbook or write a postcard of the memories as you go along. If visiting all the states is on your list, purchase this State Stickers Map to give you another visual reminder of your goal. If there are things on the list that haven’t been accomplished, use them for
If you’re not a planner, a bucket list can help you achieve some dreams. If you’re already an obsessive coordinator, a bucket list can bring some spontaneity to your trip. Traveling alone? You get to make the whole list for yourself. Traveling with others? Include suggestions from everyone. Disappointment comes from unmet expectations, so defining the desires leads to less disappointment.
A Road Trip Bucket List is a fun way to make sure your trip reaches its full potential.
When packing your RV, you know you must be mindful of space and that includes the kitchen and pantry items you decide to take. There are items like salt and pepper that will get used often enough to take the whole bottle, but what about those favorite recipes that call for a little of this and a little of that? With a bit of careful preparation, you can make the most of your time and space while on the road.
Collect the Recipes
Keep a collection of your favorite recipes at your fingertips. If you prefer the digital, find an app that will keep your recipes together. While I love my computer and other digital devices, I still like my recipes (and maps, for that matter) in paper form. If an actual card is your preference, then put the ones you want to use in a baggie to protect them from food and to keep them together. When you’re making a certain recipe, put that card on top, reseal the bag and voila, an instant recipe card cover that can be wiped clean of any food traces. Consider taking a copy of cards that hold sentimental value like ones with Grandma’s handwriting on them.
A Little Prep Goes a Long Way
Chances are you’re not going to need an entire bottle of cumin or cinnamon. Use the smaller, zippered snack bags to pre measure spices for your recipes. Label them with these four things: 1) the date, 2) the recipe, 3) the amount of the recipe (1 full recipe, 1/2 batch, etc) and 4) what is actually in the bag. You can also do this for treats like cookies and cake. These will probably go in a quart or gallon sized bag and the recipe could be written or taped onto the bag. Make it even easier by highlighting or listing separately the remaining ingredients needed to make the recipe like eggs and oil. Think of it as your own boxed cake mix, but with your favorite recipe (and in a bag).
Make a Few Meals Before You Travel
It’s likely your freezer won’t hold enough for your entire trip, but you could make a casserole or two ahead of time for an easy meal later. Frozen, these casseroles are also great ice packs for a day or so of travel in a cooler. Often they are a one-stop-shop meal and can include veggies, starch and/or protein.
Package in Smaller Packages
We’ve all seen the disclaimer: “Sold by volume. Contents may have settled in shipment.” You don’t need the extra air taking up space in your pantry. Invest in some good reusable, tightly-sealed containers and keep items in them. For something like cereal, you could place several bags in one container, keeping the items in the bag but ditching the box. Make sure you label the bag and then just seal with a clothespin. You will need to be careful of mixing items that overpower each other. For instance, storing mints and chocolate together will give your chocolate a minty flavor.
Get rid of the extra air in prepackaged foods in the refrigerator and freezer as well. If you have items that you will freeze from a thawed state (marinated chicken breasts portioned for your travelers), put in a zippered, freezer bag and freeze laying down. These become like flat, frozen pancake-bricks and are easy to stack or stand on end like books once they are frozen.
Make a list of your meals, knowing that you will still have to have some flexibility. If you think you will eat out, incorporate those times too. Include breakfast, lunch and dinner, as opposed to just the main meal, so you don’t get caught without bread for sandwiches because you used it for toast that morning.
If children are in tow, having a list helps the picky eaters. Post the list and then they can see that while they don’t like today’s lunch, tomorrow is coming and it is their favorite! It also helps to defer to (or blame, if that’s how you see it) the list: “Well the menu says we’re having this, so that’s what dinner is tonight.”
Keep your menu and shopping list organized by drawing a line down a piece of paper and list the foods you brought on one side and the foods you’ll need to buy to complete the meals on another side. If you really want to get organized, group your shopping side together by headings in a way that it will likely be grouped in the store. For example, dry goods, deli, meats, produce, dairy, snacks and paper products. When shopping in new grocery stores, it will be helpful if you don’t have to run around the store looking for items.
Think Outside the Box
I once had a friend who told me she didn’t make lasagna because her family couldn’t eat an entire 9×13 pan. It never occurred to her to split the recipe by making two 8×8 pans, baking one and freezing another for a second meal later. If it’s just two of you on the road, you’re not going to eat a whole recipe either. But for something like lasagna, you can divide a full 9×13 recipe into 3 or 4 loaf pans. Make these ahead of time and take one or two with you and leave the others for an easy meal when you’re back home unpacking and cleaning the RV. Made in a disposable tin pan, they also provide easy cleanup.
Did you know that leftover veggies and meat make a great soup when combined with some broth? Keep a container in the fridge or freezer (depending on your space and how soon you will consume it) and dump the leftovers there. When you’ve gathered enough, add some chicken or beef broth and heat. Then pair with a loaf of crusty bread. YUMMY!
Think Ahead, Enjoy Later
Making delicious meals on the road doesn’t have to be a chore. You probably have taken the time to think through your route and itinerary, so why not do the same for your menu? A little planning will make it easy and enjoyable to provide nourishment for your road trip.
In a world where thumb muscles are huge because of texting and email is as accessible as the phone in your pocket, not many people take the time to write actual letters anymore. It’s rare to find a handwritten note among the bills and junk mail in your mailbox. But let’s face it, if you do receive something personal, doesn’t it just brighten your whole day? Give you a smile and maybe a spring in your step? Writing a note doesn’t have to take long and you’ll surely brighten someone else’s day. Traveling in your RV is a perfect time to pick up the lost art of letting writing.
Postcards are an ideal way to start writing. No need to find an envelope and paper, just write on one side and attach the stamp. And while you’re traveling, postcards are relatively easy to find. They are inexpensive and the postage is also less than what is required for a first class letter. Plus, there’s not much space to write. This is perfect, since you might already think you don’t have the time to write a long note; it honestly doesn’t take many sentences to let someone know you’re thinking about them.
What Should I Write?
You may remember being taught how to write an essay: An opening paragraph, three paragraphs with supporting details and then a clincher paragraph that summarizes your main points. A postcard is not the place for an essay, but follow this easy plan for writing your note: A sentence with a greeting or other sentiments of “thoughts of you.” A sentence or two about your current RV adventure and then a sentence or two (potentially questions) about the receiver’s life. Finish with another nice sentiment.
Here’s a sample:
Just dropping you a note to say you’re in my thoughts. We’ve been traveling for 1500 miles and have seen 7 states in 2 weeks. My favorite museum exhibit is shown on the front of this card. I saw pictures on Facebook of your son’s graduation. You must be so proud! Can’t wait to catch up when we get back.
Or another idea:
When I saw this mountain covered in snow, I thought of you. Do you remember sledding when our families went on vacation that one winter so long ago? We had so much fun! I’m sorry to hear of your father’s accident. When we get back, I’d like to come for a visit.
See? Not at all hard or long. There are not a ton of details, but it’s enough to let the addressee know that they were in your thoughts. Sign off using “Fondly” or “Your Friend” or even “Love.”
To Whom Should I Write?
Of course you can write to children, grandchildren, siblings or parents, but also think outside the box. Maybe it’s an elderly neighbor who was recently widowed or a single adult who is an only child and doesn’t have much family or a co-worker’s child that is struggling with illness. Sometimes those who aren’t family are the ones who appreciate the pick-me-up the most.
Making It Easy
When starting a new habit, you want to make it as easy as you can or it will be hard to keep up with it. The best way to do this is to gather the necessary supplies. Purchase postcard stamps before you travel and gather your address book, if you still use one. Put these things in a gallon-sized storage bag or small box or drawer to keep everything together in one place. If you don’t have an address book, search on a site like whitepages.com to find the addresses you’ll need. If you think you’ll write to a person again, save yourself the hassle of looking it back up and create your own address book. When I receive Christmas cards, I cut out the return address label and just tape it into a small notebook. Then I can access those addresses easily. You might want to purchase postcards ahead of time, but my bet is that you’ll want to get some along the way. Just add them to your stash for when you get a minute to write.
Don’t forget the final step of actually mailing the postcard. I’m sure there are many letters that have gone unsent because a stamp or address has been missing (re-read the above paragraph for how to combat that problem), but there are probably others signed, sealed and yet undelivered. We all know those USPS blue mailboxes have been deemed relics like a telephone booth. If you don’t know where the nearest post office is located, most gift shops or campsite offices will mail your postcard for you.
One Final Note
A previous post on this blog talked about souvenirs and making your memories with a consistent collection of some sort. It’s almost a certainty that you can find someone to whom you can mail a letter, but if you can’t or if you’d prefer to preserve your own memories, mail yourself a postcard. Include something from each of the senses — remember them from Kindergarten? What did you see? Hear? Taste? Touch? Smell? A few sentences will help you relive your precious memories.
Go Ahead. Make Someone Smile. I Dare You.
Get organized with your supplies and compose a few sentences. Share the scenic sights you’re privileged to see and bring some cheer to a family member or friend. While you’re on the road (or at home for that matter), it doesn’t take long to send a note.
You stopped once for fuel and now you’ve reached your first destination. Then you tour the birthplace. Or hike the preserve. Or explore the monument. You decide that it’s time to get back into your RV and keep rolling, but you stop one more place on your way out. The gift shop.
For some of you, this is the dreaded stop. You have to decide how you want to remember this particular place. Sure, you’ll have memories, but you think you should take something home with you. What keepsake will remind you of how you felt or what you saw during your visit? The decision is enough to start a small panic attack.
Others of you LOVE the gift shop; it might even have a higher place in your heart than the actual stop. You live to shop and after a tourist attraction, it seems justifiable to spend some money. You might have problems deciding which one thing to get, and then just decide to buy five items. Your wallet suffers after this stop.
The predicament is, especially when you’re traveling in your RV, you don’t really have room for big collectibles. And will you really wear four t-shirts from the same place? What happens when they shrink (or when you grow)? Do you have a place in your RV (or home) to display your treasures to share with friends and family?
Guaranteed you are making some of the most treasured times of your life while in your RV. So what can you do to recollect these cherished memories? The best way for you to do this is to find a consistent piece that reflects your personality and choose that item at each stop. Here are some practical suggestions for keeping the memories alive, without occupying precious space or spending a fortune.
Book Lovers, History Buffs and Amateur Photographers: Coffee Table Books
Buy what my dad used to call a “coffee table book.” Typically this is a book that has many beautiful pictures of the place of interest. You know, the kind of photos shot with expensive cameras at just the right angle and with the perfect lighting. Unless photography is your hobby, buying a book like this means you can enjoy the views in the moment, while having a keepsake of the best shots for later. These books normally have some kind of historical component as well. If you do take a selfie or two, print them out and stick them inside the front cover as proof of your visit.
Spoon, Bell & Shot Glass Souvenirs
Many souvenir shops have these items and not only do they take up very little space, they are often not too expensive. My personal collector’s items are spoons. I have them from all over the world and they are displayed in a beautifully handmade spoon rack. It’s so nice to walk into a shop, find the spoons and make my purchase. I love the display and the memories as I view them. My preference is the pewter spoons as they don’t tarnish, but sometimes stores don’t carry them. Consider these collectibles if you have a place at home for them, as they may not display or travel well in your RV.
Postcards are an easily accessible item that most gift shops carry and are probably the cheapest. They can easily be stored and displayed in a photo album that holds 4×6 pictures (though there are some oversized postcards). Most postcards display one or more beautiful photographs or an artist’s rendition of the site. To make this collection even more unique, pack postcard stamps ahead of time and mail the card from your destination to wherever you collect your mail. Now you have the postcard, a special postmark and maybe a sentence or two of a personal highlight. Stay tuned for a future post on the lost art of letter writing and how the postcards could be used and not just collected.
Earlier I suggested that t-shirts aren’t a great takeaway idea because they can shrink or you can outgrow them. Plus, they take up more space than some of the previously mentioned items. However, there really are some neat t-shirts and they just may be your thing. If they are your preference, then make your purchase and wear them proudly. After you’ve amassed a stockpile, consider making a t-shirt quilt or having someone make it for you. A simple online search will provide tutorials or companies willing to tackle the project if sewing isn’t your thing. This is a way to preserve those shirts and the memories that go with them, but keep them from being stuffed in the back of a drawer.
Though you won’t make this purchase inside a gift shop, scrapbooks are another special keepsake. Digital scrapbooking through websites like Shutterfly or Snapfish (and plenty of others) help you to print a soft or hard cover book with your personal photos. With a laptop, you could easily make the book on the road, thus creating your own coffee table book, complete with personalized photos and memories. These can be very customized or you can simply import the photos and let the website put them directly in a book for you. If you’re on a budget, watch for sales and other discount codes. Traditional scrapbooking with paper and stickers is not a thing of the past either, though it might be a little harder while traveling. If you’d rather work with paper and scissors, consider kits that offer coordinating paper and embellishments or use premade books. You may find that a gift shop has the perfect touch for your album with a postcard picture or other unique piece for the site.
Of course there are other options for your souvenirs — pencils or jewelry or framed photos — the list goes on and on! But, the point is to find what you enjoy and will actually use or display to keep your memories alive. Boxing up the memorabilia or putting the collectibles into storage defeats the purpose. Choose your memento again and again and make that souvenir gift shop purchase an uncomplicated one that is both functional and affordable and preserves your memories.
If one of the reasons you decided to RV was to see beautiful countryside, you probably have no problem looking out your window as mile after mile passes. However, if the view gets monotonous (or if you’re traveling with children), try one or more of these old favorite road trip games and their fun variations to keep you looking out the window.
Reading and ‘Rithmetic
Looking for the ABC’s is an age-old game, but you can put a twist on it with these variations.
The most basic way to play this game is for each person to find all 26 letters of the alphabet, on their own and in order. In other words, you cannot find a “b” until you’ve found an “a”. Letters must be found outside of the RV on things like billboards, stores or other vehicles. The first one to get to the letter “z” is the winner.
For “group” play, find the alphabet together. Whoever finds the letter that is next just calls it out. Your car will sound like a preschool classroom – “A”, “B”, “C”. If you’re a competitive group, time yourselves to see how fast you can find the whole alphabet. Then do it again (and again) to see if you can beat your collective time.*Hint: If younger children seem to get stumped on letters like Q, X & Z, point out places where they can often be found while on the road. For example, tractor trailers often have “Air-ride equipped” written on the side for “Q.” Finding an exit sign on the highway will give you an “x” and looking for a pizza shop finishes the last of the 26 letters!
Look for the letters in all capital or in all lowercase. This increases the difficulty. If you really want to get complicated, alternate between the two. For instance, “A”, “b”, “C”, “d”.
Make a stipulation that you can only find one letter on one sign. This means only using the “L” instead of “L, M, N, O and P” on a sign with the word “MONOPOLY.”
For another degree of difficulty, decide that the letters must be found at the beginning of a word. However, be willing to make an exception for harder letters like Q, X & Z, unless you’re driving by a quilt museum, xylophone factory or a zoo! You might ask children to write their words down on a clipboard as proof of their hunt.
For younger players who are just learning the ABC’s, give them a clipboard with the letters already printed on a piece of paper. As they find them, they can cross them off. To make it even easier, skip the requirement to find them in order and just celebrate when all 26 are found!
Mix it up! If your RV is filled with various ages, or one person is always winning, give him/her one of the harder tasks listed while giving the other player(s) a simpler one.
Numbers might be feeling left out in this game, so why not look for them instead? Decide ahead of time if you will allow the number “6″ to be found in a number like “19609″ or if it has to be simply 6, like Highway “6.” Since technically this game could go on forever, choose a target number (might just be 10 if you’re looking for single digits) or decide to play for a set amount of time (who can get the highest in ten minutes of play).
Make a list of things to find while you’re on the road in your RV.For younger players, you might make this list with pictures instead of words (or pictures and words). Invest in a clipboard or binder for each participant or you’ll have papers all over the RV! Make a very generic list (sign, restaurant, animal, car, truck, etc) or a more specific list with some of the ideas below. Another option is to add colors to your list (red car, blue truck, yellow sign). For a third variation, make a topical list, particularly if a participant has a special interest. For the car lover, make your list with all makes of cars: Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Toyota, BMW, Audi, Lexus, etc. For the animal lover, make a list of animals, both domestic and exotic — you never know what might be traveling on the road! Another list might include all 50 states’ license plates. An additional alternative is to play “by the numbers.”Choose one item from the list and set a time or number constraint.For example: 1) time how long it takes to find 15 red cars, or 2) find out how many red cars you can see in 10 minutes, or 3) compete for who can find 15 red cars first. There are several different ways to keep track of what has been found.Of course, the item could simply be crossed off, but you could also keep a tally mark for less common items (I wouldn’t recommend this for speed limit signs!).Younger children might like covering the picture with a simple sticker. Laminating the sheet or putting the sheet in a page protector and using a fine-tipped white board marker to cross off or tally means the sheets can be used again and again. You can easily store these in a Magazine Rack. As an additional activity, you could start with a new sheet every day.After a few days, you could compare the lists. This might be easier for younger children if they graphed the items.Then ask questions like“On what day did we find the most graveyards?”or “Did we find more [insert company name] tractor trailers or more sheep?” or “Was there anything which had the same number of items counted?” *Hint:Keep in mind where you’re traveling when making the list.For instance, you might not find a cow if you’re driving through New York City and a Lamborghini on a path through Yellowstone is unlikely.Though adding something like this to your list could be a bonus!
Sign for your destination
“An RV just like ours (or at least the same make!)”
Company vehicles (specific examples: UPS truck, Fed-Ex trailer, etc)
Airplanes, boats, school buses, helicopters, police cars
Construction cones, barrels or signs
Road Signs, especially less common ones (specific examples: Yield, U-Turn, Deer Crossing, Dead End)
Plants (specific examples: Tree (even more specific: Weeping Willow, Oak, etc) or Flowers (Traveling through Texas in April? Look for bluebonnets!)
Letters (“x”, “q”, “z”), letter combinations (“ph”, “st”, “bl”), numbers (“4″, “10″, “35″) or Words (“limit”, “exit”, “road”)
Using any of the items from the scavenger hunt list, make BINGO cards and play BINGO. Like the scavenger hunt, the cards could be made with words or pictures. The cards could have a mix of items or be topical and they could include color words to be more specific. While these cards could be laminated or used in a page protector with a white board marker, they could also be placed on a small cookie sheet or pizza pan (find them at a dollar store or thrift shop to keep your cost low) and magnets could be used as markers.This is another way to ensure the cards can be used again and again. To get players more involved, give a list of possible items and have them create personalized cards.This takes some of the prep work and gives it to the players.If one player is consistently making an “easy” card, have players switch cards after the cards are made.
Make your RV Travel Time Fly By
Any of these games can be played as a group or individually.They can be used to pass the time or as an incentive for a future goal (e.g. find everything on your scavenger list and it will be snack time or stretch time.).They can be played in collaboration or competition (Just make sure every player agrees to the rules before you start) or simply just for fun.You might not have a problem looking out the window; after all, you chose to RV.But having options for moments of restlessness or boredom will keep the RV joyfully rolling along!
RVing is a favored pastime across North America, and while many adventure seekers choose the warm summer months to travel, Fall has quickly become one of the most popular seasons to head out on the road. Beautiful red and gold leaves, cool weather and spooky Halloween festivities draw in RVers from near and far to plot their course across the states. From September to late November, the Northeast, Southwest, and Mideast boast of the most colorful foliage, with many travelers choosing this time of the year to visit New England in particular.
Corn Mazes and Jack-o-Lanterns
The harvest season brings a variety of farm fresh ingredients to farmer’s markets, veggie stands, and pumpkin patches across the country, making it a fun time to take the whole family out in the RV. Fall festivals, u-pick pumpkin fields, and jack-o-lantern carving contests can be spotted in rural regions, with haunted corn mazes and traditional horse drawn hay rides to fill the days. As you drive along, keep your eyes open for produce stands and signs that announce upcoming attractions so that you don’t miss anything; if kids are on board you can make a game of looking for such notices.
Vibrant and Colorful Tours
Perhaps one of the most attractive sights at this time of year are the vibrant colors that seem to paint the trees as the season changes. Heavily wooded areas in states, like Minnesota and Colorado, produce some of the most intense yellows and burnt orange hues you could hope to find. You can use sites like the United States Forest Service’s Fall Color Guide to determine which areas nearest your route will give you the best view, and even help you find regions where Fall tours take place. For example, Lake Superior’s North Shore in Minnesota has a 3-day tour that offers some truly unique foliage and great views of the woods.
Haunted Halloween Fun With Your RV
Whether you have children or you just enjoy a good scare, RVing in the Fall grants you access to some fantastic guided ghost tours. You might be surprised to find how many communities across the map have their own local ghost stories and hauntings to share. Haunted houses can also be seen during dates close to the 31st of October, with parties and festivities for all ages; bobbing for apples, creepy campfire ghost stories, and setting up spooky jack-o-lanterns around the campsite can get your family in the mood for a great evening of ghoulish fun.
Finding Top RV Locations For Fall
There are plenty of guides and reviews of different driving routes and festivities to take part in online, and a quick search can give you various options close by or far off to discover. If California is your favorite destination then Feather River Scenic Byway provides 130 miles of scenic travel starting from Sacramento Valley, all the way to the Great Basin. If you’re further East, Litchfield, Connecticut provides panoramic views along the Appalachian Trail, with more than 51 miles of foliage, hiking, and Connecticut’s tallest peak, Bear Mountain. After Connecticut, Massachusetts offers a nearby scenic byway along Jacob’s Ladder, with 35 miles of long slow driving for the relaxed RVer. If you prefer to go south then New Mexico and South Dakota have some truly gorgeous destinations as well with the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway of New Mexico looping from Taos through Eagle Nest and Angel Fire for fall foliage and loads of child-friendly recreation.
Thanksgiving RV Feast
Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling out of state, there are plenty of fun things to do as the Fall season approaches and throughout the months that follow. As October eases into November, the Thanksgiving holiday can be enjoyed on the road by picking up all of the fixings for a stuffed feast of turkey and mash. Fresh ingredients from roadside produce stands combined with the fresh farm taste of grain-fed organic turkey make it easy to celebrate in style. If a turkey is too big to fit into your RV oven or you’re more of a backyard barbeque family while you’re on the road, a rotisserie chicken roasted over the grill or spit of a well stoked fire pit can give your Thanksgiving day feast a little rustic charm and inviting atmosphere. This part of the season is about being around the people that you care about, and being thankful for what you experience, and it’s hard not to find something to be thankful for during this beautiful time of the year.
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An RV today is just not complete without a 12 volt flat screen television. Many people make RV’s their second homes, and it is always nice to relax at home and watch your favorite show or your favorite teams play. Even if you do not use your RV a lot, it is really nice to be able to watch your favorite shows when you are out and about in your RV. In order to be able to watch your favorite television shows and programming when you are on the road, you need either an antenna or a satellite. There are three major categories the best satellite dish for an RV can fall under: portable antennas, automatic roof-mounted domes, and automatic multi-satellite antennas.
Best Brand For RV Antennas and Satellites
According to the majority of consumers, the hands down best brand for RV antennas and satellites is the Winegard Company. They have been in the television reception industry since 1954. They are the leading provider of television reception products, including antennas and satellites, in the RV industry. They have a proven track record of producing and creating high quality products you can count on. Read on for some more Winegard RV Satellite Review.
Portable antennas are great because they allow you a high degree of versatility. You can take them anywhere you want whether that be in your RV or to an outside tailgating party. If you purchase a new RV, you can move your portable antenna to your new unit.
Winegard Carryout GM-2000 Automatic Portable Satellite TV Antenna. This is a great choice for a portable antenna. You can plug it into any 12V outlet in your RV. It supports programming from multiple satellite providers, including DISH Network, DIRECTV and Bell TV. It has a 50′ power and coax cable, giving you more than enough room to move it around and find your satellite connection. You can even lock it in place permanently using the eyelet on the base.
Winegard Carryout MP1 Manual Portable Satellite TV Antenna #49428: This is one of the least expensive of the Winegard portable antennas on the market today. However, just because it is one of the least expensive does not mean it skimps on quality. The antenna is really compact and does not take up a lot of space. The base doubles as storage when not in use. It has a 25′ coax cable, which gives you more than enough room to set it up wherever you want.
Domes are a very popular type of satellite dish for your RV. The best part about a dome is that you can attach it to the outside of your RV or set it up inside. Domes also automatically find the satellite signal for you, so you do not have to move around the dome in order to find a signal. They are great for watching television when the RV is stationary and when it is in motion.
Winegard Road Trip Mini Max Automatic Stationary Satellite TV Antenna #48069: This satellite has a very small footprint and does not take up a lot of space. The dome shape helps ensure that even though it is small, you still get maximum performance from your satellite, even in bad weather. It receives one satellite signal at a time and automatically switches to the strongest signal. It can support up to two receivers. This is great for when you are parked and sitting in one place.
Winegard Road Trip Mini Max Automatic In Motion Satellite TV Antenna #49005: This is practically the same satellite as the one listed above. The only major difference is that this one can pick up a satellite signal when your RV is in motion as well as when it is stationary.
Multi-Satellite TV Antennas
The very best Winegard RV Satellite Review is all about the new TRAV’LER antennas. They represent the top of the Winegard satellite line. They are made from reflectors that are also used in satellites for the home market. TRAV’LER antennas are able to automatically open up, rotate and lock onto all satellites that are providing a signal at the same time. The antenna does not have to go back and forth between satellite signals, it can lock onto one at a time. If you have more than one television in your RV, family members can watch different programs at the same time. You can also DVR your shows when you are driving and watch them later.
Winegard TRAV’LER DISH 1000 Multi-Satellite TV Antenna: This satellite is made especially for DISH Network. You can pick up both standard and HD programs with this satellite. You can also purchase other Winegard TRAV’LER satellites for different providers. The TRAV’LER SK-SWM3 is the latest Winegard offering which provides full functionality with the latest DirecTV receivers including the multi-tuner Genie systems.
Whether you live in your RV or just take it out occasionally, it is nice to be able to enjoy your favorite shows and programming when you are out on the road. The mobile satellite reviews above were designed to help you select the best satellite for your lifestyle. Portable antennas are great if you do not use your RV a lot or want to watch TV outside in other situations, such as tailgates. The domes are very affordable and do not take up a lot of space. If you live in your RV, you may as well get the best and go with a TRAV’LER antenna.
Just as you would be prepare for an illness or injury at home with items like a first aid kit and emergency contact numbers stuck on the refrigerator door, it’s important to be prepared for a medical emergency on the road as well, especially when RVing far from home. Nobody wants to think about the possibility of their family suffering at any point, but if you’re not ready for any situation, disaster could strike when you’re least expecting it.
Important Information and Documentation
Medical documents including a health insurance card, physician contact information, a list of allergies and medications, and documented medical conditions are important to have on hand, especially if something were to happen and you couldn’t explain to a rescuer what exactly is wrong or what type of treatment would have a negative impact on a particular person due to allergies or existing conditions. If you’re on the road then you’re likely to have your driver’s license with you, but you should also have your passport, and vehicle insurance on-board. You should also consider leaving a copy of your travel plans with a friend or relative so that if something were to happen and you didn’t make it to your destination, authorities would have an idea of where to look for you.
Travel Insurance And First Aid
If the medical emergency is less severe and you can take care of it on your own then a first aid kit will be helpful. Such kits can be found prepackaged in many pharmacies and department stores, but be certain to check the expiration date and contents before heading out on the road. Too often people use first aid kits, forget to restock them and then end up unable to find the medicine, bandage or plaster that is required when the time comes. Having bandages, gauze, medical tape, scissors, disinfectants, and a variety of other items is beneficial, and if you’re not sure what you should have inside your first aid kit talk to a doctor or pharmacist about what items might be needed in an emergency situation. Aside from the said kit, travel insurance is also a must, especially if you’ll be out of state and away from hospitals and doctors that are covered by your usual insurance. Traveling out of the country makes it an even bigger deal to have travel insurance, so that you don’t wind up with bills that can’t be paid as a result of an accident or illness on the road.
Consider Medevac Assistance
Health insurance will cover your basic medical treatments but it isn’t going to help you pay for transportation in a situation where evacuation from your RV is necessary. This can be pricey and cost upwards of 25,000 dollars or more at a time. For this reason, thinking about medevac assistance is a good idea, as this feature will give you the ability to be transported over a short or long distance to a medical facility under the supervision of medical professionals. The money that you spend for this type of coverage lets you fly on a commercial flight, or transport wounded or sick parties to where they need to be.
Heading out on the open road with your RV can make for an exciting experience but you don’t want to get caught without the right tools and knowledge if a breakdown should occur. Most new vehicles will have little trouble getting you from point A to point B in one piece, but a long drive with an older model can lead to problems. Fortunately, there are a few steps that you can take as an RV owner to prepare yourself for just such a situation.
Have Your RV Checked Out
This might seem obvious but many people take for granted how poorly or how well their RV is running before they take off towards their destination. If the RV is new to you but used previously, most experts suggest that you take it out around your local community over a period of one to two months to get a real feel for how everything is working and make sure that no extra mechanical work is required. You should also take it in to a professional garage and have it looked over so that important features like brakes and steering are all working the way that they should be. If repairs are required, you should test the RV for at least another week following repairs before considering taking it across country or out of your community.
Don’t Skimp On Roadside Assistance
If you have a current roadside assistance plan then now is the time to dig out your information brochure or contract and take a good look at what’s included and what possible updates have been made to the services that you could benefit from. Be aware of features and costs so that if you do have to call you’re not in for any expensive or inconvenient surprises. You also want to make sure that your coverage will work out of town and out of state if it should come to that. If you don’t have any roadside assistance plan, this is the time to look into it, especially if you’re not driving a brand new model.
Invest In A Manual
Every vehicle has a user’s manual for the make and model of your RV, and most auto parts retailers sell them. Whether you wind up needing it or not, this can be an incredible investment if there’s no mechanic around and you need to diagnose a mechanical problem while on the road. It can help you become better acquainted with your vehicle and figure out which RV parts might need to be replaced and whether or not it’s safe to continue driving if there’s a problem while on the road.
Have Tools And An Internet Connection On Hand
Almost all mobile phones now have the ability to let you search the web, which means that when you’re stuck because of a certain problem and unsure of what to do you can check out expert opinions for your particular problem online. Many professionals frequent forums and message boards for RV mechanics and can answer questions, especially if you provide pictures via your phone. You should also have tools on hand in case somebody can walk you through the diagnosis or repair. This means having something other than the usual jack and jack stands with you, and if you’re unsure of what tools to buy, this is an excellent way to begin your adventure into online mechanical queries.
Vacations are a wonderful time for a family to enjoy their free time together. But the cost of travel, hotels, and other expenses put such a venture well out of reach of many families. That’s why so many have decided to get back to the basics with an RV camping trip. Whether you choose to purchase your own RV or you just want to rent, you’ll still want to save money while having some wonderful experiences along the way. There are some great ways to get the most bang for your buck when you decide on taking the family on a RV camping trip.
While the idea of traveling the roads can be very inviting, driving an RV does require fuel, which can be very costly. In order to save on your next road trip, you’ll want to conserve as much fuel as you can. Map out your route before hand and choose the routes that will take you to your destination through the shortest routes possible. This way you can cut miles off your travel and choose more economical places to stay rather than stopping along the route without a specific plan.
Most people choose to visit locations for the weekend but many parks where you can park your RV will offer discounts when you decide to stay longer. Most discounts offer special rates for those who choose to stay for a week or longer. If you’re planning an extended vacation this might be a great way to save some major dollars on your vacation plans.
If you have a fully contained RV, you might consider boondocking where you can park in a variety of locations that do not offer hookups. You can choose to park in a remote area where you can be away from all the crowds found in most of public camping grounds or you can choose to park in a shopping center or Wal-Mart parking lot for a nominal fee.
Look for Free Campsites
Some areas have public RV parks where you can get a night or two of free docking. These may require you to follow certain rules or guidelines set up by the site, so it would be advisable to find out what will be expected before you agree. However, it is a great way to reduce your expenses considerably so that you can make the most out of your vacation time. Still, these are great ways to take advantage of some great experiences without hurting your budget.
There are many reasons why you might seriously be considering an RV vacation. It is a well known fact that camping can be a great way to bond with your family and friends while at the same time save some money. However, it is always important that you plan your vacation well enough ahead of time so that you can get the most for the money you spend. There are more than enough ways to save money when you go RV camping, with just a little pre-thinking and planning you are sure to have a vacation that will provide you with memories to last a lifetime.
There are few transitions in life that require as unique a style of preparation than that of moving to an RV full time. More often than not, however, there are some challenges that we all face that could lead to other difficulties. When speaking to others who have successfully made this transition, they often give some solid advice about things you should avoid for new comers. Here are a few pointers on things that previous owners would do differently if they had the chance.
You can never do enough research when it comes to the full-time RV lifestyle. Your transition is not going to be for a weekend getaway but you’re planning to uproot your entire life and compact it into this new style of living. Read as many books, watch as many films, and talk to as many experts on the topic as you can find. You might be amazed at the kind of information you can glean from RV rallies and similar events you can attend.
Learn to Downsize
It should be painfully obvious that your four bedroom two story home will not fit in the confines of your new RV, but many people are surprised just the same. You will have to be realistic and break your attachment to many of things you have come to know and love. You will find that the space that comes with even a small apartment will outstrip the space of your new home RV. Begin downsizing long before you’re ready to make the switch to full time living in an RV.
Wait to Buy a Campground Membership
It may seem logical to buy a campground membership but unless you plan on making frequent and regular trips to that location you’ll most likely find your money could be better spent elsewhere. Some RVers recommend that you wait at least a year before you decide on this type of investment to better understand your personal traveling style and where you can find a membership that you will actually be able to use.
Motor Homes Can be Moved
Your transition to full time life in an RV provides you with a portable lifestyle. Your address could change from week to week so try to shed the idea of permanency and gradually adjust to your new lifestyle. Switching from one location to another too frequently could cause a newcomer to be overwhelmed but not taking advantage of your new sense of freedom could also cause you to burn out. Embrace your mobility but increase at a slower pace and you’ll find your balance.
It’s true that full time RVing is an exciting lifestyle but it is not one that everyone can appreciate. The person that gets the most out of this new kind of life has to be adaptable and relaxed. You’ll find that you’re in places where the weather may not be favorable or that is not convenient for other types of travel. Learn to love the life that you’re surrounded in and make the most out of your space and you’ll find that full time RVing is a viable option that the right people can enjoy.
Traveling the roads in an RV can be an exciting adventure as long as your converter is working properly. Without your power converter, your home will not be able to transform any 110V AC power to 12V DC. These are two separate electrical systems that can provide the needed electric power to your RV. Without it, the comforts that you’re familiar with in your home will not carry over. Whenever you’re facing a problem with these two systems, chances are you’re dealing with a converter issue. You can get servicing for this problem but there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot the problem before you take that step.
Determine the Cause of the Malfunction
The first thing you need to do is determine the source of your problem. Not all electrical problems in your RV will be converter problems, so you’ll need to test your device to find out the cause. You could spend loads of money repairing a converter that was already functioning properly. To determine that the converter is really the problem you should first check your AC Voltage, Circuit Breaker, Fuses, your battery and any other potential reasons that may cause an electrical issue. Once you rule out each of these factors then you can safely be assured that your converter is truly the problem.
Check Your AC Voltage
When you plug your RV into a campsite pedestal, you can use a ground fault circuit interrupter to check if you’re getting 110V AC. If it registers too high or too low the voltage could damage your converter and the appliances you’re using. Ideally, you want to see a number that falls between 103 and 130V AC.
Check Your Circuit Breaker
You can usually find your circuit breaker somewhere near you 12V DC battery bank. Open all the circuit breakers starting with the primary input breaker and then close them again ending with the primary input breaker. Check any metals or connector tabs to make sure they are clear of acid residue that may have accumulated. If you find any, clean them with baking soda and water. Wait until it is all dried before attempting to use your power again.
Check Your Fuses
Make sure that all of your fuses are functioning properly. Open each of the fuses to check for continuity and replace any that are not working. Make sure that you match the voltage and amperage exactly so that you don’t create any additional problems.
Check the Battery
You also want to be sure that the battery isn’t the cause of your power issues. Sometimes the battery is not properly charged so there is not enough current running through it. If it is fully charged, find the battery cutoff switch and make sure that it is in the “on” position.
Other Possible Causes of Power Failure in Your RV
There are a number of other things that could cause you to have power issues in your RV. Check all of your electrical connections to ensure that they are clean, dry and tightly fitted. It is important that you look over your entire power system from beginning to end to make sure that nothing else could be causing an interruption to your power. When you systematically check the entire system you’ll soon be able to identify any possible causes.
All of these other issues should be ruled out before you conclude that the power converter is the source of your problem. Only after you have checked all of these other issues should you consult a technician about repair or replacement of your converter.
Check the Power Converter
If you find that none of these other issues are the cause of your power problems, you need to carefully look over your power converter. First check the housing while the 110V AC power is disconnected. If the converter is blown you will see signs of scorching or white flaky acid accumulation on the housing.
Should You Repair and Replace Your Converter?
Once you’ve determined the root cause of your power problem you have to make a decision. There are times when repairing a power converter may not be an easy task. In many cases, it may not even be cost effective to do so. Your best option is to discuss the possibility of repair with a certified technician to determine if it would be worth it to repair.
Your RV power converter can make the difference on how well you enjoy your time away from home. Whether you want to rough it in the wilderness or live in the lap of luxury, it is important that you keep your power converter working at its best.
Buying your first RV can be a thrilling experience; the idea of the family bonding together in the great outdoors can be very enticing. Still, it is considered to be a major investment that could be fraught with risk. It is better to take the extra time before you make your purchase to learn some very important information about buying an RV. Here are some basic questions you should ask when you’re looking to make this type of purchase.
1. What kind of RV do you recommend?
There are many different types of RVs, each designed to target a certain lifestyle. Let the dealer know the size of your family, how often you want to travel, and the kind of adventures you’re looking for. This will help you to narrow down the best RVs to fit your lifestyle.
2. What is the best RV to fit within my budget?
Always have in mind a dollar amount that you want to spend on your RV purchase. This will help the dealer to keep you focused on something that you can afford and not tempting you to extend yourself beyond your means.
You also have to evaluate the cost of running your new RV. Since gas costs less than diesel fuel some may believe that they are getting a better deal when using diesel because it can go further on a gallon than gas. However, there are other economical factors to keep in mind besides the cost of the fuel. The final decision will depend on how you plan to use your RV.
5. What about maintenance?
You also need to consider the amount of time, money, and effort needed to keep your new RV in tip-top condition. Without regular maintenance, the joy you’ll get from your RV will certainly be short lived. You need to factor in the costs of maintenance as well as the type of maintenance you’ll be expected to have in order to have your RV ready when you need it.
6. How much can you tow?
For those considering buying a trailer or a fifth wheel to haul behind your vehicle, you need to know the exact weight capacity of the towing vehicle. In order to avoid any major problems from arising in the future, you need to understand exactly what type of vehicle will be capable of pulling the full weight of the trailer you plan to purchase.
6. What kind of insurance should I get?
RV insurance is very different from any other type of vehicle you may own. The rates will depend largely on the type and model of RV you buy. Insurance regulations can also vary based on how you plan to use your RV and what state you’re living in. Whether you’re planning to use it as a primary residence or as an occasional means for vacationing can have a major impact on how much you should pay.
7. What type of problems can you anticipate?
This is an important question especially if you’re buying used. You want to know about any potential mechanical, electrical, or structural issues that may arise in the future. You also want to know the repair history of the vehicle so you can see what kind of things you could reasonably anticipate.
8. What type of warranty do you offer?
There are many different warranty types that come with an RV depending on a variety of different factors. Aside from the type, model, and age of the RV, dealers may include other types of guarantees like wear and tear, replacement of obsolete parts, or even repair options.
9. What type of financing do you offer?
Unless you plan to pay cash for your RV, you need to find out about your financing options. Often dealers compete for different financing plans so it will be worth your while to check with a number of different dealers to see what kinds of options are available.
10. What about meal preparation?
Whether you buy one of the top of the line palatial homes on wheels or you’re looking for a simple camper to hitch up and pull when you need it, you’ll want to know about accommodating your hungry campers. Will you have to go back to the basics and cook over a campfire or does it include kitchen facilities?
Getting a new RV can be one of the most exciting investments you can make but if you’re like most people, there is always going to be some hidden danger that you might not be aware of. Knowing how to ask the right questions can reduce your risk of making the wrong type of investment and getting the most out of your new purchase.
People living the RV lifestyle already know the joys of having an RV. Part of that joy is obviously traveling to different parts of the country and seeing it’s beauty first hand. For those new to RV travel, California is one of the most popular travel destinations and one which may become a reality if you know how to plan. Here is what you need to know when it comes to Planning Your California RV Trip.
Learning to Drive Your RV
Before you head out on your first trip, spend as much time as you need to learn your RV and practice your driving skills. Although you will likely get the hang of driving the over-sized vehicle quickly, you should try to do so in different weather conditions as you never know what you will encounter while on the road. Once you feel comfortable behind the wheel in places with little traffic, it’s time to head out on the open road and experience driving the rig in regular traffic. Don’t hesitate to use the power of the RV and be confident when behind the wheel. You can do this and you’ll find you become more comfortable as you do so.
Determine Where You Will Stay
Plan your trip and determine where you wish to stay. Some sites allow you to bring pets while others offer WiFi access. Knowing what amenities you want and need makes it much easier to plot a course and find the appropriate sites. Do you want a site that offers BBQ grills so you don’t have to bring yours along, or are you searching for a site with nude recreation? Although RV owners share many characteristics, they are still individuals and have their own needs. Make sure you take this into consideration when choosing the various sites on your trip, as this helps to ensure you aren’t disappointed when you arrive.
Understand the Various RV Parking Options
Campgrounds rarely offer limited hookups, if any, although most have a dump station. Find out if the campground has an RV length limit, as many do, although spaces are often adequate. Campgrounds offer reasonable prices, especially if one chooses a rural campground, while RV parks are prepared for vehicles of this type and offer a number of amenities, often including swimming pools, a small retail store, and laundromats. Spaces tend to be less private than those offer with campgrounds, however, which needs to be taken into consideration. KOA campgrounds tend to be a combination of a traditional or rural campground and an RV Park. In these campgrounds, you’ll often find full hookups and camp stores and they have camping cabins for those nights where they want a break from RV life, yet still want to enjoy the beauty of nature.
Reserve Your Site
California Camp grounds and RV camp sites tend to fill up quickly, thanks to the gorgeous weather to be found across the state. You need to reserve a site in advance so you know where to park your RV in California at each stop. Many sites offer RV park listings, and there is a site dedicated to RV sites located in state and national parks. If you find that something goes wrong with one of your reservations, head to the local Walmart. They do allow dry camping in their parking lots, but you won’t have access to water or power hookups, so this should be a last resort.
Arrive in a Timely Manner
You’ll want to ensure you arrive at your site a minimum of one hour before it gets dark. This ensures you won’t find yourself backing the RV into a dark spot or that you are emptying the sewage tank without adequate lighting. Experienced RV owners will tell you this is something to avoid at all costs.
Interaction is Critical
Be sure to spend time at the various sites with other RV owners. You’ll find you learn a great deal just by talking with others. In fact, you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn just by sitting and visiting at the various sites. You may even make new friends, ones you’ll encounter on numerous occasions during your travels. You can’t be too friendly with others in the RV community. If you are there for them, they’ll be there for you.
Once you take your first trip, you will be hooked and you’ll be planning your next adventure in no time at all. Never stay in a hotel again. With an RV, you won’t have to, and you actually save on lodging and food costs when you go this route. There are numerous advantages associated with RV ownership. Be sure to explore them all so you get the most from these amazing vehicles.
Owning an RV is a dream of many, yet this dream often doesn’t live up to the reality as people aren’t prepared for RV living. It may be that you find you don’t have enough space, or you run into bad weather and it makes you nervous. Visit Pinterest for some great ideas and tips when it comes to RV life, as this site offers pictures and brief descriptions so you can easily find new information without having to click through to each site until you really have the time to explore.
Here are 5 of the Best RV Pinterest Boards available today.
Did you ever stopped to think of how you should stock your RV pantry or how best to organize this small space? You may have assumed RV living is similar to living in an apartment or a home, but space is at a premium. This board offers a range of space saving ideas for RVs, ranging from how to organize a pop up camper to ways to set up an RV wardrobe. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn just by visiting the board, even if you don’t have a lot of time to click on the individual sites. Pin the RV photos and tips you believe will be of most help to you so you can easily find them again at a later date.
RV Hints and Tips is another of the Pinterest RV Boards that no owner should miss. This board offers advice on a wide range of topics, including when to use the hazard flashers and how to save energy and water through off-grid cooking. This board recommends you keeps seasonings and spices in a bead storage container to save space and tells you exactly which RV appliance is the most valuable. You’ll even find advice on how to live in an RV year round and eliminate your regular residence.
Plastic folders are a great way to hold park passes, your fishing license, maps and more inside a cabinet door while a swing up coffee table offers you a flat surface at the appropriate level when you need it most, while folding back down to act as a coffee table when your work is done. This is just one of the many amazing dual purpose items to be found on this board, and there are numerous others. Discover a collapsible stove-top kettle and how to keep the door on the RV open while running the AC. This board provides this information and a great deal more.
Imagine a built in desk in your RV or a drying rack on the outside of the camper. These are just two of the many ideas you’ll come across when browsing this Pinterest board. Others found here include instructions on how to install new fabric in the RV or how to incorporate a wood stove into a converted bus. The one thing you shouldn’t do, however, is delay your trip because you are so busy viewing items on the board. Pinterest can be accessed wherever you can connect to the Internet so you can browse whenever you make a stop or turn the driving over to someone else.
Although you may choose to travel in an RV for your next vacation, you’ll find that you still have to do some work as the RV does require regular cleanings. Visit this board on Pinterest and you’ll learn how to store cleaning supplies or where to find the perfect dish drying and storage rack so you don’t find the need to buy two separate items when one will do. Make use of a shoe pocket unit mounted on a shower curtain road for storage that you can slide from one location to another or store paper plates on a dispenser attached to the ceiling. The ideas are endless and you may find you prefer living in your RV over your home as it is so nicely organized.
Don’t hesitate to explore more RV ideas on Pinterest and share your best finds by commenting below. These are only five of the many sites dedicated to RV travel and living. There are countless others, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn in a short period of time with this great site. Once you see how much you can do while living in an RV without worrying about a lack of space, you may find you want to make your RV your full time home.
Have you ever thought about living in an RV full time? It’s a big decision – going on an extended vacation or a weekend getaway is one thing, but making a home in a mobile, small space is another matter. We don’t want to dissuade you from getting into the RV lifestyle, but we do want you to consider the pros and cons before going on the road. In this article, we offer our top 10 full time rv tips.
Take a Practice Run
If you think you’re ready for full-time RV living, you should consider how much experience you have. What’s the longest trip you’ve ever taken? Before putting your house up for sale, take an extended practice trip (or two). Going mobile is a choice that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and it will greatly affect the lives of you and your family.
Do Your Research
There’s an RV for every traveler, and they come in different sizes, shapes and amenity levels. Before hitting the road, walk through a few RVs; if you rent one for a practice trip, you’re doing twice the research. Trying out different kinds of recreational vehicles allows you to come away with a better idea of which features are important – and which you don’t need.
Clear out the Clutter
RV living involves learning how to get by with less space. Those living on the road full time say that you will need to decide which things you really need, and which items to donate or give to friends and family. If you can’t stand the thought of getting rid of many of your possessions, full time RV living may not be right for you.
Get Medical Coverage
Most of us don’t like to think about it, but accidents happen and people get sick. Some doctor visits can be avoided by packing essentials into your first aid kit – but no one can prepare for every roadside emergency. Consider buying medical insurance from a company that offers policies for those who engage in full time rv travel.
Cover your RV
If you want to live on the road year-round, you’ll also need an insurance policy that covers your RV. It will, after all, be your home – and your policy needs to reflect that by protecting your appliances, heating and electricity sources, and other possessions. These policies work in much the same way as homeowner’s insurance does.
Maintain your RV
Living the RV lifestyle means keeping your home on wheels running smoothly. However, if you’re in a new town, it can be difficult to know where to get RV service. Some mechanics will come to you for service appointments, or you can do some online research to find a service center near you.
Get an Address
By Federal law, all citizens of the US must have a permanent address. Once that is established, you can rent a PO box. Some full time RV residents use mail forwarding services, of which there are many available. One big advantage of the RV lifestyle is that you can claim resident status in a state that lacks an income tax.
Get Discount Passes and Cards
During your time on the road, you will undoubtedly visit many RV parks, campgrounds and tourist attractions. You can save quite a bit of money by getting state or national park passes and by signing up with a camping club. Associations such as AARP and AAA offer discounts at many attractions – it’s worth a look!
Prepare for Reactions from Family Members
Going on the road full time is a big decision – not just for you, but for your family as well. Selling your house means getting rid of most of your possessions; if you’ve lived in the same place for a long time, your leaving will have an even greater impact. Family and friends may initially be surprised, but once you explain your reasons for embracing the RV lifestyle, they are likely to be supportive.
If you don’t already have one, buy a laptop or tablet with Wi-Fi capability and get to know it before leaving home. Mobile devices are a good way to stay in touch with friends and family, and there are a variety of ways to maintain an Internet connection while on the road (such as fixed and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots or satellite Internet service).
Above, we’ve given you a list of the top ten things we wish we had known, but we’ve saved the best for last. Living the RV life means getting ready for the adventure of a lifetime! You’ll be able to come and go as you please, enjoying the freedom of a life unencumbered by material possessions. Explore all the wonderful things this country has to offer, and live your life on the open road!
When traveling the roads in the great Pacific Northwest you will find that nearly every one of the resort parks you visit will have a section that has been exclusively reserved for the many RVs and campers that are crisscrossing our nation’s roads every day. No matter what point in the day or night you’re there, you’ll find that blend of outdoor and indoor lifestyle that recreational vehicles offer mesh well at one of these many campsites. It is the one place where you can welcome the morning sun or say good-bye to it in a unique fashion that is exclusive to only the camping scene. However, there are some things you should be aware of before you hit one of these popular destinations that will make staying at one of these sites even more desirable.
Rules and Policies and Your Money
Always set aside enough of a budget to cover the cost of road travel for your trip and allow for the payment of entrance fees to the many national parks you plan to visit. If you plan to travel to a specific destination on a regular basis you can opt to buy a season pass so that you can come and go as often as you’d like. It’s important, however, to understand that the season pass does not represent a guarantee of entrance into the park but only a reduction in fees. Most of these parks fill up on a first come/first serve basis so be prepared to be turned away during peak seasons of you’re not planning for an early arrival.
It is also possible that you may find a park that won’t have any hook-ups so be prepared and have alternative plans available. An alternate plan may be necessary; some may not even allow waste dumping so, it is very important that you call ahead to find out exactly what facilities may be available before you travel.
Traveling With Large Parties
If you’re planning on traveling in a large group or for an extended stay you need to consider bringing on a few extras to make the trip more comfortable. Most RVs do not have the capacity to sleep more than 10 people at one time (and even that may be stretching it) so if your group is larger than that you’ll need to improvise. Consider bringing along an extra tent for those who may prefer to sleep outside under the stars along with extra sleeping bags so that you’re not all crawling over each other throughout the trip. You also have to consider the safety of traveling the roads in such a large group. Legally, you should not have more people in a vehicle than there are seatbelts so you may have to bring along an extra car to accommodate the overflow.
Plan Your Trip
There is a lot to see when you’re traveling the roads of the Pacific Northwest so you need to have some clear direction before you set out. Your route should not only be well mapped out but you should know how long it should take between destinations, where you plan to refuel, how much you need to spend and the distance between each point of travel you’re going to. There is much to see and do, so make the hard decisions before you set out.
Make sure that your budget will be adequate for your journey. Factor in not just the cost of fuel but also additional expenses as well. As a matter of fact, it may be wise to pad the budget just a little bit so that you are well prepared for any possible setbacks you might experience. Your entire trip could be devastated if you didn’t have an emergency fund at your disposal to cover the cost of flat tires, tows, or other unexpected expenses that may be possible while traveling on the road.
There is much to see when you’re traveling the roads of the Pacific Northwest by RV. Whether you’re a mountain lover that enjoys the crisp clean air that hovers far above the congestion of the city, or the sea or the desert fascinates you, there is something you can find to suit your pleasure on the open road. The things that the Pacific Northwest offers road travelers that other regions can’t compare with are the wide open spaces and the vastness of the region. You can take it all in at your leisure when you’re enjoying the vast diversity that makes up the Pacific Northwest.
The fresh air that Mother Nature brings envelops all people during the summer season. Whether they are going for a swim in their backyard pools or heading over to the local beach for some fun in the sun, they get to experience the lovely breeze and the warm temperatures. Many people actually decide to go camping in the summer because not only do they want to experience nature, they want the opportunity to live in it. Well, you can imagine how quickly the choice sites fill up. As a result, quite a number of individuals are left wondering how do I get a spot at the popular campgrounds.
Booking early is the main step that individuals need to take. However, the mission for landing a spot at the most popular rv campgrounds starts before the trip is actually booked. In order to reserve a spot at the the best and most popular campgrounds, travelers need to know which location makes the most sense for them. If they don’t conduct their research, they might end up booking a campground that doesn’t really match with their needs. By the time they find the right one, it might be too late. For those who need to do some researching while on the road, you may want to check out one of our recent articles, “Staying Connected in the RV World.”
Individuals who have the chance to visit the campgrounds on a day trip can really get a feel for what it has to offer. We don’t always have that luxury and fortunately, many of the online reservation services available do a great job of photographing the individual sites at a campground. For those who live too far away to do so, browsing the web page and reading reviews from other people who stayed there provides a glimpse into the types of activities offered. Once the family, group of friends or couple has picked the destination for their trip, they can look into campsite reservations. Some campsites might take reservations throughout the year while others will require interested parties to wait until a certain date in the season. No harm exists in calling now to find out when exactly those reservations for the most desirable spot can be made.
People who want a certain campsite have to book in-advance, but they really need to book far in-advance if they want a particular section of that campsite. Not only can campsites fill up early in the season, but specific parts of them might be more popular than others. Families, for example, might want to be closer to the on-site playground where groups of friends may wish to set up their tents closer to an area that has a lot of hiking. Reserving RV campsites is more than just picking the perfect location. People also might need to be flexible with the dates on which they want to travel.
As many avid campers know, some parts of the season are more popular than others. Many groups might like to get away when there is a long weekend from work, and the weekends in general tend to be busier. Therefore, people who have very specific requests for a campsite might have better luck if they go away during the week or try for a time at the very beginning or end of the season. Not only might they have a better chance of getting the exact destination that they want, but they also may be able to score a better deal at these days of the season.
One of the best ways to book online is through www.reserveamerica.com or recreation.gov. If you simply book online and do not call to follow-up sometimes you may not end up getting exactly what you want. Speaking with an actual person and expressing a desire for a particular site is always the best way to get it. When calling to make reservations, individuals should also find out if the desired camp spot is now guaranteed to them or if the request may or may not be honored depending upon space and arrival time.
Popular Types of RV TV Mounts In today’s media-centric society, hitting the open road no longer means leaving it all behind. The consumer electronics market has...
With more people than ever utilizing their smart phones, you would be far-fetched to find someone that doesn’t know what an app is. Folks are always on the lookout for new and interesting apps, and this is especially true for those who enjoy RV travel. We have put together a list of the most useful and functional RV apps on the market that I’m sure you are going to love.
Before you head out on the road, you will want to make sure that the weather will be perfect for your trip. With the free app from WeatherBug, you can check out up-to-date weather conditions, forecasts, weather alerts, radars, and much more. You will have access to a vast array of professional weather stations all over the country and even globe. WeatherBug is accurate, and sends quick and reliable weather info to your fingertips.
Gas Buddy (Free)
Another app that will help you get on your way is GasBuddy. With this app, you will be able to find the cheapest gas in your town and on the go, for free all over the US and Canada. You will be able to find gas stations in a hurry, and will never have to pay those higher gas prices. GasBuddy works like a community with people everywhere working together to report gas prices, so you will be sire to find the best deal around. They even give away a $250 gas card each week!
Passport America (Free)
Passport America is another great freebie that can help you save up to half off your nightly camping rate. It has over 1700 campgrounds, RV parks, Resorts, and so on that participate all throughout North America. Search options include campground locations, and details such as amenities, rates, and contact info. Everything you need in one location!
Google Navigation/Maps (Free)
Tired of folding that dang map? Once you download the latest version of Google Maps, you can get free voice-guided Navigation to help you find where you are, and where you want to go. The Places feature helps you find and get recommendations for places, and even see their rating. This means you will be able to find the closest campground, gas station, restaurant, or even Walmart! And with Latitude, you can see where your friends are, and check in wherever you go.
Speaking of Walmart, there is a free app that helps you find the closest location to where you are, shop products available, and even place an order so that checkout is virtually painless. Now that’s something to get excited about.
TV Antenna Helper (Free)
This fantastic app assists you in locating free over-the-air TV and HDTV signals all over the country, and guess what? It’s at no cost to you. That’s right, another free app! All you have to do is run the app, and it will give you the location of all the TV towers in the area, so you know which direction to point your antenna.
Key Ring (Free)
If you’re like me, you are probably running out of room on your key ring for all those store loyalty cards. With the free Key Ring app, you can add all your favorite cards to one location, find coupons from top retailers, join new rewards programs, and much, much more!
Sanidumps RV Dump Station ($2.51)
One of the things that can be the biggest hassle while RVing is finding a dump station while on the road. For only $2.51, this app will give you turn-by-turn directions and GPS coordinates for all dump stations in the area. It allows for 20 favorites, and has the largest listing of RV dump stations anywhere on the internet. These perks are available on the full version. Sanidumps does offer a free app, but it is limited to some extent.
Camp and RV – Campgrounds Plus ($9.99)
For a one-time charge of under 10 bucks, you can try out the #1 camping app, completely risk free. This mega camping app has absolutely everything you need to know when out camping, and can help you find campgrounds, RV parks, and many other services, even when you don’t have access to the internet. How cool is that?
Satellite Finder ($5.99)
Satellite Finder is an app that for $5.99 will determine your local position using GPS/Skyhook, and will automatically assist you with the positioning of your satellite dish antenna. This is great for anyone out camping that still wants to catch the game or watch their favorite soap opera.
Traveling in a recreational vehicle or RV can be an exciting adventure, as well as a great way to bond with the family, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Those who are thinking of traveling by RV will want to make sure that they put safety first at all times and this is easier with a safety checklist in hand.
Maintaining and operating propane tanks is a big job and it’s something that individuals will most likely want to take very seriously. These tanks are considered safe, but only when utilized correctly. Propane tank maintenance tip number one is provided by National General;
“No matter how big a home-town fan you are, never paint your tank a dark color, which more readily absorbs the sun’s rays and can cause the tank to overheat and explode.”
What is more, individuals should always be wary of an open flame when it comes to ensuring safety with these tanks, so it is never a good idea to travel with any fires lit within the RV. When refueling, individuals will want to make sure that the engine is turned off, and all units need to be installed with a propane gas detector since this warns the occupants of a leak.
Pre-drive checks should be conducted before each journey, much like a person would inspect their vehicles before a drive. Individuals will want to start out by ensuring that all doors are closed properly and all safety cables are in place. All sewer and phone lines will need to be disconnected, as well as jacks, awnings and steps retracted.
Once these checks have been done, individuals will then want to move on to checking all fluids, including oil, coolants, transmission and breaks. The tires should also be inspected for leaks or tears.
“Motorhomes use air brakes as opposed to the hydraulic breaks found in normal cars. They have a very different feel compared to car brakes, so don’t panic when it’s not what you’re used to.”
This new breaking system can often confuse individuals for the first time, although with some practice, it will become a lot simpler.
Turning a corner isn’t as easy in an RV as it is in a vehicle. Whenever a driver is going to be turning a corner, he will want to make sure that he follows the S.A.F.E method. This method cautions individuals to approach the turn slowly, arc the turn, finish it completely and practice, since people will only get better at this with experience.
It is also important to remember that anything in an RV will most likely take about 20% longer than the same actions in a car. This rule applies to everything from accelerating to turning.
Have The Right Tools in Hand
Drivers never know when they might come across a problem they need to fix, so it is always handy to have certain tools around when these situations arise. RV drivers should make sure that they carry around the following tools; flashlight, road flares, jumper cables, flat repair spray, adjustable wrench, screwdrivers, duct tape and pliers.
“Park in a sheltered area. In stormy weather, avoid trees or power lines that could fall on your vehicle. The safest place during lightning is inside your RV. If you’re in the path of a tornado, you are safest in a tornado shelter.”
Traveling in an RV can be a lot of fun, but it is important that safety always comes first, whether a person is stationed for the night or traveling on the open road.
Face it folks, like it or not, we’re living in a connected world. Smart Phones, laptops, tablets, iPods, Smart TVs, e-readers, Kindles, GPS units, cameras, even appliances and thermostats, and the list goes on, are just some of the devices we may find connected to our private networks at home. Now, when we are on the road in our RVs, we still want to take a lot of that technology and connectivity with us. Getting and staying connected while traveling about the country in our RVs presents new challenges for us.
Let’s look at a typical scenario. We have – his and hers smart phones, a laptop (or two), a Kindle, an iPad, and oh yeah, one of those GPS units on the dash that has WiFi to check for weather, traffic and fuel prices while on the go. So in this example we have at least six devices that we want to have connected to the internet, maybe not all the time, but more often than not.
Most of us will get internet one of three ways when we’re out and about. Either by 1.Cellular (via smart phone hotspots, MiFi devices, or air cards), 2. WiFi (Public hotspots or private sites (campgrounds, truckstops, McDonalad’s etc.), or 3. Satellite Internet.
Since the cellular connections these days almost all have data limits, the WiFi provided by campgrounds and other outlets is often a first choice to get that internet connection we all want. There are however some drawbacks to using these WiFi hotspots. We can’t always park our RVs next to the WiFI antenna. Signals are often weak, and or spotty, and the service quality greatly depends on which campsite you get. There can also be some security concerns when using a shared WiFi connection with all your devices, but maybe the biggest pain is that each time you find a new WiFi connection, you have to enter the Password or Key into every device you want to connect to the internet. In our hypothetical situation, there are six or more devices that all have to have something done to in order to connect. Now we have all our devices connected to the internet, but what if you want to move a document or pictures from one device to the other? Your devices are not connected to each other at the local level on your network like they would be at home, so you have to “e-mail” the file to yourself via the World Wide Web.
Now, what can we do to make some of these problems and inconveniences go away?
The WiFI Ranger “Sky”, and the WiFI Ranger “RVPack2” are two, high end, but still affordable solutions, to help make our RV networking much better and easier. I’ll start by explaining the basics and then I’ll explain the extra advantages of the RVPack2.
The WiFi Ranger Sky is a WiFI booster, external antenna, and router, all in one package, specifically designed for use in the mobile RV environment. Since the Sky is permanently mounted on the roof of your RV, it’s internal antenna is ideally positioned to capture, and boost, WiFI signals from Hotspots as far away as 2500 ft. The router portion of the Sky, creates a local private network around your RV for all your devices, and connects your private network to the Hotspot, with a protective firewall in between the two networks. The Sky continuously scans and evaluates the available WiFI signals and automatically connects to the fastest connection, even if it isn’t the strongest signal. (You still must have any security keys as required.) Since your six devices are logged in and connected to your private network, instead of the campground network, the Sky can switch between different Access Points and you won’t even know it. Example, you’re connected to “Campground1” access point, and this campground has multiple access points available for improved service. Then, Unhappy Camper down at the end of the row, backs into and knocks over the pole which has the “Campground1” antenna on which terminates the “Campground1” signal. Assuming you entered the keys provided by the campground office, the Sky will automatically switch over to the next best signal which we’ll call “Campground2” and ALL your devices continue to access the internet with no interruption, and with no further action on your part. This convenience continues each time you move to a new location. You enter the access point key or password one time in the WiFi Ranger Sky, and all your devices are again connected. Pretty cool, right? If you need to use a MiFi device, or a hotspot provided by your smart phone, you only have to login to it one time with the Sky, and the Sky will automatically connect as needed and share that connection with the rest of your devices. Next you say this thing must be really complicated and hard to use. Well, no it isn’t. The engineers at WiFi Ranger have designed ease of use right into the product. Most users will have little need to use more than the basics on the Sky user control panel, however, if you are a power user, you do have access to plenty of advanced settings for things like port forwarding, VPNs, MAC filtering and other advanced options. Again, if you don’t know what it is, you don’t need it…. All in all, the WiFi Ranger Sky is a great tool for making our WiFi life easier in our RVs.
Now you ask, what is this RVPack2 that was mentioned earlier do for me? The RVPack2 takes the Sky and adds an internal router and tightly integrates the two devices into one high performance networking package. WiFi devices in simple terms are nothing but radios, and these radios transmit and receive radio signals carrying data. When the WiFi Ranger Sky is operating alone, it has to share it’s radio between two separate networks. One network is the campground WiFi, and the second network is your local private network, in and around your RV. The indoor router of the RVPack2 (called the “Go2”) takes over the radio duties to support the local private network and the Sky is now dedicated to servicing the Campground network. This separation of duties for the two radios, will in many cases provide an effectively faster data connection, allowing each radio to be optimized for the situation. The “Go2” also provides 4 wired Ethernet ports for a high speed wired LAN to facilitate file sharing and faster file transfers in your RV. The Go2 also has a USB 2.0 port for attaching Plug-N-Play compatible Air Cards or MiFi devices for seamless connection to your mobile cellular data plans. The Go2 and the Sky are both controlled from one easy to use control panel, and again if you don’t know what it is, just leave it alone. You also don’t have to deal with the complications of configuring the two routers to work with each other, that task is handled automatically, simply by connecting the Sky to the Go. (Yellow cable to yellow port) The WiFi Ranger engineers have done all the complicated stuff for you.
The WiFi Ranger mobile products are high quality and very easy to use. If you want to make your RV connectivity the best and easiest it can be, the WiFi Ranger Products are TVforMyRV’s recommendation.
RVs are improving every year and modern RVs truly are becoming very similar to our homes without wheels. However, you can’t quite capture every convenience found in a home in your RV and one of those conveniences is the toilet. An RV toilet operated very differently than your home toilet. I was recently reminded that not everyone is aware of this.
We had some friends meet up with us at a campground while we were traveling which led to an awkward and mildly embarrassing moment. One of our friends asked if he could use the restroom, to which we replied right inside to the left. After a long enough time for us to start wondering if he was going to be alright, our friend finally came out “face flushed” and said, “I can’t figure out how to flush the toilet.”
Needless to say we now offer a pre-emptive, “just step on the pedal on the floor to flush the toilet.” For those who have an even more inconspicuously placed flushing mechanism mounted higher on the wall, you may want to give your friends a “heads up” as well.
Water, just like power, is a precious commodity in an RV. This combined with the fact that your RV’s toilet is on wheels, in order to avoid what could be some pretty traumatic sloshing and spilling, RVs utilize gravity along with a small amount of water to clear waste.
This makes clearing the toilet just little more complex than a simple flush, but not too much more. Depending on the toilet, there is a small switch or pedal that is located at or near the base of the toilet (sometimes higher on the wall). To flush, simply press the pedal to begin the first rinse. You will find hose attached to or near the toilet as well. This can be used to wash any remaining solids down (keep pedal depressed to use). Don’t be afraid to use a little extra water to rinse everything down. Once finished, step off the pedal and the trap door shuts out the waste and the odor. Happy Campers makes a great odor-eliminating product for your holding tank, you can check it out here: http://happycampersworld.com/
One other thing that you might want your non-RV friends to be aware of before using the toilet in your RV is that the roof vent fan won’t do what they think it will. If the roof vent fan is on when someone flushes the toilet in an RV it will pull the fumes right into the bathroom.
Nobody wants to discuss poop on their outing, but one uneducated trip to the potty could make your RV trip a LOT less pleasant for a while.
It is a dream life, to be able to travel in an RV all over the country, see new places and meet new people. It is often a dream that is left until retirement, but unfortunately income worries or illness interrupt those plans for many.
Thousands of people are already living out this dream because they are able to work while traveling.
This is not just one method you have to buy into or some pyramid scam you operate on the road. It is about using your current skills, and most likely modern technology, to help you be able to honestly earn income while on RV roadtrip.
The internet has opened a lot of doors for all of us and a lot of opportunity for those of us seeking to work on the road. One of the most important keys to being able to work successfuly on the road is having access to the internet when you need it. There are several products on the market that can help boost your signal while providing a much higher data quality, like the WiFiRanger Sky Products. You’d be surprised to find how many jobs can be done with simply internet access. If you are savvy with a computer and have good typing skills, there are plenty of online jobs to consider. Positions for virtual assistants, transcriptionists and even freelance writers exist all over the web. You can easily perform a Google search and find listings of dozens of legitimate companies that are currently hiring. It may take a little time to find the right match for you and you probably are not going to get rich, but you can earn a comfortable hourly wage once you learn the ropes.
Create a blog about working from your RV. Use your on the road adventures as the focus. You are going to be living a lifestyle many wish they could have, let them follow along with you and help pay for your fuel. You could also seek out seasonal work in the areas you visit. Pick apples, help on a farm or apply at a summer resort as kitchen help or a maid. Many of these types of jobs pay surprisingly well and the exercise will keep you fit and trim.
The term “Workamper” was invented to describe RV travelers who pay for their campsite fees and utilities by performing tasks for the campground owners. The job description varies and the pay varies as well, but if you can all agree, it can make it possible to stay in a lovely area and still have the freedom to do plenty of sightseeing.
Keep Your Day Job
If your work is something which can be done remotely, the opportunity exists to continue with your current employment, keep your salary and benefits and still hit the road. It might even advance your career. If you are working for a company that has ambitions about branching out, you may be the one who can help them achieve that. There really is no way to know without asking, and a good backup plan is in order just in case the answer is no. Once your boss is aware of your plan to someday work from RV, he may be less apt to consider you for pay increases or promotions.
Many people who spend time in an RV actually travel very little. Instead they spend a few months in each location, moving as the weather changes. These seasonal folks, often referred to as “snow birds” are in the perfect position to accept temporary jobs. Temp services are always looking for workers for a few weeks or months at a time. Jobs can range from high-level administrative work, to clerical and cashier positions. There are also frequently construction and warehouse workers needed, with all levels of positions available.
Change Your Mindset
There is one thing to remember about this sort of lifestyle, it is unpredictable. You have to be willing to adapt to new routines and work styles. You also have to be able to accept that you are not going to be able to make a standard budget and expect that check their every week. Much of this work will come and go and you have to have a savings plan for those times when it does not come back as quickly as planned.
Working While RV’ing will not offer the security you may be used to with a regular 9 to 5 job and a regular salary. But the important thing to remember, and it is what keeps people coming back to life on the road, what you lose in security, you gain in freedom.
Traveling in an RV presents individuals with some unique challenges, as well as some exciting opportunities. Most ordinary RVs aren’t fitted with state-of-the-art kitchens, which means that most cooking will take place on a tabletop. Still, this also means that individuals will be given the chance to try out some exciting new recipes along the way.
Chicken With Tomato and Olives
This recipe is a healthy addition to your RV recipe cookbook and all it requires to begin are; chicken breasts, 1 cup of grape tomatoes, 20 olives, half cup feta cheese and 3 teaspoons of olive oil and vinegar dressing.
To start cooking, turn on the grill to medium heat. You will want to lightly season the chicken before placing it on the grill. Grill the chicken for about 6 minutes on both sides before combining the tomatoes and dressing and warming them on a skillet. You will then want to brush any dressing that remains on the chicken. Once it is ready, place the tomatoes and feta directly onto the chicken and serve.
Sunflower Seed and Cherry Kale Salad
To prepare this dish, you will need; a quarter cup red sliced onion, 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, 5 ounces of baby kale, a quarter cup dried cherries, a quarter teaspoon of pepper and salt, a teaspoon of honey, Dijon mustard and olive oil, and 1 and a half tablespoons of cider vinegar.
“Add the remaining ingredients (kale, dried cherries, onion and sunflower seeds) to the large salad bowl and toss all of the ingredients with the dressing.”
Once this is done, the salad is ready to be served.
Applesauce and Oat Muffins
This recipe calls for; a cup of rolled oats, half a cup of applesauce, half a cup of brown sugar, an egg, a cup of buttermilk, a cup of whole wheat flour, half a teaspoon of baking soda and a teaspoon of baking powder.
To begin, add the oats to a bowl before pouring in the buttermilk. You will want the mixture to remain for two hours so that it can get down to room temperature. Preheat your oven to about 375 degrees. Grease the muffin cups and mix in the whole wheat flour, baking powder, brown sugar and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in your egg, oats, applesauce and buttermilk and mix well. You will then want to place your mixture into the muffin pan and bake for about 30 minutes.
These burritos are perfect for breakfast and all they require are; ground sausage, a jar of salsa, 12 eggs, a quarter cup of chopped onion, a quarter cup of chopped bell pepper, a quarter cup of yellow pepper, 12 tortillas and a back of shredded jack cheese. Then, according to the contributors of Gorving.com;
“Cook sausage in a deep frying pan. Once the sausage is half cooked, put the onions and peppers in the pan. Whip eggs. Once the onions are transparent, put the eggs in and stir frequently. Once the eggs start to get stiff, add the salsa and cheese; stir in.”
You will then want to microwave the tortillas for about 3 minutes so that they roll up easily enough. The moment your filler is done cooking, you can put about a quarter of a cup of filling into each tortilla and roll up before eating.
Cooking in an RV can be a whole lot of fun as long as you have the recipes to give you that little bit of inspiration.
Fair Market Value: Tips to help you determine how much an RV is worth if you’re thinking of buying or selling a new or used RV.
Whether you are in the market to buy a used RV or to trade in or sell the RV you already own, there are some research tips and tricks you need to know. You should have an RV appraisal performed on the one you are interested in buying to help determine its Fair Market Value, also known as the FMV, before you sign on the dotted line. Read on below for some tips on how to find this out, and how it can help you.
New RV Values
If you are considering buying a new RV, you will want to know the new RV FMV value before you make a decision. When it comes to determining an RV’s fair market value, it is easy to become confused because you don’t have the same information the dealer has. Without knowing how much the dealer paid for the RV, you have nothing to judge the Fair Market Value by. There are ways you can search to see what other consumers are paying for brand new RV’s, and this should help you to determine if you are indeed being charged a reasonable price. Remember, no RV is going to come cheap; however, you don’t want to be cheated by an RV dealer out to make a quick buck.
If, as a buyer, you are trying to determine the depreciation of RV’s to determine how much you should pay for a new one, you can get a depreciation schedule online, or if you are good at math, you can calculate the figures manually. Our friends over at www.rvforum.net have provided some good information in this thread; http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?topic=11937.0
Just be sure you know what you are doing, so you don’t end up paying a lot more than you should have for your new RV.
If you decide just to throw caution to the wind, and go out and find a new RV without determining the Fair Market Value, there are a few tips you can follow to help you guesstimate whether you are paying a fair price.
The dealer usually marks up MSRP’s; after all, they have to make their money, too. They mark up the price by about 40%, so you have some wiggle room to negotiate on price if you know this ahead of time. You need to be a good negotiator and not back down on what you think is a fair price.
Used RV Values
When you are thinking of selling your RV, the top thought in your mind should be what the RV is worth. The same thought should be running through your mind if you are looking to buy a used RV as well.
As a seller, you will need to look at the current market, statistics, and the condition of the RV you are trying to sell. The condition is the main thing. For example, you can get a lot more for an RV that still looks new than you can for an RV that is trashed and in need of work. You don’t want to set unrealistic goals for the price you want for your RV because you may end up being disappointed. You also need to check the blue book value for your RV. While it’s not the most dependable guide, at least it will give you an approximation and a starting point. The internet has also made it much easier to do some relatively quick comparisons. Sites like www.Campingworld.com have a new/used sales section that provide a wealth of information to do some comparisons on what models are listing at what prices as well as providing some pretty good photos to get a visual on the shape of the camper.
There are a few factors to consider when you are trying to determine the value of a recreational vehicle, including the Airstream, which has maintained it’s popularity over the years. Some of these factors include:
The overall condition of the RV is important. You want to make sure all of the appliances work, the paint isn’t chipped, and whether it needs repairs before you can put it on the road.
Mileage is a very important consideration. You want to determine if it is above or below the mileage for the age of the RV.
What type of accessories the RV comes with will help you make a determination as well. From awnings to special mirrors, all of this will help you determine how much to either charge for your used RV, or how much to pay for it, if you are in the market to buy one.
Whether you are in the market for a new RV or a vintage Airstream, starting your search prepared will help ensure you get a fair price. If you are trading in an RV, be sure to clean it up and make any necessary repairs before you have it appraised. This will increase its value, giving you more money to put toward your purchase.
House Batteries – Part 2 In my last post, I talked about the importance of having all of the house batteries to be matched in...
The stories below have to be some of the worst RV trips I’ve ever read about. We’ve all had our “not so fun trips”, but every once in a while things can just turn on you.
Traveling the country in an RV can be a thrilling experience, but when things go wrong, they can really get out of hand very quickly. There is nothing quite like being stuck in an enclosed area for weeks or even months on end, and when things get tough, they can really test your mettle. I was reading some of my favorite blogs and forums and there were some pretty funny accounts of RV trips gone wrong. Here are a few of those tales of RV trips gone awry.
Raining Liquid Feces
A family went camping in Key West, hoping to enjoy the sights and sounds that this area has to offer. One day, they decided to empty out the tanks. Here is a snippet of Christy’s account, which is well worth the read for her personal flair in telling the story; “The black tank is the holding space for anything that goes down the toilet: y’know, the icky stuff. The gray tank holds all the water used for dishes, showers, etc … but instead of opening the BLACK tank valve to let it all out, he accidentally opened the GRAY tank. Not realizing his error, Foul sewer water pouring off the roof of Mayhem, down the sides, and cascading over the ground. Oh. Ehm. Gee. Is this for real?”
In order to empty out the tanks, it is important that you first open up the valve to the black tank and allow it to filter out before opening up the gray water tank. This will allow the water to rise out the sewer hose, as well as the tank itself.
On this day, instead of opening up the valve to the black tank, they opened up the valve to the gray tank and then allowed it to run while they disposed of their trash. The moment they walked back to the RV, they immediately noticed that sewer water was literally pouring off the RVs roof. The sewage had actually backed up into the air vents of the RV and it had then caused the waterfall to cascade down the sides of the vehicle.
While they were able to clean off most of the excrement from the exterior of the RV, they weren’t actually able to clean out the air vents, so the vehicle ended up smelling like sewage for the duration of the trip.
The “Boxed Plague”
Living in confined quarters means that illness spreads pretty quickly, and there are few places more uncomfortable than an RV when that happens. A family taking a fishing trip experienced this first hand when five adults and two children went camping about six hours from their home. Within two days, both the father and the son weren’t feeling well. The son recuperated in about 24 hours, but this wasn’t the case with the father. In a short space of time, it plagued the entire family. Mocamper over at www.rvforum.net explains;
“So, 7 days in a 31′ camper and 5 of those days 5 people were sick. Our kids left on Friday just to get away from it all once they got better. I had to extend our stay until Saturday just so my wife could travel back home.”
The family actually considered selling the camper once they had returned from the trip, but decided that they had had great times previously, so they didn’t want to lose that entirely.
“My sewer hose was stretched to the limit as I had not parked close enough to the hookup. When I pulled open the valve on the black water tank, the other end of the hose jumped out of the drain and spewed the contents all over the lawn.”
According to the contributor, this happened earlier enough in the morning that he had time to clean everything up without anyone seeing it. So, I guess there’s a bright side to an otherwise crappy day.
RVs might be exciting, but when things go wrong, they can really go wrong, but this only adds to the sense of adventure out on the open road.
Do you have any RV Nightmares you’d like to share? Post up below.
Knowing The Lifespan Of LP Gas, CO, And Smoke Detectors In Your RV
Just like the equipment that you keep at home to warn you of fires and gas leaks, the devices on board your RV have a lifespan, and once that period is over you could find yourself with some faulty hardware. One of the biggest problems campers and travelers face with the detectors in their recreational vehicles is that it’s so easy to go on with your trip and never once think about those monitors hanging around inside until one of them goes off, or worse, until one of them doesn’t go off in time and there’s damage to your unit or even worse to a passenger on board.
Unfortunately, this story is not all too uncommon. Recently, Knoxnews reported that a couple traveling were found dead inside their RV. “The preliminary investigation indicates that one of the propane gas stove burners inside the RV had been left on accidentally. Police said there was a strong odor of gas inside the RV.” You can read the full story hear.
This is a sobering reminder to all of us who enjoy the RV lifestyle to take a few extra minutes in order to safeguard yourself and your family against unnecessary accidents — always replace these devices when the time comes.
Safety On The Road
It’s important to focus on the safety of your recreational vehicle, not only while you’re on the road, but before you set off on a trip as well. Planning ahead to have extra batteries for all of the electronic detectors on your vehicle should be a top priority, and considered more important even than packing your toothbrush. Before setting off it’s a good idea to start up your RV and test that all of your devices are working properly and ready to inform you if there are any problems with gas, carbon monoxide, or smoke. Remember that unlike other vehicles, you and your family will be sleeping in this one, so treat the alarms as you would the ones in your home and keep them up to date and properly maintained at all times.
Any RV that contains a gas appliance as well as an electric system requires a detector, and under requirements for UL 1484 the detector used must be registered as a suitable unit for a recreational vehicle, and properly installed. This is for the safety of yourself and anybody else who might be riding with you. This is because although the gas has a fairly noticeable scent, if you forget to turn it off and go to bed you’re not likely to smell it and it could be fatal to those in the RV. Your LP gas detector should be replaced every five years so that you know that it’s in proper working order and can alert you if gas levels become too high at any time. Be sure to place them near all of the input areas that the gas feeds into the RV.
Retailing for anywhere between fifteen and one hundred dollars in the United States, a CO monitor provides you with a powerful alarm should your vehicle floor with carbon monoxide at any time. Odorless, tasteless, and invisible, this substance can sneak up on you if you aren’t careful, and is considered to be highly toxic. It attaches to the hemoglobin in your blood and is two hundred times stronger than oxygen, meaning that it won’t take very long to take effect. These devices as designed for RV use, come as 12V operated or battery powered and some models have a battery backup should the 12V cut out. Most devices are recognized as having a six year lifespan, and each model should have this printed on the unit itself or the paperwork that comes with it upon purchase. Similar to a smoke alarm, your CO detection unit should have a “test” button, which you should utilize before taking off on any highway adventures. Place your alarms near the ceiling, but don’t forget to place one near the floor, as carbon monoxide has a density very similar to that of oxygen, so it could just as easily be low in the vehicle rather than high the way that smoke invades a space.
Smoke detectors are the most common alarms to have in any home or RV, and are just as important on the road as they are back at the house. Most manufacturers will label their devices with a date which you should have it replaced by, but the standard is usually seven to ten years. Some companies encourage users to change the unit every five years to be safe, because ten percent of the effectiveness of the detector is lost each year that it remains active. When you think about it, this means that after five years your smoke alarm is only running at 50% capacity, which isn’t very safe for anybody involved.
A good tip to use with any of the above detectors is to write on the back of the unit with a permanent marker, the date that you’re installing and turning it on for the first time, along with the date that it should be replaced, if that date isn’t already located on the machine. This allows you to quickly and efficiently look at and replace each model that’s past its best before date.
RV’s are fun for hitting the road in the summer, parking where you want to, and moving on to the next spot once you are bored with your current one. Children and adults alike love to travel in an RV, and many wait all winter long to hop in the RV and ride. If this describes you, have you ever thought about living in your RV permanently? Believe it or not, many people live in their RV’s and enjoy the feeling of being able to pick up and move anytime they feel like it. How is this possible? Read on for some tips on how to live in your RV year round.
When You Own a Home
If you rent your home, all you have to do is tell your landlord you are moving; however, it’s a little harder when you own your home. You have a choice: You can sell the house and live in an RV, or you can keep the house so you will have a home base to come back to anytime you feel the need. You can also rent out your home while you are traveling the world. You will want to hire a professional tenant service to take care of things, though. After all, it would be hard for you to fix the hot water heater in GA when you are in CA.
Should you choose to sell or rent out your home, receiving your mail is an issue. If you have grown children, you can have your mail sent to their address. You can also list it as a permanent address, should the need arise. It is a smart idea to handle bill paying online, so you don’t end up with missed payments and late fees.
If You Need to Work
Some people who are Living in an RV still have to work to fund their trips. There are many options out there on the road from craft fairs to working for a campground. There are also options available online when you are traveling and still need to make a living.
When you Own a Car
It’s easy to sell the car when the house you live in is on wheels; however, that isn’t the best way to go. There are three reasons why you may want to keep your car, or at least store it somewhere that is easily reachable.
You must know an RV isn’t the most fuel efficient vehicle in the world. You might want to use your car for getting around town and running little errands that are required.
RV’s aren’t exactly easy to park, so for those areas with limited or awkward parking, you will want to take a car.
If your RV breaks down, you will need a way to get around while it is being fixed. Remember, you will have to have car insurance and RV insurance. They are not the same thing and come under different policies.
Life on the Road
Living on the road isn’t the same as living in one place. You need to be prepared for life on the road before you decide to start traveling. Issues like where you will stop to do your laundry and whether you have room for your pets are important considerations when you are making the decision to uproot and travel. You need a plan, and once you have one, your travels will be fun and easy.
You also need to consider the Internet situation, especially if you are going to be making your money by writing or doing other online work. Remember, not every campsite will be set up with Wi-Fi, so plan accordingly.
Make sure you park in only legal camping spots. It is illegal just to pull up on the side of the road and park; not to mention, it could be extremely dangerous.
Moving into an RV can be one of the best times of your life. It is very easy to do, and a growing number of people are doing it every day. You just need to be prepared, know what you are getting into, and have a plan for the future, in case you eventually decide you are tired of traveling and want to set down roots once again.
Many motor home owners, particularly those who like to dry camp, are frustrated by the amount of power it takes for them to watch their older model televisions when they’re not “plugged in”. The vast number of televisions in recreational vehicles today are pretty energy efficient, but many of us don’t have the luxury of upgrading our RV as frequently as we do our components, so there are plenty of older Motorhomes running tvs that are energy gluttons. Motor home owners must either run their RV to provide a continuous charge, use a noisy and smelly generator and an expensive power inverter, or else constantly manually change and charge batteries. Altogether it can be quite a frustrating endeavor to manage for the person who simply wants to watch the nightly news, the weather, and/or to keep up with a few favorite shows.
Most of the people who use power inverters to watch their older TVs are shocked to see the large amount of energy that this process wastes. Depending upon the type of inverter that is being used, the loss is sometimes as great as a whopping 80%! Instead of dealing with all of the mental contortions that are required to figure out the best way to power an older style television, one solution that is worthy of consideration is to simply upgrade your motor home’s current television to a newer model 12v RV TV. The newer televisions use what appears to be an ever decreasing amount of current, some less than half of that consumed by their predecessors. Many alternating current (AC) televisions use in the neighborhood of 30-35 watts not to mention the current employed to convert the power. By making a RV TV Upgrade to a 12 volt model you’ll ultimately require less energy and will avoid all the fuss and bother associated with trying to use a traditional AC television in your recreational vehicle.
It is now possible to purchase high definition 12 volt televisions in an array of sizes, from everything from 13″ all the way to 32″ that will plug directly into your direct current (DC) power source. Whether the television is a HD LCD with a flat screen or a CRT tube style, you can expect it to draw approximately 5 amps. Most 12 volt TVs come packaged with both a 12 volt power cord and a 110 volt cord. Having dual cords allows the user to employ the 110 volt cord when the motor home is docked at a campground or other location providing 110 volt power, because the 110 volt cord changes the 110 volt alternating current into 12 volt direct current. This permits the the owner to save the motor home’s power for use at such times as when there is no other source of power available.
When undertaking the task of replacing an old TV in RV, most people find the job to be a fairly straightforward one. CRT TVs generally install directly into the motor home’s television cupboard and flat screen LCDs have a base upon which they sit but which is removable if the television is to be mounted on the wall. If yours is one of the 12V upgrades that uses an extension arm, then the television should be properly secured prior to putting the vehicle into motion. For the television to swing about at every turn in the road is definitely not desirable! Don’t forget to check to see if your motor home came with a built in antenna. Many recreational vehicles come with such antennas installed as a matter of course, but if your RV lacks one, they are available as an aftermarket add on. You will likely desire an amplifier to boost the signal, as well, and there are are a several on the market that work in conjunction with12 volt televisions. DO make certain that such a signal booster isn’t already present, as two will conflict with one another and interfere with, as opposed to enhancing, the television’s reception.
Most RV owners find that once they have upgraded their motor home’s television to 12 volt that their enjoyment of their RV is considerably increased. In general their television usage becomes lower maintenance, as they get equal or better service for less money, and best of all, expend less effort to watch television, which is, after all, more in line with how television watching is supposed to be!
Many of us are seeing the signs of Spring confirming that Winter is on it’s way out for the year. Did you put the RV away for the Winter or Hit the Roads to avoid the cold weather?
Here are some tips for next Winter if you want to keep warm while enjoying the snow.
Typically, the people who spend a lot of time in their RV go south for the winter, and during the summer months they head out to any and everywhere else where cooler temperatures beckon. This plan is the norm, and generally speaking, it requires travelers to be on their toes when getting campground reservations, since practically everyone else with an RV on the road is doing the same thing. However there are some intrepid souls who enjoy thinking outside of the box, and who might actually enjoy RV travel in the winter! If you have never had enough snow to suit you and would like to spend a winter where the snow drifts form, or if you simply enjoy the cold and love the look of a winter landscape, Winter RVing might be right up your alley! Below are a few important winter RV tips that will make all the difference between your experience being a cozy and enjoyable success or a dire disaster. Remember the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared! This applies particularly to RV camping during the winter months. Below are the primary issues you should consider.
If you’re not a snowbird, and this will be your first winter spent in the cold, remember one thing: unprepared people can actually freeze to death in the cold! So be equipped to deal with the cold. The most essential thing you’ll want to have is warm bedding. Investing in sleeping bags that are rated for sub zero temperatures is an excellent idea. Not only can they be unzipped and used on your bed as a blanket but in a “worst case scenario” they can keep you from freezing. If you’re staying in a campground (recommended, they’re never full during the winter months) you’ll save money by using their electricity and electric quartz or oil filled “radiators” for warmth. Save your propane furnace in case the power goes out. A heated mattress pad will go a long way towards keeping you cozy at night. When choosing places to park your RV take into consideration hedges that might provide a wind break, and position yourself so that you get direct sunlight every day.
Ice storms and snow are common in many parts of the country during winter and people who live in such areas will all tell you to stock up on the things you need in case a storm blows in. Make a list of the things you absolutely, positively can’t do without: medicines, coffee, food, extra propane, candles, matches, etc.
Water lines often freeze during the winter and if the well at the campground where you’re staying is powered by electricity, its pump could stop working during power outages. It’s always a good idea to have a few gallons of drinking water stashed away for “just in case.”
Wrap all of your pipes with foam pipe insulation. Fill the empty space around your pipes with insulation. Wrap your water hose with foil, then electrical heat tape, and top that with foam insulation. Purchase a sewer hose rated for sub zero temperatures. Wrap this in heat tape and foam insulation as well. In extremely cold weather you might consider using insulated skirting to shield the underside of your RV from the cold and wind. A small dehumidifier will keep ice from forming on interior walls and condensation from forming beneath mattresses.
Don’t drive your RV on snowy or icy roads. Make sure that someone knows where you are at all times and arrange for a regular check in time each day so that they can sound the alarm should you not call in. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a message left on a machine will do.
You came to enjoy the snow, so enjoy the snow! Bring skis, snowshoes and something that can be used as a sled. For cozy winter nights inside, bring cards, games and movies for your RV TV. Don’t forget your camera or the hot chocolate!
Winter RVing can be magnificent. Many places you’ll have to yourself and nothing beats the coziness of being warm inside when it’s cold and snowy out. Take the recommended precautions and you can’t go wrong. Have fun!
With roots dating back over eighty years, Airstream trailers and motor homes remain as beloved as they are recognizable. The aluminum-covered design that looked so modern and sleek when it was first introduced in the 1930s has aged incredibly gracefully, appealing to present-day customers just as much as it did to those who first beheld it all those decades ago. Today’s consumers find that the brand’s many products offer a terrific combination of appealing styling, handcrafted quality and reliability, and investment-level value retainment. It is little surprise, then, to find Airstream maintaining popularity even as the company approaches its tenth decade of operation.
By Trekphiler (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Airstream is probably best-known among the general public for its iconic tow-behind trailers. With curving, shiny, low-maintenance aluminum exteriors, these trailers have impressed onlookers since they were first introduced. Many of today’s customers find their styling comforting and quaint, and equally appreciate the incredible quality to be found underneath those sleek skins.
The company has always focused on delivering products without cutting corners, and this remains so today. Airstream’s Land Yacht model, for example, makes use of architectural principles and construction techniques gleaned from producers of million-plus dollar private seafaring vessels, and thereby offers owners incredible comfort inside. Laid out in ways that maximize the usability of the space within, these trailers can provide long-term accommodations for as many as five people without making the occupants feel cramped or claustrophobic. The amenities within these 28-foot trailers are second to none, too, with all of the modern conveniences that might be hoped for, along with trim and accessories of the highest possible quality.
Prospective buyers looking for something a little smaller find just as much satisfaction in the company’s Sport trailer. Available in sixteen and twenty-one foot variations, this trailer is especially easy to tow, tipping the scales at less than the weight of a small sports car. Despite its compact dimensions, the Sport, too, provides plenty of room to stretch out within, and sleeps two to four guests with great comfort, depending upon size and options. Once again, the trailer is built and appointed with the craftsmanship that Airstream is famous for, so that making a selection from further down on the company’s price list does mean compromising in that way.
The Sport is also popular with many who, like a vast number of Airstream fans over the years, are looking for a trailer that can be set up in a semi-permanent fashion. These trailers make terrific guest houses, offices, or coffee shops, providing distinctive, instantly recognizable styling along with highly-usable, well-constructed interior space of great flexibility. Those looking for more space for such uses often opt for either older, pre-owned Airstream trailers or larger contemporary options such as the thirty-foot Classic model.
While to those in the general public the company’s name might be synonymous with trailers, followers of RV and camping news know that it also produces high-end touring coaches that are increasingly popular, as well. The company’s Interstate coach puts an Airstream-originated living compartment atop a Mercedes-Benz chassis, combining the efforts of two quality-intensive manufacturers in a way that is sure to please those who demand the best. These nimble, easy-driving vehicles provide space enough that even long trips away from home remain comfortable and enjoyable, and they have plenty of power for towing even relatively heavy passenger cars for use while the coach remains set up at camp. Many find that these incredibly low-maintenance and fuel-efficient recreational vehicles suit their needs perfectly, being far easier to drive, park, and maintain than larger RVs.
With so many great options available, and such a successfully consistent focus on quality over the years, it seems likely that Airstream popularity will remain high for many years to come. Its high-quality products remain as beautiful as ever, and there seems to be no slackening of appreciation for its dedication to producing the best trailers possible.
RVs have become the go-to vehicle for families who love to travel. For years, the RV has been used by individuals and families who love to take their homes on the road. It’s estimated that over 13 million RVs are on the road today, and thousands more are being bought every year. However, a large percentage of the RVs on the road today are older or more ‘vintage’ models. Models like these lack the the standard equipment used in most modern-day RVs. Modern-day RVs have incorporated advanced electrical systems that involve more improved circuitry for items such as cell phones, laptops, and televisions. Let’s take a look at a few RV electrical tips for improved energy efficiency and performance.
When most RV owners visit a campsite they expect to find hookups for their appliances and equipment, however this isn’t always the case. The RV inverter is a piece of equipment that allows RV owners to have access to power when no other source is around. The inverter uses the RV’s engine battery (usually 12 volts worth of DC power), and converts it into 120 Volt worth of AC power. This will allow RV owners to plug and use whatever appliances they deem as necessary.
If RV owners would like an even more improved electrical system, they can opt for the inverter/charger combo. A regular inverter provides and extra power source, but can run down your battery in the process. When you use a generator, the inverter/charger combo generates DC power to charge your RV’s battery. Either way, an inverter provides RV owners with more comfort and convenience.
Taking Advantage of Solar Power
One of the cleanest and most convenient power sources around is the sun. Most vintage RVs don’t have the ability to take advantage of this huge source of power. However, you can achieve RV solar power by installing solar panels into your RV’s electrical system. Plus, because of the huge push for greener energy, solar panels are more affordable than ever before. The panels are easily mounted on the roof of the vehicle and have the ability to provide power for all of your devices and gadgets. The amount of panels you have installed will determine how much power will be available for your vehicle. The more panels that are installed the more power you’ll have access to.
How Solar Panels Help With Other Systems
In order to operate an RV in the most efficient way possible, you need proper RV charging systems. As mentions before, with the inverter/charger combo you’ll have the ability to charge your vehicle’s battery while the inverter is in use. However, by incorporating RV solar panels into your system, you’ll be able to provide additional power to the inverter. Solar panels in turn take some of the burden of your vehicle’s 12 Volt DC battery.
With all this being said, it’s obvious that there are additions that can be utilized to help your RV run better. Some RVs need more additions than others. However, things like a solar RV battery panel and inverter can make any RV’s performance that much better.
Hey everyone, I thought it would be different to share some experiences from a recent outing we did in our motorhome.
Over the years we’ve been in Maine a few times, but had never spent any significant vacation time there, so we decided to split our 10 days up and visit 3 different RV parks in North and East of Maine. We started our adventure at Arndt’s Aroostook River Lodge & Campground near Presque Isle, Maine. The town of Preque Isle is large enough to have a nice variety of restaurants and services and yet small enough to give that small town peace and quiet feeling. Arndt’s Aroostook River Lodge & Campground is a nice, clean, and well kept family campround and is well suited for families of all sizes and ages. Hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, fishing, hunting, wildlife wtching are just some of the many outdoor activities available in Northern Maine. This area of Maine is also quite popular for ATV riding in the summer, and for the cold weather fans, lots of snowmobiling in the winter too. To me, probably the most unexpected suprise, was the active beaver ponds and lodges right on the Campground property. On almost any evening, the quiet observer can watch the beavers work and play in their own natural environment. We were also lucky to breifly spot a Black bear across the beaver pond one evening while we watched the beavers eat. These two beavers nibbled on some branches about twenty feet in front of us…. The ripples you see in the water around the beavers is from their chewing action on the branches. Pretty neat! There is one negative to the Maine woods near dark, the mosquitos are big and hungry, so be prepared.
As always, there is more to do and see than we have time and space to describe, so jump in your RV and go check out Northern Maine for yourself.
Well folks, September is officially a memory. Starbucks baristas are cranking out Pumpkin Spice lattes by the dozen, scarves and boots abound… it’s that time of year again. There’s no denying it, fall is in full-swing in the nation’s top leaf-peeping territories! So before you winterize your RV for the year, why not plan a trip to New England? Fall is a fantastic time to get out and see the country, but there’s really no better place to check out the changing foliage than the northeast. It’s impossible to go wrong when planning a “leafing” tour in this region of the country, but in case you need a starting point, Yankee Foliage (www.yankeefoliage.com) is a great resource that includes real-time fall foliage maps, recommended destinations, and scenic driving routes. They put together a list of 25 destinations that feature more than just colorful foliage, and we’ve created a map to highlight these places.
List of Destinations by State
If you don’t have time to visit every one of the listed destinations, we recommend focusing on Vermont and New Hampshire. The following route would make a great weekend trip for RVers traveling through; or you could extend the trip and really take the opportunity to explore both the natural beauty and friendly towns along the way. Meandering up I-91 North along the state borders, you can easily visit Walpole, Grafton (VT-121 takes you along the Saxtons River), Woodstock (US-4), and Hanover. To make your way from Hanover to Sandwich, you will leave the main interstates and follow a beautiful scenic route. Taking VT-25A East from I-91 will bring you along the Baker River to I-93. From I-93 South, follow NH-175 South to Little Squam Lake. Turn left onto US-3 and follow the lakeshore to NH-113, which you can travel all the way to Sandwich. Follow NH-25 from Sandwich and then continue on NH-113 East. Turning onto NH-16 North will take you along the border of the White Mountain National Forest, through Conway and all the way to Jackson. For full traveling directions, visit this Google Maps Link: (http://goo.gl/maps/rzQNt).
Don’t wait to plan your trip – the leaves in many of these locations are already showing peak color and before long, the picturesque fall landscape will be gone!
Have you been to any of the places on this list? Are there destinations you think are deserving of a shout out that we didn’t mention? Email us your comments and destination recommendations and we just might include them in a future feature!
Here at TV for My RV, we cater to people who are already RV enthusiasts, but here is some helpful information for those of you who are still contemplating the RV Lifestyle.
The RV industry has continued to experience a big boom since the ushering in of the 21st Century, with subsequent increase in the number of “baby boomers” who are venturing into the “leisure time” industry. But many people still aren’t aware that if you’re a first-time RV enthusiasts, you can visit your local RV specialists and most likely drive away in a camper or a motorhome that will facilitate your travel and camping needs in matters of a few minutes. If you would like to try before you buy, considering the following things will be important to your successful RV rental. Don’t worry your RV trip doesn’t have to end up like the movie “RV” featuring Robin Williams, we have plenty of RV video tips here on our site including, proper macerator system hookup, that will prevent you from ending up like this. . .
Know Your Needs - This is vital and it will help you avoid possible issues that may arise while traveling and camping. Any first-time enthusiast should be sure to have a planning meeting with his or her group or family to get clear idea of the best RV that will form their vacation home.
Understand the destination and duration - This is crucial and a renter will want to ensure that the RV parks and campgrounds that are intended for the vacation have all the necessary facilities for the family or group and for the vehicle as well. Travelers should confirm reservations before heading to a destination. We even have some featured RV campgrounds here on our blog.
Gather Knowledge in RVs - It would be a good idea to do a little checking into the different sizes and styles of RV just to get a fundamental familiarity, but any dealer will be able to help educate you as well. Typically, there are three classes of RV, namely A, B and C, all differentiated by the amount of interior space, the size and the amenities available.
Arrange for alternative transportation in the RV plan - It will be important for travelers to include an alternative way of getting around after finally arriving at the destination. Bringing a car, a scooter or a couple of bikes will make transportation easier, other than having to drive a larger motorhome.
One thing that takes a while to perfect and is most frequently overlooked in the early stages of RVing is the packing list. Here are a couple references to help with your packing list:
TVforMyRV.com’s Guide to Buying Solar Charging Kits and Installing Solar Panels or Charging Kits to Your RV or Motorhome
Things can be extremely expensive these days. The economy seems to be heading down and gas prices seem to steadily climb. With things being so expensive it helps to find affordable alternatives. Electricity is expensive, and in an RV sometimes electricity is hard to come by. That’s simply the price you pay when on an adventure to find new beautiful and scenic locations, but the whole point of having your motorhome is to have the comforts of home like your TV, air conditioning, Washer and dryer, etc. Thanks to technology we have a pretty simple way to plug right into nature.
That’s right more and more RVers are harnessing the affordable, free power of the sun. RV Solar Charging Kits are an affordable alternative to high electric bills. They have the added bonus of being environmentally friendly by not pumping harmful pollution into the air and ground. You can also install solar panels yourself onto your RV with little time and difficulty. That being said, if the only RVing you do is at a park with full hook-ups, solar panels probably aren’t for you. If we’re talking dollars and sense, the only way you will make your money back on an RV solar charging system is if you want creature comforts away from where you can easily tap into them.
Solar panels come in different sizes and you can pick the ones you want based on your need. You can get an iPhone case with a solar panel built into it that will charge your phone when in direct sunlight. A slightly larger solar panel kit can be used to charge your laptop wherever you go.
Or you can get an RV solar charging kit that will run your motor home. Stay out in the woods for a week and live comfortably in the wild. It is not hard to set up the system yourself.
Before you pick an RV solar charging kit you will want to figure out just how much electricity you actually use. You will need to make a list of every piece of electrical equipment used in your RV. This includes the Air conditioning, lights, washer & dryer, dishwasher, and even TV. After you have your list figure out which items are battery powered and which us an alternating current. When you’re done with your list right down next to it how long you keep each of these items on. By adding them all together you will have your estimated total Amp hours.
You can look at solar panels simply as a giant battery charger. There are a couple things that make charging your RV battery bank a little trickier with solar panels. First you’re relying on the sun and it’s availability. Second, we have to keep in mind that you shouldn’t use more than 50% of your batteries charge capacity. When we combine these elements with your previously calculated power usage, even when being conservative with your power, I think what you’ll find is that you’re going to need a system that is really able to generate some WATTS.
Now you have the choice of running items directly from a solar photovoltaic system or you can power up a ‘battery bank’ that you can draw electricity through. To run alternating current devices you will have to pick up a direct current converter to hook up to them.
For a perfect performance of RV solar panel power a person will need direct sunlight, for long periods of time, in perfect weather with a temperature around 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25c). The weather generally does not want to cooperate and be perfect all the time but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get a good amount of wattage from the solar panels.
The average person is going to use about 90 watts of power. So you’ll want a panel that can run about 125 watts to be on the safe side. A 125 watt panel is ideal for people who like their television.
What everyone really wants to know is what kind of usage they can get with solar panels when boondocking. Here are some general real world tests that will at least provide you with an idea of what to expect:
In “ideal” conditions, if you go do some day activities and have very little power usage throughout the day you can typically take your battery charge from around 55% to 98% using a 130 Watt system. When I say ideal, I mean mid 70′s all day and panels in direct sunlight.
With general and recreational power usage such as running laptop, random electronics like the fridge, and watching the TV, internet shopping. etc. totaling approximately 110 amp hours will probably push you over the days charge.
When installing your RV solar charging kit try to make sure the panels are always perpendicular to the sun. For the Do-it-yourselfers, you can watch a video tutorial below to see just how easy it is to install a solar charging system onto your RV.
The Now let us move onto the best solar panels for your RV. The best on the market by far is the Samlex Solar 130Watt Complete RV Solar charging kit. It costs about $900 – $1200 dollars but comes with everything you need to get your RV or mobile home charged by the sun. The kit comes with everything you need for easy installation (other then the drill). It has reinforced solar glass that harnesses the power of the sun while taking a beating from the elements. With an aluminum frame it will stand strong against high winds and piles of snow.
The Samlex Solar 130Watt solar charging kit has the capability of charging 30 Amp, and has eight different charge settings for different batteries. There is a dual voltage capability that can be hard to find in other models. It comes with a stunning digital LCD display to show the voltage. This is your everything kit and it can be easily expanded.
If you need a smaller wattage size it also comes in 50 watts, 85 watts, and 120 watts. The Samlex also comes with a 5 year warranty and a 25 year power warranty.
The next RV solar charging kit is the Go Power! 95 Watt solar kit. This one comes with a 25-year panel warranty. It costs around $500 – $600 dollars and can charge 5.45 amps of battery per hour. This kit will charge even in overcast weather.
This is one of the smallest panels on the market that can still pull a ton of power from the sun. It comes with a 25 amp charge controller so if you want to ad more panels you can without changing the regulator. It is easy to install. You can’t really go wrong with Go Power!
The last one is Solar Trickle Charger like The SunCharger SC-10. This10-Watt portable solar panel is designed for trickle charging of 12 V rechargeable Lead Acid batteries like those used in cars, boats, RV’s, motorcycles, All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) and Powered Water Crafts (PWC).
Features Included in the SC-05:
- Perfect for maintaining the battery in your car, boat, RV or motor bike while it’s in storage
- Plug into any connected 12V lighter socket to begin trickle charging your battery
- Maintenance free and good for the environment- Extends the life of your batteries,
save on replacement costs
- Ultra slim, compact and weather-proof, won’t rust!
- Rugged, durable construction – no metal or glass
- Comes with 10 ft of weather resistant cable and a standard cigar lighter plug
- Integrated blocking diodes to prevent discharge from the battery
- 10 Watt maximum output
This solar charger has a sturdy frame and performs well on cloudy days. For the price, since the others are so high, these work pretty well. You might need more then one though if you are just trying to charge a small travel trailer they won’t steer you wrong.
Your best bet is the Samlax system, it is guaranteed to last longer then the other two even if you have to put in a little extra money for it.
Some Simple Tips to Remember to Make Solar Charging Your RV more Efficient
When powering your RV off grid, you are either relying on a generator or solar power to keep your batteries charged. Most people are seeking solar panels to power their motor homes as a more cost effective power source. If that is the case then considering some energy efficient basics will really help improve performance.
When it comes to energy efficiency, newer is better.
• Use LED lights for your RV
Upgrading your RV lighting is a much greater benefit than you may think. Did you know that you can run approximately 25 LED light per 1 50 watt bulb in your RV?
• Newer flat screen TVs are much more energy efficient
• Do the math. Figure out your daily usage and begin practicing energy
management techniques to conserve power.
• Seams obvious, but turn stuff off.
• Unplug electronic devices you’re not using.
Expanding Your RV Solar Panels
Many people find that they need more coverage. Effectively powering your RV with Solar Panels takes realestate. Many RVers find that the system they start with isn’t performing “up to parr”. If this is the case, you can always use a solar expansion kit to expand the system you have. For instance if you already have a Samlex RV Solar Charging system, you can increase your RV charging capacity by adding additional solar panels to your previous installation.
The Samlex SRV-130 RV Solar Expansion Kit comes with a premium quality, 130 Watt solar panel, weatherproof cables and connectors, and mounting hardware with the nuts and bolts required to flat mount the solar panel on the roof of the RV or any other flat surface.
Solar panel dimensions : 57.91″ X 26.22″ X 1.38″
Max Current – 8 Amps
Max Open Circuit Voltage – 21.5Volts
These kits are great for staying green. There is money that has to be put up first but in the long run will definitely help your wallet feel better.
Just remember if you want to install solar panels to your RV you should see what the total power you use is, try to calculate your costs and the system size you will need (there are websites that help you do this), and then estimate your energy savings and how much you will get back. Once you have done this you can go hunting for the perfect RV solar charging kit for you and your lifestyle needs.
What Mount Should You Choose in order to Mount a TV Flush to the wall in your RV or Motorhome?
There are a lot of different TVs and mounting brackets to choose from and with many 5 year and older rvs, updgrading to a more energy efficient flat screen tv this becomes a very common question. Here at TVforMyRV, we carry a wide selection of RV TV mounts and brackets pretty much all from MORryde and Bello, so let’s take a look at some of these solutions.
Here at TVforMyRV, we have two additional wall mounts from MORryde to help mount your tv as flush against the wall as possible.
The MORryde TV1-001 is a very sturdy mount that provides some swivel function for your larger tvs, but does not include any tilt function. If you want to put the larger tv at 32″ or even larger tv flush against the wall or at least as close as you can get it and have it still be very secure the tv1-002 is the one you want to use for that situation.
The TV 1-001 has a distance of approximately 4 1/4″ from the wall. Both the TV1-001 and -002 use the same locking mechanism. There are two screws that go in from the outside at the bottom and when you remove those screws the bottom lifts out and the bottom lifts off leaving them wall portion attached to the wall and tv portion attached to the tv.
Another type of bracket that’s common especially for smaller tvs is just a small tight to the wall fixed bracket that doesn’t really go anywhere. We have several choices for you to choose from, if you’re looking for something small and compact just to hold the tv in one spot, The MORryde TV 5-004 is perfect for that and the MORryde TV 5-004 is only 3/4″ thick from the wall to the back of your tv. It will allow up to a one hundred by one hundred millimeter tv, typically up to 19″ or 22″ and it comes with two wall plates so that you can have it use the same bracket for the tv in two different locations.
Another model available from MORryde is the 5-002 and this also uses the same wedge mounting plate you can mount this a little higher on the wall and tilt the TV down a little bit for better viewing or even swivel the tv a little bit if it needs to be swiveled. It comes with two mounting plates to use it in several locations. The MORryde 5-002 is approximately 2 3/4″ from the wall to the back of your TV.
Another heavy-duty alternative is the Bello 7420, now this does not have any swivel function but it does have tilt function and is a very sturdy bracket once again with a removable slide plate. The Bello 7420 is gonna be approximately 2.5″ form the wall to the back of your TV.
Another benefit to the Bello 7420 is that it does come with the adapter wing plates to go up to a two hundred by two hundred millimeter mounting pattern which allows you to put up to typically a 32″ TV on this mount and still hold it securely to the wall and provide some tilt function.
We talked earlier about the Bello 7440 and 7465 using a common mounting plate; you need to be aware that the Bello 7420 mounting plate is NOT compatible with the other two Bello Mounts.
Popular Types of RV TV Mounts In today’s media-centric society, hitting the open road no longer means leaving it all behind. The consumer electronics market has...
Hi Don Sweger from TV for my RV. In this video, I want to show you the Easy Reel from MORride and how to install it on your Motorhome or RV.
For those of us who have a 30 or 50 amp extension cords or a detachable power cord for your RV, there’s always a question about what do you do with that cord. Do you just wind it up and throw it on the floor in the basement?
That takes up a lot of space and then it quickly becomes inconvenient to get it back out when you need it.
Well, the Easy Real from MORride provides a safe, quick and convenient way to store that cord right in your motorhome or RV.
The way the easy real works, is you simply insert the head of your cable in between those spots and then wind it in.
We’re putting this into a front compartment on our motorhome. There are four installation screws that come with the easy real they are suited for installation into a wooden or plastic type of floor.
If you happen to be installing this into a compartment that’s lined in sheet metal, you would want to choose other fasteners something like a self drilling or self tapping sheet metal screw. Put the head in there and simply crank it in.
The reason I kept this area open a little bit is to leave some space to put my air hose in there.
This way it keeps both of these items that we don’t use that often tucked away and still leaves the
rest to the compartment floor space for other things.
Get your MORryde Easy Reel online at www.TVforMyRV.com
From the rocky shores of Pacific Northwest to the white sands and surf of SoCal, the West Coast truly is the ultimate RV vacation. The views are amazing, the weather is whatever you want it to be and the possible destinations are seemingly endless. Here are five places to stop along the way that will take you all the way down the coast and land you some fun in the sun when the journey’s done.
This is one of the most consistently high-rated RV resorts in Washington State. They are open year-round and even offer some very attractive seasonal rates should visitors wish to enjoy an extended stay in the Pacific Northwest. It features over 100 sites, many pull-through and spacious to accommodate big rigs (up to 70 feet) and pop-outs.
Every site offers a host of amenities including water, 20/30/50 hookups, blazing fast WiFi, cable television and trash removal, all at no extra charge. It is also the closest RV resort to all of the best outdoor activity Spokane has to offer. You are literally minutes from some incredible fishing, mountain climbing and hiking.
Toppenish boasts at least 290 days of sunshine every year, makes this the ideal spot for an incredible outdoor vacation and Yakama Nation RV Park is regarded by many as the ideal place to enjoy it. They offer 125 camp sites with full hookups and free WiFi. Only 30 sites have cable RV TV access, so be sure to specify it if it is a real concern. They also offer tent camping and even have 14 authentic teepees for rent.
There is an abundance of wide-open space and a host of amenities here. Among them are a gorgeous outdoor pool area, hot tub, two saunas, fitness center, hiking and walking trails, basketball court, onsite laundry, spotless bathing and restroom facilities, outdoor picnic pavilions and many other features to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. Coupled with the Legends Casino and other local attractions, this is the perfect place to park for a week of both indoor and outdoor play (or more, of course!).
No trip through Oregon would be complete without at least a stop in Portland, and what would make it even better would be a STAY at a great RV park just outside town. Portland is one of America’s most eclectic and beautiful cities and it also rests in the middle of an incredible natural landscape making it easy to enjoy the call of nature one day and experience the energy of this amazing city the next. Just a warning about Portland, if you’re like me and happened to visit on one of their gorgeous summer days and you get an overwhelming urge to move there, make sure you come back and visit during the rainy season — which happens to be the other 10 months of the year.
Fairview has everything you would expect of an RV resort located so close to a major tourist hub. The grounds are well manicured and landscaped, the sites are comfortable and spacious and every imaginable amenity is available here including swimming pool, hot tub, fitness center, and clubhouse and group event facilities. Even better, they have reduced rates in effect right now so now is the time to call and book a site here!
Set on a charming wooded landscape and regarded by many to be northern California’s nicest RV facility, Pomo RV Park is the perfect blend of comfort and simplicity. You won’t find activities directors organizing Bocce tournaments here but you will find good old-fashioned peace and quiet and a host of camping-related activities both onsite and off. The fishing in this area is so abundant they even provide an area for fish cleaning and preparation. Amenities are very rustic and include coin-operated showers and laundry, a sports field, horseshoe pits, and group meeting facilities. It’s the perfect place to stay for a fun and rugged outdoor vacation.
Located just 30 minutes outside Los Angeles, the Californian is situated amidst a vibrant equestrian community. The amenities here are simple but the atmosphere is the polar opposite of the big city. Still, the property has a particular Southern California look and feel to it and it is the perfect spot to relax after a day of sightseeing or outdoor adventures. All sites have full hookups, wireless Internet and cable TV. There is an outdoor pool and spa as well as both indoor and outdoor cooking facilities. They offer daily, weekly and monthly rates and are conveniently located just off the freeway for easy access to the city.
Taking a tour of the West Coast by RV is nothing short of a great adventure and with places like these to stay along the way, it just gets better with every mile.
The Ins and Outs of RV “Boondocking” – What You Need to Know About Rules & Etiquette
We’ve covered some of the best RV parks and destinations around the country in past blog posts, but we haven’t really talked about where RVers stay in between destinations. Some people call this dry camping, others call it overnight parking, but for the sake of this post, I’m going to refer to it as boondocking. Now I’m not talking about setting up camp for long periods of time, I’m talking about staying for a few hours to a couple of days in a relatively safe location with little accommodations. We have criss-crossed the country several times in our motorhome, often dragging a 25’ trailer along with us, going to and from various RV shows and Rallies. Most of the time we have a long way to go, and a short time to get there. We simply don’t have time and luxury to go into a campground and set up for the night, in order to get some much needed sleep. Boondocking becomes a much needed place to sleep and rest up for the next 750 mile day, and also re-stock the kitchen as needed.
Some RV travelers are looking to be more thrifty in their adventures while others may just need to briefly catch some shut-eye. While the reasons for boondocking vary, the logistics of it remain the same, and there are “rules” of boondocking, just as there are “rules” of the road. Here’s what you need to know about good places to stay and how to go about boondocking.
FIRST OF ALL, THERE ARE RULES
As with many things, I’ve found that being polite and courteous will go a long way. It is also good to note that many boondocking sites require a little discretion. Free overnight parking and dry camping is offered as a courtesy by some businesses, camp sites, and lodges. These venues certainly don’t have to offer free services. You should always ask the manager for permission before settling in for the night. Not only is this polite, but it also makes your intentions known so that the manager and staff are at ease with your presence.
While boondocking, you should consider yourself a guest, and be courteous to your host. Don’t cause a big, obnoxious scene by rolling out your awning, setting up your lawn chairs, and firing up the barbecue in their parking lot – it’s rude. Not only will it reflect poorly on you, it could very well ruin it for other RVers. Show appreciation to a business by offering patronage – if they have a gas station, fill your tank. If you are low on toiletries or groceries, restock in their store. Before heading on down the road to your next destination, be sure to leave your site free of garbage or debris, even cleaning up after other folks…..
NOW, WHERE CAN I STAY FOR FREE?
RETAIL PARKING LOTS
Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club have a welcoming corporate policy toward RV travelers, and it seems many RVers have taken advantage of their hospitality. The most popular and well-known overnight parking is offered by Wal-Marts across the nation, but it is important to check with store managers as policy can change from state-to-state and store-to-store. Some locations even offer extra peace of mind with security guards who patrol the parking lot. Many Wal-Mart locations are open 24-hours and have ample parking, making the destination easy to navigate, convenient, and price-savvy.
Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop, and Outdoor World have been known to allow overnight RV parking. Many Cabela’s locations have a dedicated RV area with dump stations and (occasionally) hookups, although more amenities are sometimes offered at a price. Some Cabelas also offer a place to unload, feed and water horses… ( I know, not that many RVers haul their horses along. Buy hey, it happens.) Some RVers steer clear of these retailers simply because (like kids in a candy store) a free night’s stay ends up costing a lot more in merchandise!
Other Big Box Stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Kmart have accommodated overnight RV parking, but like all other retailers, it would be a good idea to check with store managers beforehand.
Since we traveled the same Interstate routes a lot, we even keep a log of every boondock stop, making notes about ease of access, noise, and other factors which help us find our favorite sleeping spots on future trips.
TRUCK STOPS AND REST STOPS
While not always ideal (and sometimes not even safe), there are many truck stops and rest areas that allow overnight parking. Some Pilot travel centers and all Flying J locations welcome RV travelers and offer RV dumps, bulk propane, dedicated RV fuel lanes and even free overnight parking. These locations are great stopping points on a long journey, if you can sleep through the bustling of trucks and other vehicles coming and going. If you plan on staying at another truck stop, be mindful of the truckers coming and going and be sure to ask permission from the business manager. Remember, those trucks are there because it is their livelihood. Please give them the right of way, and try to stay out of their way.
As a rule, I recommend avoiding overnight stays in public rest stops. If you are unfamiliar with the area and there isn’t a lot of highway traffic, you can easily become a sitting target. Busy rest areas are sometimes okay, as they tend to be patrolled by police officers. Be mindful of the posted rules and regulations if you feel you must stay in a rest area.
Plenty of information about boondocking, dry camping and overnight parking is available online. RV forums are full of travel enthusiasts willing to share their experiences and advice on the subject, so don’t be afraid to ask around! Here are three great links to more information:
If your RV travels have you visiting our lovely Southwest, these top RV Parks may be worth a stop.
The Southwestern United States makes for some great road trips, especially traveling by RV! The year-round moderate climate is always conducive to camping along with a host of other outdoor activities, and when looking for places to stay there are plenty of options for getting back to nature, cooling off or discovering the meaning of, “…but it’s a dry heat!” Here are a few ideas for parks in the Southwest that rank consistently high with visitors from across the country.
We’d like to give a special thanks to June’s Giveaway Winner for the $50 Visa Gift Card.
It turns out J. Lindros of NY is a regular customer here at TVforMyRV.com and wanted to know if he could get $75 in store credit instead of the gift card. Typically, the gift we give away is the gift we give away, but we love our customers, so we said to heck with the rules! $75 in store credit it is!
That gave us some good ideas for the future, so watch out for our upcoming giveaways.
Headin’ South? Here are some great RV Parks to check out while you’re passing through the Southern US:
The south is is a great region for travel by RV. With most states having at least a bit of shoreline, there are no shortages of things to see and do and there are beaches galore to visit from coast to coast. For those who enjoy staying further inland, there are also plenty of places to stay and play. Traveling rom East to West, here are some ideas of places to stay that are sure to make your summer RV excursion truly memorable.
Part 3 in our RV Travel Destination Series: Top RV Parks in the Midwestern United States
The midwest offers a vast number of great destinations and some of the best camping anywhere. There are so many national treasures in this region, both man-made and natural, it can be a tough decision was to where to actually visit. Here are a few recommended places should you decide to take that kind of trip or even just find a quiet spot to park for a week of outdoor fun.
The MORryde Easy Reel Power Cord Spooler is not only convenient and easy, it’s now easier on the pocket book with tremendous savings at www.TVforMyRV.com
This month’s featured product at www.TVforMyRV.com is the MORryde Easy Reel – RV Easy Electrical Cord Storage for only $184.00 a savings of over $45.00
The RV lifestyle comes with an assortment of cords and hoses to go with your portable kind of living. After a while picking up to go can become a real pain in the power cord. Finding ways to take the hassle out of the little things that quickly become a pain, make your travel experience much more enjoyable.