What to Look for in the Bathroom of Your Next New or Used Minnesota RV

2013 FIFTH WHEEL Winnebago Lite Five

So it’s time to start shopping for that new or pre-owned RV before the season gets full under way. Looks like you’ve got quite a few decisions to make in the near future!

When it comes to RV shopping, most people think of “the big picture”. What class RV, what manufacturer, what size, etc. There are, however, some other features you should take into consideration when deciding on the right Minnesota RV for you.

My favorite example is the bathroom. If you are planning on spending a lot of time on the road or becoming a full-timer, the bathroom features should be high on your list of things to check out in each of the RVs you are considering.  Here are some general tips you should keep in mind while RV shopping that will ensure you are happy with your bathroom.

  1. The shower stall needs to be 36 inches wide to give you room to turn around comfortably.
  2. The shower head needs to be mounted high enough so the spray is at least hitting you in the face, but not too high that it sprays over the shower door/curtain.  If it’s too low, you’ll have to duck down just to get your head under the water.
  3. A shower door is much better than a shower curtain.  You’ll always end up with water on the floor with a shower curtain.  And since RVs have small showers anyway, you’re pretty much guaranteed to make a mess of the room if you have a shower curtain.
  4. A 10-gallon water heater  will allow you to run the water continually. A 6-gallon will require you to wet down, shut the water off off, soap up, then turn the water back on to rinse off.  Believe me, if you’re living in your RV, the 10-gallon water heater is the way to go!
  5. If you live in the Great White North, moving your RV trailer in the winter when the temperatures are below freezing isn’t a good idea.  Cold plastic showers become brittle at those temperatures, and they will most likely crack.  I found out the hard way and had to replace the shower walls on my 37-foot fifth wheel trailer.

The next time you’re at the Pleasureland Minnesota RV dealership, be sure to check out the bathroom. Go ahead and climb on in the shower, sit on the toilet (may want to leave the cover on for this one) and get a feel for how much room you’ll have. After all, this is going to be your bathroom every time you’re on the road, so make sure it suits you.

 

[Source: TheFunTimesGuide.com]

How to Choose a Safe Rest Area While Traveling in Your Minnesota RV

During those longer road trips we take (from Minnesota to California for example) in our new or used Minnesota RVs, you may find yourself in need of a break that wasn’t originally part of your plan. For instance, let’s say you had planned to stay the night at a specific campsite, but unforeseen reasons have put you behind schedule and you could really use a break. This is where “rest stops” come in. If you haven’t already guessed, a rest stop should be used for exactly what its name says. A rest stop.  While the average family or person stopping at a rest stop will have a pleasant experience, there are some rest areas known to be commonplace for criminal activity and potentially dangerous situations. Luckily for us, TLC has provided some great tips on how to choose a rest stop and what do once you are there. Stay safe out there, Minnesota RVers!

Be Aware of Your Surroundings. As you pull into a rest area, it’s important you remain alert. Take note of the stop’s name or the closest mile marker, so if you have an emergency you can give the authorities your location. Avoid individuals who seem to be hanging around parking lots and restrooms; that’s a good indication he or she is up to no good. It’s also a good idea to stay away from places where criminals might hide. Don’t park beside large trucks, which can block your view of the parking lot. When you’re walking up to the building, be wary of blind corners, recessed areas and thick vegetation. A well-designed rest area will have a rectangular design with few walls or bushes behind which people could hide.

Look For Secure, Well-Lit Areas. Proper lighting can go a long way in discouraging crime at rest areas. Buildings are often well-lit, but look for places where the parking lot is illuminated as well. At night, avoid the peripheral parts of the rest area, like picnic tables, trails and surrounding woods, where illegal activity sometimes occurs. At rest stops where crime is particularly bad, frequent police patrols or even permanent security officers may be present. If this is the case, approach the trooper or security guard and ask them to look out for you while you visit the facilities, especially if you’re alone.

Choose Your Stop Carefully. While crime can occur at any time of day, a rest area is most dangerous after the sun goes down, especially if it’s isolated and empty. If you’re traveling alone at night, it might be a good idea to visit a staffed facility like a fast-food restaurant or a convenience store instead of a rest area. If you want to know how safe a rest area is before you visit it, there are a limited number of resources available to help you plan your trip. One such book is the “Interstate Travel Guide,” a directory of America’s rest stops that, among other details, employ onsite security.

Take All Reasonable Precautions. Often the simplest safety measures are enough to keep you out of trouble at a rest stop. When you pull in to a parking place, don’t linger in your car. Closed up inside with the music on, you can easily become oblivious to your surroundings, giving criminals the time and opportunity to target and confront you. When you get out of your vehicle, lock the doors to prevent theft. Also, try not to enter the rest area facilities alone. If you’re traveling with young children, see if a family restroom is available. Even older children and adults should have someone accompany them to the restroom or wait for them outside.

Don’t Spend the Night. While it may be cheap to spend the night at a rest area, it isn’t necessarily safe. Many states have banned sleeping at rest stops due to increased crime, and many others have put up signs that discourage it. Your best bet is to look for campgrounds or state parks along your route where, for a small fee, you can more safely snooze in your car. If you have to sleep at a rest area, in an RV or car, keep the doors locked and don’t open them to strangers. Talk to any strangers through the window or door, and if you feel threatened, drive away.

 

Go Green in Your Minnesota RV Part II

The phrase “going green” means different things to different people. Broadly put, going green is the process of changing one’s lifestyle for the safety and benefit of the environment. As Minnesota RVers, we spend a lot of time out in the environment. It’s clear to see that RVers love the outdoors and nature, but sometimes it’s not so clear to see that we respect it. As an RVer, it’s always important to be mindful of the environment your in and leaving it in a better state than when you first arrived.

The other day, we talked about little ways we can go green in our RVs. After all, on top of helping the environment, we’re helping our finances, as well. With April being the Earth Day month, I thought I’d share a few more tips for going green.

Water Heater. When you aren’t using your water heater (at night for example), turn it off. If you can, try to time out your showers and dishes. This one may be a little difficult for some, so just try and turn off the heater as much as possible.

Shade. Try to park your vehicle in the shade where you can during the summer and spring months. You’d be surprised at home much it helps with your A/C usage.

Organics. Use organic bug sprays and sunscreens. These are better for both you and the environment.

Dish Towels. Reduce your paper towel usage by using dish towels.

Lights. Switch to LED lights everywhere possible (i.e. cabin lights, flashlights, etc.). You could also try using motion sensor lights or timers for our outdoor lights when you’re at a campground.

Remember Minnesota, if we want our future generations to be able to enjoy the same Earth we enjoy now, we have to take care of it. For more ideas on how to go green, call Pleasureland RV.

Foil Packs: A Simple and Healthy Recipe for Minnesota RVers on the Road

There’s nothing I love more than preparing simple and healthy meals while on the road, besides sharing these great recipes with my fellow Minnesota RV travelers! What a lot of new RVers and campers don’t realize is how easy what may seem to be a complex meal can be to prepare without using any cookware. I’ve already told you how to use a Ziploc bag to make delicious omelets, and now I’ll share one of my favorite dinner recipes prepared in foil!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cubed
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 small potatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced

One of the many things I love about this recipe is that you can do most of the preparation at home or beforehand. You can also substitute any one of the ingredients to create your own version of the foil pack.

Once you have all of your supplies, let’s get to easy cooking!

Directions (Recipe Makes 4 Foil Pack)

  1. In a large bowl, or in a large zip-top bag if you are preparing this at home, combine your chicken cubes, onions, mushrooms, yellow and red bell peppers, garlic if you prefer, and cubed potatoes.
  2. Next, pour the olive oil and lemon juice over your meat and veggies, and mix well.
  3. Evenly divide the mixture between 4 large square sheets of aluminum foil. Cover each with an additional sheet of aluminum foil, and roll up all four edges tightly. For safety’s sake, wrap each packet again securely in another sheet of foil to help keep the juices and flavors in as well as to avoid losing any of your ingredients in the cooking process.
  4. Cook the foil packs on the hot coals of your campfire until the chicken is fully cooked through and the potatoes are tender. The entire cook time should take around 40 minutes, give or take the amount and size of your ingredients.

There you go, Minnesotan RVers! A hearty yet healthy, delicious and simple meal prepared on the go. Share your variations and creations with Pleasureland RV! We always love trying to new things!

Use a Central Vacuum System to Keep Your Minnesota Motorhome Nice and Clean

As I’m sure you’ve already noticed, our RV floors track attract a lot more dirt than our houses do. This is because we are always going in and out and tracking everything under the sun, from gravel to grass, back into our RV. If you’ve recently purchased a new or used RV, you’re probably already looking into your options for a vacuum.  When it comes to RVs, there are three main types of vacuums I see people using – a standard vacuum, a hand-held vacuum, and an all-in-one central vacuum system. As with all things, there are advantages and disadvantages to all three.

 

Standard Vacuum (from $70 – $500)

These are the types of vacuums you’d find in a house. You can buy them practically anywhere and they are typically the most powerful. The downside? They are large, heavy and take up a lot of space.

 

Hand-held Vacuum (from $25 – $150)

The main advantage here is how little space a hand-held takes up. But remember, a smaller vacuum equals a longer cleaning time. If you’re traveling in a smaller RV, this may be the perfect option for you.

 

All-in-One (from $300 and up)

pleasureland rv online parts store

Purchase it now at the Pleasureland RV Online Parts Store!

In my opinion, this is the best option for larger RVs. My personal favorite is the all-in-one Dirt Devil® CV950 LE.  Since this vacuum is built into a location in your RV, you’ll be saving a lot of space. You can also conveniently purchase this item at Pleasureland RV’s online parts store complete with the new Deluxe Maxumizer Kit and RugRat Handheld Turbine Powerbrush. Check it out in action.

So there are your options, Minnesota RVers. If you need any help at all with your decision, feel free to swing by one of Pleasureland RV’s four locations or give us a call.

 

Take Advantage of Fee-Free Days at National Parks this Year

Have you already started planning your destinations for this year, Minnesota RV owners? I’ll bet many of you started planning before the year even began! If you’re thinking about heading to any of our wonderful National Parks, check this out. The National Park Service is waiving admission fees on 17 days this year to encourage Americans to explore America’s natural beauty, rich history and culture!

Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, encourages everyone to visit a park near them whether or not it’s during one of the free-free days, but why not take advantage of free admission if you can? Check out the list:

  • April 21-29 (National Park Week)
  • June 9 (Get Outdoors Day)
  • September 29 (National Public Lands Day)
  • November 10-12 (Veterans Day weekend)

To top it off, many park-related hotels, restaurants, gift shops, and tour operators will also be offering specials on fee-free days. There are 397 National Parks to choose from, so you better get to planning, Minnesota RV travelers!

Make Your Life Easier and Rid Your Minnesota RV of Hard Water

Hard water can make life on the road in your Minnesota RV much more difficult than it needs to be, and if this is something you are currently experiencing, you’re going to want to fix it soon.

So what exactly is hard water?

Water that contains the hardness minerals – calcium and magnesium.

How does water become hard?

As rain water passes over the through the earth, it absorbs hardness minerals. Eventually this water flows into our lakes, rivers, streams and ground water.

What are the signs of hard water?

The most obvious sign that your water is hard is rust stains or scaling in sink, shower or toilet. Hard water is less effective at washing away dirt, so you may notice that your clothes are not getting as clean as they should be. It’s also hard to work up a good lather of shampoo or soap when you have hard water.

Other signs include a foul odor, difficulty working up a good lather of shampoo or soap, and possibly a reddish tint to you hair (this is caused by all of the iron in the water).

Technically speaking, hard water is not harmful to your health, but it will affect your ability to wash and clean efficiently. There are several remedies to this issue including portable water softeners. In my opinion this is the best option because they’re easy to use and provide soft water for one to two weeks while costing practically nothing.

If you’re experiencing hard water, take it from me… you’ll want to make it soft. Not only will it turn your tough RV cleaning jobs into easy work, you’ll also save time and money. Not to mention, you’ll probably feel much fresher after showers.  If you need any help picking out a portable water softener or would like to look at other options, give Pleasureland RV a call, or pop in one of our four locations in Ramsey, St.Cloud, Willmar or Brainerd.

Properly Store Your Minnesota RV Batteries During the Off Season

rv dealership minnesotaHave you ever stored your RV for the winter months and found that your batteries died or cracked apart while it was stored? Believe it or not, this is a common problem many RVers face when they decide to winterize their motorhomes for the winter. Especially those of us RVers who live in states where winters can be brutal.

I was watching the news last night and when the weather man said we’re were going to be in the single digits this week, I thought it’d be best to make sure all of you Minnesotans properly stored your RV’s batteries.

The majority of our RVs have parasitic drains in their electrical systems that come from various electrical components, like carbon monoxide and propane detectors, car stereos, circuit boards, LED lights, etc. Even if you have an OEM battery switch, some of these drains will remain on slowly draining the life of your battery as your RV is stored away.

This becomes an even bigger issue in freezing temperatures. Why? Because automotive batteries will freeze if they lose their charge, which can result in their splitting apart. And when batteries freeze, they are deader than dead. That’s right, a frozen battery is usually damaged beyond repair.

There are two ways to prevent this from happening when you store your RV. The first, is to make sure your batteries are charging .You can use shore power or a solar charging system. The second method, and much simpler in my opinion, is to remove the batteries all together and store them in a climate-controlled location, like your house.

If you’re not storing your RV in a climate-controlled area, and you haven’t already removed the batteries, you may want to get a move on. Those cold Minnesota temperatures are going to hit quick this week. If your battery has already cracked or drained, give Pleasureland RV a call or swing by one our four locations in Ramsey, St.Cloud, Willmar and Brainerd.

Test Your Toilet Paper Before Heading Out in Your Minnesota RV

I’m sure you’ve all done this at some point in your life… you finish up your business in the bathroom and realize that there’s nothing on the toilet paper roll but a few shreds. That’s when you look up and see a roll of papertowels sitting conveniently on top of the sink. In a normal househould, using papertowels or tissue might fly, but when it comes to our RVs, it’s a big NO-NO.

For those of you out there who have been traveling around Minnesota in your motorhome for awhile, you know better than to use anything other than toilet paper because your RV holding tank will have a really hard time breaking it down. But did you know that there are several types of toilet paper that they can’t break down either?

I’ve heard stories from RVers using a certain type of toilet paper and thinking that their black water tank was full because a piece of it got stuck to the wall and tripped the sensor. Using a brand or ply that doesn’t easily break down will also make cleaning the holding tank more difficult.

There’s a great little test you can conduct at home to determine  if your current brand will break down. Simply put a couple of sheets in a mason jar and shake it for a few seconds. Then let it sit for about 30 minutes. If they paper broke down, then you know it’s good to go!

There are specialty brands made specifically for RVs that you can find at your Minnesota RV dealership. I strongly recommend using that type or going with something extremely cheap. I know that may be difficult for some of you toilet paper snobs out there, but I’ve found that the cheaper the better (unless you opt for the RV-specific brands). Another little trick is to look on the label of the toilet paper to see if it’s good for septic tanks. These brands will also break down in your holding tank.  If the paper broke down, you know that is compatible with your RV’s holding tank.  You can also find special RV toilet paper at RV dealerships as well.  These RV specific rolls of toilet paper are usually a bit more expensive than regular toilet paper.

So before you hit the road next time, pickup some toilet paper and do the test for yourself. If you are toilet paper snob (no judgment — who doesn’t love that soft Charmin?), grab a couple of different types and see how they dissolve. If you have any questions, or want to buy RV-specific TP, then give Pleasureland RV a call or swing by one of their four locations in Ramsey, St. Cloud, Wilmer or Brainerd.

MiTAC Announes the New Magellan RoadMate RV9145 for the RV Industry

I have some exciting news for the technology lovers in the Minnesota RV world. On Friday, the MiTAC Digital Corporation announced that they will debut their newest addition to the Magellan RoadMate family: the RV9145 navigator. This new GPS navigation product is specifically designed for RVers and will make its first appearance this week at the 2012 International CES® show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

So what makes this “specific” to the RV industry? For starters, the RV9145 features an extra-large high-resolution 7″ display with customized routing based on a vehicle’s profile and driver preference. It also comes pre-loaded with maps of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico and over six million points of interest. To top it off, the RV9145 comes with the Magellan-exclusive Good Sam Trailer Life RV Parks & Campground Directory, which lists over 11,700 private campgrounds.

rv accessories minnesota

Though official images of the RoadMate RV9145 have not yet been released, it's speculated that it will be similiar to the 7-inch Magellan RoadMate Pro 9165.

Associate VP of Product Management for Magellan GPS, Stig Pedersen, said, “Our new RoadMate RV9145 GPS navigator is the ideal RV travel companion that can make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable.”

According to Pedersen, the device was designed with safety in mind, as it provides both customized routes based on the size and demands of the RV, Highway Lane Assist, and turn-by-turn spoken directions that let drivers keep their eyes on the road.

The RV9145 offers settings and adjusts routes based on a vehicle’s height, width, length and weight. The customizable route feature picks the suitable route based on driver preference, e.g., shortest distance, fastest time, using freeways, or not using freeways. Its multi-destination routing capability allows a user to plan an entire trip in one route.

Magellan’s exclusive OneTouch™ user interface lets users personalize their experience with instant access to favorite destinations and searches and external devices, such as a back-up camera, DVD player, or an iPod, can be easily utilized through the A/V input. The unit includes safety features such as Highway Lane Assist that ensures drivers choose the correct lane well before upcoming interchanges and exits, and spoken street names and directions that alert drivers when to make a turn without having to take their eyes off the road.

Though they haven’t told us exactly when this device will be on the market or given any screenshots yet, we do know it has an MSRP of $349.99. So stay tuned, Minnesota RVers! I’ll give you more details after CES Show finishes this week.