How to Disinfect a Contaminated Fresh Water Tank in Your Minnesota Motor Home

The fresh water tank is one of the most important parts of your RV because you use that water to shower, clean dishes, do laundry, brush your teeth and even drink. So what happens when the water is not tasting so fresh?  You may have somehow contaminated the fresh water tank and it might need a good round of disinfecting. Not to worry, though. This can happen to just about anyone.

Being on the road all the time sometimes means we’ll have to get water from a not-so-good source (though we don’t know it’s “not-so-good” at the time). If this should happen to you, there is a pretty simple process that can be done over night to disinfect the entire system. Trust me, you’ll be extremely happy with the results.

First, you’ll need to drain all of the bad water out of the tank. Then, mix one cup of household bleach with a gallon of water and pour it into your water tank. Once you’ve done that, go ahead and fill the fresh water tank from a trusted, clean source. When its full, turn the water pump on and go to every faucet, shower, toilet and anywhere you use fresh water. Run them all until you smell bleach. Don’t forget to run both cold and hot water. Once you can smell the bleach, turn off the pump and leave the system overnight.

On the following day, go ahead and drain the fresh water tank and refill it with clean water. Go back to all of the places you ran the water yesterday and run them until you no longer smell bleach (this may take an additional filling of the water tank). When you no longer smell bleach, your Minnesota RV fresh water tank is sanitized and ready to use again! See, that wasn’t so bad now was it?

Stay Warm Inside and Outside Your RV During the Minnesota Winter

Though many people choose to winterize their RVs or head south for the winter, I know there are some of you out there who absolutely love RVing during these months. If you’re new to the RV world and you are planning to do some RVing this winter, staying warm will be key to ensuring you have a great time. After all, no one wants to spend their trip bundled up and shivering. For the most part, your RV furnace will do the job. But it’s always good to have a back up plan, like a portable heater, if something goes wrong and the furnace stops working.

Portable heaters have many advantages for RVers. There typically pretty small and can easily be stored away . They are great at quickly and quietly heating up a room in your RV without using too much energy.  Be sure to shut off the room you are heating from the rest of the RV, though, to contain the heat. I like to use a portable heater during the night so I don’t have to burn through the battery- or generator-powered furnace. So before you go to sleep, you can turn off the furnace, close your bedroom door and sleep soundly and warmly. They are also great for those chilly days and nights when you want to sit outside and enjoy nature.

One of my favorite portable heaters is the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy. Don’t be fooled by the name, this little guy is capable of heating up to 200 square feet and has a fold-down handle for compact storage. It also has an automatic low oxygen shutoff system and an accidental tip-over safety shutoff. You can find it for about $100 at Wal-Mart and even cheaper at online stores like Amazon.com.

A word of caution, though… if you plan on using a portable generator, be sure you understand how to use it. For instance, if you plan to use it in the bedroom, be sure to set it somewhere away from anything that can ignite. This includes your bedding, clothing and curtains. As I mentioned before, these little portable heaters give off a lot of heat. I’ve heard of the rubber on people’s shoes even melting from propping their feet up too close to the heater. Try to always keep the heater at least five feet away from yourself. If you close off the rest of the RV, I promise the room you are heating will quickly become toasty with the heater sitting in the far corner. Stay safe and warm out there, Minnesota winter-loving RVers!

The La Salle Lake State Recreation Area is Now Open to the Public with 40 Slots for Minnesota RVs

Hey Minnesota RVers, have you heard the news? Our great state has opened a new, 1,000-acre parcel State Recreation Area. The La Salle Lake State Recreation Area (SRA) is home to Minnesota’s second deepest lake, a cold water stream, high-quality forest and wetlands and more than a half-mile of Mississippi River Headwaters shoreline. And now we can park our RVs in one of the 40 full hook-up slots and enjoy this beautiful land! The new park also has several year-round cabins and an indoor recreation facility with a pool and a kitchen.

Hunting and trapping opened a few weeks ago, so for those of you RV owners who love to hunt, you’re definitely going to want to plan a trip soon. Love to take fishing trips in your RV? The 221-acre La Salle Lake is 213 feet deep and supports walleye, bluegill, northern pike and crappie populations.

For those of you who love nature, the park’s forested landscape features red and jack pine forests and woodlands, large white pine, balsam fir and white spruce forests, and a high quality old-growth northern white cedar forest.

Be sure to add this new campground to your 2012 RV travel list, Minnesota! If you don’t currently own an RV, but you’re thinking about buying a new or used RV for 2012, come see us at one of our four locations! Not ready to make a purchase? Pleasureland has excellent deals on Minnesota RV rentals. Either way, you can always stop by and say hello!

Spice Up Your Minnesota RV Kitchen for Halloween!

Halloween is almost here, Minnesota RVers! How are you planning on spending the holiday? If you’re on the road during this time, you should check out the local scene of some nearby towns. Small towns tend to go all out for Halloween, and I’m sure you’ll be able to find some great festivities. You can also decorate your RV and give out candy to trick-or-treaters at the RV park. One thing you can do regardless of how you choose to spend Hallow’s eve is prepare some classic Halloween recipes! Here are two of my favorites for this time of year.

Popcorn Balls

Popcorn balls are a great treat for giving away.  The are super simple and easy to make! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter (no substitutes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • candy thermometer

First place the popcorn in a large bowl and set it aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, corn syrup, butter and salt and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue cooking, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 270 degrees F. Then remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and stir until it looks evenly coated. Once it’s cooled enough for you to handle, mold the popcorn into your preferred size ball shape and set out on a cooking sheet.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Whether you like them sweet, salty or spicy, roasting pumpkin seeds make a perfect Halloween snack. You can also carve the pumpkin afterward and use it for decoration!

First you’ll need to buy a pumpkin(s) and cut a hole in the top around the trunk and dig out the inside of the pumpkin. Next, rinse the pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. This step is easiest to do right after you’ve gutted the pumpkin so the pulp doesn’t dry.

Next, oil up a baking sheet (you can also use non-stick cooking spray) and spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on the sheet. Sprinkle with your desired spices and bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes or until the seeds toasted. Be sure to check on your seeds about 10 minutes in and stir them around on the baking sheet.

When they’ve finished baking, let them cool and store them in an air-tight container to enjoy for later! Here’s a great video on how to do this for you visual learners out there!

Minnesota Wildlife – Black Bears

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

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

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

Reducing Bear Encounters

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

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

Dear Minnesota RV Drivers, Be Sure to Watch For Deer

Deer are generally an elusive animal, and if you’re lucky, you may get to see in their natural habitat. Most often your best chance of getting a glimpse of this animal is early in the quiet, calm morning near a river or lake or even roaming around your Minnesota campsite. One place you do not expect (or in the least bit desire) to have an encounter with a deer is out on the open road in your RV.

The danger of having an accident involving a deer while driving is mostly unavoidable. Coincidentally, the high risk months (October, November and December) for deer collisions are upon us. These months happen to be the mating and migration season for deer, which only increase a motorist’s chance of having a close encounter with one. As it just so happens, we Minnesota folk fall at the eighth spot in the top 10 list of the most high risk states, with the odds of a deer collision in the next 12 months being 1 in 98. Think you can guess which state has the fewest encounters with deer? Would you be surprised to hear that it’s Hawaii; with the odds being 1 in 6,267? Shocking, I know!

So for those of us at risk, there are some things to do and not to do that can help us avoid a deer/RV collision. The following are precautions given by Consumer Report to take into account, in order to lessen your risk of being another statistic.

  • Slow down. Watch for deer especially around dawn and between the hours of 6-9 p.m. (When they are most active.)
  • Be aware. Look out for deer-crossing signs and wooded areas where deer or other animals would likely travel. And if you travel the same route to and from work every day, you might find deer consistently grazing in the same fields. Make a mental note of when and where you regularly see these animals.
  • Be alert. If you see an animal on the side of the road, slow down, and, at night, when traffic permits, put on your high-beams for greater visibility.
  • Brake, don’t swerve. Swerving to avoid an animal can put you at risk for hitting another vehicle or losing control of your own car. It can also confuse the animal as to which way to go. Just slow down as quickly and safely as you can. Your odds of surviving an accident are better hitting an animal than another car.
  • Assume they have friends. The phrase “where there’s one, there’s usually more” often holds true. Deer travel in groups, so if you see one run across the road, expect others to follow.
  • Don’t rely on deer whistles. The whims of wild animals are not beholden to this technology.
  • Buckle up. A seat belt is your best defense for minimizing your risk in a crash. An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study found that 60 percent of the people killed in animal-vehicle collisions weren’t wearing seat belts.

The good news, however, is that State Farm Insurance reported that deer collisions have been on the decline for the last three years, with the past year’s decline almost twice than that of the two years prior combined. We all need to be careful out there during this time of year, including my fellow Minnesotan RV enthusiasts.

Bag Up Your Omelets on the Road Minnesota RVers

When you think about making breakfast in your RV that is both simple and quick and doesn’t require a whole lot of cleanup, generally only a few things come to mind. You have things like cereal, toast, maybe a breakfast bar… but having something a little more complicated (like an omelet) usually doesn’t sound too appealing given the space to work with in an RV. Get ready though, because those mornings of omelet free breakfasts on the campgrounds are over! No need to dirty up your skillet or try and master that folding technique for the perfect omelet shape. Now you can have the perfect omelet that comes right out of the bag. Not just any bag of course, but straight from your trusty Ziploc bag. (Yields one omelet.)

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of ham, chopped (optional)
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon green or red bell pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons red tomato, chopped (optional)
  • 2 fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chunky salsa (optional)

Directions

  1. Crack open two eggs and put them into a sandwich size Ziploc baggy. Press most of the air out of the bag before sealing. Shake or squeeze the bag in order to beat the eggs.
  2. Open the bag and add the desired ingredients above.
  3. Squeeze out as much air as you can from the bag and reseal.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the bag into the water and let boil for 13 minutes.
  5. Open the bag and let the now cooked omelet slide out onto a plate. (Your omelet should slide or roll out of the baggy with ease.)

Know of any other simple breakfast ideas to make in your RV? Share the wealth!

Zap the Sap on Your RV Minnesota

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

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

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

Camping Goes Glamping

Glamping – or glamorous camping – is the latest in RV trends as it offers a new perspective for the luxury camper while offering upscale conveniences. Glamping takes traditional camping to a whole new level while putting a little bit of glamour to the alternative of ‘roughing it.’ Glamping is perfect for those camp goers that desire more well-appointed accommodations, including luxury cabins, tree houses, and much more. Oh, and did I mention there are campgrounds that even offer the ladies manicures and facials?

The following is a list of locations in Minnesota that offer the camp goer an all-star glamping experience:

  • Arrowwood Resort – This luxury resort offers a wide variety of activities including a luxury evening cruise on Lake Darling.
  • Caribou Highlands Lodge – Get pampered by a certified massage therapist at The Superior Waters Spa and Wellness Center.
  • Madden’s on Gull Lake – This resort has three sand beaches stretching over a mile on the beautiful Gull Lake.
  • Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge – Tucked into the trees on this outdoor wonderland is the Fine Line Salon & Spa where you can enjoy a facial, massage or a body wrap.
  • Trapper’s Landing Lodge – Stay in these luxury units that face the shoreline of Leech Lake and take advantage of their outdoor pools and sauna.

Next time you are trying to convince those affluent travelers to hitch a ride on your RV you might want to show them how Glamping can surpass any five-star hotel experience. Know of any other Glamping type activities or have you yourself ever gone Glamping? Tell about your experience, we’d love to hear about it!

Stay Awake at the Wheel of Your RV Minnesota

Photo courtesy of TomandHelenLove

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) estimated that nearly two-thirds of adult Americans experience a sleeping problems several nights during the week, and 43 percent say they are so tired that it interferes with there daily activities. For RVers, this can be especially problematic considering we spend a lot of time driving down the road.

The U.S. National Highway Safety Administration estimates that fatigued drivers contribute to roughly 100,000 highway crashes and cause 1,500 deaths per year. It’s been said that people who have been awake for longer than 17 hours perform worse than someone with a .05 BAC! Hard to believe, isn’t it? Similar to alcohol, sleepiness slows reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs your judgment.

Though most people turn to caffeine when they are tired, this will only temporarily work. If you are sleep deprived and drink coffee, you could even experience brief four or five minute naps called “micro-sleeps”.  In those short five seconds, your RV can travel more than 100 yards at only 55 miles an hour.

The next time your about to head out on the road, please make sure you get a full night of rest before. If you ever feel drowsy, there’s no shame in pulling over at taking a brief nap.

The NSF also recommends the following:

  1. Learn to recognize and pay attention to the warning signs of fatigue. Take a break if you experience wandering or disconnected thoughts, yawn repeatedly, have difficulty focusing or keeping your eyes open, or find yourself missing traffic signs or tailgating other drivers.
  2. Don’t count on tricks like turning up the radio or opening the window for fresh air to keep you awake—these things will help for only a short while.
  3. If you’re planning on driving a long distance, drive during the time of the day when you are normally awake.
  4. Also, if possible, have someone accompany you and talk with that person while driving. It’s a good idea for your passenger to stay awake, too, so that he or she can let you know if you are showing signs of sleepiness.
  5. On longer trips, schedule a break (in a safe area) every two hours or every 100 miles and stop sooner if you show any signs of sleepiness.