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!

How Can Full-Timers Keep Fit on the Road?

It seems as though fulltime RVing has become more and more popular over the years. This is probably because we have all of the luxuries found in our homes in our RVs. Not to mention the advancements in technology that allow us to stay connected in the real world. There is, however, one thing missing from our RVs – a gym. Sure we’ve seen the real fancy RV interiors with treadmills that come down from the ceiling, but that sure seems like an expensive way to stay in shape. You’d also have to be all right with a repetitive workout.

So what are some good ways full-timers can stay fit on the road without breaking the bank? The first, and probably the most obvious, way to do this is outdoor activities at campground. Go for a morning or nightly walk. Venture out on a hike. Not only will you get in some quality exercise, you’ll also be able to view the scenery and get familiar with your campground.

A lot of RVers will bring along a second form of transportation on their RV trips, especially if you’re traveling in a toy hauler. If you don’t already own a bicycle, consider getting one to bring on the road. Cycling is an excellent form of exercise, and as I mentioned above, you can get familiar with the campground and scenery.

For those of you with children aboard, you may have a bit of a harder time getting them out to exercise. Not to worry though, there are now really fun video games that give you a great workout right inside of the RV. These games are not only made for kids either. Adults can have just as much fun and get the same great workout. There is one little downside to this method of exercise — you’ll have to buy the game console (Nintendo Wii or xBox Kinect). If you do decide to take this route, and I strongly recommend you do especially if you have younger ones aboard, you should check out these games.


WII Fit Plus

Wii Fit Plus uses a scale-like controller, It uses a Wii balance board which does the weight and calculates your body mass. You can customize your routine and work out on specific target areas. Has cool stuff like yoga and strength training.

 

Active Life: Outdoor Challenge

You run, you jump, you tilt, you pump your arms and before you know it, you’ll find yourself lying on the floor listening to your heart pump madly in your chest. This collection of energetic mini-games is a bit of a mixed bag in the fun department, but it will sure make you work, and you can play it with a friend.


Xbox 360 Kinect – Your Shape Fitness Evolved

This game talks you through and walks you through the exact movements you need to get in shape. When you type in your age, weight and habits it will make sure not to over do it on your work out.  It has things like Tai Chi and yoga.


Kinect Sports

Full body controller. Work out and have fun with your family!

 

So full-time Minnesota RV owners, how do you plan on keeping fit on the road?

7 Tips For Backing Up and Parking Your New RV

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

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

7 Tips For Parking & Backing Up RVs

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

[The Fun Times Guide]

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

 

The Boondocking Code of Ethics

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

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

Blacktop Boondocking Rules

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[The Escapees]

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

Rules for Boondocking in the Boonies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Number One Source for North American RV Park Reviews

Hey fellow RVers, I have found the perfect web site for picking a campground! From rates to reviews, this site has it all! Whether you’re the type of person who likes to strategically map out your camping spots or if you like to decide at the last minute, it doesn’t matter. This site is fully compatible with smartphones!

First, you select Mexico, the U.S. or Canada. Then you can choose your desired province/state and narrow your selection even further (see image below). Once you’ve chosen your area, you’ll see reviews of all the campgrounds nearby.

 

Once you’ve selected a campground, you’ll find the general camp information on the left-hand side of the page including the number of sites and the latest rate. Below that are the campground’s contact numbers, website and a map view.

On the right-hand site of the page, you’ll find a section for the campground’s accommodations and the type of hookups provided. If you scroll down the page, you can read reviews of other campers.

Click on the image to be taken to this site's information page.

The other cool thing about this site is the ability to submit reviews. There are currently more than 133,900 user-submitted reviews. If you’d like to review a campground, all you have to do is choose “Downloads” from the main page and fill out a review form.

The site also features a search function, so if you already have a campground in mind, why not check out the reviews before hitting the road with your fifth wheel or motorhome?

This site definitely gets a five-star rating from me, and I highly recommend you check it out for yourself!

 

 

 

The Smallest RV in the World

Photo Courtesy of BornRich.com

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

 

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