Minnesota RV Excursions: The Farmers Market

If you want to really experience the “flavor” of a new place when you’re on your next trip in your Winnebago RV, consider visiting the farmers markets. They’re a fun blend of food and entertainment, crafts and characters.

I love farmers markets for several reasons. First, the food is fresh and healthy. After all, it just came off the vine or out of the ground. Next, I’m supporting local farmers. I was shocked when I found out that farmers usually get less than 10 cents of every dollar you spend at the grocery store. By shopping at farmers markets, I’m supporting a family for whom farming is still a way of life. Finally, I can get recommendations from the locals about what to see and do in their home communities. There’s nothing like discovering those hidden RV travel gems!

The Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association lists its members on its website including links to most of the growers. In Duluth, the farmers market has operated since 1911 and offers everything from fresh veggies like spinach and radishes to honey and even gluten-free baked goodies.

Where are your favorite places to take your Pleasureland RV?

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

RVers from all over the U.S. flock to Santa Fe, New Mexico in the summer, and I think this would be an excellent place to take your Minnesota RV!  It’s a world-renowned art community, and it’s world famous for its summer festivals. But amid the flurry of paint and marble, wool and bronze, one market stands out. It’s the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, and it’s the one place you can literally take a stroll around the world in a single weekend morning and meet artisans from Kenya to Kyrgyzstan. This year marks the ninth annual Market, and 170 artists from 50 or more countries will exhibit their work. Some of these artists are already recognized in Santa Fe for their extraordinary art, but for others, it will be their first time to leave their home villages. This is what makes the Market unique. After a rigorous selection process, the artists are guided through an experience that can change their lives forever.

One weekend in Santa Fe provides artists the financial ability to radically improve their home communities. Each booth earned an average of $17,300 last year, and for artists from developing countries where the average income is less than $3 per day, that’s big money. Past Market artists have gone home to build schools and houses, and dig wells to provide their villages with clean drinking water.The Market thrives because of its dedicated volunteers, so if you’re one of those people who love to make a difference while you’re on your latest Pleasureland RV road trip, the Market has a place for translators, greeters, booth staff, cashiers, and many more roles.

In Minnesota, much of the folk art has maritime twist that reflects the state’s Great Lakes heritage. And it’s much the same for Zilo Bong http://www.folkartmarket.org/artists/zilo-bong/,  of Vanuatu, whose carvings, drums and flutes capture his island’s fading culture.The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market opens on the evening of July 13 and runs through July 15, 2012 at the beautiful Milner Plaza on Santa Fe’s renowned Museum Hill. The venue offers stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

For ticket sales and more detailed information go to http://www.folkartmarket.org.

 

Creating an Office Space in Your Minnesota Motorhome

Whether you are a seasonal Minnesota RV enthusiast, or have taken to the full timing RV lifestyle, you may find yourself having to log in a few work hours here and there during your excursions. Even though you might be able to leave the office behind this summer and take a few days off, you may not be able to completely leave the work load at home. It is important to have a designated space aboard your rig in order to stay organized and successfully complete any work duties. The Fun Times Guide has provided a list of a few things you may need to have a well equipped RV office.

Designated Office Area . You should find an area that you can set up all of the necessary components needed to efficiently get work done. This space should preferably be away from the common areas and places that get a lot of usage from your passengers. If you simply can’t find a place that is out of the way due to limited space, try to close off your RV office with a makeshift divider like a curtain or screen of some sort.

Cell Phone. While most of us already have a cell phone that we plan on taking with us, you may not have the right plan set up for travel. You will want to get with your cell phone provider and find a plan that has unlimited long distance and roaming anywhere in the country. That way you can talk on the phone for however long you like, however far away you may travel, without additional fees.

Laptop Computer. If you should need to access the internet while RVing in a remote area, get an internet air card that can be installed on your laptop. While you can access a WiFi network at most hotels restaurants and sometimes truck stops, you won’t always find one nestled in a secluded area of a campground.

Wireless Printer. If you plan on needing a printer while working from your RV, it is wise to get one that multitasks and allows for printing, scanning and copying. Set it up wirelessly to your laptop and you can print from anywhere in your RV or even outside your RV if in proper range.

Whoever said you can’t have fun and get some work done at the same time while RVing?

[Source: The Fun Times Guide]

iExit App Takes the Guessing Out of Pit Stops for Minnesota RVers

Hey Minnesota RVers, I have the latest must-have iPhone and iPad app. It’s called iExit and to put it plainly, it takes all of the guessing out of those pit stops we take while on the road.

The iExit app tells you what’s coming up at each exit in real time. Are you craving a certain fast food or chain restaurant for dinner? iExit will let you know which exits will have it and even give you the option to call ahead and make reservations. Select the Deals tab and you can see which upcoming exits have chains currently running promotions. I wasn’t kidding when I said this was a must-have, was I?

Not quite ready to make a stop? No problem. You can search up to 100 exits ahead of your current destination and even in different states. Not looking for a meal? No problem. iExit is unique because it tells you everything from gas stations to shopping opportunities exit by exit. Here’s the full list of searchable categories:

Searchable Categories

  • Unleaded Gas
  • Diesel Gas
  • Biofuel
  • Fast Food
  • Sit Down Food
  • Coffee
  • Ice Cream
  • Chain Hotels
  • Independent Hotels
  • Auto Services
  • Trucker Services
  • Campgrounds
  • Shopping

Unlike other road trip apps, this one is especially tailored the RV community, in my opinion. Why? Because campgrounds, diesel or alternative fuel stations, weigh scales, and rest areas are all included in your search results. For $.99, what more could you ask for? I’d even be willing to pay five dollars for this handy little app. Give her a try and let us know what you think!

Summer Towing Tips for Your Minnesota RV

Whether you’ve been in the travel trailer world for years, or this season will be your first, it’s important to remember that pulling this extra weight can be extremely dangerous at highway speeds. Since we’re finished with the cold months, a lot of you Minnesota RVersout there are probably gearing up for your Spring road trips. Before you head out, lets review some of the basic safety tips.

  • Odds are, your travel trailer is wider than your tow vehicle. So you’ll need a set of extended side mirrors to see around it. I strongly recommend using Tow-N-See mirrors.   They are extremely easy to install and are the only extension mirror that adjusts with the power mirrors on your tow vehicle.
  • Federal law requires that trailers have operating taillights, brake lights, turn signals, and side-marker lights. So be sure to check all of your travel trailers’ lights. Corroded connections can be freshened up with spray electrical cleaner, available at auto parts stores. Water resistant, non-conductive Dielectric grease can help protect connections.
  • Make sure all lug nuts are tight, check tire pressure regularly, and inflate your tires to the trailer manufacturer’s recommendations. Consider investing in a spare tire and wheel if your trailer doesn’t have one, and include a lug wrench and a scissor-style jack or other compatible jack. Always bring along a wheel chock.
  •  If you’re traveling through another state, check to make sure your trailer complies with all local regulations and weight restrictions, and always plan any route ahead of time to be aware of bridges, tunnels, and other potential concerns.

When it’s time to hit the road, keep in mind that accelerating, turning and especially stopping all take longer with a travel trailer in tow. So remember to give yourself plenty of room on the road and take it easy. It’s okay to drive at slower speeds until you feel comfortable.

Remember, Minnesota, if you need any help at all, you can always give Pleasureland RV a call. Safe Spring and Summer travels!

[Source: ConsumerReports.org]

It’s Motorcycle Awareness Month, Minnesota RV Drivers

Hey Minnesota RVers, did you know that it’s motorcycle awareness month? As RVers, we have to be especially careful of our fellow drivers on the road… especially motorcycles. Because of there size, motorcycles can look a lot farther away than they really are. This also makes it difficult to judge their speed.

In light of motorcycle awareness month, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) recommends that we as drivers remember a few things when it comes to the safety of motorcyclists.

First, always focus on driving. Nothing is worse than a distracted driver, let alone a distracted RV driver. So put down the cell phone. Remember, food, pets and even other passengers can be bad distractions.

Second, look for motorcyclists.  Like I said before, motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles and are often harder to see.

Third, give motorcyclists enough room. Always keep a safe distance when following a motorcycle. Don’t change lanes too close in front of a rider. Motorcyclists and their machines generally don’t just have fender-benders…

Fourth, use your turn signals. Not only does this help everyone’s safety, it’s also the law.

Lastly, keep it in the car.  Trash, including cigarette butts, should stay in the car, not thrown out where it could hit a motorcyclist. Road debris can kill a rider. Besides, littering is a hefty fine. This also goes for things on the outside of our RVs. Make sure everything is tied down tightly.

For us Minnesota RVers, we live our lives on the road. Sometimes, we can forget that there are others on the road, too. And since motorcycles are harder to see, we have to especially look out for them.

[Source: Motorcycle Safety Foundation]

What To Do If Your RV Runs Away From You

Photo Courtesy of RVTravel

I’m sure we all remember the awful California incident of unintended acceleration. A state trooper, along with his family, were killed when the car’s accelerator pedal was held down by misaligned floor mats. Though the trooper was driving a passenger vehicle, that doesn’t mean that this can’t happen while driving our Minnesota RVs.

There are many ways the floor mats can become unaligned, and luckily there are several preventative steps we can take to keep our RVs from experiencing a similar issue.

  • Always make sure your floor mat is properly positioned and secured by hooks or fasteners.
  • Recheck the position of the floor mats after every car wash or service visit.
  • Never stack heavy rubber winter mats on top of carpet mats. Remove the carpeted mats from the car and attach the winter ones to the retaining hooks or clips.
  • Avoid using aftermarket floor mats that don’t connect to the retaining clips in your car unless they provide some other reliable retention method. Rubberized treads on the bottom are insufficient because they wear down over time and become ineffective.
  • Always use floor mats cut specifically for your make and model of car. In the crash that killed the trooper, the mats were too large for the car they were in.
  • Test the throttle pedal clearance by hand, making sure the mat stays clear of the bottom edge of the pedal as it moves all the way to the floor. This is particularly important in cars that have top-hinged pedals.
  • If there is any doubt, take the floor mats out. A floor mat in the trunk cannot interfere with the throttle pedal.

In the unfortunate case this happens to you, there are several steps you can take to bring your RV to a safe stop.

  • If possible, reach down and pull back the floor mat to dislodge it from the accelerator pedal. Then pull over and stop the vehicle to inspect it before continuing.
  • Insert your shoe behind the gas pedal and pull it up from behind. This can release a throttle held down by a mat or a defective pedal return spring.
  • If these steps don’t correct the situation, shift the transmission into Neutral (N) and then brake to a stop. Be prepared to hear the sound of the engine revving loudly. This does not mean the car is going faster, only that the engine is disengaged from the transmission. It could also damage the engine, but this is a matter of personal safety, so it is unavoidable.
  • If you’re unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine off, or to ACC. Without the engine running, power assist will be lost so it will be much harder to turn the steering wheel and apply the brakes.
  • If these steps don’t work, firmly and steadily step on the brake pedal with both feet. Do NOT pump the brake pedal repeatedly, as this will increase the effort required to slow the vehicle.
  • If the vehicle is equipped with a key ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition, as this will lock the steering wheel and you will not be able to turn.
  • If the vehicle is equipped with an engine start/stop button, manufacturers have different procedures to shut off the engine while it is in Drive. Check your owner’s manual next time you get in your car for which method it uses. For example, some carmakers require you to firmly and steadily push the button for at least 3 seconds to turn off the engine. Others require you to press the button three times in succession.

Pleasureland RV strongly recommends you take preventative action to avoid having this problem. It’s also a good idea to take your RV out to a vacant parking lot and practice the steps mentioned above. Safe travels, Minnesota!

[Source: Edmunds.com]

Go Green in Your Minnesota RV Part I

These days, going green not only helps our environment, it also helps our pocketbooks. Given the state of our economy, we have every reason in the world to make travels in our new Minnesota RV as green as possible. When people think of going green in RVs, they immediately think of solar panels. But there are some many other little things you can do that you might not have even known were considered as “green” or that were even an option for you. Here are some of my favorites:

Laundry: Now that we’re back into the warmer-weather months, hang your laundry to dry outside when you’re at a campsite.

Rechargeable Batteries. Granted this will cost you more upfront because you will need to buy a solar recharger, over time you’ll save loads by not having to purchase batteries. When the battery runs out, simply put them in the sun. The easiest thing to do is put them in on your dashboard as you head down the road.

Tote Bags. Have you ever seen the option to buy a tote/cloth bag in line at the supermarket or any other store for that matter? Start buying them! They are usually no more than $2 and you can eliminate the use of plastic bags all together. I’ve even found that groceries are much easier to carry than those small plastics ones that tend to tear easily. 

Dishes. If you already have a full set of dishes in your RV, use them. Try to eliminate buy paper products as much as possible. Another tip: clean off your dishes right after a meal. Once they sit around for awhile, they become harder to wash and usually require a lot of hot water.

Water Filters. There are too many types of waters filters to count. You can buy ones that attach directly to your sink, pitchers that you fill up and put in the refrigerator, personal use water bottles, etc. Try to quit buying bottled water. Besides, we’ve all heard that bottled water companies use tap water anyway, haven’t we?

See Minnesota RVers? I bet you didn’t know that these little tips are considered as green, did you? Stay tuned to Pleasureland RV for Part II of Going Green in Your RV.

[Source: AllStays.com]

What Do You Listen to When You’re On the Road in Your RV?

During the spring months, I love driving down the open road in my Minnesota RV and listening to good music. Music can really make your long drives much easier, but sometimes it can be hard to find a good radio station. Even if you do find a station you like, you’ll only be able to listen to it for so long until you’re out of its frequency. Once that happens, you may turn to your CDs or a playlist on your iPod. But even that can get old after awhile. Especially if you haven’t had anytime to add new music lately. Luckily in this day and age of technology, we have quite a few alternative options.

Satellite Radio. You can’t go wrong with Sirius XM in my opinion. With more than 140 commercial-free music, news, sports, traffic and weather, talk radio and entertainment, and comedy channels, you’re bound to find something you like. Another plus is that Satellite radio will work even when you’re out in the middle of nowhere in your RV. The only downside (and a small one in my opinion) is that it costs between $12-20 per month.

Photo Courtesy of Pocketnow.com

Pandora Internet Radio. If you have a smartphone capable of downloading apps, then Pandora is a must-have. This free app allows you to create your own radio stations from a song, genre or artist. The more you use it, the more it will conform to the exact type of you music  you like. The only downside is that you’ll occasionally hear a commercial or two.

I Heart Radio. This is another smartphone app that you can use to listen to your favorite radio station from back home. The downside? You’re favorite radio station may not be an “I Heart Radio” station.

So Minnesota RVers, don’t settle for continuously scanning the radio for a station you like or listening to the same music over and over again. Make your RV road trip more enjoyable with one of the options above!

Are You Familiar with the RV Road Rules?

Traveling across the states is common among RV owners. In fact, we may spend a fair amount of time in other states visiting different campgrounds and RV resorts. But there is something you should be mindful of when traveling across numerous borders in your RV, and that is the law. As you know, laws vary from state to state, and unless you have a photographic memory or want to carry about a current book of the state’s various laws, you won’t know them all. You can, however, stick to the three basics pointed out by USAToday.com.

Lane Usage.Drivers must stay in the right lane when driving an RV except when passing, preparing to make a turn, or going on or off the highway. If the highway has four or more lanes in either direction, you must stay in either of the extreme right lanes.

Trailer Lights. When your RV includes a trailer, it is important to keep in mind that the trailer’s weight often forces the RV’s headlights upward so that they glare into the eyes of oncoming drivers. This is illegal; you must check your headlight alignment once the trailer is attached.

Parking. Checking with any neighborhood associations or cities where you plan to stop, to see if they have any rules or ordinances against parking RVs. Many residential neighborhood homeowner associations will let RVs be parked for short periods of time, but not overnight.

These are three things you should always do when traveling in a new Minnesota RV, no matter where are you. Another thing you should do before you head out on your next RV voyage, is check the state’s towing laws. There are several websites out there that list the requirements and restrictions of each state. All you have to do is look!