Minnesota Winter RV Driving 101

The winter months are starting to arrive bringing those unexpected snow storms that can put a damper on your RV travels. On average, Southwest Minnesota gets about 35 inches of snow a year and Northeast Minnesota usually sees around 70 inches. While many Minnesota RVers decide to winterize their motorhomes during the cold season, others enjoy utlilizing their RV for the duration of the winter season. Most full-timers out there would say that driving a motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer during the winter is highly difficult due to the snow and ice on most Minnesota roadways.

If this is going to be your first Minnesota winter in your RV, it’s good to know how to handle your RV in snowy and icy conditions. Follow these tips below and you’ll be able to weather the storm with no problem.

Use your low beams and windshield wipers. Snow contributes to low visibility and reduced traction, so be sure to use your low beams and take it slow.

Accelerate, brake and steer smoothly to avoid skidding. Although a skid is almost inevitable in icy conditions, keeping focused and taking it slow and steady can help you keep the skids to a minimum.

Don’t forget that RVs are rear wheel drive. Most passenger cars are front wheel drive and for the past two or three decades, most of you have been trained on how to regain control in a skid. When you’re in an RV though, remember that you steer with the slide and pump the brakes lightly in order to regain control.

Turn off your exhaust brake in icy conditions. If you are driving a diesel RV, shut off your exhaust brake; otherwise, if you let off the accelerator, the back-end of your coach could “fishtail” and land you in the ditch (rvtoads.com).

Keep a full tank of gas. This is very important in snowy conditions. If you come across an area you can’t pass or you would rather throw in the towel all together, you’ll definitely want to have enough fuel to park it for the night and wait for the weather conditions to improve.

Always have a set of snow chains handy. There is nothing worse than driving your RV to higher elevation, and experiencing an unexpected storm without chains for your motorhome.

See? It doesn’t sound too terrible, does it? If you follow these snow safety tips, I’m sure you can weather those Minnesota winter roads. If you need some reassurance or just want to talk to an expert before you head out, come by Pleasureland RV and chat with the RV experts. We’re always happy to help.

How Many Insects Lose Their Lives on Your Minnesota Motorhome?

Have you ever noticed how dirty the windshield and front of your car is after a road trip? It seems as though you’ve driven through a swarm of bugs the entire 300 miles. Well in case you haven’t noticed, RVs have much larger windshields and front ends than your car does. So instead of hundreds of bugs, it looks like thousands met their death on your RV after a road trip.

Though I’m not sure why, a Dutch biologist named Arnold van Vliet over in The Netherlands actually conducted a study to get an estimate of just how many bugs lose their lives due to moving vehicles. The results were actually pretty interesting. He asked 250 drivers to track their mileage and the number of bugs on their windshield each night over the course of six weeks. He found that a total of 19,184 miles were traveled by the 250 participants and 17,836 insects were killed. That’s a lot of bug guts to clean off a windshield.

When you do the math and take into account the entire surface area of the front of the vehicle and the total number of cars in the world, it comes to an estimated 32.5 trillion insects in the U.S. dirtying up our windshields each year. Hard to imagine that many, isn’t it?

I wonder how many of those bugs have met their demise on your RV. I’m sure the number is high, especially if you’re a full-time RVer. So what’s the best method for getting the bugs off the windshield and restoring a clear view out of the front of our RV? The most obvious choice would be the windshield wipers, but let’s be honest. Using windshield wipers to clean up a bug mess always seems to make matters worse. If you’re planning on waiting until you arrive home or at a campground, there are many different remedies you can try. I recommend using one of the many cleaners designated for cleaning bugs off the windshield. It’s also a good idea to spray some sort of protectant to make cleaning in the future easier.

If you’re one of those people who likes to have a clean windshield all the time and you absolutely cannot wait to clean up the mess at your destination, you can always use the squeegees at gas stations. For an even better result, try using the standard razor blade. All you have to do it make a downward scraping motion with the blade. This option is probably not best for those of you with weak stomachs, but if you can handle it, this method actually works really well as a quick fix. What are some remedies you like to use, Minnesota RVers? We’d love to hear your ideas!

Tire Care – Checking The Tread

The tread of your RV’s tires plays a crucial role in the performance of your vehicle as well as its safety. Knowing how to inspect the tread of your tires yourself and being able to keep a mindful eye on their condition is extremely important, especially for those of us who are avid Minnesota RV travelers.

In order to prevent dangerous occurrences while driving, such as skidding and hydroplaning, tires must be replaced when the tread is worn down to a certain amount. All tires produced since 1968 have a built in tread wear indicator already in them to help you see any signs of tread concern, before it becomes a much larger issue. These ‘wear bars’ look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread and will begin to appear when tread is wearing down. When tire use degrades the tread depth to 1/16″ (1.5mm), smooth 1/2″ (13mm) bands seem to rise toward the surface. This indicates that these tires should be replaced. Many states have laws making this replacement mandatory once the tread is worn down to 1/16 of an inch. These wear bars are the first sign that your tires need replacing.

Visually check your tires for signs of uneven wear before every RV road trip. You may have irregular tread wear if there are high and low areas or unusually smooth areas. Tire trouble, if gone undetected, can shorten your RV tire’s lifespan. Unforeseen issues with your tires can only lead to money down the drain. Trouble detected can also give you clues to other areas of your RV that may need attention. Being aware of what to look for and knowing how to test your tire’s tread is RVing in the smartest way.

Why Not Customize Your RV Minnesota?

Wanting to amp up your RV’s look? How about giving your RV a makeover with a custom paint job! If you’re the type who wants to get noticed out on the open road and stand out in a sea of other RV’s at a campsite, then I know just the trick that will set yourself apart from the others. Depending on your style, taste and level of boldness, you can choose from a range of different types of custom paint jobs. Whichever one suits your personality and flair, you can be assured that your RV will transform from tame to quite the opposite. Need a little inspiration? Check out some of these customized RVs and their custom paint jobs that will have heads turning!

One option for your customization needs might be to choose a simple factory design. This look is common on many RVs, as it has a simple design that wraps around the mid-section of the RV giving it a nice, subtle touch without being over the top.

Pleasureland RV Center

Another more bold custom paint job option is to paint a mural or scene on the exterior of your RV. For the most part you will see these on the rear of an RV so that those driving behind can admire its artwork. However, if simply having a mural on the back of your RV simply isn’t enough, you can absolutely have one painted on the entirety of your ride!

How about showing off our favorite team, The Minnesota Vikings! These sports extremists know who they are rooting for and aren’t afraid to show it!

Whether you simply want to change your RV’s color, or you’re willing to take it to the next level and really go for a customized look with a personalized design, the options are endless. Don’t you think it’s time to take your RV for a ride on the wild side? Send us pictures of your customized RV! We wanna see ‘em!

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.

What Minneapolis RV Owners Should Know About Cell Phones and Filling Stations

Hey Minnesota RVers, have you seen the signs at filling station near the gas pumps that tell you not to use your cell phone while pumping gas? Recently I received an e-mail from a friend stating the dangers of cell phone use while filling up.

Safety Alert! There are several reasons why cell phones aren’t allowed in operating areas, propylene oxide handling and storage areas, or propane, gas and diesel refueling areas. For one, they can ignite fuel or fumes. Mobile phones that light up when switched on or when they ring release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition. Mobile phones should not be used in filling stations, or when fueling lawn mowers, boat, etc. In fact, mobile phones should not be used, or should be turned off, around several other materials that generate flammable or explosive fumes or dust including solvents, chemicals, gases, grain dust, etc. The following is an e-mail I received stating the rules of being safe at the pump and some interesting facts about a study done regarding incidents where fires resulted in not following proper refueling etiquette.

 

To sum it up, here are the Four Rules for Safe Refueling:

  1. Turn off engine.
  2. Don’t smoke.
  3. Don’t use your cell phone – leave it inside the
    vehicle or turn it off.
  4. Don’t re-enter your vehicle during fueling .

Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of ‘static electricity’ at gas pumps.  His company researched 150 cases of these fires.

His results were very surprising.

  1. Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women.
  2. Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas. When finished, they went back to pull the nozzle out and the fire started, as a result of static.
  3. Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
  4. Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires.
  5. Don’t ever use cell phones when pumping gas.
  6. It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges.
  7. There were 29 fires where the vehicle was re-entered and the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of makes and models. Some resulted in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.
  8. Seventeen fires occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.

Mr. Renkes stresses to NEVER get back into your vehicle while filling it with gas. If you absolutely HAVE to get in your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door TOUCHING THE METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out.  This way the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle.

Have you heard any additional information regarding the dangers of cell phones and gas pumps? We’d love to learn more about it!

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!

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!

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.

 

Jayco Trailer on a 1000-Mile Durability

 

2010 Jayco Eagle

Jayco is known for building high quality, high value and competitively priced products. Their travel trailers have a long list of standard features and several floor plans to choose from. But when it comes time to buy a new travel trailer, you’re probably going to want more than just luxury. You’re going to want to make sure you have a product that will last over time and endure all of your family’s various camping or road trips. Check out this video of a Jayco trailer undergo a 1000-mile duration test, and let us know what you think!