Knowing Your RV Clearance!!

When driving RVs, there are a lot of things that you pay attention to as compared to a car or truck.  Knowing the height of you RV is very important when heading out on the road.  Most of the time when driving a normal car we take for granted the clearance signs that you see in overpasses and drive-thru restaurants.  But this is not the case when navigating an RV.  So it is absolutely imperative that you are diligent with the actual height of your RV.  While knowing the listed height will give you a good idea of what you are dealing with, make sure that you include anything attached to the roof, such as air conditioning units and satellite dishes.

As a cautionary tale of how things can quickly go wrong, I’ve included a video with someone who neglected to be as careful as they should have.  ALWAYS, ALWAYS be careful when pulling into any type on overhang.  The person in the video didn’t calculate when pulling into a bank and as you will see, it didn’t turn out well.  Make sure you always protect your investment.

 

 

Anyone willing to share a story about a similar clearance issue?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!!

RV Driving Refresher Course

We all could use a little refresher course every once in a while.  When it comes to RVs and the different style of driving, it couldn’t hurt to take a minute and watch the below video.  With the sheer size and expense of your RV, being cautious and prepared can always be of help.

Jim Twamley, also known as the professor of RVing, narrates this video. There are some pretty good tips here so listen closely!!

 

 

Did you find any useful tips in the video?  Do you have any other suggestions for drivers who haven’t been behind the wheel in a long time?  Leave a comment below and let us know.

Minnesota Spots: North Shore Drive

The North Shore Drive of northeastern Minnesota, with its eight state parks, mountainous backdrops, and vast inland coast, makes this destination unlike any other. The Lake Superior shoreline is a welcome place for snowmobile enthusiasts from all over the country due to its yearly snow covered countryside.

The North Shore State Trail System is the crown jewel of northeastern Minnesota that runs from Duluth to Grand Marais. A 153-mile system along Minnesota’s Sawtooth Mountains is filled with a diverse terrain.  From ridgelines, hillsides or woodlands, it’s a sledders’ dream. If that’s not for you, the views of everything from the crashing of waves on the glacial shoreline to the staggered cliffs of the Lake Superior.

The “Lake Superior Ice Train” is named this since it seems like a crumbling building. But be sure to use caution while observing this astounding phenomenon—ice storms can occur in this area. Make sure though that you stop along the cliffs edge and catch that amazing sunset.

Share your stories with your fellow travelers.  Leave a comment below!

 

Hey Minnesota, Are Gas Pricing Effecting Your RVing?

Remember those days in the not so distant past where you could leave a gas pump paying under $2 a gallon?  Seems like a pleasant dream at this point.  With all the political drama taking place in the Middle East, the ramifications are felt here mostly at the pump.  According to most sources, the average RV gas tank size is roughly 55 gallons, and with the national average for gas hanging around $3.54, you are looking to spend about $195 for a full tank of gas.  While some prognosticators have predicted that the price will exceed $4 and maybe even reach as high $5, it is unknown how this will effect RV travel plans this summer.  Doing a little research, I found a 2006 study of 702 RV drivers in dealing with higher gas prices at the time.  They concluded:

“Most people think that as gas prices go up, RV use goes down,” says Richard Coon, head of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. “We haven’t seen that happen.

Owners and renters “change their habits, but they don’t stop going.”

In the association’s April survey of 702 RV owners, two-thirds said they intended to use their RV more this summer than last, and nearly one-third planned to use it the same amount. What’s more, 37% said the cost of fuel — a typical Class A motor home gets about 10 miles a gallon, and takes 100 gallons to fill up — would not affect their plans.With airfares and hotel bills increasing, RV travel is “still a bargain,” says Bob Calderone of Cruise America, a Mesa, Ariz.-based RV rental company. For a typical family of four traveling 150 miles a day, higher RV gas costs amount to “the difference between hamburgers and cheeseburgers at McDonald’s,” he says. Advance reservations for the company are on par with last summer, which set a record for U.S. bookings.

So will you do what the majority of the people in the study do and change your RV habits or will the recent spike in gas prices force you to curb RV time? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

[Source: USA Today]

Minnesota RVers, Do You Have Campground Etiquette?

Etiquette is always important, but certainly varies by circumstances.  The golden rule always applies, but depending where you are, you have to aware of your surroundings.  This is especially evident in a campground setting.  Thinner walls and more crowded areas with people you might not know can certainly affect how you should or do act.  I found a list of some reasonable rules for RV living from The Marine Web that you all might find interesting.

  • 1. Ground Rules: Usually when you register for a particular park, they give you a copy of their rules: following these rules is the first of such manners. These rules will specify when you should not be making noise, driving carefully around the park, rules related to cooking etc.
  • 2. Eliminating Pet Peeves: If you are bringing your pet along on your vacation, make sure it does not disturb or harm anyone else! Your dog will need to be taken care of, cleaned up after and kept on a leash to avoid bothering the neighbors at all. Remember, your dog may be well-behaved but you’ll still have to be careful.
  • 3. Rig Parking: In a number of cases, it will not be clear how to orient the rig on a site; the only guide being a hookup for electric and sewer. Ground rules will require you to stay on your side of the hookup and not encroach in any way. If all people are situated in the same way, everyone will get more camp site.
  • 4. Arriving Late: Try not to do that but even if you do, make sure you avoid disturbing your neighbors who might be trying to rest for a long day. This means not talking loudly, quickly parking your RV & setting up and reducing the general noise level while you do the necessary work.
  • 5. Connecting the Sewer: This will also require you to be discreet and to do it right. Usually, the connection should face the side where your neighbor has their patio area.
  • 6. RV Cleaning: Most of the time, campgrounds don’t allow you to wash your RV with open water in order to avoid muddy areas, high water bills and general wastage of water. They will give you a water bucket for the most minimal cleaning but even if you are allowed to wash your RV, be very careful not to waste the water or allow it to splash on someone else’s area.
  • 7. Don’t Trespass: When everyone is sharing the campsite, they’re all paying for their spots and it is against most rules to be on someone else’s spot without their permission and consent. One of the major campground etiquette requires you to treat your neighbor’s or someone else’s area as their personal property and stay away from it unless invited or permitted.
  • 8. Campfire: Before you make one, be sure that it is allowed in the regulations copy. Keep it safe and make it properly and most importantly, don’t use it as a trash can for your cans and other garbage.
  • 9. Be Tidy: Make sure you do that to keep your neighborhood clean; RV vacationers tend to be laid back but being dirty and sloppy is very hard to deal with so don’t be messy.
  • 10. Treating others: Whenever you are unsure of any campground rules, try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and act only if you’ll like to be treated in the same manner. Otherwise, don’t!

I know there has to be some funny stories out there where maybe people didn’t use as much etiquette as the list above might suggest.  Leave your stories and comments below!

[Source: Marine Web]

 

 

Facebook for Campgrounds

The internet has given the world a pulse on what’s going on in our area as well as areas foreign to us.  This has allowed us to be able to connect to not only people, but to places.  Finding out about attractions and different areas as easy as clicking a button.  Even Social Media such as Facebook can be good for not only keeping up with friends and loved ones with comments, pictures and posts, but catalog our trips as well.

With all this additional information at the consumers fingertips, it is no surprise that even campgrounds are getting involved in order to reach their ever widening customer base.  While most campgrounds already have their own websites to tout their business, Social Media networks such as Facebook have largely gone unused up to this point.  But luckily BigFamilyVacation LLC has developed a Facebook application that allows for the company to combine the informational aspect of their personal website with a more friendly, interactive nature of Facebook.  The ability for people to post personal comments and pictures allow perspective patrons to get a more personal view than they might be able to get somewhere else.  The application also has a place for you to enter the zip code of your destination and it will produce all of the campgrounds in the area to give a traveler a better idea of what resides in the particular area.  The “Campground” application contains over 1,400 campground listings (including phone numbers, addresses and photos) from the website www.greatrvspaces.com to assist the user in their decisions.  Don Sumner from BigFamilyVacation LLC added:

“We know that there are now many thousands of people who are enthusiastic RV travelers, who regularly use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family, such as kids and grandkids, while on the road. We think this application will provide a great resource to help them plan where to stay at their next destination.”

Have you used this application before?  Do you think it would be something that you would find helpful on your next vacation?  Leave a comment below and let us know!

[Source: American Banking News]

Pet Rules of the Road

Traveling with pets can be difficult and expensive.  Extra fees for taking them on airplanes and deposits at hotels (if they allow pets at all) can be cumbersome.  Not to mention if you leave them at a kennel, the cost of your trip can skyrocket.  RVs allow for more freedom when it comes to pets, although it is necessary for you to properly prepare yourself and your RV to have them as travel companions.  Pedata RV Center has recently released a list of 8 safety tips for you and your furry friends.

1. Can your pet travel? If your pet has never traveled try a short road trip before heading out on a long vacation. Some animals have a hard time traveling and will actually become sick. Discover this before you are hours from home

2. Check your pet’s tags. They need to be updated prior to departure if any of the information is old.

3. Make sure that your pet’s tags include a cell phone or other number that will actually be accessible to you while on the road.

4. Consider other identification devices like the chips that can be implanted in order to find a lost pet.

5. Have the appropriate health certificate. Taking your pet across state or international border lines requires a health certificate signed by a veterinarian.

6. Verify that your pet will be welcome at your final destination before leaving on your trip.

7. Bring a portable kennel for times when your pet will be left unattended.

8. Always keep your pet leashed. If you have a pet that you frequently allow unleashed remember that you are in new territory with unknown distractions and stimulants. Introduce a leash in unknown circumstances. Better safe than sorry.

Do you bring your pets along with you on your trips or board them somewhere local?  Leave a comment below and let us know!

 

5 Tips for Motor Home Renters


 

Planning a trip across the country or just to a place too beautiful to fly over?  Maybe traveling in a RV is the way to go.  There are a number of benefits to traveling long distances in a motor home.  Benefits include, however are not limited, to convenience and general comfort.

Even with all the wonderful stories people read about RV excursions, people seem to still be wary of this pastime.  One of the biggest concerns is the cost of buying an RV.  If you are interested in traveling by RV, although cannot afford the cost of owning one, you may want to think about renting one.  Keeping that in mind, if you are not careful motor home rentals can get expensive.  Below are a short list of some tips to think about when renting an RV:

Be aware of All Of Your Options

First, knowing all of your options is of the utmost importance.  Exhaust all of your options in terms of local RV rental providers.  They usually have multiple businesses to pick from.

Next, inspect the kinds of motor homes available for rent.  For comfort, as well as safety, secure a large enough RV that can comfortable seat everyone in your group.  For example, you wouldn’t try to fit a party of nine people into a RV built for six.  Also look at features, such as number of electrical outlets, onboard television, movie players, and so forth to maximize the enjoyment had on the trip.

Research Rental Costs

If you want to reduce the cost of your next outing, always compare prices.  In addition to comparing the average rental price for different businesses, also look at the various motor homes.  You want to get the most out of your money, so after choosing the size of the RV, being selective on additional features may allow you to trim in areas you don’t need.

Read All Fine Print

When renting an Motor home, you’ll be required to sign a agreement.  This agreement is comparable to one that you would sign if you were renting a car.  With that being said, never believe that all rental contracts are the same.  Always fully read an RV rental contract, including the fine print.  Never sign anything that appears too suspicious.  When in doubt, ask to take the contract home and review it first.

In keeping with reading all fine print, it is important to know all Motor home rental rules and restrictions upfront.  Often, these policies and restrictions are highlighted on a rental contract, although there is nothing wrong in getting additional information.  Make sure to be aware of rules that limit the number of people allowed , age requirements for children, and so froth.

Be Cautious With Use

Being cautious is an essential piece of renting an RV.  If you are not watchful, you may be financially responsible for any damage that occurs.  Some tips may be to keep food and drinks covered or in spill proof containers while moving, don’t make foods while driving that may cause harmful stains, and so forth.  Also, for those who have kids, be sure to set some ground rules.  Making sure you are cautious on the road is very important, especially dealing with underpasses and stopping at your campground.

Returning On Time is Important

Returning your rental on time will allow you to keep the cost of your rental low.  Late rentals may incur late charges.  These late charges, should they exist, should be outlined on the motor home rental agreement.  If you know your behind schedule and won’t make it in time, be sure to contact your motor home rental company to inform them of the delay as soon as possible.

In closing, RV renters are encouraged to look at all of their rental options, research prices,  examine rental contracts, use caution, and return their RV rentals on time.  These steps, when properly executed, can not only help to improve the overall quality of your next RV trip, they can also help to keep the expenses associated with that vacation a little more reasonable.  How have your experiences been with renting RVs.  Share your stories below in our comment section!

 

New Accessory: My Camper Kitchen

Have you ever pulled up to your campsite after a long day of driving, get ready to start cooking and remember you forgot the foldable table or utensils?  Just like in your kitchen at home, there are many parts and pieces that can be forgot or go missing if not properly cared for.  Certainly can be frustrating.  In comes a new product designed for RVs and camping in general to help out with such an instance.  The “My Camp Kitchen”, is a one stop shop for all your cooking and grilling needs (minus the grill of course).  Compact design and the ease to assemble should make this a very popular holiday gift this season.  The following is a video put together by the website in order to show how portable and easy this outdoor cooking set is:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4vVIK6O94o

No more dragging a picnic table over or worrying about the sturdiness of your favorite folding table anymore.  Not only that, but this wonderful package also has storage for tupperware and even non-perishable foods.  As you can see in the video, this piece also has room not only to prepare your foods, but also for a single burner for those jobs that cannot be completed on the grill.

How well do you see this product fitting into your RV travels?  Leave a comment below and let the rest of us know!!

[Source: My Camp Kitchen]

 

RVers Avoiding Costly Public RV Campgrounds

 

Owning and maintaining an RV can become very expensive. Between the purchase, upkeep and escalating gas prices, it can be difficult in these tough times to save the money necessary to enjoy what is supposed to be a “recreational vehicle”.  Another caveat added lately has been the rising prices of staying at a public campgrounds.  While staying at a public campground has been popular due to these costs, the rising costs added in with the lack amenities has begun to rub RV owners the wrong way.  Last week, a survey was done for the RVtravel.com newsletter regarding the escalation in prices of these campgrounds. While the figures might surprise you, it is fairly obvious that these prices are beginning to become a hindrance to travelers.

According to the RV News Service, the survey was prompted by RVtravel.com Editor Chuck Woodbury’s recent experience of coming upon two California state parks where the fee for primitive campsites — those with no utility hookups — were $35 a night. “My reaction was that it was too much,” he wrote. “The park system, of course, is trying to raise more money to keep its parks open. But I wonder if they have priced themselves out of the market.”

More than 95% of the recreational vehicle enthusiasts who responded to the survey said they would never pay — or probably never pay — that much to stay in a public campground. “Look at it from this perspective — $35 per night equals $1,050 per month,” one reader commented. “Would you pay that to rent a house with no walls, no water, no electricity, no toilets?”

 

While the point is made that it is necessary for the parks to raise revenue to continue to provide the space for such vehicles, Mr. Woodbury’s statement regarding pricing RV owners out of the market is a valid one.  How can a part-time RV user justify these costs added on to the plethora of other charges incurred by owning your dream?

Would you spend $35 a night to stay in what is described in the article as a “primitive campsite’?  Do you have personal stories or comments about a situation like this you would like to share?  Share your comments below!

[Source: RV Business]