Lower Your RV Expenses by Cutting Back on Your Propane Use

A lot of the appliances aboard our Minnesota RVs use propane including the stove, over and hot water heater. The furnace also uses propane, but seeing how the winter months are behind us, we’ll already be saving there. The price of propane has doubled in the last ten years, and even though it’s currently on a decline, it’s still above two dollars a gallon.

I’m not saying you should forgo the use of propane all together, but when you are at a campsite with hookups, odds are electricity is including in your price. So why not take advantage of it? By simply doing the following, you’ll save on propane purchases in the future.

Buy 12V Products Online from Pleasureland RV and Save on Your RV's Propane Consumption

Instead of using the stove or oven, use a crock pot, electric skillet and electric oven. To top it off, Pleasureland RV is offering these items at a Red Hot Special price online. So you’ll be saving even more! When you arrive at the campsite and hook up, be sure your RV refrigerator switches over from propane gas to electric. If the showers aren’t terrible at a campsite, you could also consider using them instead of your RV shower which uses propane to heat.

What other ways can you think of to save on propane in your Minnesota RV? We’d love to hear your ideas!

What to Look for in the Bathroom of Your Next New or Used Minnesota RV

2013 FIFTH WHEEL Winnebago Lite Five

So it’s time to start shopping for that new or pre-owned RV before the season gets full under way. Looks like you’ve got quite a few decisions to make in the near future!

When it comes to RV shopping, most people think of “the big picture”. What class RV, what manufacturer, what size, etc. There are, however, some other features you should take into consideration when deciding on the right Minnesota RV for you.

My favorite example is the bathroom. If you are planning on spending a lot of time on the road or becoming a full-timer, the bathroom features should be high on your list of things to check out in each of the RVs you are considering.  Here are some general tips you should keep in mind while RV shopping that will ensure you are happy with your bathroom.

  1. The shower stall needs to be 36 inches wide to give you room to turn around comfortably.
  2. The shower head needs to be mounted high enough so the spray is at least hitting you in the face, but not too high that it sprays over the shower door/curtain.  If it’s too low, you’ll have to duck down just to get your head under the water.
  3. A shower door is much better than a shower curtain.  You’ll always end up with water on the floor with a shower curtain.  And since RVs have small showers anyway, you’re pretty much guaranteed to make a mess of the room if you have a shower curtain.
  4. A 10-gallon water heater  will allow you to run the water continually. A 6-gallon will require you to wet down, shut the water off off, soap up, then turn the water back on to rinse off.  Believe me, if you’re living in your RV, the 10-gallon water heater is the way to go!
  5. If you live in the Great White North, moving your RV trailer in the winter when the temperatures are below freezing isn’t a good idea.  Cold plastic showers become brittle at those temperatures, and they will most likely crack.  I found out the hard way and had to replace the shower walls on my 37-foot fifth wheel trailer.

The next time you’re at the Pleasureland Minnesota RV dealership, be sure to check out the bathroom. Go ahead and climb on in the shower, sit on the toilet (may want to leave the cover on for this one) and get a feel for how much room you’ll have. After all, this is going to be your bathroom every time you’re on the road, so make sure it suits you.

 

[Source: TheFunTimesGuide.com]

How to Choose a Safe Rest Area While Traveling in Your Minnesota RV

During those longer road trips we take (from Minnesota to California for example) in our new or used Minnesota RVs, you may find yourself in need of a break that wasn’t originally part of your plan. For instance, let’s say you had planned to stay the night at a specific campsite, but unforeseen reasons have put you behind schedule and you could really use a break. This is where “rest stops” come in. If you haven’t already guessed, a rest stop should be used for exactly what its name says. A rest stop.  While the average family or person stopping at a rest stop will have a pleasant experience, there are some rest areas known to be commonplace for criminal activity and potentially dangerous situations. Luckily for us, TLC has provided some great tips on how to choose a rest stop and what do once you are there. Stay safe out there, Minnesota RVers!

Be Aware of Your Surroundings. As you pull into a rest area, it’s important you remain alert. Take note of the stop’s name or the closest mile marker, so if you have an emergency you can give the authorities your location. Avoid individuals who seem to be hanging around parking lots and restrooms; that’s a good indication he or she is up to no good. It’s also a good idea to stay away from places where criminals might hide. Don’t park beside large trucks, which can block your view of the parking lot. When you’re walking up to the building, be wary of blind corners, recessed areas and thick vegetation. A well-designed rest area will have a rectangular design with few walls or bushes behind which people could hide.

Look For Secure, Well-Lit Areas. Proper lighting can go a long way in discouraging crime at rest areas. Buildings are often well-lit, but look for places where the parking lot is illuminated as well. At night, avoid the peripheral parts of the rest area, like picnic tables, trails and surrounding woods, where illegal activity sometimes occurs. At rest stops where crime is particularly bad, frequent police patrols or even permanent security officers may be present. If this is the case, approach the trooper or security guard and ask them to look out for you while you visit the facilities, especially if you’re alone.

Choose Your Stop Carefully. While crime can occur at any time of day, a rest area is most dangerous after the sun goes down, especially if it’s isolated and empty. If you’re traveling alone at night, it might be a good idea to visit a staffed facility like a fast-food restaurant or a convenience store instead of a rest area. If you want to know how safe a rest area is before you visit it, there are a limited number of resources available to help you plan your trip. One such book is the “Interstate Travel Guide,” a directory of America’s rest stops that, among other details, employ onsite security.

Take All Reasonable Precautions. Often the simplest safety measures are enough to keep you out of trouble at a rest stop. When you pull in to a parking place, don’t linger in your car. Closed up inside with the music on, you can easily become oblivious to your surroundings, giving criminals the time and opportunity to target and confront you. When you get out of your vehicle, lock the doors to prevent theft. Also, try not to enter the rest area facilities alone. If you’re traveling with young children, see if a family restroom is available. Even older children and adults should have someone accompany them to the restroom or wait for them outside.

Don’t Spend the Night. While it may be cheap to spend the night at a rest area, it isn’t necessarily safe. Many states have banned sleeping at rest stops due to increased crime, and many others have put up signs that discourage it. Your best bet is to look for campgrounds or state parks along your route where, for a small fee, you can more safely snooze in your car. If you have to sleep at a rest area, in an RV or car, keep the doors locked and don’t open them to strangers. Talk to any strangers through the window or door, and if you feel threatened, drive away.

 

A Lesson in RV Jargon for the First-Time Minnesota RVer

So, you’ve officially joined the wonderful world of Minnesota RVing. Now that you have the RV, you look the part. The question is, do you sound like the part? As with most hobbies or lifestyles, the RV world has it’s own form of jargon. So before you head out in your new or used RV, take a quick lesson in RV terminology to help you communicate with fellow RVers along the way.

Let’s start with a few RV terms you should be familiar with.

Fiver – Another name for a fifth-wheel RV.

Hula Skirt – A skirt placed on the back bumper of a motorhome to stop debris that is thrown from the rear wheels from damaging vehicles behind the motorhome, either the vehicle you are towing or other vehicles behind the motorhome.

Dually – A pickup truck, or light-duty tow vehicle, with four tires on one rear axle.

Boondocking – Also known as dry camping, boondocking refers to camping without any hook-ups, namely camping without hooking up to any electric, sewer or water facilities. You can still have electric from your RV batteries and water from your freshwater holding tank.

Basement – The storage area below the floor of the RV, accessible from the outside. Basement storage usually refers to storage in a Class-A or Class-C motorhome.

Dinghy – The term for a vehicle that you are towing with your motorhome. It is also known as a Toad.

Now let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about RV grammar. One of the most common mistakes I hear first-time RVers make is calling their RV a mobile home or Winnebago.

Winnebago is actually an RV brand. If you’ve mistakenly called an RV a Winnebago, don’t beat yourself up too badly. This little mess-up is similar to people calling all types of soda a “coke” or any type of tissue a “Kleenex”.  Back in the 1970s, the travel trailer maker Winnebago introduced an affordable, mass-produced, self-powered recreation vehicle. Given their massive headstart, people naturally began calling all motorhomes a Winnebago.

As an RVer, it’s also important to know the difference between “mobile homeand “motor home. This is an easy one to remember. Motor homes have engines… hence the name motor. A mobile home has no engine, no steering wheel, etc.

So Minnesota, after my quick little lesson in RV jargon, do you think you’re ready to hit the road and meet some fellow RV enthusiasts? Sure you are! If you’re looking for some more technical terminology, you can always swing by one of Pleasureland RV’s four Minnesota locations. Our experts will be more than happy to help.

[Source: RV-info.net]

Go Green in Your Minnesota RV Part II

The phrase “going green” means different things to different people. Broadly put, going green is the process of changing one’s lifestyle for the safety and benefit of the environment. As Minnesota RVers, we spend a lot of time out in the environment. It’s clear to see that RVers love the outdoors and nature, but sometimes it’s not so clear to see that we respect it. As an RVer, it’s always important to be mindful of the environment your in and leaving it in a better state than when you first arrived.

The other day, we talked about little ways we can go green in our RVs. After all, on top of helping the environment, we’re helping our finances, as well. With April being the Earth Day month, I thought I’d share a few more tips for going green.

Water Heater. When you aren’t using your water heater (at night for example), turn it off. If you can, try to time out your showers and dishes. This one may be a little difficult for some, so just try and turn off the heater as much as possible.

Shade. Try to park your vehicle in the shade where you can during the summer and spring months. You’d be surprised at home much it helps with your A/C usage.

Organics. Use organic bug sprays and sunscreens. These are better for both you and the environment.

Dish Towels. Reduce your paper towel usage by using dish towels.

Lights. Switch to LED lights everywhere possible (i.e. cabin lights, flashlights, etc.). You could also try using motion sensor lights or timers for our outdoor lights when you’re at a campground.

Remember Minnesota, if we want our future generations to be able to enjoy the same Earth we enjoy now, we have to take care of it. For more ideas on how to go green, call Pleasureland RV.

Gas Pumping Tips for the New Minnesota RV Owner

Photo courtesy of KitsapSun.com

Though most of you have probably been pumping gas for decades, it’s not something we should do without care. This is especially true now that you own a new Minnesota RV. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an estimated 5,020 fires and explosions occurred at public service stations per year from 2004-2008. To put that in perspective, one in every 13 service stations experienced a fire (on average). The result of these fires? Two civilian deaths, 48 civilian injuries and $20 million in property damage. I’m not sure what percentage of these fires involved an RV or rig, but I certainly hope the percentage is low.

Seeing how we have a large portion of our lives on board our RVs (all of your life if you’re a full-timer), we should take extra precaution at the pump to avoid a fire or hazardous condition. Just for good measure, let’s review some gas pumping safety tips.

Before Pumping: Turn off the engine. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen friends get preoccupied and forget to do this. Another no-brainer? Smoking. NO SMOKING at the pump or even at the gas station period! In fact, avoid using matches and lighters for anything while at the gas station.

While Pumping: Do not top off or overfill your vehicle. This is how spills happen. Use only the refueling latch on the gasoline dispenser nozzle, if there is one. Do not jam the latch with an object to hold it open. When you finish pumping your gas, leave the nozzle in the tank for a few minutes. This way, you’ll avoid drips when putting the nozzle up.

If a fire should happen to start, get out of there and call for help. If anyone is on board, get the them off, as well. Do not try to remove the nozzle from the RV tank or try and stop the flow of gasoline.

Like I mentioned above, most of us already know these “rules” and guidelines. But it never hurts to be reminded of them. Remember, we must take every precaution possible when it comes to our beloved Minnesota RVs.

[Source: NFPA.org]

Take Safety Measures While Driving Your New or Used RV During the Minnesota Night

As an RVer in Minnesota, there are going to be times when we may drive through the night to reach our destination. Others find driving their RVs, travel trailers and fifth wheels during the night hours easier because there’s roughly 60 percent less traffic. The crazy thing is, though, that while there is 60 percent less traffic on the road, more than 40 percent of fatal car crashes occur during the night according to SeriousAccidents.com. This is probably due to the fact that an estimated nine out of ten drivers base their decisions on what they see. Even though we can see with some light at night, headlights and other lights along the road can really play tricks on you.

A friend and I were driving through a rural area a few years back at night and I’ll never forget when he slammed on his brakes out of nowhere. There weren’t any other vehicles close to us, so I assumed he was avoiding hitting an animal. Turns out, his eyes played a trick on him and he thought a motorcycle, which was several miles down the road from us at the time, was heading straight for him. Has anything like this ever happen to any of your while driving your RV through rural Minnesota or surround states?

Though we can’t really control what our minds perceive during these hours, we can try to prevent our mind playing tricks us at night. There are some really excellent tips out there for driving your RV during the night hours. Several of them revolve around out headlights along including:

  • Turn them on an hour before dusk and and leave them on until an hour after dawn. Some RVers prefer to leave their headlights on all of the time, and that’s fine, too.
  • Check to make sure that your headlights are aligned. If not, your coverage may be decreased and you might also blind oncoming traffic.
  • This is a general rule, and one of my biggest pet peeves: brights. Our bright lights are a wonderful thing, and I recommend using them whenever you can. However, it’s imperative that you switch to low beams at the sight of another vehicle! I know sometimes it’s easy to forget, especially on though rural, two-lane highways, but try to make yourself conscious.

When driving at night, you should be more alert. This is especially true on the weekends. It’s a known fact that the majority of drunk-driving-related accidents occur on the weekend. So be wary during these nights especially from 1-3 a.m. On top of worry about the other drivers out there, you need to also worry about yourself. Don’t ignore fatigue. Falling asleep at the wheel is another top cause of accidents that occur at night. So please, make sure you are fully rested before heading out in your RV.

Your safety is a top priority at Pleasureland RV. If you have any more questions about driving at night, don’t hesitate to give us a call or swing by one of our four Minnesota RV dealerships.

[Source: DMV.org]

Be Sure to Routinely Inspect the Brakes on Your RV

Photo courtesy of FullTime-RVing.com

As I’m sure you already know, with owning an RV comes routine maintenance. Some of these maintenance tasks are meant to extend the life of your motorhomes, while others are required to ensure your safety while traveling through Minnesota in your new or used RV, such as checking your brakes.

It’s a no-brainer why this is an important part of RV maintenance seeing how your brakes are what stops your vehicle from moving. It’s recommended by most that you check your brakes at least once a year, but depending on your driving habits, you may want to check them more often. A full-timer, for example, may need to check their brakes four or five times a year especially if they are constantly on the road.

Checking your brakes can be a pretty simple process, but it will take a little bit of time and possibly another soul for good measure. To get started, park your RV on a flat surface and block the front and backs of your tires to keep the RV in place. You can use 2x4s or cinder blocks to do this. Next you’ll need to remove the hub cabs (if applicable) and then remove the tire to get to the brakes. Once you’ve located the brakes, inspect the following:

Rotors. Your rotors should appear scratch- and warp-free. Run your hands along the flat part of the rotor. It should be smooth.

Brake Pads. These are what press against your rotors and cause the RV to slow. Inspect the pads for wearing and tearing. You should have at least a quarter of an inch of brake pad. If they are too thin, you’ll risk damaging the rotors. Trust me, replacing brake pads is a lot cheaper than replacing rotors.

Electric Brake Systems: Inspect the connections for corrosion. If you can, enlist someone to press the brakes while you watch the rotors to make sure that the brakes are being evenly applied.

Surge Braking Systems: With these type of brakes, you’ll want to make sure that the sensor is still properly detecting speed change. Also inspect the sensor for rust and corrosion. It’s also a good idea to have someone press the brakes with you watching for pressure to be evenly applied.

If you find anything out of place or off beat while inspecting your brakes, give Pleasureland RV a call or swing by one of our four Minnesota RV dealership locations. We’re more than happy to give you a hand. After all, nothing is more important than your safety while cruising around Minnesota in your new or used RV.

Properly Dispose of the Black Water in Your Minnesota RV

One of the less desirable things we have to do as RV owners is take care of our waste water. It’s a dirty job, but guess what Minnesota RVers? We’ve got to do it.

There are countless dump stations located across the U.S. and Canada, so there is absolutely no excuse to illegally dump your RV’s waste water tank. Besides being illegal… it’s gross and unsanitary. Take a look at what happened in California when an RV couple decided to empty their contents on a residential street.

These guys give RVers a bad name. There is plenty of really useful information out there. One of my favorite web sites is RVdumps.com. They list dump locations by state and provide really helpful information on how to properly dump your tank. Check out some of there tips.

  • When emptying both the black and gray tanks, dump the black-water tank before the gray-water tank so the “soapy water” from the gray tank can clean the residue from the hose.
  • Don’t dump the black-water tank until it is at least two-thirds full. Don’t leave the black-water tank valve open when hooked up at a campsite. This will cause liquids to drain, leaving solid waste behind to harden on the bottom of the tank.
  • Use a heavy-duty sewer hose about 6 to 8 feet long to make handling easier.
  • Carry an extra garden hose for rinsing in case the dump station doesn’t have one. Store this in an area where it won’t come into contact with your drinking water hose.
  • Never use your fresh water hose for rinsing sewer hoses or the dump station area.
  • Wear protective rubber gloves and avoid touching the outside of the gloves.
  • If others are waiting to use the dump station, skip the tank flushing and hose rinsing steps. Pull away from the dump station and then add some water and chemicals to the holding tanks.
  • Never put anything other than the contents of your holding tanks into the dump station.
  • Leave the dump station area cleaner than you found it.

If you need any help or want to learn how to properly empty your tanks, give Pleasureland RV a call or swing by one of our four locations.

Take Care of that Toilet in Your Minnesota RV

minnesota rv dealershipDid you know that RV toilets require a very small amount of water to use? The average RV toilet uses about two quarts of water per flush and even less if you have a “water-saving rinse” option. When you flush the toilet, the water heads down to your RV’s black water holding tank, which has special chemicals that help eliminate odors and speed up the decomposition process. However, this does not mean you can flush anything you like… even toilet paper. Refer to my post about the right type of RV toilet paper for more information.

Even now and then, you’re going to face a clog. Even the most careful of RVers may have someone on board who doesn’t know the toilet rules and may try and flush something foreign. But there are a few things we can do to prevent clogging on a regular basis.

Remember to Flush… and Flush Often.  Water is the best thing for your black water holding tank. So when your on the RV pot, flush a few times. At the very least, flush twice once you’ve finished your business.

Dump and Pump. After dumping your black water holding tank, pump a gallon of water into it through the toilet before using the toilet again.

The Break of Dawn. There are some Minnesota RVers out there who swear by Dawn dishwasher soap. I know it may sound a little odd, but the soap will actually help break up the debris in the holding tank. But be careful not to over do it. As I’m sure you know, a little bit of dawn goes a long way.

So there you have it, Minnesota. Moral of the story? Flush, flush, flush. If you have any questions about how your RV toilet works or you’re having clogging issues, be sure to give Pleasureland RV a call.