Different Ways to Tow Your Toad Behind Your Minnesota RV

Taking a toad (a tow vehicle, also known as a dinghy) along on our Minnesota RV trips is not only the safe choice, it’s also the smart choice in my opinion. Toads help you save on wear and tear on your motorhome while giving you freedom and flexibility on your vacations.

If you decide to add a toad to your next RV trip, you’ll have to choose a method of towing it. Let’s take a look at three different options and hopefully help you decide which is right for you. Remember, you can always give us a call if you need more help deciding.

Tow Bars

A tow bar pulls a dinghy while all four wheels are on the ground.

Pros: Relatively speaking, this method is the easiest to use and least expensive. A lot of RV manufacturers offering mounted tow bars which remain connected to your RV at all times. This provides the advantage of built-in storage and also has a clean look.

Cons:  Because the base plate portion of a tow bar is unique to different vehicles, you may have to have a custom install if a base plate for your dinghy does not already exist… and that can get a little pricey. Unless your dinghy is equipped with a speedometer disconnect or electronic speedometer, it’s going to tack on the same mileage as your RV. A lot of tow bars systems, backing up your RV while the dinghy is attached is going to be out of the question. Unlike tow dollies and trailers, tow bar systems do not come with lights. So you’ll need to use a tow light kit or wire into the towed vehicles system.

Tow Dollies

Tow dollies are two-wheeled trailers that tow two wheels of a car. First you attach the dolly to your RV and then drive your car up the ramp where it is secured by straps or chains.

Pros: One dolly can be used to tow a variety of vehicles and can tow almost all vehicles that cannot be towed by all four wheels.

Cons: Similar to tow bars, dollies are not easy to back up. If your car is rear-wheel-drive, then forget it. We strongly advise against towing vehicles backward. Dollies can be a bit on the expensive side, and you’ll also run into the issue of where to store the dolly once you arrive at your location. If you decide to use this method, be sure and check with the licensing requirements before heading out.

Trailers

Trailers provide the only way to tow a vehicle with all four wheels off the ground.

Pros: By using a trailer, you can forget about putting wear and tear on your car, as well as mileage. Trailers also allow you to reverse while attached and many come equipped with brakes.

Cons: The main disadvantage in using a trailer, is factoring in the added weight to your trip. You’re also going to have to find a place to store the trailer once you arrive at your destination.

So Minnesota, which option suits you best? For more help, come by one of Pleasureland RV’s four Minnesota locations. We’ll be happy to help you make your decision.

How to Properly Use the Mirrors on Your Minnesota RV

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, your backing up your new or used RV is a lot different than backing up your average passenger vehicle. The second you plop into that driver’s seat, you’ll realized that looking over your shoulder or in your rear-view mirror isn’t going to be much help.

However, if you look to your left and right, you’ll see that your RV has some pretty large side mirrors. When these are properly adjusted, you’ll be able to see from the side of your RV to the back bumper. A lot of RVs also have convex mirrors. They will either be separate or part of the main mirror. You’ll need to adjust the convex mirrors, as well, in order to widen your view along the side of your RV. This will help minimize bilnd spots and expand your view to the rear on both sides to include most of the next lane of traffic.

I know this sounds like an overload of info, but to make your mirror situation as easy as possible, I recommend using a set of extended mirrors like the Tow-N-See Mirror. The great thing about these mirrors is that they move along with your power mirrors so you can adjust your view while sitting in the driver’s seat. Extended mirrors provide the best possible view in my opinion. Not to mention they take mere minutes to install.

Come by and check out these mirrors and get some other RV tips on how to use your mirrors at one of Pleasureland RV’s four locations in Minnesota.  Installation takes just seconds with a twist of the knob, leaving no marks and making it easy to transfer from one vehicle to the next. Tow-N-see…The one that works!

[Source: The Fun Times Guide]

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!

Eight Tips for a Bug-Free RV Season in Minnesota

It’s no surprise that Spring has come early this year, and according to Rainbow Pest Experts in Minnesota, this is going to be a bad season for all types of insects. The company states on its website that due to an early start of record breaking temperatures, we are on track for a bumper crop of a large insect population. Ants, spiders, box elder bugs, mosquitoes and centipedes start to emerge from their winter dormancy three to 4 weeks early. An earlier insect season means a longer season for multiple reproductions. Yuck!

As Minnesota RVers, we spend a lot of time outside. So this isn’t the best news in the world for us. However, there are some things we can do to try and stay bug-free this RV season. Dr.  Brian Aw, a general practitioner who specializes in travel medicine, suggests the following eight tips:

  • Stay Scent-Free. Avoid using scented soaps, lotions and shampoos.
  • Gear Up. Cover your skin as completely as possible. This may be challenging by the beach, but when possible wear long sleeves, pants and socks.
  • Be Color Conscious. Mosquitoes are attracted to blue, so avoid this color and stick to neutral colors.
  • Use Repellent. Repellents containing DEET are most effective for areas with heavy mosquito or tick infestation.
  • Alternative Repellents. When applied frequently, citronella-based repellents can provide the same bug protection as products containing low concentrations of DEET. I recommend Natrapel®, which contains 10 percent citronella to ward off bugs for up to two hours.
  • Meal Time. Be alert to the time of day when certain insects are most active such as dawn and twilight.
  • Check Point. Upon returning indoors, check your children and yourself for bites.
    Treatment. Sunburn and bite treatment products should be included in every outdoor adventurer’s travel kit.

It’s also a good idea to avoid insects’ favorite places. Mosquitoes like cool, moist places. So avoid stagnant pools of water. Flies will usually be near animals and sweets.

If you’re planning on spending  a lot of time on the road, I’d advise you follow Dr. Aw’s suggestions. There are also several home remedies I’ve heard throughout the years including rubbing dryer sheets over your clothes. What are some of your homes remedies to keep bug-free?

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!

 

Does Your Minnesota Travel Trailer Need a Sway Bar?

As I’m sure most of you who own travel trailers in Minnesota know, our rolling homes tend to sway side to side while we are traveling down the road. To top if off, Spring is starting and you can definitely count on encountering some high winds along the way. If you’ve already experienced a sway, then you know how unpleasant it can make your travels. Lucky for us, someone came up with the ingenious idea of a sway bar to help stabilize and reduce swaying. The cool thing about sway bars is that they actually use your travel trailer’s weight to create stability by bracing the weight of the vehicle’s axle against the chassis.

So are sway bars actually worth it? Yes, hands down. Think about traveling along a winding road and a gust of wind suddenly hitting the enormous amount of surface area on your box-on-wheels. Scary, isn’t it? Not only will a sway bar make your RV travels safer, it’ll also help prevent your travel trailer and the vehicle you are using to tow it from unnecessary wear and tear.

Sway bars come in a wide variety and vary depending on the size of that which you are towing. Pleasureland RV has several makes and models you can check out at our online parts catalog. If you’re ready to get a sway bar installed on your Minnesota travel trailer, swing by one of the four Pleasureland RV dealerships in Minnesota. We’ll be happy to help you find the right one and even install it when you’re ready.