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.

RV Evolution: From the Adams Motor Bungalo to the Itasca Ellipse

 

Adams Motor Bungalo 1917

It’s hard to believe that RVs have been around for more than a century. Technically, the first RV dates back to the days of covered wagons. However, most people consider the 1910 Touring Landau as the first RV. But in my opinion, it was seven years later when the first real RV — The Adams Motor Bungalo  (see below)— came to be.

Regardless of which came first, modern RVs were born in the 1910′s and 20′s, in an era all about new inventions and mechanisms that made life simpler. Check out this great montage of the early RVs.

Hard to believe we’ve gone from the Adams Motor Bungalo to something as magnificent as the 2012 Itasca Ellipse that includes the following features:

 

Click the image to view more pictures of the Ellipse.

  • Exterior Entertainment Center w/TV & DVD
  • Portable Refrigerator/Freezer
  • Power Cord Reel
  • Microwave/Speedcook Oven
  • Electric Fireplace
  • Ultraleather Lounge Chair
  • Infotaiment Center/GPS
  • Residential Refrigerator Package
  • Washer & Dryer
  • Drawer Style Dishwasher
  • Central Vacuum System
  • Compartment Tray Slideout
  • Home Theater System w/Blu-Ray
  • Ultraleather Rest Easy Sectional
  • In-Motion Satellite System
  • Water Supply Hose w/Reel
  • Satellite Radio

She’s gorgeous, isn’t she? Come check her out in person at the Pleasureland RV Minnesota dealership and get a first hand feel of just how far we’ve come since the 1900s.

Be Sure to Routinely Clean Your RV Rubber Roof

As I’m sure you all know, proper RV maintenance is key to a long-lasting Minnesota motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer. One important thing we often forget about cleaning is our rubber roof. Can you remember the last time you gave it a good cleaning? If not, don’t worry. You’re probably not alone. Because our RVs are considerably tall, we don’t always see the tree sap, bird poo, dirt, etc. building up on the roof.

In general, you should be cleaning your rubber RV roof at least three or four times a year. This can vary depending on where you park your RV the most. For example, if you like to park under trees in the summer to stay cool, you’ll probably have more of a sap build up and may need to clean the roof a few more times throughout the year.

So why is it important to the clean your RV roof? First off, it will help prevent deterioration and staining from all the above mentioned and second, it’ll drastically help reduce streaking of the sidewalls. Your rubber roof is made from a material called Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM), which is made to last 20 years or longer. On average, rubber roofs come with a 10-12 year guarantee.

If you’ve owned an RV with an EPDM roof, you may have noticed that the roof’s surface looks chalky or that there are white streaks on the side of your RV. This is the result of not routinely cleaning. Don’t panic though, there are products made specifically for this and can be purchased online in the drop of a hat.

rubber roof cleaner minnesota rvMy personal favorite is THETFORD’s Premium Rubber Roof Cleaner and Conditioner. This product deep cleans, conditions and protects all in one easy step. It will remove all of that oxidation, tree sap, bird droppings and dirt buildup and also contains a UV blocker to keep your RV roof looking better longer.

Of course there are plenty of other products made for rubber roof cleaning that you can find at Pleasureland RV’s online parts and accessories store. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or swing by one of our four Minnesota RV dealerships.

 

Foil Packs: A Simple and Healthy Recipe for Minnesota RVers on the Road

There’s nothing I love more than preparing simple and healthy meals while on the road, besides sharing these great recipes with my fellow Minnesota RV travelers! What a lot of new RVers and campers don’t realize is how easy what may seem to be a complex meal can be to prepare without using any cookware. I’ve already told you how to use a Ziploc bag to make delicious omelets, and now I’ll share one of my favorite dinner recipes prepared in foil!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cubed
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 small potatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced

One of the many things I love about this recipe is that you can do most of the preparation at home or beforehand. You can also substitute any one of the ingredients to create your own version of the foil pack.

Once you have all of your supplies, let’s get to easy cooking!

Directions (Recipe Makes 4 Foil Pack)

  1. In a large bowl, or in a large zip-top bag if you are preparing this at home, combine your chicken cubes, onions, mushrooms, yellow and red bell peppers, garlic if you prefer, and cubed potatoes.
  2. Next, pour the olive oil and lemon juice over your meat and veggies, and mix well.
  3. Evenly divide the mixture between 4 large square sheets of aluminum foil. Cover each with an additional sheet of aluminum foil, and roll up all four edges tightly. For safety’s sake, wrap each packet again securely in another sheet of foil to help keep the juices and flavors in as well as to avoid losing any of your ingredients in the cooking process.
  4. Cook the foil packs on the hot coals of your campfire until the chicken is fully cooked through and the potatoes are tender. The entire cook time should take around 40 minutes, give or take the amount and size of your ingredients.

There you go, Minnesotan RVers! A hearty yet healthy, delicious and simple meal prepared on the go. Share your variations and creations with Pleasureland RV! We always love trying to new things!

Three Ways to Stay Warm Using Your RV’s 12-V Socket

During the winter months, Minnesota RVers are always looking for ways to stay warm. Whether you want to conserve energy or your RV heater stops working, it’s nice to have some form of backup in place so you don’t freeze to death during the night. I’ve compiled a short list of my three favorite RV accessories that are great for providing heat via one of your RV’s 12-V sockets. All of these products are available at Pleasureland RV’s Online Parts Store where you can order online and have them shipped directly to you. If you’re out and about during the winter months, I promise you’ll be happy to have at least one of these on board.

12-VOLT 300 WATT CERAMIC HEATER/FAN
This one is a no-brainer. I always recommend having a portable heater on board. This heater provides a great way to save money and keep you warm at the same time. For example, when you’re ready for bed, you can turn off (or at least turn down) your RV’s heater, close your bedroom door and use the heater to keep your bedroom warm.

12-Volt 300 Watt Heater Pleasureland

Currently On Sale at Pleasureland RV's Online Parts Store

 

  • Direct-wired, includes all installation hardware
  • 300 Watts of powerful heating comfort
  • Heat or cooling feature with a flip of a switch
  • Adjustable fan speed provides precise comfort level
  • Swivel stand allows airflow to be directed just where you want it
  • 90 Day Limited Warranty

 

12-VOLT HEATED BLANKET
Nothing beats a heating blanket. Similar to the portable heater, heated blankets are another great alternative for staying warm throughout the night.

12-V Heated Blanket Pleasureland

Currently On Sale at Pleasureland RV's Online Parts Store

  • Large 60 x 42 wrap-around blanket
  • Made of a comfortable and durable cotton blend
  • Built-in thermostat
  • Convenient 8′ cord
  • Replaceable 5 amp fuse
  • CE Certified

 

12-VOLT HEATER AND FAN WITH MULTI-POSITION ROTATING BASE

This is a wonderful little product that is actually serves as a heater and a fan. I personally enjoy keeping mine upfront while I’m on the road, but you can use this just about anywhere.

12-Volt Heater and Fan Pleasureland RV

Currently On Sale at Pleasureland RV's Online Parts Store

  • Swivel base for adjustment to any position
  • Includes all installation hardware
  • 6′ Power cord

Use a Central Vacuum System to Keep Your Minnesota Motorhome Nice and Clean

As I’m sure you’ve already noticed, our RV floors track attract a lot more dirt than our houses do. This is because we are always going in and out and tracking everything under the sun, from gravel to grass, back into our RV. If you’ve recently purchased a new or used RV, you’re probably already looking into your options for a vacuum.  When it comes to RVs, there are three main types of vacuums I see people using – a standard vacuum, a hand-held vacuum, and an all-in-one central vacuum system. As with all things, there are advantages and disadvantages to all three.

 

Standard Vacuum (from $70 – $500)

These are the types of vacuums you’d find in a house. You can buy them practically anywhere and they are typically the most powerful. The downside? They are large, heavy and take up a lot of space.

 

Hand-held Vacuum (from $25 – $150)

The main advantage here is how little space a hand-held takes up. But remember, a smaller vacuum equals a longer cleaning time. If you’re traveling in a smaller RV, this may be the perfect option for you.

 

All-in-One (from $300 and up)

pleasureland rv online parts store

Purchase it now at the Pleasureland RV Online Parts Store!

In my opinion, this is the best option for larger RVs. My personal favorite is the all-in-one Dirt Devil® CV950 LE.  Since this vacuum is built into a location in your RV, you’ll be saving a lot of space. You can also conveniently purchase this item at Pleasureland RV’s online parts store complete with the new Deluxe Maxumizer Kit and RugRat Handheld Turbine Powerbrush. Check it out in action.

So there are your options, Minnesota RVers. If you need any help at all with your decision, feel free to swing by one of Pleasureland RV’s four locations or give us a call.

 

Extreme RV Weather: Fog

Photo Courtesy of OutOfTheFog.com

Driving a Minnesota RV through inclement weather can be somewhat difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ve already talked about driving our RVs through high winds and what to look out for, and today we’ll discuss another extreme condition: fog. Some of you are probably wondering why I consider fog to be an “extreme” condition, but when you take into account that your visibility drops significantly, you may change your mind.

Fog is basically a huge cloud that has dipped down to ground level. It happens when the temperature drops to the dew point and invisible water vapor in the air condenses to form suspended water droplets.  The main threat posed by fog? Visibility. Fog can reduce our visibility to a quarter mile or less. This is not only dangerous for us in the RV, but those around us in passenger vehicles. Obviously, our RV outsize and outweigh almost every passenger car. The damage we can cause is bad enough when we can see that we’re about to hit something or someone. So imagine how bad it would be to have a collision when you didn’t see it coming at all.

Luckily, we don’t have to be completely in the dark when driving through fog. There are several things we can do to increase our chances of arriving at our destination safely.

Don’t turn on your brights. High beams reflect back off the fog and make your visibility worse. Use your low beams only.

Reduce your speed. I know we all hate getting stuck in traffic, but trust me. Reducing your speed is crucial especially because there are a lot of people out there who continue to drive at high speeds in inclement weather. Make sure you keep an eye on your speedometer because fog can create an illusion of slow motion, and you may not realize that your speeding.

Use your windshield wipers and defrosters. It’s also a good idea to crack your RV’s windows so you can hear potential traffic that you can’t see. If you’re having a really hard time seeing the lanes in front of you, use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.

Don’t stop on a highway or heavily traveled road. If you have RV trouble, do your best to move as far away from other vehicles as possible. Headlights off. Hazards on. Foot off the brake pedal. It’s a known fact that other drivers will subconsciously follow tail lights in fog, and they may not realize you are stopped.

The number one thing you can do when driving your RV through Minnesota fog? Be patient. Take your time, survey your surrounding and remember all of the tips above. Fog tends to appear in the early morning and late afternoon, so if you can avoid traveling through it, I would. Get a few extra hours of sleep or have an earlier dinner. When it comes to foggy conditions, you won’t want to take any chances of damaging your beautiful Minnesota motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer.

Beware Of Mold In Your Minnesota RV Refrigerator

Because our Minnesota motorhomes, fifth wheels and travel trailers sometimes serve as our home-away-from-home, it’s easy to think that the appliances function the same way as they would in our house. For example, cleaning out our refrigerator isn’t something we do routinely in a home (unless you happen to have a lot of spills) and we don’t usually have to worry about mold. This is not the case in an RV.

After an RV outing, many of us know that we need to empty out our RV refrigerators. What most people don’t realize, is how thoroughly this must be done. Why? Because even though we empty all of the food out, moisture and mold may still remain, and the smallest amount of frost or ice left inside will eventually melt and leave the inside susceptible to mold. Eventually a new, warm and moist environment will grow and replace the coldness of your fridge. This creates the perfect atmosphere for mold to grow.

If you’re starting to panic wondering whether or not you cleaned out your fridge well enough before putting it away for the winter season, relax. While ridding your fridge of mold isn’t the most pleasant thing for those with a weak stomach, it isn’t as difficult as it may sound. In fact, you can have it completely cleaning in as little as two washes. Follow these steps and sooner than you know you’ll be mold free!

  1. Scrub the entire fridge with warm, soapy water. This will remove most of the mold itself.
  2. Make a bleach and water solution by mixing a gallon of water and 1/4 cup of bleach. Once you have your mixture, do another scrubbing of the entire fridge. This solution will disinfect and sanitize the fridge and help prevent the mold from reappearing.

See, Minnesota RVers? Not too terrible. I’m willing to bet that you won’t be having a mold issue in your RV refrigerator again any time soon.

 

Make Cleaning Your Minnesota RV Awning a Part of Your Regular RV Maintenance Routine

As members of the RV community, we know that with owning an RV, travel trailer or fifth wheel comes the responsibility of routine maintenance. It’s been my experience that one of the things new Minnesota RV owners forget about is cleaning the RV awning.  Whether you’re putting your RV away for the season or you’ve been traveling through some less than ideal weather, you should add cleaning the awning to your checklist because rain, snow, wind, dust and air pollution are all things that can cause permanent damage and/or stains to the awning.

I’m pretty sure it’s been proven that the life span of an RV awning improves with routine cleaning. If you have a fabric awning, it should be deep cleaned two or three times a year. This can vary depending on your RV travel habits. If you have a vinyl RV awning, then you’ll need to give it a good cleaning three or four times a year. Again, this can vary depending on your RV travels.

When the time comes, you’ll need to select an awning cleaning product. There is a wide array of products especially made for this task. Some products are specially formulated to deal with mildew or mold and others are more generic and can be used on both vinyl and fabric awnings. If you need help finding one or deciding which will work best for you, swing by Pleasureland RV or give us a call. If you can, try to get a cleaner that contains UV inhibitors and blockers.

Now that you’ve selected a product, let’s put this project in motion. You’ll need a ladder for this one. Once you’ve secured yourself (we don’t want any injuries) on the ladder, go ahead and pull out about three feet of your awning. It’s strongly recommend to clean the awning in sections. This way you’ll be sure to get it all and it’ll it make the process much simpler. Once you’ve cleaned the last section, leave the awning out to dry. If you’re really interested in extending the life of your awning, try applying a light coat of repellent to help prevent stains and repel water. The best kinds will contain a UV blocker to help maintain the fabric’s appearance. Again, if you need help finding RV awning cleaning products, swing by one of Pleasureland RV’s four locations, or give us a call. Like I mentioned above, cleaning your awning is something that should become part of your routine RV maintenance. After all, you’ve already invested a lot of time and money in this rolling home on wheels, so why not do everything you can to get the most out of it?

 

Take Advantage of Fee-Free Days at National Parks this Year

Have you already started planning your destinations for this year, Minnesota RV owners? I’ll bet many of you started planning before the year even began! If you’re thinking about heading to any of our wonderful National Parks, check this out. The National Park Service is waiving admission fees on 17 days this year to encourage Americans to explore America’s natural beauty, rich history and culture!

Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, encourages everyone to visit a park near them whether or not it’s during one of the free-free days, but why not take advantage of free admission if you can? Check out the list:

  • April 21-29 (National Park Week)
  • June 9 (Get Outdoors Day)
  • September 29 (National Public Lands Day)
  • November 10-12 (Veterans Day weekend)

To top it off, many park-related hotels, restaurants, gift shops, and tour operators will also be offering specials on fee-free days. There are 397 National Parks to choose from, so you better get to planning, Minnesota RV travelers!