Choosing Between a Travel Trailer and Fifth Wheel in Minnesota

If you’re thinking about joining the vast and wonderful world of RVs by buying a new or used RV in Minnesota, the first thing you’ll have to do is decide is what class is best for you.

The first decision is fairly easy in my opinion. Motorized or towable? Are you wanting to use your RV as a vehicle and a home? Or are you leaning more toward towing an RV with a car or truck?

If you’ve decided that a towable RV is the choice for you, then let’s go ahead and break it down into a few more choices. The most common towable RVs are travel trailers and fifth wheels.

Travel Trailers

2012 Dutchmen Denali Minnesota

2012 Dutchmen Denali

The travel trailer is going to be your most common and usually least expensive RV. They are available in a wide variety of lengths and can be towed behind any vehicle with enough power and torque.

Advantage #1 – Almost any tow vehicle will do.

Depending on the size, travel trailers can be pulled by a sedan, pick-up or even a minivan. Most people use their tow vehicle on a regular basis, so having this advantage is a big plus.

Advantage #2 – Better fuel economy.

Because a travel trailer has a lower profile than a 5th wheel, you’re going to average two to three miles per gallon better fuel economy. Don’t forget to factor in the savings you’ll get by having a smaller vehicle for every day use as well.

Advantage #3 – Lower Cost.

On average, a travel trailer will cost about $10,000 less than a 5th wheel of equal size.

[HensleyMfg.com]

Fifth Wheels

2012 Keystone Alpine Minnesota

2012 Keystone Alpine 3200RL

Fifth wheels are strictly pulled by pickup trucks and get their name from the distinguishing gooseneck hitch. This gives them better stability and a better center of gravity. On the whole, fifth wheels are very spacious and usually have at least one slide-out space. Of the two, fifth wheels are considered to be the more luxurious.

Advantage #1 – Stability.

The fifth wheel has a good reputation for stability. Often times, you’ll hear people complain about the sway when towing a travel trailer. Fifth wheels eliminate this problem and are known for being easy to tow.

Advantage #2 – Luxury.

Though they are more expensive than a travel trailer, the amenities you’ll find in a fifth wheel make it all worth it in my opinion.

Regardless of which towable RV you choose, you’re bound to love it. If this is your first time buying a new or used RV, you can always come down to one of Pleasureland RV’s four locations and look around. While you’re there, ask questions! We’re more than happy to help find the perfect RV to fit all of your needs.

Make Your Life Easier and Rid Your Minnesota RV of Hard Water

Hard water can make life on the road in your Minnesota RV much more difficult than it needs to be, and if this is something you are currently experiencing, you’re going to want to fix it soon.

So what exactly is hard water?

Water that contains the hardness minerals – calcium and magnesium.

How does water become hard?

As rain water passes over the through the earth, it absorbs hardness minerals. Eventually this water flows into our lakes, rivers, streams and ground water.

What are the signs of hard water?

The most obvious sign that your water is hard is rust stains or scaling in sink, shower or toilet. Hard water is less effective at washing away dirt, so you may notice that your clothes are not getting as clean as they should be. It’s also hard to work up a good lather of shampoo or soap when you have hard water.

Other signs include a foul odor, difficulty working up a good lather of shampoo or soap, and possibly a reddish tint to you hair (this is caused by all of the iron in the water).

Technically speaking, hard water is not harmful to your health, but it will affect your ability to wash and clean efficiently. There are several remedies to this issue including portable water softeners. In my opinion this is the best option because they’re easy to use and provide soft water for one to two weeks while costing practically nothing.

If you’re experiencing hard water, take it from me… you’ll want to make it soft. Not only will it turn your tough RV cleaning jobs into easy work, you’ll also save time and money. Not to mention, you’ll probably feel much fresher after showers.  If you need any help picking out a portable water softener or would like to look at other options, give Pleasureland RV a call, or pop in one of our four locations in Ramsey, St.Cloud, Willmar or Brainerd.

Properly Store Your Minnesota RV Batteries During the Off Season

rv dealership minnesotaHave you ever stored your RV for the winter months and found that your batteries died or cracked apart while it was stored? Believe it or not, this is a common problem many RVers face when they decide to winterize their motorhomes for the winter. Especially those of us RVers who live in states where winters can be brutal.

I was watching the news last night and when the weather man said we’re were going to be in the single digits this week, I thought it’d be best to make sure all of you Minnesotans properly stored your RV’s batteries.

The majority of our RVs have parasitic drains in their electrical systems that come from various electrical components, like carbon monoxide and propane detectors, car stereos, circuit boards, LED lights, etc. Even if you have an OEM battery switch, some of these drains will remain on slowly draining the life of your battery as your RV is stored away.

This becomes an even bigger issue in freezing temperatures. Why? Because automotive batteries will freeze if they lose their charge, which can result in their splitting apart. And when batteries freeze, they are deader than dead. That’s right, a frozen battery is usually damaged beyond repair.

There are two ways to prevent this from happening when you store your RV. The first, is to make sure your batteries are charging .You can use shore power or a solar charging system. The second method, and much simpler in my opinion, is to remove the batteries all together and store them in a climate-controlled location, like your house.

If you’re not storing your RV in a climate-controlled area, and you haven’t already removed the batteries, you may want to get a move on. Those cold Minnesota temperatures are going to hit quick this week. If your battery has already cracked or drained, give Pleasureland RV a call or swing by one our four locations in Ramsey, St.Cloud, Willmar and Brainerd.

Does Your Minnesota RV Need New Windshield Wiper Blades?

Driving in inclement weather is bad enough in an average passenger vehicle, but doing it in an RV? Awful. Especially if you don’t know what you are doing. The most common weather you’ll probably drive through in your RV is rain, and there’s nothing worse than flipping on your windshield wipers and realizing it’s only making it worse. If you’ve been on the road for awhile and haven’t been able to clean the bugs off your windshield, you can bet your visibility will decrease even more.

Many things contribute to the deterioration of your RV‘s wiper blades including the sun, oil from other vehicles and the random dirt and other debris carried by the wind. When blades start to deteriorate, they may start to streak, skip or split.

Skipping: This is caused by a curvature due to lack of use. If your RV has been parked for a long period of time, your wipers may have molded to the curvature of your RV’s windshield. This curvature will mess up the contact the wipers have with the rest of the windshield’s surface as it moves causing the blades to skip.

Streaking: When your wiper blades harden and crack, the result is streaking. Usually this is due to dry rubber, but tree sap, bugs and grime from the road also contribute to this issue.

Splitting: Over time, your blades will naturally wear down and split. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays will also contribute to split rubber.

Seeing how our RVs spend a lot of time on the road, their wiper blades are prone to wearing out quicker than those on our cars. There are  few simple things you can do to help prevent this, though. First and foremost, you should add checking your blades to your regular maintenance list. Look for broken frames, tears and missing pieces and curvature. It’s also good idea to clean your windshield often and wipe the rubber part of the blades with a damp paper towel. During the winter months, pull the blades away from the windshield and never use them to try to get ice off of your windshield.

As a general rule of thumb, wiper blades should be replaced once a year.  This can very a little bit depending on the amount of usage, and as I mentioned earlier, RV wiper blades will probably wear out quicker. So be sure to always inspect your blades before heading out. If you need any help inspecting your blades or installing new ones, you can always give Pleasureland RV a call or swing by one of our locations in Minnesota.

Tips for Enjoyable Family Travel in Your Minnesota RV

Owning an RV is a great way to spend time with your family. Traveling all over the country to famous landmarks and national parks is a great way to really connect with your spouse and your children. Unfortunately, getting the family together for sing-alongs or road trip games is not as easy as it used to be.

With all of the technology present in kids’ lives (smartphones, hand-held video games, iPods, etc.), it can sometimes seem as if there is a bit of a disconnect between family members. But taking trips together in your new or used RV can be the perfect way to build or rebuild these relationships!

If you’re planning on taking your first trip with your family this year, or you’d like to make your travels more enjoyable, here are a few things you can try.

First, you mustn’t expect your kids to be grateful for all the sacrifices it takes to go on a trip. They are not going to thank you profusely or act wonderfully. Instead, watch for the moment of wonder or the “pure joy” smile – it is these “moments” that make the trip happy and memorable. Photograph those moments and it is all you will remember later.

Second, be sure to leave a little “give” in the schedule. If you have an agenda packed end to end with activities, the kids will start complaining and wish to stay somewhere and just hang out. A good strategy is to let each person choose one event or activity and one restaurant during the trip.

Try setting some RV travel rules such as everyone has to bring a book. Not only is this beneficial from an educational stand point, it’s also good for keeping your children busy. Another good rule, is to set limits on your children’s use of electronics.  The Ipods, phones, Ipads, Nintendo DSs, and other devices are amazing and really help children stay distracted during the hectic travel challenges but  it’s important that they don’t “check out” and participate in the trip.

There are plenty of things you can do to make RV travel with your family more enjoyable for everyone. Just make sure you don’t force too much on your children. We want them to grow to love RVing on their own. Anyone out there have any suggestions they’d like to share? If you’re looking for a new or used Minnesota RV to pack the family up in, be sure and head to one of Pleasureland RVs four locations in Ramsey, St. Cloud, Willmar and Brainerd.

Test Your Toilet Paper Before Heading Out in Your Minnesota RV

I’m sure you’ve all done this at some point in your life… you finish up your business in the bathroom and realize that there’s nothing on the toilet paper roll but a few shreds. That’s when you look up and see a roll of papertowels sitting conveniently on top of the sink. In a normal househould, using papertowels or tissue might fly, but when it comes to our RVs, it’s a big NO-NO.

For those of you out there who have been traveling around Minnesota in your motorhome for awhile, you know better than to use anything other than toilet paper because your RV holding tank will have a really hard time breaking it down. But did you know that there are several types of toilet paper that they can’t break down either?

I’ve heard stories from RVers using a certain type of toilet paper and thinking that their black water tank was full because a piece of it got stuck to the wall and tripped the sensor. Using a brand or ply that doesn’t easily break down will also make cleaning the holding tank more difficult.

There’s a great little test you can conduct at home to determine  if your current brand will break down. Simply put a couple of sheets in a mason jar and shake it for a few seconds. Then let it sit for about 30 minutes. If they paper broke down, then you know it’s good to go!

There are specialty brands made specifically for RVs that you can find at your Minnesota RV dealership. I strongly recommend using that type or going with something extremely cheap. I know that may be difficult for some of you toilet paper snobs out there, but I’ve found that the cheaper the better (unless you opt for the RV-specific brands). Another little trick is to look on the label of the toilet paper to see if it’s good for septic tanks. These brands will also break down in your holding tank.  If the paper broke down, you know that is compatible with your RV’s holding tank.  You can also find special RV toilet paper at RV dealerships as well.  These RV specific rolls of toilet paper are usually a bit more expensive than regular toilet paper.

So before you hit the road next time, pickup some toilet paper and do the test for yourself. If you are toilet paper snob (no judgment — who doesn’t love that soft Charmin?), grab a couple of different types and see how they dissolve. If you have any questions, or want to buy RV-specific TP, then give Pleasureland RV a call or swing by one of their four locations in Ramsey, St. Cloud, Wilmer or Brainerd.

Organizing Your Motorhome Will Help You Keep Things In Place While Driving Down the Minnesota Highway

Because our Minnesota motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth wheels spend most of their time in motion, our belongings can easily slide around. Not only does this create a mess, but it can become a safety hazard for the driver. Have you ever had something in your lap while driving a regular passenger car, and suddenly you have to jerk or slam the brakes? If you have, you know that whatever was in your lap or lying loose next to you is probably now in the floorboards and possibly stuck underneath your gas or brake pedal. It’s stomach-turning to realize that something is jammed underneath your brake pedal. I know because it’s happened to me.

Unless you’re living out of your car, you are much more likely to experience things rolling into the floorboards of your RV. That  should be reason enough for you to want to get organized and make sure everything has a place inside your home on wheels.

Just making sure you don’t have loose articles rolling around the RV floor isn’t enough in my opinion. Have you ever noticed that after a long drive, you open up a cabinet to pull out a can of green beans and everything falls out or is tipped over? Now you have to go in and clean up or reorganize the mess.

Luckily, I’m not the first person to realize that RVs need some sort of organization in order to prevent these things. There are a few inexpensive and really helpful things you can do including:

    • Line all of your cabinets and drawers with non-slip liner. You can find non adhesive shelf liners almost anywhere and they are great because they also cushion and protect your contents.

 

    • Add slide-out shelving in your cabinets with attached baskets. Not only will this help keep your belongings in space, it will also maximize the space your working with. Slide-out shelving is also a great idea for your RV kitchen. Shelves with lips on the end are perfect for your pots and pans and there are even ones you can find that are specifically for food items like cans and sauces.

 

    • Use stacking bins or shelves to divide your cabinets or cubby space to further help prevent items from shifting. You can find inexpensive, freestanding drawer units that serve as shelves. Be sure to use ones with lips on the end, though. That way your things won’t be able to slid off the edge.

 

  • If you have limited space in your RV bathroom, try using containers with suction cups on your mirror. This is great for organizing and keeps your toiletries in place while you’re driving. Another option is to use a hanging shoe holder to store.

Though it may sound like a lot of work, it’s really not. And besides, you will thank me for it in the end when you arrive to your destination and everything is exactly where it should be. If you need any help finding anything I mentioned above, don’t hesitate to give Pleasureland RV a call. We’re more than happy to help. If you’re in the market for a new Winnebago Adventurer or Dutchman Denali to organize, then swing by one of Pleasureland RV’s four Minnesota locations in Ramsey, St.Cloud, Willmar and Brainerd.

MiTAC Announes the New Magellan RoadMate RV9145 for the RV Industry

I have some exciting news for the technology lovers in the Minnesota RV world. On Friday, the MiTAC Digital Corporation announced that they will debut their newest addition to the Magellan RoadMate family: the RV9145 navigator. This new GPS navigation product is specifically designed for RVers and will make its first appearance this week at the 2012 International CES® show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

So what makes this “specific” to the RV industry? For starters, the RV9145 features an extra-large high-resolution 7″ display with customized routing based on a vehicle’s profile and driver preference. It also comes pre-loaded with maps of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico and over six million points of interest. To top it off, the RV9145 comes with the Magellan-exclusive Good Sam Trailer Life RV Parks & Campground Directory, which lists over 11,700 private campgrounds.

rv accessories minnesota

Though official images of the RoadMate RV9145 have not yet been released, it's speculated that it will be similiar to the 7-inch Magellan RoadMate Pro 9165.

Associate VP of Product Management for Magellan GPS, Stig Pedersen, said, “Our new RoadMate RV9145 GPS navigator is the ideal RV travel companion that can make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable.”

According to Pedersen, the device was designed with safety in mind, as it provides both customized routes based on the size and demands of the RV, Highway Lane Assist, and turn-by-turn spoken directions that let drivers keep their eyes on the road.

The RV9145 offers settings and adjusts routes based on a vehicle’s height, width, length and weight. The customizable route feature picks the suitable route based on driver preference, e.g., shortest distance, fastest time, using freeways, or not using freeways. Its multi-destination routing capability allows a user to plan an entire trip in one route.

Magellan’s exclusive OneTouch™ user interface lets users personalize their experience with instant access to favorite destinations and searches and external devices, such as a back-up camera, DVD player, or an iPod, can be easily utilized through the A/V input. The unit includes safety features such as Highway Lane Assist that ensures drivers choose the correct lane well before upcoming interchanges and exits, and spoken street names and directions that alert drivers when to make a turn without having to take their eyes off the road.

Though they haven’t told us exactly when this device will be on the market or given any screenshots yet, we do know it has an MSRP of $349.99. So stay tuned, Minnesota RVers! I’ll give you more details after CES Show finishes this week.

Don’t Let Road Salt Rust Damage Your RV During the Minnesota Winter

When it comes to winter in Minnesota, half of the RVers decide to put her up for the season, while the other half hit the road. If this is your first time taking your RV on the road during the winter season, it’s really important that you know how to properly maintain your RV’s exterior and protect it from damage.

Driving through the snow and ice is tough enough, but there’s one thing many RVers don’t take into consideration: the possibility of rust. When the roads ice over or a new blanket of snows falls, the first thing officials do is salt or sand the roads. Though these methods significantly help the drive, one of them can be extremely damaging to our Minnesota motor home, travel trailers and fifth wheels. In case you haven’t already guessed it, it’s salt.

Unwanted rust is often times the result of salt and moisture. So when we travel on these salted roads, we need to keep an eye on the under bellies of our RVs.  After each outing, you should check for rust. Safely climb underneath your RV and simply look. If you happen to find any rust spots, grab a wire brush and scrub it off or sand it until you see metal. If the rust was severe, you’re going to want to prime the area with a rust inhibitor and possibly even a fresh coat of paint. Even if the rust spot was small, I still recommend priming the area. This will help prevent the rust from coming back.

If you find yourself frequently traveling through the snow, make washing your RV a priority after a trip. If your RV is really salty, you can add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to the wash water to help remove and neutralize the salt. Rust can eat holes through metal and seriously damage your RV. So make sure you have a hold on the situation and consistently inspect your RV this winter. If you need any help at all ridding your RV from rust, you can always head to one Pleasureland RV’s service departments located in Ramsey, St.Cloud, Willmar and Brainerd.

How to Disinfect a Contaminated Fresh Water Tank in Your Minnesota Motor Home

The fresh water tank is one of the most important parts of your RV because you use that water to shower, clean dishes, do laundry, brush your teeth and even drink. So what happens when the water is not tasting so fresh?  You may have somehow contaminated the fresh water tank and it might need a good round of disinfecting. Not to worry, though. This can happen to just about anyone.

Being on the road all the time sometimes means we’ll have to get water from a not-so-good source (though we don’t know it’s “not-so-good” at the time). If this should happen to you, there is a pretty simple process that can be done over night to disinfect the entire system. Trust me, you’ll be extremely happy with the results.

First, you’ll need to drain all of the bad water out of the tank. Then, mix one cup of household bleach with a gallon of water and pour it into your water tank. Once you’ve done that, go ahead and fill the fresh water tank from a trusted, clean source. When its full, turn the water pump on and go to every faucet, shower, toilet and anywhere you use fresh water. Run them all until you smell bleach. Don’t forget to run both cold and hot water. Once you can smell the bleach, turn off the pump and leave the system overnight.

On the following day, go ahead and drain the fresh water tank and refill it with clean water. Go back to all of the places you ran the water yesterday and run them until you no longer smell bleach (this may take an additional filling of the water tank). When you no longer smell bleach, your Minnesota RV fresh water tank is sanitized and ready to use again! See, that wasn’t so bad now was it?