Prevent Your Minnesota RV from Dry Rot This Winter

Photo Courtest of RVBasics

Though I’m not sure why, some RV owners think that winterizing or storing your RV means you won’t have to perform any sort of maintenance during the time it’s in storage. This is a very common misconception, especially among new RVers. If you’ve decided to hibernate your Minnesota motor home, travel trailer or fifth wheel this winter, there are several things you need to keep an eye on. In my opinion, dry rot is the most important because it’s one of the worst things that can happen to your RV. Especially if it goes unnoticed for too long.

So what exactly is dry rot? To put it plainly, dry rot is a wood-destroying fungus that begins when moisture seeps into the interior of your RV’s walls. It soon starts to eat away at the insulation, wood, and anything else, leaving your RV structurally weak.  The worst thing about it is that there’s really no way to fix a wall that has been eaten out by dry rot without replacing the entire thing.

Those of you storing your RV outdoors are at the most risk for dry rot. So make sure you thoroughly inspect your RV for any leaks along the seals and rivets. The best thing to do is have a professional at your Minnesota RV dealership perform a pressure test. If your RV passes, then the next step is to purchase a high-quality RV cover. Using a regular, old blue tarp will simply not do.

If you plan on keeping  your RV in an indoor storage facility, then you need to check for leaks in the roof or walls. I strongly recommend buying a de-humidifier for the storage unit or RV. This will add additional insurance that there won’t be any excess water sitting on, in, or around your RV while it is in storage.

Dry rot can begin while your RV is stored away without you even knowing it. So if you ‘ve decided you want to put your RV away for the slow season, then you need to be sure you are doing your best to protect it from dry rot. If you’d like a professional to inspect your RV for leaks or run a pressure test, swing by one of Pleasureland RV’s four locations:  Ramsey, St.Cloud, Willmar or Brainerd.

Why You Need to Know the Height and Weight of Your Minnesota Motor Home, Travel Trailer or Fifth Wheel

When it comes to owning an RV, there are certain measurements, numbers, weights, etc. that you need to know and keep track of. The second you drive that new RV off the lot at your Minnesota RV dealership, you should immediately make a note of two things: the height and weight of your RV.

Earlier this year, we talked about the importance of knowing your RV clearance level. In case you’re new to this blog, I’ll briefly revisit the subject. When driving a normal passenger car, we often take for granted the clearance signs that you see in overpasses and drive-thru restaurants. This is normal because unless you’re driving a lifted pickup truck, odds are your car will clear practically anything. But this is not the case with your new motor home, travel trailer or fifth wheel. Here’s the best example of what can happen if you aren’t aware of your RV’s clearance level.

In order to prevent this from happening to you, you’ll need to physically measure the height of your RV. You cannot rely on the what it says in the owner’s manual because accessories are not factored in. The only way to be sure, is to measure from the ground up to the tallest point of your RV. I recommend making three measurements: the front, middle and rear.

Now that we know our clearance level, let’s move on to our RV’s weight. Weight can affect everything from your tires and axles to how it handles while driving. The number you’re looking for here is the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). This number tells you the maximum amount of weight that your RV is designed to carry including full tanks and passengers. If you are driving an RV that is over its weight, then you are putting yourself at risk of dangers that can occur while on the road including part failure.

Believe it or not, even the smallest things we keep in our RV, such as picture frames and books, add up. So it’s always best to monitor your weight using a professional truck scale. You can find these scales at truck stops or mechanic shops and they can give you an accurate reading of what your RV weighs. Be sure to have your RV filled to the max (fuel, water holding tanks, etc.) when you weigh it.

With owning an RV, comes responsibility. It doesn’t have to be difficult, which is why I recommend taking note of these two things the second you drive off the Minnesota RV dealership lot. Trust me, you’ll be saving yourself and your RV from unnecessary trouble down the road. If you ever need any help with measuring or weighing your RV, you can always swing by one of Pleasureland’s four locations in Ramsey, St.Cloud, Willmar or Brainerd.

Garmin Navigation Apps Make the Perfect Gift for the Minnesota RV Owner

Hey Minnesota RVers, we’re only days away from Christmas Eve, and I’m sure some of you out there have not finished all of your Christmas shopping. Or maybe you’re just stuck on gift ideas for your spouse or friend. Well, I have a great idea for you at a great price: The gift of navigation! I know that navigation systems can be a little pricey, but  the good news is you can now buy extremely capable navigation apps for smart phones! Here’s some even better news… Garmin has slashed prices for its apps and traffic services for the year-end holidays!

Last week, Consumer Reports said that Garmin announced price cuts of up to 40 percent for its Navigon navigation software for both iPhones and Google Android-powered smartphones. The holiday promotion will last through January 5 and allows users to download and navigate U.S. maps for $30 instead of $40 (Android) or $50 (iPhone). For both U.S. and Canadian maps, Garmin will charge about $40 for its app on either iOS or Android platforms.

Garmin’s live traffic update service will also be discounted from $20 to $15. This app is great for when Minnesota RVers venture out and have to bravely navigate through large cities.  The StreetPilot app for iPhones also dropped $10 to $50 for U.S. and Canadian maps ($40 for U.S. only) during this promotion. So Minnesota RV owners, if you’re in need of a last minute gift, go check out these different GPS apps. Any owner of a motorhome, travel trailer or fifth wheel will be more than happy to have this service with them while on their RV adventures!

The Minnesota Roads Will Be Extra Crowed During the Holidays

Hey Minnesota RVers, what are your plans for the holiday? AAA is forecasting that more Americans are planning to travel this year for the holidays, and that 91.9 million will travel 50 miles or more from their home during the year-end travel season, up from last year’s figure of 90.7 million. For those of you out there who are full-timers, it looks like the roads are going to get a little crowded this holiday season!

AAA also said that the majority of these holiday travelers will take to the roads. Some 83.6 million people (91 percent of total holiday travelers) plan to travel by car, a 2.1 percent increase compared to last year. The year-end holiday season is defined by AAA as beginning Friday, December 23, 2011 and ending Monday, January 2, 2012. So if you are thinking you’ll be on the road during one of those 11 days, be sure to take extra caution.

It’s been reported by the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) that 40 percent of traffic-related deaths during Christmas and New Year’s involve drunk drivers — a 12 percent increase over the rest of the month of December. So make sure you keep your attention on the other drivers around you. Stay safe out there Minnesota RVers!

Avoid Hydroplaning in Your Minnesota Motorhome, Travel Trailer or Fifth Wheel

Have you ever been driving during a rain storm or shortly after and hit a semi-shallow patch of water causing you to skid? Odds are, the majority of you have seeing how we spend a lot of time on the road in our RVs. This is known as hydroplaning, and in my opinion, it’s one of the scariest instances an RV driver encounters.

What is hydroplaning? The skidding or sliding of a RV’s tires when they come across a wet surface and occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can scatter. Water pressure in the front of the wheel pushes water under the tire, and the tire is then separated from the road surface by a thin film of water losing traction and causing the driver to experience a loss of steering, braking and power control.

When and where exactly does hydroplaning occur? According to SafeMotorist.com, hydroplaning can occur on any wet road surface, and the first 10 minutes of a light rain is usually the most dangerous time. Slippery conditions arise when light rain mixes with oil residue on the road surface. It’s especially dangerous to vehicles traveling over 35 mph.

Tire manufacturers specifically aim at creating tread patterns, or grooves, on our tires to channel water from beneath the tire creating higher friction with the road surface. This helps to prevent or minimize instances of hydroplaning. If your tire tread is worn, you will likely be hydroplaning more than others.

The best way to avoid hydroplaning is proper tire maintenance. I’m sure the tires on your RV are in great condition already since you know how important tire maintenance on RVs in particular is, right? You need to keep them properly inflated, rotate them at the recommended times and replace them when your tread starts to become worn. In rainy conditions, slow down. The faster you drive, the harder it is for your tires to scatter water. Avoid puddles, standing water and driving in the outer lanes because water tends to accumulate there.

If you can see the tire tracks left by other vehicles in front of you, try to drive in them. Most likely, they have already pushed a large portion of the water out of the way. Never use cruise control and avoid hard braking and  making sharp or quick turns.

As I mentioned before, hydroplaning is a scary thing for drivers. So when driving your Minnesota RV through the rain, remember these tips and avoid hydroplaning as much as possible!

Thinking About Becoming A Full-Timer in Your Minnesota RV?

If you’ve been living in the RV world for awhile now, I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “full-timer“. You may even have several friends who are currently living this lifestyle. But for those of you who are thinking about buying a new or used RV in Minnesota for the first time, this may be a new concept to you. Whether you already own a motorhome, travel trailer or fifth wheel or you’re thinking about owning one and moving your life to road full-time, there are some things you need to consider first.

First, let’s define the term. Full-time RVing literally means living in your RV 365 days of the year. Your RV, travel trailer or fifth wheel is your permanent address. For many people, full-time rving simplifies their life by living more economically. If you’d rather spend all of your time at a national park or campground, then full-timing is definitely a great way to do this.

It’s been reported that there are more than a million people currently living on the road in their RVs. It used to be that retired couples made up the majority of the full-time population, but more and more families, couples and even singles are being to join the community.

As with all things, there are a few downsides to becoming a full-timer. Now that I think about it, these may even be considered as more advantages to some… it all depends on your lifestyle, really. The first downside is you’ll have to part with your current residence. This most likely includes a large chunk of your personal belongings. Odds are, your RV is a lot smaller compared to your home. If you’re used to spending a lot of time with your family and friends who aren’t in living in the RV world, you’ll have to get used to seeing less of them. This is something you’ll need to prepare yourself for before making the decision.

If full-time RVing is the choice for you, I have one huge recommendation: stay connected. With this advanced technological world we live in today, it’s extremely easy to keep in touch with your family, friends and the world. If you have any questions about this decision, or you’re in the market for a new or used RV to take on the road, come by and see us. Pleasureland RV is happy to help with all of your RV lifestyle needs.

Stay Warm Inside and Outside Your RV During the Minnesota Winter

Though many people choose to winterize their RVs or head south for the winter, I know there are some of you out there who absolutely love RVing during these months. If you’re new to the RV world and you are planning to do some RVing this winter, staying warm will be key to ensuring you have a great time. After all, no one wants to spend their trip bundled up and shivering. For the most part, your RV furnace will do the job. But it’s always good to have a back up plan, like a portable heater, if something goes wrong and the furnace stops working.

Portable heaters have many advantages for RVers. There typically pretty small and can easily be stored away . They are great at quickly and quietly heating up a room in your RV without using too much energy.  Be sure to shut off the room you are heating from the rest of the RV, though, to contain the heat. I like to use a portable heater during the night so I don’t have to burn through the battery- or generator-powered furnace. So before you go to sleep, you can turn off the furnace, close your bedroom door and sleep soundly and warmly. They are also great for those chilly days and nights when you want to sit outside and enjoy nature.

One of my favorite portable heaters is the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy. Don’t be fooled by the name, this little guy is capable of heating up to 200 square feet and has a fold-down handle for compact storage. It also has an automatic low oxygen shutoff system and an accidental tip-over safety shutoff. You can find it for about $100 at Wal-Mart and even cheaper at online stores like Amazon.com.

A word of caution, though… if you plan on using a portable generator, be sure you understand how to use it. For instance, if you plan to use it in the bedroom, be sure to set it somewhere away from anything that can ignite. This includes your bedding, clothing and curtains. As I mentioned before, these little portable heaters give off a lot of heat. I’ve heard of the rubber on people’s shoes even melting from propping their feet up too close to the heater. Try to always keep the heater at least five feet away from yourself. If you close off the rest of the RV, I promise the room you are heating will quickly become toasty with the heater sitting in the far corner. Stay safe and warm out there, Minnesota winter-loving RVers!

The La Salle Lake State Recreation Area is Now Open to the Public with 40 Slots for Minnesota RVs

Hey Minnesota RVers, have you heard the news? Our great state has opened a new, 1,000-acre parcel State Recreation Area. The La Salle Lake State Recreation Area (SRA) is home to Minnesota’s second deepest lake, a cold water stream, high-quality forest and wetlands and more than a half-mile of Mississippi River Headwaters shoreline. And now we can park our RVs in one of the 40 full hook-up slots and enjoy this beautiful land! The new park also has several year-round cabins and an indoor recreation facility with a pool and a kitchen.

Hunting and trapping opened a few weeks ago, so for those of you RV owners who love to hunt, you’re definitely going to want to plan a trip soon. Love to take fishing trips in your RV? The 221-acre La Salle Lake is 213 feet deep and supports walleye, bluegill, northern pike and crappie populations.

For those of you who love nature, the park’s forested landscape features red and jack pine forests and woodlands, large white pine, balsam fir and white spruce forests, and a high quality old-growth northern white cedar forest.

Be sure to add this new campground to your 2012 RV travel list, Minnesota! If you don’t currently own an RV, but you’re thinking about buying a new or used RV for 2012, come see us at one of our four locations! Not ready to make a purchase? Pleasureland has excellent deals on Minnesota RV rentals. Either way, you can always stop by and say hello!

Minnesota Winter RV Driving 101

The winter months are starting to arrive bringing those unexpected snow storms that can put a damper on your RV travels. On average, Southwest Minnesota gets about 35 inches of snow a year and Northeast Minnesota usually sees around 70 inches. While many Minnesota RVers decide to winterize their motorhomes during the cold season, others enjoy utlilizing their RV for the duration of the winter season. Most full-timers out there would say that driving a motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer during the winter is highly difficult due to the snow and ice on most Minnesota roadways.

If this is going to be your first Minnesota winter in your RV, it’s good to know how to handle your RV in snowy and icy conditions. Follow these tips below and you’ll be able to weather the storm with no problem.

Use your low beams and windshield wipers. Snow contributes to low visibility and reduced traction, so be sure to use your low beams and take it slow.

Accelerate, brake and steer smoothly to avoid skidding. Although a skid is almost inevitable in icy conditions, keeping focused and taking it slow and steady can help you keep the skids to a minimum.

Don’t forget that RVs are rear wheel drive. Most passenger cars are front wheel drive and for the past two or three decades, most of you have been trained on how to regain control in a skid. When you’re in an RV though, remember that you steer with the slide and pump the brakes lightly in order to regain control.

Turn off your exhaust brake in icy conditions. If you are driving a diesel RV, shut off your exhaust brake; otherwise, if you let off the accelerator, the back-end of your coach could “fishtail” and land you in the ditch (rvtoads.com).

Keep a full tank of gas. This is very important in snowy conditions. If you come across an area you can’t pass or you would rather throw in the towel all together, you’ll definitely want to have enough fuel to park it for the night and wait for the weather conditions to improve.

Always have a set of snow chains handy. There is nothing worse than driving your RV to higher elevation, and experiencing an unexpected storm without chains for your motorhome.

See? It doesn’t sound too terrible, does it? If you follow these snow safety tips, I’m sure you can weather those Minnesota winter roads. If you need some reassurance or just want to talk to an expert before you head out, come by Pleasureland RV and chat with the RV experts. We’re always happy to help.

Do You Consider Yourself a Good RV Driver, Minnesota?

Photo Courtesy of MobileLifeStyle

If you currently own an RV or you’re thinking about purchasing a new RV in the near future, then it’s probably safe to say that you’ve been driving for several years now. Every driver forms their own driving habits over the years and most consider themselves to be a good driver. But obviously, this isn’t true. Not everyone out there is as good of a driver as they think they are. In fact, more than 33,000 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents last year — most of which were preventable.

In the motorhome world, we tend to spend more time driving than the average person. Therefore, we of all people should practice safe driving and be considered the best drivers out there. You’d be surprised at how even the smallest things we do behind the wheel of our RV can make a difference. Let’s take a look at some statistics from Consumer Reports and see how we can prevent ourselves from becoming them.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for kids between 3 and 12 years old. By placing all children 12 and under in the back seat, you can reduce injury risk by 64 percent for children under 8 and 31 percent for 9-12 year olds.

Secure you children. Not only will this possibly save their lives in an accident, it will also prevent you from losing control of the vehicle due to the children bouncing all over the car.

Speeding is a factor in about one-third of all fatal crashes, killing nearly 900 Americans every month.

This one is a no-brainer, don’t speed. Sure there’s a window of five to eight mph over the posted speed limit, but the only time you should ever exceed that window is if you are passing someone. This pertains to RV owners mostly because our RV, travel trailer or fifth wheel is much larger than our passenger cars.  (So this pertains to RV owners more than anyone.) As a bonus, not speeding will help with your fuel consumption.

In 2009, over 5,400 people were killed due to distracted driving and 448,000 were injured.

Keep your eyes on the road at all times. Don’t text, email, eat, play with the GPS or anything else that may cause you to become distracted. Taking your eyes off the road for two seconds can result in a deadly crash.

The use of seat belts saved the lives of 13,000 people in 2008.

Buckle up. Seat belt laws are there for a reason, people. Should you happen to be involved in an accident, your seat belt will prevent you from flying through the huge windshield of your RV.

Another way to prevent an accident is preventative maintenance. Be sure to routinely check the tire pressure and tread of your tires, your fluid levels and battery. You should also always use your signals to alert other drivers of your vehicle and what you are planning to do.

As I mentioned before, a high percentage of motor vehicle accidents are preventable. So Minnesota RVers, what will you do to be the best RV driver you can be? Let us know!