Should You Switch to Nitrogen in Your Minnesota RV?

Hey Minneapolis RVers, did you know that many automobile and RV manufacturers are starting to use nitrogen in their tires instead of air? Though it may seem relatively new, nitrogen has been being used in airplane tires, giant off-highway tires and racing tires for many years. The question is why?

 

Oxidation. Air is composed of roughly one-fifth oxygen, and contains moisture which is known to cause oxidation. Oxidation can actually damage your wheels and over time, deteriorate the tires.

Tire Pressure. Even if your tire doesn’t have any punctures, over time you’ll notice it that it will lose some air due to permeation. While tires filled with air can lose up to 2psi a month, nitrogen will  “escape” your tires at a much slower rate, and it could be six months before your tires lose 2psi. Nitrogen is also much less reactive than air and doesn’t degrade rubber which means longer tread life.

Fuel Efficiency. Overtime, using nitrogen in your tires can improve vehicle handling and fuel efficiency through better tire pressure retention and cooler running tire temperatures. Because nitrogen-filled tires run cooler, they are said to increase the life of the tires up to 30 percent over air-filled tires.

According to GetNitrogen.org, if 85% of the 220 million vehicles on the road today improved their gas mileage by 3.3%, the U.S. would save almost four trillion gallons of gasoline per year. That statistic alone is enough to make me want to convince everyone I know in Minnesota to switch their RV tires to nitrogen. Here’s a great video on the many benefits of using nitrogen.

Are you interested in making the switch? Stop by our RV Dealership and let us know!

Spice Up Your Minnesota RV Kitchen for Halloween!

Halloween is almost here, Minnesota RVers! How are you planning on spending the holiday? If you’re on the road during this time, you should check out the local scene of some nearby towns. Small towns tend to go all out for Halloween, and I’m sure you’ll be able to find some great festivities. You can also decorate your RV and give out candy to trick-or-treaters at the RV park. One thing you can do regardless of how you choose to spend Hallow’s eve is prepare some classic Halloween recipes! Here are two of my favorites for this time of year.

Popcorn Balls

Popcorn balls are a great treat for giving away.  The are super simple and easy to make! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter (no substitutes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • candy thermometer

First place the popcorn in a large bowl and set it aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, corn syrup, butter and salt and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue cooking, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 270 degrees F. Then remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and stir until it looks evenly coated. Once it’s cooled enough for you to handle, mold the popcorn into your preferred size ball shape and set out on a cooking sheet.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Whether you like them sweet, salty or spicy, roasting pumpkin seeds make a perfect Halloween snack. You can also carve the pumpkin afterward and use it for decoration!

First you’ll need to buy a pumpkin(s) and cut a hole in the top around the trunk and dig out the inside of the pumpkin. Next, rinse the pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. This step is easiest to do right after you’ve gutted the pumpkin so the pulp doesn’t dry.

Next, oil up a baking sheet (you can also use non-stick cooking spray) and spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on the sheet. Sprinkle with your desired spices and bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes or until the seeds toasted. Be sure to check on your seeds about 10 minutes in and stir them around on the baking sheet.

When they’ve finished baking, let them cool and store them in an air-tight container to enjoy for later! Here’s a great video on how to do this for you visual learners out there!

What Are Your Insurance Options, Minnesota RVers?

Insuring your new or used RV is a no brainer. For a lot of us, our RV serves as our home and our car, so it’s important to protect ourselves from accidents, fires and theft. Before selecting an insurance provider, you should to do a lot of research. Since there are so many companies out there, I thought I’d start you off with some basic information about the most popular RV insurance companies.

RV America Insurance. This company ensures you receive coverage specialized to your needs at the lowest price by working with six different RV insurance companies. They also offer coverage on flood, theft, fire, full-timer, total loss and 24/7 roadside assistance.

Gilbert RV Insurance. Gilbert offers several options and has excellent replacement cost, purchase price and full-time RV coverage. In the unfortunate event that your RV is totaled, Gilbert’s replacement cost coverage will guarantee you receive the same model, body and size RV. Their purchase price coverage gives you the option of being paid in the exact amount of your RVs price when purchased.  If you’re a full-timer, you’ll love Gilbert’s high liability limits with total coverage.

Good Sam VIP RV Insurance. The Good Sam club is a huge organization that is very well-known in the RV world. On average, their insurance saves each customer $312 per year, and they offer many features including full RV replacement, full timer coverage, permanently attached items coverage, and personal effects coverage.

Recently, the Good Sam Club released the Emergency Roadside Service (ERS) Mobile app making it even easier for its members to request service. The app is GPS enabled, allowing Good Sam to pinpoint your exact location as soon as you place a call for help (which minimizes call time.) You can also pre-register your membership vehicle to cut down call time, too. Once you place a call for service, you’ll see the name of the provider dispatched to assist you and their estimated time of arrival.

There are also other auto insurance companies out there, like Progressive and State Farm, who offer RV insurance. As I said before, the best thing to do is call around and get several quotes before making  decision. Hopefully I gave you a good head start. If you’re looking for a new motorhome, travel trailer or fifth wheel in Minnesota to insure, come see us. We’ll find the perfect fit for you and your family.

How Do You Stay Connected on the Road in Your Minnesota RV?

Photo Courtesy of RVBasics

Do any of you Minnesota RVers remember when you’d have to use a dial-up connection at a campground, an Internet café or a public place like a library to connect to the Internet? My how times have changed. Thanks to technology, we no longer have to find a place to get online where we’d have to wait our turn and then be limited in the amount of time we had to use the Internet.

Today we have a number of options when it comes to staying connected on the road. We can send emails, surf the web and more while we’re traveling down the road or even boondocking. The three most common and easiest choices are to simply use  a smart phone itself, tether through a smart phone or purchase an air card. The option that is right for you, all depends on how much you use the Internet.

Option 1: A Data-Capable Smart Phone. This is for those of you out there who only use the Internet to send and receive emails, get directions and occasionally surf the Internet. Your phone basically serves as your computer screen. Just remember, that data packages can get pricey if you go over your designated amount of usage.

Option 2: Tethering with a Data-Capable Smart Phone. The second option also requires a smart phone. If you moderately use the Internet, this may be a better solution for you. This is also good for those of you prefer using computers or laptops on the road. In order to do this, you’ll need to purchase a tethering plan from your wireless provider. Then you can plug your smart phone into your computer and using the Internet connection from your phone, you’ll have the full functionality of a computer.

Option 3: An Air Card. If you’re an avid user of the Internet or you work from the road, then this option is probably the best one out there. Air cards allow you to surf the web more frequently and generally have much higher-speed connections. There are many wireless carriers out there like AT&T, Sprint and Verizon who offer air cards. This is by far my favorite option, but again, you have to choose the best option for you.

So motorhome owners, which option is right for your RV? Make sure you do some shopping around before you decide. If you choose to go with an air card, check with several different carriers. Often times, they will be offering specials that you can take advantage of.

How Many Insects Lose Their Lives on Your Minnesota Motorhome?

Have you ever noticed how dirty the windshield and front of your car is after a road trip? It seems as though you’ve driven through a swarm of bugs the entire 300 miles. Well in case you haven’t noticed, RVs have much larger windshields and front ends than your car does. So instead of hundreds of bugs, it looks like thousands met their death on your RV after a road trip.

Though I’m not sure why, a Dutch biologist named Arnold van Vliet over in The Netherlands actually conducted a study to get an estimate of just how many bugs lose their lives due to moving vehicles. The results were actually pretty interesting. He asked 250 drivers to track their mileage and the number of bugs on their windshield each night over the course of six weeks. He found that a total of 19,184 miles were traveled by the 250 participants and 17,836 insects were killed. That’s a lot of bug guts to clean off a windshield.

When you do the math and take into account the entire surface area of the front of the vehicle and the total number of cars in the world, it comes to an estimated 32.5 trillion insects in the U.S. dirtying up our windshields each year. Hard to imagine that many, isn’t it?

I wonder how many of those bugs have met their demise on your RV. I’m sure the number is high, especially if you’re a full-time RVer. So what’s the best method for getting the bugs off the windshield and restoring a clear view out of the front of our RV? The most obvious choice would be the windshield wipers, but let’s be honest. Using windshield wipers to clean up a bug mess always seems to make matters worse. If you’re planning on waiting until you arrive home or at a campground, there are many different remedies you can try. I recommend using one of the many cleaners designated for cleaning bugs off the windshield. It’s also a good idea to spray some sort of protectant to make cleaning in the future easier.

If you’re one of those people who likes to have a clean windshield all the time and you absolutely cannot wait to clean up the mess at your destination, you can always use the squeegees at gas stations. For an even better result, try using the standard razor blade. All you have to do it make a downward scraping motion with the blade. This option is probably not best for those of you with weak stomachs, but if you can handle it, this method actually works really well as a quick fix. What are some remedies you like to use, Minnesota RVers? We’d love to hear your ideas!

Minnesota Wildlife – Black Bears

The black bear: a symbol of Minnesota’s wilderness. As a Minnesota RVer who enjoys camping in the great outdoors, it is important to be mindful of what type of wildlife, and in this case bears, you may encounter. Bears are most common in the northern parts of Minnesota, although they have been known to wander into more urban areas.

Conflicts between people and bears have increased as more people build homes and cabins in northern Minnesota. These types of conflicts between bear and human can arise when bears damage personal property, beehives, livestock and even agricultural crops.

The black bears natural source for food are nuts, fish, berries, insects and certain types of vegetation. However, when their natural food sources become scarce, a bear will take advantage of any food they find available and eat anything that might resemble food by its look, smell or even taste. It is when a bear’s desperate search food occurs that they will often come in contact with people.

Reducing Bear Encounters

  • Move campsites if there are any signs that a bear has been there recently.
  • Never leave food in your tent or outside your RV.
  • Use canned or dried foods to minimize the scent of food.
  • Store foods out of a bear’s reach, either in a bear safety storage box or by hanging it at least 15 feet off the ground from a
    tree limb.
  • Burn any used napkins or paper towels in your campfire.
  • Remove all garbage and any fish or other meat remains from your campsite immediately after use.

People share in the responsibility to avoid conflicts with bears. Learning effective measures to prevent bear problems will help both bears and people. The best way to avoid bear conflicts is to not attract them in the first place. If you would like more information about bear safety, we’d be happy to help!

Tire Care – Checking The Tread

The tread of your RV’s tires plays a crucial role in the performance of your vehicle as well as its safety. Knowing how to inspect the tread of your tires yourself and being able to keep a mindful eye on their condition is extremely important, especially for those of us who are avid Minnesota RV travelers.

In order to prevent dangerous occurrences while driving, such as skidding and hydroplaning, tires must be replaced when the tread is worn down to a certain amount. All tires produced since 1968 have a built in tread wear indicator already in them to help you see any signs of tread concern, before it becomes a much larger issue. These ‘wear bars’ look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread and will begin to appear when tread is wearing down. When tire use degrades the tread depth to 1/16″ (1.5mm), smooth 1/2″ (13mm) bands seem to rise toward the surface. This indicates that these tires should be replaced. Many states have laws making this replacement mandatory once the tread is worn down to 1/16 of an inch. These wear bars are the first sign that your tires need replacing.

Visually check your tires for signs of uneven wear before every RV road trip. You may have irregular tread wear if there are high and low areas or unusually smooth areas. Tire trouble, if gone undetected, can shorten your RV tire’s lifespan. Unforeseen issues with your tires can only lead to money down the drain. Trouble detected can also give you clues to other areas of your RV that may need attention. Being aware of what to look for and knowing how to test your tire’s tread is RVing in the smartest way.

Why Not Customize Your RV Minnesota?

Wanting to amp up your RV’s look? How about giving your RV a makeover with a custom paint job! If you’re the type who wants to get noticed out on the open road and stand out in a sea of other RV’s at a campsite, then I know just the trick that will set yourself apart from the others. Depending on your style, taste and level of boldness, you can choose from a range of different types of custom paint jobs. Whichever one suits your personality and flair, you can be assured that your RV will transform from tame to quite the opposite. Need a little inspiration? Check out some of these customized RVs and their custom paint jobs that will have heads turning!

One option for your customization needs might be to choose a simple factory design. This look is common on many RVs, as it has a simple design that wraps around the mid-section of the RV giving it a nice, subtle touch without being over the top.

Pleasureland RV Center

Another more bold custom paint job option is to paint a mural or scene on the exterior of your RV. For the most part you will see these on the rear of an RV so that those driving behind can admire its artwork. However, if simply having a mural on the back of your RV simply isn’t enough, you can absolutely have one painted on the entirety of your ride!

How about showing off our favorite team, The Minnesota Vikings! These sports extremists know who they are rooting for and aren’t afraid to show it!

Whether you simply want to change your RV’s color, or you’re willing to take it to the next level and really go for a customized look with a personalized design, the options are endless. Don’t you think it’s time to take your RV for a ride on the wild side? Send us pictures of your customized RV! We wanna see ‘em!

Dear Minnesota RV Drivers, Be Sure to Watch For Deer

Deer are generally an elusive animal, and if you’re lucky, you may get to see in their natural habitat. Most often your best chance of getting a glimpse of this animal is early in the quiet, calm morning near a river or lake or even roaming around your Minnesota campsite. One place you do not expect (or in the least bit desire) to have an encounter with a deer is out on the open road in your RV.

The danger of having an accident involving a deer while driving is mostly unavoidable. Coincidentally, the high risk months (October, November and December) for deer collisions are upon us. These months happen to be the mating and migration season for deer, which only increase a motorist’s chance of having a close encounter with one. As it just so happens, we Minnesota folk fall at the eighth spot in the top 10 list of the most high risk states, with the odds of a deer collision in the next 12 months being 1 in 98. Think you can guess which state has the fewest encounters with deer? Would you be surprised to hear that it’s Hawaii; with the odds being 1 in 6,267? Shocking, I know!

So for those of us at risk, there are some things to do and not to do that can help us avoid a deer/RV collision. The following are precautions given by Consumer Report to take into account, in order to lessen your risk of being another statistic.

  • Slow down. Watch for deer especially around dawn and between the hours of 6-9 p.m. (When they are most active.)
  • Be aware. Look out for deer-crossing signs and wooded areas where deer or other animals would likely travel. And if you travel the same route to and from work every day, you might find deer consistently grazing in the same fields. Make a mental note of when and where you regularly see these animals.
  • Be alert. If you see an animal on the side of the road, slow down, and, at night, when traffic permits, put on your high-beams for greater visibility.
  • Brake, don’t swerve. Swerving to avoid an animal can put you at risk for hitting another vehicle or losing control of your own car. It can also confuse the animal as to which way to go. Just slow down as quickly and safely as you can. Your odds of surviving an accident are better hitting an animal than another car.
  • Assume they have friends. The phrase “where there’s one, there’s usually more” often holds true. Deer travel in groups, so if you see one run across the road, expect others to follow.
  • Don’t rely on deer whistles. The whims of wild animals are not beholden to this technology.
  • Buckle up. A seat belt is your best defense for minimizing your risk in a crash. An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study found that 60 percent of the people killed in animal-vehicle collisions weren’t wearing seat belts.

The good news, however, is that State Farm Insurance reported that deer collisions have been on the decline for the last three years, with the past year’s decline almost twice than that of the two years prior combined. We all need to be careful out there during this time of year, including my fellow Minnesotan RV enthusiasts.

What Minneapolis RV Owners Should Know About Cell Phones and Filling Stations

Hey Minnesota RVers, have you seen the signs at filling station near the gas pumps that tell you not to use your cell phone while pumping gas? Recently I received an e-mail from a friend stating the dangers of cell phone use while filling up.

Safety Alert! There are several reasons why cell phones aren’t allowed in operating areas, propylene oxide handling and storage areas, or propane, gas and diesel refueling areas. For one, they can ignite fuel or fumes. Mobile phones that light up when switched on or when they ring release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition. Mobile phones should not be used in filling stations, or when fueling lawn mowers, boat, etc. In fact, mobile phones should not be used, or should be turned off, around several other materials that generate flammable or explosive fumes or dust including solvents, chemicals, gases, grain dust, etc. The following is an e-mail I received stating the rules of being safe at the pump and some interesting facts about a study done regarding incidents where fires resulted in not following proper refueling etiquette.

 

To sum it up, here are the Four Rules for Safe Refueling:

  1. Turn off engine.
  2. Don’t smoke.
  3. Don’t use your cell phone – leave it inside the
    vehicle or turn it off.
  4. Don’t re-enter your vehicle during fueling .

Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of ‘static electricity’ at gas pumps.  His company researched 150 cases of these fires.

His results were very surprising.

  1. Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women.
  2. Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas. When finished, they went back to pull the nozzle out and the fire started, as a result of static.
  3. Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
  4. Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires.
  5. Don’t ever use cell phones when pumping gas.
  6. It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges.
  7. There were 29 fires where the vehicle was re-entered and the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of makes and models. Some resulted in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.
  8. Seventeen fires occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.

Mr. Renkes stresses to NEVER get back into your vehicle while filling it with gas. If you absolutely HAVE to get in your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door TOUCHING THE METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out.  This way the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle.

Have you heard any additional information regarding the dangers of cell phones and gas pumps? We’d love to learn more about it!