Camping Essentials for the RVer

When you take your RV out into the great outdoors in order to get a little closer to nature, it’s easy to take for granted that you’re really out there in the middle of nowhere since you’ve brought your home with you. The camping essentials are still just as necessary when you’re out in your RV as when you’re out in a tent. Here’s what you absolutely need to bring with you if you’re going to be spending a weekend in the woods:

A Flashlight and Plenty of Batteries

It’s a simple matter of safety that you’re going to want to bring a light and enough batteries to last you. You never know what will happen.

Plenty of Clean Water

Even if your campsite has a water source, it’s a good idea to bring several gallons of your own. If the water source at the campsite gets contaminated somehow, then you need to have a fallback plan.

Dry Towels

Dry towels really are endlessly useless when camping. From using them for bedding to drying off to laying out a picnic lunch on them, towels are endlessly versatile little lifesavers.

A First Aid Kit

This goes without saying, but it’s important enough to say it anyways: you need to bring a first aid kit and make sure that it’s well stocked before you head out. The kit needs to contain bandages and disinfectant as well as pain pills, smelling salts and medical tape. Be prepared.

Canned Food

Chances are you’ve brought a lot of hot dogs and marshmallows with you, but if you find yourself with a flat tire or needing to wait an extra day in the woods for any reason, you’ll need to eat, so bring canned food just in case you get stuck.

When camping, one’s motto should be Safety First. Camping is supposed to be fun, but it’s hard to enjoy yourself if you’re not prepared, so just make sure that you have all the supplies you need in your recreational vehicle.

Exploring the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

If you have been searching for a new place to explore without leaving the state of Minnesota, consider planning a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness after visiting your favorite RV dealership. Minnesota is home to this 1.3 million acre nature preserve that runs along 150 miles of the border with Canada. Explore unspoiled natural beauty with your family and friends without having to see the same old sights or travel far out of the state.

Minnesota RV Destinations

Plenty Of Space

You can roam over the entire area, but there are designated camping areas, especially for RVs. However, there are over 2,000 different camp sites available to give you plenty of options. Set up near the water if you’re traveling with canoes and kayaks, or pull in near the head of your favorite trail. The area was first set aside in 1926, so many areas are very good examples of old growth forest for the area.

Planning Your Trip

Since the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is heavily protected, it’s important to apply for a permit to visit the area a few weeks before your trip. These permits are required for any person traveling in a motorized vehicle through the area. This ensures that visitors don’t go over the quotas and cause undue wear and tear to the environment. Permits for overnight stays start with coverage for two adults, so you can’t simply pay for a single visitor. You will need to give a total number of guests, including children, when making reservations. Last minute guests won’t be able to just jump in and go along with you. However, it’s possible to buy permits the day you arrive by visiting a park ranger’s office if you are traveling between October through April.

The Land Of A Thousand Lakes

The million-odd acres of the BWCAW are riddled with well over one thousand lakes. These bodies of water are connected by creeks, streams and rivers. Take to the water in your favorite canoe or kayak to explore over one thousand connected miles of water trails. If you don’t own any water gear or don’t have space in your RV for haul it along, consider renting your equipment from one of the many outfitters operating in or near the wilderness. There are also 11 full-length hiking trails if you prefer to explore the area by foot.

The BWCAW is located partially on the coast of Lake Superior and is easily accessed through the Superior National Park. Visitors can also take in the sights of International Falls or Thunder Bay while in the area. 

 

A Chocolate Themed Motorhome Trip

With the popularity of road trip food shows such as Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, it makes perfect sense to plan your next Minnesota motorhome road trip around your tastebuds.

Minnesota has some very special chocolate “destinations” on the map. Trek across the state in your RV and discover Mademoiselle Miel, which creates one-of-a-kind artisan chocolates available throughout the Twin Cities. Or, visit Chocolates Plus in Bemidji, which specializes in new and old favorites. Take a spin on the Internet and find tons of delicious options. It’s time to indulge those chocolate cravings!

Don’t forget those roadside attractions. It’s a safe bet that you can find homemade fudge and other wonderful local creations at even the simplest local market or gift shop. Don’t forget that those sweet, local fruits on the roadside always pair well with chocolate.

Once you’re happily ensconced at your campsite, think s’mores. They’re everyone’s favorite and for good reason. Let each family member choose a special extra ingredient, like caramel or peanut butter, to add your own family spin. You can even liven up the occasion with a family storytelling contest or sing-a-long for who gets the honor of the last s’more. You’ll either be in stitches, or sitting in awe of your various talents!

In case you decide to add a chocolate destination to your next cross-country RV adventure trip, don’t miss Ethel M in Henderson, Nevada, Ghirardelli in San Francisco, California or Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Chocolate can give a new twist to seeing America.  Have a sweet trip!

 

The Advantages Of A Travel Trailer

The RV lifestyle is romantic for a number of reasons, and when we think of life on the road, we think of the platonic RV, perhaps white and tan with silver trim, a bedroom in the very back and a homey feel to the living room, and of course, the guest bed over the cab. There are some who ride with travel trailers hitched to cars or trucks, but when we imagine the RV lifestyle, we think of a motorhome.

Minnesota Travel Trailer

A travel trailer may be worth considering, though, if you’re looking for a new vehicle to hit the road with. Here are a few of the things that a travel trailer can do that a motorhome cannot:

1. Detachability

One of the trickiest things about the RV lifestyle is that it’s a major gas expense just to drive from the RV park into town for a few groceries. By hitching your trailer to a truck or a car, you can detach and drive wherever you need to go without the hassle of disconnecting from your hookup or spending the gas to drive your whole house into town to pick up a few steaks.

2. Cost

It varies, of course, and there are cheap motorhomes and expensive trailers, but if you’re buying your first travel-home, a trailer might wind up costing you less at the local Minnesota RV dealership than a motorhome.

3. Hooks to Any Compatible Vehicle

A problem with a standard RV is that when the engine is totally shot, you might be stuck somewhere for a long time. When you can simply scrap your junky old truck and attach a new one to your trailer, this is less of a concern, and you don’t have to trade in your whole home along with the vehicle that pulls it.

The motorhome is the platonic ideal for the traveler’s lifestyle, but the travel trailer has its advantages, as well. Consider the purchase carefully before you go with one or the other.

The Four Accessories You Need To Prepare Your RV For The Upcoming Season

If you properly winterized your RV at the end of the last camping season, it should have made it through the winter with minimal damage or wear and tear. However, you’ve got to flush out the anti-freeze compounds and dust off the exterior before you hit the road again. Picking up a few extra accessories and cleaning products will make the entire process much easier. Add these four handy additions to your RV care tool chest are for year round use as well. You can find all four at Pleasureland RV Center.

Onan Fuel System Cleaner

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It’s easy to remember to wipe down the shade screens and sweep the floors inside the RV when you open it up for the first time in a few months. However, don’t overlook the cleanliness of the engine while you tidy up the rest of it. This spray cleaner removes deposits and build up from the carburetor. This debris reduces the power of the engine, especially when you need it to climb a steep hill as you explore your favorite national parks. Using this handy spray to clean up the carburetor is a great way to tune up your engine before setting out in the spring.

Rubber Roof Cleaner and Protectant

Even many of the best motorhomes produced today feature solid rubber roofs to protect the top of the RV from falling branches or flying road debris. This rubber is susceptible to fading and hardening when exposed to constant UV rays from the sun. Mildew growing on the surface can also cause it to deteriorate. Use this dual purpose cleaner and protectant to clean away grime from last year while giving the roof an extra boost of protection from moisture and sunlight.

Connector Cleaner

Driving without proper electrical connections to your towed trailer or vehicle puts you and your RV at risk for an accident. Each state also has regulations regarding the lights that must be displayed on a towed vehicle, with punishments costing hundreds of dollars in fines. Toss this tough connector cleaner in your towing box to clean off the electrical connectors each time you prepare to tow. The stiff wire bristles knock off any dirt, corrosion or rust that would impede the transfer of your signals to the trailer or vehicle. This can eliminate the chance of your lights giving out as you are rolling down the road and unaware of the problem.

Fresh Tabs

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Draining your fresh water tank at the end of the season is the best way to prevent freezing. You can quickly prepare to use it again by dropping in a few of these quick water cleaning tablets with the first rinse of water. This will clean and disinfect the entire tank, making it ready for use as soon as you drain it out again without a professional flush from your favorite RV dealership in Minnesota.

RV Road Trip Reads

The Great American RV Road Trip tops our list of life’s greatest joys. The Great American Novel ranks close behind, even if what you like most might accurately be classified under “beach read” or “guilty pleasure.” So why not combine both those loves with some terrific road trip reads on your next Minnesota RV excursion?

If you’re fond of travel times, check out these books about Minnesota to help plan your getaway, where the journey—filled with fun day trips and scenic drives—is the destination.

 

  • Backroads & Byways of Minnesota: Drives, Day Trips & Weekend Excursions
  • Explorer’s Guide Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes
  • Backroads of Minnesota: Your Guide to Scenic Getaways & Adventures

Or support local culture with these books set in Minnesota or by Minnesota authors:

  • John Sandford will release Silken Prey in May 2013, the eagerly anticipated next Lucas Davenport thriller. Check out the other entries in the series.
  • What Minnesota list would be definitive without Laura Ingalls Wilder? Dive into the 9-novel Little House series with the box set. Truly enjoyable for the whole family.
  • Of course, no RV road trip would truly be complete without On the Road, Jack Kerouac’s classic and revolutionary tale of wandering spirits at mid-century.

How about something to keep the kids busy and happy on those long stretches of road? Look no further than National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas: Maps, Games, Activities, and More for Hours of Backseat Fun. It’s jam packed with maps, trivia, games and ideas for pit stops to keep the young ones engaged. Whether you’re planning your next RV road trip, or just planning your next escape into a new story by the campfire, these books offer something for everyone!

Becoming A Full Time RVer After Retirement

For us working stiffs, RVing in our new or used RV is largely a vacation thing. If you’re lucky enough to work on the Internet, you can go ahead and take off and go where you like when you like, but that’s simply not a realistic option for a lot of us. The dream of RVing full time isn’t so far-fetched on any retirement plan so long as you have an idea of how you’re going to make it work, and you’re willing to make the compromises that you need to make in order to stay on the road.

Keeping the House?

One of the big decisions that homeowners will have to make regarding retirement is whether or not to keep their home. The decision of whether or not you’re comfortable relying on an RV as your one and only home is a big one, but, there are other assets that will need to consider, as well. We need to expand this question to cover your car that you love, the boat, or that acre of land that you own. Selling off your assets might allow you to live like a King on the road, but it’s a total severance from the lifestyle that you lived while working, and not everyone is up for that. Weigh your options carefully and decide what you might want to keep (just in case) and what you might want to consider selling or giving away.

Adjusting to the Road Life

Being on the road all of the time can wear you down if you’re not ready for it. Before you decide whether or not you want to become a full time RVer in your golden years, take whatever vacation time you have and spend as much of it as you can in your RV so you can get a feel of what life on the road would be like.

Full time RVing isn’t for everyone, but if you feel that you are a true nomad at heart, then you may be ready to turn your hobby into your lifestyle.

Celebrate The Super Bowl In Your New RV

As the San Francisco 49’ers and the Baltimore Ravens make their way to New Orleans on February 3, are you starting to make your Super Bowl XLVII party plans? You’ve probably picked your favorite team, but here are the real questions: are you going to do a little tailgating in your Minnesota RV? And, what are you going to eat?

Super Bowl Sunday will be here before you know it, and these quick and easy delicious recipes can help you plan your RV menu in no time! Do you like your queso hot and spicy and made with no fuss? Just toss the Velveeta and Rotel in a crockpot, add some sautéed chorizo if you’re feeling adventurous, and your sports fans will love it.

Or how about some Dutch-oven nachos? Layer whatever ingredients you prefer, like shredded beef or chicken, cheese, jalapenos and black beans. Use 18 coals (arranged with half on top and half on bottom to reach 375 degrees) and cook for about 15 minutes.

Better have the guacamole handy, too! The Food Network has a recipe for what they describe as “the perfect guacamole.” [http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/perfect-guacamole-recipe2/index.html] Start with a basic recipe and add your own twist.

Of course, there’s still the big game to actually watch in between all the munching, and you’ll want to show your spirit. If you’re a die-hard Vikings fan, shop the NFL cold weather gear and grab an official jersey or hoodie. You can also check out the Vikings season ticket options. It’s never too early to start hoping for a better season next year!

No matter who you’re pulling for, make Super Bowl Sunday a cozy and fun night spent with your RV family and friends!

A Minnesota RV Bucket List

It’s a brand new year and a wonderful time to imagine taking your Minnesota RV to all those amazing places you haven’t visited yet. You know, your travel bucket list! We think it’s time to dream big.

Frommer’s Guides have been excellent sources for all things travel for decades, and Frommer’s Exploring America by RV could be the kickstart you need for those next bucket list must-sees. This guide will give you all the info you need for that next scenic route, jaunt through the heartland or trek up the Al-Can, all from the vantage point of your RV. If you’re tastes run to the road less traveled, grab Off the Beaten Path: A Travel Guide to More Than 1000 Scenic and Interesting Places Still Uncrowded and Inviting. Sounds intriguing, right?

Starting locally, at the top of the list could be the renowned Guthrie Theater, the beautiful Split Rock Lighthouse or the Charles Lindbergh House. Or rediscover our state parks, like St. Croix or Great River Bluffs. Each one offers a unique experience for the whole family. If the spirit of exploration runs through your veins, check out 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, truly the last word in all the high notes of worldwide travel.

From the Grand Canyon to Route 66 to your favorite roadside attraction, what will make your RV travel bucket list?

Spend The Winter In Your Minnesota Motorhome

It’s almost officially winter (December 21), and though the weather outside might be frightful, there are still so many delightful activities to do, and the outdoors is just begging you to take your Pleasureland RV out to play!  From hiking to skiing, to ice fishing to snowmobiling, there’s a winter sport to suit anyone’s fancy or fitness level. You can make a small investment in equipment or simply go out with just the (snow)shoes on your feet.

So before you and your family grab a cup of steaming hot cocoa and gather round a roaring campfire, check out what Minnesota’s state parks and local resorts have to offer in the way of Minnesota RV fun and adventure in the wintry outdoors.

Explore Minnesota informs us that “Minnesota’s cross country ski trails are the envy of much of the nation, as are the state’s 20,000 miles of snowmobile trails. Minnesota is also home to the largest and highest downhill ski area in the Midwest.” You can find a list of Minnesota’s major ski resorts here, whether you like downhill or cross-country. [http://www.minnesota-visitor.com/minnesota-ski-resorts.html]

How about Skijoring? That’s “ski-driving” in Norwegian, and is a form of cross-country skiing that you do with your dog. You can learn more about this growing sport and try it out at the 2,700 acre Baker Park Reserve, on the shores of Lake Independence.  Start planning your RV adventure here in the state parks [http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/index.html], plus get tips for what to pack and wear, and pick out which activities your family can do together, from the favorites to the unusual, like ice climbing, dog sledding, tubing, and so much more.  What are your plans for the winter break?