Eight Tips for a Bug-Free RV Season in Minnesota

It’s no surprise that Spring has come early this year, and according to Rainbow Pest Experts in Minnesota, this is going to be a bad season for all types of insects. The company states on its website that due to an early start of record breaking temperatures, we are on track for a bumper crop of a large insect population. Ants, spiders, box elder bugs, mosquitoes and centipedes start to emerge from their winter dormancy three to 4 weeks early. An earlier insect season means a longer season for multiple reproductions. Yuck!

As Minnesota RVers, we spend a lot of time outside. So this isn’t the best news in the world for us. However, there are some things we can do to try and stay bug-free this RV season. Dr.  Brian Aw, a general practitioner who specializes in travel medicine, suggests the following eight tips:

  • Stay Scent-Free. Avoid using scented soaps, lotions and shampoos.
  • Gear Up. Cover your skin as completely as possible. This may be challenging by the beach, but when possible wear long sleeves, pants and socks.
  • Be Color Conscious. Mosquitoes are attracted to blue, so avoid this color and stick to neutral colors.
  • Use Repellent. Repellents containing DEET are most effective for areas with heavy mosquito or tick infestation.
  • Alternative Repellents. When applied frequently, citronella-based repellents can provide the same bug protection as products containing low concentrations of DEET. I recommend Natrapel®, which contains 10 percent citronella to ward off bugs for up to two hours.
  • Meal Time. Be alert to the time of day when certain insects are most active such as dawn and twilight.
  • Check Point. Upon returning indoors, check your children and yourself for bites.
    Treatment. Sunburn and bite treatment products should be included in every outdoor adventurer’s travel kit.

It’s also a good idea to avoid insects’ favorite places. Mosquitoes like cool, moist places. So avoid stagnant pools of water. Flies will usually be near animals and sweets.

If you’re planning on spending  a lot of time on the road, I’d advise you follow Dr. Aw’s suggestions. There are also several home remedies I’ve heard throughout the years including rubbing dryer sheets over your clothes. What are some of your homes remedies to keep bug-free?

Are You Familiar with the RV Road Rules?

Traveling across the states is common among RV owners. In fact, we may spend a fair amount of time in other states visiting different campgrounds and RV resorts. But there is something you should be mindful of when traveling across numerous borders in your RV, and that is the law. As you know, laws vary from state to state, and unless you have a photographic memory or want to carry about a current book of the state’s various laws, you won’t know them all. You can, however, stick to the three basics pointed out by USAToday.com.

Lane Usage.Drivers must stay in the right lane when driving an RV except when passing, preparing to make a turn, or going on or off the highway. If the highway has four or more lanes in either direction, you must stay in either of the extreme right lanes.

Trailer Lights. When your RV includes a trailer, it is important to keep in mind that the trailer’s weight often forces the RV’s headlights upward so that they glare into the eyes of oncoming drivers. This is illegal; you must check your headlight alignment once the trailer is attached.

Parking. Checking with any neighborhood associations or cities where you plan to stop, to see if they have any rules or ordinances against parking RVs. Many residential neighborhood homeowner associations will let RVs be parked for short periods of time, but not overnight.

These are three things you should always do when traveling in a new Minnesota RV, no matter where are you. Another thing you should do before you head out on your next RV voyage, is check the state’s towing laws. There are several websites out there that list the requirements and restrictions of each state. All you have to do is look!

 

Gas Pumping Tips for the New Minnesota RV Owner

Photo courtesy of KitsapSun.com

Though most of you have probably been pumping gas for decades, it’s not something we should do without care. This is especially true now that you own a new Minnesota RV. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an estimated 5,020 fires and explosions occurred at public service stations per year from 2004-2008. To put that in perspective, one in every 13 service stations experienced a fire (on average). The result of these fires? Two civilian deaths, 48 civilian injuries and $20 million in property damage. I’m not sure what percentage of these fires involved an RV or rig, but I certainly hope the percentage is low.

Seeing how we have a large portion of our lives on board our RVs (all of your life if you’re a full-timer), we should take extra precaution at the pump to avoid a fire or hazardous condition. Just for good measure, let’s review some gas pumping safety tips.

Before Pumping: Turn off the engine. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen friends get preoccupied and forget to do this. Another no-brainer? Smoking. NO SMOKING at the pump or even at the gas station period! In fact, avoid using matches and lighters for anything while at the gas station.

While Pumping: Do not top off or overfill your vehicle. This is how spills happen. Use only the refueling latch on the gasoline dispenser nozzle, if there is one. Do not jam the latch with an object to hold it open. When you finish pumping your gas, leave the nozzle in the tank for a few minutes. This way, you’ll avoid drips when putting the nozzle up.

If a fire should happen to start, get out of there and call for help. If anyone is on board, get the them off, as well. Do not try to remove the nozzle from the RV tank or try and stop the flow of gasoline.

Like I mentioned above, most of us already know these “rules” and guidelines. But it never hurts to be reminded of them. Remember, we must take every precaution possible when it comes to our beloved Minnesota RVs.

[Source: NFPA.org]

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.

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!

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.

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.