Zap the Sap on Your RV Minnesota

During the summer months, the inside of your RV can get really hot. Even on a mild day of 80 degree weather, the inside of your RV can rise to over 100 degrees in just a half hour! There’s really no way around the heat, and you probably looked for any shaded area including trees to park under and try and combat it. The only problem with parking under those wooded areas (especially on a campground) is that your RV could become covered in sticky and relentless tree sap. Recently I noticed tree sap on the hood of my RV and I decided to give her a good washing to clean it off. Initially I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult and just required a little extra scrubbing. Boy was I mistaken. Normal washing techniques and car wash product just won’t do the trick. After doing some research about tree sap removal while trying to find the best product and method for the job, I found a few different ways that work well in order to zap the sap.

  • Bug and Tar Remover – Follow the directions and this should do the trick for most sticky sap situations, just takes some extra elbow grease.
  • Rain-X – This window cleaner works well by simply using a cloth and wiping it off.
  • Mineral Spirit – Wet a cloth with this product and rub in a circular motion.
  • Ice – Because the sap can be gooey and sticky, using ice to harden it can help you to simply chip it away.

With any method you choose to use to clean the tree sap off your RV, be sure to always read the directions carefully and try a test spot (like on the top of your RV) to make sure the product or method you use doesn’t harm your paint. If you know of any other remedies to rid your RV of tree sap, let us know!

7 Tips For Backing Up and Parking Your New RV

I ran into a friend of mine who purchased his first RV, a 2002 Forest River Georgetown, at the beginning of the summer. I hadn’t seen him since he made the purchase, and I was dying to know how his first few RV trips had gone. Come to find out… he hadn’t taken his new RV out once! I couldn’t believe it! When I asked him why, he was a little bit reluctant to tell me, but I finally got it out of him. He didn’t know how to back-up and park the RV. At first, I was shocked that this had kept him from using his beautiful, new home-away-from-home. But the more I thought about it, I realized that he was probably not alone with this fear.

If you’re a first-time RV owner, getting out on the road can seem a little scary.  After all, RVs drive a lot differently than your average four-door sedan.  Whether it’s a motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer, there are several things you should know about backing up and parking. I found seven excellent and helpful tips from the Fun Times Guide that I shared with him and would now like to share with you.

7 Tips For Parking & Backing Up RVs

#1  Stop right where you are, when you reach the point where you no longer have clear vision of where you want to go. Never attempt to move into tight quarters, if you can’t see all possible hazards.  That is, unless you have someone positioned where they can see the obstructions and they can warn you.  Your assistant must be positioned so they can see both you and the possible dangerous situation

#2  Avoid places that are impossible to get into, or nearly so. Don’t blindly pull into an unfamiliar driveway, dead end street, or parking lot that doesn’t have a second exit.

When you pull into shopping areas, stay out near the perimeter and chose your parking spot so that you can simply pull ahead to leave. Don’t go down the aisles of parked cars — because you’re likely to be making a sharp corner in a confined spot, when you get to the end of the aisle.

 

#3  Learn to rely on your mirrors. An RV isn’t like the family sedan. Looking over your right shoulder and down through the center of your motorhome or tow vehicle to back up won’t work. You have to rely on the image in your side mirrors.

Straight vehicles, without trailers, are pretty easy to back up — because a properly adjusted mirror should give you a view of the side all the way back to the rear bumper. As long as you can see daylight between your RV and the obstruction, you’re good.

 

#4  Set up temporary parking & driving patterns, using safety cones or milk jugs. Head out to a closed supermarket parking lot and set up your cones like a driveway or camping spot. Practice backing into those spots until you can do it without hitting any cones.

 

#5 Practice blind side parking. If your luck is like mine, more often than not you’ll end up backing into a campsite from the blind side with your trailer.

The blind side is the right (passenger) side of your vehicle. It’s known as the blind side because at some point, as you’re turning, your tow vehicle will no longer be in a straight line with your trailer.  You will no longer be able to see what’s happening on at least one side of your RV. This is where an outside helper is essential to keep you posted on your progress.

A trick I’ve used to increase my range of vision when backing around corners is to readjust my side mirrors at a different angle as I start making my turn. Most motorhomes, and many trucks, have electrically adjustable mirrors that you can control with a switch from the driver’s seat. Adjusting the mirrors, as you proceed through the corner, will give you a clear view most of the way.

 

#6  Never rely on rear vision cameras, because they’re pointed down toward the ground behind you and don’t give you a broad enough picture. There are overhead obstacles to be concerned about too.  Low-hanging branches, building overhangs, even sagging power lines can hook your RV. By far the best way to back into a tight spot is to have a person (or even 2) outside watching all the angles. Maneuver with your windows down, and instruct your helper to talk loud enough so you can clearly hear them. A set of inexpensive walkie talkies can be very handy for just this purpose.

 

#7  Use extreme caution when backing a motorhome with a tow vehicle attached. In fact, backing up with a toad (car) on a tow bar more than a foot or so is impossible. Since the steering axle of the car being towed is free to track wherever it wants, as soon as you start backwards it will immediately turn the wheels, causing extreme pressure to be applied to the front end components of your vehicle in tow.

Damage can occur, because you will be skidding the car sideways, with the front wheels turned all the way to the stops. If you need to back up when towing a car, just unhook the car first.  After you’re situated where you can go forward again, re-hook the tow bar. It’s the only safe way to do it.

[The Fun Times Guide]

Something else that can seem tricky at first is backing into a camping spot (especially if the two spots next to you are both occupied). There is a little trick, though, that some of us RV vets use called The Scoop. Once you nail this technique down, you’ll be pulling into camp spots like a pro. Check out this little illustration video showing exactly how it’s done. If you need any help at all with anything RV-related, don’t hesitate to give us a call or swing by.

 

The Boondocking Code of Ethics

For those of you new RV owners who may be unfamiliar with the term, boondocking, also known as dry camping or primitive camping is basically camping without the electic, sewer or water hookups.  There are generally two types of boondocking – blacktop and boonies – and there is a certain code of ethics associated with each one that we should follow. The general rule of thumb is to always leave the place nicer than it was when you got there. Let’s check out some other rules we should follow.

Blacktop boondocking is when you pos up in a parking lot (Wal-Mart, Casinos, etc.). The main appeal of this type of camping is the convenience and budget. Some places have actually passed bans on this type of boondocking. To make sure bans aren’t passed, RV clubs like The Escapees, have come up with their own code of ethics for blacktop boondocking. They have even gone far enough to post a print out of these rules that you can leave on offender’s vehicles.

Blacktop Boondocking Rules

1. DO obtain permission from a qualified individual. This way you’ll never have to worry if you are violating any sort of code or law.

2. DO try and park out of the way. Most of these parking lots are huge, and most likely there are spots way in the back that will be vacant.

3. DON’T use your awnings, chairs, or barbecue grill. These things tend to send the message that you are here to stay.

4. DON’T use slide-outs if at all possible for the same reason as mentioned above.

5. DON’T use your leveling jacks on asphalt.

6. DO try and limit your stay – one night is best, and two is the absolute maximum. We recommend staying two night only if you must.

7. DO purchase gas, food, or supplies as a way of saying “thank you”.

8. DO leave the area cleaner than you found it. This one is sometimes dificult for people to folllow, but think of it this way… you’re only helping blacktoppers reputation climb by cleaning up. Even if it’s after other’s.

9. DO practice safety precautions. This is important in any situation.

You can print out of these rules and then leave them on offender’s vehicles. Everyone should know proper boondocking etiquette.

[The Escapees]

Now let’s switch gears and take a look at the guidelines we should follow for boondocking in the boonies. As you can probably guess from its name, this type of boondocking is done out in the wilderness. A lot of campers do this purely for the wilderness experience and enjoy the peace and quiet they wouldn’t necessisarily have at a slotted campground. The more serious boondockers even modify their vehicles with solar panels and an inverter to charge their batteries so they can freely camp in the beautiful wilderness.

Rules for Boondocking in the Boonies

  • Park in previously used areas. Do not create a new road or parking spot or run over vegetation.
  • Park away from other RVs so each can enjoy the peace and quiet. If you do have a generator you plan to run, park far away from other RVs and limit your use to an hour or so in the morning and another in early evening. Generator noise carries and is not part of the wilderness experience.
  • Respect quiet hours. Do not run generators or play TVs or radios loudly after 10 p.m. or before 7 a.m. (Some areas may have different quiet hours so check with the agency.)
  • In some areas dumping grey water on the ground is permissible. Always check with the agency first. Dumping black water on the ground is never permitted.
  • Leave the area cleaner than you found it. Dispose of trash in a trash container after you leave.
  • Read and follow the agency’s rules regarding fires, collecting firewood, and quiet hours. Respect time limits, which are typically 14 days.

Boondocking is one of my favorite aspects of owning an RV, but we have to remember to always follow that golden rule in order to continue boondocking for years and years to come. Leave the place nicer than it was before you arrived.

Vote and You Could Help the Soudan Underground Mine State Park Win $100,000

Hey Minnesota RV owners, have you heard of the competition Coca-Cola is holding to find America’s favorite park? Well guess what, the Soudan Underground Mine State Park is currently ranked number two in votes!

Let’s help push the park up to the number-one ranking.  Voting is simple.  All you have to do is visit LivePositvely.com. The three parks that receive the highest number of votes by September 6, 2011, will be awarded recreation grants. First place will receive $100,000, second will receive $50,000 and third place will receive $25,000. That’s a lot of money to help restore, rebuild or enhance your park’s amenities.

Voting is unlimited and there is more than one way you can vote. Here are your options:

  • Interactive Map – Use the map to find the park youíd like to vote for, then click on the vote button. Each map vote gives your park 1 point.
  • Facebook Places Check-In – Vote while youíre inside your park and your park will receive 5 points.
  • Upload Photos – Share your familyís park activities and receive an extra 5 points for the park. Upload them through your Facebook account or directly from your computer.

Well, what are you waiting for Minnesota RV lovers?? Head over to LivePositively.com and let’s win one of our state’s greatest parks some money!

RV ABCs: Fifth Wheels

The hardest thing do when it comes to buying or renting a new RV is determining which RV is right for you. For the last few weeks, Pleasureland RV has been going through the RV alphabet in order to help make that decision a little bit easier. So far, we’ve discussed three classes of motorhomes: Class A, Class B and Class C. Now let’s move on to the towable class of RVs starting with the Fifth Wheel.

Fifth Wheels

Description: Fifth wheels are the most spacious RVs available, but don’t let the size intimidate you, they are delightfully easy to handle. They are towed by pick-up trucks with a special “fifth wheel” hitch and generally have taller ceilings and more slide-out rooms with as many as four in some models.

2012 Dutchmen Infinity 3470RE

Let’s see how CampingEarth.com breaks down the advantages and disadvantages of Fifth Wheels.

As with any type and style of RV, camper, or travel trailer, a 5th wheel has its advantages and disadvantages. Its main advantages are:

  • Easy Towing because of the gooseneck hitch.
  • Spacious and roomy inside. A 5th wheel has lots of room inside. If the weather outside is inclement, there is plenty of room for everyone to be inside enjoying the amenities.
  • 5th wheel can be detached at destination which frees up the towing vehicle for excursions and trips around the area.

The main disadvantages are:

  • A towing vehicle, outfitted with a special package to house the gooseneck hitch is needed. Because most 5th wheels are heavy, the towing vehicle needs to be heavy duty. But, on the bright side, manufacturers have begun to introduce lightweight 5th wheels that can be pulled by smaller trucks.
  • The steps. Some people don’t like the bi-level design of a 5th wheel travel trailer and don’t like having interior steps that lead to either the master bedroom that is typically housed in the area of the trailer that sits over the bed of the towing vehicle (although this area is also sometimes the living room area). If interior steps are a problem, you may want to consider a travel trailer or consider a motorized RV.
  • The cost. Fifth wheel campers are the most expensive of the towable RV’s which can make them too expensive for entry level buyers. If you really have your heart set on a 5th wheel, consider purchasing a used 5th wheel. There are some very good deals available on “previously road tested” 5th wheels.

Ready to make a decision? Come down and check out on this beauties! If you still haven’t found the right RV for you, stick around. Next week, we’ll continue with the towable RV class and talk about travel trailes.

Take Precaution When Working on RV Batteries

The summer months can be hard on your RV’s battery. Overcharging and high temperatures can kill batteries. So frequently check the batteries is extremely important and you may even have to preform some maintenance. This isn’t necessarily difficult, but there are some precautions you should take to avoid spilling or splashing electrolytes or a battery fire or explosion.

Let’s take a look at an excerpt from Gary Bunzer’s book, Woodall’s RV Owner’s Handbook, that details these risks and also provides safety guidelines for how to avoid an RV battery accident.

Risks of Spilling and Splashing Electrolyte

Why it’s Dangerous:

Spilled or splashed electrolytes can cause chemical burns to skin and eyes, destroy your clothing and damage wood, metal, painted surfaces under or around the battery.

How to Reduce Risk:

Protect yourself!

  • Avoid contact between electrolyte and skin, eyes, or clothing.
  • Wear splash-proof safety goggles when working on RV batteries
  • Wear protective clothing such as rubber gloves that extend up the forearms and an apron
  • Rinse off the gloves and apron before removing them

Protect the RV

  • Don’t let battery acid splash on any surface
  • Neutralize spilled or splashed electrolyte with a solution of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)in water
  • Rinse the spill area with clean water
  • Wipe dry with disposable material (rag or paper towel)
  • Use a small plastic funnel or battery fill bulb when adding water to the cells in order to prevent splashing

Risk of Explosion or Battery Fire

Why it’s Dangerous:

Flooded electrolyte batteries produce highly flammable hydrogen gas as a by-product of recharging. This gives rise to the risk of explosion or fire.

How to Reduce Risk:

  • Provide proper ventilation while working on the battery or in the battery compartment
  • Avoid sparks and open flame (don’t light a smoke!)
  • Always reinstall the cell caps before charging or discharging the battery.

 

If you are planning to do any work on your RV battery or need any help checking the battery, be sure to give us a call or come down and see us.

The Number One Source for North American RV Park Reviews

Hey fellow RVers, I have found the perfect web site for picking a campground! From rates to reviews, this site has it all! Whether you’re the type of person who likes to strategically map out your camping spots or if you like to decide at the last minute, it doesn’t matter. This site is fully compatible with smartphones!

First, you select Mexico, the U.S. or Canada. Then you can choose your desired province/state and narrow your selection even further (see image below). Once you’ve chosen your area, you’ll see reviews of all the campgrounds nearby.

 

Once you’ve selected a campground, you’ll find the general camp information on the left-hand side of the page including the number of sites and the latest rate. Below that are the campground’s contact numbers, website and a map view.

On the right-hand site of the page, you’ll find a section for the campground’s accommodations and the type of hookups provided. If you scroll down the page, you can read reviews of other campers.

Click on the image to be taken to this site's information page.

The other cool thing about this site is the ability to submit reviews. There are currently more than 133,900 user-submitted reviews. If you’d like to review a campground, all you have to do is choose “Downloads” from the main page and fill out a review form.

The site also features a search function, so if you already have a campground in mind, why not check out the reviews before hitting the road with your fifth wheel or motorhome?

This site definitely gets a five-star rating from me, and I highly recommend you check it out for yourself!

 

 

 

Properly Store Your RV Minnesota

Unless you’re a full-timer, there’s going to come a time when you’ll need to store your RV. Whether its for a few weeks or few months, proper storing techniques must be applied in order to protect one of the biggest investments you’ve made. If you’re planning on storing your RV on your own, here are a few things you should keep in mind and consider.

RV Storage Tips

  1. Get rid of the gas. If you’re planning on parking your RV for longer than a month, you may want to consider emptying the gas tank. Gasoline begins to deteriorate over time and can end up causing your engine some problems and causing you a chunk of change. This is especially true in the hotter months. If you’re unable to empty the tank, you can use a gas stabilizer.Stabilizers can preserve your gasoline for up to a couple of years but they can’t fix what has already started to deteriorate. Once your tank is nearly empty, measure out enough stabilizer to treat a tank of gas; pour it in your tank; then fill your tank with gas to about 95% capacity. Filling your tank to 95% capacity minimizes the possibility of condensation and still leaves a bit of room for expansion and contraction.  [ViringiaWind.com]
  2.  

  3. Custom-fitted RV covers. The best thing you could possibly do for your RV is buy a custom-fitted RV cover. Look for one that blocks sun damage, is water resistant, and fits your unit. Do not use a regular, old dark blue tarp. This will attract the sun’s heat and allows many areas for moisture to accumulate.
  4.  

  5. Tires. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t take tire care into consideration when storing their RV. It’s good to use tire covers to protect the rubber and prevent cracks and dry decaying from the sun. It’s even better to remove the tires all together and store them in a cool, dry place away from gasoline and oil.
  6.  

It may sound like a lot of work, but it really doesn’t have to be… you could leave it up to the experts. Storage services offer all sorts of cleaning and maintenance, and is probably your best bet if you are unsure of how to properly store your RV on your own.  If you need any advice or more information about properly storing your RV, don’t hesitate to give us a call or visit one of our four locations!

RV ABCs: Class A Motorhome

When it comes to buying or renting an RV, there are many things you should consider. First and foremost, you need to decide what type of RV you are looking for. RVs come in all shapes and sizes and each class has its respective advantages and disadvantages. Here at Pleasureland RV, we want to make sure you find the perfect fit. So let’s take it back to elementary school and learn the ABCs of RVs starting with Class A Motorhomes.

Class A Motorhome

Description: Class A Motorhomes are big, square and boxy and are considered the most luxurious of all RVs due to their top-of-the-line amenities. You’ll often here people refer to Class A Motorhomes as their home-away-from-home.

2012 Winnebago Vista

Advantages: Class A RVs can be as long as 45 feet. With all of this space inside, they’re usually equipped with a rear master suite including a full bathroom with a glass-enclosed shower. The water closet may be in its own separate room, and there’s probably a washer/dryer unit on board to handle the laundry.

Today’s Class A motorhomes tend to have multiple slideouts. Some can expand to a width of over 14 feet. Large flat screen HDTV’s, surround sound systems, even dishwashers and ice machines are common options. The list of upgrades and options is almost endless.

Basement storage can swallow enough supplies to keep you on the road permanently. These are great traveling machines that let you drive comfortably all day and sleep comfortably all night so you can get up the next morning to do it all over again.

Disadvantages: For Class A RVs, fuel economy is a big one. With their boxy and large profile, you’ll be spending big dollars to keep a Class A motorhome rolling down the highway.

Once you get to your destination and set up camp, you’re pretty much stuck there. Unless you tow a car for local transportation, you’ll be staying put at camp. That is unless you want to put everything away, roll up the awning, and suck in the slide-outs so you can motor on down the road again.

If you’re timid about driving something this large, keep in mind that close area maneuvering is a learned skill.

[The Fun Times Guide]

 

So, is the Class A Motorhome for you? Maybe yes, maybe no. Stay tuned for the next two letters of the RV alphabet.

Extreme RV Weather: High Winds

You don’t have to be in the middle of a hurricane or F3 tornado to experience high winds while on the road. The skies may be clear and the sun brightly shining, but we should never forget about that unseen force of nature that can so easily leave you’re fifth wheel or travel trailer overturned on the side of highway 90. I’m pretty sure this RV driver did not see this coming…

Crosswinds pose the greatest threat to fifth wheels and travel trailers because they can push the vehicle into another lane, or as we saw above, they can cause the vehicle to turnover.

So how can we avoid this situation, Minnesota RV enthusiasts? You can do one of two things: slow down to a speed where you feel comfortable or pull over and wait for conditions to clear. Unfortunately, these are really your only two options. If you have any questions or need some more tips on how to handle your RV in high winds, you can always give us a call or stop by one of our locations.