Minnesota RVing Storytelling

Although you may be spending the night in your Pleasureland RV, a big part of the camping experience is the campfire. And storytelling by the campfire is an art form all its own.

First: the campfire. You’ll need four things: tinder, kindling, firewood, and a match.

Tinder lights easily, and can be anything from dried grasses or moss, to lint from your dryer or a packaged fire starter. Kindling provides fuel for the fire, and can include dried twigs or strips of cardboard. Firewood, including split and whole logs, will keep the roaring fire burning.  (Safety reminder: keep a bucket of water handy any time you have a campfire. Stray embers can easily start a forest fire!)

Start by creating a pile of tinder and kindling in the fire pit. You’ll want it piled together loosely enough for air to circulate, but closely enough for the flames to easily spread. Light the tinder with a match or lighter. Then, as the fire grows, add small pieces of firewood until the fire becomes hot enough to burn the larger logs. Add the wood in a star pattern, propping one log on the other to encourage air circulation and keeping the fire going.

Now, you’ve got a roaring campfire and it’s time for a round of storytelling! There’s something about the warm glow of a campfire that brings out our funniest family stories and scariest ghost stories. Who’s the best storyteller in your family?

This month, the Master Storytelling Festival in the Twin Cities features artists from  the Black Storytellers Alliance, and you can find more festivals all over the U.S. on the storytelling festivals page. It’s a great time to hitch up the your St. Cloud RV and go discover a long-lost slice of Americana!

RV Snowbirds, Consider Spending the Winter In Palm Springs California

It is not too far away. That time when the snow and temperatures start to fall and it’s time to take your Pleasureland RV and head to a warmer climate. How about California? Specifically the Palm Springs Area. It is a meca of fun, relaxation and sunshine!!

Enjoy sunny skies,  desert scenery and beautiful nearby mountain views plus the wonderful climate that the Palm Springs area has to offer.  Just take a look at these average temperatures – lots of 70s and 80s from October through April.

Photo Courtesy of Weather.com

You will find an abundance of world class golf and tennis resorts, great restaurants and shopping. In fact ladies, some of the best Outlet Malls in the country are not far away!

In for some adventure, hiking, rock climbing and more? Visit the Mount San Jacinto State Park or the high desert country at Joshua Tree Desert Park. And don’t miss the chance to experience the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

And there will be plenty to do right where you park your “home away from home”. Just a short distance from Palm Springs and Palm Desert you will find two great options in Desert Hot Springs -the Sky Valley Resort and Caliente Springs.

Sky Valley RV Resorts offer an active adult RV resort lifestyle including sparkling natural hot water spas, swimming pools, an executive golf course,  and plenty of activities and events.

Caliente Springs is a sophisticated 55+ RV Park with large RV sites a nine-hole executive golf course and an 18,000 square foot clubhouse.Plus enjoy daily water based activities, tennis courts and excellent hot springs and mineral pools.

And if you want to get away for the day… or a few, San Diego is just about 125 miles away,  and you can be in LA or Orange County in less than 2 hours. There you can experience so many wonderful things Southern California has to offer.

Photo Courtesy of Sky Valley Resorts

Have fun in California, travel safe and we’ll look forward to seeing you soon at Pleasureland RV!

Crock Pot RV Cooking

The other day, we talked about ways we can save on one of our large RV expenses – propane. One of the ways we can do this is by using alternative cooking methods like an electric skillet or crock pot. If you’ve become accustomed to using your stove and oven to prepare your meals, then using alternative methods may seem a little difficult to you. But it doesn’t have to be!

When most people think of crock pots, they immediately think of stew or chip dips and nothing else.  What most people don’t know, is that you can use a crock pot for almost any type of meal whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner! On top of saving on your propane consumption, you’ll also be enjoying a delicious meal that was super easy to prepare. Most of the time, you can just throw your ingredients in the pot in the morning and by dinner time, you’re all set. That’s all there is to it! In case you don’t believe me, I’m going to share one of my favorite crock pot recipes of all time – chicken casserole. I bet you would have never thought a crock pot was capable of this one! If you don’t already have a crock pot, you can purchase a 12V 1.5 qt. crock potat the Pleasureland RV online parts store.

What You’ll Need:

4 lg. chicken breasts
1 sm. can cream of chicken soup
1 sm. can cream of celery soup
1 sm. can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. diced celery
1 c. Minute Rice ( if you want you can try different flavors)

How to Cook:

Mix in crockpot the soups and rice. Place chicken on top of mixture, then sprinkle diced celery over chicken. Then let it sit on low for four hours and you’re ready to serve four people! For a little more flavor, add some salt and pepper and other seasoning of your choice.
This is one of thousands of recipes you can make in a crock pot. Who knows, this could even become your new hobby while on the road in your Minnesota RV. Are you already using a crock pot to prepare delicious meals on the road? Share some of your favorite recipes with Pleasureland RV!

A Lesson in RV Jargon for the First-Time Minnesota RVer

So, you’ve officially joined the wonderful world of Minnesota RVing. Now that you have the RV, you look the part. The question is, do you sound like the part? As with most hobbies or lifestyles, the RV world has it’s own form of jargon. So before you head out in your new or used RV, take a quick lesson in RV terminology to help you communicate with fellow RVers along the way.

Let’s start with a few RV terms you should be familiar with.

Fiver – Another name for a fifth-wheel RV.

Hula Skirt – A skirt placed on the back bumper of a motorhome to stop debris that is thrown from the rear wheels from damaging vehicles behind the motorhome, either the vehicle you are towing or other vehicles behind the motorhome.

Dually – A pickup truck, or light-duty tow vehicle, with four tires on one rear axle.

Boondocking – Also known as dry camping, boondocking refers to camping without any hook-ups, namely camping without hooking up to any electric, sewer or water facilities. You can still have electric from your RV batteries and water from your freshwater holding tank.

Basement – The storage area below the floor of the RV, accessible from the outside. Basement storage usually refers to storage in a Class-A or Class-C motorhome.

Dinghy – The term for a vehicle that you are towing with your motorhome. It is also known as a Toad.

Now let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about RV grammar. One of the most common mistakes I hear first-time RVers make is calling their RV a mobile home or Winnebago.

Winnebago is actually an RV brand. If you’ve mistakenly called an RV a Winnebago, don’t beat yourself up too badly. This little mess-up is similar to people calling all types of soda a “coke” or any type of tissue a “Kleenex”.  Back in the 1970s, the travel trailer maker Winnebago introduced an affordable, mass-produced, self-powered recreation vehicle. Given their massive headstart, people naturally began calling all motorhomes a Winnebago.

As an RVer, it’s also important to know the difference between “mobile homeand “motor home. This is an easy one to remember. Motor homes have engines… hence the name motor. A mobile home has no engine, no steering wheel, etc.

So Minnesota, after my quick little lesson in RV jargon, do you think you’re ready to hit the road and meet some fellow RV enthusiasts? Sure you are! If you’re looking for some more technical terminology, you can always swing by one of Pleasureland RV’s four Minnesota locations. Our experts will be more than happy to help.

[Source: RV-info.net]

Take Safety Measures While Driving Your New or Used RV During the Minnesota Night

As an RVer in Minnesota, there are going to be times when we may drive through the night to reach our destination. Others find driving their RVs, travel trailers and fifth wheels during the night hours easier because there’s roughly 60 percent less traffic. The crazy thing is, though, that while there is 60 percent less traffic on the road, more than 40 percent of fatal car crashes occur during the night according to SeriousAccidents.com. This is probably due to the fact that an estimated nine out of ten drivers base their decisions on what they see. Even though we can see with some light at night, headlights and other lights along the road can really play tricks on you.

A friend and I were driving through a rural area a few years back at night and I’ll never forget when he slammed on his brakes out of nowhere. There weren’t any other vehicles close to us, so I assumed he was avoiding hitting an animal. Turns out, his eyes played a trick on him and he thought a motorcycle, which was several miles down the road from us at the time, was heading straight for him. Has anything like this ever happen to any of your while driving your RV through rural Minnesota or surround states?

Though we can’t really control what our minds perceive during these hours, we can try to prevent our mind playing tricks us at night. There are some really excellent tips out there for driving your RV during the night hours. Several of them revolve around out headlights along including:

  • Turn them on an hour before dusk and and leave them on until an hour after dawn. Some RVers prefer to leave their headlights on all of the time, and that’s fine, too.
  • Check to make sure that your headlights are aligned. If not, your coverage may be decreased and you might also blind oncoming traffic.
  • This is a general rule, and one of my biggest pet peeves: brights. Our bright lights are a wonderful thing, and I recommend using them whenever you can. However, it’s imperative that you switch to low beams at the sight of another vehicle! I know sometimes it’s easy to forget, especially on though rural, two-lane highways, but try to make yourself conscious.

When driving at night, you should be more alert. This is especially true on the weekends. It’s a known fact that the majority of drunk-driving-related accidents occur on the weekend. So be wary during these nights especially from 1-3 a.m. On top of worry about the other drivers out there, you need to also worry about yourself. Don’t ignore fatigue. Falling asleep at the wheel is another top cause of accidents that occur at night. So please, make sure you are fully rested before heading out in your RV.

Your safety is a top priority at Pleasureland RV. If you have any more questions about driving at night, don’t hesitate to give us a call or swing by one of our four Minnesota RV dealerships.

[Source: DMV.org]

Be Sure to Routinely Inspect the Brakes on Your RV

Photo courtesy of FullTime-RVing.com

As I’m sure you already know, with owning an RV comes routine maintenance. Some of these maintenance tasks are meant to extend the life of your motorhomes, while others are required to ensure your safety while traveling through Minnesota in your new or used RV, such as checking your brakes.

It’s a no-brainer why this is an important part of RV maintenance seeing how your brakes are what stops your vehicle from moving. It’s recommended by most that you check your brakes at least once a year, but depending on your driving habits, you may want to check them more often. A full-timer, for example, may need to check their brakes four or five times a year especially if they are constantly on the road.

Checking your brakes can be a pretty simple process, but it will take a little bit of time and possibly another soul for good measure. To get started, park your RV on a flat surface and block the front and backs of your tires to keep the RV in place. You can use 2x4s or cinder blocks to do this. Next you’ll need to remove the hub cabs (if applicable) and then remove the tire to get to the brakes. Once you’ve located the brakes, inspect the following:

Rotors. Your rotors should appear scratch- and warp-free. Run your hands along the flat part of the rotor. It should be smooth.

Brake Pads. These are what press against your rotors and cause the RV to slow. Inspect the pads for wearing and tearing. You should have at least a quarter of an inch of brake pad. If they are too thin, you’ll risk damaging the rotors. Trust me, replacing brake pads is a lot cheaper than replacing rotors.

Electric Brake Systems: Inspect the connections for corrosion. If you can, enlist someone to press the brakes while you watch the rotors to make sure that the brakes are being evenly applied.

Surge Braking Systems: With these type of brakes, you’ll want to make sure that the sensor is still properly detecting speed change. Also inspect the sensor for rust and corrosion. It’s also a good idea to have someone press the brakes with you watching for pressure to be evenly applied.

If you find anything out of place or off beat while inspecting your brakes, give Pleasureland RV a call or swing by one of our four Minnesota RV dealership locations. We’re more than happy to give you a hand. After all, nothing is more important than your safety while cruising around Minnesota in your new or used RV.

Foil Packs: A Simple and Healthy Recipe for Minnesota RVers on the Road

There’s nothing I love more than preparing simple and healthy meals while on the road, besides sharing these great recipes with my fellow Minnesota RV travelers! What a lot of new RVers and campers don’t realize is how easy what may seem to be a complex meal can be to prepare without using any cookware. I’ve already told you how to use a Ziploc bag to make delicious omelets, and now I’ll share one of my favorite dinner recipes prepared in foil!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cubed
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 small potatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced

One of the many things I love about this recipe is that you can do most of the preparation at home or beforehand. You can also substitute any one of the ingredients to create your own version of the foil pack.

Once you have all of your supplies, let’s get to easy cooking!

Directions (Recipe Makes 4 Foil Pack)

  1. In a large bowl, or in a large zip-top bag if you are preparing this at home, combine your chicken cubes, onions, mushrooms, yellow and red bell peppers, garlic if you prefer, and cubed potatoes.
  2. Next, pour the olive oil and lemon juice over your meat and veggies, and mix well.
  3. Evenly divide the mixture between 4 large square sheets of aluminum foil. Cover each with an additional sheet of aluminum foil, and roll up all four edges tightly. For safety’s sake, wrap each packet again securely in another sheet of foil to help keep the juices and flavors in as well as to avoid losing any of your ingredients in the cooking process.
  4. Cook the foil packs on the hot coals of your campfire until the chicken is fully cooked through and the potatoes are tender. The entire cook time should take around 40 minutes, give or take the amount and size of your ingredients.

There you go, Minnesotan RVers! A hearty yet healthy, delicious and simple meal prepared on the go. Share your variations and creations with Pleasureland RV! We always love trying to new things!

Make Cleaning Your Minnesota RV Awning a Part of Your Regular RV Maintenance Routine

As members of the RV community, we know that with owning an RV, travel trailer or fifth wheel comes the responsibility of routine maintenance. It’s been my experience that one of the things new Minnesota RV owners forget about is cleaning the RV awning.  Whether you’re putting your RV away for the season or you’ve been traveling through some less than ideal weather, you should add cleaning the awning to your checklist because rain, snow, wind, dust and air pollution are all things that can cause permanent damage and/or stains to the awning.

I’m pretty sure it’s been proven that the life span of an RV awning improves with routine cleaning. If you have a fabric awning, it should be deep cleaned two or three times a year. This can vary depending on your RV travel habits. If you have a vinyl RV awning, then you’ll need to give it a good cleaning three or four times a year. Again, this can vary depending on your RV travels.

When the time comes, you’ll need to select an awning cleaning product. There is a wide array of products especially made for this task. Some products are specially formulated to deal with mildew or mold and others are more generic and can be used on both vinyl and fabric awnings. If you need help finding one or deciding which will work best for you, swing by Pleasureland RV or give us a call. If you can, try to get a cleaner that contains UV inhibitors and blockers.

Now that you’ve selected a product, let’s put this project in motion. You’ll need a ladder for this one. Once you’ve secured yourself (we don’t want any injuries) on the ladder, go ahead and pull out about three feet of your awning. It’s strongly recommend to clean the awning in sections. This way you’ll be sure to get it all and it’ll it make the process much simpler. Once you’ve cleaned the last section, leave the awning out to dry. If you’re really interested in extending the life of your awning, try applying a light coat of repellent to help prevent stains and repel water. The best kinds will contain a UV blocker to help maintain the fabric’s appearance. Again, if you need help finding RV awning cleaning products, swing by one of Pleasureland RV’s four locations, or give us a call. Like I mentioned above, cleaning your awning is something that should become part of your routine RV maintenance. After all, you’ve already invested a lot of time and money in this rolling home on wheels, so why not do everything you can to get the most out of it?

 

Choosing Between a Travel Trailer and Fifth Wheel in Minnesota

If you’re thinking about joining the vast and wonderful world of RVs by buying a new or used RV in Minnesota, the first thing you’ll have to do is decide is what class is best for you.

The first decision is fairly easy in my opinion. Motorized or towable? Are you wanting to use your RV as a vehicle and a home? Or are you leaning more toward towing an RV with a car or truck?

If you’ve decided that a towable RV is the choice for you, then let’s go ahead and break it down into a few more choices. The most common towable RVs are travel trailers and fifth wheels.

Travel Trailers

2012 Dutchmen Denali Minnesota

2012 Dutchmen Denali

The travel trailer is going to be your most common and usually least expensive RV. They are available in a wide variety of lengths and can be towed behind any vehicle with enough power and torque.

Advantage #1 – Almost any tow vehicle will do.

Depending on the size, travel trailers can be pulled by a sedan, pick-up or even a minivan. Most people use their tow vehicle on a regular basis, so having this advantage is a big plus.

Advantage #2 – Better fuel economy.

Because a travel trailer has a lower profile than a 5th wheel, you’re going to average two to three miles per gallon better fuel economy. Don’t forget to factor in the savings you’ll get by having a smaller vehicle for every day use as well.

Advantage #3 – Lower Cost.

On average, a travel trailer will cost about $10,000 less than a 5th wheel of equal size.

[HensleyMfg.com]

Fifth Wheels

2012 Keystone Alpine Minnesota

2012 Keystone Alpine 3200RL

Fifth wheels are strictly pulled by pickup trucks and get their name from the distinguishing gooseneck hitch. This gives them better stability and a better center of gravity. On the whole, fifth wheels are very spacious and usually have at least one slide-out space. Of the two, fifth wheels are considered to be the more luxurious.

Advantage #1 – Stability.

The fifth wheel has a good reputation for stability. Often times, you’ll hear people complain about the sway when towing a travel trailer. Fifth wheels eliminate this problem and are known for being easy to tow.

Advantage #2 – Luxury.

Though they are more expensive than a travel trailer, the amenities you’ll find in a fifth wheel make it all worth it in my opinion.

Regardless of which towable RV you choose, you’re bound to love it. If this is your first time buying a new or used RV, you can always come down to one of Pleasureland RV’s four locations and look around. While you’re there, ask questions! We’re more than happy to help find the perfect RV to fit all of your needs.

Does Your Minnesota RV Need New Windshield Wiper Blades?

Driving in inclement weather is bad enough in an average passenger vehicle, but doing it in an RV? Awful. Especially if you don’t know what you are doing. The most common weather you’ll probably drive through in your RV is rain, and there’s nothing worse than flipping on your windshield wipers and realizing it’s only making it worse. If you’ve been on the road for awhile and haven’t been able to clean the bugs off your windshield, you can bet your visibility will decrease even more.

Many things contribute to the deterioration of your RV‘s wiper blades including the sun, oil from other vehicles and the random dirt and other debris carried by the wind. When blades start to deteriorate, they may start to streak, skip or split.

Skipping: This is caused by a curvature due to lack of use. If your RV has been parked for a long period of time, your wipers may have molded to the curvature of your RV’s windshield. This curvature will mess up the contact the wipers have with the rest of the windshield’s surface as it moves causing the blades to skip.

Streaking: When your wiper blades harden and crack, the result is streaking. Usually this is due to dry rubber, but tree sap, bugs and grime from the road also contribute to this issue.

Splitting: Over time, your blades will naturally wear down and split. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays will also contribute to split rubber.

Seeing how our RVs spend a lot of time on the road, their wiper blades are prone to wearing out quicker than those on our cars. There are  few simple things you can do to help prevent this, though. First and foremost, you should add checking your blades to your regular maintenance list. Look for broken frames, tears and missing pieces and curvature. It’s also good idea to clean your windshield often and wipe the rubber part of the blades with a damp paper towel. During the winter months, pull the blades away from the windshield and never use them to try to get ice off of your windshield.

As a general rule of thumb, wiper blades should be replaced once a year.  This can very a little bit depending on the amount of usage, and as I mentioned earlier, RV wiper blades will probably wear out quicker. So be sure to always inspect your blades before heading out. If you need any help inspecting your blades or installing new ones, you can always give Pleasureland RV a call or swing by one of our locations in Minnesota.