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.

Jayco Trailer on a 1000-Mile Durability

 

2010 Jayco Eagle

Jayco is known for building high quality, high value and competitively priced products. Their travel trailers have a long list of standard features and several floor plans to choose from. But when it comes time to buy a new travel trailer, you’re probably going to want more than just luxury. You’re going to want to make sure you have a product that will last over time and endure all of your family’s various camping or road trips. Check out this video of a Jayco trailer undergo a 1000-mile duration test, and let us know what you think!

 

Vintage RV Group Holds Summer Rally in Minnesota

Photo Courtesy of RedwoodFallsGazette.com

One of my favorites sites for getting the latest on RVs is RV News Magazine’s website. I recently became addicted to their new section called “RV News Digest” which is where I found a story about a vintage RV group who recently met in Redwood Falls, MN, for its summer rally. The group, named Greater Midwest Classics,  is made up of people who share a passion for the General Motors RVs manufactured between 1973-78. Members reside in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois. There’s even a member from Australia! These folks know all there is to know about the history of these RVs and each have a story of there own about how they came to own one (read the full story from the Redwood Falls Gazette).

Reading about these vintage RVs got me wondering about what the very first RV might have looked like. As I surfed the Internet, I found a brilliant montage YouTube of vintage RVs dating back all the way to the thirties! Check it out!

Are you a proud, vintage RV owner? Come by and show it off!

 

The Smallest RV in the World

Photo Courtesy of BornRich.com

Leave it to the geniuses who created the all-in-one, coolest tool of all time to create an all-in-one RV system. Allow me to introduce the swissRoomBox™. This little bad boy turns any regular old minivan or SUV into a fully-loaded campsite. It’s made up of several modules that serve as containers, countertops, a stove, a sink, a table, a chair and bed frame and provides hot water, gas and electricity in 220V, 12V and 5V USB! Hard to believe that’s even possible, isn’t it? But according to the manufactuers, it takes less than five minutes to transform the modules into a shower, kitchen, bed and dining room. Did I forget to mention that no tools are necessary to do this? Check out the company’s video and see this pure work of art for yourself!

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cy3gKwirLk

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.

Got an iPhone and An RV? Check This Out!

As the years have passed, it has become overwhelming apparent that technology is going to make its way into our life.  We have social networks, seach engines, You-Tube, and informational blogs like this one!  And while all these different mediums have helped RV users out in some way, some of the newer technology has been lacking when it comes to getting quick information on your phone.

In comes a new iPhone application called Camping Finder made by CampingRoadTrip.com.  This handy app allows for a bunch of features to help an RVer or camper plan and execute a great trip.

“Camp Finder puts 14,000 U.S. campgrounds and RV parks in your pocket,” says Julian Fenn founder of CampingRoadTrip.com. “We want to help people have a great time in the outdoors and also save a few trees by getting rid of the big paper based camping directories. Camp Finder app is all about giving campers and RVers the freedom and spontaneity to have a great time on the road.”

The reality of being on the road means that plans do change. RVers and campers can now use the Camp Finder iPhone app to access the most up to date information and search for campgrounds and RV parks by name, city and state or current location. With just one touch campers and RVers can check out rates, amenities, camping discounts, contact details and even photos and reviews posted by others. “Camp Finder is even smart enough to give you directions to your destination. The only thing it won’t do is drive your RV or car there!”

Check out a video demonstration below:

httpv://www.youtube.com/campingroadtrip

So if you do have an iPhone, make sure you spend the $1.99 to purchase this very helpful and informative application.  And when you do download the app, make sure you put in Pleasureland RV first!!

[Source: PR Web]

Dealing With an RV Flat Tire

If you are driving your RV with too heavy of a load, under inflated tires, or old and damaged tires, then you are putting yourself at risk for a massive tire failure while driving down the road.  If this has never happened to you, then you should consider yourself lucky.  For those of us who have gone through this, then you know that it can be a bit frightening as well as confusing.  What should you do if this happens?  Well I found an excellent video produced by Michelin Tires about handling your RV in case a blow out occurs.

While the video is a little long, coming in at around 10 minutes, I do highly recommend watching the whole thing if you are not sure what you should do while experiencing a blow out.

We hope you found this information useful during such a stressful situation.  If you need for information, leave a comment or visit us at Pleasureland RV!

 

Helpful Campground Review Site

The internet has always provided a forum for people to review different things.  When someone wants to go on a vacation, they might look at Trip Advisor.  If someone has a bad experience at a restaurant they might visit Google Places or Yelp.  But until recently, a quality site that allows people to review and share their tales from campgrounds has not had one solidified place to go.  That is until now.

Camping.com has developed an all-encompassing site that will allow RVers and campers to share their thoughts and feelings with other potential campers.  Check out this excerpt from an article announcing this new site:

“Camping.com & the LI Partner Network is thrilled to offer our consumers quality reviews and ratings with the introduction of GuestRated”, said Kelly O’Bryan, EVP, Marketing, Camping.com. “Campers and RVers will now have access to more useful reviews written by people who camp and RV. Plus, our consumers can now easily rate and review their favorite RV Parks and Campgrounds from any of our web properties”.

Campers and Rvers will now be able to quickly and easily find reviews and ratings from other like-minded travelers CAMPING.COM and other sites on the LI Partner Network.

“Mainstream travelers have long had access to reviews and ratings for vacation lodging but campers and RVers have had a much more difficult time finding information about campgrounds and RV parks, GuestRated changes that. “, said Kelly O’Bryan, EVP, Marketing, Camping.com, “The tagline for CAMPING.COM has always been ‘everything camping’ and this is one more step in delivering that promise. We are encouraging campers and RVers to visit CAMPING.COM to add reviews of their favorite RV Parks and Campgrounds.

CAMPING.COM, LLC, is a leading one-stop provider of camping and RV travel information and trip planning tools. Camping.com is the leading provider of online reservations for commercial campgrounds and offers the most complete private campground directory. The site features tips on everything from camping with kids, recipes for camp cuisine, RV travel information along with trip ideas to “must-see” destinations for both weekend and longer trips.

Is this new site something that you would use, either to comment on a previous trip or when planning out your next RV trip?

[Source: World News Report]

 

RV Trip Tips: Eating Healthy

Eating healthy, even for the healthiest of us, can be difficult while out on the road.  Even with the amenities of an RV, always eating healthy can be difficult.  With our loved ones usually in tow, it is nice to have some back up plans in case you are forced into an unhealthy situation.  Here are some tips I came across to help you out on your next RV adventure!

Dealing with Fast Food and Restaurants:
No matter how you well you plan, there will be times when you’ll be faced with needing to eat out. Let’s face it, a vacation is just that and sometimes that includes time away from the kitchen!
• Keep an eye on portions. Some restaurant portions come super-sized. Ask about portion size and if it’s large, split it with someone else or take part of it with you for a snack or meal later in the day. Also check out senior or children’s meals which often have more realistic portion sizes.
• Dining at the hotel. Many hotels offer a complimentary breakfast with a variety of fruits, whole grain cereals and more. Take advantage of the offer!
• Look for grocery stores with an in-store deli. Many grocery stores now offer full service deli departments. Not only are the choices generally better for the heart conscious, but you just may find the meal less expensive as well.
• If you don’t find what you need to be heart healthy, ask if they’ll consider a special order or make substitutions. For example, if the entree is chicken breast with French fries, ask if they’ll substitute a salad, broccoli or baked potato instead of the fries. For breakfast, many restaurants are willing to make egg white omelets even if they aren’t on the menu – all you have to do is ask.

Heart Healthy Snacks:
Despite planning, it won’t always be possible to eat heart healthy all time. Look for heart healthy snacks that are easy to pack and take with you to tide you over.  Depending on your method of travel, consider snacks such as dried fruits, seeds, nuts, and beef jerky. Veggies such as carrot sticks and celery packs easily can be carried outside of an ice chest for short periods of time. Apples also pack well and are less prone to bruising than other fruits such as bananas or apricots. Try to avoid alcohol, sodas, and fruit drinks with added sugars. As an alternative, carry a water bottle which can be refilled.

Being healthy on the road is one of the advantages to having a kitchen in an RV.  However there are times we are forced into an unhealthy situation and hopefully the above tips will help you the next time you are put between a healthy and unhealthy choice.

Any other suggestions? Please leave us a comment below!

[Source: EmpowHER]