With all of this new technology rapidly developing, we are finding ourselves in less need of tangible information such as newspapers and paper maps. About 99% percent of the information we need can now be found on the Internet — directions, locations, phone numbers, etc. Are the days of relying on those folded up, outdated paper maps in our RV glove boxes close to being over?
Newspapers are to the Internet as paper maps are to GPS.
In my opinion, the answer is yes for one reason — the technology available on our smart phones. Not only do most of them have built in GPS and navigation capabilities, they also have downloadable applications specifically aimed at those who live the RV lifestyle. If you’re an iPhone user, check out this list from TechWrench.com of must-have applications for the RV enthusiast.
Top iPhone Apps for RVers
1. 4roadservice.com App: Helps you find services near your location without having to leave the driver’s seat. With a live data connection from 4roadservice.com’s website, you always have the most up to date information. Hurry on this one! You can get it for free while they are still testing the GPS portion of the app.
2. RV Parks: A free app that searches a database in excess of 18,000 RV parks all while allowing you to read authentic user reviews and photos. You can upload your own reviews too
4. RV Owner’s Community: From Social Knowledge LLC, this app allows users to post questions from the road or campground and upload photos for others to enjoy.
5. RV Trader: In need of a new place to call home? This free app allows you to search through more than 45,000 new and used RVs for sale. Only want to look for a Winnebago RV? No problem! RV trader will help you sort through listings by type, condition, price range, and model year. Then it will show you the RV dealers who have what you are looking for that are closest to your location.
6. RV Buyers Guide: Not just for buyers! This resource lets you bring the most popular magazine for recreational vehicle enthusiasts with you wherever you travel. Packed with information about travel destinations, the latest RVs and recent industry news.
7. Passport America RV Club: Traveling on a budget? This is app is your new best friend. Over 1500 campgrounds across the US, Canada, and Mexico participate in the Passport America program and if you become a member of Passport America you can find up to a 50% discount on campgrounds.
8. RV Checklist: Get organized! This great app has multiple lists for tasks such as departing from a site, preparing for a trip and winterization. It even allows the user to add, delete, and modify tasks on the lists.
9. RV Companion: The journal app for the RV world. This app makes it easy and fun to track all of your RV and camping information in one place. The RV Companion lets you keep track of vital information such as your supplies, campground site information, reservation contact details and more.
10. RV Dump Stations: Last but not least! Never have to think about where to get rid of the least appealing part of RVing again. RV Dumps does all the work for you by checking your current location and telling you where the nearest available Dump station is located.
Even though I said the days of paper maps may be over, that doesn’t mean I think you should throw them out all together. Cellphone and Internet coverage is continuing to spread across the country, but it still isn’t available everywhere. So for those times you may find yourself out of range or with a dead battery in your RV, you’ll be happy to have a paper map for backup.
It’s hard to believe that RVs have been around for more than a century. If you want to get technical, the RV goes back to the days of covered wagons. However, most people consider the 1910 Touring Landau as the first RV. But in my opinion, it was seven years later when the first real RV — The Adams Motor Bungalo — came to be. Regardless, modern RVs were born in the 1910′s an 20′s in an era all about new inventions and mechanisms that made life simpler.
As I was surfing the web looking for photos of RVs in their early days, I came across a wonderful collection of images that showcase the evolution of the RVs we have come to love today. Enjoy!
One of the most important things we have to do as RV owners is take care of our RV. I know it may sound silly, but it’s true. RV maintenance proper RV storage is crucial to ensure that our home-away-from-home lasts us a long time.
If you’re not a full-timer, then there will come a time in the year when you’ll need to store your RV. There are several places that will take care of all of this for you, but you can also do it on your own. Both methods are perfectly acceptable. However, if you’re planning to do this on your own, there are several things you need to know and steps you’ll need to follow. VirginiaWind.com gives us some excellent guidelines to follow.
RV Storage Tips
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.
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.
Take care of the 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.
I know it may sound like a lot of work, but trust me it’s worth it. Following all of these tips will help to keep your RV in tip-top shape in those off seasons. If you have any questions or need any help with storing your RV, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Hey Washington RVers, it’s time for episode nine of our favorite online TV series, Mark’s RV Garage. If you’ve been following the series, then you’re familiar with Mr. Mark Polk. He’s the number one go-to guy on the web for all RV-related tips and tricks. His Internet TV series has gained a lot of popularity in the RV world and after watching one episode, you’ll see why.
In case you’ve missed any previous episodes, you can click here and get caught up in no time! So what’s in store for episode nine? Well, Mark and his son Tyler continue the Yellowstone restoration process by installing the gray and black water holding tanks. You’ll also learn how to install a window awing in just six steps and get a quick tip on how to size a patio mat for your RV. The question of how to get rid of pesky field mice is addressed and more. Check it out!
In my opinion, there are not too many downsides to full-time RVing these days. With all of the technology we now have, we’re able to constantly keep in touch with the world (if that’s what you prefer) and we also have many of the amenities, such as a washer and dryer and kitchen appliances, that we’d have in our home. There’s honestly only one thing I can think of that RVs do not currently have… a full-blown gym.
This definitely shouldn’t stop full-time RVers from staying fit, though. According to Modern Medicine, 30 minutes a day, three times a week is the recommended minimum amount of exercise you need to keep you healthy. There are a ton of activities both inside and out that we can do to easily meet that minimum. Here are just a few suggestions:
Walking. This is probably the most common form of exercise among Rvers. After arriving to a campsite, it’s nice to take a walk around the grounds to not only explore your surroundings but to also get your heart rate up a little bit. You’d be surprised how fast the thirty minute marker hits while on a walk.
Biking. This is similar to walking, only faster. If you were to ask any full-time Rver if they had an alternate form of transportation they used while at campgrounds, I’m willing to bet that at least half of them use folding bikes. Cycling is a great way to burn some calories and is also extremely practical for the RV lifestyle.
Video Games. At first, this may sound like a contradiction. But if you enjoy technology and video games, then maybe the electronic route is the best method of exercise for you. Games such as Wii Fit and XBOX Kinect are a fun way to get a in a great workout inside your RV. If you’re traveling with children, I definitely recommend using one of these two games. It can be fun for the entire family and beneficial to your health at the same time. Here are my top three workout games on the market.
WII Fit Plus 40 Types Of Training Activities
Wii Fit Plus uses a scale-like controller, It uses a Wii balance board which does the weight and calculates your body mass. You can customize your routine and work out on specific target areas. Has cool stuff like yoga and strength training.
Xbox 360 Kinect – Your Shape Fitness Evolved Get In Shape Now This game talks you through and walks you through the exact movements you need to get in shape. When you type in your age, weight and habits it will make sure not to over do it on your work out. It has things like Tai Chi and yoga.
Kinect Sports You Have To Get Off The Couch For This One Full body controller. Work out and have fun with your family!
So there you have it, Washington RVers. Just because you’re out on the road doesn’t mean you have to neglect your health. Working out should always be enjoyable, so it’s important to choose activities that you look forward to doing. Otherwise, you might not stick with it for too long. For some more tips on how to keep fit on the road, don’t hesitate to give us a shout!
Hey Washington RV owners and campers, did you know that Washington has over 40 species of mosquitoes. Some, like Culex Tarsalis, can spread mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus. [Washington Department of Health].
I’m not sure why, but it appears that I am a mosquito magnet. I swear it feels like they flock to me and no one else. This is great for everyone around me, though. I’m constantly using repellents, but they don’t always seem to do the trick. So I decided to do a little Internet research and found some really good advice from a general practitioner specializing in travel medicine.
Dr. Brian Aw’s Tips for a Bug Free Summer
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.
So my fellow camp goers, if you’re experiencing similar issues with mosquitoes, or any type of bug for that matter, try using the tips. Let me know if it helps!
Summer is the time when many families take their vacations. A lot of families look forward to these vacations all year. Especially the parents of teenagers. Getting those kids out of the house and city gives you a chance to spend some quality time with them without the distraction of school or their friends.
If you’re planning an upcoming trip and haven’t booked your flight yet, maybe you should consider renting an RV instead flying. What better way to really spend quality time with your family then a three-day road trip to your destination? I’m sure that alone may not be enough to convince you, so I decided to share a list of 10 other reasons you should consider driving an RV instead of taking a plane.
10 Reasons You Should Drive an RV Instead of Taking a Plane
1. Before you get into your RV, you don’t have to wait in long lines or wait for your seat row to be called for boarding. (Although I’m tempted to try this with the family next time we go camping.)
2. No embarrassing X-ray or pat down. (Tempted to try this, too.)
3. Your luggage always arrives at the same time you do and never costs extra. (Luggage? What’s luggage?)
4. No need to arrive at your RV two hours ahead of departure time – it will wait for you.
5. You can bring as many bottles of water into the RV as you wish.
6. The bathroom in your RV, or the restrooms at roadside rest areas, do not have line-ups in the aisle.
7. The air you breath is “family” — you know how healthy they are. (Granted, this may or may not be a positive.)
8. No need to surrender your favorite knitting needles or other sharp objects.
9. Stiff legs? No need to wait until you arrive — you are 2 feet off the ground and can stop for exercise whenever you want.
10. And there’s no need to rent a car when you arrive – you are already sitting in the vehicle of your choice, with no insurance waivers to sign!
Are you convinced? If not, you can always come down and check out the RVs we have available to rent. So, have I talked you into it yet? Even if you’re still on the fence, come down and take a look at the different RVs we have available to rent and really get a feel for what the best family vacation you’ll ever take might look like. Here’s an idea of what we have to offer.
Whether or not you will have a washer and dryer unit all depends on the type of RVer you are. If you’re only spending occasional weekends in your RV, then laundromats are probably you best odds. If you spend longer amounts of time in your RV or even if you don’t want to risk being stuck in a town where the laundry mat can seem a bit sketchy, then having a washer or dryer on board your RV may be the option for you.
Most of the newer, larger RV models come equipped with a unit(s) already installed by the factory. However, if you find yourself without one or are thinking of upgrading, you have one of two options. You can either install a combo unit or consider stackable units. The Fun Times Guide gives us an awesome break down of your two options.
#1 With an RV washer & dryer combo unit onboard, you can put large loads of laundry into the front-loading door and your clothes will be washed, and then the machine will automatically switch to the drying cycle when it’s time. Once the load is completely dry and ready to be put away, a buzzer sounds. With today’s wash & wear fabrics, most clothes can be hung up right away.
As great an improvement as a combo RV washer dryer unit is over searching for laundry facilities every couple days, there are still a few issues to address:
Doing laundry will empty your RV water tank quicker than anything else you do onboard your RV. (If you’re boondocking in the desert, you’ll have an even harder time justifying that amount of water consumption!)
You will be surprised how many clothes can be put into a 15-pound RV washer dryer. However, overstuffing the machine will simply mean the clothes won’t get clean and they won’t dry completely either.
With the issue of time, washing and drying your clothes will take a lot of time to get the job done from start to finish. That one load will take about 3 hours to finish up completely! It’s a long drawn out process to complete one load of laundry in an RV washer dryer combo unit.
The one-piece combo washer/dryer (pictured above) is the standard of the industry. You load the clothes, and after it washes them it proceeds to dry them. Because of its compact size, this is typically what you get when your RV comes from the factory with a combination washer/dryer.
Compact, easy to use, and relatively conservative in terms of water usage.
Once you start the load, you can forget about it until everything is washed and dried.
Many RVs come plumbed and ready for you to slide a combo washer/dryer in, and you’re all set to go.
Capacity is small and if you overload it, your clothes won’t wash very well.
Drying time is extensive (3 hours to wash and dry 1 load is normal). Overload it and drying time will be even longer.
There is one other option worth considering…
#2 On our last full-time experience, rather than install this small RV washer dryer combo unit, we opted for a stacked apartment-sized washer with a separate dryer.
Ours was actually cheaper than the designated RV washer & dryer. (Anything labeled RV will be more expensive.) The washer and dryer we bought handled 12-pound loads and could be drying one load at the same time that it was washing the next. It was so nice to be able to wash all our dirty laundry without leaving the RV. It was just as easy as doing laundry in our own home!
If we get another opportunity to go full time RVing, we will be in a bunk house model 5th wheel RV. I will convert the bunk room area into a laundry room with additional closet space and possibly a kitchen pantry. Usually, the bathroom is right alongside the bunk room, so plumbing in a stacked RV washer & dryer should be quite simple.
Stacked washer & dryer units are much less common, though in my mind a preferable option. Designed for apartment use, if you can fit a stacked washer & dryer into your RV, it will serve you much better than a combo unit will.
Much larger capacity (You can wash a load similar to what you do at home).
You can be washing one load while you’re drying another load. This cuts your laundry time in half.
Because the dryer doesn’t have to evaporate leftover moisture from washing, the drying cycle is comparable to what you have at home.
Because they’re not the industry standard, many RVs can’t accommodate their size. You may have to do some serious alterations to your RV if you want to go this route.
Water conservation isn’t a strong point. You will need to be hooked to a water and sewer source.
So Washington RV owners, which type of washer dryer system works best for you? Let’s us know!
Getting the family together for sing-alongs or road trip games is not as easy as it used to be. With all of the technology present in kids’ lives (smartphones, hand-held video games, iPods, etc.), it can sometimes seem as if there is a bit of a disconnect between family members. But taking trips together in your new or used RV can be the perfect way to build or rebuild these relationships!
Before you pack up the family and hit the road, read these seven strategies to ensure you do the best you can to make it a memorable trip for everyone.
Seven Strategies for Traveling Families:
1) Don’t expect kids to be grateful for all the sacrifices it takes to go on a trip. They are not going to thank you profusely or act wonderfully. Instead, watch for the moment of wonder or the “pure joy” smile – it is these “moments” that make the trip happy and memorable. Photograph those moments and it is all you will remember later.
2) Leave a little give in the schedule. Most kids are not naturally continuous “do-ers” on a vacation. If you have an agenda packed end to end with activities, the kids will start complaining and wish to stay somewhere and just hang out. Think of your kids sweating in Washington DC, hiking from monument to monument in the blistering heat and waiting in the sun at the Spy Museum. All good ideas but some down time is needed for them to retain their trip enthusiasm.
3) Let each person choose one event/activity and one restaurant destination during the trip. After we select our destination (even if it is a repeat), we put out a menu of options and each child can choose one of the options or propose something else. If one child chooses swimming, we make sure we get some swimming into the vacation, whether at a hotel pool or a beach. They also get to choose one type of food that we will be sure to eat. This is a huge hit with our kids and helps us minimize complaints during the trip. Our youngest and oldest like to do very different things but each knows that their treasured turn will come.
4) Set the expectation – traveling is a nightmare. Whether by plane or car, summer vacations are filled with other people on vacation and there are inevitable delays, traffic and waiting. Have a plan for the long waits. Don’t expect the perfect trip; if everything goes swimmingly, then it is a bonus. Electronics may be your best friend during these moments.
5) Everyone has to bring a book. This is a big rule and my kids now look forward to going to the bookstore to select a special book for the trip. We have a kindle and the kids love to borrow the kindle to read. I also give extra credit for creating and writing in a journal; they can write words or draw or both. I give them $1 a page for quality journal writing. It is almost certain the kids will be asked to write something about their summer when school resumes so they are getting a head start.
6) Try to pack light and smart. This is a basic but we all continue to “overpack” and drag around things we just don’t need. So now we sit down and make a list together, then make it an event. “Okay everyone bring down three pairs of pajamas”, then “everyone go get five shirts and one has to have a collar”, etc. And they have to carry what they pack.
7) Electronics are awesome but you need to set some ground rules about usage. The ipods, phones, ipads, DSs, and other devices are amazing and really help children stay distracted during the hectic travel challenges but they should not check out and not participate in the trip.
[RV Cooking Show]
If you haven’t already seen it, I’d recommend watching the movie RV with your family before you head out on your trip or even during your trip! It’s one of my all-time, feel-good family favorites.
RVs generally fall into one of two categories – motorized and towable. The basic difference between the two categories is the tow vehicle. A motorized RVs is your vehicle and living quarters rolled into one, while a towable RV requires a separate tow vehicle. When it comes to buying or renting an RV, choosing between these two classes if the first thing you’ll have to do.
If you’ve already made up your mind that a towable RV is for you, the next thing you’ll have to decide between is a travel trailer or fifth wheel. Let’s take a look at both types and hopefully help you decide on which RV is best suited for your lifestyle.
The travel trailer is the most common and usually the least expensive RV. They come in all different shapes and lengths and can be towed behind practically any vehicle that has enough power an
d torque to pull it. They are hitched to the back of the tow vehicle which can be anything that has enough power and torque to pull the trailer. Some of the main advantages a travel trailer has over a fifth wheel include:
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.
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.
Lower Cost – On average, a travel trailer will cost about $10,000 less than a 5th wheel of equal size.
Fifth wheels get their name from the distinguishing gooseneck hitch that connects to the bed of a heavy duty pick-up truck . By hooking the camper into the bed of the truck, there is better stability and a better center of gravity. They are extremely spacious and usually have at least one slide-out space. This is the class you will normally see hooked to the bed of a pick-up truck. Fifth wheels are generally considered the more luxurious and spacious of the two towable types of RVs. Other advantages include:
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 wheel eliminate this problem and are known as being easy to tow.
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.
So, have you figured out which towable is right for you? Either way, come down and check out both for yourself. We’re more than happy to help with your decision!
Hi, my name is LaDonna Kummerfeldt and I am the Owner of Tacoma RV Centers based out of Tacoma, WA. I love RVs and look forward to providing you with all your RV information from buying an RV to tips and maintenance. If you would like to contact me, be sure to leave a comment.