Archive for RV Tips
With light pollution spreading wider from the many metropolitan areas in Ohio, finding dark places to wander at the galaxies is becoming increasingly difficult. Despite the persistence of light pollution, many fantastic places for stargazing still remain in the Buckeye State. Drive beyond the city limits and visit one these observation points on a clear night for an opportunity to watch the cosmos.
Less than an hour’s drive from Akron and Cleveland in Northeastern Ohio is Observatory Park, one of eight Silver Tier Dark Sky Parks in the United States. This elite designation means that Observatory Park takes strident care to reduce light pollution so that park visitors can enjoy dark night skies and bright stars without interruption from bright outdoor light. Visitors can also take the opportunity to view the planetarium and reflective telescope for a richer appreciation of the night skies.
Located a short drive Southeast from Columbus is Burr Oak State Park which boasts a large open area called the “Astronomy Field” for stargazing. The field offers budding astronomers an almost zero degree horizon on one edge giving a wide viewing area of the night sky for spotting favorite constellations. Guests may reserve campsites, cabins or rooms in the lodge and enjoy leisurely hiking trails, a swimming beaches and wilderness during the daylight hours. (more…)
Traveling in an RV is an easy and fun way to see the country. Instead of relying on hotels and flights, you can hop in your camper and go whenever you want to go. One of the best parts about camping is that you can save money on eating too. While some campers enjoy stopping by local restaurants on the road, others like cooking in their campers. If you spend the fall traveling in your RV, try out a few of the following recipes.
Easy Pumpkin Muffins
1 boxed cake mix, yellow or spice
1 can pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Preheat the oven in your camper to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix together the three ingredients listed. When you use canned pumpkin, you don’t need to add oil or eggs to the cake mix. Once you finish mixing the ingredients, pour the batter into a muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes in your RV oven. Depending on the strength of your oven, you might need to bake the muffins for 25 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Hobo stew is one of the easiest dishes that you can make while on the go. Instead of relying on a list of ingredients, make use of the leftovers that you have cluttering up your small kitchen and the fresh produce that you find from roadside stands and farmers markets. Most campers use a large roast cut into smaller pieces, but you can also use ground hamburger or even sliced chicken.
Toss the meat into a large pot, place the pot over an open fire and cook until the meat is cooked through. Add corn on the cob, carrots, onions and any other vegetables that you love. Pour just enough water over the top that it reaches up to the middle of the pot. As you slowly cook the stew, the water creates the moisture that you need. Flavor the stew with your favorite spices too. A little chopped garlic works great, but you might also like basil or a little oregano.
Easy Spaghetti Sauce
Create a simple spaghetti sauce while on your next trip from some fresh tomatoes. Add one cup of onion to a stockpot, sprinkle garlic and olive oil over the top and cook until the onions are translucent. Add two cups of diced fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes if you’re in a pinch. Sprinkle equal amounts of rosemary, oregano, parsley, basil and fennel seed over the top. Once the tomatoes cook down and break apart, you can use the sauce as a topping for spaghetti or pizza. Store the remaining sauce for a future meal on the road.
There are alarming numbers of highway incidents involving improperly hooked up trailers. Many of these have resulted in serious injuries and even deaths. Most of the people who precipitate the accidents were amateurs, those for whom trailering is an occasional thing. Some have involved professionals who were so familiar with pulling a trailer that they became careless when hooking up.
There are a number of steps that should be taken to ensure a proper hook-up and a trouble free towing trip. Prior to attaching the trailer to the tow vehicle the driver should make a checklist of safety to-dos:
- Check the safety of the trailer; examine and air the tires, check the lights, grease the bearings if the trailer has been sitting for a while.
- Check the hitch and safety chains. The hitch mechanism should move freely without much effort. If not, lubricate the mechanicals.
- Make sure that the load rating of the trailer will accommodate the anticipated weight of the items to be loaded.
- If the trailer has auxiliary brakes, they should be checked for proper actuation.
- Check the hitch on the tow vehicle making sure that the load rating is sufficient.
- Check the ball on the hitch making sure it is the correct size for the trailer hitch. Too small a ball and the trailer could break free, too large and the trailer hitch will not seat correctly nor will the latch engage, though it may feel like it is seated and engaged.
- Check the receptacle on the tow vehicle for the trailer lights plug to be sure it is a proper fit.
When hooking up the trailer be sure to allow enough slack in the trailer lights cable to enable a full radius turn. The safety chains should be hooked up so that there is enough slack for turns, yet not allowing the trailer tongue to touch the ground if it becomes accidentally unhitched. Be sure that the trailer hitch fits over the ball completely and the latch fully engages locking the hitch to the ball.
When loading the trailer make the load weight is equal before and aft of the trailer axle. If you have too much weight to the rear of the axle it will make the trailer wobble from side to side, a situation exacerbated as you increase your speed. If you have an unequal loading the heavier portion should be in front of the axle. The only way to get out of a high speed wobble is to accelerate hard or turn sharply and then brake when the wobble diminishes. Hitting the brakes immediately will only increase the wobble and could overturn the trailer.
After towing your loaded trailer for a few miles, stop and recheck the hitch connections, tightening as necessary. Note the way the trailer tracks behind the tow vehicle. If the trailer wobbles or “crabs” a bit you should drive slowly, or if it is a long trip, change the trailer for one that is in alignment.
The time is drawing near for you to get your motorhome ready for that big trip you’ve been planning for months. RV travel is a great way to see the sites and meet some great people while on vacation. In order to have a safe and happy trip, there are several things you need to do to ensure you have everything you need while on the road.
Get the Motorhome in Top Shape
Take your motorhome into the dealer or a reliable shop to have it serviced. Do not assume that everything is in perfect working condition. Maybe there are hidden mechanical issues that are sitting in wait to put a damper on your trip. Road travel is rough on these vehicles. You put a lot of miles on them and, therefore, a trained mechanic that knows what problems to look for in your vehicle should inspect it.
Join a Road Service Club
If you are not already a member of a road service club, this is a good time to consider joining one. The money spent on membership fees is well worth it when you consider the possibility of being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire, or some other mechanical problem.
When there is an issue while traveling you can feel secure that help is a simple phone call away.
Get a Cell Phone Charger
Bringing a cell phone along is the best way to stay connected and have quick access to information and help. The only problem is that you need to keep your phone charged. Invest in a quality portable cell phone charger. Get one that has a car adapter and works with your brand of phone. Universal chargers work with any phone.
Read reviews before making a decision. You want to be sure the one you choose is reliable.
Gather and Organize Kitchen and Bathroom Supplies
Well before the day you leave home you should be gathering up supplies to stock your kitchen and bathroom. These are the two most essential areas that require careful thought and planning.
The amount of supplies you will need depends on the number of people going along. Bring durable plates, glasses and eating utensils. Buy paper products and snack foods in bulk. Make a list of condiments and special items you need for individuals.
Personal items include soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant, toilet paper, tissues, and medications. Remember to bring a first aid kit. A utility knife tool is a handy gadget that serves multiple purposes.
Prepare the Sleeping Quarters
Place clean sheets on all beds. Bring along extra sheet sets just in case. Spare blankets ensure everyone stays warm. Rest is important.
Whether using it for a month long cross country adventure or a weekend at the lake, RV travel is more popular than ever. With the wide variety of types, from basic tent trailers to luxurious motorhomes, you can skip the impersonal hotel rooms and travel with all of the comfort and familiarity of home.
1. Class A Motorhome
The ultimate in RVs, these motorized vehicles have the outward feel of a customized bus, but the interior of a spacious home. With complete bathrooms, kitchens with lots of counter space, and even slide outs for yet more living space; these models can cost up to $500,000 depending on how many bells and whistles are included. (more…)
Ticks come in a variety of species, some of which have more potential to be harmful than others. Deer ticks tend to be of the most concern, both because they can spread Lyme disease and because they are so small and hard to see. Luckily, learning some basic facts about ticks can help reduce exposure to all species. These 7 hints will hopefully help:
1. Ticks move by crawling.
Ticks are not like some other insects. They don’t jump, drop onto people from trees or fly. Most ticks are found on low-hanging vegetation and rely on people or animals brushing past to hitch a ride.
They are found most often on the head and neck because of basic tick and mammalian biology. Animals tend to have less dense fur around the head and neck, and both animals and humans have thinner skin there. Ticks aim for these areas of the body by crawling upward from the feet and legs where they commonly grab on.
2. Lyme disease is unique to deer ticks in the U.S.
Although all ticks can carry disease, it appears that only deer ticks can carry Lyme disease. Deer ticks, also known as black-legged ticks, are primarily found in deciduous forests. They are also found in close proximity to their natural host, the white-tailed deer.
3. Not all small ticks are deer ticks.
Many people are concerned when they see a small tick and unconcerned when they see a larger one. However, it’s not quite that simple. All ticks come in a variety of sizes that represent different life stages. In addition, while other ticks do not transmit Lyme disease, they can transmit other tick-borne illnesses.
4. Winter weather doesn’t always mean no ticks.
Most ticks are not killed by the cold but also do not feed during the winter. Deer ticks, however, may be active any time that the ground is not frozen or snow-covered. The adults have a life cycle that includes significant winter activity, which can take some unlucky people by surprise.
5. Tick-borne diseases are not transmitted instantly.
It takes some time between when a tick latches on and when the disease-causing organisms are transmitted. Depending on the tick-borne illness in question, this can be 24 to 96 hours or more. A daily “tick-check” goes a long ways toward reducing the risk of tick-borne diseases because if the ticks are removed before the 24-hour mark, they are unlikely to have had time to transmit a disease. Lyme disease bacteria, in particular, take at least 24 hours to move into the tick’s saliva and infect the host.
6. Ticks should be removed with tweezers.
Unlike exposure through a tick bite, exposure to a damaged tick can be an immediate risk. This is why most people recommend removing them with tweezers and not actually touching the tick. Engorged ticks can pop when pressure is put on them and should be carefully grabbed as near the head as possible to avoid this problem.
Nymph-stage deer ticks are about the size of a poppy seed and can be difficult to remove with conventional tweezers. Pointy tweezers are thus a good item to have in a camping first-aid kit. Pointy tweezers are also recommended for removing other ticks, since it is easier to grab them near the head with the small end of these tools.
7. Tick-borne diseases are preventable.
Exposure to ticks is inevitable for people who are outdoors in tick habitat. However, there are several things that can be done to reduce exposure to tick bites. The simplest include wearing long pants that are tucked into socks when outdoors. Other options include using bug repellents and reducing the amount of tick habitat in yards and on other personal property.
If you are packing for your upcoming road trip, one thing you must do is learn how to tow your RV trailer safely. You may be stuck in your habits when it comes to driving, but when you are towing a huge mass of weight behind your vehicle you are going to need to ditch your bad habits. Quick lane changes and quick stops are two things that must be avoided when you are towing anything. Here are several factors you must consider to ensure you are ready to haul your trailer before you depart for your trip.
Never Overload Your Vehicle
Powerful diesel trucks are capable of towing trailers that are more than double their weight. While this is true, you must make sure your truck is rated to tow the trailer you own and also consider the vehicle and trailer’s cargo. In your owner’s manual, you can find the Combined Gross Weight Rating that defines the maximum amount of weight, including trailers and passengers, that your vehicle can handle safely. You can drive to a weigh station to determine the weight and then add pounds for the weight loaded. Never exceed the CGWR or you might put yourself and your family at-risk on the road.
Have a Professional Install Your Hitch
If you do not have a hitch, it is a good idea to hire a professional to perform the hitch installation. This component is what connects the trailer and the vehicle and improper installation can cause problems. If you already have a hitch, make sure it is tight to prevent swaying on the road. You should also verify the hitch is at the right height and use the drop receiver to adjust the height if it is too high or low.
Hook the Trailer Up
It is a good idea to have a helper assist you when backing your truck up to align the hitch to the ball mount. Once you are aligned, make sure the ball mount is lightly greased before you install the safety and break-away cables. On your road trip, check your ball mount and locking pins each and every time you stay overnight at rest stops. Unfortunately, there are people at rest stops who enjoy causing havoc and remove these locking pins.
Learn How to Stop When Pulling a Trailer
Stopping when you are pulling a trailer is not as easy as pressing on your brakes. You are towing a heavy vehicle and if you do not stop properly, the vehicle may push your truck forward and into the back end of another driver. Stopping while you are towing will become a learning process. To brake properly, you need to make sure you leave plenty of room between your truck and other vehicles while you are on the road. Most systems today are electronic braking systems. This means that you lightly apply your brakes and the longer you hold the brakes down the more the tension will increase.
Balance the Weight
To avoid swaying on the road, you must balance the weight distribution evenly in your trailer. Never load everything in the rear of the trailer or it may drag. Load your luggage and gear in the middle of the trailer and evenly distribute all of your other items on either side.
When you are towing an RV trailer, you must learn how to adopt a new way of driving. Make sure you set aside plenty of time to get to your destination and take your time while you are on the road.
Purchasing a RV is a big deal, so instead of making quick decisions, you should take the time to ask the salesperson these questions:
Which RV will be the most accommodating and complementary?
In order for the salesperson to match you up with the RV that best serves your purpose, you first have to provide some information about the road trip, your family and lifestyle.
Which RV is the best one that you can afford on your budget?
With a RV being a home away from home, why not get the best one that your money can buy? Salespersons do exactly what their title suggests: They make sales–even if that means pitching a good deal that will, in the end, turn out to be a disaster. Save yourself from being lured into accepting such a deal by setting a budget and sticking to it.
What is the best financing plan available?
Like most business-minded people, salespersons are familiar with fierce competition, so you can expect to receive a good deal. However, it goes without saying that most salespersons are also familiar with the art of teasing, meaning they will lure you in with a good deal without mentioning there is a better one available. For that reason, you should ask for information on all available deals to come away with a financial plan that suits your pockets.
Which RV type would you recommend?
You basically have several options: Class A Mortorhome, Class B Van, Class C Camper, and Travel Trailers all of which have pros and cons. That said, you should learn what you can about the different types and then get the salesperson’s opinion on the matter. That way you will not only know that you and the salesperson are on the same page, but you also put yourself in the best position to get your money’s worth.
Are there any problems with the RV?
Despite the RV’s appearance on the outside, you have to be certain there are no problems under the RV’s hood. Such problems can, in the long run, cost you a fortune. Therefore, you should ask the salesperson to clue you in on the problems that you can expect, and you will be able to set your budget for maintenance expenditures.
In what way is a used RV better than a new RV?
Why spend a boat load of money on a new RV if a used one offers similar or better benefits? The salesperson will likely have the insight you need to help you make the best decision that befits you.
Is the RV under warranty?
Clearly, the last thing you want to do is purchase a RV today, and it clunks out the next day or any time soon. Since there is a real chance that this could happen, a warranty is what you need more than anything. Ask the salesperson if the warranty is transferable and see what exactly does it entails. A good RV warranty is one that includes coverage for obsolete parts and problems of wear and tear, giving you the peace of mind you need to travel and enjoy life on the road.
Rv’ing and enjoying time in a motorhome are classic American pastimes. For years, countless people have enjoyed this one-of-a-kind, mobile hobby and lifestyle. There has always been one slight accompanying dilemma though; the drain system and use of appropriate toilet paper.
The problem is this. RV’s and motorhomes are equipped with a different drain system than those found in non-mobile homes. Instead of flowing into a city drain, waste-water holding tanks are used to contain wastes from the various drains. In the most general terms, the system itself is smaller and more compact, making it more apt to clogging problems.
With the toilet in particular, the toilet paper being used must have certain qualities in order to not create problems. To start with, it is important to note that the most ideal toilet papers will be marketed for RV use and offered through RV dealerships and parts stores. However, in many cases these papers cost up to three times more than regular, non-specialty choices. So, if you are one the many who would prefer avoiding these higher-priced options, this information is probably more helpful to your interests.
In choosing toilet paper for the RV, make sure your choice is one labeled as biodegradable and septic-safe. An extra plus is if it is labeled as RV-safe, but again, this is more of a specialty brand offering. Aside from labeling, look over the paper closely. Is it thick? Does it look like water would easily break it up? Does it look and feel capable of bunching up as opposed to disintegrating when wet? These are helpful observations one can quickly make.
So what are some of the best choices in non-specialty, non-problem-creating, RV toilet paper?
Albertson’s Value Soft is a very quickly dissolving brand. Coronet 2-ply is another rapid dissolving, less dense option. Scott 1-ply also provides great breakdown, even when used in abundance.
The options in toilet paper out there are seemingly endless. From one store to the next, there are countless types to choose from. If you cannot locate one of these three we recommend, popular and long-proven RV’ing knowledge has an easy, do-it-yourself, toilet paper test for you.
Here’s what you need:
glass jar or other clear, closeable container
toilet paper to be tested
a watch or timer
Now, with materials in hand,
1. Fill the container 3/4 of the way full with water.
2. Place three pieces of unseparated paper in the jar.
3. Close the lid tightly.
4. Shake the container for 10 seconds.
5. Observe the condition of the paper.
6. Shake for 10 seconds again, observe again.
7. If the paper does not thoroughly breakdown within the first several shakes, it will probably not be good for your RV or motorhome.
In conclusion, it is important to know which toilet papers to use. Thankfully, figuring this out is not as hard as it could be initially considered to be. Test your toilet paper. Also feel free to reach out to peers who are knowledgeable on popular social network sites. Identify your brand or brands of choice, and spend your RV’ing time having fun, not stressing out.
If you’re thinking about buying a travel trailer, considering what factors are important to you can help you decide on the model that best fits you and your family. You’ll want to consider things that affect your ability to drive with your travel trailer like its size, its weight and its effect on your gas mileage. You’ll also want to consider size from the perspective of sleeping and living arrangements. You will find the best deal on your caravan when you also weight out the amenities you most desire against the price you can reasonably afford to pay as well as what your vehicle can reasonably tow.
Should You Buy a Travel Trailer or a Fifth Wheel?
The main differences between fifth wheels and travel trailers are the amount of living space they have, the ease of maneuverability of each while driving and the cost of each. Travel trailers generally cost less than fifth wheels, but fifth wheels are larger, giving people more room to move around and offering more storage space. Because travel trailers don’t weigh as much as fifth wheels, SUVs can typically pull them easily. However, because fifth wheels weigh considerably more, they create more of a burden on your vehicle’s engine and need to be towed by a more heavy duty vehicle like a pickup truck.
What Kinds of Amenities Do You Want?
Keeping in mind what you can realistically afford as well as what your vehicle can realistically tow, consider what kinds of amenities you want. Travel trailers come in all varieties from high-end luxury models to bare bones, “just the essentials” models. Some models come with full bathroom features, and the larger and higher-end models offer more space than lower-end models. Models that have slide out rooms add space without a lot of increased length or width on the unit during towing, but slide out rooms do add to the overall weight of the travel trailer. Larger travel trailers with slide out rooms will often require a heavy duty vehicle like a Suburban or a pickup truck for towing just as a fifth wheel would.
Consider the Additions to Your Gas Mileage
Some extremely light weight models only increase gas mileage by a few gallons every hundred miles or so. Other much heavier models can decrease your vehicle’s normal gas mileage by more than half. Because of this, it’s important to get a good understanding of not only how much towing capacity your new travel trailer will need but also how much your fuel costs will increase during trips while towing your camper.
Shopping for a Used Travel Trailer
Buying a used travel trailer can provide you with an excellent way to get a quality camper at a low price. Make sure, however, that you inspect any used travel trailer you plan to buy to ensure that it’s free from defects and has the features you want. Check for major problems like leaks by looking for water spots or feeling for soft areas on the floor. Look for other potentially cost-prohibitive repair needs like peeling of the side walls, loose aluminum siding, damage to the windows or problems with the entry door.