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How To Winterize a Motorhome

People who have yet to make the decision to live fulltime in their RV, but already have one in their possession, need to consider how best to handle the effects of the cold of winter on their recreational vehicle.

If you are going to be parking your RV for the cold season, there are several things worth doing to protect the financial investment you have in your vehicle.

Install a RV Water Heater Bypass Kit

These kits, once installed, allow you to take your water heater temporarily out of the plumbing system.  This is important to do during the winter when not in use, as any water retained in there could potentially freeze, causing damage to the tank or water lines.

Drain and Flush Your RV Holding Tanks

You don’t want gallons of dirty water sitting in your gray holding tank for months over the winter.  Even more so, you definitely don’t want gallons of waste in your black holding tanks for all that time!  Use your RVs tank flushing systems to clean out both these tanks before parking for the winter. If you do not have a built-in flushing system then use a product like Flush King to empty those tanks.

Protect Your RV With an RV Cover
Rv Covers

Anytime an RV is not in use, it is a good practice to cover it with a high quality RV cover.  These shield your investment from the harsh effects of the elements, and winter weather is particularly damaging.

Fill Your System With Non-Toxic RV Antifreeze

Use a water pump converter kit to pump antifreeze through your plumbing system. Ensure all faucets, showers, and the like are dispensing anti-freeze by the time you are done.  Flush the toilet until no more water is present, i.e. antifreeze appears.  The water heater bypass is critical here, as it will take many gallons of antifreeze if you need to fill its tank also.

This is a basic list of some of the winterizing tasks for an RV.  You should consult your owner’s manual for a full checklist.  Forums dedicated to particular models of motorhome – Airstream, Newmar, Casita, etc… – can provide an abundance of tips and tricks appropriate for the RV or travel trailer you own.

Those of us who are fulltime RV dwellers will not need to do all the items in this list, as our units stay warm year around.  However, we should still be aware of these items, as you never can know when circumstances may change.  One day we too may need to park our RV for the winter.

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Find a Great Deal on a Used Motorhome or RV

A lot of people would like to save 15 to 20% when they buy a used motor home. With the current economic recession, money is really tight and so any time people can save money, it makes buying a used motor home or RV much easier. The problem for a lot of people is that they do not know where to look so they cannot always find the best deals on used Rvs.

One way to find a great deal on a used motorhome is to look through expired newspaper listings. Most of the time, people who list their RV for sale by owner in the newspaper don’t sell them the first time that they list them. A lot of times people will list them in the newspaper and they may not have a lot of interest in their ad. Often, a seller is lucky to get one or two phone calls off of an add in the newspaper. If the seller feels like their ad is unproductive, they will not renew it. But they are still interested in selling their motorhome. I like to look at expired listings that are less that six weeks old. When you find a motorhome that seems like a good deal, you can still call them and ask them if they have sold it yet. Not only does this give you access to a lot more used inventory, but occasionally, you can also find sellers who are pretty anxious to sell. Sellers that have been trying to sell for quite a while without any success, may also be more flexible in price. When you find someone who is motivated to sell, you can save yourself a lot of money. A lot of times, you have to wait for a seller’s motivation to ripen before you can get the best price.

Occasionally, you can find good deals at a dealership also. This is the case if the dealership is having trouble or if they are selling bank repo Rvs for a bank or local credit union. Most of the time dealerships will have a 40% markup on their inventory and it will make it much harder to find good deals at a dealership. People who typically buy from a dealership aren’t trying to save money, they are trying to buy a motorhome more conveniently.

There are several other methods that you can use to find used Rvs and motorhomes for sale by owner. Another method involves going to and RV Park N Sell lot. This is a place where owners can pay $40-$50 to park there motorhomes at over the weekend. One lot may have Rvs parked from 20 or 30 different sellers. It is nice to go to a Sell lot because you can still buy Rvs directly from the owners, and you can get a look at a bunch of different Rvs at once so you can save yourself some time.

It is important to just keep looking. You may find a great deal while you are driving to work, parked on the side of the road. You may also find a good deal at a storage unit when you see a for-sale sign in an RV window. If you want to get a good deal, talk to all of your neighbors, family, and colleagues at work. You will be surprised at how often you will find that there is someone trying to sell a motorhome or RV. Keep in mind that Rvs and motor homes are much easier to buy than they are to sell. You should never be in a hurry to buy. If you spent a few hours looking each weekend plan on it taking you 5 to 6 weeks to buy an RV, you will probably save yourself at least 15%. On a $50,000 motorhome, saving 15 to 20% can be quiet and accomplishment.

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The Importance Of Garmin GPS Map Updates For Your RV

If you are planning to use your RV in the New Year, then now could be the perfect time for you to get the latest Garmin map updates if you are going to be relying on a GPS to get you on your way.   Garmin GPS devices are the most popular GPS products in the country, with the Nuvi range assisting will millions of automotive journeys each day.

Having the latest Garmin GPS updates is especially important for the typical RV lifestyle, because the majority of the time you will be driving to new and unknown destinations – so getting there safely and on time is of paramount importance.

Why Download New Garmin Map Updates?

Every day there are changes and alterations occurring on the nation’s roads.  Whether that is a new junction appearing or new roads being built, there is every chance that your Garmin Nuvi will be out of date as soon as you remove it from the packaging.

Garmin GPS Updates for RV Drivers

Having the most up to date maps and routing on your GPS is even more important for RV drivers because when you download Garmin map updates you will also benefit from millions of new POIs.  POIs are points of interest files and include “touch and go” destinations and useful locations such as:

  • Camping and Trail Parks
  • Hospitals and Police Stations
  • ATM Machines
  • Shopping Destinations
  • Tourist Attractions (including all US National Parks)

How to Download Garmin Map Updates

Getting new map software on your Nuvi GPS is very simple.  Firstly, visit the My GPS Map Updates website by clicking this link for Garmin GPS updates.  Once on there you will find instructions and links to the cheapest suppliers of map software.  In most cases, this will be the official Garmin website itself.

Updating is quick, but you will need to register your device with the manufacturer first because you will then gain access to their online system which checks your model serial number, and then returns the best map updates choices to suit you and your product.

Costs for these Garmin map updates range from free up to around $90 US Dollars should you need maps for the lifetime of your product.  Free maps are only available if you have owned your GPS for less than 90 days so in most cases RV owners will need to pay a fee to get the new upgrade.

What About Factory-Installed GPS Devices?

If your RV came with an in-built GPS rather than a standalone like the Garmin Nuvi, then you can still update the maps on it.  However, in this case you will typically need to purchase a DVD from a company called Navteq who supply navigation update DVDs to the majority of motor manufacturers.

Planning Your RV Route with Your Garmin

Once you have the latest maps installed then the World is your oyster.  The Garmin Nuvi GPS will let you plot and plan your next journey, and they will let you select stop-off points along your way.  The adventures you will have on the road will be greatly enhanced if you have up to date GPS maps and should mean you live the RV lifestyle to the full and get the most from your vehicle.

 


 

 

 

 

 

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Family RVing – New Zealand in the Fall

When my brother and I were kids – I am going to guess he was about 12 and I was 14 – our parents took us on a great trip to New Zealand. We went during April, and experienced the beauty of New Zealand in Fall – or Autumn as many of us call it.

Our trip was 6 months long, and I remember it as one of our best vacations ever.  To start with, we got several weeks off school – which of course to a teenager was great! I can’t say I remember exactly what we travelled in, but I believe it was a small camper like this one.  Looking back that looks pretty tiny, but it seemed perfectly adequate at the time!

During our trip, we explored vast areas of this relatively small country.  A highlight for me was our trip to Queenstown – undoubtedly one of the coolest travel destination for teens there is.  I remember seeing jet boats, raging rapids and other neat stuff.  I also remember walking up many hills – it was a quite mountainous region!

Another neat thing we saw was all the cool geothermal activity at Rotorua.  I found the bubbling mud and strange colored liquids fascinating, if just a little bit scary! We also were able to visit the site of a past volcanic eruption where they were doing archaeological work; that was a very instructive experience – and probably kick started my interest in archaeology.

My dad has family in New Zealand – so we got to visit with some new relatives we had never met before.  We stayed a little while on a dairy farm with some family, which was rather interesting.  Our family in Australia mainly raised sheep and wheat, so was fun to see how a different style of farm operated.

One thing that really stood out for me during the trip was the memory of the Chernobyl disaster. That occurred during our trip, and did cause me some worry!  Thankfully with all the great sights to see I soon got over that.  It is hard to get too worked up about something when you never know what the next day may bring – seeing a cool glacier, trying venison for the first time, seeing a beach made of shells.

Luckily for my parents this trip was well before the Lord of the Rings movies came out, or I would have been nagging them to go see all the movie locations.  But for New Zealand RV travelers now, the movies offer a completely new range of potentially fun places to take your teens and tweens above and beyond the natural beauty of the country!

 

 

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Television Service in your RV

One of the great things about living in an RV today is that practically all the modern conveniences are available to you.  These days you do not even have to give up your favorite television programs when full-timing in a well equipped recreational vehicle.

RV Dish TV

Unlike most stick based housing offerings, it is possible to get satellite TV fro your RV on a month to month basis.  These contract free pay-as-you-go offerings offer huge savings – you can only pay for the service while you are on the road.  This service is grate for snow-birders who may only travel for half the year, and live in a home base the remainder of the time.  Instead of paying for two TV services, they can turn this one off when it is not required.

Some of the many benefits of the DISH-TV Pay-as-you-go program include:

  • No additional monthly service fees
  • No requirement for a contract
  • No charges to stop or start monthly service
  • Available HD programming (small extra charge)

One feature that DISH-TV boasts is support for Ku-band dome and portable satellite antennas.  These antennas are not supported by their chief competitor – DirecTV.  DISH also handles in-motion HD programs – this allows TV viewing not just when you are stopped for the night, but even while your RV is moving down the road!

DISH-TV offers many plans for RV travellers.  These include the basic DISH AMERICA plan – including 60+ channels for only $35 a month – and the AMERICA’S TOP 120 PLUS selectio for $49.99/month.  Those with bigger budgets – or who simply must have the best – can choose the AMERICAS TOP 200 or AMERICAS TOP 250 plans for sixty or seventy dollars per month respectively.

If you are a traveler who still maintains a stick home, DISH offers a budget friendly option of only 7 dollars a month to add RV reception to your existing plan. With the purchase of a mobile HD receiver and this small add-on fee you will have your favorite TV programs available both at home and on the road!

Satellite Antennas for RVs

Winegard offers a good selection of RV antennas.  These include the Winegard Carryout GM-MP1, the Winegard Dish Network 1000.2 Satellite plus Tripid, and the handy Winegard TR-1518 Tripod accessory.

Raysat is another provider. They sell high end systems such as the SpeedRay 1000 LE and the RaySat T5-R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Memories of RV Living As A Kid

While I have not had the joy of travelling in an RV with kids as an adult, I remember fondly my days back in Australia exploring the country in a small caravan with my parents and my brother as a kid.  We would spend weeks – sometimes even months – travelling to and thru remote rural destinations.

I have fond memories of camping on some dusty campground, exploring and getting into all sorts of mild mischief.  With the benefits of hindsight, I can see that we were not exactly living it up – these were cheap campgrounds – but that made no difference to me as a kid. I still had a great time.

Our little trailer was a popup.  My brother and I were squeezed into a little place that I don’t think I could handle sleeping in alone now; I have simply grown too tall! My head was right by the hum of the refrigerator, which I thought at the time was rather cool.

These travels did spoil me somewhat.  We had amenities such as a sink, a little stove, and the like.  While not luxurious, it makes tent camping look rather primitive to me as an adult; and I think all my camping exploits since then have been shaped by the desire for at least those basic comforts.

We did not have a bathroom in our camper.  I remember this distinctly, as in the middle of the night we had to go walking across the campground to make use of the facilities.  This was rather terrifying for me as a young kid – I recall expecting some sort of monster to be out there waiting for me.   I was also afraid I would tread on a snake or a spider – not unnatural fears for an Aussie kid!

I do not have kids myself, but if I did, I would definitely take them out on similar trips.  I had so much fun, and learnt a lot more about the world than I would have simply sitting in front of the television.  In today’s gadget oriented world children could really benefit from seeing more of the ‘real’ world.

Those early family trips fostered my great love of the outdoors, and a love of the ‘gypsy’ lifestyle that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I am confident I would never have fallen in love with the full-time RV’ing lifestyle without those early experiences.  Thank you Mom and Dad!

 

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Right Bike Rack for Your RV -Tips to Install One

-Tips for choosing the appropriate bike rack for an RV:

The objective of using a bike rack is simple. But there’s a seemingly endless selection of bike rack models and a wide range of prices from which to choose. By and large, this is an advantage, but to get the appropriate bike rack for your needs, you should do a little bit of research and compare the different makes and models. The appropriate rack should fit the vehicle properly, securely transport the bikes, and must fall within your budget. The wrong rack may perhaps be a safety hazard, and may possibly lead to a stolen, lost, or damaged bicycle.

The solution to choosing the right bike rack is precisely defining your needs and assessing your vehicle. One should always consider the following when choosing a bike rack for your RV:

  • How often will it be used?
  • How many bikes are needed to be transported?
  • Do you need to switch the rack between different vehicles?
  • whether the vehicle leased or rented?

 

-Tips to instal a bike rack On your RV:

Bike racks are the most popular tools for transporting bikes over long distances. Most bike racks are equipped to fit compact RVs, cars, SUVs and trucks. Once you’ve determined which rack works best for you all you need to do is install it, and you’re all set to transport your bike. Discussed below are some steps for installing a bike rack:

  • Adjust the upper and lower support girds of your bike rack. The smaller arm should be on top and the longer arm on the bottom.
  • Position the arms upward at 15 to 20 degrees angle. Each arm should be fitted with a knob that can be loosened to change the angle of the arms. After you have adjusted the arms properly, they should make the shape of the letter “V”.
  • Position the rack on the trunk or hatch of your RV. The bike rack kit comes with two upper belts which should be attached to the top edge of the trunk with hooks which are also included within the kit. When attached, they should form a straight line. Two side hooks and two lower hooks with belts will also be included. Fix the two side hooks and belts to the side of your trunk or hatch and the two lower hooks and belts to the base of the trunk.