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Lake Oahe – East Whitlock – South Dakota

This campsite was on the East side of Lake Oahe, near the town of Gettysburg – no, not that Gettysburg!  We approached from SD Highway 1804 to the west of 83 – after passing through the city of Pierre – it is remote, but not too hard to get too.

There are several Whitlock recreation areas – West Whitlock, East Whitlock and even a South Whitlock resort.  East is by far the least populated of the ones there when we visited.  Quite possibly due to the scarcity of facilities there.

With only the most basic of toilets, and no showers, you need to be willing to rough it, but it is certainly a lovely location.  Apart from a little noise – nothing too loud – from people getting their fishing boats in or out of the lake it was very quiet.

A good alternative to a shower was that pretty good swimming was available.  The water was nice and cool, which was great since it was a very hot afternoon.  I’d recommend swimming with some kind of water shoes, as there are lots of rocks in the water close to shore, but they thin out once you get a few feet out.  You just need to be careful not to tread on anything sharp while entering and exiting the water, something we all managed to do successfully.

Like many campgrounds, there were quite a few biting flies around.  An added benefit of the cold swim was that afterwards the flies seemed to lose interest in stinging me.  This was some welcome relief!

While not really a destination campground, it was decent value for ten dollars for the night.  The view was lovely, and the availability of a nice swimming spot combined with the lack of crowds makes it a nice place to setup your tent or RV for the evening.

 

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The Best RV Amenities Available

You are a travel guru. You’ve visited every National Park and Museum you could find and have spent a good portion of your life on the road. You have spent time planning vacations that last the entire summer and are getting ready for retirement so you can move to the road for good. You’re looking into Recreational Vehicles (RVs) that can serve as your home for at least a few years so you can make the road your permanent home.

Sophistication at its Finest

Unfortunately, in your search for the perfect RV home you’ve noticed that the prices aren’t what they used to be, primarily because of the added benefits of owning your own home on the road.   The RV living industry has become bigger in recent years and so the perks have also become more inviting and exciting.

You’ll be excited to hear about all that you can get with your new RV for luxurious on the road living. We’ll give you a little rundown about upgrades that have been made that make your transition from stationary to on-the-road living easier and more manageable.

First of all you should know that most companies will do specific modifications if you are willing to pay the price.  You can plan it from the bottom up to your exact specifications from the detail on the cabinets and tiles to the color of the front door.

 

  1. RV Size: There are many options for your fulltime RV lifestyle.  Size classes range from A to C. They can be a pull behind or a complete all in one vehicle. It is up to you. Decisions are usually made based on mobility desires and affordability.
  2. Heating and A/C Units: Many units, as you’ve probably seen, have not just fans, but a pretty sophisticated air conditioning and heating system to keep you cold in the summer and warm in the winters.   However, the unit you are looking at may not come with the top of the line installed or may need upgrades, adjustments or repairs.  Harris Air Serve heating repair can help get your heating and air conditioning system up and running and ready for the road.
  3. Green Living: Many full time RVs are going green. There are various options for plumbing as well as solar panels available for the roof.  This will help with your costs and usage when stopped.
  4. Advanced Storage: If you are planning on living in your RV only, you will need additional storage. Some models have added metal storage boxes to the rear bumpers to provide you with extra space.
  5. Plumbing: You can find RVs now with intricate plumbing systems that can include smart charging and draining systems for the toilet, shower or sink.  This is great to have if you are on the road 24/7. You may also consider looking into the washer/dryer combination machine so that you won’t have to spend additional money on laundry.
  6. RV Living Clubs: There are various RV living clubs that you may be interested in joining. Being a participant in any of these clubs can help you better adjust to your life on the road.
  7. Sell or Store: You will also need to decide if you want to sell your possessions and home or if you’d simply like to store them.   This is a decision that requires a lot of time and consideration. If you plan to spend the rest of your life on the road, it may be wise to sell your home. Another time when selling is a good idea is if you plan to downsize when you return from your travels.
  8. Mail: You will have to choose an address to have all your mail sent to. Some people choose a state that is not their original home address, simply because of the lack of tax or other benefits that may come from being a resident of that state.  Some places are also willing to forward mail to you, no matter your current address.

There are of course many more custom installations and things you should know about fulltime RV living before you decide to go for it. However, if you take the time to study up on the perks and downsides to RV living, we are sure you’ll be able to make the right decision for you!

 

 

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Cedar Pass Campground – Badlands National Park – South Dakota

Cedar Pass campground is a great place to stay if you are visiting Badlands National Park.  On the Southeast Corner of the park it offers a great base of operations for RV and tent campers alike to explore the Badlands.  It is also not far from Wall Drug, a famed I-90 landmark.

Since it was mid-July there were lots of kids visiting – both with their families and in larger groups.  However, everyone behaved well and quieted down allowing us to get to sleep easily.  The tent sites were spacious and – while a bit of a stroll from the restrooms – a pleasure to use.  One thing worth noting is that this campground did not offer showers, so after a few days of Badlands heat expect to get a little fragrant!

The campground is located very near to both the Cedar Pass Lodge – a more high falluting establishment – and also the Park visitor center.  This means that by staying there you have easy access to ranger provided entertainment such as the nightly introduction to the park, which is presented in a rather cool amphitheater set amidst impressive rock formations.  Also offered – though not on the night I visited – are astronomy shows where they provide telescopes to really take advantage of the dark skies in the region.

Touring the Badlands rim road is a must to truly appreciate the combination of erosion and geology that makes the park so spectacular.  Just take the drive slowly as some of the curves on the roadway can be a little intimidating for those not used to mountain driving.

Also, if you are in decent shape be sure to explore the Door trail just down the road from the visitor center.  Follow the wooded trail to see some truly spectacular terrain at the end.  The park provides yellow markers that let you descend into the depths of the badlands, it is quite a thrill picking out a path amongst the undulating topography.  Quite unlike any walk I have ever done, and while not exceptionally difficult, the experience should not be missed.

While we only spent one night there, if I were to return I would stay two or three nights and more thoroughly explore the park.  There are some longer walks – 5 miles or more – that I would to complete on a future stay.

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The Many Different Types Of Travel Trailers

Travel trailers or caravans are trailers towed behind a road vehicle to provide a place to sleep that is more comfortable, sheltered and protected compared to a tent (although there are fold-down tent trailers). They provide the means for people to have their own home on a journey or a vacation (holiday), without relying on a hotel, and let them to stay in places where none is available.

Travel trailers and caravans vary from small basic models that may be little more than a tent on wheels to those containing several rooms with all the furniture and furnishings and equipment of a home. They are used chiefly in North America and Europe and are rare elsewhere, thus this article deals mainly with those continents.

Please take note that for safety reasons in North America and Europe it is generally unlawful for people to ride in a travel trailer or caravan while it is being towed on a public road.

In the United States and Canada, caravans are called “travel trailers”. Their history can be traced back to the early 1920s, when those who enjoyed their use were sometimes referred to as Tin Can Tourists. As time progressed, trailers became more livable and earned a new name in the 1930s and 1940s which was the House Trailer. Today travel trailers are classified as a type of RV along with motorhomes, fifth wheel trailers, pop-up trailers, and truck campers.

Smaller travel trailers and pop-ups are still made with touring in mind. These normally are less than 18 ft (5.5 m) long and contain simple amenities. By design, they are lightweight and quick to set up or prepare for travel.

Mid-range travel trailers are 18 – 25 ft (5.5 – 7.6 m) long can weigh 5,000 lb (2,250 kg) or more, and are generally towed with compact V-8 powered pickup trucks and SUVs. They have most of the amenities of the larger travel trailers, but sleep fewer people.

Larger travel trailers are made with the seasonal or full-time user in mind. These in general range from 25 – 40 ft (7.5 m – 12 m) long and contain all the comforts of a luxury condominium. Because they need a purpose built tow vehicle, highway tractor or large truck or SUV, these amenity-laden homes can reach 12,000 lb (5,500 kg) or more.

A latest innovation in the Travel Trailer typology is the “toy box” or “toy hauler.” Half living area and half garage, these trailers allow ‘toys’ to be brought to the countryside.

Bio – Ruth Rogers enjoys traveling around the country in her own travel trailer.  Seeing the world from the road is one of her biggest pleasures and recommends anyone that is in the position to do so, get on the road and enjoy the scenery.

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Guide to Buying a Used RV

RVs immediately begin to depreciate the minute they get driven off the lot. Like any other type of vehicle, they lose value no matter how much use the owner gets out of them. For those in the market for a used RV, this can mean finding great bargains, if they know how to look for them.

One benefit of buying used instead of new is that the vehicle will depreciate more in the first year than in any other year of its lifespan. The buyer of a used RV will not have to bear that loss. Of course, the vehicle will still depreciate, just in smaller increments.

Aside from the initial cost of the vehicle, the buyer must first decide how much use they want to get from it before they commence shopping. Heavy usage, such as spending a year traveling around in one, has different requirements from light usage, where the buyer plans on living in the RV for a short amount of time out of the year. They will also have to decide on a budget, as with shopping for any other large purchase.

Costs to take into consideration include the fact that many communities will not allow an RV to be parked indefinitely by a resident; the buyer will need to find out if this is the case where they live. If their homeowner’s association or landlord refuses them the right to park the vehicle, then the cost of storage will also have to be factored in.

Beyond that, they will have to follow the same rules as when purchasing a used car, meaning they will have to carefully inspect any RV they are thinking of buying.

With an RV this means looking for defects like:• Scratches and dents on the exterior• Bad tires• Air conditioning that does not cool• Missing or broken appliances (water heaters, stoves, refrigerators)

Note that not all problems may be seen at a glance, so buyers should take the time to perform a careful and thorough inspection. If necessary, they should find someone who knows about RVs to go along when inspecting the unit.

A buyer should expect to pay more for a newer unit, in good condition and that has more extras, as with any other type of vehicle. Research on the MSRP for a particular year, model and brand should be conducted. The buyer should also check the history and Carfax report.

RVs that are properly maintained can run well for years and provide multiple different owners with comfort and safety according to one of the best Springfield MO rv dealers. They can usually be resold without too much trouble if they are kept in good condition.

 

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Lake Osprey RV Country Club

There may be a lot of great vacation spots in Alabama, but few compare to  the beautiful Lake Osprey. For RV enthusiasts, Lake Osprey is the total escape – part RV resort and part Golfing destination. With so many perks and services at Lake Osprey RV Country Club, you’re guaranteed a refreshing good time, a vivid impression of the nature’s beauty and life’s luxuries.

Lake Osprey is nestled at the most strategic place in Alabama, overlooking a startling view of trees, park and other deluxe establishments. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider this place as a dashing vacation stopover for the family, or for an extended stay by RV snowbirds.  Exclusive, but not too much so, it is open to Class A, Class C and Fifth Wheel RVs all.

Lake Osprey is well known for its firm dedication of preserving the natural values of the environment. If you visit here then you would discover that everything feels refreshing and invigorating to the senses. Isn’t this something to look forward to in a typical vacation?

Good news welcome anyone who’s willing to stay and retire at Lake Osprey. All the needed amenities that you can find in a typical vacation package can be found here. The mood is warm and the atmosphere is very welcoming. Your recreational vehicle can never have a better place for a stop over than this.

No such thing as a dangerous ride. Safety is a major priority at Lake Osprey. As this is one of the hottest hotspots for retirement and vacation – especially for those RV enthusiasts – security is highly emphasized. The management doesn’t let their guard down, not that is much to worry about in the area anyway.

Vacation amenities are a-plenty. It feels like you’re all over the place with shopping stores selling exquisite products. Aside from the golf and country club features, expect you that will find amazing restaurants, museums and parks to explore. Notable singers like Rascal Flatts, Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Mellencamp and Tim McGraw have been here to perform.

At time of writing, prices ran $40 per night, $200 a week, and $550 a month.  While not the cheapest park, the prices are very reasonable for a park that frequently ranks well in lists such as the Trailer Life directory of best RV’ing locations.

This is the best RV destination site in the area. There’s no doubt about this. The place is serene, with landscapes few have ever seen – nature’s peace and natural sunshine abound.

 

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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!