23 results for “lifestyle”
Click here to watch the video below on what to consider when shopping for RVs and motorhomes. Whether you're looking to learn a little more about the fulltime RV lifestyle or are interested in what considerations should be made before purchasing your coach, this video could be very helpful.
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Have you ever been offended by someone else's judgments regarding your motorhome - maybe in particular about where or how you store it? If so, then you probably can relate to these neighbors who banded together to protest others' objections in allowing motorhomes and RVs into the neighborhood.
A motorhome led a caravan through Prairie Village, Kan., Friday (Jan. 9) to protest some neighbors’ perceptions that recreational vehicles don’t belong in the Johnson County bedroom community.
After seeing a report on FOX 4 News last month about a snooty letter demanding that an RV be removed from one Prairie Village neighborhood, a radio host, who grew up in the sleepy suburb, decided to take action.
The president of Trailside RV Center in Grain Valley joined in, bringing a giant motor home to lead a caravan through the streets of Prairie Village.
The group stopped near 71st and Eaton, the neighborhood that received anonymous letters suggesting that RVs belonged in less attractive areas like Gardner, Troost or western Shawnee.
A neighbor told FOX 4 News he’s upset that the letters made it sound like everyone in the neighborhood objects to recreation vehicles.
“I think as long as within reason, I think people have the right to do whatever they wish with their yard as long as it’s within reason,” said Dante Ruiz, who lives near 71st and Eaton. “As long as it’s not hindering any sort of traffic, it’s not a complete eyesore in the neighborhood, it’s up the neighbors themselves to communicate that with each other and figure out what’s best for the neighborhood and what isn’t.”
RV supporters say the motor home costs more than some houses in Prairie Village.
The city council this month amended it’s rules for recreation vehicles, allowing owners to temporarily keep them on their driveways for seven days a month. But Prairie Village does require the vehicles to be screened, and they can’t be covered with tarps.
Click to watch the news report.
A new luxury motorcoach park called The Fountains of St. Augustine is expected to open in the coming months off State Road 16 near the Interstate 95 interchange.
Work on the project at 3960 Inman Road has already begun, and the plan is for the first 14 units — called casitas — to be open some time before summer.
The project will be similar to a timeshare but not exactly the same where visitors will rent the individual units and can stay up to six consecutive months.
But this is not some kind of RV park for campers, and instead is aimed towards catering to the needs of a specific set group of people with luxury motorhomes.
“We are developing it as a very high-end, five-star resort,” co-owner Tommy Hammond told the county Planning and Zoning Agency during Thursday’s meeting. “There is no park like this. There is nothing like this in North Florida.”
The units will feature private driveways big enough for motorcoaches and regular vehicles that visitors might also bring. Hammond said the motorcoaches that the resort will attract cost between $150,000 and $2.5 million.
In St. Augustine, the park will offer four different units, from one-bedroom “casitas” to two-story, three-bedroom “grand villas.”
There are also plans for a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse, pools, fitness/recreation equipment and nature trails.
Hammond said the St. Augustine concept is expected to be repeated in about a dozen locations around the country.
Click to read the full article.
Anna Sibal | CampingRoadTrip.com
Many times, RV road trips require driving on mountain roads. Mountain road driving challenges driving skills; you have to fight gravity to push your rig uphill and then fight gravity again when coasting downhill.
Mountain driving is thus a challenge no matter how experienced the RV driver. But by keeping a few pointers in mind and with a little practice you'll be able to confidently and safely climb and descend mountain roads like a champ. Here are a few mountain driving tips for RVers to help you out.
Practice Driving Before You Go on Your Trip
Safe driving on mountain roads begins long before you go on your trip. After all, as that old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. By making sure that you are confident in your ability to drive your RV before you begin your trip, you increase your likelihood of a safe journey.
The first thing you need to do is to become totally knowledgeable with how to drive your RV. If you're a novice driver one of the best places to start is at an RV driving school.
Here is are list of RV driving schools to consider:
- RV Basic Training
- RV Driving School
- Gold Country RV Driving School
- Lazydays RV Driver Confidence Course
If you have the opportunity to practice your RV driving skills before your actual trip we recommend finding a nearby hilly location to spend a few hours driving up and down the hills. These practice runs will give you a better feeling for how your RV will perform on steep ascents and descents.
Another thing to pay attention to before going on your trip is the condition of your RV. Pay close attention to your brakes and tire treads, and make sure your spares are in good condition too.
In addition, check out the weather forecast on the day of your trip. As we all know, the weather can affect the conditions on the road. It always helps to know if you'll have to deal with rain or sleet while mountain driving.
To get your RV through an uphill climb more easily, you need to run your RV within its power band. Your RV's power band is its engine's RPM span that delivers the most horsepower. Depending on your RV's type, the power band can range anywhere between 2,000 to 4,000 RPM. When you drive uphill within its power band, your rig will generate the extra pulling power it needs to ascend the incline.
It is important that you start getting your RV within its power band before you ascend the hill. To achieve this, will have to down shift to a lower gear and then step very gently on the gas pedal. Keep your feet off the gas pedal entirely at times so your engine can do its job more comfortably. If you keep pushing hard on your pedal, you'll end up with black smoke out of your exhaust and the smell of burning rubber from your tires.
What happens when you are out of your RV's power band while you are making the climb? If that happens, there is a risk that your RV will be unable to ascend at all. In case your engine stops in the middle of your climb, the first thing you need to do is not to panic. Pull the handbrake, shift to neutral then restart your engine. Once your engine is running again, release the handbrake, downshift to first gear once more and step gently on the gas.
Experienced RV drivers claim that driving their RV downhill on mountain roads is more difficult than driving uphill. That's because when driving downhill, you need to maintain absolute control of the wheel and be fully aware of your surroundings. Failure to pay attention can be disastrous - think runaway rig.
To drive your RV safely downhill, prepare for the downhill descent while you are still on top of the hill. The first step is to use your engine for braking, as opposed to using your brakes. To accomplish this, bring your speed down to 40 mph and shift to second gear. At this point, you should feel your engine slowing down to a more comfortable coasting speed. If the engine is not slowing down as much as you'd like it to, shift down to first gear and then decrease your speed to 20 mph.
Slowing down, downshifting and using your engine to brake while driving downhill ought to keep you at a safe speed during your descent. If, despite these efforts, you feel that you're still going down too fast, don't hesitate to step on your regular brakes intermittently. Step on your brakes in hard and short bursts instead of pushing the brake for the duration of the descent. If you keep your foot on your brakes, they will end up overheating and your RV's brake components could be damaged permanently.
Other Tips for Safe Mountain Driving
Here are a few more tips to make sure that you'll come out safe and sound from driving your RV on mountain roads:
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Road conditions and sudden changes in weather can affect how you drive your RV on mountain roads.
- Keep to your side of the road and avoid hugging the center line. When you keep to your side of the road you'll have more time and more room to adjust whenever you meet another vehicle coming from the other direction.
- Observe road courtesy. Don't hold up traffic and try not to put yourself in a position where you and your RV are inconveniencing other motorists.
- Keep your eyes on your temperature gauge. If your engine starts to overheat, find a safe spot to pull off the road. Don't turn the engine off, though. This will keep the coolant circulating in your radiator. Never remove the radiator cap until your engine has had a chance to cool off. Otherwise, you will come out of it with serious skin burns.
- Always keep in mind that air is much thinner at high altitudes. High altitudes bring about dehydration and altitude sickness. To prevent this from happening, bring extra drinking water and drink a lot of it while driving.
- Never force yourself to drive when you're tired. Take frequent breaks from driving to give yourself time to rest. If you're too tired to drive and there's someone in your group who is capable of driving the RV in your stead, don't hesitate to ask him or her to drive for you.
RV mountain driving challenges even the most experienced of RV drivers. But if you keep these mountain driving pointers in mind, you will be able to enjoy coasting along mountain roads and come out of your journey safely and soundly.
Pam Louwagie | October 26, 2014
EAST GRAND FORKS, MINN. – Dusk settled over the campground by the Red River, and inside her spacious motor home, 64-year-old Theresa Delikat was just waking up.
It was time to have dinner with her husband, Tom, back from driving a truck in the frenzied sugar beet harvest here; time to get ready for her own midnight shift at a sugar beet testing lab. After eight straight days of this, the retired couple were exhausted.
“This overnight shift, it’s kicking my butt,” said Theresa, who rubbed her tired face and then grinned. “But it’s a challenge. … You can’t get too soft.”
The Delikats, both retired nurses, are now part of a growing national wave of new migrant workers: retirees who pick up temporary, seasonal jobs around the country doing everything from helping with the fast-paced sugar beet harvest on this flat prairie to selling pumpkins in Arizona to filling holiday orders in warehouses for Amazon.com.
These modern-day vagabonds, who travel in RVs, call themselves work campers. They are becoming a workforce that Moorhead, Minn.-based American Crystal Sugar Company is relying on more heavily as the North Dakota oil boom lures workers away from the Red River Valley.
The company hired about 60 work campers in 2007; this year, that tally soared to 475 — about a third of their added harvest workforce — hailing from 28 states. They expect the number to grow again next year.
“The whole work camper thing has really kind of blossomed in the last few years,” said Scott Lindgren, managing partner at Express Employment Professionals, which finds and vets RV workers for the sugar company. While Lindgren estimates about 80 percent of their work camper hires are retirees choosing to work to support their traveling lifestyles, others need the money to survive. Lindgren said he’s seen the average age decrease over time, with more in their 40s and 50s.
It’s happening amid high anxiety about retirement and falling pension coverage: 65 percent of non-retired baby boomers have little confidence that they will have the means to live comfortably in retirement, according to an AARP survey. The percentage of workers covered by a traditional pension plan has been steadily declining. Meanwhile, 31 percent of Americans have no retirement savings, the state Department of Commerce says.
In Minnesota and North Dakota, RVers have become a “critical component” to the sugar beet region, which has a $5 billion annual economic impact, said Brian Ingulsrud, vice president of agriculture at American Crystal.
‘Traveling is expensive’
Retiree Sally Stanton, 56, had never heard of a sugar beet before arriving in the Red River Valley with her husband last fall.
After earning nearly $6,000 last year, the couple from Abilene, Texas, came back this fall. Working the intense harvest is fun for a few weeks, the Stantons said. Then they can relax a bit, with a few extra thousand dollars in the bank.
“It’s really not hard work,” said Gary Stanton, 61, a retired prison captain who wore a mud-spattered neon green vest to drive heavy equipment at a beet piling site near tiny Oslo, Minn.
“It’s just the long hours that are rough on old people,” laughed Sally, who spent her days at the drive-up window of a scale house greeting and registering a stream of trucks weighing their beet loads.
The Stantons wanted to see the country, so a couple of years ago they paid $139,000 for a used 42-foot Damon Tuscany motor home. With three flat-screen televisions, a kitchen with a convection oven, a washer and dryer and Internet access, they have everything they need to live comfortably, they said. But once they hit the open road, the gas and camping fees started to add up.
“We found out real quick that traveling is expensive,” Sally said as she sat on her plush camper couch with a glass of white wine, a macaroni and cheese casserole underway in the kitchen.
To help offset travel costs, the couple have filled orders at an Amazon.com warehouse in Kansas, taken reservations at a Branson, Mo., campground and performed odd volunteer jobs at an Army Corps of Engineers office in Georgia. They work out of their camper more than six months of the year, they said, sometimes for an hourly wage, sometimes for a free place to park. In between, they sightsee and visit family.
They and two couples who followed them to East Grand Forks plan to use their sugar beet money to pay for fuel to get to Alaska next summer, where they all hope to find other work camping jobs.
Dollywood to Amazon
The jobs aren’t hard to find. Retirees hear about them at campgrounds. They see them on Facebook. Jobs are listed on work camping websites. Some employers set up recruiting booths at RV shows.
Workamper magazine sends out daily e-mails to subscribers looking for jobs. In an unscientific poll taken on a Workampers Facebook page, 93 out of 105 respondents said they were working because they wanted to, not because they needed to.
Work campers do everything from guarding oil fields to setting up Christmas lights to taking tickets at amusement parks. Most advertisements, though, are for volunteer positions at campgrounds offering a free space in exchange for serving as hosts. Few of the jobs include benefits.
At the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show in Arizona, President Kenny King said he’s seen the exhibitor list of work camping recruiters approximately double in the last five to 10 years, to about 25.
At Dollywood amusement park in Tennessee, work campers run rides and serve food.
Mary Fulton, a work camper-turned-full-time Dollywood employee, said the economy has played a role.
“A lot of people that thought ‘We’re going to retire and sit in an RV and camp’ have decided that ‘we need a little more income,’ ” Fulton said.
Lindgren, of Express Employment, said he recruited at RV shows in Florida and Arizona in January. Beginning workers at American Crystal made just over $12 an hour plus overtime. Those experienced in driving equipment and managing people earned $17 to $18 an hour as foremen. Depending upon the weather, an RV worker could earn $2,000 to $5,000 in a month or less.
Amazon.com expanded its CamperForce program this year by adding a fourth location. A company official said Amazon hires “hundreds” of work campers each holiday season, though they declined to give specific numbers.
Work campers say they like the control that temporary jobs afford: If they don’t like their boss or the work, they can either stick it out for the short term or go find something else.
Theresa Delikat said many retired workers she’s come across view the jobs as a mental challenge and test of their physical abilities. “They want to feel useful again,” she said.
Retired chemistry instructor Helmut Koch and his wife set out in an RV from their home in Bangor, Maine. They saw the recruiters for American Crystal at an RV show in Florida and decided to sign up.
“You’ve gotta keep active,” Helmut Koch said.
“It sounded like an adventure,” added his wife, 59-year-old Mairead Stein-Koch, a retired nurse practitioner, as she packed tuna sandwiches for their dinner break.
The two hope to see all of the country’s national parks, so they drove their 30-foot Concord Coachmen to Yellowstone and Badlands national parks before arriving for the sugar beet harvest.
For 10½-hour days, the couple alternated standing and sitting at factory-style lab stations, safety glasses perched on their noses, ear plugs muffling the constant whirring, creaking and whooshing of chemicals and industrial machines.
Koch scraped ground-up sugar beet from a machine into a silver cup to grind it down further; Stein-Koch scooped beet paste into a machine to mix it with aluminum sulfate to measure the sugar content in sampled beets from a harvest that would eventually be turned into granulated sugar.
The work could get tedious, they said, but the company tried to make it fun, rotating the stations and handing out noisemakers to celebrate groups processing 1,000 samples in a shift. They also met like-minded retirees working and camping alongside them.
“We love it,” Stein-Koch said of life in an RV. “I never want to do anything else.”
Some work campers need the jobs more than others.
Tough times have accounted for some of the rise in the RV workforce, said Lindgren, the recruiter: “Some of it’s obviously due to the economy and people not being able to retire the way they once thought.”
Not all work campers are older. Some groups of 20- and 30-somethings, more apt to call themselves “travelers,” rove to work and bunk in pop-up campers or tents. Some families work camp and home-school their kids.
Some RV workers were forced to try something new well before hitting retirement age. David Knapp, 52, once made $64,000 in the aerospace industry in northern Illinois, he said, but after he was laid off he had an epiphany.
“I’ve discovered that sitting in a cubicle is nothing but clock-watching,” he said while he and his beagle, Stella, met their temporary neighbors on the vast lawns of the campground here before his night shift.
He and his wife sold their house and bought an RV in 2008. They’ve worked at a Florida resort and an Iowa amusement park. They’ve acted as campground hosts at 10,000 feet in Colorado. He has worked night security and maintenance.
The Knapps, who now use a $45,000 agile truck camper, try to line up work six months in advance, he said. They take time off to spend with family. He also is trying to grow his own small business selling Critical Eye blacklight flashlights on Amazon.com.
As he ambled through the campground, Knapp said he didn’t choose to forgo his professional job. Now, though, he couldn’t imagine wearing ties and sitting at a desk.
“I don’t know if you could get me back into a regular office,” he said. He rubbed his bristly chin and smiled: “You don’t always have to shave every day. Now that’s freedom.”
STUART, Fla. — The Love Bug Solution, a spray on eco-friendly barrier and cleaning solution to protect vehicles from Love Bugs and other insects, is now available for the first time in an aerosol can.
The solution requires no masking or taping off of any areas of the vehicle before applying. The bug barrier and cleaning solution that was introduced in 2011 has been refined to add extra protection and bug cleaning options for every vehicle operator who has had to labor to remove love bugs and other insects from a vehicle’s hood, grill or headlights, the release noted.
“States throughout the United States each have their own insect that wreaks havoc on automobiles, trucks, RVs, and motorcycle paint. Florida and most Gulf Coast States, in particular, have the dreaded Love Bug,” said Frank Sheldon, the Florida entrepreneur who developed the spray-on solution that creates a cellophane-like film that protects against insect damage.
“We have fine-tuned The Love Bug Solution and made it easier to use by putting it in a convenient aerosol spray can. We are the only solution that protects your vehicle from bugs BEFORE damage is done, that is eco-friendly, and is removed simply by washing your vehicle,” added Sheldon.
The ease, convenience, and effectiveness of The Love Bug Solution has made The Love Bug Solution one of the most sought after bug protection and cleaning products in the world.
“Our major market is the United States. However, we continue to receive interest from all over the world from people who simply want to place a bug barrier on their car, truck or recreational vehicle to protect its paint from the damage love bugs and other insects can cause,” said Sheldon. “In some cases, the residue left from bugs on unprotected surfaces literally eats the paint off the vehicle. The Love Bug Solution prevents that from happening.”
The Love Bug Solution is engineered to be sprayed on from the new aerosol can. One can of The Love Bug Solution provides up to four applications (depending on the size of the vehicle). When it dries, The Love Bug Solution provides a cellophane-like barrier, literally a bug shield, which protects a vehicle from Love Bugs and other insects. Bugs are trapped on the solution’s surface where they may be safely cleaned by simply washing the vehicle.
Ingredients in The Love Bug Solution magically dissolve into soapy suds that carry bug residue away from your vehicle into bug never-never land.
“The days of scouring your car or truck’s grill, hood, lights and mirrors are gone. The Love Bug Solution takes the major work out of getting rid of bugs that have taken aim at your vehicle while traveling during Love Bug season or any kind of insect swarm your vehicle may run into,” Sheldon added.
The Love Bug Solution is available online in aerosol cans, contains no solvents, is biodegradable, and is made in America.
North of Vancouver, British Columbia, there’s a strip of waterfront called “the Sunshine Coast” filled with colorful art, great restaurants, thrilling nature-based activities and gorgeous water views. But “the Coast” as residents call it, should be called “the Secret Coast” for how few RVers know about its treasures. We took a few days to discover this paradise for ourselves.<div id="attachment_16386" class="wp-caption alignleft">The drive from Portland, Oregon, to Vancouver takes seven to eight hours and, as usual, we don’t leave town until 7 p.m. It’s a three-day weekend so our late start enables us to skirt the traffic and we sail up Interstate 5 through Seattle, Washington. When we reach Bellingham, Washington, we’re weary and glad we’re booked at neat-as-a-pin Bellingham RV Park. Our full-hookup gravel site is blessedly level and surprisingly quiet, despite its freeway proximity.</div>
We have ferry reservations so we’re out early and can’t enjoy the park’s amenities. But we make a note to stop here on future sojourns.
We zip through the border in 30 minutes and, on Highway 99, take Exit 32 to the Richmond Country Farms stand. Veggies aren’t allowed to cross the border so this is a great place to buy local blueberries, corn and tomatoes.
Northbound traffic cuts through downtown Vancouver. There’s a bypass, but we miss it and get tangled in noontime traffic. Our 25-foot Class C Greyhawk feels like a giant beast navigating congested city streets and it’s an hour before we clear the city.
A Ferry Ride Away
Fortunately, we’ve made a reservation with BC Ferries on the Horseshoe Bay-Langdale ferry and we cruise into line with time to spare. Traveling the province’s waterways via ferry is easy and convenient for RVers — and the only way to reach the Sunshine Coast. BC Ferries routinely transports motorhomes and they’re fast, on time and cruise through gorgeous waterways.<div id="attachment_16387" class="wp-caption alignright">Forty minutes later, we disembark and churn past the little town of Gibsons to Sechelt, one of the largest villages on the Coast. Sechelt is a walkable town filled with cafés, bakeries and one-of-a-kind shops. We stop at the visitors center to get our bearings and pick up maps.</div>
On the ferry, we snug up behind another RV and head upstairs where there’s passenger seating, a cafeteria and a gift shop. On the outer decks, we snap photos of forested islands and the emerald water.
Since our puppies have been on the road too long, we head east to Hidden Grove, a wonderful old-growth preserve that allows dogs. We step into this shady, green oasis of cedars and Douglas firs and road stresses melt. Our dogs romp beneath 500-year-old giants along gentle paths (including two wheelchair-accessible trails) and we all work off some energy.
Then we drive a couple of miles to Target Marine, a land-based sturgeon hatchery for Northern Divine, a caviar Travel and Leisure magazine calls some of the world’s best. Sales manager Theressa Logan takes us on a brief tour where 200,000 small sturgeon (smolts) swim. In a larger tank, dozens of larger fish — up to 350 pounds or more — float lazily. These fish are raised for 10 to 15 years on organic feed before they’re harvested and we watch workers process the shiny black eggs. We taste the soft, briny caviar and understand why this black gold is in high demand. We buy some caviar and a 5-pound chunk of sturgeon.
It’s getting dark, so we head south to Roberts Creek Provincial Park located just off Highway 101. This park doesn’t have hookups, but it has potable water, pit toilets and a dump station, and the 21 sites are big and deeply forested with fire rings and picnic tables. The park also has hiking trails and, at $18, it’s a bargain.
Sea Kayaking and Boat Tours
The next day, we meet our guide from Halfmoon Sea Kayaks. The only way to really appreciate the Sunshine Coast is to get on the water and kayaking its bays and inlets allows you to really see its beauty. We don life jackets, snug into the skinny crafts and paddle out. The water is so clear we can see purple, yellow and orange sea stars pasted on the rocks below. We paddle by waterfront homes — some modest, others palatial — and stretches of undeveloped land sculpted with rugged granite and dotted with artful orange madrone (arbutus) trees.
We paddle for a few hours and then pull into Smuggler Cove, a protected inlet. We drag our boats onto shore and enjoy chicken sandwiches. On our return voyage, several harbor seals play peek-a-boo with our kayaks, their gray-and-white spotted heads and puppy-dog eyes peering soulfully at us just above the waves.
After kayaking, we follow a friend’s suggestion and motor down a narrow road to the fishing village of Garden Bay on Pender Harbour. On the way, we stop at Flying Anvil Studio, an eclectic iron workshop selling giant garden gongs. The shop also offers glass, ceramic and wood artwork by local artists. There are many artists on the Sunshine Coast (a brochure lists more than 60) and, if an artist displays the special purple banner, it means “Come on in.”
In Garden Bay, Fisherman’s Resort and Marina offers only four gravel-topped RV sites, two full-service, two water and electric. Fisherman’s has picnic tables, clean showers, laundry, and flat sites (maximum length 28 feet) and it’s a perfect “secret” spot. The owner calls his friend, who operates the Slow Cat, and Captain Paul takes us on a leisurely hour-long tour of Pender Harbour complete with colorful tales of pirates and rum running.
By now we’ve worked up an appetite. Back in the motorhome, we cook up sturgeon steaks and sit under the awning listening to the water gently lap against boats in the marina.
Artworks and Food
The next morning we’re eager to see the work of more Sunshine Coast artists. They aren’t hard to find. Along Highway 101, there’s a grouping of yurts connected by wooden decks housing FibreWorks Studio & Gallery, the largest fiber-art collection on the Coast. Owner Yvonne Stowell shows us the gallery and teaching space. In one yurt, the Wednesday Weavers, a group of would-be fiber artists, are learning the ins and outs of weaving from a master.
Just down the road in Madeira Park, we meet Cindy Cantelon, artist and owner of Copper Sky Gallery and Café. Cantelon has melded her love of food and passion for art into a thriving community meeting space. People come for freshly baked breads, scones, cookies, sandwiches, soups and salads and the artwork. The café walls are festooned with paintings and photos from local artists and oversized metal works by her artist-husband. We enjoy toasted Reuben sandwiches, freshly brewed coffee, and gluten-free brownies and wander the gallery-gift shop’s collection of glass, jewelry and Cantelon’s metal animals in green-and-gold patinas.
We spend the rest of the afternoon looking for purple artist banners. We visit potters, painters, and glass artists and the work leaves us dazzled. Unfortunately, some home studios are located down tiny, gravel lanes or driveways our Class C can’t navigate so we pass them by.
North to Powell River/Lund
After another quiet night at Fisherman’s Marina, we head north. The temperature is in the 70s, but forest maples show the first blush of fall. Past Madeira Park, the road narrows, angles inland and becomes twistier. We pass Ruby Lake, a long freshwater lake where a lone water skier carves S’s in the mirrored surface.
At the end of the highway, we hop a BC Ferry (Earls Cove-Saltery Bay) to the farthest end of the Coast. After the 50-minute ferry ride, we check out Saltery Bay Provincial Park, another forested campground perfect for RVs. We walk the dogs on a short hiking trail to Mermaid Cove, a popular dive site. We’re tempted to camp here, but a mountain lion has recently been spotted nearby so we press on.
The northern part of the Coast is wilder and less inhabited. Homes and businesses are few and the roadway hugs the water with spectacular views. We pull into Powell River, an amalgam of four small communities. Westview, the first and largest, is the new Powell River and its downtown is a gathering of older buildings and quaint shops. On the outskirts are grocery stories, gas stations and modern conveniences.
The heart of Westview is Willingdon Beach Park, a large green space with a bandstand, play area, waterpark and a rail bed converted to a walking path. Next door is Willingdon Beach Campsite, a big shady RV park. The Campsite offers large spaces with hookups. Sites on the beach, like ours, have electric only (no water), but great views. Tired from our travels, we walk the dogs and wander the beach.
Our next stop is Powell River Historic Townsite, the historic mill town that started Powell River. The big pulp mill still operates, its giant metal towers looming over downtown belching steam. A handful of entrepreneurs are breathing life back into this historic place with a movie theater, a brewery, a restaurant and a hotel and café.
Late in the afternoon, we drive to Lund, the last town on the Coast and Mile 0 of Highway 101 stretching from Canada to Mexico. Lund is little more than a dock and marina surrounded by a scattering of businesses, including Nancy’s Bakery where they make killer cinnamon buns, Pollen Sweaters where they knit “working sweaters” that last for years and Terracentric Coastal Adventures where we join outdoor educator Christine for a zodiac tour.
We snug on life vests and board a rigid-bottom pontoon boat. It’s amazingly smooth and quiet as Captain Christine, an area native, motors onto the water. It’s hard to take in all the beauty of Desolation Sound — forested islands, craggy with granite, green with fir and cedar, golden with madrone trees. The sky and water have turned pewter and I pull my fleece around me against the chill.
Christine knows the area’s geology and flora and fauna. She points out a low, light-green mossy-like growth. “That’s reindeer lichen,” she says. “Up close the branches look like reindeer antlers. With the recent rain, it’s puffed up like a sponge.”
We motor past a pile of Stellar sea lions lounging on a small rock island, their big bodies robed in reddish or tawny yellow fur. These marine creatures, which are threatened in the North Pacific, can weigh more than 2,000 pounds. As we pass, mothers bark to their pups.
Back on land, our stomachs sound like sea lions so we drive to Laughing Oyster, a favorite local eatery in Powell River. We’ll camp tonight at Garnet Rock Oceanside Resort, a full-service RV park 45 minutes south of Lund, with commanding water views. But for now, we’re enjoying sautéed halibut and shrimp with light-as-air Hollandaise as the sun sets over the water, toasting the Sunshine Coast, our secret place.
MICHAEL D. BATES | Hernando Today
The Family Motor Coach Association has severed longstanding ties with Hernando County and will not hold its annual RV rally at the airport next year.
Jim Duncan, president of the Family Motor Coach Association Southeast Area, wrote to airport Manager Kevin Daugherty that the organization will not renew its lease for 2015.
“It has certainly been a pleasure working with your staff and the county over the past 16 years,” Duncan wrote. “We all will hold Hernando County with fond memories and regret, due to (the) cost of temporary structures for the rally, that we had to move our venue.”
County Commission Chairman Wayne Dukes said he is sorry to lose the rally but there was no way to accommodate the organizers’ needs, which included building a permanent multi-use building at Brooksville - Tampa Bay Regional Airport.
Also, with only 300 or 400 people attending each year, it’s not worth spending the money, he said.
“It was a mutual kind of parting of the ways,” Dukes said. “We couldn’t do all they wanted and they didn’t want to stay.”
Earlier this year, Duncan presented the county with a list of demands for wholesale infrastructure changes to parts of the airport, a possible re-working of the airport’s master plan and a zoning modification.
Dukes said fulfilling the FMCA’s requests would cost millions of dollars and Hernando County is in no position to spend that much money.
County Administrator Len Sossamon, after reviewing Duncan’s demands, came up with a rough estimate of how much the utility and infrastructure would cost. He guessed $7 million to $8 million.
And that doesn’t include an estimated $3 million more for one of the two buildings requested, he said.
In its heyday, the annual RV rally was one of the largest tourism events in Hernando County and injected an estimated $10 million into the economy.
But rally organizers have lost money due to a fall-off of members, a weak economy and escalating costs of staging the event.
The FMCA in January voted 46-0 to move the rally to Sarasota’s fairgrounds, where there is a large indoor facility to house rally participants and vendors. But Hernando officials were hoping a last-minute change of heart would lure the event back to the county.
Rally representatives said the move was made reluctantly because of increasing costs of the annual event.
Conrad Kleinpeter, an FMCA regional vice president, has said this year’s rally, held in February, stood to lose $40,000.
Dave Adamson, June 26, 2014, Ezine Articles
You can avoid unfixable problems and make an intelligent, wise investment once you know what to look for and when to walk away.
Most motorhome sidewall exteriors are thin pieces of plywood with thinner sheets of fiberglass glued to it, the next layer is an inch to an inch and a half layer of Styrofoam covering yet another layer of plywood, often covered in vinyl. Over time or through damage, these layers begin to separate and is a very difficult, if not impossible, problem to amend. The easiest way to ascertain if the RV you are looking at has problems of delamination is by standing at the rear end of the vehicle and look down the side towards the front - if there are any bulges, or any areas where the siding is no longer attached to the inner layers - walk away. It will be more trouble than what it is worth.
Depending on the severity of the water leak and where it is coming from, it could be a matter of simply replacing seals around the windows. However, if the water leak has resulted in water damage into the interior wall or the floor, you could be looking at extensive and expensive repairs. Check for staining around all windows, doors, the walls, any air conditioning units or vents, sky lights and other areas where water could seep. Sliding doors are notorious for causing water leakage issues. Fill up any tanks that come equipped on the vehicle to ensure there are no leaks. Exterior leaks are easier to get to and cheaper to fix than interior leaks.
Electrical, Engine and Generators
Depending on the type of RV you are buying, you may need to check to see if the generator is running in good condition. If the generator is shot, a replacement can be extremely costly and not worth it in the long run. Make sure all electrical systems are up to date, in good condition and running as it should. The same goes for any appliances that come with the motorhome. The bottom line is figuring out if there is a problem, how much it will cost to repair and weighing that against the purchasing price being asked for the vehicle. If you are knowledgeable and experienced in being able to fix these types of issues, it may be a good buy where as someone who would need to go to a licensed professional will have to figure in the cost of labor as well. Refrigerators and furnaces are often the most expensive items to fix or replace.
You will also want to check out the battery, all cables, the engine if it has one and any mechanical components. If you are unsure what to look or check for, do not hesitate to have a mechanic look it over, it can save you potentially thousands of dollars.
Look for motorhomes that have well taken care of interiors and upholstery. If the interior is shabby, dirty and unkempt, it can give you a good idea as to how the rest of the vehicle was maintained. If there are a few dirty spots, it can be relatively cheap to replace or it may not be a big deal to you. If there are any fold down tables or beds, make sure the mechanical arms are in good shape and function as they should.
Tires should be in great condition, free of significant cracks and any sign of dry rot. While tires do not seem like they would be that expensive to replace, on a standard size class A motorhome, replacing six to eight tires can run upwards of three to four thousand dollars.
Buying a motorhome pre-owned can save you a substantial amount of money over buying brand new. Knowing what to look for can ensure you are buying a quality vehicle.
Talk to other RV owners who have experience in buying used and ask them any pitfalls they encountered or advice they have. Taking the time to look for major problems can save you from making a costly mistake and being able to wisely invest in a motorhome that can bring you pleasure for years to come.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/8588367
There's No Place Like Home
There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays is one of the sweetest and most loved songs of the holiday season. Those of you who have deep roots in your hometown and a lovely home to decorate during the holidays may become teary eyed hearing this song when you're far from home. You may wonder about living in an RV during the holidays and feel sorry for those of us who live a life on the road.
Home Is Where You Park It
One thing that full time RVers learn early is that we haven't left our homes; we've taken our homes with us. When we sell our "sticks and bricks" houses and pack our favorite belongings in our RVs, we make a commitment to our new home on wheels. Each of us personalizes our motor home or trailer differently. Some will redecorate with pictures and pretty curtains, others will add soft afghans and flowers to the table. Our cats, dogs and birds ride along in style and are treated as well as most people treat their children. We carry our music with us, and we're never without our cell phones and the computers that keep us in close touch with relatives and friends. We still have our books and our hobbies.
We are just as comfortable in our queen sized beds and comfortable furniture as anyone in a traditional house. Our homes are with us wherever we go and we truly believe the motto of many RVers that "Home is Where You Park It."
Being a good camping neighbor helps make everyone's stay more enjoyable. To do this one needs common sense and consideration for your fellow campers, campsite and natural environment. However, some etiquette related to camping is more specific. If you are traveling with children, make sure they know some of these rules.
- Read and respect the campground's rules and policies. They have been established to protect and respect the rights of campers, the campground and the environment
- Do not walk through another camper's site, walk around it
- Limit noise, especially at night, when it can carry far. Obey the campsite's quiet hours, which are typically from 10 pm until 6 am. Also, during the day limit the play of noisy games to the campground's playground or recreation area
- Camp in your designated campsite within the campground, unless you have obtained a special backcountry camping permit
- Nails and wires should not be used on trees because they can cause serious damage to trees. It is illegal in some states to put nails into a tree, unless you have permission from the landowner. Burn damage will permanently scar or kill a tree
- Cut down and throw away any rope that you tie to trees for canopies or tents, after use
- Drive slowly through the campground and do not exceed any speed limits as there are usually children playing
- Check campground rules before riding dirt bikes, atv's, go-carts and motorcycles. They tend to be noisier than other forms of transport and can cause damage to campsites
- Do not use bright lights or day liters if you arrive very late or leave very early and wake everyone else up. Also do not leave your engine idling for more than a minute or two- diesel engines are particularly noisy
- Be sure to check out on time. The next camper may be waiting. Many campgrounds have a no earlier than check in policy and majority have a late arrival policy. Make sure you are familiar with these rules
- Be respectful of the natural environment; keep the trees and shrubs alive and growing
- Stay on recommended trails when hiking. This keeps damage to vegetation and erosion in one place
- Do not feed the wildlife as this encourages them to interact with and become dependent on humans
Hygiene and Waste
- Dispose of your waste water into the nearest dump station or a drain. Waste water should not be dumped in a lake, stream or on the ground as it will contaminate the natural water source
- Wash your dishes at designated areas around the campground. Campgrounds tend to have outdoor sinks for you to use. Do not wash them at your campsite as this risk contaminating the water source and creates a muddy mess that is inconvenient and slippery for other users
- Use biodegradable soap or try hot water soapless dishwashing, bathing and clothes washing
- Be sure to tidy up after yourself when using the bathrooms or showers
- Clean up all food and scraps from picnic tables you use. Nobody likes showing up to their campsite to find hordes of ants and other bugs.
- Put all trash in the proper trash receptacle and recycle when possible. Many campgrounds have recycling programs. Do not leave trash around your campsite. It is a nuisance for the next camper who uses the site and it can attract pests (such as insects, mice, raccoons and bears)
- Clean your campsite before leaving making sure you take all traces of trash with you. Check, then double check your area before you leave.
- Always clean up after your pets to avoid unnecessary smells and from annoying other campers who may step in their poop
- Do not leave your pets unattended. They will likely bark at strangers, dig holes and annoy your fellow campers
- Keep your pets away from public swimming areas
- Always have them on a leash (6 feet or less in length) to keep them from roaming into other campsites
- Check ahead of time to confirm the campground you plan to stay at allows pets. Some campgrounds have a no pet policy
- Always check with campground management before starting a campfire. Some campgrounds have portable fire pits to burn in so as not to destroy the grass areas and leave burnt rings
- Check with campground management before collecting any wood, dead or otherwise, as some campgrounds do not allow collection of dead wood. Sometimes campgrounds have firewood for sale. Before bringing your own firewood, check with the campground. Some states and counties have laws prohibiting you from crossing state/county lines with cut wood, in the hopes of preventing the spread of insects and disease
- Don't cut living trees for firewood; only collect wood that is fallen
- Only burn wood and paper in your campfire. Don't burn Styrofoam or other plastics and do not try to burn metal or glass
- Do not leave your campfire unattended. Always completely extinguish your campfire when sleeping or leaving your campsite
- Clean your fire pit before leaving the campsite for the next camper. Be careful of how you dispose of any coals as if they are not properly cooled it can start up fires
By the following these guidelines you are sure to get on well with other campers, have a great time and be thought of as a good camping neighbor.
Copyright ©2012 Camping Road Trip, LLC
The Open Road & The Great American Road Trip
Posted on June 8, 2014 by Vogel Talkes RVing
More than 20 million Americans will travel in RVs throughout the summer months, heading to the nation’s 16,000-plus campgrounds and enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.
According to a recent survey of RV owners by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), 66 percent of RV owners intend to use their RVs more this summer than they did last year, and 28 percent will use theirs the same amount.
Road trips have long remained a classic American pastime, and with the increasing popularity of RV travel these popular driving adventures won’t be going out of style anytime soon.
That’s because there’s no better way to experience the charming waterfront towns, stunning vistas and rugged cliffs that dot America’s varied landscape than from behind the wheel of a recreational vehicle.
The Great American Road Trip is steeped in lore going back to the days of Route 66.
There is an unlimited variety of scenic routes all boasting incredible sights including the stunning National Parks such as Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Yellowstone, Grand Teton,Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Mesa Verde.
There are the towns of the Wild West, like Tombstone and Dodge City, the nation’s uniquely colorful and lively party sports like New Orleans and Las Vegas, and smaller but wonderfully charming cities that might otherwise evade travelers such as Santa Fe and Austin.
There are stark deserts, high peaks, endless sand dunes, broad rivers, and every sort of stunning natural beauty.
Finally, there is endless roadside Americana, from giant balls of twine to rocket ships, all sorts of unique attractions and outdoor adventures.
Whether done in six or 60 days, the Great American Road Trip is a seminal experience, and one that is worth doing over and over again.
So pack the RV and get ready to embark on your summer road trip.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GO RV CAMPING?
How much does it cost to take your RV out on the open road and stop at a campground? How can you save money on a upcoming trip?
In this post, we are going to get into the cost of campgrounds, and we will also dispel some popular myths and cover all of the expenses you may find in a week long RV trip!
RV CAMPING BASICS
Let’s start with your rig itself- whether you own, rent or finance an RV, it’s important to know how much it is costing you!
YOUR RV ITSELF ($0-$3000+)
If you own your RV outright, then your cost is $0 for the week – Congratulations!
For the rest of us, whether we’re aspiring to become RV-ers, or just want to take a rig out for the week, RV rentals are a fairly affordable way to get out and see the world without the need to own an RV.
So, for a week that’s going to be around $1000-$3000, depending on how luxurious and large of an RV you decide to rent. These packages typically throw in a certain number of miles per night, and you can buy extra miles cheaply.
It is important to pre-plan and pre-buy miles, as buying miles after you return your rig can be more expensive!
If you have a loan on your RV, then you can consider a 1/4 of your monthly payment as your cost per week.
We could debate all week about the accuracy of this calculation, and this is really difficult to quantify! Obviously, if you only drive it once per month, then the whole month cost would be your cost for 1 week, but then again, once you’ve got it paid off it’s FREE to own!
RV INSURANCE & ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE
Just like with your car, you also need to carry vehicle insurance on your RV. Rates can vary greatly, depending on how much you drive, your age, cost of the RV, etc. In general, you should expect to pay $60-$300 per month, or $15-$75 per month.
Roadside assistance on the other hand, is not required, but comes highly suggested! Being on the side of the road in a large vehicle gets expensive WAY faster than being on the side of the road in your car!
The AAA program that you may carry on your car will NOT cover RV’s, you need to have specialized RV coverage. This is available through many companies, including Good Sam, Coach-Net and AAA, for around $100/year, or $8-$10/month.
Thankfully, if you’re renting, the cost of insurance and some decent roadside assistance is usually rolled into your contract, so you don’t have to worry about it!
FUEL, LP GAS
When you’re driving across the country, or even just across your state, it’s really important to have some kind of estimate as to how much your fuel cost will be! Nothing breaks a great vacation like a money fight, so let’s get this right!
Most RV’s get between 6-15 MPG, depending on many factors. Look up the type of RV you plan to rent, or the rig you own, and use the MPG numbers to get a great estimate on how much fuel you will use. Here’s a link to an online calculator you can use to help you with this math to figure out your fuel cost.
If you drive a 10 MPG Class-C RV X 300 Miles, your cost would be around $105 in fuel. Not too shabby, and of course, your fuel cost will greatly vary depending on how far you drive!
Propane/LP Gas, which typically runs your generator, fridge, heater, stove and water heater costs about $35 to refill an average tank, and that should last at least few weeks time. In the winter you will use more LP Gas due to your heat running off of it, but either way you shouldn’t run through a whole tank in a week!
Whether you rent or buy, dumping your gray water and black water tanks at the end of your trip is essential! You really don’t want that stuff sitting in your tanks for months on end, and it’s required by most RV rental houses before you return.
You can dump for free as part of your campground hookup fee at most places, or you can also dump for $5-$10 at truck stops.
Thinking of campgrounds, how much does it really cost to stay there?
The answer is that the cost can vary a good bit depending on the location, services and ownership.
Government-run state parks and campgrounds can be as inexpensive as $5-$10 per night, but also are light on the amenities. You’ll expect the basics, like limited water and electric hookups, but don’t expect a full-service resort! Do your homework in advance, as different state parks really differ in the hookups and quality of campsite!
Private Campgrounds, on the other hand, tend to offer a full-service experience from $20-$50 per night, depending on location and services. You can expect full hookups at a private campground, but always call ahead to check availability!
In addition, most campgrounds will charge separately for power, at the normal electric company rates in that locality. You can expect it to cost $10-$50 per week to power your rig, and this really depends on how much you use incandescent lighting, heat/AC, and your microwave.
Always remember to write down your meter number and check it to your bill – RV campgrounds have a TON of meters to check, and sometimes they make mistakes!
FOOD & WATER
The one area that RV camping really saves you money is in your food budget.
When you stay in a hotel, at best you’ll find a tiny microwave and fridge, and maybe a small kitchen – but you’ve got to pay more to get even that! When you stay in your RV, you’ve got a full-functioning kitchen at your disposal.
When you stay at a hotel, eating out at restaurants is a constant necessity. When you stay in an RV, you can cook most of your meals, and indulge in good restaurants on occasion, saving you mega-amounts of money on your food budget!
PLAN YOUR FOOD BUDGET
One really great thing about camping in your RV is that you can just keep your home food budget, and add in the amount you desire to spend on eating out.
And while we’re talking about the grocery store, let me offer up this tip:
It’s best to shop at home and stock your RV’s pantry before you leave, especially if you are visiting a touristy area! This allows you to shop all the local deals that you know about, use coupons easily and spend less because you’re not shopping in a high-tourist grocery store. These grocery stores tend to have much higher prices than the one at home!
You’ll also want to avoid buying grocery items at gas station convenience stores – as you probably know, these stores mark groceries up way high!
When you do arrive at your destination, check out local farmers markets, stores and roadside stands for perishable produce. You’ll likely get a great deal, and you’ll also be supporting the local economy!
EAT LUNCH AT RESTAURANTS
A great way to save money at restaurants is to eat there for lunch. Restaurants often have discounted lunch menus, lunch buffets(great for kids), and you can eat your heart out and have a lighter dinner. All while saving money!
YOU DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE TO DO ANY OF THIS…
It’s true. While these are all suggestions on how you can save money, feel free to throw caution to the wind and eat out for every meal. It’s your vacation, do what best pleases you!
ATTRACTIONS TO VISIT
The last area you really want to budget for is tourism. While every RVer has different preferences on museums, parks, and attractions, you will likely find somewhere interesting to stop that has an admission fee.
Be sure and do at least some pre-planning in this area, so that you have the money to go and stop freely, not having to worry about the cost too much! This frees you up to have a great time!
Next time you’re headed off for a trip, I hope that you’re able to be as prepared as possible! Whether you’re reading this to save money, or just get a better idea of how much a trip will cost, I truly hope this is helpful.
Article by Carol Ann Quibell.
Work while you Travel
Why should you give up your dream of full-time RVing just because you don’t have enough money? I truly believe anything is possible if you want it bad enough but the secret is how much do you want it? It is really easy to sit back and wish for something and not have to do anything about it because you can provide the excuse “We don’t have enough money”. But there is a solution to this problem.
To work while you travel has become a way of life for many people whether it is working in a campground, in the RV industry or by searching for temporary jobs while roaming from place to place. With the internet many RVers have found it is also much easier to become self employed in many different types of businesses.
How much money do you really need? This question is too personal for anyone else to answer for you. Each couple or individual has different expectations or needs which will affect the budget they will follow. Our needs may be more than yours or less, it will depend on whether you are making payments on your RV, have medical expenses, or have any other important factor that will impact your budget. Are you completely dependent on what you make or are you supplementing your income or pension. That makes a difference.
Where can RVers find jobs?
The first thing you should look at is what your skills are and how you can adapt them to other types of employment. It may take a little imagination but it can be done. Is there anything you have always wanted to try but couldn’t before because of time restraints or other reasons? Think outside of the box – I have thought even of working as a dishwasher temporarily to make enough money to keep traveling. Do you golf? Maybe there can be a position for you at a small golf course. Put your thinking cap on and as I said before use your imagination.
Temporary Employment Agencies
Temporary employment agencies can usually be found in most towns or cities and although the wages may be low they are used to working with people on a short term basis and your circumstances will not be foreign to them. You can usually set your own hours or the number of days you wish to work and choose which job you are interested in.
Working in the RV industry
If you wish to work in the RV industry then you probably will search for camphost positions or any type of work in a campground or RV resort whether it is operated privately, federally, provincially or by a state. With the ease of having access to the internet it is easy to search the area you wish you be in and locate possible openings. Either make contact by telephone or email depending upon what you are instructed to do by the employer.
Use your hobbies to earn income
Take a serious look at your hobbies and see how you can adapt them to creating income. Many people who make crafts sell them at flea markets or craft shows and plan their travel around the shows. I would think hairdressers or barbers would be kept busy just by letting people in your RV Park know what you can do. I know this is definitely a fact if traveling in another country such as Mexico where it may be difficult to find someone you like.
Self employment has become much more popular as people adapt their skills and knowledge to creating an income. Internet businesses such as internet marketing, sales, affiliate marketing, virtual assisting and more than I can list have become very popular. Writers or photographers are able to adapt their skills in many ways whether it is working online or in other capacities. When we moved into the area we are currently staying at I went to the local newspaper and introduced myself and within a day I was given assignments. I hesitated at first at going to their office but am really glad I did. Not only have I made money, I have gained more experience and confidence. Work remotely.
Take a chance ~ work while you travel
The above ideas and suggestions are a very small sample of how a person can create an income while traveling. It just takes initiative, desire and a bit of work – but it can be done. There can be other benefits to working on the road – you will stop longer, meet the locals and learn more about the country. It can’t be all bad if you aren’t afraid to take a chance and have a good attitude. You too can work while you travel.
This was first published on the RV living column with RVWest by Carol Ann Quibell.
Attending RV Shows are perfect for learning more about the RV Lifestyle
Last weekend I enjoyed attending the BC Interior RV Show in Penticton, BC and was amazed at the number of RVs on display and the variety of information available for the beginning RVer as well as for the more experienced. For a very small entrance fee of $5, I had access to everything for three days which gave me plenty of time to explore every nook and cranny and talk to as many people as I wanted. What really stood out to me was the amount of information available just for the asking.
Seminars for learning about the RV Lifestyle at the RV Show
Not only were there seminars that taught about propane safety, RV plumbing, how to customize an RV and some very good tips on packing your RV and setting it up in a campground, there was information for snowbirds on the ins & outs of travel medical coverage. For those who were interested or were apprehensive about traveling to Alaska, Duane Pilson (RVWest contributor) provided reassurance and information on what the highways are like, where the campgrounds are, some of the areas highlights and even how to deal with the insects.
Factory representatives make themselves available at RV Shows
Where else can you get many of the large RV manufacturers representatives under one roof? An RV Show is perfect for tire kicking and asking questions about different types of RVs and their features. Plus it’s always fun to drool over a coach that is in excess of half a million dollars. I overheard one fellow say to his friend ”I found the coach I want and it`s only $550,000. It`s too bad I`m $500,000 short.” I think most of us can relate to that statement.
RV Clubs and Parks
One of the best ways to get involved in the RV Lifestyle is to join a club or become a member or strata owner in a RV Park. Anyone who is serious about RVing or camping should check out some of the RV Clubs available because there are clubs for almost every interest or specialty clubs for owners of different types of RVs. Quite often representatives of the clubs will have a booth at the RV Shows and the one in Penticton was no exception. I spoke with a woman from the ‘Newmar Club’ and had a laugh because I couldn’t join since we didn’t own a Newmar. There are other clubs I could join though and some of those include Good Sam, Explorer RV Club and Recreational Vehicle Owner’s Association of BC.
RVs for Sale
There are of course many RVs for sale at an RV Show and that’s probably the main purpose of the shows. The latest, greatest and biggest RVs are on display for visitors to browse through and see all the latest gadgets and features they offer. However, there are also used RVs on display or at least their information can be found on bulletin boards at some of the dealers booths. Not everyone is in the market for a brand new unit but a good used one might be perfect. So the next time you hear of an RV Show in your area or close by, do attend it even if you aren’t shopping for a new RV. There’s always something new to see or helpful information that may make your next trip in your RV even more fun and possibly safer.
For Vacations or Year Round Living, Spend Less on Energy
As the economy remains in question, many Americans are seeking less expensive housing solutions. One such solution is an RV or travel trailer. The author of this article is one such alternative home hunter.
Although the cost advantages of a trailer seem obvious (less expensive taxes, insurance, lower maintenance and repair costs), energy costs remain an issue. Many people have warned me not to buy a trailer or face staying cold in the winter. "They're not insulated!" comes the popular cry.
The fact is that travel trailers and RV's are insulated- just not as much as a house. The walls are far thinner, and in older models, high-tech materials weren't available during their manufacture. Neither were dual-paned windows and other energy-saving devices we now take for granted.
For the purposes of this article, the word "trailer" will include any RV: van conversion, bus conversion, all classes of RV's travel trailers, etc.
There are 20 things you can do to make any trailer energy efficient:
1. Purchase or Make Vent Pillows
Used wisely, vents and windows keep the trailer cool when the weather is just right. However, if the weather is too hot or cold, the vent becomes a source of heat loss/gain. These pillows, stuffed into the vent space, block escaping warm air in the winter and prevent infiltration of hot air in the summer.
Purchase vent pillows from any RV supply store or site, or make your own using these wonderful plans by following this link. Make pillows for windows as well for locations with severe freezing weather.
2. Reflective Covers for Windows and Door Windows:
Many reflective insulation materials exist today with R-Values from 3.0 to 15.0. Reflectix Radiant Barrier, found at most DIY stores, is a flexible barrier designed to reflect heat. It tends to be rather expensive, but is effective.
Cover windows with a sheet, and hold it in place with hook and loop tape. Industrial hook and loop tape with self-adhesive strips is available at most DIY stores.
3. DIY Storm Windows
Make your own storm windows from Plexiglas, Lexan or other plastic sheet. Carefully measure and make a cardboard template for your window. Remove ¼" all the way around your template to allow installation of weather-stripping material.
Cut out your plastic sheet following the manufacturer's recommendations. Add the weather-stripping around the sheet and secure. Add a plastic knob or tie so removal is easy.
Press in place in the window space. This may not stop condensation, so checking the windows is required.
4. Reduce Air Flow Under the Trailer with a Skirt
Air flows under, around and over all trailers. In mobile homes, skirts are added to prevent airflow underneath, thus providing a measure of insulation. They also provide a measure of stability in high winds. Most travel trailers don't have this added option.
Follow this link to make your own skirt from plywood.
Check with your RV park manager first, though. Explain you aren't taking the tires off your trailer- most RV parks discourage that. Build an access panel into your design for tire maintenance as well as showing the park manager they're still on the trailer.
If the park manager says no, forego the skirt for now or look for a park that will allow it.
5. Replace Single Pane Windows with Double Pane Insulated Windows
Contact the manufacturer of your trailer to see if double- pane insulated windows exist for your trailer. If not, any RV service center with a parts department might be able to help you find some, such as this place.
Asking questions on RV forums will also yield information on where to find used windows in good shape at a fraction of the cost.
If your trailer has insulated windows, but leaks air, it may need resetting.
6. Choose an Energy Efficient AC Unit
If your trailer is more than ten years old, it's time to buy a new AC at the earliest financial opportunity. Today's units are far more efficient than those ten or more years ago. Many manufacturers are concentrating on energy efficiency instead of looks.
Measure the opening for your current unit and measure the square footage of your trailer. Give this information to the RV supply store, or AC manufacturer. They will help you select the right size and model for your trailer and budget.
7. Reflective RV Sealant/Paint
Made primarily for the metal roofs of mobile homes, it also provides protection for metal roofs on trailers. If your trailer has a rubber or vinyl roof, different products are called for. Contact your trailer's manufacturer to find out what product is best. If your trailer's manufacturer is no longer in business, as many vintage trailer companies are, your local RV supply store associates, or RV forums can supply the right information for your trailer.
8. Seal All Air Leaks
This may go without saying, but air leaks do not help the trailer breathe. That's the job of the vents and windows. Leaks let in moisture directly onto the wood frame of the trailer, which leads to rot. Not something anyone in a trailer or house needs.
Weather-stripping materials abound at DIY stores and online RV supply stores. Foam insulation in spray cans should only be used if the words "minimal expanding" is on the label. You don't have a lot of space for the foam to expand, and it can blow out your walls, distort your outside walls and cause damage.
To find an air leak, use a candle. Turn off the AC and any fans. Light the candle, and then blow it out. Hold the smoke near the spot you suspect. Hold still and watch the smoke. If the smoke is sucked into the wall or window, you have a leak. If the smoke goes straight up, you don't. Never hold a lit candle near a curtain- that's asking for a fire.
9. Insulate the Floors
Often the older trailers just have the flooring material, the undercarriage cover and that's it.
Carefully remove the undercarriage material- plastic or metal. You'll replace it. This cover keeps the road gravel and trash from tearing through your flooring.
Insulate with spray foam or solid board insulation, following the manufacturer's instructions. Be careful around wiring and plumbing.
Carpet with padding also helps to insulate the floor, but unless you're moving cabinets, working underneath the trailer provides total coverage.
10. Electrical Outlets
In a stick- built home, uninsulated outlets create an air leak the equivalent of having a two-foot by three-foot window open all year long.
Purchase foam outlet insulators at any DIY store. They are easy to cut and customize for your trailer's outlets. Simply unscrew the outlet cover, pop the insulator on, and replace the cover. Done. It's the little leaks that add up to energy and money loss.
11. Replace Wall and Ceiling Insulation
Wall insulation is far better than in years past, and more affordable. Your local DIY store carries products with values of R3 to R5 in different thicknesses.
I like the Double Bubble Reflective Radiant Barrier. Temp Shield is one company supplying the product while Eco Foil is the other I'm familiar with. The R-Value ranges from R7 to R15. That's better than the walls of most stick- built houses today. The cost of the product is pricey, but saving money over time will pay for itself.
Carefully remove the wall panel- you'll replace them. If they're damaged or trashed, discard and buy new. Measure the depth of the wall framing. Trailers have wall frames ranging from ½" to 2-by-4 framing. This depth will allow you to choose the best material for your trailer and budget. Stack different thicknesses and R-Values together to fill the space. If spray foam is used for nooks and crannies, allow it to expand fully, and then trim it back with a sharp knife.
I don't recommend regular house fiber insulation- if it's compacted, it loses it's ability to insulate. That's a waste of your money and time.
12. Cabinets, Shower, Closets, Tub Areas
These areas may sound difficult to insulate, but not so. Use bags filled with foam peanuts to insulate under the tub (if accessible). Use foam board behind the shower walls. Insulate the inside of the plumbing casing outside and inside with radiant barrier insulation. Cut to match the measurements, and then push it in place. Spray adhesive will hold it until you remove it.
If I can't financially remove and replace the cabinets all at once while insulating the walls, I will cut the radiant barrier to size and place on the floor of each bottom cabinet, and against the walls of the cabinets and closets. This would be temporary, but every little bit helps. Covering it with construction paper or cardboard covered in inexpensive shelf paper will help hide it from view.
13. Awnings and Solar Screening
In an RV park, it's not always possible to set up your trailer so the hottest part of the sun doesn't bear down on your door and windows. An awning provides shade for the door and the windows, reducing the load on the air conditioner.
Many RV manufacturers make awnings for their trailers. If your trailer's manufacturer is no longer in business, RV supply stores and online supply stores offer many different awning solutions.
If a purchased awning isn't in your budget, follow this link to make your own. Choose UV reflective materials. Using solar screen material to create side panels creates an outdoor room. Solar screening, found at most DIY stores and online, comes in a variety of strengths. Use 60% (filters out 60% of UV rays) for gardening, and 80% or more for your outdoor space.
Make custom solar screens for the outside of your trailer windows.
14. Use Nature to Her Fullest
If possible, choose a space under deciduous trees. The leaves will shade the trailer in the summer and allow the sun to help heat the trailer in winter. Be sure to check the condition of the trees- if they look like they'll fall down in a strong storm, choose another spot.
If the RV park is near tall buildings or businesses, shade may be provided in these areas as well. Keep in mind that if you are a "long-termer," meaning you live in the trailer year 'Ëœround, and want a container garden, take shade amounts into consideration.
15. Save on Propane in the Winter
Electrical costs tend to be cheaper than propane. As a bicycle commuter, I don't want to haul propane tanks in the bicycle trailer in the middle of February- our coldest month here. Conservation will then become the key of the day, and it isn't that hard.
I've been told and read online that severe cold means cold showers. Apparently, the electric water heater doesn't do the job well during the winter, so most "trailer-ites" (a term from the movie, "The Long, Long Trailer"); switch their water heater to propane. Now, a six or seven gallon hot shower is nice. At least the water is hot. And it doesn't take a lot of propane to heat it.
If the stove, furnace, and water heater all run on propane, choose to turn something off or use far less.
I'll use the propane for hot water and heat the trailer with small electrical heaters. I can also choose an AC unit with a heat strip to replace the propane furnace (assuming my trailer will have one- not all do).
For cooking, I'll keep the propane stove off, and use an electric toaster oven, crock-pot and an electric skillet I love. I also have a couple of patio burners to use.
See if the trailer's propane storage area will support a larger bottle. For example, a lot of trailers have two 5-gallon tanks. Those are the size of barbeque tanks. Seventeen-gallon tanks are available, but are taller. If your trailer's front or storage area won't support them, buy a spare bottle and conserve instead.
16. Solar Panels Give Free Power
Cut electrical costs with a solar power system. Initially the cost is high, but not as high as ten years ago. Today's panels and systems are far more efficient.
Generally, your trailer will run off the battery, then switch to park power when the battery is low. The charger will kick in, and recharge the battery at the same time. This reduces energy costs, but with the sun charging the battery, your costs are even lower. The energy savings will pay for the system over time.
One huge benefit- if the park power goes out, you'll have power. The big motorhomes have generators of their own, but few trailers do.
17. Thermal Curtains
Used both during the summer and winter, these fabrics save money.
If you can sew, making the curtains is a snap. If not, a friend or seamstress can easily make them for you. The best advantage is getting the color, print and fabric you like the first time, instead of settling for what's on the rack.
18. Upgrade Your Water Heater
Modern RV water heaters are far more efficient than those manufactured ten or twenty years ago. If your water heater only runs on electricity, upgrade to one that also uses propane. You may need to run propane lines, or have an RV repairman or shop do it for you.
The advantage is hot showers when you want them, even in the midst of winter.
19. Clean and Service the AC Ducts
If your trailer has ducted air conditioning, check the condition of the ducts. Keep them clean with brushes available from any RV dealer. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for checking the ducts for leaks, and fix or have them repaired. If space permits, wrap them with insulation to reduce heat/cooling loss.
20. Insulate Water Lines
Most water lines for trailers isn't copper tubing, it's a type of plastic called PEX. Rigid copper pipes don't do well bouncing down the road. Flexible plastic tubing does. However, they are still vulnerable to the cold like their metal counterparts.
Purchase inexpensive pipe wrap or insulation at your local DIY store and wrap the cold and hot water pipes. Do not wrap pipes near the water heater itself if using the propane setting.
You'll save money and on propane by getting your hot water faster.
These twenty hints for energy efficiency in a trailer don't have to be installed all at once. Do one or more as your budget allows. Eventually, you'll have the most efficient trailer in the park, for a fraction of what your neighbors paid for theirs.
· New model trailers manufactured today have higher energy-efficiency in mind. While the cost (depending on the make and model), remains below that of most stick-built homes, it can remain out of reach for those on hard times. The cost of an older model is often within financial reach.
· Those purchasing an older model trailer should be aware that even though "everything works now," as with all older homes and cars, things will start to break down, wear out, etc. This is an excellent opportunity to upgrade to higher energy-efficient products and high-tech items.
· Older model trailers often have lower insurance premiums regardless of upgrades. Keep in mind that purchasing a rider to cover belongings and replacement cost (if possible) is a good idea.
· If the trailer is undergoing a total remodel (for example, gutting it and rebuilding from the inside out), this is a perfect time to buy the best insulation affordable.
One of the most effective ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle is to downsize. Downsizing your lifestyle involves cutting out the things that are less important, and finding contentment with a little bit less.<div class="post-bodycopy clearfix">
If you are ready to downsize your lifestyle here are a few tips that can help you get on the right track:
1. Decide What’s Important to You
Before you can downsize your lifestyle, you need to figure out what you want that lifestyle to look at. What’s most important to you? What are your priorities? Downsizing isn’t always about getting rid of everything and moving into a motorhome. Instead, take a look at what you like best about your life right now, and then figure out what spending serves as a distraction. Once you figure out what’s important to you, and prioritize, it becomes easier to know exactly what to cut out of your new lifestyle.
2. Stop Buying Unimportant Stuff
Now that you know what’s important, stop buying everything else. If you want to collect books, but don’t care about having a bunch of dishes, or knick-knacks, stop buying more kitchen items, and don’t buy more souvenirs. If you are going to downsize, you have to stop adding more things to your household. Some people make the rule that, if they buy something, they have to get rid of something else. This is one way you can limit how much clutter you have in your home.
3. Go Through Your Home One Area at a Time
Once you have decided what’s important, and stopped buying what isn’t important, it’s time to get rid of some of your stuff. Focus on one area at a time in your home. We recently did this in our kitchen. We realized that we didn’t need a whole bunch of different types of pans. We figured out what we liked to make, and what was made most often, and kept the pans and bowls that made the most sense. Everything else was donated to the local thrift store.
Concentrating on one area at a time can help you manage your efforts, and better focus them. Plus, it makes the whole process less overwhelming. Take it a little at a time, and you will be more successful when trying to figure out how to simplify your life.
4. Soften the Blow
In some cases, you might want to downsize your lifestyle, but you are finding it difficult to let certain items go. If this is an issue, you can soften the blow by looking for ways to turn it to your advantage. Donate goods to help raise money for a charity, and get a tax deduction. Sell items to start making money online, or hold a yard sale. When you are getting something in return for your items, it can help you let go of your things.
5. Focus on Developing Inner Traits
Focusing on the non-material things that add fulfillment to your life can help you get over your stuff. Think about what you already have: Friends, family, health, good experiences, access to the outdoors. These are all items that can add interest to your life, and take your focus away from material things. Developing talents and finding a hobby can also help fulfill you in a way that takes your focus away from things.
Do you have ideas about downsizing your lifestyle?</div>
(BPT) - Many investors are taking more control of their financial future by investing in alternatives to the stock market including real estate, land, promissory notes, oil and gas.
Sue Jensen of New York grew frustrated after watching her life savings take a hit year after year in the stock market. A couple of years ago, after another year of less-than-desirable returns, she couldn't take it anymore. She sought out a way to further diversify her investments that wouldn't leave her on the sidelines, watching helplessly.
Jensen is just one of many Americans who for years knew only one way to save for retirement. Growing concerned that it wouldn't yield enough money to live comfortably, Jensen sought out alternatives.
The good news is that there are options. You can diversify your portfolio by investing your retirement savings in assets other than stocks and bonds. As Jensen and many others have discovered, the Internal Revenue Service allows you to invest your retirement funds in an array of assets, including real estate, promissory notes, private placements and tax liens. The investments are made using a self-directed account such as an IRA.
Self-directed IRA custodians, such as Equity Trust, offer options for nearly everyone when it comes to saving for retirement. These options include:
- Individual retirement accounts: IRA, Roth IRA
- Small-business accounts: SIMPLE IRA, SEP IRA, Solo 401(k), Roth Solo 401(k)
- Accounts that allow you to save for other expenses: Coverdell Education Savings Account, Health Savings Account
Investing your IRA or other account in alternatives is nothing new. IRS Publication 590 outlines the types of investments allowed in a self-directed IRA, including:
- Real estate - including apartments, single family homes, and duplexes
- Commercial property, developed or undeveloped land
- Mortgages/deeds of trust
- Publicly traded stocks, bonds, mutual funds
- Private limited partnerships
- Private stock offerings, private placements
- Private limited liability companies
- Secured and unsecured notes
- Judgments/structured settlements
- Tax sale certificates
- Car paper
- Accounts receivable
- Commercial paper
- Equipment leasing
You should be aware that not every IRA custodian allows you to self-direct your funds. Only qualified self-directed IRA custodians, such as Equity Trust, will allow you to invest your retirement funds in real estate and other alternatives to the stock market. For those who prefer to continue to diversify with a mix of alternatives and stocks or mutual funds, Equity Trust provides the capability.
Jensen, an Equity Trust client, has diversified into tax liens and promissory notes. In addition to the profits from those investments, which grow tax-deferred or tax-free in her IRA accounts, she has gained peace of mind in knowing all her retirement "eggs" aren't in one basket.
Self-directed IRA custodians are passive, which means they cannot give investment advice.
Find out how you could diversify your retirement savings beyond just stocks and bonds. Get more details about self-directed IRAs and find out which plans would fit your situation by visiting www.TrustETC.com.
- See more at: http://www.rvnews.com/alifestyle.cfm?RecordID=2619#sthash.G63oUCKl.dpuf
Those who dream of living year-round in an RV might find it's easier than they'd imagined. Here's how to hit the road in a permanent home on wheels.
Have you ever thought about chucking it all and taking to the road full time? My husband and I have, although we can't seriously consider it until my daughter is out of high school in a few years. But if you're free to roam, you could join some 1.3 million Americans who are full-time RV'ers.
To find out what it takes to afford becoming a full-timer, I spoke with Kathy Huggins. She and her husband, John, have been "living the RV dream" for more than seven years and hosted a radio show by that name. (Podcasts are available here.) . I interviewed Kathy for my radio show, "Talk Credit Radio." Here are the Huggins' financial tips for a life on the road.
While you're traveling, you'll need to have someone receive and forward your mail to you. That could be a friend, relative or a mail service. The Huggins use a mail service located in South Dakota (more on that choice later) that forwards their mail twice a month.
They also rely on online banking and bill pay. Their phone, credit card and satellite dish bills are all paid online. If there is a bill that can't be handled that way ("a hospital bill, for example," says Kathy), "I leave them a note that I only get my mail twice a month, that I may be late and please do not charge me (a late fee)," she explains. She's never had a problem, she adds.
For banking, they use direct deposit and a debit card. To avoid ATM fees, they chose a bank that refunds ATM fees and often get cash back at the cash register when they make a purchase on their debit cards.
Have a (flexible) budget
Does living in an RV cost less, or more, than living in a traditional home? For the Hugginses, it's less. Kathy rattled off her monthly expenses: rig payment, phone bill and satellite television, for starters. Campsite fees can range from free to $60 to $70 per night, though she says they try to keep theirs at $20 per night.
To keep your electric bill down, avoid staying in one place for months, because long-term campers usually have to pay for their own electricity.
"Stay for less than a month, and they pay the electric bill," she says. Even when the Hugginses do pay for electricity, it's pretty inexpensive: about $40 per month, or $80 a month if it's cold and the electric heaters go on.
"Remember, we're living in 400 square feet," she adds with a laugh.
And while many campsites have free Wi-Fi available, the Hugginses spring for their own wireless Internet connection because they need Internet access for their website and blog.
Cooking their own food and limiting meals in restaurants also saves them a bundle.
As with any budget, there are always surprises. For the Hugginses, it's been rising gas prices, which went from $2.99 a gallon to almost $4 a gallon at the time we spoke. "That's been a big change in our lifestyle," Kathy says, "but we just spend more time in a campsite. We'll travel maybe 250 miles a day at the most, and we might stay (in one place) three or four weeks. We use our car, which we tow, to go see all the things that are around here."
Save up for your rig, shop for the loan
I asked Kathy what it costs to buy an RV that would be comfortable to live in year-round. She says a used motor home will run "right around $100,000 if it's a diesel pusher and about $80,000 for a gas rig. And they're pretty comfortable." The other option is to buy a "fifth wheel" that is pulled by a truck. "You're talking about $40,000 to $60,000," she says, but "then you have to buy a truck to pull it, which can be up to $40,000 for the truck."
Before hitting the road, the Hugginses sold their Florida home at the height of the market, which allowed them to get rid of all their debt and put a healthy down payment on their rig. Still, they took out a 20-year loan at 4.35% for the balance. That was a few years ago, though, and since then, full-time RV'ers have found it more difficult to get loans.
"Try a credit union," suggests Kathy. Or buy your rig before you quit your job. "If you're going to be a part-timer, they don't seem to have a problem giving you a loan," she notes.
Get a tax break
One of the advantages of living on the road is that you can call any state home.
The Hugginses, like many other full-timers, chose South Dakota as their home base because of the tax benefits. There is no state income tax and, as Huggins points out, no property tax since they don't own a home. "South Dakota probably has half a million people that don't live there but are full-time RV'ers because of taxes," she says, laughing. Tax rates and other details are available in the book "Choosing Your RV Home Base."
Bring in some bacon
You don't have to stop working when you start traveling. Many RV parks hire full-time RV'ers to handle reservations or park maintenance. When I interviewed her, Kathy was working as a reservationist while her husband was doing pool maintenance, which earned them a free site and an allowance of $100 a month toward their electric bill, plus enough spending money to cover their food budget.
Around Yellowstone, she notes, you can work at a hotel and have a parking spot for your RV while employed there. "Even Alaska has jobs for you," she says. "You (can) guard the schools during the summer. Park your RV in the schoolyard with two or three other RV'ers, and you just keep an eye for the schoolyard, and that's it," she says. She recommends the website Workamper.com for employment opportunities.
Entrepreneurial opportunities abound as well and are limited only by your imagination. A couple that Kathy suggested: Watch other full-timers' pets while they fly home for holidays or take day trips. Or make jewelry to sell.
Don't wait too long
Do you have to be out of debt to take to the road? It helps, says Kathy. But even if you aren't, you may still want to find a way to make it happen.
"I think almost anybody can do it," she says. "The cost can range from $200 a month to $12,000 a month, depending on what you want to do and how you want to spend your money. That's the best part about this -- it's your choice about . . . how big of a rig you actually buy, how much money you want to spend."
The Hugginses' only regret? That they didn't do it earlier. '"When we first started doing this, we interviewed a lot of full-time RV'ers, and everyone said the same thing: 'I wish I'd done it 10 years sooner.'"
The lavish tour bus, previously used by former F1 World Champion Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve, has been transformed into luxury getaway motor home that costs from $12,000 per night. It claims to be the first million-dollar motor home to be and was built by U.S.-based company Newell. (Mercury Press/Caters)
Dear Savvy Senior,
Can you write a column on RV travel for beginners? My husband and I will be retiring in a few years and have always thought it would be fun to spend some of our time traveling around the country in an RV. What can you tell us?
Ready to Retire
The affordability, combined with the comfort, convenience and personal freedom it offers has made recreational vehicle (RV) travel immensely popular among retirees over the past decade.
According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, there are approximately 35 million RV enthusiasts in the U.S., including a growing number of baby boomers.
Some of the reasons RVing has become so popular is because of the freedom and flexibility it offers to come and go as you please. If you like where you’re at, you can stay put. Or, if your feet get itchy you pack up and move on.
Another popular aspect among retirees is following the seasons. Snowbirds, for example, like to travel south for the winter, while southerners migrate north during the hot summer months.
RVing is also a very affordable way to go. Even considering ownership or rental costs, RV travel is cheaper than traveling by car, plane, or train -- especially when you factor in lodging and restaurant costs.
Most people, when they think of RVs, think of huge motorhomes, but RVs run the gamut from folding camping trailers and truck campers, to travel trailers and large motorized RVs.
Cost, too, will range from as little as $4,000 for pop-up campers all the way up to $1.5 million for luxurious motorhomes. To learn more about RV options, check out gorving.com, a resource created by the RV travel industry that breaks down all the different types of RVs available today, along with various videos and other RV information.
The best way to ease into RV travel and find out if you like it is to rent. Renting can also help you determine which type of RV best suits your needs. Rental costs will vary greatly depending on what you choose, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 up to $300 per day. To locate one of the 500 or so RV rental outlets around the country check your yellow pages under “Recreation Vehicle” or search The National RV Dealers Association website at rvda.org.
With around 14,600 public and privately owned RV parks or campgrounds across the country (see gocampingamerica.com and trailerlifedirectory.com), RVers can roam coast-to-coast with no shortage of places to stop, or options to choose from.
Most RV parks are open to all comers and rent spaces on a nightly or weekly basis, much like a motel or hotel, with rates typically ranging from $15 to $50 per night, however some in city and country parks may be $10 or even free.
RV parks can also range from rustic facilities with limited or no utility hookups, as are more often found in state and national parks, to luxury resorts with amenities that rival fine hotels.
To research RV campgrounds, get a copy of the “Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory” for $10 at goodsamclub.com/publications, or call 866-205-7451. This guide breaks down what each campsite offers, along with their policies and costs, and a rating system. Also see rvbookstore.com for dozens of books and DVDs about RVs and the RV lifestyle.
There are also a number of RV clubs you can join, like the Good Sam Club (goodsamclub.com), that provide member discounts on parks and campgrounds, travel guides, fuel and propane, roadside assistance, and more. Passport America (passportamerica.com) is another popular club that gives 50 percent discounts on more than 1,800 campsites across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC “Today” show and author of The Savvy Senior. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org.
BPT) - Are your RV or auto insurance premiums too high? Maybe they are, but not for reasons you might think. Insurance companies aren't charging you higher premiums because you're in an over-50 age group. You may be paying too much because you haven't done anything to lower the cost of your premiums. Check out these money-saving tips - they could be right up your alley.
- Comparison shop. You don't need to stay with the same insurance company forever. Prices vary from company to company. Just be sure you discuss the identical coverage with each company representative. Also, don't go by price alone. Consider the company's reputation, customer service and available discounts. Look online at customer reviews to get a better picture.
- Combine policies with one carrier. You may save money if you insure all your vehicles on a single policy. Your premium may also go down if you have life or homeowners' insurance with that company, too.
- Consider asking about higher deductibles. In some cases, if you increase your deductible, you could lower your premiums. Of course, that means you'll have to pay more money out-of-pocket if you're in an accident.
- Take an AARP Driver Safety course. Available both online and in the classroom - in English and Spanish - this course teaches valuable defensive driving techniques and provides a refresher about the rules of the road. When you complete the course, you could qualify for a multi-year discount from your auto insurance company (check with your insurance agent for more details). Visit www.aarp.org/drive to find a course in your area.
- Consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage. It may not make financial sense to pay premiums over many years to maintain collision and comprehensive coverage. If your car is worth less than 10 times the premium, purchasing the coverage may not be cost effective, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). But don't drop your liability coverage, which can help cover expenses for property or bodily damage you cause while driving your car.
- Take advantage of low-mileage discounts. Some carriers offer discounts to drivers who put less than a predetermined number of miles on their vehicles each year. If you're only using your car to drive to your kids' houses, the grocery store, the mall and the gym, this could be a money-saving opportunity.
- Ask about car-safety discounts. Some insurers give discounts for having certain safety devices in your car, such as air bags, automatic safety belts, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights, or even an approved alarm system. In addition to lowering your premium, these features will help keep you safe on the road.
- If you're in the market for a new car, consider purchasing a low-profile vehicle. It's more expensive to insure a vehicle that's expensive to repair, popular with thieves or known for not having a good safety record. To find out vehicles' risk levels, visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website.
Everyone's trying to save money these days. By following these tips, you'll be in the driver's seat when it comes to auto insurance
WHY TAKING PHOTOS WHILE YOU TRAVEL IS IMPORTANT
GARY ARNDT JANUARY 17, 2014 THE LOOPTAIL BLOG
I occasionally get the comment from people that photography takes away from what they are experiencing when they travel. A recent article from Smithsonian Magazine suggests that this might be true. They did a study where people who took more photos in a museum remembered less about the paintings they photographed than the people who didn’t take photos.
Personally, I have found the opposite to be true. Over the last seven years of traveling around the world, taking photos and becoming a photographer has done more to enhance my experiences traveling than anything else I have done.
That being said, there is a difference between taking photographs and taking snapshots, which is exactly what most travelers do. A photograph is a purposeful attempt at taking a beautiful image. It requires some thought, positioning and awareness of your surroundings. A snapshot is nothing more than pressing the button on your camera while standing in front of something.
Taking the time to take real photographs can enhance your travel experience in several ways:
1) Photography makes you more aware of your surroundings.
I tend to notice much more because I’m always looking for photos. I’m looking at the tops of buildings, down side streets and even on the ground. There have been many times where I break off from a group of people to take a photo and suddenly the group gravitates to me to take snapshots of something they missed. Once you begin looking for photos, you see much more of the world than if you are just walking through it.
2) Photos help you remember.
Despite the conclusion of the Smithsonian Magazine article, the real test of a photo’s ability to help you remember doesn’t come the day after you take it; it comes years later. I’ve looked back on the images I captured very early in my travels and have been mentally taken back to moments that I hadn’t remembered in years. As time passes, you need things to jog your memory and nothing works better than photos that you took yourself.
3) People will actually want to see your vacation photos.
Most people are bored to tears of vacation photos that are nothing more than endless shots of people in front of landmarks. Most people don’t want to see you on vacation; they are more interested in the destination itself. If you focus on taking better images, people will actually be interested in seeing your photos.
Travel photography isn’t about owning a large, expensive camera. You can do it with nothing more than a smartphone. What it is is paying careful attention to your surroundings and taking the time and effort to create beautiful images.
On your next trip, take the time to pay attention to your surroundings and you will be rewarded for years to come.