RVing in Alabama and Tennessee

RVing in Alabama and Tennessee

Bankston Motor Homes is a staple in Alabama and Tennessee. This month we want to inform everyone why we love RVing in the South! There are plenty of options for finding a great campground. Whether you want to stay close to the city or further out in nature, there are many choices available. So, whether you’re looking to explore the natural beauty of the South or just want a quiet spot to park your RV, here are some tips on how to kick off your Summer RV trip.

To start, make sure you research your options! Does the RV campground have the necessary amenities that you and your family need? Does it have activities for the kids? Does your RV fit into their designated RV spots? When choosing the right campground, it’s important to consider location, facilities and amenities, rules and regulations. Since, you’re looking for the best summer campsites for RVing in Northern Alabama, consider the following:

  • Size of the campsite. The size of your campsite is an important factor to consider when choosing a campground. You want to make sure that there is enough space for your RV and other vehicles, as well as any additional tents or equipment you may have brought along with you on this trip.
  • Location and views. If possible, try to find a location where there are great views of nature around you–this can make camping much more enjoyable! You might also want to look into whether or not there are any nearby attractions that would be fun for everyone in your group (e.g., hiking trails).
  • Amenities and facilities at each campground location being considered by those searching for places where they can stay overnight while visiting Alabama during this time period; you will want to discover things like whether or not bathrooms and showers are available 24 hours per day and if electric outlets are located in each individual site so you don’t need to bring along a generator. It is important to know if there is a convenience store at each park, too.

The final step is choosing where to stay! Here are a few locations to check out in Alabama and Tennessee.

If you’re looking for something more rural and natural, check out some of the national parks in Northern Alabama such as Oak Mountain State Park or Cheaha State Park. If you’d rather be closer to civilization but still enjoy some outdoor activities like hiking trails and biking paths, try one of the state parks south of Huntsville like Valley Head Lake Recreation Area or Lake Lurleen State Park. Whatever type of camping experience suits your needs best–and whatever type of RVing adventure appeals most–you’ll find it here!

Before you hit the road, here are a few things to remember. The first is making sure your RV is in good working condition. Check all appliances and make sure they work properly, especially if you are planning on staying at an RV park for an extended period of time. Next up: packing essentials! You’ll want to bring enough clothing for both warm days and cool nights–and don’t forget about rain gear if storms are forecasted during your stay. Also, pack extra towels and linens so that everyone has what they need when getting ready for bed each night! Finally, don’t forget some entertainment options like books, cards or board games–you never know how long those evenings will last!

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Summer RVing is Coming!

Summer RVing is Coming!

The Summer months are nearing, so it is time to reserve your RV campground spot! Once you have picked a destination, there are a few things to know about how to find and reserve the perfect RV campground.

Here are some things to research and to keep in mind before booking! First, check for length requirements. Most campgrounds have specific restrictions for how long your spot will be and what maximum length camper will fit. So, make sure to know your length from hitch to bumper. Know your tow vehicle length too! Sometimes that needs to be included. Some sites also restrict the amount of slides an RV can have. Second, know how many AMPs it takes to run your RV. You will want the right hook ups so you can properly power your RV. Third, does the site have water hookups? If not, then make sure to fill your water tanks before you reach the site. Finally, does the RV campsite have sewage or a dump station? Not all campgrounds have sewer hookups at every site. However, almost all will have a dump station. But if you do not want to have to empty your black tank every few days, be sure to find a site with both sewer and water hook-ups!

Once you have a couple RV campgrounds that are suitable for you, now it is time to book! Just remember not every RV park or campground takes a reservation. Some are first come, first serve. While some parks have sites for last minute arrivals, they will charge you a fee. When booking, make sure to book in advance. Private parks generally allow you to book further out. While public parks or national parks have a rolling schedule. That schedule can be anywhere from six to eight months out. If you’re planning on RVing on a popular weekend like Fourth of July, Labor Day, or Memorial Day, be sure to book ahead. Those weekends fill up fast!

If you are dry camping or boondocking, check to make sure you are allowed to park your RV overnight. Some places require a reservation even if there are no amenities being used. Most RV parks or campgrounds that take reservations will let you book online or over the phone. However, they usually will require a deposit.

Now that you have ensured that your basic amenities are taken care of, what extra amenities do the campgrounds offer? Those offerings may range from wi-fi, pool access, a camp store, or even on-site events. Be sure to be on the lookout for those! Now, you know what to be on the lookout for when booking your awesome Summer RV trip! So, get ready to start planning!

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Getting your RV ready for Travel

             The sun is out and the weather is warm. You know what that means? It is time to get your RV ready for Spring! These maintenance steps are important  to do before hitting the road.

             First, make sure you de-winterize your RV. This task marks the official start of RV season! You de-winterize by flushing your RV’s water lines with fresh water. To do this, connect a water drinking hose to the city water connector on the RV. Next, run the water through the entire plumbing system. Make sure you don’t miss anything like an outside shower or your washing machine! After all the antifreeze is gone and there are no traces of it, you can reinstall any water filter cartridges that have been removed. All the antifreeze that has been removed is now in your gray and black tank, so you will want to find a suitable waste disposal site. You will also want to sanitize your RV water system! To sanitize your lines, make sure all the drains are closed. The most efficient way to sanitize is to use a quarter cup of household bleach to every fifteen gallons of water in your fresh water tank. Pour the solution into your fresh water holding tank. Turn on your water pump and run the water through all faucets. Finally, refill your holding tank with freshwater and run until you no longer smell bleach. You may have to do this step a couple times!

Next, an important step is to make sure your HVAC is working. You will want to run both your heat and your AC to make sure they are both functioning properly! You don’t want this warmer weather to heat up your RV with no way to cool it! This is a great time to check your LP levels, too.

Finally, don’t forget to check the outside of your RV. Start low and give the tires a good once over! You don’t want a blowout to happen on the road. Tires lose a percentage of air pressure while in storage. Your RV tires can lose two or more psi per month while sitting in storage. Be sure to check the tire pressure using a quality tire inflation gauge! Next, check the roof. You will want to inspect your RV rooftop for any openings or breaks where water or air can get in. Make sure to really check around your roof vents! Plain and simple, water is the enemy of any RV interior. The sooner you catch the leak the better!

Following these tips will help you make your RV ready to hit the road! These tips seem simple but are very important to make sure that you have a smooth RV season. If you need help de-winterizing your RV or have any question about how to do so, call your local Bankston Motor Homes. We are here to help you out!

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Where will you be this Spring Break?

       Spring break is right around the corner! The first thing you are going to want to decide is where to travel to. There are RV campgrounds nationwide. Each campground will list the amenities that they offer. So, you can find the one that best suits you!

       Do you want a relaxing quiet location? Check out Portland Oregon. It is too amazing to pass up. It offers the best of both worlds. From a quirky city with fantastic food to outdoor destinations. You can visit and hike Mt. Hood and the gorgeous pine forests of the Pacific Northwest. During the month of March, Portland’s food scene is fantastic. More than 120 local restaurants offer incredible specials and deals! Think craft farm to table style menus. Some will even include fresh seafood caught that morning!

       Would you like to visit the beach over Spring break? Head to Isla Blanca State Park in Texas! This beautiful destination promises a beach vacation on the Gulf Coast. This is the perfect location to take your RV and have a relaxing time. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

       Want to hike and be active during your Spring Break? Hit the road and travel north to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. Here you will have great views of arches and rock formations coming up from Lake Michigan. This spot is perfect for all things water! You can kayak, fish, swim, and more.

       Are you interested in a little more classic spring break? Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is the place for you. There are RV campgrounds along the sandy beaches and activities for all ages. You can explore the downtown area with plenty of local restaurants or stroll along the boardwalk and check out all the beach shops. End the night by winning some games at the town’s amusement park!

       Are museums and history your thing? Spend this Spring break driving your RV northeast to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Here you can learn all about the historical significance of Philadelphia. There are plenty of museums that you can visit. Don’t worry, Philadelphia also has a great food scene. After your museum tours, check out the Reading Terminal Market. There are rows upon rows of food stands with classic Philadelphia food.

       This is just the tip of the iceberg of all the places you can travel to this Spring Break. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to plan your RV trip. You can even plan to go to more than one spot! This is a huge benefit of traveling in an RV this Spring break and for any RV trip!

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Holiday Markets to Check Out this Winter

One of the best holiday activities to do while RVing is to check out the holiday markets! The markets are fun for all ages. From shopping to festive food and drinks, make sure to plan your Winter RV trip where you can visit one of these markets.

One of the places you can travel to in your RV is…Chicago! From mid November to late December, Chicago has the Christkindlmarket. It is one of the most popular markets you can check out while RVing in Chicago. It draws inspiration from traditional holiday markets in Germany. There you can find hand carved wooden ornaments and sheepskin slippers. Do not forget to get a drink in the commemorative mug!

Don’t want to travel to the midwest? What about to the east? Head to the downtown holiday market in Washington, DC! Here you can sing along with the musical lineup. Be sure to try their chocolate churros! This is a great market to go to more than once because the vendors rotate throughout the season!

Head even further north to New York City! The Bank of America Winter Village has so much to offer. From over 170 vendors and a 17,000 sq. ft. ice skating rink, you sure do not want to miss the experience. In New York, you can even stop and visit multiple markets around the city! They have one in Columbus Circle, one at Westfield World Trade Center, and another one at Union Square. Be sure to visit them all this Winter during your RV trip!

Don’t worry, the states out west have holiday markets too! Time to travel to Colorado. Georgetown, a tiny historic mining town, transforms into an old fashioned holiday village. When visiting, be sure to spot the Victorian carolers in top hats and bonnets, antique cars, plus they offer carriage rides! It will transport you into the past!

Want to experience southern hospitality during the holiday season? If so, an RV trip to Georgia this Winter is perfect for you! The Savannah Christmas Market is modeled after the old traditional Salzburg markets. Mixing new and old traditions together, you will also see a boat parade of lights and a choreographed water show.

There are plenty of markets that you and your family can visit this Winter! Be sure to check out the nearest big city to your RV campground. Also, check local town websites for any holiday markets or parades they may be hosting too! There is no shortage of fun activities to do while RVing this Winter!

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Spooky Season is Upon Us

Get your pumpkin carving tools, cobwebs, and spooky décor ready! Halloween is right around the corner and the fun doesn’t stop even at the campground. To make sure you are ready for the fun holiday, here are some tips on how to decorate the interior and exterior of your RV.

            For the interior, you can spice it up with accent pieces! Accent pieces are inexpensive ways to add pops of color. From small pumpkins to themed pillows to artificial fall leaves; all will elevate the space. Change out your wall art for witches’ hats and broomsticks. There are endless ways to bring the spooky holiday cheer!

            Another simple way to decorate the interior, is to spice up your linens. If you have bunk beds in your RV, you can change the bed sheets to fall colors or holiday themed to match the rest of the décor. In the kitchen, you can use themed tablecloths, napkins, plates, and more! From disposable to upscale, there is an option for everyone to keep the spooky mood going throughout your RV trip!

            Lights can be for the inside and outside of your RV. Switch up the classic lights for colored or strobing string lights. There are also Halloween themed lights with pumpkins or other themed options now too! Those will always add a fun atmosphere around your RV site. Another fun way to decorate is silhouette decals on your windows. These are lightweight and are space-saving. There are many options from skeletons to witches to cartoon pumpkins! If you have multiple windows, you can decide on a different design for each window!

            For the exterior, think about how you want it to look first. Do you want a Fall classic look, or do you want to go all out with scary props? For that classic look, head to the pumpkin patch! There you can get a variety of different colored and shaped pumpkins. Get enough in all shapes and sizes to sit around your RV door. You can even add bays of hay to sit on or bundled wheat stalks to give it that Fall feel. If you want to go a bit scarier, you can use the pumpkins you got and have some fun! Have a scary face carving contest. After, set the carved pumpkins outside for all your RV neighbors to see. If you have an awning, you can hang cobwebs from it and wrap them around the whole RV. Go to your local Halloween store and you are sure to find foam tombstones, too! A couple of those propped up against the RV will sure give your neighbors a fright.

            As the leaves are changing, so should your décor! When changing your RV’s décor, have fun with it. From a classic Fall look to a more themed look, everyone is sure to have a blast. Plus your RV will stand out at the campground!

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Three Washington State Parks for RVers

Three Washington State Parks for RVers

There are many sights to see out west, and the state of Washington is one that will not disappoint with three fabulous Washington State Parks for RVers to visit!

When summer comes and it’s easier to justify longer trips, driving to the west coast seems much more reasonable.  After all, aren’t long road trips over the summer what some of the best memories are made from? With three Washington State parks for RVers to choose from, why not add this state to your travel plans this year?

For those who like both hiking and time on the water, Steamboat Rock State Park checks the box. Why do we say that? This park has 320 feet of dock, and seven water launches. Which means anglers, swimmers, paddlers, and water sports fans will find this park a real treat!  In addition to all the water-access, there are 13.1 miles of hiking trails and biking trails. This park even has ten miles of horse trails!

Fishing requires a recreational license (including shellfish harvesting). You will also want to check their website for other important info about when their concession stand is open, burn notices, and other visit-related issues. 

The main park has twenty-six standard campsites, 164 full-hookup sites, three cabins, one dump station, seven restrooms (seven ADA) and twenty showers (sixteen ADA).  There is no longer a group camp site available at this time. Also be aware that the website mentions that mosquitos are prevalent, so make sure you take plenty of supplies for both personal protection as well as your campsite’s outdoor space. With so many fun things to enjoy at this state park, you’ll want to be able to make the most of your stay.

Another great option is Twenty-five Mile Creek State Park, which is located on the beautiful Lake Chelan next to the mountains.  This location gives RVers access to a marina, plus the nearby North Cascades National Park. The marina is great for those that want to explore gorgeous Lake Chelan. There are also several great options for day trips or hikes nearby in the North Cascades like Pot Peak, Stormy Mountain, and Devil’s Backbone.  This park is truly a scenic spot to enjoy sunsets, sunrises, and majestic mountain views with the forest nearby.

The park has twenty-five standard campsites, four partial-hookup sites, seven full-hookup sites, one dump station, two restrooms (one ADA) and six showers (two ADA). There is also a concession store for travelers to pick up firewood, ice, and basic supplies.  The concession store & boat fuel are available seasonally.

For a third fantastic stop, try Manchester State Park because it has plenty of campsites with great activities.  Known for its interesting military sights as well as salt-water access, this park is sure to please a wide range of RVers.  This park features 3,400 feet of saltwater shoreline. Visitors can enjoy Kayaking, swimming, and diving (bring your own gear) at this classic beach park with a view of Bainbridge Island on a sunny day. This park has a rocky shoreline and no boat launches, so you will want to plan accordingly.

In addition to the beach park, there is also an old torpedo warehouse that visitors may be able to check out when it’s not being rented as a wedding venue, family reunion spot, or gathering place.  Several structures remain from the park’s time as a coastal defense fort, so history or military buffs will want to check those out as well.

Manchester state park has thirty-five standard campsites, fifteen partial-hookup sites, and two restrooms and showers. Maximum site length is sixty feet (limited availability). One dump station is located near the entrance; no extra fee required while camping. Reservations are year-round and can be made 9 months in advance of selected date

In closing, Washington state is one of the best states to visit in your RV.  If you have not made it there yet, you will want to add this state to your bucket list for sure!

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Four South Carolina State Parks for RVers in 2022

Four South Carolina State Parks for RVers in 2022

In 2021, South Carolina State Parks saw camping occupancy rates averaging 62.6%, and campsite rentals were up 6% over the prior year.  What does this mean for RVers?  That South Carolina is worth checking out! With RVers seeing surges everywhere due to the growing interest in U.S. based tourism, finding great State Parks to visit takes a little more time, but it’s worth the effort!

We’ve got four great State Parks you’ll want to check out if you still have room in your 2022 travel plans for another stop.

  1. Barnwell State Park is best known for its fishing.  With three small lakes, fishing enthusiasts can catch crappie, bream, bass, and catfish. Non-motorized fishing boats are available for rental, plus there are nature trails & picnicking spots available.  This State Park has twenty-five campsites available and 307 acres for visitors to enjoy! Plus pets are allowed in most outside areas provided they are under physical restraint or on a leash.  See the Barnwell State Park website for more info on campsite reservations.
  2. Edisto Beach is located only an hour from Charleston and is one of the four ocean front state parks visitors can check out. The beach campground has seventy-five spots for RVers to choose from.  While not all of them have ocean views, the beach campground is remarkably close to the water & you can find a perfect spot on the camp map when making your reservation.  Live Oak Campground is a bit more inland and is much larger with 130 RV spots.  This park also offers fishing and has partnered with a local company for beach boat tours like dolphin, sunset, and island excursions.  So if the beach is your happy place, this State Park is work looking into!
  3. Baker Creek State Park offers lakeside camping next to the 71,000 acres of Lake Thurmond. With only thirty-four sites to choose from, RVers will want to check ahead to see if they can book a spot on-line.  This lake also features ten miles of rolling, looping mountain bike trails for mountain biking fans! So if you have someone in your group that loves to mountain bike in the woods, this State Park is one to add to your list!
  4. Devils Fork State Park is the only public access point to 7,565-acre Lake Jocassee.  This mountain spring-fed Lake is encompassed by the Jocassee Gorges, which contribute to one of the highest concentration of waterfalls in the eastern U.S.  In addition to the waterfalls, and Lake Jocassee itself, some of the best South Carolina trout fishing is available in this state park.  On top of all these experiences, Scuba Diving in this lake is extremely popular with access to instructors nearby. With all this park has to offer, it’s easy to see why it’s a favorite for all types of RVers.

With all that South Carolina has to offer, we’ve barely scratched the surface of places RVers can go!  Of course there are other impressive cities & RV resorts that could be mentioned – but that would be for another blog post.  In the meantime, we hope you get a chance to make it over to South Carolina this year!

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What to Check On Your RV Before a Trip

What to Check On Your RV Before a Trip

Are you getting ready to hit the road and explore the country in an RV? Fall and winter are both a fantastic time to take a vacation. Did you know that roughly 42% of RVers prefer traveling in the cooler months?

Before you travel, you’ll want to make sure you’ve checked all the boxes for safety and fun. Whether this is your maiden voyage or you’re a seasoned RVer, it never hurts to work with a to-do list.

Check out today’s post for some of the essential things to check on your RV before you pull away from the house.

Do all the Lights Work?

Don’t get caught in the dark. A few minutes spent checking headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals will save trouble later. Having a light out can cause you to get pulled over, in addition to being a safety hazard.

Be sure to check your inside lights as well.  If you have bunks with curtains that draw for privacy you’ll want to make sure the bunk users have lights that work so they can enjoy their space fully.  The same goes for any under-the-cabinet lights that get used a lot.

Are You Ready for the Rain?

Check the windshield wipers and ensure you have enough washer fluid. It’s incredible how much of a difference clean windshields can make, especially if you’re traveling at night or during inclement weather.  Plus if you plan to travel to super-cold climates during the winter that may have freeze warnings, you will want to be sure that your wiper-fluid is suitable for colder temperatures.  People that live up north often swap their wiper-fluid for winter, so the fluid won’t freeze on contact with the vehicle windows when temperatures dip below freezing.

Check the Tires

Take a minute to check your tires. Make sure you have enough air pressure and that the tread is in good condition.

If you’re headed out of state, it’s not a bad idea to check on these items during each stop for gas or food – just to be safe. If you’re not sure what tire pressure is correct for your RV, or you’re not comfortable checking and airing up, let your RV service tech help.

Turn on the Fridge

Did you know it takes about 24 hours for an RV refrigerator to get cold?

If you plan to bring perishable foods, it’s a good idea to turn on the fridge the day before you leave. Then, load up your cold foods just before you hit the road. Just like at home, avoid opening the refrigerator door so that everything stays cold.  You will also want to make sure everyone in the family knows how to make sure the fridge is properly closed for travel.

Do a Battery Check

Since you’ll rely on the house batteries for power, check them before you leave. Using a multimeter or battery voltage checker is the best way to ensure these babies are fully charged and ready to go.

Even if you plan to stay at an RV park with hook-ups, you’ll need battery power for things like the water pump and interior lights while you’re on the road.

Be sure to Unplug

It might make for a hilarious movie script, but failing to do this in real life could create a messy problem. Please don’t pull away from home or your campsite before unplugging. Make sure you unplug from the campground pedestal and disconnect your sewer hose.

Need we say more?

Want to Explore More Things to Check on Your RV?

Preparing for an RV trip can be a lot of fun. Get everyone involved in ticking the boxes on the list of things to check on your RV. For those of you wondering what you should have in your RV tool kit, we have a short video from Mike (Huntsville, AL location) to show you what we’d recommend.

If you want even more tips on preparing for an RV vacation or any other questions related to owning a new RV, contact us. Our team is always happy to help set you up with everything necessary for success.

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Three Georgia RV Parks for RV Travelers

Three Georgia RV Parks for RV Travelers

With State Parks and National Parks bursting at full capacity, what is an RVer to do?  Check out all the cool RV Parks available, of course!  And for those that are looking for a good fall destination that has lots of options, Georgia is a great choice!

In 2018 Georgia welcomed a record 111.7 million visitors into the state.  We understand a lot of travelers are still being cautious, which is why RV travel has become so popular.  But why Georgia?

If you visit the state’s Explore Georgia website, you will soon see why.

Georgia visitors can satisfy a slew of interests like arts & culture, history, shopping, music, and events or festivals.  Which means that even if you are traveling with a small group of friends, or family, everyone can find something they will enjoy during their stay.

For Arts & Culture fans, Georgia has become the home of some unique and fun street art in various neighborhoods.  In addition to the street art possibility, there is a Folk-Art Garden in Calhoun that includes miniature castles, homes, and more. For more on Georgia Arts & Culture check out that section of the Visit Georgia website.

For other unique options, the Georgia Aquarium is a good one.  It’s the largest aquarium in the U.S. and has been featured on the Animal Planet show “The Aquarium”. For History fans, the Booth Museum in Cartersville has a gallery with a letter from every U.S. President plus their portrait.  Again, it’s the only museum like it in the U.S.

There are so many attractions in Georgia, it’s really hard to compile a complete list in just one blog post.

The next big question becomes where to stay?  Well of course that will depend on what you want to see while in Georgia.  However, we have 3 suggestions to get you started.

  • Toccoa Valley Campground in in Blue Ridge, GA. It made the list because it has 5 stars on Trip Advisor and also gets good reviews elsewhere on-line.  There are 30 spaces with full electric, water, and sewer hook-ups.  TVC is located in the Aska Adventure Area where you can hike or bike over 17 miles of beautiful mountain trails just minutes away.  It is also just a short drive to the neighboring towns of Ellijay, Blairsville, Hiwassee, Jasper, Young Harris, Morganton, and more.
  • Fair Harbor RV Park is also a top-rated Georgia RV campground. Located just 1/4-mile West of Interstate 75, off Exit 135 across from the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Georgia this park is near Macon, Warner Robbins, and Atlanta. Fishing in the lake is free (no license needed) which has Bass, Bream, and Catfish.  Tuesday nights they host Bingo, and they offer coffee & sausage on Saturday mornings if you want to socialize.
  • Twin Oaks RV Park is found 2/10 mile east off of I-75 at mile marker exit 127, nine miles south of downtown Perry. This Park is near many area attractions such as the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter, the Warner Robins Air Museum, Andersonville Civil War Site & Museum, Home of Jimmy Carter, and much more. This Park has 68 spots with free wi-fi for all. When you check out the park map, you will see there are plenty of options for electrical connections and all the spots have hook-ups for electrical and water.

Georgia is a large, gorgeous state with many attractions and outdoor fun opportunities for travelers.  If you have not been, you owe it to yourself to check out Georgia’s many unique sights.  And now that you have 3 places you could park your RV while you have fun, we hope you check it out!

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