Four Fantastic Florida RV Parks

Four Fantastic Florida RV Parks

Florida has been a long-time destination for RVers that want to keep warm in the cooler winter months. And the state has many great options for RV owners to choose from, no matter what type of RV experience is desired.  We thought it would be good to share four fantastic Florida RV parks during this time of year, just to show the exciting options this state has available for people that want to hit the road in the cooler months.

1. Camp Gulf

This a popular Florida RV park for all the right reasons! Sugar sand beaches right out our door with all the amenities you could ask for.  This RV park has two heated pools, a spa, golf cart rental, and more!  With a full row of beach-front sites, you will want to call ahead for availability.  Destin is a popular destination for a reason and this park gets great reviews on multiple websites for a reason.

2. Jetty Park Campground

If you have anyone in your group that is a NASA fan, or a space fan, this park is for you! Because of the campgrounds unique location nestled along the Atlantic Ocean and inside beautiful Port Canaveral, it’s not uncommon to see cruise ships arriving/departing, submarines arriving/departing, rocket launches, and marine life. This Florida RV park also offers plenty of creature comforts and full amenities such as large pavilions, fire pits, and 24-hour gated security.  Due to the development of a new cruise terminal, the park has a notice on their website about additional noise.  This park offers a unique experience for RVers and families, so check it out and see if you might want to add it to your bucket list!

3. Grayton Beach State Park

This beach is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in the US and there is plenty to explore because there is a mile of the sugar white beach in this park. The Western Lake (a 100-acre coastal dune lake) is perfect for fishing and paddling and there are more than 4 miles of nature trails for those that want to explore on foot through the coastal forest.  This Florida RV park is a stunning place to relax and unwind absolutely perfect for a weekend getaway. Bring your family to an unforgettable experience that will be forever in their memories.

4. Nature’s Resort RV Park

Play with the manatees at Nature’s Resort RV Park located in historical Homosassa Florida. This park boasts 97 acres of freshwater streams, rivers, wildlife sanctuaries, and yes, guests can even swim with the Homosassa manatees.  On-site amenities include food, 30- and 50-amp hookups, laundry, clean showers, basketball and volleyball courts. For those staying for an extended period, Nature’s Resort has bingo, dances, and potlucks so you can meet your fellow campers.

It’s clear that Florida has a great selection of RV parks that will help RVers create lasting memories in a wide range of settings. Whether you are a nature buff, beach fan, or NASA enthusiast, Florida will have something for everyone in your travel group. And if you’re not sure what to look for when selecting an RV park or resort- check out some more tips here.

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Three of the Best National Park Camping Sites for Your Family’s RV Vacation

Three of the Best National Park Camping Sites for Your Family’s RV Vacation

There is no better way to see the country with your family then road-tripping in your RV. Better yet, you don’t even have to spend a lot of money!

Keep reading for a list of National Park camping sites you’ll want to visit on your next road trip adventure!

1. Rio Grande Village Campground

Located in Big Bend National Park, the Rio Grande Campground has 100 campsites for all types of campers. It doesn’t matter if travelers want to tent camp, park a travel trailer, or park a motor home (up to 40 feet).  Nestled in a grove of cottonwood trees each campsite has a full hookup, a picnic table, charcoal grill, and a storage locker to keep your food away from wild critters.

During the day you can explore Big Bend National Park by hiking, biking or fishing. There are plenty of spots to view wildlife and take fantastic photos of the scenery. Big Bend is also home to hundreds of bird species and is the perfect place for avid bird watchers. At the campsite, during your downtime, you can enjoy picnicking, boating and swimming.

The campsites are first-come, first-serve, but there are 43 sites that can be reserved between the middle of November and the middle of April if you plan accordingly.

2. Mammoth Yellowstone National Park Campground

This campsite can accommodate 85 single families who wish to either tent camp, park a trailer trailer, or drive their motor home (up to 75 feet long). It is located near Mammoth Hot Springs and the Gardner River and each site has a fire ring, grate, and picnic table. All these features make these sites perfect for roasting hot dogs and making s’mores.

Campers can enjoy the world-famous Yellowstone National Park geysers and take in all the beautiful scenery and wildlife. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails, photography spots and places to go fishing and boating.

The camp takes reservations on a first-come, first-serve basis and is open for year-round camping.

3. Colter Bay Village RV Park Campground

Grand Teton National Park is home to the Colter Bay Village RV Park campground which is just a quick walk from Jackson Lake. There are 103 full hookup sites for RVs and trailers, and most are shaded and have a picnic table.

Grand Teton National Park is the perfect place for outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking, exploring historical sites, kayaking and canoeing. The wide-open sky is wonderful at night for star gazing and photography. Jackson, Wyoming also is a short drive away for history lovers and there are also some quaint shops and restaurants to explore as well.

Colter Bay Village RV Park is a very popular campground and a reservation is needed. Sites fill up quickly so if you plan on visiting between June and September it is recommended to reserve your spot before January 1st.

Learn More About National Park Camping Today!

These are just a few of the many National Park camping sites in the country that your family could enjoy. So pack your bags, and prepare your RV for one of the best vacations your family can take.

To learn how to prepare for your big trip, visit our website today for more information!

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5 Things to Do Before Your First RV Trip

5 Things to Do Before Your First RV Trip

There’s nothing more exhilarating than hitting the open road for the first time in a brand-new RV.

But, if you want to make sure your first trip is a good one, there are a few things you’ll need to do to prepare ahead of time.

Planning your first RV trip, but aren’t sure where to start? We’re here to help!

Here are five things you need to do before setting out on your first big RV trip.

  1. Know Your RV Trip Route

What happens if you’re driving down a narrow, two-lane road, and you come to a bridge or tunnel that is too low for your RV?

Well, unless you want to scrape the ceiling off your ride, you’re in for a very awkward U-turn. This type of scenario is why it’s essential to know your route before you hit the road.

One of the most important things for you is to know how tall your RV is. Don’t rely on manufacturer’s numbers or the owner’s manual. Instead, get up there on the roof and measure it yourself. Make sure that you find the highest point to measure from – not the roof of the RV, but rather the top of the AC or satellite dish. Or any other tall thing you have up there on the roof. Only trust the measurements you take.

Also print out a label and put it on your windshield (like those service and oil change reminder stickers) or on your dash. This way you are not relying on memory when you come across a clearance sign. You’ll know whether you can fit or not for sure.

For fifth wheelers, remember to measure when your RV is hooked up to your truck. You want to know what the RV clearance height is when you are driving, not when you are parked.  For more info on how to measure your RV height check out Mark Polk’s video.

And while most GPS software and RV apps do their best to note low clearances, if you plan to take several trips a year, it is worth checking out LowClearances.com which maintains a database of over 4,000 low clearances that you can download and use in conjunction with many trip planning apps or install into your own GPS unit.

One final tip worth noting is that those signs indicating the bridge clearance may be old and out of date…When you see a clearance sign, don’t ignore them. They are there for a reason and that is to protect you and your vehicle from harm. And because those signs may not have been updated after the last repaving job, take six inches off the clearance level. That’s SIX INCHES LOWER than what the sign declares. This will help account for variances that can come from re-paving, lower entrances than exits, or even ceiling debris.

By studying the route you’re going to take, you’ll be able to plan for detours and make sure your path is clear for RV travel.

On top of that, knowing your route inside and out ahead of time will help you avoid missing a turn should you lose your GPS signal.

  1. Create an RV Trip Packing Checklist

Where are you planning on going, and what exactly are you going to need once you get there?

Nothing puts a damper on an RV trip like not packing enough supplies or forgetting something important. So, before you set out on the road, take some time to write out a checklist to help you navigate the planning and packing processes a little easier.

Plan out meals, personal needs, and make a note of any extra supplies you’ll need during your trip — like fishing rods or rock climbing gear. Some RVers even keep separate lists so they can re-use the most often needed ones and modify them as they travel more.  Why? Because a beach trip will often include beach towels but tailgating at your favorite stadium will often include fan-gear. You can save yourself future time by creating different lists like “beach list” and “tailgate list” for reuse.

While on the open road, the unexpected can happen. So, you’ll also want to make a note to stock up on emergency supplies like first aid gear or road flares.

  1. Make Reservations

Are you planning on making a stop at an RV campground during your trip?

You might want to make sure you have a reservation before you show up to a full park.

Before you leave your house, take some time to put together a complete schedule of your trip, then make sure you stick to it!

Creating a schedule will help you set reservations so you can ensure you’ll have a great place to park your home away from home.

  1. Check Your RV

When getting ready to set out on a long car trip, you usually take your car to get checked out before hitting the road.

This same rule goes for your RV.

Before you start your adventure, get your RV checked out to ensure everything is in working order, so you don’t experience unexpected delays or load/weight related issues. This means doing things such as checking tire pressure, tightening bolts and screws that may have come loose, and/or checking your slides.

  1. Understand Your RV’s Electrical Load

Your RV isn’t like your house — there’s a limit to how much electricity you can use.

Before you head out, make sure you take some time to figure out what your RV’s electrical load is, and how many appliances you can run at any given time.

If you’re not sure how to do this, you can use a surge protector like Southwire Surge Guard that has an amp monitoring feature.  (You can contact Mike in Parts at Bankston if you want more info on the surge protector.)  The simplest DIY option is to take some time while your RV is hooked up, with your surge guard in place and have everything turned off.  Then turn on one device at a time and note how much power is being used for each item/appliance. For example, turn on your AC first and watch the gauge, and then after you’re sure the reading is steady, write down that amount on you chart/piece of paper.  Then after you turn off the AC, turn on the microwave and write down the amount used for that appliance.  If you do this for every piece of electrical equipment in your RV, you will have a handy chart that will let you know what devices you can have running at the same time.  Many seasoned RV owners post this list inside a cabinet or keep it with their other lists so they can check it whenever they want to.

There’s no electrical overage available- so once your RV is at maximum capacity it will not run any more devices.  Be sure to measure how many amps you are using when you are charging your phones from outlets, or your tablets, or even running your TVs.

You can also calculate the maximum load each appliance will draw if you would rather do that. A good example of how to run those calculations as well as a chart with some standard power amounts can be found at AxelAddict.com

Understanding your electrical load will help you avoid any accidental energy issues while out on the road.

Make the Most of Your RV Trip

Now that you know how to prepare for your first RV trip, it’s time to get packing!

Are you looking for more advice, tips, or tricks to help you make the most of your RV adventures?

We’ve got you covered.

Check out the rest of our blog for more helpful articles or visit one of our locations today to find the RV of your dreams.

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What to Look for When Choosing RV Resorts

What to Look for When Choosing RV Resorts

Forty million Americans take their RVs on vacation at least once a year. Some choose backyard campsites and others opt for luxury RV resorts.

The RV resorts you choose will affect how enjoyable your vacation is.

You need a space that accommodates everything you want to do on vacation, as well as your unique personality. Some resorts are better suited to young families with children, while others cater to retirees.

To find the perfect RV resort for your getaway, keep reading. Here are some things to consider when browsing resort listings.

Full Hookup Stations

For ultimate convenience, choose a resort that has all your hookups in one station.

Some resorts are set up so you can hook up your sewer, water, and electric at the same time. That is certainly important if you do not want to drive to empty your black and gray tanks before you leave the resort area.

Keep in mind that the amps in different hookup stations can vary. If your RV needs 50 amps, check that the resort can accommodate this requirement before you book.

Ample Space

Unfortunately, RV resort forums are littered with complaints about small lots.

Being squished between your neighbors isn’t exactly ideal — especially if you have slides.

Look for lots that allow you to have all slides open plus more space. This gives you some extra breathing room and perhaps even a yard to enjoy the outdoors at night.

If you like camping with lawn chairs, a hammock, or outdoor dining furniture, find a resort that can accommodate.

Your Style of Amenities

What kind of traveler are you?

Do you look forward to socializing with all the other campers? Or are you looking for a solitary, tranquil escape from everyday life?

Your style of RVing affects the type of resort you’ll most enjoy.

If you enjoy socializing, look for resorts with community events and public gathering spaces. They might have communal firepits, dining areas, a pool, and more.

But, if you prefer to feel alone in nature, you don’t need those amenities. Look for the local attractions and lookouts for you to check out.

Even/Level Pads

This last resort feature should not be overlooked.

When driving in and out of a lot, the pad level matters. Uneven or sloping ground is much more difficult to maneuver on, especially with a 40-foot rig.

Inquire about the pads in the lots. The last thing you want is a slanted lot and your water pooling in one corner of the shower.

You don’t necessarily need asphalt or concrete lots specifically. All that matters, even if it’s grass or gravel, is that it’s leveled.

Interested in Learning More About Choosing RV Resorts?

The RV resort you choose can make or break your experience. Luckily, there’s ample information online about all the different RV resorts.

Keep the tips above in mind when choosing an RV resort for your next vacation.

To help with your resort research, check out this post. It will give you a few good suggestions on where you might want to spend your next trip.

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7 Valuable RV Trip Planning Tips: 2019 Edition

7 Valuable RV Trip Planning Tips: 2019 Edition

According to the RV Industry Association, 10 million households own recreational vehicles (RVs).

While RVing used to be associated primarily with retired people, the ages for people owning RVs now range from 25 to 75.

That means many millennials are also now enjoying the RV lifestyle, too.

This comes as no surprise since RV trip planning lends itself to adapting to many different types of vacations from weekend stays to several months. RVs make it possible to stay just about anywhere in comfort and convenience.

Plan ahead for your RV trips to make the most of your vacation time. Here are some tips.

RV Trip Planning Tips

Traveling by RV has a lot of perks. You can take a lot more of your stuff with you on vacation. You can stop along your route anytime you like.

You can also venture off the beaten path, traveling through areas you wouldn’t see by taking a train or plane.

But any great trip requires good planning. By knowing where you plan to go and what you plan to do when you get there, you will know what you need to pack.

And, if you’ve made arrangements in advance, you’ll know you have a great spot to set up your RV each night and already be familiar with the accommodations and local area.

Below are some great tips to make your next RV trip even better.

1. Start Planning Early

Some campgrounds and RV parks book up many months in advance.

So if there are particular spots you know you may want to visit or stay at in the future, spend some time checking out their normal booking schedules now.

Put reminders on your calendar if necessary to remind you to follow up if the information you need isn’t available yet for a particular site. Some may say to check back at a particular month or date.

2. Plan Your Route

Many people may know where their destination for their trip while others may be traveling in a loop for sightseeing.

When planning your route, you’ll want to plan RV traveling based on how many hours a day you can comfortably drive. You will need time for breaks to get out and stretch your legs and to keep the driver alert.

Rather than just stopping when it feels right or necessary, take some time before you leave home to look at some online maps and investigate some of the places along your route for possible places for your breaks.

You can also note the truck stop gas stations for where to get gas, making it easier for you to get in and out with your RV. You’ll also want to make note of toll roads to avoid (if possible) and plan around narrow road conditions.

Depending on your RV road trip timeline, you may have time for extra sightseeing and checking out local attractions. Be sure to add these stops into your plans so you can add additional overnight stops to your itinerary if needed.

3. Make Reservations Before Leaving Home

As soon as you have your route planned, you can begin making reservations. This will include renting an RV if you don’t have your own.

Consider your budget and your preferences when determining where to stay. Different parks and campground offer various options in what amenities they offer.

Be sure to print out confirmations for all reservations to bring along with you on your trip. Don’t rely on being able to pull the information up on your phone or tablet to show the park ranger or campground manager. You may not have cell service at some locations.

4. RV Park Apps

There are many apps available to help RV travel planners. Everything from maps, weather, where to find gas and stations accessible for larger vehicles, to a vast array of places you can park your RV for the night.

Check out and download apps to help make both your trip planning and your trip itself easier. Some are free but you may find some are worth the money.

5.  Make a Packing List

Once you know where you’re going and have a good idea of what you’ll be doing once you get there, it’s time to make a packing list.

You may find it easier to break things down by category to think about what you’ll need to take. Clothing, cooking, swimming (or other sporting activity), bathing are some of the categories requiring unique items to bring along.

Also, make notes to be sure to bring along any documentation related to the service and maintenance for your RV. Along with information for your RV insurance, AAA or other membership cards, and tools and other items to maintain your RV on the road. You’ll also need items like bungee cords to secure items during travel.

While on your trip, note down anything you needed to buy that you forgot to bring along. So you’ll remember to bring it next time.

Keep your updated list for future RV road trip planning.

6.  Label Your Electronics (or Make a List)

Since your RV has its own electrical circuit, you will need to know how much of a load it can handle at one time. So do some homework before traveling to determine your RVs electrical load and how much the appliances you plan to take need in order to run.

Then label your electronics with the amount of power they need to run. Or make a list and post it somewhere it will be easily viewable inside your RV.

By knowing these amounts, you will be able to plan your activities to keep your power usage within safe limits. For instance, you may not be able to run your heating or air conditioning while preparing meals.

7.  Make Sure to Secure Items Before Traveling

To keep you and your passengers safe while traveling, make sure to secure anything you have added to the RV each time you move from place to place.

It doesn’t take much of a turn or a huge break in speed to send things hurling into the air. Use bungee cords, cabinet and door locks, and any other items appropriate to your needs to keep items in place while your RV is moving.

Start Planning Your RV Trip Today

There are so many options for where you can go and see when you plan RV trips. Mountains, deserts, lakeside, national parks, and forests are just a few of the options available to you.

So start your RV trip planning today and turn your travel dreams into reality.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about traveling by RV or if you are looking to rent or buy an RV.

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Keystone Montana Fifth Wheels Compared to Grand Design Solitude Fifth Wheels

Keystone Montana Fifth Wheels Compared to Grand Design Solitude Fifth Wheels

An Overview of Key Differences to Help You Choose Between the Keystone Montana & Grand Design Solitude

Over the past three years customers have purchased 27,349 Montana and Grand Design Solitude fifth wheels.  Montana has been building fifth wheels for 21 years and is the most experienced luxury fifth wheel manufacturer in the industry with over 110,000 built.  In fact, over half of the production workers in the Montana plant have been building Montanas for over a decade making the Montana plant the most experienced RV work force in the industry.  This experience has resulted in Montana having the most repeat buyers, most full time RVers, and highest resell value of any fifth wheel on the market at this time.  Grand Design’s Solitude is a newer product with one tenth of the production history and a growing group of dealers offering their product.

 

In order to compare these two different fifth wheels, this article will outline some of the key differences in chassis, construction, exterior features, and available options.

Chassis Differences between Solitude & Montana:

  • Montana features patented Max-Turn Technology which allows for the best turning radius in the industry- Solitude lacks this feature
  • Montana’s Hitch Vision mirror on front cap with led light allows for easy hookup to the trailer day or night- the Solitude lacks this feature
  • Montana uses a 12 inch I beam chassis on all floor plans that is heavier duty, reduces the stress on the sidewalls, and supports more weight.  Solitude uses a 10 inch I beam chassis on some floor plans and a 12 inch I beam on other floor plans
  • Montana features a Road Armor suspension equalizer with 6 inches of axle travel, rubber shock absorbers on top and bottom, ½ inch shackle plates, and greaseable wet bolts. Solitude uses a suspension equalizer with 3 inch of axel travel, no rubber shock absorber at the top, ¼ inch shackle plates, and no wet bolts
  • Montana features the Road Armor hitch pin that reduces or eliminates chucking while towing and features a pivoting roto flex head. Solitude’s hitch pin does not have a pivoting head which does not keep it in contact with the hitch pin’s rubber shear shock absorbers when there are bumps in the road

Construction and Exterior Feature Differences between Solitude and Montana:

  • Montana uses one-piece roto cast holding tanks. Solitude has two piece holding tanks with a seam in the middle that can be more susceptible to leaks
  • Montana uses color coded and numbered electrical wiring. Solitude uses all white wires and does not use numbers.  (This makes electrical repairs significantly more difficult to trace on the Solitude and more costly to complete.)
  • Montana runs its water lines on the lower deck in the floor on top of spun fiberglass insulation. Solitude runs their water lines in the underbelly which could make water lines more susceptible to freezing up.
  • Montana uses an In-Line-High-Capacity heating system which means a 3-inch X 14-inch aluminum heat duct runs in the floor from the back wall to the staircase. In contrast, the Solitude splices 4-inch dryer vent hoses off the furnace to heat the lower deck.  (When heat ducts are spliced multiple times with bends and turns it is typical to have hot and cold spots, heat loss, and difficulty maintaining a consistent temperature.)
  • Montana comes standard with rain gutters over the slide boxes.  The rain gutters on Montanas also have a track in them for slide awnings so if a customer decides to add slide awnings it is a simple addition (add less costly).  Solitude does not use rain gutters.
  •  Montana has prep for solar to the roof. Solitude does not.
  • Montana has a power channel on its exterior awnings. Solitude does not.
  • Montana uses solid metal locking handles on exterior baggage doors. Solitude has plastic handles.
  • Montana’s auto leveling touch pad is located on the outside of the units for easy access and does not require bending over into the pass-through to get to the touch pad. Solitude places the leveling pad in the pass-through.
  • Montana has slide selector valves that allow the user to choose whether to have all the slides in or out. On Solitude there is no Slide Selector available.
  •  Montana has 2 attic vents to help manage moisture. Montana places one attic vent behind the main A/C and one attic vent in front of the second A/C to prevent mold and mildew.  Solitude has only one attic vent at the center point of the unit, which places the only vent extremely far from the air conditioning units which are a large source of moisture in the RV attic space.
  • Montana comes standard with a 16,500 BTU heat pump.  This electric heat source means that a Montana owner does not have to run the furnace and burn propane to heat their unit in temperatures a little above freezing.  Solitude does not offer a heat pump.
  • Montana has a double laminated rear wall.  In the event of an accident or a repair to the rear wall, the rear wall on the Montana can be removed without disrupting the side walls or electrical channels.  Solitude on has a single laminated rear wall.
  • Montana features two doors and compartments in the front bulkhead area.  One door for storage or a generator and another door to access the battery and hydraulic area.  Solitude has one compartment and door for these areas.
  • Montana’s optional full body paint includes painted baggage door handles, fender skirting, and bulkhead.  Solitude does not paint these items.

Power Options Available on Montana:

  • Montana offers an optional 265-watt solar panel with a 30-amp controller and a 2000-watt inverter.  In addition, this option includes inverting the living room TV outlet, refrigerator outlet, a kitchen outlet, and a bedroom outlet.  This allows a customer that pulls off into a rest stop to be able to run their lights, tv, make a pot of coffee, run the refrigerator, and use a CPAP or charge a cell phone the bedroom.  This option is not available on Solitude

Legacy package option on Montana fifth wheels offer additional features such as:

  • Disc Brakes (not available on Solitude)
  • Rear Cap (not available on Solitude)
  • Hard wood framing (not available on Solitude)
  • Power Cord reel (not available on Solitude)
  • Side view and rear backup cameras (not available on Solitude)
  • Surge Protector (not available on Solitude)
  • IN – Command (not available on Solitude)
  • Generator ready (optional on Solitude)

In addition to the many differences in the physical construction and features of the two units, Montana does offer a warranty for full time RVing.  For those considering full-time RVing this is important and some units (like the Solitude) do not have this type of warranty available.

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RV Financing Is the Best Option for Financial Flexibility

RV Financing Is the Best Option for Financial Flexibility

There are plenty of options available when you’re looking to buy a new RV.  To this end, we’ll explore below why financing is one of the best options for you, and how you can find the terms that are suitable for you.

1. There are a Wide Variety of  RV Financing Options

If you are trying to buy a new RV, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of options available through banks, credit unions, and other institutions. This means that you can find a lender that can assist you with the arrangements that make sense.

In addition to dealership lending, you’ll be able to look into third-party banks that make opening an account simple and straightforward. Just keep in mind that RV dealerships have access to a wide range of lenders and can often help buyers get access to lenders that individuals might not be able to access on their own.

2. You May Be Able to Deduct Your Interest

Another perk that many people don’t know about is that you can deduct the loan interest on your taxes. This way, you’ll be able to receive a nice chunk of change for your tax refund.

So not only do you conserve your personal cash by taking out a loan, you can take advantage of some tax benefits that might further your over-all financial goals.

3. A Quality Down Payment Matters

If you really want to be sure that you are getting the ideal RV financing terms, it’s about what you do on the front end. By taking the time to put together a down payment, you not only knock some principal off of the price tag, but you can get more favorable terms as a whole.

For best results, make sure that you put together a down payment of about 10 percent if possible. This way, you’ll be able to make your monthly payments more feasible and affordable.

4. A Loan Opens Up Your Options

When you are purchasing a new RV, your loan options will open you up to a series of different RV types- which means more choices for you!

Whether you are looking into a travel trailer, fifth wheel, or a motor home, having lending resources at your disposal gives you options. These loans come in handy when you are trying to buy either a new or a used RV as well.  (And if you are not sure where to start, our finance department has been helping happy RVers finance their purchases for almost 50 years.)

You’ll also be able to have some money left over to buy extra RV equipment to help you in your travels. This way, you’ll be prepared for anything that the road throws your way.

Get the RV Financing That You Need

When you are looking into the best RV financing possible, these are the tips that you’ll need to keep in mind. Thankfully, there are plenty of lenders that support RV loans, so you should be able to get a quality RV that will also fit your budget.

Consider these points and be sure to check back with us for all your RV needs. Stay tuned to check out information on RV parks, maintenance and so much more.

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9 Essential Phone Apps to Add to your RV Tool Kit

9 Essential Phone Apps to Add to your RV Tool Kit

We are sharing a fresh list of 9 essential phone apps to help make your RV life a bit easier this month. Some of these you might have heard of before, but we hope there is at least 1 or 2 on the list that are new to you. Here is our list of the top 8 tools worth checking out:

RVing Phone Apps for both Apple and Android:

  • Gas Buddy– it’s free and helps you find the cheapest gas in your area on the go! Gas prices are for USA and Canada only…and for every gas price reported you’ll earn points toward prize giveaway entries…They give away a $100 gas cards to keep reviewers motivated to share info.
  • Trucker path – No matter what type of RV you have, we all know it’s easier to pull through a gas station that is made for longer, bigger vehicles.  Trucker Path will help you find the closest truck-friendly gas station, let you know if overnight parking is available nearby, inform you of low clearance issues, while also giving you access to navigation, real time overnight parking estimates, and reviews from their 600K drivers updating info.  This app is also claims to show which Walmart locations are overnight stay verified. (for iphone users try Truck Stops and Travel Plazas)
  • RV parks & Campgrounds by ParkAdvisor (both) – this app shows a map and users click on their state and keep enlarging to see map pins that show RV Parks. While it does not claim to be an all-inclusive list, after a few clicks we discovered many of RV parks that appeared to be reviewed by seasoned travelers.  Comments were clearly written to inform new travelers of key issues that RVers would want to know about like “many dogs roaming the park”, or “not a ‘resort’ by our definition, wooden steps had been built for several, decks had been added for several, and the bath house was in bad need of repairs”, or “Great campground with beautiful park. Spacious, paved, shaded camping spaces each with a picnic table and fire pit…
  • Oh Ranger! Park Finder is an excellent resource for RVers too -Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder contains an exclusive database with information on thousands of different types of public lands, which can be searched to find activities like RVing, Hiking, Boating, Camping, etc.
    The app scours databases that include info on several different types of public lands including:
    National Parks
    • State Parks
    • National Forests
    • Wildlife Refuges
    • Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sites
  • KOA App– allows users to filter, reserve, and mark campgrounds as a favorite in the app… and driving directions and KOA campground info is supposed to be available off-line which can be super helpful!
  • WeatherBug (for Android and Apple) -When driving and traveling, accurate and current weather info is important for both safety and sight-seeing plans. WeatherBug, the best free weather app, powered by the world’s largest network of professional weather stations, providing the fastest weather alerts, real-time weather conditions, accurate hourly forecasts & 10-day forecasts, 18 weather maps including Doppler radar, satellite, lightning alerts, precipitation, local temperature, local pressure, local radar, wind chill, heat index, humid, wind, pollen, UV and much more!

RVing Phone Apps that are Apple Only:

  • All Stays Camp and RV (iphone only) is on almost ever app review list we found on-line. For those with iphones, a few clicks gives users info on areas to camp and RV.
  • LifePics is an app that is free and lets you order all of your iphone photos throug the LifePics Photofinisher network.  This is network hsa over 18,000 stores located all over the world where you can print your photos and pic them up at places like CVS, Office depot, Ritz/Wolf Camera, etc.

RVing Website we had to include that’s not an App:

  • RVDumps.com – this is not an app- but we tested it on our mobile phones and the website appears to be mobile responsive. Plus, we could not find another app that provides dumping station info nationwide.  Using a mobile phone as a hot spot, or using free wi-fi at a restaurant, RVers can hop on RVDumps.com and find a geographic map of the US and then navigate visually by selecting a state, and selecting different push-pin location markers for dump stations.  What’s fabulous is the little pop up for each push-pin will show if the dump station is supposed to be free or if a fee is required. It also appears as if the free dump stations might color coded differently from the paid dump stations. When testing the light blue ones seemed to be free and the dark blue icons appeared to be paid.

There are plenty of other travel apps and sight seeing apps to choose from, but with these top picks installed on your phone you’ll be well on your way to a successful trip this spring!

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Thor Chateau 28Z Motorhome Review

Thor Chateau 28Z Motorhome Review

Our family took out the Thor Chateau 28Z recently.  This was our first trip in a Chateau, and it was noticeably smaller than the Forest River 3011DS (29ft 11 inches versus 32 ft 3 inches in the 3011DS).  However, even with about a yard difference in length, we had ample room for our family of four.  The Chateau is designed to sleep 7, but that may depend on the size of your travelers.

Reviewing the sleeping lay out, let’s start with the dinette that converts to a sleeping space.  Our 9 yr old son had no problem sleeping in the space, but it might be tight if your kids are a bit older or larger.  However, the bunk over cab area is quite spacious and does not disappoint.  Plus, the sofa across from the dinette converts to a queen.  Therefore, if your family has a few teen-age kids, there is ample room for at least 2 in the bunk over the cab, 2 on the queen sleeper, and one on the dinette (2 if they are small!).  Including two more adults sleeping in the bedroom this Class C will easily sleep 7.

A couple of other positives worth noting: there are plenty of seat belts for travelers to choose between when riding in the cabin of the RV.  The dinette had two seatbelts and the sofa had three, so passengers have good seating choices when riding along. We also liked that the ladder for the bunk over cab could stay down while my son slept in the dinette area. This made it easy for the bunk sleeper to get down and visit the restroom at night, or get a drink from the kitchen, etc.  There were plenty of plugs for our electronics in the Chateau as well.

This was also our first time going to an area that had no campsites available.  Due to the lack of camp parking & the influx of travelers, we chose to stay in a Walmart parking lot overnight.  The Chateau had plenty of privacy blinds and finding a place to park was not an issue at all.  My husband had called ahead to ask (just to be safe!) and the manager on duty suggested that we part around the side, so we did.  The only surprise we had was in the morning when I walked out – there was a Class A parked in the next aisle over.

To summarize, we found the Chateau very comfy.  The few ‘cons’ that we noticed were the turning radius (my husband commented on this while navigating the 2 lane county roads we took to avoid I-65), the lack of stabilizers to help it rock a bit less while parked, and the smaller restroom (as compared to the Forest River 3011DS with the shower on one side and the lavatory on the other).

The Thor Chateau has a few key ‘pros’ that make it an excellent choice for those that want a Class C under 30 feet long.  First, it has a very efficient floor plan that allows for good movement throughout the RV.  Second, it sleeps 7 very easily.  Third, it has an abundance of windows – so for those that like to see outside from their bed, there are windows by every sleeping area (3 in the bedroom!) that make for excellent views from almost every space.

For a smaller Class C with plenty of sleeping areas, the Thor Chateau is worth checking out.

P.S.  This content was originally shared in our “From the Road” newsletter, so if you enjoyed this post- please sign up to get our newsletters in the future!

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Forester Forest River 3011DS RV Review

Forester Forest River 3011DS RV Review

 

     We are novice RVers so the Forester 3011DS is the first motorhome we’ve ever taken out on the road. For starters, we have a boy (9yrs) and a girl (11yrs) so the multiple sleeping options were great for enabling everyone to have their own space.Specifically, the cab over bunk option with the privacy curtains and cup holder made it seem like my daughter had her own little room. She quickly figured out she could control her own light and air vent, so she was very happy. Given that my son was a bit jealous, she invited him up to hang out with her in “her space” while my husband whipped up a quick dinner.  (I also made a quick trip up there and would like to note there was plenty of room for the two of us. My daughter is 4′ 10″ and about 120 pounds as well. With the max weight of 220Kg, two kids could easily sleep in the bunk over cab.) With the safety netting it also provides some good extra storage for bedding, blankets and pillows while on the road.

 

      We are not “foodies” while we are on the road, so most of our cooking was more basic in nature. My husband and I both cooked eggs and sausage for breakfast and some hot dogs for snacks. The propane 3 burner stove made breakfast a breeze in the morning (we ate lunch and dinner with friends.) That said, the fridge had plenty of room for us for the weekend. Truthfully- there was more than enough room for a 3 day weekend and we had a full gallon of milk in the fridge the whole time. We did have to make an effort to tidy after every meal, because the long counter along the kitchen side seemed to encourage leaving things out. That said, it was good to have the counter room to set out plates and cups with food on them for the kids to take to the dinette.The sofa converts to a queen-sized sleeper and was quite large once opened up. To keep things simple, I brought a fitted queen size sheet from home and slipped that right over all the sofa cushions so it felt more like a bed to my son. With a blanket and a pillow he was all set, and picking up in the morning was quite easy. The only downside to the sleeper sofa being large is that once it was down, it was harder to get to the bunk over the cab to wish my daughter good night. It also cut off access to the seats in the cab, but since we put up the privacy curtains first that was also no big deal.While talking about the interior living space it is worth noting that there are plenty of TVs (3 to be exact) and that all the inside and outside speakers can be controlled from one central panel. There is also a main control screen by the dinette and in the bedroom so lights, AC, propane, etc., can all be controlled by the touch of a button.One of our biggest surprises was the queen bedroom! My husband and I share a king-sized bed at home, so we were unsure about what kind of sleep we would get in a queen. (Especially since an RV queen is a bit smaller than a standard queen.) The mattress that comes in the 3011DS is outstanding! While it was a bit smaller, it made up for the size in comfort. Again, we brought sheets and a blanket from home, and once the bed was made up it was quite cozy. Also, the slide-out gives the back room the feeling of being a bit more spacious, but the small walk space in front of the wardrobe is really not suitable for a larger person. I am 5’2″ and 120lbs and I found it a bit tight. I could stand, and open doors and stuff, but often found myself sitting on the bed while getting items in and out of the wardrobe. The wardrobe itself is lined with cedar, which was a nice surprise. Cedar is a natural bug repellent and has a nice light scent too!

      Everyone talks about the small showers and bathrooms in RVs, so I would like to share a couple of things we noticed about this model that made it very functional. The multi-purpose bathroom door made it much easier for individuals to maintain their privacy while showering. Since we were at the lake, all of us needed showers in the evening, and we were all able to cycle through that process by closing the bath & bedroom section of the motorhome off, while the rest of the family hung out in the living area eating and visiting before bed time. The shower also has privacy glass- so you can see a body in there, but not the actual person. The privacy glass came in handy when one person was in the shower the next morning and another needed to use the toilet. Once again- the double duty door afforded the person that needed to relieve themselves their privacy without taking privacy away from the person showering.Since we were only out for a few days, and were at an RV resort, we were hooked up to city water and power. That said, my husband did empty the black water and grey water with no issues. When we were doing our walk through at the dealership, our tech commented on how “nice” the black tank hose was. These new hoses use clamps to secure, rather than a twist-type seal, which made the hook up and take off super-easy.Also, we drove to the RV park on Friday night, on Memorial Day weekend. My husband said the 3011DS handled “okay” but since he drives a sports car, he noticed a good bit of slack in the wheel. It was not as responsive as he was used to. However, after the drive back during the day and said it was much easier and he felt much better on the 2nd drive.In closing, the 3011DS is a sweet Class C that will easily sleep the 7 as specified. For us, we felt that having 7 in the unit would be a bit full, but for our family of 4 it was perfect. For our first trip out, we were really pleased with all the storage and how easy it was for people to have some personal space at the end of the day. We can definitely recommend this unit for a family of 4-5.
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