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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6 Western National Parks That Are a Must-See

6 Western National Parks That Are a Must-See

Everybody and their aunt already has a Facebook album dedicated to their trip to the Grand Canyon. Not to take away from its splendor; it’s absolutely breathtaking.

However, for today, we would like to switch it up. There are many lesser-known western National Parks that are just as special to the appreciative eye.

Read ahead to learn more about some of the most beautiful national parks in the US.

Six Western National Parks You Need to See

Here are six of the best National Parks in the US that represent the west. They are great options for a visit!

  1. Olympic National Park

A quintessential west coast national park, this gem of Washington state has it all.

There are not many places in the world, let alone the USA, where you can enjoy mountains, forests, lakes, and the ocean in one place.

You can hike in the magical Hoh Rainforest, the largest temperate rainforest in the country.

  1. Mesa Verde

If you know Mesa Verde is Spanish for ‘green table’,  you are ready for a middle school-level Spanish class.

Jokes aside, Mesa Verde, located in Colorado, is home of the Ancestral Puebloan Cliff Dwellings.

These structures were essentially carved from the cliff well over 500 years ago. The cultural and anthropological importance is immeasurable. Thus, the area has National Park status and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  1. Petrified Forest

This park offers some of the stranger curiosities for travelers. Located among the desert badlands, the Petrified Forest consists of the remains of ancient trees that underwent a process known as petrification.

This chemical process resulted in the preservation of logs that were living with the dinosaurs.

The resulting ‘stone’ is beautiful but don’t be tempted to steal a piece. This can result in legal penalties and an unbreakable curse.

  1. Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park is one of the most unique US National Parks. Road trip enthusiasts must add it to their itineraries. Located in California, it gets its name from the tall rock formations that characterize its surreal landscape.

This park features many natural rock formations that are the result of multiple volcanoes that overflowed with lava about 23 million years ago. Those lava flows slid around and became the unique structures that populate this park.  This park is primarily for hikers and climbing enthusiasts with trails that will satisfy families looking for light hikes as well as adventurers that are looking for more strenuous trails. Check the park website for overnight options- since reservations are required at this time.

  1. Lassen Volcanic National Park

This is another California national park you might not have heard of but is more than worth the trip.

It is home to at least one of each of the four types of volcanos found on Earth, making it a science buff’s dream.

You can also enjoy the lakes, bubbling mud pits, and a large trail network.

  1. Channel Islands

It’s hard to find a more special place than the Channel Islands. Perhaps, its relative obscurity adds to its uniqueness.

It consists of an archipelago of tiny islands featuring idyllic hidden beaches sheltered by sheer cliffs. It is also home to many types of endemic wildlife and a massive underwater cave.

A Park for Every One

We believe everyone should get out there and find their favorite park! You can support these parks by visiting them, making donations, and promoting awareness.

Most importantly, we encourage you to make plans to go see these amazing natural treasures. Exploring the east? Check out our list of the Best East Coast National Parks.

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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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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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