Friday

In Case You Missed It: May RV News



Keeping you in the know is important to us - so this month, we’ve selected four RV-related stories that we think are too good to miss Take a look at your May industry news below.

Winnebago ‘Travato’ Offers Volta Energy System - Trying to go off the grid? Winnebago has got you covered with their Volta Energy System, a lithium ion energy storage system that replaces the need for a generator. The system charges in just under 90 minutes with nearly 10,000 watt-hours of capacity – enough to power standard appliances including the main air conditioner for several hours or overnight. It charges while the unit is driving, idling, connected to shore, or through a MPPT solar charger (a 200-watt solar panel comes standard). The 2019 Travato will roll out this summer and we can’t wait. Read More

Keystone Hits Industry Milestone - Keystone recently announced they have produced their 150,000 ‘Cougar’ towable, which solidifies it as one of the all-time best selling models. The manufacturer selected Tacoma RV of Fife, Wash., as the recipient of the 150,000 unit (Cougar’s largest single location dealership). We certainly think they have a great reason to celebrate - congrats! Read More.

Wilson Electronics Intros New Cell Signal Booster - And for those of you who don’t want to go completely off of the grid, Wilson Electronics, a supplier of cellular boosting products, recently announced the launch of Connect RV 65. The new in-vehicle cellular signal booster is designed to provide cellular connectivity in a stationary RV. The device is compatible with all cell phones and wireless carriers and will assist users in call quality, reducing the amount of dead zones and faster download and upload speeds while parked at a campground or anywhere else! Read More

In Other Big Winnebago News… - The company announced the launch of an all electric and zero-emissions commercial vehicle platform. The commercial vehicle is based off of a Class A and is suited for urban and semi-urban short-range applications such as: medical clinics, bloodmobiles, mobile classrooms, etc. The vehicle has six batteries and delivers an expected range of 85 to 125 miles on a full charge. We’re excited to see all the good that this new sustainable RV can bring. Read More

Out of all our RV story highlights, which one sparked your interest this month? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Tech Tip: 10 Steps for A/C Maintenance

Summer is heating up! RVers, it’s time to perform routine maintenance on your roof-top air conditioner(s). Follow these steps from FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer to keep cool and extend the life of your RV’s A/C system.


Performing Annual RV A/C System Maintenance
Overall, the average RV owner can perform this maintenance procedure in an afternoon. Prior to beginning, turn 120-volts AC power off at the breaker-box or unplug the RV from shore power.

Step 1
This is an easy first step; in fact, you are probably already familiar with this task. All A/C systems –home and RV – require filter cleaning; some as often as every three months. From inside the RV, access the A/C unit’s filter(s). On some units, the interior air delivery shroud will have to be removed. Consult the owner’s manual if in doubt. Remove and wash all the filters in warm water or simply vacuum them clean.

Fresh Jet 3200

Step 2
Check the positioning of the thermostat sense probe. That’s the thin, pencil-like, copper-looking device attached to the tiny tubing leading to the thermostat. Be sure it is situated in the direct flow of return air to the unit. Look closely for grime or film that may have accumulated from cooking oils and/or smoke. Gently clean the sense probe if contaminants are found. Take special care not to kink the small capillary tubing leading to the probe.

Step 3
Check the visible electrical connections inside the A/C unit. To eliminate the possibility of road vibrations causing the wire nuts to loosen, always wrap them with electrician’s tape. 

Step 4
With the interior shroud removed, check the condition of the mounting gasket located between the bottom of the roof-top unit and the roof. It will be visible from inside the RV by looking up into the roof opening. If the gasket looks compressed or if there is evidence of water leaks, it’s time to install a new gasket. Also, tighten the mounting bolts holding the roof-top unit to the inside unit if they are loose.

Step 5
From inside the RV, vacuum in and around all exposed portions of the unit to clear dust, cobwebs, etc. 

Step 6
If the unit is equipped with a wall thermostat containing unenclosed contacts, clean them by simply sliding a business card between them and gently pulling the card through the closed contacts a few times. This effectively cleans them without causing damage. Never file or sand thermostat contacts.

Steps #7 through #10 need to be serviced from the roof. Grab your ladder, and head on up!

Step 7
On the roof, remove the A/C unit’s outer shroud, exposing the motor and condenser. Look for a series of small drain holes in the mounting pan. These holes drain any moisture produced from the cooling cycle. Clean and verify that all condensate drain holes are open and able to drain.

Step 8
Inspect and clean the exposed condenser fins at the rear of the roof-top unit. Remove any debris that may have collected on or near the condenser. Check for mud dabber nests in this area. Straighten damaged fins carefully. It may be necessary to purchase an aftermarket fin “comb” to safely straighten severely damaged areas. Never use a screwdriver or other sharp object for this task.

Fin Comb
Step 9
Clean the area in and around the fan motor and compressor. Check the motor mounts for damage and/or fatigue.

Step 10
Look closely at the exterior shroud itself. Do you see any damage caused by low hanging branches or gas station overheads? Some minor damage can be repaired; however, if the cover has severe cracks, it needs to be replaced. Replacement shrouds are typically available for purchase at camping goods stores or your local RV dealer. As an alternative to the plastic shroud, consider an upgrade to a sturdier metal or fiberglass cover.

Remember that though the average RV owner can safely perform roof-top air conditioner maintenance, air conditioner repairs should be handled professionally. Stay cool this summer!

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Learn more at FMCA.com.

A First-Person Account of Two Must-Book Tours in Gettysburg

Written By: Sharee Collier, Editor of IndieRV Travel Network

We knew when we decided to head to Gettysburg we would need to book at least one tour! Listening to stories told by the certified battlefield guides, detailing the events of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War while being immersed in the actual battlefield was something we wanted to experience and something we needed the kids to learn about. This was a turning point for our country, just reading about in a textbook wouldn’t do justice. So we contacted the folks behind a few of the tours offered inside the battlefield and booked two we felt would offer a full spectrum experience for our family.

To be honest, it was probably information overload, but we didn’t know if we would be coming back to Gettysburg any time soon, so we figured we would do our best to give the kids a whirlwind adventure in Roadschooling History while here! The two tours I’ll tell you about are the best of the best and while you could just book one, I personally think the experiences are different enough to justify doing both!

Guided Battlefield Carriage Tour:
The maximum number of people on this tour is 10, so you can count on some personal attention and time to ask questions on this intimate and educational tour. A certified guide keeps your attention, as the Victorian Carriage Company says, “…listen to a play by play of three days that changed America's history.”


Our tour guide was a warm and welcoming middle-aged man who knew his facts, front and back. He was well informed, entertaining, and delivered the story in a way it made sense to everyone in the carriage-regardless of age. He gave modern day examples, related stories to the kids, life, and school, and even made a point to ask the quiz questions to keep you on your toes! The tour was a round trip ride from the Gettysburg Heritage Center, through the battlefield and back, that lasted about two hours.

I recommend this tour because of its personal nature. The story and the details are orchestrated based on the people in the carriage. Questions are answered with facts and lead to other interesting points not often told and sometimes forgotten. You can bring snacks, a blanket if it’s a little chilly or some warm hot chocolate- during the Fall & Winter!

During the ride, our guide passed around relics like bullets and fragments of cannon balls to help narrate the story, points of interests we were viewing out in the fields, and assure everyone understood the depth and historical significance of this bloody battle. 


At first I was a little worried about the graphics and gory details, since two of our kids are only 7, I didn’t want anyone to have nightmares and end up sleeping in my bed. Glad to say that wasn’t the case - if anything they just really enjoyed the story. History has a way of bringing out curiosity in the kids that they sometimes keep at bay.

After the tour, we took advantage of the time we had left to visit with the beautiful horses and thank our drivers and guide for an amazing experience.

Tips to Know Before You Go:
  • Tour will begin at scheduled time, rain or shine. 
  • Arrive 15-20 minutes early to get checked-in, park and get yourself settled without being rushed. You can also take some pictures with the horses during this time. 
  • Check the weather for the day and know what to expect. 
  • Bring sunglasses, blankets if it's cold, and some water to drink. 
  • Make sure to eat before you come! 
  • Ticket price doesn’t include gratuity. 
  • You will spend the entire 2 hours on the carriage. 
Check Out Their Website for More Details.

Gettysburg Double Decker Bus Tour:
Totally different from the personal tour we took with the horse-drawn carriage the day prior, this double-decker bus was packed with people and we were just lucky enough to get a seat for all of us on the upper level- where you just have to sit! Departing from the Gettysburg Tour Center, where you should plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early to guarantee you get a good seat, the tour goes through both the town of Gettysburg and the National Battlefield.


We plugged in our headphones that were provided by the guide and waited for everyone to settle in before taking off on the two-hour tour. The bus was packed solid and we were excited about this adventure!

Instead of heading straight to the battlefield, as we did on the carriage tour, we were first given a tour of the town of Gettysburg, which we all really enjoyed! Historical houses, markers, and points of interest were all topics of discussion and viewing them from the open air seating was fun and entertaining.

Before heading over to the battlefield, the bus cordially stopped at a local vendor where restrooms, coffee, ice cream and snacks could be purchased for the remaining hour ride. We took advantage of this, and I’ll be honest- the cookies at this little shop we amazing as was the coffee!

Driving through the battlefield again and especially on consecutive days as we did, you would think the story would get old- but with a new guide you get a new fresh perspective. Yeah, some of the story is the same, as you would imagine because they’re detailing a historical event based on real facts and events that took place, but the focus can be different which was great. 



On this tour, we drove up to Little Round Top, where the bus pulled over for a scenic treat. We all got off and walked around this little gem, taking pictures and chatting about what we were experiencing. The kids had a great time exploring the monuments, the cannons and chatting with the other guests. We took tons of pictures, and since someone offered to snap a shot with all of us in it - we actually have a family memory with all 6 of us to cherish for many years to come.

We loved the Double Decker Bus Tour, it was fun and educational and the time was broken up into smaller, more manageable segments, with the two breaks, that really helped to keep the little ones from getting too antsy. This is a great activity for families with kids of any age.

Tips to Know Before You Go:
  • Tour will begin at scheduled time, rain or shine. 
  • Arrive at least 10 minutes early to get checked-in, park and get in line to get your seat. 
  • Check the weather for the day and dress appropriately if you plan to sit on the top. 
  • Bring your sunglasses, a jacket if needed and some water to drink. 
  • Make sure to eat before you come- or bring a small cooler, like we did! 
  • Stops last about 10-15 minutes each. 
  • Bring some cash for snack stops and a camera! 
  • Ticket price doesn’t include gratuity. 
  • Beware of low hanging branches as you drive through the wooded areas. 
Check Out Their Website for More Details.

*Click here for a FREE membership offer to IndieRV for RV Trader readers!*

AUTHOR BIO: Wife, Mother of four & full-time travel lover and doer- Sharee Collier, Editor of IndieRV Travel Network, is having a blast this year while showing other RVers the “Best of the Best” when it comes to places to go & things to see. 


Tuesday

Eating Healthy on the Road


As RVers we are constantly on the go, and a lot of the time, grabbing fast food seems like the easiest option while traveling. But contrary to popular belief, eating healthy while on the road is actually possible and isn’t as hard as you might think! Check out our top tips on how to eat healthy while RVing.
  • Meal prep - Meal prepping is one of the top ways to save time and money in the kitchen - but it’s also a great way to eat healthy. Planning and prepping your meals ahead of time gives you no excuse to choose unhealthy options while on the go. We suggest picking one day a week where you plan out your (healthy) meals and begin prepping. It’s important to keep meals simple since you have limited space to cook in your kitchen on wheels. It’s also important to try to keep any perishable foods in airtight containers to preserve their shelf life. Check out some of these great tips for easy/healthy meal prepping.
  • Keep your RV stocked with healthy snacks - When you’re traveling from point A to point B someone in your RV is bound to get hungry. So, take away the temptation of those gas station treats and rest stop vending machines by having an RV that’s fully stocked with healthy snacks. Protein bars and trail mix are great, filling snacks that can be stored for long periods of time. Having fresh fruit on board is also a great option that requires virtually no prep time. Some other healthy snacks perfect for road trips include: Beef/turkey jerky, dried fruits, peanut butter, oatmeal, popcorn, string cheese, etc. 
  • Eat local - One of the many beauties of being RVers is that we have the luxury of traveling to new places and experiencing new things - food included! There’s amazing, healthy food all over the country and we encourage you to check out the local cuisine on your next adventure. A great way to do this is to check out a local farmer’s market. You’ll be able to find the best seasonal, healthy options that all of the locals are eating. To make it even easier, you can check out Local Harvest, a website dedicated to finding you the nearest family farms, farmers markets, and restaurants that all feature local foods.
We hope these three tips have you thinking about how you’ll choose healthier options on your next trip. Food is the fuel that keeps us going, so it’s crucial to pick healthy options that will give you the energy you need to take on the day. What are some of your tips on eating healthy while on the road?

Friday

The Basic Safety Tools You Should Keep in Your RV


We all know that RVing is a great way to travel and there are endless benefits to having a home on wheels. From family bonding to enjoying the great outdoors - the RV lifestyle is one of adventure and fun. We also know that the unexpected can happen while out on the road, and it’s important to be prepared. Safety while RVing should be a top priority for every family, and if you keep these basic safety tools on hand, you should be ready if you’re ever caught in a sticky situation.
Fire Extinguisher - An RV is essentially a home you can take with you, which means they have more fire-related dangers than an average automobile. Having a fire extinguisher onboard is crucial and will be your first defense should a fire start. Make sure to keep your fire extinguisher in an easy to reach location, and inspect it regularly before traveling to ensure that it’s in good working condition.
  • First Aid Kit - This may seem like a no-brainer, but we couldn’t leave a basic first aid kit off of our list. You can either buy a prepackaged first aid kit or you can customize your own. Every family is different so before you hit the road, determine what items should be included in your kit to fit your specific needs. Here are a few basic items you can include: BAND-AIDs® (all sizes), scissors, tweezers, latex gloves, thermometer, antibiotic ointment, gauze, cold pack, heat pack, adhesive tape, general medication (pain relief, allergy relief, etc.), antiseptic wipes, ace bandage, aloe vera, flashlight, sunscreen, bug repellent, and hand sanitizer. 
  • Roadside Emergency Kit - Being out on the road is just one of the many benefits of RVing, but as any seasoned traveler knows, accidents unfortunately happen. From getting into a slight fender bender to having a flat tire - it’s important to always be ready. Having a roadside emergency kit in your RV can save you time and trouble when you need to pull over. There are tons of kits on the market that include items like: flares, flashlights, batteries, jumper cables, and more. 
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System - Tires are the foundation of an RV, so it’s important to keep them in top condition. There are many tire pressure monitoring systems on the market, and these systems are crucial to make sure your RV tires are at their proper pressure. The last thing you want is a tire blowout to occur while driving. A blowout is dangerous and can not only damage your RV, but it has the potential to cause accidents with other vehicles. Avoid the stress and gain peace of mind by getting a reliable tire pressure monitoring system. 
  • Basic Tool Kit - When you are far from home and a minor mechanical issue happens, what do you do? If you have an RV tool kit onboard you might be able to avoid going to a mechanic or calling a roadside assistance service (though we do recommend being a member of one). We suggest keeping a basic tool kit in your RV including a few basic items such as: a drill, drill bit set, hammer, socket set, wrench set, screwdriver set, pliers, electrical tape, etc. 
  • SPOT Tracking Device - As we mentioned earlier, RVing gives many families the opportunity to unplug and simply enjoy the great outdoors. If you are ever in an emergency situation where you do not have cell phone access/service you can use SPOT. This device uses satellite technology to provide location-based messaging and emergency notification technology so you can communicate from remote locations. 
We hope that you continue to stay safe on the road, and have confidence that you’ll be able to tackle a variety of safety issues that may arise with these tools. Check out our Pinterest board highlighting these tools and be sure to leave us a comment of some of the go-to safety tools that you keep in your RV!