Painting an RV: Part I

Renovating an RV has become an increasingly popular challenge in recent years. A simple search of the “RVrenovation” hashtag on Instagram will instantly yield photos of thousands of brightly-colored, modernly-designed units all over the world.

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FMCA Tech Tip: Disaster-Proof RVing for Hurricane Season and Beyond

Are you prepared for an emergency while RVing? Unfortunately, September’s history as an active month for hurricanes reminds RVers of the importance of being prepared. Read FMCA’s tips to prepare yourself for emergencies and natural disasters while RVing.

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Where Can I Buy an RV Warranty?

You have options when it comes to where you can purchase an RV. The primary two choices are RVs bought directly through a private party, or from the lot of a dealership. Both buying options have pros and cons, and the correct venue for purchase will depend on your needs as a traveler. Subsequently, the options to protect your new rig will differ depending on who supplies your coverage.

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5 Simple Ideas for Renovating Your RV

In the past decade, RV ownership has risen tremendously. From people living and traveling in RVs full time to people taking them on weekend trips and vacations, more people than ever are becoming RV owners and enjoying their vacation homes on wheels. With hundreds of types of RVs available, RV life looks a little different for everybody. One thing remains the same though: many RVs have fairly outdated interiors.

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FMCA Tech Tip: Replacing Your RV’s Air Conditioner

Your RV’s air conditioner(s) lead a tough life. On the roof, they are subjected to the hottest heat that the sun can dish out. They also can be damaged by tree branches when the RV is maneuvered into a tight campsite, and they just love to pick up moisture that can lead to rust. Then add in the constant vibration and pounding from the road…eek!
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Top 5 National Parks for 2019 (Infographic)

The United States is home to some of the most beautiful parks in the world - and with so many to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down which one to travel to. To make your job a little easier, we've compiled a list of the top 5 national parks you need to add to your 2019 bucket list. Each park brings something amazing to the table from amazing wildlife to stunning views. Check out a few of our favorites below and get ready to pack up your RV and hit the road.

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Your Guide to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park is on just about everyone's travel bucket list and it’s easy to see why. Millions of people visit the park, located in Arizona’s northwestern quadrant, each year to take in its main feature - The Grand Canyon (you guessed it).

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Top Reasons to Work From the Road

Have you ever wanted to make the full-time RV life a reality? We’ve all thought about it, but sometimes the thought gets brushed off because we think it’s impossible because of work. Well, we’re dreamers around here, and we want to encourage you to grab hold of the full-time vision and run with it. And if you need a little push - we’ve got your back. Check out our top reasons you should consider working from the road.

Provides Newfound Freedom & Flexibility - The day you leave the office for good (or maybe just for a little while) will be one of the best days of your life. The sense of freedom you’ll get from working from the road is unparalleled. You can go where you want, whenever you want. If you don’t like where you’re staying, simply gas up your RV and head to a new destination - it really is that easy. Working from the road gives you the freedom to explore new places, meet new people, and try new things.

Enhances Productivity - Depending on the type of work you do, working from an RV can significantly increase your productivity. In fact, a survey conducted by Connect Solutions reported that 77% of remote workers who worked both part-time and full-time stated they were more productive when working remotely. In an RV, there’s less distraction (when you’re not out exploring) and less time spent focused on work gossip or chats around the watercooler.

Lowers Stress - It’s no secret that in-office work environments can be stressful. And even if you’re not the one stressed out, co-workers can project their stress onto you. A study by Science Daily states that taking at least 20 minutes out of your day to stroll or sit in a place that makes you feel in contact with nature will significantly lower your stress hormone levels, imagine what working outside or taking a hike on your lunch break could do.

Gets You Out of Your Comfort Zone - It can be easy to go to a job day in and day out, even if you hate it. It’s nice to be comfortable, but sometimes it’s time for a change that can lead to greater happiness. If you take the plunge and start working from the road you may also have the opportunity to change up jobs or eliminate the need for a full-time position. Check out our tips for working while on the road to see the remote and seasonal opportunities out there - some even include being your own boss, and what’s better than that?

Are You Ready to Hit the Open Road? Check Out 4 Tips From RV Trader: 
  • If you’re worried about having Wi-Fi on the road, we recommend checking out a MiFi. Most of the major wireless carriers offer them and it will free you up from hotspotting off your phone regularly. 
  • To make sure you’re being as focused as possible - and balancing your job with your desire to get outside - check out this article about The Power of One Focused Hour a Day.
  • More often than not, when you’re RVing, your destination is a campsite in nature. When you’re working from your RV, try taking your lunch break in the outdoors or enjoy a relaxing hike when you need a brain break.
  • Companies like WorkGenius, Scripted, Upwork, etc. are great companies to look into for short-term work to supplement larger projects you may be working on.
Want to Hear From a Working RVer Who is Living the Lifestyle? 

Sharee Collier is a working RVer and founder of Live Camp Work, an online resource center for those looking to work full time from their RV or with remote careers and location independence. She recently shared her work camping advice and expertise below.

"What is your favorite part of work/camping?"
My favorite part of being a working RVer is the freedom to explore! By living and working from the road, your home is your RV and your RV can come and go as often as you want! Seeing new places and experiencing the local flare of each is pretty awesome… working along the way, makes it all possible!

"What is the biggest lesson you've learned on the road/working remotely?"
Plan ahead and plan to adjust as needed. Living a life of travel means you need to be comfortable with change and ready to shift the plan at any given moment. Sometimes things don’t go as you intended and an alternate solution needs to be created and put into place quickly. Giving yourself the flexibility and freedom to change the plan as needed is the biggest and the best thing you can do to avoid stressing out- when you should be enjoying these moments.

"Any advice/tips for people who want to take the plunge?"
Go small and go now! Start small and know that it’s not permanent. Test the waters with a small RV that you can buy in cash without financing. Make adjustments to your needs and wants to create a budget you can manage while working on the road and make sure the lifestyle is something you enjoy, before making a huge investment!

Sharee is hosting a FREE online event August 5-9, called the "Make Money & RV Virtual Summit" designed to help people learn how to RV full-time, part-time or seasonally, and make cash along the way. The online event hosts 30+ diverse keynote speakers highlighting remote work & full-time work camper experience. Click here to reserve your spot and attend live for free!

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FMCA Tech Tip: Guide to Motorhome Lubricants

Motorhomes require periodic maintenance to stay in good working order. Engine oil changes are the most common procedure, but axles, the transmission, wheel bearings, and other components also must be serviced. No oil or lubricant is one-size-fits-all, so it’s important to make the right choice for each component according to the chassis manufacturer’s specifications.

Lubricants are designated with American Petroleum Institute (API) or military (MIL) category numbers that identify their suitability for various applications. To choose the proper lubricant, consult your motorhome’s owners manual for the prescribed API service level, and then match the lubricant’s viscosity and rating to your vehicle’s operating environment.

Two ratings apply to lubricants — viscosity and quality. Viscosity is another term for thickness. An engine is designed to utilize a specific viscosity oil for a given set of operating conditions. That’s why the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) determines viscosity grades according to a standardized numerical rating. Always check the owners manual to determine the proper engine oil viscosity for your vehicle. The larger the number, the heavier the oil. For example, an SAE 40 oil is heavier than an SAE 30 oil.

Viscosity also denotes the ability of the oil to flow at a given temperature. As oil heats up, it thins, flows faster, and doesn’t provide the same level of lubrication as a thicker oil. If the oil is too thick, it won’t flow fast enough to lubricate critical components. SAE ratings reflect the ability of oil to flow at 210 degrees Fahrenheit. The ratings can be useful for determining how an oil will perform in summer, but they don’t take into account the low-temperature performance of the oil in winter. So, a second test is performed at 0 degrees Fahrenheit to assess oils designed for winter use and to designate a “W” rating. For example, 10W oil is thinner than 20W oil, but both are designed for winter use. The thinner 10W oil will flow better in colder temperatures.

Most engine wear and tear occurs during startup when the motor is turning over but everything is cold and the pistons haven’t yet expanded to their operating tolerances. Oil begins to flow, but by the time it reaches all critical areas, the engine has been running for a few seconds. A lighter-weight oil brings the oil pressure up much faster than a thicker oil. But, once the engine is working under a heavy load, the oil becomes too thin to provide adequate lubrication. So, in the case of a single-viscosity oil, it is better to opt for a heavy oil and live with the startup wear than to use a lighter oil and pay the penalty when the engine is working really hard.

Multiviscosity oils eliminate that dilemma. A multiviscosity oil has two ratings. For example, a 10W-30 oil provides the cold-temperature performance of a 10W winter oil, yet it retains the high-temperature performance of an SAE 30 summer oil once the engine reaches its operating temperature. This offers the best of both worlds and does a better job of protecting your engine at both startup and when under load.

Oil quality is determined by its chemical makeup and its imbedded additives. Base oils account for about 85 to 90 percent of the formulation. The remainder consists of additives that provide full protection, including antioxidants, viscosity modifiers, dispersants, detergents, antiwear agents, rust and corrosion inhibitors, antifoam agents, and a host of others. API established its rating system to identify the quality of every oil.

Both API and SAE ratings are marked on every container. Consult the vehicle’s owners manual for the minimum API rating specified for your engine. You always can exceed the API ratings and use a better grade oil, but never drop below the minimum API rating.

Check The Manual A proper maintenance cycle for your motorhome revolves around following the recommended service schedule and matching every component with the correct lubricant. The owners manual specifies the minimum requirements, but keep in mind that exceeding those specs with a higher-quality lubricant generally will yield greater longevity. Taking proper care of your coach will save you money in the long run and greatly improve the odds of trouble-free operation.

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Join today for just $50 — a savings of $10 just for RV Trader readers. Learn more at

This information is for educational purposes. FMCA shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.

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Explore Grand Teton National Park

The United States is filled with incredible national parks, but few capture the true essence of the wild west as much as Grand Teton National Park located in the northwest corner of Wyoming. Millions of people visit Grand Teton each year for a variety of reasons and the park is considered a fan favorite for many. Its epic beauty alone is worth the trip, but this park offers more than just awe-inspiring views. Grand Teton National Park is filled with a rich history, a variety of terrains, vast wildlife, and activities for all different kinds of travelers, from a family with young children or teenagers to a couple or single individual. We’ll take a deep dive into why this park is a favorite and talk about why you should add Grand Teton to your summer RV bucket list.

So, Why Grand Teton?

That’s a great question. There are 50+ national parks across the United States, so why add Grand Teton to your list? The park itself is stunning, towering over Jackson Hole Valley, Grand Tetons is perfect for hikers, history buffs, or anyone looking for the perfect photo-op. The park is huge (310,000 acres) and diverse, made up of the famous Grand Teton Mountain range, lush valleys, powerful waterfalls, and meadows as far as the eye can see. One of our favorite aspects of the park is that it has activities for every season, whether you’re into hiking or snowshoeing - there’s truly something for everyone. If you’re into water activities, Grand Teton caters to you as well with the Snake River and Jackson Lake to float or fish to your heart's delight. You’ll never be bored at Grand Teton National Park, and if you’re looking for adventure, this park is your ideal destination. 

Image: National Park Service

What to Do While You’re There?
  • Hiking & Biking - Two of the best ways to take in all that Grand Teton National Park has to offer is on foot or by bike. The park is a renown hiking destination with more than 230 miles of trails, so whether you’re an expert hiker or if you prefer a more mellow pace, you’ll find a hike to suit your needs. Check out a few of our favorite hikes:
- Hidden Falls Trail - This trail is a 4.9 loop that features stunning lake views and, you guessed it, an incredible waterfall. This hike is categorized as easy and good for the whole family. You have the option of taking a boat back if you want to shorten your trip. 

- Cascade Canyon Trail - This trail is one of the most popular in Grand Teton and for good reason - the hike is absolutely stunning. Cascade Canyon is a moderate hike that starts near Jenny Lake and ascends steeply towards Lake Solitude. You will also get a great few of Hidden Falls on this trail and if you continue, you will reach Inspiration Point (a viewpoint where you can see Jenny Lake and the Teton Mountain Range). 
- Death Canyon - Don’t let the name scare you, Death Canyon is a beautiful hike that you can complete in a day. The beginning of the hike is the hardest and about 1.2 miles from the trailhead you’ll hit Phelps Lake Overview where the views are breathtaking. 

Pro-tip: Don’t forget to stay hydrated, dress in layers, and bring bear spray (trust us on that one).

Image: National Park Service
  • Water Activities - During the summer months, Grand Teton is an excellent place for boating or floating. The Snake River allows world-class fishing & rafting and Jackson Lake is a great spot for those that sail, canoe, water ski, or windsurf. Speaking of fishing, Snake River is home to a variety of fish like Mackinaw and Whitefish as well as Rainbow, Brown, Lake, and Cutthroat Trout. Anglers take note: the Snake River Fine-Spotted Cutthroat Trout are indigenous fish to this area, found nowhere else in the world. If your looking to take out a boat, motorboats are permitted at Jenny and Jackson lake (10 horsepower max). If you want to bring a motorboat to the park, you will need to obtain a motorized craft permit for $40.00 at the visitor center. Boat, paddle board and floats are also available for rent. Want to take a quick dip? We suggest visiting String Lake where the water is warm in the summer months and you can picnic along the shore.
Image: National Park Service
  • Wildlife Watching - The park is home to a vast amount of wildlife including bison, bear, elk, bald eagles, and smaller animals like ducks, otters, and a variety of birds. Grand Teton puts safety as a top priority so if you are watching wildlife, they recommend maintaining a distance of at least 25 yards. Sign up for a wildlife tour at the park and experience all of these amazing creatures for yourself.
Image: National Park Service
  • Catch Up on Your History - Humans began visiting the Jackson Hole area around 10,000 years ago - so the grounds in and around Grand Teton are rich with history. We suggest attending a ranger-led program to learn more about the native people, explorers, and homesteaders that once inhabited the park. And don’t miss the following historical attraction:
- Mormon Row is one of the park’s most popular attractions. This line of 6 uniform buildings settled in the 1890s by Mormons from the Salt Lake region can be found in the southeastern corner of the park and is a perfect spot for a photo-op. 

  • Snow Activities - While winter in the Tetons is not for the faint of heart, there are activities that cater to all the snow bunnies out there. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are some of the most popular activities during the winter months.
  • Ranger-Led Programs - A variety of ranger-led programs take place during the summer months (early June through Labor Day weekend) in Grand Teton National Park. During these programs, you have the opportunity to learn about the park’s wildlife, history, and geology. There are also cultural programs as well as hiking and evening activities scheduled.
  • Scenic Driving - If you’re interested in covering a lot of ground in minimal time, we recommend a driving tour of Grand Teton. The park has a 42-mile scenic loop where you can take in its epic beauty and wildlife. Depending on the stops you make along the way, the drive typically takes one to two hours.
What’s Nearby? 

Yellowstone National Park -
Extend your trip - Yellowstone National Park, home to Old Faithful, is just 10 miles south of Grand Teton National Park. If you’re looking to cross two major national parks off of your bucket list, Grand Teton is a great place to start.

Jackson, WY - Jackson is a town located in Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Valley, just 10 minutes from Grand Teton National Park. It includes three widely popular ski areas including Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee Resort, and Snow King Mountain Resort. The town of Jackson also boasts many restaurants and great shopping if you’re looking for a quick break from all things outdoors or in case you forgot some essentials.

When to Visit / Length of Stay - 

The summer months are the most popular visiting times at Grand Teton National Park because of the great weather. But as we mentioned earlier, there are a variety of year-round activities available depending on what you’re into. The foliage is incredible in the fall and views of the snowy peaks of the Teton Mountains are jaw-dropping in the winter. 

We recommend spending a minimum of three days at Grand Teton National park considering there is SO much to do. If you can swing a longer stay we definitely recommend extending your trip, especially if you plan on visiting Yellowstone National Park.

Where to park your RV / Campsites?
There are a variety of RV Campgrounds in Grand Teton, but they do fill up quickly in the summer months so we recommend calling well in advance to secure your site. Check out Grand Teton National Park’s helpful comparison chart to find the perfect site to fit all of your RVing needs.

Image: Grand Teton National Park Serice

If you’re on the hunt for your next great adventure, we think visiting Grand Teton should be at the top of your list. Do you have any insider tips or tricks you would like to share with your fellow RVers? Share your insights in the comments below and we might feature your tip in a future blog post!
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Your June RV News Fix is Here

Summer is in full swing and if you’re taking a quick break from exploring, kick up your feet and stay awhile. We’ve got a few RV-related stories you won’t want to miss. From new models and floorplans to feel good stories - check out the latest headlines below.

Image: Airstream

Airstream Adds to 2020 Product Line - Airstream has recently released new features and floorplans for their 2020 Globetrotter, Flying Cloud, International Serenity, and Classic travel trailers. The brand we know and love has come out with two layouts for the Globetrotter - a 23 ft. front bed and front bed twin. The Flying Cloud and International Serenity now have an optional rear hatch which allows easy access into the outdoors and is helpful with loading and unloading the unit. This rear hatch was once reserved for special edition models, but the company is expanding this offering to give their customers more flexibility. Read More.

Image: Globe Gazette

Winnebago Food Truck Aids Disadvantaged Children - The Specialty Vehicles Division of Winnebago Industries has created a “food truck” to help children experiencing food insecurity in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. This truck is supported by The Minnesota Vikings Foundation and is named “Vikings Table.” The truck’s mission is to help feed those in need, provide nutrition education, and to allow children to engage with the Vikings NFL sports team. This is the first commercial kitchen created with the Winnebago ‘shell.’ The kitchen can hold up to 10 food preparation professionals and we can’t wait to hear about all the good it will do in the future. Read More.

Image: Coachmen

Coachmen RV introduces the Pursuit 27XPS - Coachmen RV, a division of Forest River, has just released a new floorplan for their Pursuit model that will create a new entry-level Class A price point. This new model is under 30 ft. and the company focused on convenience and easy of operation rather than electronics and gadgets. The new Pursuit includes large storage compartments, a drop down bunk, as well as large windows throughout. The Pursuit 27XPS l comes in at $72,999 and the company is already starting to ship to dealers in North America. We are excited to see this RV out on the road. Read More.

Image: RV Business

The RVers TV Show to Debut on Discovery and PBS - “The RVers” is a new TV series coming to the small screen this fall “dedicated to the lifestyle craze that’s sweeping the world.” The new show will debut on Discovery and PBS starring full-time RVers whose popular YouTube channels have made them celebrities. Creators hope the show will inspire, motivate, and drive people to live their RV dream - and we are right there with them. The show has been filming throughout the US since February and is set to premiere Nov. 23 on Discovery. We will be tuning in! Read More.

There you have it, folks. You’re all caught up on the latest headlines you need to know. Now gas up your RV and hit the road for your next adventure. Let us know if you’re excited for any of the new models we mentioned in the comments below - we love hearing from you!
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Amazing Reasons to Hit the Road Full Time

Written by: Chelsea Gonzales, Fulltime Families 

There’s nothing quite like an amazing weekend spent camping. Heck, if you can get in a whole week, that’s even better. However, the very best option—and one many people don’t even consider—is to take on RV living.

That’s right! Why not hop in your RV and hit the road full time?

This might seem like a crazy notion, but believe it or not, more and more people are choosing this lifestyle. These are people from all age groups and backgrounds, and while they may be making some sacrifices to live this way, most of them are also having the time of their lives.

Are you considering jumping into full time RVing? Here are 6 amazing reasons why we think you should do exactly that.

#1: Meet New People
While many people worry about leaving their friends and family behind when beginning the full time life, and while this is a completely legitimate concern, many people are also amazed at the new people they meet through their travels.

From chatting with friendly locals and learning all about an area has to offer to building friendships with campground neighbors, there are new relationships to be made around every corner. Of course, the best new friends are the ones who are full timers just like you. A number of those living the RV lifestyle even choose to travel with their full time friends! 

Even if you don’t travel together, always make sure to get the contact info of newfound friends. You never know when your paths may cross again, and you might be surprised how often it happens.

#2: Learn New Things
You learn something new everyday. Never was this phrase more true than it is for an RVer.

Traveling full time in an RV will give you the opportunity to learn about the day-to-day lives of people in all parts of the country. It will allow you to explore national parks, museums, zoos, and historic sites. It will also require you to learn how to fix things for yourself, how to navigate with a map when the GPS loses signal, and how to keep your cool and solve problems in the moment.

All of these things combined will have you learning more than you ever thought possible.

#3: Check Off that Bucket List
As mentioned before, you will definitely be seeing lots of new things as you travel. In fact, if you plan things right, you can use your travels to start checking things off your bucket list.

Don’t have a bucket list? You’ll want to make one before you hit the road. Just don’t count on ever reaching the end of the list, because new things tend to sneak onto it just as fast as the old ones get checked off.

#4: Grow Closer to Your Family
Whether you’ll be traveling with the spouse and kids, with your parents/grandparents, or only with your significant other, you can count on growing pretty close with your family and travel-mate(s).

Some people claim they could never live in the small space an RV offers with their family and stay sane, but the truth of the matter is, once you find your groove, living in a small space becomes easy. Once you reach this easy stage, the tiny living does nothing more than encourage your travel group to grow closer to one another, as it forces you to connect more often and spend more time bonding.

#5: Connect with Nature
In our modern society, far too many people are completely disconnected from nature. Many people will go days without taking notice of the weather, birds, or trees around them, let alone make a conscious effort to get outside and really connect with nature.

This is so unfortunate, considering the amazing effect some quality time spent outdoors can have on the mind, body, and soul.

While traveling and living in an RV certainly doesn’t guarantee more outside time, it definitely does encourage it. After all, you're going to be spending a significant amount of time in campgrounds, which are almost always set in beautiful places and tend to offer outdoor recreation opportunities.

Additionally, if you plan to visit national parks, you might just find yourself turning into something of a hiker!

#6: Save Money
Last but not least, we must mention the financial aspect of RVing. A lot of people assume you have to be rich to travel full time. 

Obviously, having a lot of money is nice, but it certainly isn’t necessary. In fact, some people find that by paying cash for a used rig, making use of campground memberships, using reciprocal programs to save money on sightseeing, and traveling at a slower pace, they are even able to save money over living in a sticks-and-bricks home. 

If you’re looking for an amazing way to live while saving a bit of money, full time RVing absolutely might be an option. That said, you will want to do the math first, and saving money probably shouldn’t be your primary reason for hitting the road.

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FMCA Tech Tip: What Do I Do If My RV’s Tire Blows Out?

A tire blowout is the worst fear of many RVers. What would you do if you found yourself in this situation? Read FMCA’s tips to stay safe on the road.

Understanding Tire Failure
According to Goodyear engineers, obstructions (nails, sharp objects, curbing) are the major causes of tire damage. However, many tire failures are caused by progressive damage.

Each mile your tire rolls down the highway overloaded or underinflated, it may be suffering internal damage that’s not apparent during a casual tire inspection. The day that the tire fails, you may be traveling empty or not moving at all. The tire simply will reach the point where the damage has exceeded its design limits. It may blow out or shed its tread.

Tires do not heal themselves, so if they are damaged due to underinflation, inflating them to the correct pressure may not prevent eventual failure. 

What To Do If Your Tires Fail
If you experience a tire blowout, you better have your seat belt on because it can be a wild and bumpy ride.

Your natural reaction is to apply the brakes, but don’t do it! Michelin Tire Company recommends briefly pushing the accelerator to the floor (if traffic conditions allow) to regain momentum in the direction you are going and then gently taking your foot off the accelerator. Hold the steering wheel firmly and regain control. If you are on an expressway, move into the far right lane as quickly and safely as possible. Allow your vehicle to slow, without applying the brakes, to 10 to 15 MPH before pulling off the road surface.

Watch this video from Michelin, How To Handle An RV Tire Blowout.

And — remember — the #1 tip if you find yourself in the middle of a tire blowout is to remain calm. You can’t predict the future, but you CAN prepare yourself for potential emergencies. Knowledge is power.

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Join today for just $50 — a savings of $10 just for RV Trader readers. Learn more at

This information is for educational purposes. FMCA shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.
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Leveling Your RV Fridge

Written by: Mike Scarpignato, Founder of RVBlogger 

Does My RV Need to Be Level for the Fridge to Work?
We were preparing to go camping one weekend and, as usual, I turned on the RV fridge the night before we were leaving to make sure it nice and cold. However, it didn't get cold. In fact, it actually got warmer!

I was so bummed! I thought my fridge was broken. So, I grabbed the manual to troubleshoot the situation. I checked and rechecked the on-off switch. I made sure the fridge was getting electricity and even made sure the propane was turned on.

But nothing worked, and I feared the worst. I thought my fridge was dead and started thinking about packing a cooler for our weekend trip. 

But then I remembered that an RV fridge should to be level to operate correctly - or in my case operate at all. And my driveway, where the RV was parked, is at a fairly steep slope.

So, I pulled the RV out of the driveway and parked it in the street in front of our house where the road is more level. It wasn't perfectly level, but it was more level than our driveway.
And, sure enough, the fridge began to cool rather quickly! So, it turns out that yes, your RV needs to be level for the refrigerator to work correctly.

Can I Damage the Fridge if My RV is Not Level?
Yes, you can damage your RV fridge if you run it for more then 30 minutes when it is not level. If the refrigerator is operated when it is not level and the vehicle is not moving, liquid ammonia will accumulate in sections of the evaporator tubing. This will slow the circulation of hydrogen and ammonia gas, or in severe cases, completely block it, resulting in a loss of cooling. 

Some RV refrigerators have an automatic shut off if this occurs, but most do not. The fridge just continues to try to cool, and eventually, the cooling unit will heat up, burn out, and fail. And it doesn't matter if the fridge is running on electric or propane. The result will be the same.

How Do I Know if My RV is Level Enough?
The official answer is that every refrigerator has its own specifications, but in general, your RV is considered level if it is within 3 degrees side to side and 6 degrees front to back. So, what does that mean and how do I figure it out? 

What I have found is that your RV should feel like it is level when you walk inside. You can fill a cup with water and place it on your dinette top or, and as long as the water looks pretty close to level, you should be in good shape. 

You can also place a level on the floor of your RV and make sure at least half of the air bubble remains inside the level markers. These are just rules of thumb, but they should work for most RV refrigerators.

Can I Run the Fridge While Driving?
You can run the fridge while you are driving under normal conditions. And you should, especially if you have food in it. Even though the fridge will be out of level at times when you are driving the motion of the RV will allow the cooling gasses to flow within the coils and not overheat the cooling element.

However, if you are driving up or down steep inclines for more than a few minutes, you should actually turn off the fridge until you get to more level terrain. For example, if you are going up or down a 10% slope for more than 10 minutes, you could do some damage to your cooling unit. So, it's best to turn off the fridge under these extreme circumstances.

In summary, your RV refrigerator needs to be as level as possible to operate as efficiently as possible. Just use good common sense and a cup of water on the counter to make sure you are level when parked. And turn off the fridge while you are driving on roads with steep grades of 10% or more for more than 10 minutes. Just remember to turn the fridge back on once you are driving on more level roads!

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Must-Have Camping and RV Gadgets

RVing is all about getting back to the basics - but just because that’s why we love it - doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of the latest and greatest camping and RV gadgets. So if you’re going to step up your accessory game, here are our top 10 must-have gadgets:
LifeStraw - If you happen to run out of water on a hike, this gadget is a lifesaver. Obviously, it’s not a good idea to drink directly from streams or lakes you might run across - but Lifestraw removes 99.9% of bacteria and parasites, making any water source available to you. And as an added bonus, for every LifeStraw product purchased, a school child in need receives safe drinking water for an entire school year. We’re all about helping out a good cause.

Promising Review: “I am going to keep this one simple. Recently I got stranded in the back woods of the Adirondack Mountains. I had ran out of water earlier on the first day and used this until I was rescued on the morning of day three. THIS WORKS, this helped save my life. If you hike YOU NEED THIS PRODUCT.” --Richard Maxwell

Instant Pot - The Instant Pot is a newer kitchen gadget that is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, and warmer. You name it, the Instant Pot can do it. This tool is ideal for RVers because although it’s just one appliance, it takes the place of many others - saving you coveted counter and cabinet space in your RV. You won’t regret buying one - trust us.

Promising Review: “My wife kept telling me we should get this. For months I resisted. We had a crock pot, so why bother? We finally got this on sale on black Friday, and I LOVE IT. Quicker than a crock pot and better end results. You can season your protien and cook it with veggies (which take on the flavor as well). After using this, anything you cook in a crock pot seems like a warm, swampy product. Anything you cook in this is moist, flavorful, tender excellence in just a fraction of the time. Do not hesitate to buy this product - you will thank yourself for meals to come.” -Jon

Solar Powered Charger - Using solar energy can save you money and time while out on the road, especially if you’re boondocking. Nowadays there are solar options to power just about anything - but we definitely recommend picking up a solar-powered phone charger. This is a great gadget to have when you’re out hiking, ensuring you have enough power to call for help if needed.

Promising Review: “I recently returned from a 6 day adventure to a commercial Salmon fishing operation on Uganik island , Alaska. Uganik is near Kodiak island and is home to the famous Kodiak Brown Bear. We got too close to one on a beach, but caught lots of fish. I overestimated what I would need and I took both my SPC12K and my new SPC16K. I never even used the 12K. Didn't need it. I kept my cell phone going for photography and my rented Sat. Phone topped off with the 16K. The solar charging rate impressed me. When I left to meet the seaplane I had 3/4 available charge on my 16K. Note: The TSA requires that all "spare batteries" be in your carry on bag. So I say you only need one spare, the SPC16K.” --Robert E. Wilson

High-Tech Watch - If you’re an RVer, we’re betting there’s more than a chance you love the great outdoors. Any outdoor lover needs a high-tech watch and we recommend the Suunto Traverse for all of you hikers out there. This smartwatch does it all from tracking weather to showing hiking routes through GPS software to following your progress with distance and altitude statistics.

Promising Review: “If you're looking for a watch to connect to your phone and notify you when you get a text or email this is not the watch for you.

That being said, this is an outdoorsman watch. It does everything I need it to do. The compass, GPS, altimeter and barometer are very accurate for a wrist-top device. The battery life is excellent and charge time is minimal. As for the movescount app, I have not had any issues. The app can be used to add points of interest, view hikes/runs and also a supplementary way to modify the settings of the watch itself; although You can change it on the watch itself. For those of you that need MGRS, You are able to use MGRS format locating on just the watch alone via a scroll type menu which you can go up or down from your current 10 digit grid. The longer you hold the up or down button, the faster it will adjust. Not the best method of input but for the price, reliability and battery life; you cannot go wrong.

I would definitely recommend this to everyone looking for this type of watch. Like I said in the beginning. If you want to have a phone on your wrist, get an apple watch. If you want to navigate through rugged terrain, go for a run and be able to record your hikes from start to finish and back track while navigating, this is the watch for you!” --Roberto Rozco

Smokeless Portable Fire Pit - You read that right. The Solo Stove is coined as the world’s most unique portable fire pit because it gives off minimal to no smoke or ashes. This fire pit is easy to set up and great to take with you out on the road and to top it off, you won’t leave the campground smelling like smoke.

Promising Review: “We had our first Solo stove fire on Saturday night. It was so much easy to use and kept us toasty on this chilly May evening in the the Northeast. Love my Bonfire!” --Luann Orcutt

Portable Mosquito Repeller - Mosquitos really know how to ruin a good time while camping, but you don’t have to worry about those annoying pests with the Thermacell MR150 Portable Mosquito Repeller. This device is lightweight and conveniently sized and repels mosquitoes away in a 15-ft zone for up to 12 hours. Definitely, a must-have in our book.

Promising Review: “Hate mosquitos? This is the device for you. I just used it on a weeklong camping trip and it kept me bite free when in use. Be aware that it takes a good 5 minutes to become effective, but I watched mosquitoes come near and then fly away when it hit the barrier. The pad smells a little like cinnamon and does work for 4 hours. I would say the butane works for a little longer than advertised, but who could complain about that? I would recommend this product.” --Andrew W. Huppert

Packable Kayak
- Unless you have a toy hauler, you might have to leave your kayak at home just because it takes up so much space. Not anymore! PAKAYAK is a portable nesting kayak that breaks apart into 5 pieces and can be stored in a convenient travel bag. When you want to use the kayak, you simply put the pieces together and you’re ready to hit the water.

Promising Review: “Just took this for a spin at Sand Key, Florida. A very well thought out design. A smooth kayak to paddle with great tracking!” --Dave Surplus

20-in-1 Multi-Tool Key - This key is small but mighty. It can be used as four different types of screwdrivers, a bottle opener, box cutter, wire stripper - the list goes on and on; and the best part is it’s the size of a regular house key. No more lugging around large tools while you’re on the road.

Promising Review: “Got my key and have been using it for a few weeks. Have had no problems using it to cut open boxes, adjust things on the trail, and open bottles. I've used it a lot more than I thought.” --Hector

Pocket Chainsaw - Why buy firewood when you can cut your own? This “chainsaw” is so small it can fit in your pocket, hence the name. You won’t need to gas this chainsaw up as it’s powered by... you. This convenient and portable pocket chainsaw is great for cutting small branches and trees so you can get the s’mores roasting in no time.

Promising Review: “I decided to try one of these out for camping after struggling to gather firewood, that was big enough to burn longer than a few minutes, with folding handsaw. After taking this to the Boundary Waters my buddies and I will be buying another one! It comes with a small carrying pouch that is easy to stuff in a bag and doesn't take up much space. We found that it's easiest to use as a two man team and rather than pulling straight up (on a log laying down) it worked best to pull up at about 45* to avoid getting jammed up. This angle also made it easier for each of us to get a foot on the log to hold it in place while we cut through it. We were able to cut through a log with a 10" diameter with relative ease!” --Michael R.

TRILLIUM Hammock - After a long day of adventure, there’s nothing like laying in a hammock and admiring the scenery. This giant three-person hammock is ideal for camping and the whole family. The Trillium hammock uses an innovative three-point anchor system and is made of your choice of quick-drying mesh or tough and rip-stop nylon.

Promising Review: “This bad boy is a champ. Once i found the right trees, it took me 5 minutes to set up my first try. It can hold about twelve 8 year olds comfortably, and keep them distracted for over an hour.” --Pepper

Which of these RV and camping gadgets do you have on your list? Do you have any camping gadgets you swear by? Let us know in the comments below!

Trader Online Web Developer

Your RV News Fix is Here

There is always new and exciting stuff happening in the RV industry - and so you can spend more time enjoying your RV, and less time scouring the headlines for updates - we’ve dug into the latest and greatest RV news you need to know. So, here we go - your May RV news fix has arrived. Check out the latest headlines below.

Retro Inspired Camper is Coming to the U.S 
The Barefoot Caravan, a popular European camper, is set to come to North America by 2020. The egg-like trailer is roughly 16-feet long and features a compact living space that sleeps two. The retro design includes a small kitchen area, bathroom, and a seating area that transforms into a 6x6 ft. bed - which is a lot to fit into a small space; but despite that, the camper’s interior is reported to feel surprisingly spacious, with windows all the way around letting in wonderful natural light. You may want to see this camper for yourself - but unfortunately, we still have a while to go before the Spring 2020 launch. Read More.

Thor is Partnering With KOA to 'Clean Up America’
Thor recently announced their partnership with Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) to enlist the help of RVers and campers in cleaning up public lands. They are asking campers to take a bag with them when they go off a campground and fill it up with any trash they might come upon. Bob Martin, president and CEO of Thor, stated, “While people are enjoying our country’s parks and national landmarks, we wanted to inspire them to help keep these places beautiful for current and future campers.” We couldn’t agree with that sentiment more and encourage all RVers and campers to keep our plant clean and do your part in picking up trash while you travel. Read More.

Glamping Company Wants to Build a 55-unit Airstream Hotel in Joshua Tree 
AutoCamp, a San Francisco-based business, is toying with the idea of building a hotel-campsite made out of 55 Airstream trailers on the edge of Joshua Tree. AutoCamp has already built similar “hotels” in other areas of California that include outdoor fire pits and heated furniture. There is a lot of opportunity at Joshua Tree considering the national park had a record-setting year in 2018 - more than 3 million people visited the park. The locals are worried that the hotel could take away from the charm and peacefulness of the area - so we are curious to see if this hotel park will be created. Read More.

Dynamo Introduces All-Aluminum Truck Camper Frame 
This truck camper is giving us serious Airstream vibes. The start-up, Dynamo Truck Camper Extreme (TCX), a subsidiary of Silver Streak LLC, just revealed a weld-free, aluminum truck camper frame. The company will be taking orders for their semi-custom campers this month. The frame of the truck camper weighs 440 pounds and the dry weight will be only 1,200 pounds once the camper is complete. Read More.

There you have it! You’re all caught up on the latest and greatest news from the RV world. Stay tuned for our next RV News Fix in June. Let us know what you thought about these stories in the comments below.
Trader Online Web Developer

Tech Tip: Tips for Fuel Savings on RV Trips

Tips for Fuel Savings on RV Trips

No one likes paying more at the pump, especially when it comes to RV travel. Follow FMCA’s simple steps to help find the best fuel savings.

Download an AppLet an app do the work for you. Download a mobile app like Gas Buddy or Trunow to find the best fuel prices in your current ZIP code. Both apps include gasoline and diesel fuel prices.

Be Mindful of Credit Card Purchases
Many credit cards “pay back” a bonus amount, usually 5 percent, on fuel purchases and perhaps certain other purchases. The catch: many fuel outlets also sell fast food or groceries, so if the computer doesn’t recognize the fuel purchase at check-out, you won’t get the 5 percent discount. Keep an eye on your monthly invoice!

In addition, gas station credit cards can be useful if you’re brand-loyal and pay off the card each month. Otherwise, watch those interest rates.

Ask about Cash Discounts
Some stations, especially in rural or less populated area, offer a discount for paying with cash. Even a few cents off per gallon can add up to savings.

Consider Warehouse Clubs
Warehouse clubs are increasingly offering fuel discounts, but if you’re a diesel user and clubs carry only gasoline, a membership (sometimes costing $40 a year or more) may not be worth it to you. The other catch is that the fuel discount also may require shopping in the store for a minimum dollar purchase.

Sign Up for Supermarket Loyalty Cards
Supermarket loyalty accounts can mean savings, and some of the large chains give points that add up to a fuel discount after you reach a certain amount. Some large chains even offer “double” or “triple points” during the summer months, which is considered the typical “road trip” season. It’s usually easy and free to sign up for loyalty cards.

With all special offers, it’s important to always read the fine print. Be a smart consumer and do your homework. With a little planning, you CAN save at the pump.

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Join today for just $50 — a savings of $10 just for RV Trader readers. Learn more at

This information is for educational purposes. FMCA shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.
Trader Online Web Developer


How to Work Full-Time From Your RV

Living out on the road isn’t for everyone - but if you’re interested, the lifestyle is becoming more accessible and attainable. Many people think you have to wait until retirement to commit to full-time RVing - but times are thankfully changing. The number of full-time RVers is growing rapidly, especially among millennials, and we don’t see this trend dying out any time soon. You might be asking, “but how is this possible?” We’ll show you how to be a full-time adventurer while still getting a steady paycheck.

Ask yourself, are you willing to change jobs or learn new skills? 
If you’re a police officer, teacher, or something of the like, chances are you won’t be able to do your job while working from an RV. If you have a job that requires you to be there in person, it might be time to consider a career change. Before making this huge lifestyle transition, think about the different skills you have and how you can translate them into a new on-the-move career. Taking a skills aptitude or career test can be extremely helpful if you’re looking to change jobs. 

Get creative and do your research
Consider joining or creating a full-time RVer Facebook page or forum to get helpful tips from people who are already living this lifestyle. Read blogs, watch videos - arm yourself with all the knowledge and information you can before making the jump into full-time RVing so you can know exactly what to expect.

Here are a few blogs, videos, and groups we recommend:
● Follow Your Detour

Go remote
Many people come into work each day but can do their entire job from a computer. If you’re lucky enough to have a job like that already in place, consider asking your boss if you would be able to work remotely. You could even sell it by offering a trial period that could potentially move into a permanent remote gig. The beauty of a remote job is that you can work virtually anywhere that has access to WiFi. You’ll want to invest in a WiFi hotspot if you’re out on the road, and make sure that each place/campground you stop has quality Internet access. We suggest trying out Verizon's MiFi device, as they tend to have the best connectivity across the country. If you don’t have a job that will allow you to work remotely, consider searching for remote positions online or take a look at websites like or Upwork for available freelance positions. 

Work seasonal or event-specific positions
When working out on the road, it can be a good idea to have multiple income streams. Seasonal work can add to your remote or freelancing salaries. Consider taking on a few seasonal jobs as they become available. Event/festival jobs usually have openings in the summertime and you can even plan your travels around them for extra income. Make sure to plan you seasonal jobs well ahead of the actual event so you can secure yourself a spot. Check out a few of our favorite RV-friendly festivals here.

Create content for others
Content is king on the Internet, and when you drop everything to become a full-time RVer people take notice and want to hear more about your lifestyle. Try pitching yourself as a guest blogger to various publications for a price. You’re going to learn A LOT out on the road, so why not share that knowledge with others who might want to take the leap themselves? Blogging, photography, and creating content can be a great way to add to your revenue stream. You might not make the big bucks right off the bat, but if you’re producing quality content, people are going to take notice.

We’re here to tell you that working full-time from an RV is possible. You no longer have to wait until your golden years to travel the country. We get that you might not drop everything and quit your job tomorrow, but we hope this article has opened your eyes to the possibility of working from the road. We are all about encouraging adventure and truly believe the time to explore is NOW.

We want to hear from you. Do you work full-time from your RV? Are you considering taking your work on the road? Share your experiences in the comments below and if you’re interested in being a contributor/freelancer on our RV Trader blog, reach out to for more information.
Trader Online Web Developer

Tech Tip: Steps to Maximize Your RV’s Tires

For many RVs, tires can be the weak link that disrupts travel if not properly maintained. Quite often, overloading is the cause of tire failure.

Follow these simple steps provided by tire expert and FMCA member Roger Marble to increase your chances of problem-free travel.

Initial Steps
Once you take these two initial steps, you’ll only need a few minutes each month to maintain your properly inflated tires.

1. Know the proper tire inflation pressure for your RV.

2. Ensure that your tires are always inflated to that level.

But how do you find out what your proper inflation number should be?

Determining the Correct Tire Inflation Pressure
First, it’s important to note that the proper inflation level is unique to your RV. Following the suggested inflation levels provided by the manufacturer on the tire certification label is only the beginning. The manufacturer’s suggested tire inflation pressure is based on an assumption, but only you are able to determine the true weight of your RV during travel.

To learn your RV’s true weight, pack it with all the items you expect to carry on your trip – clothes, fuel, food, water, family members, and pets. Then visit a scale that can weigh your RV and provide weights by individual wheel position. This is important because the required air pressure is based on the load on each individual tire. You also can book an appointment with the Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation (RVSEF) at most FMCA events to obtain individual wheel weights.

Once you know the load being carried by each wheel position, you can determine the minimum inflation pressure needed to carry that load. We recommend visiting to help guide you.

In addition, you can find a “helping hand” by visiting the FMCA forums, where you can find threads specifically dedicated to RV tire maintenance .

Determining the Cold Inflation Pressure
You will also want to be sure to determine your tires’ minimum cold inflation pressure (CIP). Visit tire manufacturer websites to find your tire brand and a table that has your tire size. Once you find that, look for the inflation level that carries your load or greater. This is the minimum cold inflation pressure, and it is recommended you go up in inflation by about 10%. Changes in air temperature, for example, can cause minor fluctuations in tire pressure, and increasing the CIP will help to eliminate the need to adjust tire pressure each time these fluctuations occur.

Measuring Tire Pressure
When measuring your RV’s tire pressure, try to make sure the tire is cool and in the shade. Ideally, the tires will have not been driven on or exposed to sunlight for at least 2 to 3 hours. That usually means the best time to check your tire pressure is first thing in the morning or late in the evening once you’ve settled in after a day of travel.

Getting started is always the hardest, but by making tire maintenance — and measuring the PSI of your tires — part of your travel routine, you can greatly reduce the risk of experiencing tire failure while on the road.

And don’t forget — FMCA members are eligible for discounts on Michelin, BF Goodrich, Hankook and Continental tires. Members have reported saving hundreds on replacement tires! Learn more.

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Join today for just $50 — a savings of $10 just for RV Trader readers. Learn more at

This information is for educational purposes. FMCA shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.

Trader Online Web Developer

RV News Roundup

As always, we are here to keep you informed with the latest RV news - and there’s A LOT to catch you up on, particularly when it comes to new models. Check out this month’s top RV-related headlines below.

Image: Curbed

Tesla Camper Wants to be Fastest RV in the World - Tesla is known for its electric cars, but now the company is branching off into campers with its Tesla Model S-based motorhome prototype. Creator Travis Rabenberg wants the motorhome to reach a top speed of 150 mph and have a range of 200 miles. Rabenberg’s goal is to break the Guinness World Land Speed Record for an electric motorhome. This camper looks pretty wild but will include some basic comforts of home like a toilet, sink, bed, water storage, and 350 watts of roof-mounted solar. Read More.

Image: Curbed

This App-Controlled Camper Can Haul a Smart Car -
Last month at RVX, Chinook Motor Coach debuted their new Trail Wagon. This new model is a mix between a toy hauler and a camping trailer. The camper is app-controlled and can fit a smart car inside. The trailer was made to haul extra gear and provide sleeping space, with a queen bed that converts into a couch when not in use. By downloading an app on your smartphone you can easily control the unit. With the touch of a finger, you can drop the ramp door, control the TV, and lift and lower the bed. There will be two Trail Wagons available - one with a square front and another with a rounded front. Pricing will begin at $38,000. Read More.

Image: Curbed

Winnebago’s New Camper Van is Here - Winnebago also had their time to shine at RVX with the reveal of their new Class B camper van called the Boldt. This new, four-season coach was inspired by German explorer Alexander Von Humboldt. The Boldt is built on a 24-foot Mercedes-Benz chassis and has a 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine. The two floorplans are called the 70KL and the 70BL - both including a sleeping area, a galley kitchen, and a dining area. The Boldt also gives travelers flexibility with their flex bed system that can convert the bedroom or living area spaces into different configurations. The MSRP will be close to $185,000, and should be available this summer. We are excited to see these out on the road and try one out for ourselves! Read More.

Sleep Number Debuts Mattress For RVs - We love to get out and adventure, but there’s nothing like coming back to the RV after a long day of excitement. Sleep is important when you’re out on the road, and sleep number is helping RVers get the best rest possible with the debut of their mattress specifically designed for RVs. The Comfortaire r3 features Sleep Number’s signature DualAir technology, which allows users to adjust the firmness on each side of the bed. The design is now lighter and easier to assemble. The r3 comes in five RV-compatible sizes, so there’s sure to be a size that fits in your RV. Read More.

New models galore this month! We love filling you in with the latest RV happenings - and there is always something new happening in the industry. Let us know what your favorite story was in the comments below and stay tuned for next month’s edition of our RV news roundup.
Trader Online Web Developer