Win a new Keystone Springdale Travel Trailer

Let's Kamp in style!

The #1 selling RV brand in North America, Keystone, and the #1 name in camping, Kamgrounds of America (KOA), are teaming up for the Kamping in Style Giveaway. One lucky winner will win a new, fully equipped Springdale 28-foot travel trailer by Keystone RV and 10 free nights of camping at any KOA in North America. The new Keystone Springdale sleeps six and comes with the “One Touch Plus” package. The prize package is valued at over $29,000! And if you want to see the quality of the Springdale travel trailer, look no further than your Central PA RV Dealer.

Enter the Sweepstakes from now until Wednesday, August 31, 2011 for your chance to win.

Click Here to visit the Kamping in Style Giveaway official website.
For the officially rules for the Kamping in Style Giveaway, Click Here

Slide-Out Secrets

Tip outs, bump outs, pull outs, or extension rooms… I have heard all the names.  Whatever you call them, the extra room a Slide-Out makes is a huge improvement in interior space and livability.  Slide-outs add many square feet to an RV when they are set up.  The more slide-outs that you have, the more space you have.  Sleeping capacity is added, storage is added, and most of all comfort is added.  However like anything in life that is a moving part, slide-outs require a little TLC and occasionally some maintenance over their life to perform at their greatest level.

Most slide-out are driven by some version of a electro-mechanical system.  Also occasionally a hydraulic system.  The majority of all slide-outs that are manufactured do not require lubrication.  However owners can do their part by keeping the equipment clean, which tends to prolong the life span of the mechanisms.  With doing your own part in taking care of the equipment, the owner will also begin to become familiarized with their trailer slide-out.  And might notice something go awry before it becomes a major issue.

A few general rules and troubleshooting tips to follow can help you avoid costly trips to a service center.  The first thing you should always do before pressing that slide-out button, is to make sure your coach is level, and any latches are released. Make sure there is nothing impeding the path of the slide out.  Move all throw rugs, make sure cabinet and interior doors are closed.  Make sure you have the proper distance on the outside of the trailer to operate the slide-out.  If the slide-out has not been extended for a lengthy period of time, check the edges of the seals to make sure non sticking is occurring.

Slide-outs can bind if the chassis/frame of your unit is twisted or not properly leveled.  Mechanism motors can bog down if they do not have the proper voltage supplied.  To ensure a sufficient power supply to the motor, keep the shorepower connection intact.

If a slide-out moves slowly or sticks when moving.  Check for binding around the edges of the opening that the slide-out is attempting to pass through.  The best way to know if something is binding or impeding your slide-out, is listen.  The more you run your slide-outs in and out, you will learn to hear any differences in the process.  So stop, look and listen.

If your slide out fails to extend or retract when you push that magical button.  Do not panic, the first thing to do is check to make sure the mechanism is getting power.  Look for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker.  Locations for these very.  However the first place to look is in the fuse/breaker panel.  If all looks good there, proceed to the battery compartment or in the wiring harness near the motor driving the slide mechanism.

If you hear the motor straining and if the lights dim when the slide-out is activated, either voltage is low or the mechanisms are binding.  Inspect the underside of the mechanism to see if anything is corroded, broken or otherwise damaged.  If all else fails most, if not all, slide-out mechanisms have the good old manual over-ride.  This over-ride is a designed method to operate the slide-out if a problem does occur.  Hydraulic systems usually require that the pressure be released in the ram by manually opening a valve, and then the slide-out room must be pushed closed or pulled open.  Mechanical slide-out systems usually have a hand crank, but the motor may have to be removed first to all the gears to turn freely.  Cable driven slide-out systems will have an adapter that can be placed in a portable drill to allow the drill to act as the motor to extend and contract the slide system.  The owner’s manual that came with your RV will outline which type of system and manual method you should use.

The best thing an owner can do, is to become familiar with all the operational aspects of your RV.  You do not need to become a pro.  However the more knowledge you know, the less likely you will need to cut your enjoyable trip short.  If you do have any questions about proper slide-out maintenance or operation, please contact your Central PA RV Dealer.  We will help you with any questions that you may have.

Great Smoky Visitors Can Now Check Road Conditions Digitally

I recently discovered this article in a Trailer Life magazine.  I thought I would share it with my readers as well.  This is just another way technology has found a home in mainstream society and into the RVing lifestyle.  If anyone out there has any other ways technology has helped the RVing lifestyle, please post it.

Visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park may now sign up to receive status updates about the park’s most frequently used roads via text message or on Twitter. In the past, travelers had to place phone calls to the Park to determine the status of the roads, which can change frequently with changing weather conditions.

The Park’s recorded information line receives more than 1,000 calls per day during the severe winter weather from people inquiring about road conditions. When all of the incoming lines are in-use, the calls rollover to the park’s Communications Center staff, often resulting in more than 600 calls to be answered, hampering the staff from responding to calls requesting park information and emergency assistance.

Those who wish to be notified of the status of the Park’s four most popular roads — Newfound Gap (U.S. 441), Little River Road, Laurel Creek Road, and Cades Cove Loop Road — can opt to get text messages to their cell phones by texting follow smokiesroadsnps to 40404. To stop receiving the text message alerts, text stop smokiesroadsnps to the same number. Standard text rates will apply.

The public can get that same information via the Internet by going to: twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps to read recent road notification postings. This is a Twitter website maintained by the park, but anybody can access it at any time, without having to establish a Twitter account.

Anyone having a Twitter account can go an extra step and choose to have updates set to them by going to the site listed above and clicking the “follow” button to see the updates on their own account page and receive the notifications in the manner they specify. In addition to notifications of winter road conditions, park officials plan to notify travelers throughout the year of road openings and closings due to rock slides, fallen trees, and accidents. Anytime the status of one of the listed roads changes, a message will be sent.

As the National Park Service prepares for its 2016 centennial celebration, officials are increasingly utilizing technology to connect the American people to their national parks.

For more information about Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and for a link to the Twitter site, go to www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm. Information on all of the roads in the Park as well as other Park information may be obtained by calling the park’s information line at (865) 436-1200 and following the prompts.

Towing terminology and guidelines.

I have had several customers lately ask me about the different terminology used when talking about towing.  I have compiled a small list of key words and their definitions.  Hopefully this helps people better understand how you can successfully tow a trailer, be it an RV, horse or utility trailer.  The science behind towing is all the same.

First thing to be aware of is this; Because a tow vehicle and a trailer form an articulated (hinged) vehicle, weight considerations are very important to safe towing. The tow vehicle must be a proper match for the trailer.

The ball and coupler hitch is used on a wide variety of tow vehicle combination. This hitch consists simply of a ball attached to the rear of a tow vehicle and a coupler (socket) at the tip of a tongue or A-frame attached to the front of the trailer. This hitch is commonly used on recreational trailers.

A load distributing hitch is used for heavier models such as utility trailers, boat trailers, and travel trailers. These load distributing hitches use special equipment to distribute the tongue load to all axles of the tow vehicle and trailer to help stabilize the tow vehicle. Here are some terms you should know when discussing hitch adjustment and in evaluating hitch performance:

* Receiver: Hitch platform fitted to the tow vehicle.

* Ball mount: A removable steel component that fits into the receiver. The ball and spring bars (only on load distributing hitches) are attached to it.

* Sway Control: A device designed to lessen the pivoting motion between tow vehicle and trailer when a ball-type hitch is used.

* Coupler: A ball socket at the front of the trailer A-frame that receives the hitch ball.

* Spring Bars: Load-leveling bars used to distribute hitch weight among all axles of tow vehicle and trailer in a load distributing ball-type hitch.

Regardless of what style of hitch you are using to tow with, Safety should always come first.  I can not stress enough about safety being at fore front on ones mind while towing, hitching up and even while unhitching at your destination. Some common safety items to think about are:

Perform a safety inspection before each trip: Make sure that the pin securing the ball mount to the receiver is intact, the hitch coupler is secured, spring bar hinges are tight with the safety clips in place (load equalizer or weight distributing hitches), safety chains are properly attached and the electrical plug is properly installed.

Practice trailer backing: Backing a trailer into tight places is easier than it looks, but it does take some practice. It’s best to practice in a parking lot and in a vehicle that allows you to see the trailer through the rear window. Vans, trucks and campers that have obstructed rear views require more practice and the use of side mirrors. In either case, be patient, and make steering adjustments slowly and a little at a time.

Watch your tongue weight: How a trailer handles down the road depends upon tongue weight. Too much weight will cause the rear of the trailer to sway and make the tow vehicle difficult to control. The tongue weight should not exceed 200 pounds for trailer up to 2,000 pounds. Tongue weight for trailers over 2,000 pounds should be 10 to 15% of the trailer’s loaded weight.

Take care of tires: It’s wise to periodically check tires for wear, cuts or other damage and replace as needed. Above all, maintain the tire pressure recommended by the manufacturer, located on the tire sidewall. Improperly inflated tires will cause them to wear out quicker and reduces fuel mileage.

Let us move on to some terms and abbreviations of weight that really confuse a lot of people.   I tried as best as one could to keep the definitions simple and plain. Not all apply to recreational vehicle towing.  However I thought it best to include as much information as I could.

* Base Curb Weight – Weight of the vehicle and trailer not including cargo or any optional equipment.

* Cargo Weight – Includes cargo, passengers and optional equipment. When towing, trailer tongue weight is also part of the Cargo Weight.

* Gross Axle Weight (GAW) – The total weight placed on each axle (front and rear). To determine the Gross Axle Weights for your vehicle and trailer combination, take your loaded vehicle and trailer to a scale. With the trailer attached, place the front wheels of the vehicle on the scale to get the front GAW. To get the rear GAW, weigh the towing vehicle with trailer attached, but with just the four wheels of the vehicle on the scale. You get the rear GAW by subtracting the front GAW from that amount. In the absence of a scale, calculate the Front Gross Axle Weight by adding the Front Axle Curb Weight to the Cargo Weight (including passengers) assigned to the front 1/2 of the van. Calculate the Rear Gross Axle Weight by adding the Rear Axle Curb Weight to the Cargo Weight (including passengers) assigned to the rear 1/2 of the van and the Tongue Weight of the trailer.

* Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) – The total weight each axle (front and rear) is capable of carrying. These numbers are shown on the Safety Compliance Certification Label located inside the driver side door frame. The total load on each axle (GAW) must never exceed its GAWR.

* Gross Combination Weight (GCW) – The weight of the loaded vehicle (GVW) plus the weight of the fully loaded trailer. It is the actual weight obtained when the vehicle and trailer are weighed together on a scale.

* Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) – The maximum allowable weight of the towing vehicle and the loaded trailer (including all cargo) that the power train can handle without risking costly damage. The measured GCW must never exceed the GCWR. (Important: The towing vehicle’s brake system is rated for safe operation at the GVWR — not GCWR. Separate functional brake systems should be used for safe control of towed vehicles and for trailer weighing more than 3,000 lbs. when loaded).

* Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) – Base Curb Weight plus actual Cargo Weight. It is the actual weight that is obtained when the fully loaded vehicle is driven onto a scale.

* Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) – The maximum allowable weight of the fully loaded vehicle (Base Curb Weight plus options plus cargo). The vehicle’s measured GVW must never exceed the GVWR. The GVWR along with other maximum safe vehicle weights, as well as tire, rim size and inflation pressure are shown on the vehicle’s Safety Compliance Certification Label.

* Gross Trailer Weight – Is the highest possible weight of a fully loaded trailer the vehicle can tow. It assumes a towing vehicle with mandatory options, no cargo and the driver only (150 lbs.). The weight of additional optional equipment, cargo and hitch must be deducted from this weight.

* Payload – Maximum allowable weight of cargo that the vehicle is designed to carry. It is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating minus the Base Curb Weight.

RV Vacations are affordable!

With gas prices on the rise once more. And with the onset of the Spring and Summer traveling seasons. RV vacations are more economical than those taken by personal car, commercial airline and cruise ship.  Regardless of fuel prices, RV owners still get the biggest bang for their buck.  When compared to other types of vacations.  The affordability of RV travel is what appeals to families.  I recently read a comprehensive study that analyzes vacation data and in all cases, the study found RV trips being more economical than other vacations analyzed, regardless of trip duration, distance or region of the country.  Even when fuel prices rise, the data continued to show that traveling the road in an RV is still significantly less expensive.  I know fuel costs are a very important factor in everyone’s vacation plans and costs, the results of the study determined that the cost of fuel would have to triple to make RVing more expensive for a family of four than other types of travel.  For an example vacations using a personal car, staying in hotels and eating in restaurants, were found to be roughly 36 percent more costly on average than travel by RV.

A week-long family vacation towing a conventional travel trailer from Salt Lake City, Utah to the Grand Canyon compared to the cost of taking the same trip by airline, renting a car and staying in a rental property would be $2,820 or 70 percent less expensive.

Shorter getaways were also found to be more economical by RV. A family taking a three-day excursion from Pittsburgh, Pa. to visit the Pa. Dutch Country around Lancaster, Pa.  would save over $270 or an estimated 31 percent, by towing their conventional travel trailer, rather than going by car, staying in hotels and eating in restaurants.

More than 80 percent of RVers say their RV vacations cost less than other forms of vacation, even when fuel prices rise. To save fuel, RVers are typically spending more time with their family and enjoying the campground experience, and spending less time on the road. Many RVers also take their own steps to lower fuel consumption. Simple steps like reducing your speed, ease off the gas pedal a little. Instead of going 65 mph, reduce your speed to 55 mph. Pack lighter to reduce weight in your tow-able or RV. And turning off home utilities to save energy when traveling, such as unplugging any un-needed appliances and turning off your hot water heater. RV travel at a leisurely pace with no tight schedules for flights, hotels, or restaurants is stress free and enjoyable.

So I say plan those Spring and Summer RV Vacations. And before you do, stop by your to upgrade to a new travel trailer or fifth wheel. Or have our great service department here at Lerch RV, look over your existing coach to make sure your trip is trouble-free and fun. Hook up and hit the road. Get that bang for your buck and make some great family memories this year!

Safe travels and Happy RVing!

Spring Break RV Destinations for the entire family.

Skip the expensive hotels and meals by taking your RV. Surf the net, pick the perfect place for your family and then pack up the camper! Spring Break is right around the corner – give your family a vacation to remember by taking them on a Great American Road Trip! Here are a few ideas for family friendly Spring Break Vacation Spots.

Walt Disney World or Disneyland

Epcot at Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando, FL

Do the Disney Parks cheap! Or at least cheaper! With campgrounds close by, take the kids to one of the happiest places on earth without breaking the bank. Walt Disney World Resort has a Disney inspired campground called Fort Wilderness Resort. Even though Disneyland doesn’t have their own themed campground, there are many campgrounds nearby. Meet Mickey, get your picture taken on Splash Mountain and become a princess at either Cinderella’s or Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

New Orleans, LA

Not only does Mardi Gras happen in March, but New Orleans is a great place for a family vacation. Experience Mardi Gras’ parades, jazz music, elaborate costumes and amazing food (there are parade routes that are family friendly and less adult rated). Or explore Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. You could also take a riverboat ride down the famous Mississippi River. There are also great city tours to take advantage of. Click Here to see other things to do in New Orleans with your family.

Washington D.C.

Washington Monument in Washington D.C.

Washington Monument in Washington D.C.

With Washington D.C. being our Nation’s Capital, there are many things to see and do with your family. Not only is there great history and national treasures to see at the Smithsonian Museum, but there are other great museums for families. The International Spy Museum is a big hit for families. You can also take a tour of the city by jumping on a duck tour or save money by printing out the Washington DC East Mall Walking Guide and Tour for free. There is also a Cherry Blossom Festival at the end of March. Oh, and don’t forget to ring the bell at the White House!

San Diego, CA

With Seaworld, LEGOLAND, San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formally known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park), this is a great place to take your family to with many attractions to see. With nice temperatures in March and April, a day at the beach is another great option or a boat ride around the harbor.

Orlando, FL

Besides Walt Disney World Resort, there are many other attractions to see in the Orlando, Florida area. Universal Orlando, Sea World Orlando, Gatorland, Daytona Beach, the Florida Everglades and more. Orlando is a very family friend city with hundreds of things to keep you and your family busy. Click Here for a list of 210 Things to Do in Orlando.

Other destinations to consider without your RV.

Splash Lagoon Indoor Waterpark

Indoor Water Parks

Do you live in the Northern States and are dreaming of a swimming suite? Take your family to an indoor water park! Great Wolf Lodge has 12 resorts that are mostly in the Mid-West and the East coast (with one in Washington State). Relax down the lazy river or shoot down a speed slide. There is even one in PA.

Rocky Mountains

Does your family like winter sports? Take them on a trip up to Utah or Colorado for great skiing and snowboarding. Salt Lake has over 7 resorts within an hour of driving. With Colorado being nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the ski resorts are unless.

For more ideas, Click Here to read “Spring Break Ideas for Families” at About.com.

Click Here to find a campground close to your vacation destination at CampingRoadTrip.com.

If you have any other great Spring Break RV destinations to share. Please leave a comment.

RVing in the movies, once again!

Coming soon to a big screen near you.  The newest movie that has RVing as a theme. I ran across this article as a post on Clem’s Trailer Sales Blog.  I found it quite interesting and decided to share it with my readers as well. I just want to put a big thank you out there to Randy at Clem’s.

If you’re an RVer then you know that crazy things can happen on the road.  Different sites, mechanical issues, friend Paul the movieand family can all add up to an experience that seems like a great adventure.  That’s why Hollywood seems to always turn to the road trip as a source of information.  Now imagine that you have the normal hi-jinx that occur while RVing and add an element of surprise.  Namely a sarcastic and highly intelligent alien that’s escaping the authorities.

Well this is what the new movie, “Paul”, is taking a look at.  Two friends who are Sci-Fi nerds are RVing to the biggest comic book convention in the country when they stumble across Paul.  Their alien fantasies are soon turned into a crazy reality where they’re running from the government while encountering all the normal RVing pitfalls that happen along the way.  Embedded below is the trailer for the movie, which I would encourage you to go watch if you think that RVing can’t get anymore crazy than it already is. It’s sure to make you appreciate the tiny problems that you already encounter for sure!

York RV Show set for March 11-13,2011.

Join us at the 2011 York RV Show being held at the York Expo Center Grounds in York, PA. This unique show is in its 33rd year and the event promises to be bigger and better than ever with over 30,000 square feet of indoor display space.  And Lerch RV will be occupying a large section of that display area.  We will once again be displaying over 20 units.  All from industry leading RV Manufacturers.  Open Range, Montana, Sprinter, Springdale, Summerland, and Copper Canyon to name a few. Also on display will be 40 campgrounds showcasing their facilities and 20 vendors offering products to enhance the RVing experience and lifestyle.

“Grab a pencil and a piece of paper before you come,”…“You’ll want to do the math, because RV travel is very affordable.”

Regardless of the size or make you choose, today’s RV travel experience is more fuel-efficient and comfortable than ever before as manufacturers design with convenience in mind, using lighter materials and more streamlined exterior looks. With the economy showing signs of recovery, more people than ever before are discovering the freedom and flexibility an RV vacation affords.  Great camping memories are part of almost every family’s history and it’s a great stress-reducer.  I do not know of anyone who does not enjoy sitting around a campfire and just relaxing.

Hours for the show are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. March 11; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. March 12; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 13.

Admission is $8.00 per person with children under 12 admitted free. Balloon designing clowns will be on hand to entertain the children. There will also be games, door prizes, and camping weekend giveaways.  And if you make a purchase from me at the Lerch RV display and you mention this blog. I will subtract your admission fee from the price of your new trailer.

The York Expo Center is at Carlisle Avenue in the city of York. If traveling Interstate 83, get off exit 22, take Route 30E. Follow signs to Fairgrounds/Expo Center. Your Lerch RV Sales Team looks forward to seeing you there.