Buying a used or new RV in Pennsylvania

Whether you purchase a used RV or travel trailer in Pennsylvania from an individual or a central Pennsylvania RV dealer, there are certain things you should check before making the transaction. Usually, a dealership,like Lerch RV will repair the RV or travel trailer, if needed, before selling it, so a used travel trailer or a used central Pennsylvania RV dealer  is a better option.

If you are buying a trailer from a private individual, make sure everything works.If the travel trailer or RV comes with a generator, start the generator to ensure it works. Let it run for at least 10 minutes. While the generator is running, check the interior. Turn on the lights. Start the refrigerator if it has the option to run on electric. Check the microwave. Check the faucets to make sure the handles, the shower handle and the drain plugs all work. There may not be water in the tank, but you want to ensure that the handles are not stripped. Some drain plugs have a handle on the spigot or the faucet — these are the things you need to check.

Make sure the toilet operates properly. The flush and rinse sliders — if you have that type of toilet — should operate without sticking, and they should not be loose.

If the travel trailer or fifth wheel RV has an air conditioning unit, turn the air conditioning on to make sure it works. If the heat uses gas, you may not be able to check the heat unless there is gas in the tanks. The same goes for the stove.

Once you are happy that everything works on generator, plug the RV into an outlet if possible. Check to see if everything works with the RV or travel trailer plugged in.

Check in all cabinets for roof leaks. Roof check around the vents for signs of leakage. In most cases, a dealership will repair the leak and fix the water spots on the ceiling, but they may not fix the water spot in the overhead cabinets. Check under the RV or travel trailer to ensure that the floor is not rotting out if it is wood. A lot of older campers were made completely of wood, which tends to rot, especially at the wheel wells. Check the tires. Make sure they have decent tread on them and that the tires do not look dry-rotted.

If you are purchasing a motorized RV, check all the fluids. The radiator should have antifreeze and water and it should be clean. Antifreeze could be green or orange, depending on the type used in that motor. Check the oil. The oil should look clean. Check the transmission fluid. Transmission fluid should be pink. If it is brown or smells bad — transmission fluid has a distinct smell when it is new, and smells pretty nasty when there is something wrong — there could be a problem with the transmission. Check the brake fluid.

Start the RV and take it for a test drive. Make sure the RV shifts correctly. If it has an automatic transmission and shift fine on its own, check it further by manually shifting it through the gears. At a stop, put it in first gear. Move forward. As the rpm raises, shift it into second, than third. You should hear or feel the shifts. If the RV has a tachometer, the tach should drop when you shift the transmission.

When you get back to the dealer or individual that you are buying the RV from, check the oil and transmission fluid again. The oil should still look clean and should not have a frothy look to it. If the oil looks frothy — almost like someone poured milk into the oil — the RV could have a head gasket problem. The transmission fluid should still be pink. Check around all of the hoses and make sure nothing is leaking.

If the RV engine runs smoothly and the fluids look good — and the price is right — you may have just found yourself your next great adventure.

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Open Range 386 FLR, a new breed of front living room

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Just like home, spacious front living room.

The Open Range 386 FLR is the newest entry in the front living room fifth wheel RV line up.  This floor plan is every customers “dream come true”! Loaded with every feature and benefit you have come to expect from Open Range.  From the spacious dual slide-out front living room with opposing air bed sleeper sofas and wall hugging recliner, to the step up rear king master bedroom.  What helps to set the Open Range 386 FLR apart from all the other front living room fifth wheels on the market is the storage area under the rear bedroom.  This storage space provides you with an additional 170 cubic feet of exterior storage, on top of the standard front basement storage that is normally found on every Open Range RV.

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The spacious living room features plenty of storage options, an electric fireplace, as well as a 42″ LED TV on an electric lift.  Once the TV is lowered into the storage position, the window in the front cap is exposed to provide you with the natural light that other front living room 5th wheels limit.  The living room includes an area for a comfortable wall hugging recliner.  The iron work railing helps to add a decorative touch to the openness of the living room.

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The front window allows natural light to filter in.

The kitchen is centrally located in the trailer and is as wide open as the living room.  Solid Alderwood storage cabinets and Corian counter-tops await and  beckon your use..  A large side by side, 12 cubic foot gas/electric Norcold refrigerator is waiting to be filled.  The free-standing dinette table expands to accommodate seat six people.

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The step up rear king bedroom provides you with even more interior storage.  Once you enter the bedroom you will first notice the dual sliding glass door wardrobe, six storage dresser drawers, and even more additional wardrobe storage. You have full storage under the king bed as well. With full TV/cable/satellite hook ups located above the wardrobe slide.

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The bathroom will not disappoint you either.  From the large shower with sliding glass doors, a large linen closet and vanity with vessel style sink.  The vanity provides you with ample counter top space and even more storage.

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This exciting new fifth wheel is a new breed apart.  This front living room fifth wheel is a true four season unit, complete with R38 floor and R38 roof insulation.  An automatic leveling and stabilizing system allows for easy setup.  Four 20lb LP tanks provide you with 80lbs of propane over the industry standard 60lbs.  All of this is standard on an Open Range RV.  Take a step into an all new Open Range 386 FLR to experience the new standard in front living room fifth wheels.

Be sure to visit Pennsylvania’s largest Open Range RV Dealership, Lerch RV.

Gas Prices do not Deter RV Campers

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The sky is the limit when it comes to amenities you’ll find in motor-homes, travel trailers and fifth wheels these days.   Every thing from leather couches, washers and dryers, and even heated tile flooring, but with those things comes a big price tag, especially on a motorized RV.  Then when you get it home there’s the cost to fill up the gas tank on the RV, which can run as much as $300 or less for a tow vehicle.  However this not stopping campers from heading out to their favorite spots.

“We go with a group of 15 other couples and we have the schedule all planned out for the third weekend each month, we go somewhere for our weekend camp-out,” said Louise Frank, an RV owner.

According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association RV sales in 2011 were up 4.1 percent nationwide, and people at the QCAA RV Expo say the threat of high gas prices won’t stop them from buying and using their campers.  “It’s just a budget thing, if you’re going to make the trip it’s just like any other vacation, you set the money aside and you go,” said Chad Misfeldt, an RV shopper.  “It’s something that you work for because that’s something you enjoy to do.”

The cost has however changed some aspects of how RV owners travel.”We just don’t use it to travel very much, we keep it at the lake and travel there in the summer.” Frank says they also budget differently during trips, like camping during the week when rates are cheaper, or cutting back on other expenses.  “We still love to do our camping so we cut others ways, we may not go out to eat as much while we’re home,” said Frank.  “Even when we’re camping we go out for lunch instead of supper.”

Many are parking their campers on permanent campgrounds sites, or are opting to purchase a smaller lighter weight.  Going smaller and lighter weight pays for itself in fuel economy.  Although the majority of RV owners know that by going small, you are going to have to sacrifice room.  Whether that is storage room, living space or sleeping space.  The majority of RVs being build nowadays are pushing the envelope in design and comfort.  On the upside of the fuel situation, many automotive manufacturers are giving the consumer more towing payload with greater emphasis on fuel mileage.

The vast majority of RV consumers view their camping trips as a time to bond with the family and say eight miles to the gallon is a small price to pay for building memories that will last a lifetime.

Top ten reasons to retire to an RV in Pennsylvania

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Retire to the RV lifestyle

Retirement is the time for a simpler life and the chance to do things you didn’t have time for when working. Living the RV lifestyle in retirement has several advantages. Here are ten of the most thought of…

Ten reasons to retire to an RV;

  1. Live your retirement dreams. Are there places you’ve wanted to visit but never took the time or perhaps didn’t have the money to do so? Now you can travel at your leisure and visit all those places. Whether it’s visiting national parks, following the Oregon Trail, playing at amusement parks or getting your fill of country western music, it’s all there for you
  2. Take your house with you:Instead of having to pack and unpack and hassle with airports or schlepping luggage in and out of motels, everything is there. Some RVs come with air or pillow-top mattresses, or you can add your own. Instead of sleeping on a lumpy mattress or too hard one night, then too soft the next, enjoy your own. Your bathroom is clean and you can relax at night on your comfortable sofa or La-Z-Boy recliner.
  3. Zero yard work and cleaning house is a breeze: With only a couple of hundred square feet to clean, cleaning house takes just a few minutes. There is no lawn to mow or yard to maintain.
  4. Stay active: Most experts agree that staying active prolongs and improves quality of life. Living in an RV provides many ways to stay active physically and mentally. When traveling, you have to stay engaged with life!
  5. Live less expensively: An RV is much less expensive to maintain than a house. Nightly campground fees are normally less than property tax and maintenance expenses on a stick house. Many expenses in the RV lifestyle can be controlled so you can cut back in a budget category when needed.
  6. Meet new people and make new friends:RVers are very friendly people. Opportunities are constant to meet new people. Get involved with an RV club or at an RV resort and find a whole new community. Working or volunteering as you travel is another way to meet people and make friends.
  7.  One house, many views:When you get tired of one view, move on to the next. RVing is the ideal way to snow bird. Go where it is cool in the summer and where it is warm in the winter. Change your ocean view to a mountain view in a matter of a few hours.
  8. No property taxes: Enjoy home ownership (your RV) without property taxes. Rent an RV space for as long as you want, then move.
  9.  Have many new experiences:You can actively have so many new experiences and be part of them rather than experience them vicariously on the boob tube. Stand where Lewis and Clark stood on their Voyage of Discovery. Crew for a hot air balloon at Albuquerque. Kayak among whales in Glacier Bay. Hike part of the Appalachian Trail. Or visit historical monuments; an auto tour at Gettysburg makes you feel like you are part of the Civil War.
  10. Visit friends and relatives: Visiting friends and relatives in an RV makes visiting so much more fun. Even if you are parked in their driveway, you have your own space. Or,stay at a nearby RV park so you are not instant babysitters!

Do you know of any other reasons to retire to the RVing Lifestyle?  If so please post them.

This is an excerpt from a list compiled by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak. Jamie is an RV Lifestyle Expert. She has been RVing since 1992.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Pennsylvania RVers get the big AdVANTAGEs.

Vantage. The new perspective in camping.

A brand new perspective in camping. Vantage from Keystone combines timeless beauty with modern technology to create a new travel trailer unlike anything on the market today. By utilizing curved,laminated fiberglass side walls and an arched roof, Vantage delivers wide-body livability and comfort in a look that clearly stands apart. And the Vantage interior is also extraordinary, tastefully incorporating contemporary-glazed maple cabinets, two-tone fascia, and an open spaciousness that is uncommon and pleasing. Available in three distinct floor-plans including a quad bunk model.

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The Big AdVANTAGEs

  • Classic, timeless shape that will look good many years from now.
  • Clean, uncluttered exterior.
  • Cool tone high gloss gray exterior with black accents(bumper, wheel-well, windows).
  • Low slung chassis with a shorter overall height (to top of A/C).
  • Curved side walls, exterior and interior, creating a 101” wide body
  • Uniform window line (all windows same height and distance off floor), clean appearance.
  • Large (7″) radius transition from side wall to roof.
  • Slide-outs that conform to wall curvature – inside and out!
  • Full front and rear caps. No boxy edges.
  • Window awning on front cap conceals window, provides exterior storage location.
  • Recessed LED exterior lighting throughout. Even in bunk area.
  • Classic round tail lights recessed into cap.
  • Center stop lamp.
  • Separate high impact ABS rear bumper with hair-cell finish.
  • Exterior convenience center on ODS.
  • Vaulted ceiling with 7’interior height.
  • Low center of gravity allows for smoother towing.

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Contact Pennsylvania’s first Keystone Vantage Dealer today for more information on this remarkable camper. You can reach us at 800-722-1236.

A Few Good Tips for the Pennsylvania RV Newbie

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New to RVing? We can help. Everybody has to learn the ins and outs of RVing at some time. Hopefully, your mistakes and accidents will be minimal in the beginning.

I thought I would put together some things to think about as you prepare your new RV and yourself, to experience the RVing lifestyle like a pro!

  1. Take care of your black water tank. This is one of the most important things to learn about. If your RV doesn’t have a black water tank sprayer, dump plenty of water down the toilet to clean it out. Add recommended chemicals regularly to ensure that tank material biodegrades properly. Packets are the fastest and easiest to use and require the least storage space; just toss one down the toilet with a gallon of water. Use RV toilet paper; it biodegrades faster.
  2. Make a maintenance checklist. Make a checklist of things to do before and after each RV trip to ensure that you don’t forget any maintenance procedures while you’re learning. Make notes of anything that you need to keep an eye on so that you can check it consistently. You don’t want any surprises while you’re on the road.
  3. Keep fridge and pantry stocked. Keep non-perishable staples on-board all season so you’re ready for spur-of-the-moment getaways.  Make sure they are foods that will work together to make a meal.  Remember to use food before their expiration date.
  4. Keep clothing, gear on board. Keep a set of toiletries, toothbrushes, clothing, games, leisure gear, pet supplies, etc. on board so that you have minimal packing to do at vacation time.

This is just a very small list to get you started in your quest to become an experienced camper.  Did I miss anything you experienced RVers? Please share more tips in the comments below….

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

What Every New Pennsylvania RVer Eventually Discovers

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New RV owners usually have a lot of information to digest. There is so much to learn about owning, operating and maintaining a RV. Unless they know someone who can teach them all there is to know, these new RV owners are on their own to figure it all out.

Consider your first RV your training RV. This is where you will learn the ins and outs of how to operate propane, holding tanks, plumbing, electrical and backing up.

It helps you discover whether you prefer the convenience of full-service RV parks or dry-camping in primitive campgrounds, more commonly known as boon-docking.

Your ‘training camper’ teaches you how to equip, furnish and pack an RV. You learn just how much interior storage space (closets, cabinets, drawers) you really need (is there ever enough?). It reveals how critical the size and accessibility of the outside storage bays can be and the importance of cargo-carrying capacity and towing capabilities. Not to mention sleeping capacity as well. Did you really need the bunk beds?

It helps you determine what floor-plan, features and accessories would best suit your RVing lifestyle and needs. And if you really enjoy all that you learn about the world of RVing, there will be another new RV!

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

RVing is a great way to Support our National Parks

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It’s about time to start talking about your 2012 RV travel plans. If you plan on staying at some of the more popular national parks, you may want to go ahead and make your reservations now. Please consider adding in some more visits to the national parks in 2012. They could use your patronage now.

Having already grown accustomed to a dwindling budget in recent years, the National Park Service is now facing the prospect of a decade of across-the-board cuts starting at nearly 8 percent in 2013.

What this could mean is shorter seasons at some national parks, staff reductions, deferred infrastructure maintenance, campground closings and reduced amenities.

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) released a report stating that in fiscal year 2011 the National Park Service had funding reduced by $140 million, including $11.5 million for operations. Since 2002, the report states, the agency’s discretionary budget has decreased from $3 billion to $2.6 billion in today’s dollars.

The organization’s report arrives at a time when the nation is mired in debate over how to trim the federal government’s deficit. The Budget Control Act of 2011, enacted in August, calls for cutting the deficit by roughly $900 billion through caps on discretionary spending beginning in 2012 and ending in 2021. Those spending caps will affect the national park system.

So, even though the nation park system is a tiny part of the federal budget, they will almost certainly be affected. Please do what you can to support our national parks. Plan a RV tour of your favorite parks for 2012!

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Pennsylvania RVers Boost Phone and Internet Range with an Antenna

I came across this great post about external antennas for your RV or trailer. I would guess that 99% of all RVers travel with a cell phone to keep in touch, plus they have a laptop computer to get travel info and email. That’s all great and good as long as you stay in the city where the reception is good. But RVers usually don’t spend their vacations in cities, they like to explore the great outdoors in their RVs and trailers. Unfortunately, there may be times when you have to sacrifice the modern-day amenities of mobile phones and internet connections. However, if you get a long-range antenna, that possibility can be reduced.
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This omnidirectional antenna is a good antenna for maximizing your reach when you’re in the middle of nowhere!
Here’s one RVer’s method: This gentleman mounted a roof-mount style satellite dish base on the top of his motor-home, using the appropriate sealant to prevent water leakage. But instead of topping the mount with a satellite dish, he used U-bolts to mount a omnidirectional/tri-band cellular antenna. This one covers frequency ranges for both his cell phone and his wireless broadband/internet card.

He routed the connection cable from the antenna, down through the rig’s gray water holding tank vent line. Inside the rig he bored a hole into the vent line (where it was accessible from in the living area), routed the cable out of the vent line, and then used a sealant to both “keep the stink out,” and to act as a protective grommet to prevent friction between the vent pipe and the antenna coax. The whole shooting match plugs into either the cell phone, or into a jack in his broadband card. If your card doesn’t have a jack for an antenna, there are inductive couplers that attach to broadband cards, allowing you to rig them to an external antenna.

Once on location, it’s a simple job to climb up the RV’s roof access ladder, lift the satellite dish mount into its “working” position, then turn the antenna around to point to the nearest cellular site. With a 24dB gain, this setup will bring signal roaring in that might otherwise be lost in space.[RV Tech Tips]

Take the time this winter to add some accessories like this to your RV. Then in the spring you’ll have some new RV toys to play with!

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Lerch RV Internet Access..How it works

When customers come through our doors, one of the first questions we always ask, is what’s on your must-have list for a new RV? It turns out that when people are considering purchasing an RV in Pennsylvania, internet access is appearing more frequently near the top of those lists. RVing provides singles and families alike an opportunity to explore the open road, enjoy parks, experience all sorts of outdoor adventures. One might argue that having internet access along said journeys will only enhance the experience, and perhaps make traveling more efficient.

Dial-Up, DSL, Cable, WiFi, Wireless (Cellular)

In the past, the most reliable way for campers to enjoy – and I use that term loosely – internet access was to plug-in to a dial-up modem at a campsite. This of course had it’s disadvantages as not all sites had access, or they offered extremely slow speeds in locations on the grounds that required trekking to a main office or some other site not necessarily close to where you were parked.

In some instances, campgrounds offer phone and cable connections at individual sites to RVers. Campers generally have  to activate these connections by calling the phone or cable company in that area. For the RVer who is having an extended stay, this can be a good means of high-speed RV internet access via broadband or DSL connections. For the visitor on the move who only spends a couple of days or weeks in a given spot, this is usually not an effective means for internet access on the road.

WiFi is a major improvement and allows RVers the ability to enjoy the luxuries of the internet in the comfort of their own RV. Most laptop computers come equipped with built-in 802.11 capability suitable for RV internet access via WiFi. More and more parks are installing WiFi networks creating hotspots much like those found in airports, coffee shops, and restaurants all over the country. While the speeds are much improved over dial-up, access may not be available in all areas on a campground and many campgrounds also charge fees for use.

Many full-time RVers are looking for 24/7 access to the internet if possible. Most major cellular companies offer wireless access via smart phones that can be used to surf the web and check email. These cellular connections can also be used as a wireless modem and many providers also offer wireless air cards that are connected to the computer to tap into the network.

If internet access is near the top of your list of RV needs, consider these items:

What type of access do you need, intermittent or 24/7?

Does your laptop or computer have the capability to access the internet wirelessly?

Does the campground offer WiFi service and if so, is it available on the entire grounds or just a designated area? Are there any fees associated with using the campgrounds WiFi?

Does your cell phone provider offer wireless service or cards that can keep you connected, regardless of where your RV vacations take you?

Now that we’ve covered internet, what else is on your list when looking for a New or Used RV Pennsylvania?

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!