RV Awning Locks and Care.

During some strong cross winds the living room slide out awning blew open and snapped the stop lever on the outside. I had to tie it down manually so I could keep driving. This has happened twice on separate trips.

Any suggestions to keep this from happening again? It is only the large living room slide out awning that has this problem. I see other travel trailers driving down the road with the same cross wind but yet not having any problems. Is there a cover plate or other mechanism that will prevent this from happening?

Unfortunately a lot of people go through the same problem you are having with your awning. Awnings have built-in brakes that are supposed to stop the awning from opening up while going down the road. These brakes do not always work or they get worn out over time. Once the air catches a corner of the awning with a weak brake; the awning fabric starts to billow up and catch the wind. Now the awning has basically turned into a giant sail and can exert enough pressure on the awning hardware to cause it to fail. If the problem is not caught in time the awning can rip itself and it’s mounting hardware right off of the RV. This can cause severe damage to your RV and other vehicles on the road.

You can always install an RV Awning Lock

There are locks available to prevent the awning from opening up while going down the road.  Pictured is the Coil n’ Wrap RV Awning Lock. This lock is easy to install and works on most RV awnings. The Coil n’ Wrap Awning Lock will prevent both the canopy from unrolling and the arms from coming open as you travel down the road. The #1 cause of insurance claims on RV’s is awning damage. This is caused by the failure of the awning roller tube locking mechanism. Often this is due to vibration, wind or operator error.  According to most sources I have come across, wind will always win out over the friction lock that awnings employ.  (This is true in most cases with Mother Nature.)  The lock is composed of two parts, the Lock Assembly and the Roller Tube Stop. This superior made Awning Lock is simple to install and simple to use. Using an awning lock will give you added peace of mind as you travel safely down the road. The package comes complete with full instructions and all parts including two drill bits, a metal center punch, screws and the necessary parts to install the Awning Lock. You open and close the lock using your awning wand. There is a groove in the rod and a spring-loaded plunger in the metal block. When the lock is closed the plunger drops into the groove preventing the lock from opening while you are traveling down the road. Only one lock is required for an awning. The lock fits Carefree and A&E awnings, with the exception of the A&E 2 Step. I would also suggest you get some Camco RV Awning Straps. The awning straps are used to secure the arms on the awnings while traveling. Even though the awning arms have locks on them, the straps act as a fail safe to prevent the arms from coming loose and damaging your RV. Hopefully once you start using these items, or items like them, you won’t have to worry about looking in your side view mirror and seeing your RV awning billowing in the wind.  This problem does not seem to affect the power awnings as much as the older style manual awnings.

As I have stated before I usually do not like to recommend on part over another. However I do like to pass along useful RVing Tips and information that fellow RVers can use.  Regardless if you use an awning lock or not, or just plain old Velcro tie ups.  Common sense and just some good preventative maintenance can make your RVing experience easier and more enjoyable.

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.

Early Bird Sale!

Now is the time to think SPRING!

Do away with the winter blues and think of greener grass, sweet-smelling flowers, and the sound of chirping birds.  Spring is undoubtedly around the corner.  Come on out and join us for our Early Bird Sale, which is going on now. Lock in great low prices on new travel trailers and 5th wheels.  Our great low prices will allow you get that new RV before our leading manufacturers raise their prices.  Make your purchase now and we will store your unit until you are ready for to pick it up.  Take a look at our Early Bird Sale Flyer…

Lerch RV Early Bird Sale going on now!

Check out our Early Bird Sale Flyer.

Compare prices and save with Lerch RV.  With over 200 new and pre-owned travel trailers and fifth wheels in stock. We are sure you will be able to find the one that fits your family. Give Lerch RV a call at 800-722-1236 or visit us at LerchRV.com. Better yet visit our dealership, located along Rt 322 in Milroy, PA.  We are Pennsylvania’s largest Keystone RV and Open Range RV dealership.

Safety First! for Your RV Trip

Red Cross Image

Taking your RV along with you on a trip is like taking the comforts of home with you. You have everything you need for shelter, cooking and entertainment. But are you prepared for an emergency or accident?

When preparing yourself and your RV for emergencies and accidents, make sure you not only have the necessities but you also have packed a few items for the trip you are going on. For example, if you are traveling for a weekend getaway, make sure you have a complete first-aid kit with medications and a few survival items, like matches, a flashlight with extra batteries, space blankets, a flare, whistle, etc. If you are going on an extended vacation, make sure to pack the things listed above, but also include a tool kit, spare tire, jack, extra food, water, etc. Also, always take a camera with you in case you need to take pictures of an accident for insurance purposes.

You can also make your safety and first-aid kits specific to your family’s needs. If you have a member with asthma or high blood pressure, make sure to add medications in your kit for them.

Wherever you are going, make sure you are prepared for the road ahead of you.

RV First Aid KitClick Here for a list of items to make your own personal RV first-aid kit (eHow.com).

New RV Trends for 2011

Definition of a trend: An inclination in a particular direction; A tendency; A fad or fashion style.

With the New Year, comes new trends, models and changes in the RV Industry. Exciting new floor plans, increased high-tech integrations, and a new emphasis on “Functional Luxury” are grabbing the attention of RV enthusiasts everywhere. The “Go Green” movement has taken the RV Industry by storm, with sustainable and green materials in not only the construction, but also in the decor of the units. Light-weight travel trailers that can be pulled by smaller vehicles are also a new addition to the industry.

To keep up with all of the new trends and changes, here is a rundown of the most exciting innovations to watch for in 2011.

1. Versatile Floor Plans: RV Manufacturers are starting to shy away from the normal rectangular structures inside an RV. Manufacturers are starting to use quad slides, full-wall slides and telescoping slides to create more interior space, which allows for a more flexible floor plan. Using the “L” shape is the trend this year! The “L” shape is being used in kitchens, bedrooms and even in the furniture to help create spatial use and flexibility.

Outback 298 RE Rear Entertainment Center

Outback 298 RE Rear Entertainment Center

2. High-Tech Integration: Now, you can have the technology comforts from home inside your RV. Entertainment centers with 40-to 46-inch-wide flat screen TVs, DVD and Blu-Ray players, true 5.1 surround-sound systems, satellite-enable and equipped with integrated wireless capabilities, and built-in charging stations for hand-held electronics are just a few high-tech gadgets inside the 2011 models.

3. Functional Luxury: Manufacturers are focusing on RV features that improve the quality of daily living for RVers. Some features they are starting to include are: Full-size kitchen appliances, second refrigerators, dual sinks, full-size showers, spacious master bedroom suites, nooks for reading or exercising, walk-in closets, built-in dressers, adding a second half-bathroom, and full-size washer/dryers. But really the most exciting feature that is being added to these RVs are outdoor kitchens! Most of these kitchens come complete with either a two or three outdoor cook stove, a grill, prep areas, refrigerators, microwaves, and sinks.

Passport 3220 Outdoor Kitchen

Passport 3220 Outdoor Kitchen

4. Going Green:
The RV Industry has an environmental certification program for all units that pass inspection for being “Green.” To earn the Certified Green sticker, RVs need to meet the required net energy-efficient and water-efficient benchmarks set by a third-party certification organization.  Manufacturers are increasing using stronger composite construction materials, sustainable materials in interior design elements, LED lighting, and installing energy-efficient appliances. Manufacturers’ are Going Green in their factories too. RV makers are installing solar panels and wind turbines to help power their factories. In the motor home category, small, fuel-efficient diesel engines are making a comeback.

Passport Express 238 Travel Trailer

Weighing in at only 3,700 lbs. The Passport Express 238 is great for the smaller truck and SUV tow vehicles.

5. Size Matters: The most surprising new model of 2011 are the small, light-weight, fuel-efficient RVs that are geared to meet the needs for those families on a budget. This light-weight models can be easily towed with most SUVs and mini vans.

For more information regarding all the new features and ‘trends’ for this year. Give your Central PA RV Dealership a call at 800-722-1236.

The ‘dirty’ on cleaning your black water holding tank.

OK, this isn’t one of the prettiest posts I’ve made, but it is an important one. Without getting into the gutter about the “dirty” details of flushing your black water holding tank, I found a pretty good video with some really nice products that will make this dirty job a little more tolerable. Cleaning your black water tank for your RV is important for the lifespan of your tank, personal hygiene and comfortable living while camping. There are not many steps for keeping your RV black water tank clean, but it’s important to be consistent in following them. Keeping up on proper maintenance is what will keep you from spending lots of money or many unpleasant hours on repairing your tank. You may be surprised how easy it is to maintain an RV black water tank and how easily accessible and affordable the products are. I know there are some units out there that have dual waste water holding tanks, the same maintenance must be performed on each tank. If you have any more questions about cleaning your black water holding tank, I’d be happy to answer them.

Let us take a look at how to clean and maintain your Black Water Holding Tank.

If your travel trailer or 5th wheel is equipped with a factory installed Black Water Tank Flush, you have the means of maintaining your black water tank at your figure tips.  However when you are using your installed tank flush, remember to pay attention to the manufacturer’s directions for proper use and care of the tank flush.  If your current coach does not have a built-in tank flush.  A qualified RV service center can also add a waste water tank flush to your existing trailer’s holding tank.  This is a very simple and inexpensive alternative to using the hand-held swizzle stick/flexible wand style flushers.  If you are considering adding a tank flush, give your Central PA RV Dealer a call at 800-722-1236. You can schedule an appointment with our service department and have an easy solution installed.  So you can do away with the ‘dirty’ part of camping. And continue with the fun stuff.

Safe Travels & Happy RVing!

Is Spontaneous Combustion real or not?

RV FireFire Spreads faster than you think in an RV

What a strange topic, huh? I’ll bet you are either chuckling to yourself thinking I’ve lost it, are interested in the topic but aren’t quite sure about it or are a firm believer and cite the 1951 case involving Mary Reeser, also known as the “The Cinder Lady”, to support your belief.

What I want to cover isn’t necessarily proving the existence of Spontaneous Combustion, but talk to you in brief about the physics behind it and how it could be a very real danger while traveling in your RV.

First the physics: Spontaneous Combustion is loosely defined as a fire started without an outset ignition source. “Can that really happen?”, you might be asking yourself. The simple answer is, “Yes”. When you have a substance with a low ignition point that begins to release heat,  the heat being unable to escape, begins to rise.  When the temperature of the material at hand rises above its ignition point, and with the presence of oxygen,fire is the result. Should this happen in a basement storage compartment of your motor home or fifth wheel the results could be disastrous.

Some things just seem to naturally lend themselves to spontaneous combustion, in particular, oily rags play a role in insurance payouts every year for fire damage brought about by spontaneous combustion.

Now I know what you are saying. “Oily rags?” Yes, and that also includes motor oil, diesel, gasoline, linseed oil, paint thinner,wood stain and believe it or not, even the polyunsaturated vegetable oil you use in your galley. If you use rags for clean up, DON’T just carelessly kick the rags aside, or throw them into storage. Throw that rag away. If you must store the rag, put them in an airtight metal container with a tight lid.

I hate to say it, but if you are among the group that doesn’t think spontaneous combustion is real, let alone happen in your RV, think again. Proper disposal of all oily substances should be a no-brainer. If you don’t, you might find yourself hitching a ride to your next campsite.

And if you still don’t believe that you DON’T need a spark or flame to start a fire, how about water? Check out the video below:

If you have experienced an RV fire, you know how quickly things can get out of control. If there is a fire aboard your right, you should leave it immediately and get to a safe distance.

Any questions or comments. leave them here or contact your Central PA RV Dealership.

Full time RVing Tips.

It is a dream for many RVers…RVing full-time. But before you make it your full-time lifestyle, give it a trial year to see how you like it before putting your house on the market. But once you have made the decision to go RVing full-time, there are a few things you need to take care of before hitting the open road.  It is a dream for many RVers…RVing full-time. But before you make it your full-time lifestyle, give it a trial year to see how you like it before putting your house on the market. But once you have made the decision to go RVing full-time, there are a few things you need to take care of before hitting the open road.

Tips for Full-Time RVing

Begin your full time RVing dreams at Lerch RV.

With your home on wheels, your destinations are endless.

Residency: Choose a single state to use as your official state of residency.
Use this permanent mailing address for your driver’s license, voter’s registration, insurance policies (auto, medical, property), wills and trusts and any other legal matters. This makes it less confusing for all legal matters.

Downsize: Keep anything you may want in a storage facility and make sure a family member or close friend has a key to the lock. Donate, sell or give away the rest.

Mail: Use a full-service mail delivery service to handle everything or ask a relative to help you. Make sure you notify all billing companies and organizations you are with of your permanent address.

Bills: Arrange to pay all of your bills online or by automatic withdrawal from your account. That way you don’t have to worry about where you will be when a certain bill is due.

Banking: You can either keep your local or credit union bank by banking online or you can choose a nationwide bank or a reputable online bank to handle your finances. You’ll need complete online access to your bank accounts and make sure you either have a low fee or no ATM fees.

Stay Connected: Purchase a cell phone with plenty of free minutes and good regional/national coverage. Webcams can be inexpensive and an easy way to talk with children and grandchildren face-to-face. To access the Internet, sign-up for a mobile Internet service through your cell phone provider. Also, set up a Facebook page to keep family and friends updated about your RVing adventures. And, if you don’t have one, purchase a digital camera to help share your memories with your family and friends.

Emergencies: Have an emergency contact plan ready and share it with your family members and anyone traveling with you. Also, don’t forget to check in with your relatives at least once a week.