RV Lifestyle: Tips for beginners and vets

There’s never been a better time to take up the RV lifestyle.

Whether you’re a weekend wanderer, a snow bird or an RV full-timer, there’s an RV to suit any travel budget and taste.

With baby boomers reaching retirement age, more and more people are taking to the road with their motor homes, RVs or travel trailers. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association recently reported that nearly 8 million American households have an RV, motor home or travel trailer and that there are as many as 30 million RV enthusiasts in the U.S.

Seeing the country in an RV offers many benefits for travelers seeking an affordable and exciting way to spend quality family time. According to one study, a family of four can save up to 74% traveling by RV over more conventional travel. And with more than 16,000 public and privately owned campgrounds in the US, there’s a site to fulfill everyone’s vacation fantasy, whether it’s an oceanfront view, hiking trails, casino gambling or tennis.

6 Tips for Successful RV Travel
RV travel is easy to learn, and once you’ve got the hang of it there’ll be no going back! Here are six helpful tips that will come in handy for both beginning and seasoned RV enthusiasts:

    1. Map Your RV Travel Destinations
      A large part of the RV appeal is the exhilarating freedom of the open road — to go wherever you want, whenever you want. But it helps to have a solid travel plan in place. If you know where you’re heading, you can determine the route that will offer the most interesting sights.Look in RV and other travel guides, contact tourism boards in states you’ll be passing through, and search the Internet.Make sure to bring the correct road maps, and a GPS system is a good idea as well, especially if you’re new to RV travel.

      Carefully designing the route you’ll be taking will make it easier to do spur-of-the moment things like checking out that oddball museum you just spotted on a roadside billboard!

    2. Have A Checklist? Just Checking
      During your pre-trip prep, in addition to working out what needs to be in the RV, put together a thorough checklist of things to do when setting up at an RV campground.There are the basics:

      • Locate all campground connections
      • Make sure your RV is level
      • Properly hook up your water, gas and electric systems

      Don’t forget comfort concerns, like making sure you packed your favorite CDs and DVDs, and those new lawn chairs.

      Equally important, you should have a second checklist of things that have to be done to break camp and set up your RV for departure (Quick hint: when you think the job is done and everything is ready, check again).

    3. Be Prepared with a “Just-For-The-RV” First-Aid Kit
      Always make sure you have a fully stocked RV first-aid kit, and keep it in an outside storage compartment.Your RV first-aid kit should include basic medical supplies:

      • Bandages
      • Ointment
      • Over-the-counter pain reliever
      • Insect repellant
      • Scissors
      • An emergency supply of must-have medications

      Plus the following extras for your RV:

      • Flashlight and extra batteries
      • Paper and pens
      • A disposable camera in case you have to take photos of an accident site.
      • Cell phone and charger

      If you don’t feel up to the task of putting together an RV first-aid kit yourself, an extensive range of ready-made first-aid kits is available for purchase.

      Don’t forget to include a list of important contact information, including family members, doctors, insurance agents, etc. [Editor’s note: Leave a copy of your itinerary and your contact information with a family member or friend, in case you need to be located in an emergency.]

       

    4. RV Camping with Kids and Pets
      If your RV travel includes children, make sure to set aside time during the day for outdoor activities, as even the roomiest RV can be confining for kids.And give each child his or her own space in the RV (no matter how small) for toys, games and personal stuff.RV travel is a unique opportunity for your children to see new and different places and faces. There are often plenty of other kids at campgrounds – but be sure to walk around a new campground with your children when you first get settled there. They need to know how to find your campsite and navigate the RV grounds. If you plan to bring the family pet, check beforehand to confirm that pets are allowed at the RV campground.
  1. A Little Help From Your Friends
    When in doubt, ask your fellow RVer. However well-traveled you might be, odds are there is someone you’ll meet along the way who has been somewhere you haven’t, solved a problem you haven’t yet encountered, or spotted an out-of-the-way delight you’ve never heard of.No matter how much research you’ve done, there’s bound to be an RV campsite you haven’t read about, a storage system that has escaped your notice, or a funny anecdote that you’ll laugh about for years to come.The new folks you meet may or may not become close friends for life, but they are an important part of your RV journey.
article written by John Noble from about.com

Who wants some S’mores?

Lerch RV-Pennsylvania RV Sales-camping-smores

Got S’mores?

Ahh, s’mores, who could deny a deliciously sweet, sticky, tasty treat while enjoy a campfire? We sure couldn’t! And while we love the traditional graham cracker, hershey’s bar and roasted marshmallow, we’re all about adventure so we polled some Lerch RV customers to discover their favorite ways to make ooey-gooey s’mores.

Reese’s S’more

  •  2 graham crackers
  • 1 regular sized Reese’s peanut butter cup
  • 1 roasted marshmallow

Rolo’s S’more                  

  • 2 graham crackers
  • 2 Rolos
  • 1 roasted marshmallow

Fudge Cookie S’mores

  • 2 fudge cookies
  • 1 roasted marshmallow
    • Put the roasted marshmallow between the chocolate sides of the cookies

Peanut Butter S’more

  • 2 graham crackers
  • Hershey’s chocolate bar
  • 1 roasted marshmallow
  • A smear of peanut  butter on the graham crackers

And an added bonus to all of these recipes? Melt the chocolate piece onto the graham cracker by setting it near the fire. What are your favorite spins on the s’more? Share those campfire favorites with us…

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Camping in the Pennsylvania Heat

It is Summer and the temperatures have been heating up in our neck of the woods, with heat wave after heat wave. Camping season is in full swing and camping in these warmer temperatures can cause issues if you don’t take some precautions to stay safe in the heat. Here are few things we suggest that can help camping in the hot weather more enjoyable and safe.

  1. Stay hydrated: Drink lots of water when you’re spending time in the heat. It’s important to stay ahead of dehydration and drink water before you feel thirsty – the first sign of dehydration.
  2. Shade: When you’re setting up your campsite, think about creating the most shade possible. Staying out of direct sun will help keep you cool. Try to find the shadiest part of the campsite to set up you RV.
  3. Dress for the heat: Make sure to pack light clothes, both in color and weight.
  4. Wear SPF: It’s always important to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Always wear SPF and apply it several times throughout the day.
  5. Keep air circulating: If you’re spending lots of time inside of the RV, especially at night, it is important to keep air circulating. Using battery operated fans is a great way to keep the air moving.

These are just a few things you can do to help beat the heat on your summer camping excursions. Do you have any other tips to stay cool with the summer’s rising temperatures?

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Who doesn’t like free stuff?

A lot of time and effort can go into planning an RV, camping trip or even a day trip in the car. You must decide where you want to go, what to do when you get there, what to eat, and how much it will cost.

Speaking of cost. Wouldn’t it be nice if it didn’t cost so much? After food, fuel, and gear, you can still expect extra fees when you reach your destination.

However, in the year of 2012, the National Park Service (NPS) is waiving entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees at over one hundred National Parks in an effort to boost tourism. You may still have to pay for reservations, camping, and use of concessions, but hey, if you’re interested in paying less for your family vacation, read on.

The program began in April with National Park Week, an entire week of free admission to National Parks across the country. But do not worry if you missed this great week of free admissions, mid summer offers Get Outdoors Day and in early September NPS grants free admission for National Public Lands Day. Finally, the NPS offers free dates for Veterans Day Weekend in November.

Mark your calendars for the following fee-free dates later this year:

  • June 9, 2012 – Get Outdoors Day
  • September 29, 2012 – National Public Lands Day
  • November 10-12, 2012 – Veterans Day Weekend

For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm

I would like to encourage you to take advantage of this offer as I have in the past.  It is a great way to see some beautiful areas of our great nation at a reduced cost.  Regardless if you are towing your RV or  just taking a day trip by car.  Gas up and go!

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!

Have you ever thought about owning a Campground or RV Park?

As RV owners, we travel to campgrounds and RV Parks often. We usually stay a few days…or longer, if we are full-timers…and then go on our way. We almost always have an opinion of the place before we leave, but have we ever thought about owning one of these places?

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Here is an opportunity to explore this option a bit further. The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has an upcoming conference in late November in Savannah, Georgia.

‘Where Outdoor Hospitality Meets Southern Hospitality’ is the theme for the 2011 Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE) to be held November 30 to December 2. There will also be some pre-convention events in the days leading up to Nov. 30.

This all takes place at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa and Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.

The educational programs have been revised to include all types of the outdoor hospitality industry. Here are some of the educational program key areas of focus:

  • Business Management
  • Business Technology
  • Employee Training and Motivation
  • The Latest in Green Technology
  • Marketing and Public Relations
The Westin has even discounted their rates for attendees. If you need more information, go to the ARVC website.
This looks to be a great opportunity to learn more about the outdoor hospitality industry, regardless of whether you want to own a RV Park, or just work in one!

Laundry…by the bucket full.

Have you ever wondered how to do laundry effortlessly while on that family camping trip?  If you’re heading out-of-town by RV and need to do laundry, here’s a simple method originally from John Steinbeck in his book Travels With Charley:
Put your dirty clothes in a 5-gallon bucket with lid, cover the dirty clothes with water, add a little detergent, and secure the bucket somewhere in your vehicle so that it will not upset or tip over  during travel.

Do laundry like a pro on the road...

Photo by Paul Joseph.

Every bump or curve in the road agitates the bucket and when you stop for a meal your clothes will be clean and ready to rinse. Pour out the grey-water, wring the soapy water out of your clothes, place them back in the bucket and add clean water again as you drive for another hour or two. This is your rinse cycle. As you pull into your destination you can use a clothes dryer there or just carry a DIY clothesline to dry your clothing.

Traditional skills blog The Art of Manliness recommends using half the normal detergent you’d normally use for a load using this method. If you plan on dumping your grey-water outdoors, please consider using a  biodegradable detergent (we like Ecos—you can get it online or at Costco) so you’re not polluting the environment.

While not for everyone, if you’re traveling on an extended RVing trip this method of laundry might prove useful, especially if you’d rather not spend an hour or two of your trip looking for change to use at the laundromat. However a better way to do laundry would be to install a washer/dryer unit in your RV, this can only be done if your RV is washer/dryer ready.  If you are looking to have all the conveniences of home in your new RV, give your central PA RV dealer a call.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!


A safe place to stay the night in your RV.

When traveling across the country with your RV, you probably shouldn’t expect to make the entire trip in one sitting.  Since you are already traveling in your sleeping space, you aren’t going to want to spend any money you don’t have to on a motel room.  The good news is that there are places all over the country that allow RVers to overnight for little or no money, granted they follow certain rules.  Here are some of the best places to overnight safely and cheaply.

Safe and Secure. Wally-docking is a way of life. Walmart Camping.

One of the better known places to stop by for a few hours of rest are Wal-Mart parking lots, Wally Docking is a way of life for certain RVers.  If you are driving through the night then you may see a few rigs parked in the back of the lot. Of course, if you don’t see any RVs in the lot, be sure to ask permission to park there for the night.  If they allow it (which most of them do) then be sure to park in the back, or away from the premium parking spaces. You should only stay for one night, and leave the lot before the store gets too busy.  While staying there, do not extend your awning, take out chairs, or grills. You are not tail gating, you are just getting a quiet, safe night of sleep.

Walmart camping. Safe and secure camping.

If you are near a Camping World store, then you may be allowed to park there as well. They allow people who are scheduled to be there the next morning to stay over night, but if they have vacant spots they will usually allow drive ups to park for the evening. Like Wal-Mart. be sure to keep your area spotless and leave before the store opens in the morning. Other places that offer a place to rest are truck stops. Many truck stops offer special spaces for RVs to park. If they do not have these spots, then be sure to stay out-of-the-way of truck traffic. You can also check casinos and state attractions if they are nearby.

And if you are traveling through the heart of Pennsylvania, you can even spend the night right here at Lerch RV.  We only ask that you inquire with us before you park for the night.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Take a Camera Safari on your next RV trip…

stickman with camera at lerch rv

Passing the time while on the road can become hard after eight hours of driving across the country.  While you probably have plenty of plans to make your next trip fun and activity filled once you reach your destination, you may not know how to keep yourself and everyone on board stimulated until you get there.  Well there is a new craze that many RVers and road trippers are doing to help those miles go by a bit more quickly.  It’s called Digital Camera Safari, and it is sure to keep your eyes searching for the next great snap shot to add to your collection.

The idea is simple enough, find some of the most unusual and funny sights, people, animals, and places along your route and take a picture of it.  At the end of the trip, compare your photos with the rest of your passengers and see who got some of the best shots while on the road. They can be funny, beautiful, or just plain odd, but a Camera Safari will not only help you pass the time, but it will also help create great memories of time on the road that you can save and share with everyone who asks what you saw when you went on your last RV adventure.

rv dinner, family enjoying rving

So what are some of the things that would make great Safari catches?  It can be anything from a beautiful sunset, animals wearing costumes, tourist oddities (such as the largest ball of string in the world), or excessive lawn decorations.  Anything that you think will only be seen once while traveling across the country.  At the end of your trip, you can share the photos with your other passengers and award the person who got the funniest, most beautiful, or most odd picture during the trip.

Finding new and inventive ways to keep your family engaged while traveling can get tough, but this is a way to get everyone talking with their eyes peeled for the next great picture.  If you’re looking for a new RV, then be sure to come into Lerch RV.  We will gladly help you find the one that will suit your families needs, no matter what they are.

Boo at the National Zoo.

Boo at the National ZOO
Boo at the Zoo is the wildest trick-or-treat in town! Princesses, superheroes, kid-wizards, and other costumed guests are invited to join us at the 13th annual Boo at the Zoo. There’s no safer or more exciting way for families with children ages two to 12 to enjoy Halloween. This would be a great weekend trip to take with the family, even without hooking up the RV.  If you and your family have not already visited the National Zoo in Washington DC, you should.

So get ready for tasty candy, delicious snack foods, and other special treats from more than 40 treat stations. Plus, animal encounters, keeper talks, and festive decorations are yours to enjoy.

This is one Halloween party you won’t want to miss!

New this year: We’ve added a new treat for Boo guests this year—a complimentary reusable treat bag!

Boo at the Zoo takes place rain or shine.

Tickets

$20 for FONZ members
$30 for nonmembers

Note: Tickets for Saturday, October 22, are sold out.

We offer two ways to buy Boo tickets:

1 Buy tickets at the Zoo and save money
Buy your tickets at the Panda Plaza or Asia Trail gift shops between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and pay no service fees.
Buy tickets from Ticketmaster
Buy Boo at the Zoo tickets online or by calling Ticketmaster at 202.397.7328. For problems with ticket purchases, call Ticketmaster at 1.800.745.2000.

See Boo at the Zoo treat donors.

If you do visit Boo at the Zoo this year.  Happy Travels and Happy RVing!