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!


Satellite TV on the Road

Dish Network on the go...Recent surveys have shown that lots of RVers love their TVs.  Just because we are on the road a lot, doesn’t mean that we want to give up our favorite television shows.   After all, there is something comforting about having had a day full of fun and adventures to be able to return to your rig and tune in to your favorite evening programs.     I recently became aware of an option for satellite tv while on the road.  If you’re like most RVers I know, you travel only a few months a year and don’t want a year-long commitment on satellite TV for your rig.

With Dish Network, RVers can sign up for a no-contract plan in which you only pay a monthly bill for the months that you travel. This presents huge savings for RVers since you don’t have to pay a monthly bill all year-long.  You can start and stop monthly service as many times as you want at no charge.  Here are the rest of the details:

Pay-as-you-go TV

Watch all of your favorite programs and movies in the great outdoors. When you take a break from your adventures, your bill does too. Only DISH Network gives you the flexibility to start and stop monthly service as often as you wish – at no charge.

  • No contract required*
  • Pay only for the months that you travel – no charge to start and stop your monthly service
  • No additional monthly service fees
  • View off-air channels through your HD receiver wherever you camp**
  • Same programming you can watch at home

Only DISH Offers HD on the Road

Only DISH offers HD on ALL automatic mobile satellite antennas used with RVs. Domes and Portables do not support HD viewing with DIRECTV***

What You Need to Get Started

You’ll need a DISH mobile HD receiver and a mobile satellite antenna. DISH is compatible with ALL mobile satellite antennas.

DISH’s mobile HD receiver features:

  • Supports both SD and HD viewing
  • Designed for mobile use – compact, lightweight, emits little to no heat
  • Weather on Demand and Scoreboard Apps
  • Want a DVR? Connect an external hard drive***dishnetwork.com

As much as I hate to admit it, I love having my satellite TV available to me no matter where we are traveling.   There is just something really comforting about being able to relax in front of the tube, even while on the road!  Rver’s it’s time to sign up, tune in, and enjoy!

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!

RVing, is it for you? Sure it is….

Family camping- Go RVing

Camping is a communal activity that brings people together. You never realize how many RVs are on the road until you start to think about buying one, then you notice how popular of an activity it is.  Campgrounds are full now days with families taking time to connect. You may be thinking about getting your first RV, but think that you won’t be able to connect with other RVers on the road and at the camp site. The generally impression that people get when they think about RV owners are older retirees that are spending their golden years on the road. While many RVers, especially full timers, may fall into this category, you may be surprised at who the average RV owner.

A study of RV owners found out that the average age of an owner is 49, married, and makes an average yearly income of sixty-eight thousand dollars. This is far from the retiree who has cashed in their big 401k or pension to buy a large motor-coach.  The average buyer is purchasing a tow behind camper, either a travel trailer or a fifth wheel.  The number of RV owners between the ages of 34 and 49 is growing rapidly every year. While this fact may not seem important to you, RVing is a great way to connect with like-minded people. That is not to say that you shouldn’t make friends with everyone, but it is easier to make new friends who are like yourself.

The age numbers dip further if you take into account all of the people who rent their RV for a trip instead of owning one. While you may expect to go to an RV park or campground not be able to fit in with everyone else, you will find that people of all ages, income levels, and races love the activity. So don’t be afraid to buy an RV because you think that you won’t fit in, it’s for everybody!

So when you are ready to hit the road and see this beautiful country of ours, please contact your Central PA RV Dealership and allow us to help you find the perfect RV.

RV Winterizing tips and hints…

It is that time of year once again. I recently came across this article on winterizing your camper on KOA’s (Kampgrounds of America‘s) Kompass Website.  This article is very well written, so I thought I would share it with my readers.

It’s always sad to come to the realization that another camping season is winding down. Depending on where you live, part of this realization is preparing the RV for winter storage so it will be ready to go camping again next spring. A major part of winterizing your RV is to protect the RV water system from potential damage, caused by exposure to freezing temperatures. Frozen and damaged water lines are in fact the most common problem related to not winterizing your RV, or not properly winterizing your RV.

The RV plumbing system is the most vulnerable system to damage caused by plummeting temperatures. The good news is it is easy to protect the RV water system from this potential threat. Here are my 7 easy steps to winterize your RV plumbing system.

Before you get started there are a few items you will need to have. These items can be found in most RV parts stores:

• Non-toxic RV/Marine antifreeze. The amount depends on the layout and length of your plumbing lines. Two to three gallons will normally do.
• A water heater by-pass kit, if not already installed.
• A wand to clean out the black water holding tank if the RV doesn’t have a built-in clean out system.
• A water pump converter kit, or tubing to connect to the inlet side of the 12 volt water pump.
• Basic hand tools to remove and install drain plugs.

Note: Be sure to read your owner’s manuals for unit specific winterizing guidelines. Follow the steps below that apply to your RV.

Step # 1: If you have any inline water filters remove and bypass before starting. Drain the fresh water holding tank. Drain and flush the gray and black water holding tanks. If the RV doesn’t have a built-in flushing system clean the black tank out with a wand. Drain the water heater. Open the pressure relief valve and remove the drain plug.

CAUTION: Never drain the water heater when hot or under pressure. With no water hooked up to the RV and the water pump off open a hot water faucet to remove any pressure on the system. Allow the tank to cool before draining.

Step # 2: Open all hot and cold faucets; don’t forget the toilet valve and outside shower. Locate and open the low point water drain lines. Use the water pump to help force most of the water out of the system, but turn it off as soon as the system is drained to prevent damaging the pump. Recap all drains and close all faucets.

Step # 3: By-pass the water heater. If you do not have a by-pass kit installed the water heater will fill up with RV antifreeze before it goes through the water lines, wasting six or ten gallons of antifreeze.

Step # 4: Install a water pump converter kit, or disconnect the inlet side of the water pump (the line coming from the fresh water holding tank) and connect tubing from the water pump inlet into a one gallon jug of RV antifreeze.

Step # 5: Turn the water pump on and pressurize the system. Starting with the closest faucet to the pump, slowly open the hot and then cold valves until the pink colored RV antifreeze appears. Replace the antifreeze container as required. Repeat on all faucets from the closest to the farthest away. Don’t forget the outside shower.

Step # 6: Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears. Pour a cupful of antifreeze down each drain. Pour some RV antifreeze in the toilet and flush into the holding tank to prevent any water in the tank from freezing. If your water heater has an electric heating element, turn it off. This will protect the element if the unit is plugged in while in storage. Make sure all faucets are closed.

Step # 7: Consult your owner manuals for winterizing ice-makers and washing machines.

The unit is winterized. Now, next spring when it’s time to head out in the RV you won’t have any unpleasant, not to mention costly, surprises waiting for.

For a DVD on Winterizing & Storing your RV visit www.rveducation101.com

If you have any further questions about winterizing your travel trailer or fifth wheel camper.  Please give your Central PA RV Dealer a call at 800-722-1236.
Safe Travels and Happy RVing.

Autumn Splendor in an RV

Summer is winding down, and soon the nights will be getting longer, the air will be getting a little cooler, and the trees will start changing.  Autumn is a magical time of year when you can start to pull out those light sweaters and look forward to all things pumpkin flavored.  As an RVer, you have the opportunity to go out during Fall and see some of the most beautiful areas of the country during the most beautiful time of year.  One such place is the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia.   The Parkway is beautiful in the Summer and Spring as well.  However Autumn brings the Blue Ridge Mountains to life. This season of change is absolutely beautiful.

Mount Mitchell, NC  in Autumn Splendor

Mount Mitchell, NC in Autumn Splendor

We all know that one of the biggest part of RVing isn’t the destination, but the drive to get there.  The Blue Ridge Parkway during the early Autumn months is some of the beautiful and memorable driving in the country.  The great part about it is that it is not too far away from where you probably live, so you only need to plan a short weekend trip to drive through and see it in all of its splendor.  September and October are known as the prime months to see all the orange, yellow, and gold along the road, and it will leave you awe-struck by the end of your trip.

Blue Ridge Parkway Viaduct

The Linn Cove Viaduct winds past the slopes of Grandfather Mountain.

The road will take you to Mount Mitchell State Park, which has the highest peak in the Southeast.  Be sure to look for some of the great campgrounds around the park to enjoy the weekend, and make sure that you give yourself plenty of daylight for then drive to and from the park.  While most people think that the Northeast, such as New Hampshire and Vermont, has the best Autumn season drives, the Blue Ridge Parkway is sure to give them a run for their money.  So pack up the rig, and take a nice slow drive through the Blue Ridge mountains and see for yourself.  I am sure you will agree with me, when I say Autumn is a great time to go RVing…

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Welcome to the RV Capital of the world!

Elkhart County, Indiana is considered to be the RV capital of the world. Supposedly one of every two RV’s is the world are made right there.  More than 20 RV manufacturers in Elkhart offer factory tours, you just have to pick which ones you want to see. I came across this article at mlive.com and thought I would share it with my readers.  This is a recap from one RVer’s visit to 3 different manufacturers. It should give you an idea of what the tours will be like.

First stop: Renegade RV, 52216 State Road 15 in Bristol, a 14-year-old company founded by Chuck McKibbin for the auto racing industry. Here, we were ushered onto the factory floor where employees were working on several custom units. The smallest unit they build is about 32 feet. Most of their vehicles are made for people who have owned several RVs and now want to design one to their own specifications.

We climbed up into these huge RVs to see the work in progress. We saw granite countertops, flat-screen TVs ready for installation — even one on the outside of the vehicle — granite floors, space-efficient layouts and unique storage solutions. Impressive!

Second stop: Jayco, 903 South Main St. in Middlebury. You can’t miss Jayco because you’ll see hundreds of white travel-trailers in the factory lot.

But watch carefully for the Visitors Center sign. Inside the center, a renovated 1880s farmhouse, we were invited to look around the center or to go outside and look at the vehicles on display while we waited for our noon tour. We did both.

A video told us about founders Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager, who started the company in a chicken coop in 1968. They quickly outgrew that and are now the largest privately owned RV manufacturer. Then we traveled in a trolley back to the building where they make about 11 fifth-wheels per day.

We went to the cavernous and fascinating sewing room. We watched a machine quilting two yards of material every 45 seconds. The material is used for bedspreads and pillow shams.

One of the installers placed a foam cushion on a vacuum machine, covered it with plastic, turned the machine on and, instantly, it shrank. She popped it inside the covering and, in a nano-second, it re-inflated and filled the covering.

Our final stop was Sunnybrook RV, 201 14th St., Middlebury. We joined a group of insurance agents on the tour, explaining the manufacturing process from the naked chassis stage to the finished product, whether a fifth-wheel or a travel-trailer.

With the insurance agents asking questions, we heard all the things RV manufacturers do to avoid problems for the consumers. We learned about glues, insulation, windows, awnings, and the craftsmanship.

Most impressive for me was the outdoor kitchen on one of the vehicles. You pop up the cover to find a tiny sink, refrigerator, and stove.

This day of “RVs Unwrapped” is a great way to learn about RVs before purchasing one or just to be impressed with manufacturing innovations. It also answered my ever-present question: “How do they do that?”

It goes without saying that this part of the country is very RV friendly! And it is only a short 7 1/2 hour drive from central PA.  If you do not want to drive that far to see your favorite brand, just stop at PA’s largest travel trailer dealership, Lerch RV.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

As seen on TV: America’s Largest RV Show

Zoo America located in Hershey PA Floods

As I write this, the ‘sweetest place on earth’ is currently one of the wettest.  With onset of days of rain and  major historical flooding of parts of Hershey, Pennsylvania. One must wonder how the ‘sweetest place’ will rebound.  The world will be able to see for themselves starting September 14 through September 18, when Hershey plays host to the largest RV show in America.  The 43rd Annual PA RV & Camping Show opens to the RVing public at 9am on Wednesday morning.

The 43rd Annual PA RV & Camping Show allows hundreds of exhibitors to showcase the latest and greatest in camping and RVing supplies.  The parking lot of the Giant Center is transformed into one large RV park, with all makes and models of RVs present.  From new high-end luxury motorcoaches to entry-level tent trailers, you will need at least two full days to view everything.  This large show is seen on HGTV and is labeled as ‘not just another RV show’.

As we approach the start of the show, let us all hope that mother nature has indeed thrown everything she could at Hershey.  And once the parking lot of the Giant center dries out and makes that transformation to the largest RV parking lot in the US, bring your family out to enjoy a great day or two.  Adult admission is $9 and children 12/under are free.  There are senior discounts and veterans discounts that are available daily.  Plus a 3-day show pass for $18.

And if you are looking for a brand new 2012 Open Range RV.  Find Pennsylvania’s largest Open Range Dealer, Lerch RV.  The Open Range display is just a hop, skip and jump from tram stop #4.  Look for the original breed of light weight fifth wheels, along with the newest offerings of truly half-ton towable units.  Do not forget that Lerch RV also offers the quality brands of Montana, Sprinter, Outback, Passport, Springdale, Summerland, Sydney by Outback, and Copper Canyon, all manufactured by the Keystone RV company.  If you are in the market for a new RV, come see a Pennsylvania dealer who has been in business for over 34 years.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing…

Find Lerch RV at America's Largest RV Show: 43rd PA RV Show in Hershey PA