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Summer Camping Tips

Summer Camping 1

Summer is a great time to get out in the RV for some fun in the sun. Here in the Pacific Northwest we are experiencing record heat, however don’t let heat keep you from enjoying your RV. Following are several things you can do to keep your RV cool and your summer camping trips more pleasurable.

  1. Cook outside rather than inside whenever possible. You are camping after all, so cook over the campfire or use a portable gas grill. Many newer RVs feature an outdoor kitchen making cooking outdoors more convenient than ever.

    Outside Kitchens Are Popular For Summer Camping

    Outside Kitchens Are Popular For Summer Camping

  2. Use your patio awning and any window awnings to assist in shading the RV from the afternoon sun.

    Position Your Awning To Maximize Afternoon Shade

    Position Your Awning To Maximize Afternoon Shade

  3. Strategically park your RV to take advantage of any available shade. When possible keep your refrigerator vents shaded too. When checking in to a campground ask for a shady site. If you miss out on a shady site, a couple tarps will provide instant cover when the midday heat kicks in.

    Utilize Shade Trees

    Utilize Shade Trees

  4. Cover your skylights. You would be surprised how much heat enters through the skylights especially ones that are un-tinted. A ground tarp is typically heavy enough to stay put over your skylight when the wind blows or use a piece of cardboard weighted down with one of your RV leveling blocks
  5. If keeping your RV cool means operating the air conditioner, make sure it is operating at peak efficiency by keeping the filters clean. In most cases you can wash the filters in warm soapy water, give them a quick rinse and reinstall them after a short drying period.
  6. When operating your air conditioner keep windows covered and doors closed. Close your blinds and curtains during the day to keep the sunshine out of your RV. Open the entry door as seldom as possible – make sure you have everything you need before opening your door and exiting your RV to avoid multiple trips in and out.
  7. To assist with drafting hot air away from the back of your refrigerator allowing it to operate more efficiently (by up to 40%), install a thermostatically controlled vent fan behind your refrigerator or at the top of the refrigerator roof vent.
  8. Those of us that live in the Pacific Northwest and other mountainous states, also have the option of camping at higher elevations to beat the heat. For every 1,000 feet of elevation you gain driving into the mountains, the temperature will decrease by approximately 3.5 degrees.

    Camp In The Mountains

    Camp In The Mountains

Utilize these tips on your next RV trip and enjoy a great summer campout regardless of the heat.

RV Driving Tips For Beginners

The freedom to go where you want, when you want is one of the many advantages of owning a RV. However, before you “captain” your first RV trip by getting behind the wheel, you should learn a few tips to help master driving your new home on wheels. While piloting a RV down the highways and byways of America is a far cry from threading a cruise ship through a canal, it is definitely more involved than driving the family sedan to the corner grocery store.


According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are five key tips to piloting an RV safely:

Recreational vehicles (RVs) can be a great way to travel across the country. However, to be safe you need to know about safe operation and maintenance. RVs are very different from cars and because of their size; they handle more like a large truck. This also means RVs have some real limitations. In order to keep your friends and family safe on your next trip, make sure to read these tips below and enjoy the view.

RVs are large and have many blind spots. Learning to use your mirrors and signals properly can help prevent serious accidents. Your mirrors are very important, but they do not allow you to see everything on the road, so always be aware. In addition, trucks have even larger blind spots, and may not see you so be ready to respond defensively to dangerous situations.

RVs are similar to trucks in that they are heavier than cars and require a longer stopping distance. Pay attention to traffic and to other vehicle’s brake lights. Always keep enough room between your RV and the vehicle in front of you. This will help prevent accidents in case of an emergency braking situation. Driving at a safe speed will also ensure your safety in the event of any sudden stops.

Maintaining proper tire pressure, inspecting tires regularly, avoiding excess loading and driving at a safe speed can help prevent tire problems. Before each trip, make sure you check to see if your tires are properly inflated. Maintaining the correct air pressure and tread depth will ensure their longevity and your safety.

Check You Tire Pressure Before Every Trip

Check You Tire Pressure Before Every Trip

Weight distribution is very important in maintaining the proper center of gravity in a RV. Be sure to secure all heavy items. They can shift during travel and may affect handling, ride quality and braking. Distributing the weight closer to the ground and equal on both sides keeps the center of gravity low and will provide better handling of your RV.

Always wear your seat belt. Make sure all passengers in your RV wear seat belts whenever the vehicle is in motion. In case of an accident or sudden stop, passengers who are not buckled in may be thrown around and seriously injured.

Always Wear Your Seat Belt

Always Wear Your Seat Belt

In addition to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s suggested list of do’s and dont’s when piloting your land yacht, here are a few extra tips that will assure smooth sailing while navigating America’s highways and byways.

In a sedan or SUV you typically don’t have to worry about posted low clearances on bridges, tunnels and buildings. However, when driving your RV, it’s essential to know your rig’s exact height and always be on the lookout for low clearance signs along with other things like low-hanging branches.

Know Your Height!

Know Your Height!

This applies to finding parking and campsites, but most importantly when changing lanes or merging on freeways to avoid side swiping another vehicle.

GET TO KNOW YOUR RV’S HANDLING CHARACTERISTICS                                                       Overcorrecting in a regular motor vehicle typically won’t end badly, but if you do the same while driving your RV you could end up in the ditch, colliding with other vehicles or worse. Learn the handling characteristics of your RV and learn to compensate accordingly.

Know How Your RV Handles And Avoid The Ditch!

Know How Your RV Handles And Avoid The Ditch!

PRACTICE PARKING BEFORE YOUR FIRST VOYAGE                                                                                              One of the few disadvantages about driving a RV is finding adequate parking space when stopping for groceries, roadside attractions, meals, etc. The best way to learn how to park your RV is to practice in an empty parking lot prior to leaving on your first camping trip. Taking the extra time to practice will provide you the confidence to safely and comfortably negotiate a tight parking space when needed.

KNOW HOW TO BACK UP YOUR RV                                         As in the above example, take your RV to an empty parking lot and practice backing into a defined space. Use the parking stall lines to define the space you will back into and/or take some small bright colored cones to represent an obstacle. Backing over a line or cone is much less embarrassing and costly than backing into a tree at the campground with an audience!

Practice Backing Around Cones

Practice Backing Around Cones

Regardless if your choice of RV is a motorhome, travel trailer, fifth wheel or truck camper, utilizing these tips to sail the highways and byways of this country will feel like a day at the beach. Bon voyage!


Dungeness Spit

Those of us that live in Puget Sound enjoy a cornucopia of different climatic regions in which to enjoy the RV lifestyle. Arid and sunny Eastern Wash, the misty and refreshing ocean beaches, the majestic Cascades and Puget Sound itself. There is one other unique region of the state that is often overlooked, but offers active RVers plenty to enjoy; It is the Strait of Juan de Fuca and its many bays, tide pools and spits to explore.

Dungeness Spit is one such place on the strait.

Dungeness Spit Shipwreck

Dungeness Spit Shipwreck

Dungeness Spit northwest of Sequim is the longest natural sand spit in the United States. It is also in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains receiving only about 18 inches of rain a year making it a great RV destination when rain is expected elsewhere in Western Washington.

When planning your visit be aware there are two parts to the area: The Dungeness Recreation Area, which is managed by Clallam County and the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, which is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Dungeness Recreation Area  

Start by obtaining an RV site in the Dungeness Recreation Area campground operated by Clallam County Parks. You can reserve a space online (LINK) or claim one of the first come, first served sites in the park. Reservations are recommended on holiday weekends. Most of the sites are well-graded, graveled locations that can accommodate the longest of RVs. The sites don’t have hookups, so arrive with your freshwater tank full, holding tanks empty and battery charged. In the park you can hike and picnic along the bluffs on the north side, watch ships navigate the shipping lanes in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and on clear days you will have a view of Mt. Baker and Victoria, British Columbia.

The park offers miles of hiking trails, horse trails, reservable picnic shelters, group camping and a 100-acre upland bird-hunting area. If you include geocaching  as part of your RVing adventures, there are several caches to search for in the park. Plan on enjoying the trails via foot, bicycle or horse. Keep an eye out when on the trails as deer abound in the fields throughout the park and an observant person is sure to spot one or two.

The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge  
The 631-acre wildlife refuge includes Dungeness Spit, Graveyard Spit, portions of Dungeness Bay and Dungeness Harbor. Dungeness Spit is five and a half miles long and extremely narrow. The narrowest portion measures only 50 feet wide. On occasion, during stormy high tides, breaches occur. At the far end of the spit is the Dungeness Lighthouse which is a destination for many who visit the refuge.

Most of the wildlife refuge is on the two sand spits, which are characterized by sand and rock cobble beaches surrounded by gooey mudflats and eelgrass beds. If you like to shellfish, limited portions of the Dungeness Spit are open to shellfishing. There are also two tidal ponds, a large one at the junction of the two spits and a lesser one about a half-mile east of Graveyard Spit on the bay side of Dungeness Spit. Graveyard Spit is closed to the public and set aside as a Research Natural Area because of its unique vegetation. On your walk you will know you are getting close by the sound of the hundreds of birds that inhabit the area.

In addition to more than 250 bird species, the Dungeness wildlife refuge provides habitat for other animals too. Over 40 species of land mammals and eight species of marine mammals have been recorded in the refuge. Some of the species are endangered or threatened and the refuge is an essential stop for many birds during migration.

Plan on spending the better part of a day exploring the Dungeness Spit and lighthouse. The trailhead is an easy walk from the campground. You will need to pay an entrance fee of $3 for your family or group of up to four adults.

From the trailhead, the trail meanders through the woods toward the bluffs. When you get to the bluffs, this is where things come into perspective. From an observation area on the bluffs, the spit lies before you, with the lighthouse resembling just a bump on the horizon. Take a moment to absorb what lies in front of you, because you will soon be entering another world.

The trail now starts down toward the spit passing informational displays and benches along the way. Shortly you will step off the trail and onto the spit. If you get an early start from the campground you will very likely find deer walking on or near the base of the spit. If you start late, you will likely find many people already on the spit, but as you head for the lighthouse the crowds will quickly thin out. Soon it will just be you, the sand and the endless driftwood. For the first few miles the scenery seems to be unchanging. Toward the three-mile mark the spit begins to turn south and the bluffs vanish behind you.

Keep going, you’re over half way there! Out here is where you will find the wildlife. Watch for birds, especially eagles, to the south and seals on the north. Also, the lighthouse is now distinguishable at the end of the spit calling you to finish your journey.

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

The lighthouse, 4.5 miles from the bluffs and just over five miles from the campground, is a treat in itself. The lighthouse has been continuously staffed since 1994 by volunteers from the New Dungeness Light Station Association. The organization’s members serve one-week tours of duty at their own expense. You can find information about membership at An advantage of volunteering is that you and your week’s worth of supplies are driven to the lighthouse in a stout four-wheel-drive rig.

While at the lighthouse, be sure and climb the 74 steps to the top. From there you will have a bird’s-eye view of the distance you just walked. The lighthouse grounds are well kept, feature picnic tables for the lunch you packed and thankfully a restroom with nearby tap water to refill your water bottles for the return trip.

Next time you are planning a RV trip, remember to consider Dungeness Spit as an alternative to Eastern Washington, the ocean beaches or the mountains. It is closer than you think and unique from those other Washington destinations.

Common Towing Mistakes

Summer is here and the 4th of July is just a few days away which equates to scads of RVers taking to the roads with their home on wheels behind them. If you plan to take to the highways and byways with them, be sure to avoid these common towing mistakes, you will enjoy your RV vacation much more and so will the people driving behind you.

1. Not knowing your tow ratings

Your tow vehicle (the vehicle towing the trailer) can only carry and haul so much weight. Overloading your tow vehicle, trailer, or both can cause all sorts of problems like brake failure, broken suspensions, overheated transmissions, or blown-out tires. None of these things make for happy campers and some can be very dangerous to you and others.

Learn your vehicle’s tow ratings before you attempt to tow anything and make sure your hitch system matches your vehicle’s towing specification. The following figures need to be checked and adhered to. Your tow vehicle’s specifications are generally listed in your owner’s manual and on the door sill of your driver’s door. Your trailer’s unloaded weight (along with its weight ratings) can be found on its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) plate located on the roadside front corner.

Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR): the weight limit for your vehicle (including the vehicle itself plus passengers, cargo and accessories).

Gross combination weight rating (GCWR): the maximum weight of the tow vehicle plus the loaded trailer, equipment, passengers, fuel and anything else you plan to haul or carry.

Gross axle weight rating (GAWR): the amount of weight a single axle can safely bear. It’s important to know this value for both your tow vehicle and your trailer.

Towing Mistakes 2

GVWR Sticker on Trailers

Towing capacity: the amount of weight your vehicle can pull which includes the trailer, batteries, propane, water and all of your gear.

Tongue weight: the amount of the trailer’s weight that is carried by the trailer hitch. Ideally, this should be 10 to 15 percent of the total trailer weight. Too much tongue weight will make your vehicle’s steering less responsive. Too little and the trailer might sway. Tongue weight can be measured using a bathroom scale via the method described here.

If you’re having trouble estimating the combined weight of your trailer plus cargo, take the loaded trailer to a vehicle scale at a nearby weigh station or truck stop.

2. Not checking the local regulations

A ticket is nobody’s idea of a memorable vacation souvenir, so remember that towing laws and restrictions vary from state to state. While the majority of states require taillights and safety chains on your trailer, many states also require trailer brakes on trailers over a specified weight.

States also differ on their maximum towing speeds, the maximum trailer width, maximum trailer length and the number of vehicles you’re allowed to tow. So be sure to know the laws, not just for your home state, but for any state you might pass through.

3. Forgetting the brakes

The added weight of the trailer gives your vehicle extra momentum, which means it takes longer to reduce your speed and stop. For this reason, many states require trailers over a certain weight (typically around 2,000 lbs) to be equipped with a separate braking system. Trailer brakes not only improve control, but also will stop the trailer if it gets separated from the tow vehicle via a breakaway device. The two most common types of trailer brakes are electric (which are attached to a controller in the tow vehicle) and surge (independent hydraulic brakes that are activated by momentum).

Towing Mistakes 1

Brake Control Mounted in Tow Vehicle

4. Loading your gear improperly

If your trailer is load improperly, it will be difficult to control. Make sure cargo is distributed evenly, with about 60 percent of the total weight forward of the axles (but not too far forward). Secure heavy items to prevent them from shifting and keep the overall center of gravity low. If you experience sway after loading your trailer, try moving some heavy items from the back of the trailer to the front.

Towing Mistakes

Evenly Load and Secure Cargo

5. Forgetting you’re towing a trailer

No matter how strong or agile your tow vehicle is, it will be less responsive once it has a trailer hooked behind it. Since you won’t be able to accelerate, turn, or brake as fast, you’ll want to look further up the road and give yourself extra time and space to change lanes or slow down. It’s also a good idea to do some short practice drives before heading out on your big trip.

6. Not checking tire pressure

If you haven’t taken your trailer out for a while, there’s a good chance the tires need inflating. Driving a fully loaded trailer with underinflated tires is very dangerous as underinflated tires produce more friction, which can lead to hot tires and blowouts. Be sure to check the tire pressure on both your tow vehicle and your trailer before you go. Don’t forget to check the spares too!
Towing Mistakes 3

After taking these simple steps you can safely and confidently load up the family and hit the road to your favorite campsite with your trailer this summer. Enjoy!

RVing With Fido

Are you a dog owner thinking about purchasing a RV? There are positives and negatives to RVing with your four legged friend. Following are some items to consider before taking the plunge.


Stop and Smell the Roses (While your dog smells other things!)
When traveling with a dog you will need to stop more often to give them a chance to exercise, drink and have a potty break. While your dog sniffs around for the right place to go, you can enjoy the surroundings and scenery of a place you may have otherwise passed by. Many times your short break will turn into an hour or two stop as you find a trail to hike, a body of water for the dog to enjoy or other attractions.

Who Knows Where Potty Stops Will Take You

Who Knows Where Potty Stops Will Take You

Keep You Active
Dogs require regular exercise along with their owners. Not all of us are very consistent about getting our daily dose of exercise. There are time when the weather isn’t favorable, we’re lazy or just forgetful about getting outside and being active. None of the reasons matter to your furry friend. Dogs will insist on several walks a day regardless of your feelings or the weather. Visit a campground in the evening and you will find many dog owners taking their dog for a walk after dinner, rather than the alternative of sitting in the RV watching TV.

Dogs Always Enjoy A Walk Around The Campground

Dogs Always Enjoy A Walk Around The Campground

Dogs are great at protecting their territory. They bark when people walk past your RV, knock on your RV door or otherwise encroach on your camp space. Not always ideal when you are in a crowded campground, but a definite positive when you are boondocking with no one else for miles around.

Dogs Are Great Travel Companions
Dogs are loving, loyal, cuddly, eternally happy, never hold a grudge and are always excited to see you. They make great on the road companions especially for single RV owners. Dogs might rely on us for their basic care needs, but we rely on them for their steadfast devotion and endless positive energy. Dogs provide a huge source of happiness for their owners and have the marvelous ability to turn a casual walk around a freeway rest area lot into a roaming adventure.


Dogs Aren’t Always Welcome
There are places that dogs aren’t allowed. Visiting National Parks is a big negative for pet owning RVers. Typically dogs are only allowed in the parking lots and campgrounds, which severely limits how much of the park you can enjoy with your dog. Other places that dogs are often not allowed are swimming beaches, wildlife areas, historical sites and botanical gardens.

Leaving Them Alone in The RV
As mentioned above there are places your dog is not welcome. While leaving your dog home alone in your conventional home is part of your normal routine, many RVers are concerned about leaving their dog alone in the RV. First of all, the environment around your RV is always changing (different sounds, people walking by etc.) which can make some dogs anxious. Second is you are on vacation and never know what adventures await you while you are away from the RV. You may encounter setbacks (road construction, admission / tour hours different than anticipated, etc) while away from the RV for the day impacting when you can return to your dog and RV. Finally it can put an end to any spontaneity while exploring a big city (staying for dinner, taking in a movie or a play, discovering an interesting museum, etc.) as you have to return to the RV to let the dog out.

RVing In Hot Weather
RVers typically head to the sunny areas to vacation, leaving your dog in the RV while you explore (as in the examples above) where heat becomes a concern. Unlike your home, RVs have a tendency to heat up and can become a potentially dangerous place for dogs. One solution is to leave the air conditioning operating in your absence. But what if the power at the park suddenly goes off (which can easily happen on a hot day when every RVer has their air conditioner on)? Or what if you like enjoying public parks with no hook-ups or boodocking in the wild where battery power can’t run the AC? Leaving windows open can help, but will that be enough cooling and will your RV be secure?

Hair & Dirty Paws
This is a huge element of RVing with a dog. No matter how particular you are about cleaning or how often you brush your dog outside of the RV, there will always be dog hair in the RV and dirt tracked in on those furry paws. Unlike home, the hair is much more noticeable in the small space of a RV. It can be a never ending battle to keep the floors clean and the furniture fur free. Dog owners contemplating a RV purchase will want to consider the type of heat vents in the prospective RV. Floor vents will let copious amounts of dog hair fall through and require regular removal of the vents and vacuuming of the ducts, while wall vents will be virtually trouble free.

Just like RVs, dogs come in all sizes, with some breeds obviously more suited to RVing than others. Large dogs will hog up a bunch of space when sprawled out on the floor of the RV leaving you stepping over them when cooking, making nightly trips to the bathroom, etc. You will also need to find a place to carry / place all of their stuff. Dog food, treats, dishes, toys, dog bed, leashes, etc.

Large Breeds Take Up Floor Space

Large Breeds Take Up Floor Space

Most dog owners find the positive benefits outweigh the negatives when RVing with their four legged friends, keep the items mentioned above in mind when making your RV purchase and enjoy your time on the road with your dog.

RVing The Sahara!

The Sahara Desert in Africa encompasses 3.5 million square miles, but it is thousands of miles from the U.S., does not contain a single RV park and most of us will never have the chance to visit there with or without a RV.

Visitors Center

Visitors Center

However, there is an alternative in the western U.S. that can satisfy your desire to play Lawrence of Arabia, with no passport required! It is readily available by RV, camping is plentiful and inexpensive and it is not nearly as hot. The only Nomads you may find here will be a brand of travel trailer and the only Camels you are likely to see will come out of a packet carried by somebody with a nicotine habit.

The alternative is the Little Sahara Recreation Area in the Sevier Desert west of Nephi, Utah. Little Sahara consists of 124 square miles of large, free moving sand dunes that are still drifting to the northeast between five and nine feet per year. Little Sahara is one of the most popular locations in Utah for OHV (off-highway vehicle) enthusiasts. You can ride across 60,000 acres of rolling sand dunes, trails and sagebrush-covered flats. Sand Mountain, at nearly 700 feet in height, is the largest of the dunes and attracts serious riders / drivers. If you don’t have the nerves or machine to climb it, camp within view of the dune as it is great entertainment just to watch!

Sand Mountain

Sand Mountain

If you aren’t into riding off-road, you can experience the quiet side of Little Sahara at the Rockwell Outstanding Natural Area. Set aside as a vehicle-free zone, this 9,000-acre section is a miniature version of the larger surrounding desert ecosystem. Rockwell’s sand dunes, sagebrush flats and scattered junipers provide habitat for a collection of plants and animals. Over a dozen species of birds including great horned owls reside here along with deer, antelope and a variety of reptiles. Dotting the landscape are stands of Utah juniper, sagebrush and grasses typical of the Great Basin, plus an extremely rare species of saltbush.

Visitors can also enjoy camping, hiking and exploring in two of the biggest sand boxes in the world. These huge sand boxes are located adjacent to the White Sands Campground and Jericho Area. Each of the play areas covers several acres and is fenced off from ORV travel and equestrians to provide a clean, safe environment for children. Please remember that tunneling in the sand can be very dangerous. Children should be supervised at all times to ensure their safety. Don’t forget the sand toys for the kids when packing the RV!

Little Sahara blog

Large Campsites

White Sands: Campsites nestled among the junipers with immediate access to the dunes makes this a popular place to camp. The area has 99 campsites, restrooms, potable water and a fenced play area for young and old.
Jericho: Originally designed as a fenced day-use area, Jericho now serves as an additional camping area suitable for group camping. It features a paved parking access road, picnic tables with shade shelters, flush toilets, potable water, amphitheater and fenced sand play area.

Oasis: The most developed campground in the recreation area features paved RV sites with ready access to the dunes, 114 campsites, restrooms, RV dump station and potable water.

Sand Mountain: It features dispersed camping combined with a day-use staging area, three paved parking loops, vault toilets and potable water. If you like to be in the middle of the action, this is the place to be on three-day weekends. Vendors also set up shop during busy times.

Dispersed camping is allowed anywhere away from the road throughout the Little Sahara Recreation Area.
Use fees (day or overnight) are $18.

So, get out your magic carpet, pack your Moroccan tent for the kids and tell the genie in the lamp that you want to go RVing in the Sahara. When he looks at you like you’re crazy, tell him, “Not the Sahara Desert in Africa, but the other one—the Little Sahara right here in the good old United States of America!

Avoid Newbie Mistakes

Did you take the plunge and buy your first RV at one of the RV shows this spring? Ready to head out on your first camping trip? If so, take a moment to review the list of the most common mistakes made by RVers (both new and seasoned). We all make mistakes from time to time, but learning from the experiences of others is far better and cheaper than committing the error yourself.


Choosing The Right Route

If your choice of RV is a larger rig, be sure to plan your trip to avoid traveling roads that have overpasses too low for you to safely clear, twisty roads or streets too narrow for you to comfortably navigate. Plan ahead and research the most favorable route to get to the campground without having to deal with these challenges along the way.

Know The Height of Your RV

Know The Height of Your RV


Not Leveling The RV Upon Arrival

Either through inexperience or forgetfulness, many RVers don’t properly level their RV when setting up camp, then leaving the rig out of level for the rest of their stay. Not only is this uncomfortable when you are trying to relax or sleep inside the RV, but it can also cause your RV (especially the refrigerator) not to function properly. Always level your RV when you arrive at camp so you don’t have to concern yourself with it later on.


Not removing the wheel chocks

You just enjoyed the weekend camping in your new RV, everything is all packed up, put away and ready for the drive home. However when you shift into drive, your rig doesn’t want to move. Resist the temptation to step on the gas a little harder as it is very likely your wheel chocks (which prevented your rig from rolling away during the weekend) are still in place! If you are lucky, other campers weren’t watching and you can covertly go remove them. Since putting the chocks away is typically one of the last things you will do before heading out, it is an understandable and common mistake.

Be Sure to Remove Your Wheel Locks / Chocks Before Leaving the Campground

Be Sure to Remove Your Wheel Locks / Chocks Before Leaving the Campground


Driving Away While Still Connected

If you have been hooked up to water, sewer, power, or all three while camped, it is obviously important to ensure you are disconnected before departing the campsite with the RV. Beyond being extremely embarrassing, this is a mistake that could prove expensive to your RV or campsite utilities in the process of trying to drive away. Always double check that your RV is free and clear and ready to hit the road before you actually pull out of your camp space. Along the same line of thinking, be sure your entry step is retracted and the antenna and roof vents are in the travel positions as well.

Remember to Disconnect Utilities Before Leaving Camp

Remember to Disconnect Utilities Before Leaving Camp


Staying at Home Too Often

Not using their RV enough is a mistake many RV owners are guilty of. If you make the commitment to buy a RV, then you should make the commitment to set time aside and use it as frequently as possible. Even if you can only escape for short trips, look for fun and interesting places to RV that aren’t too far from home. In Western Washington we are blessed with so many places to RV close to home. Ocean beaches, Puget Sound, the Cascades and Eastern Washington are all within easy reach for a weekend RV getaway.


While there is no shame in making mistakes with your new RV, you can avoid them with a little forethought and effort possibly saving you from costly repairs or operating your RV in an unsafe manner.

Don't Forget to Retract Your Step!

Don’t Forget to Retract Your Step!

Now get out there and enjoy the RV lifestyle!

Manufactured Home Day at the Puyallup RV Show

A bonus feature you will discover at the 2015 Puyallup RV Show are three landscaped and fully decorated manufactured homes on display. To highlight manufactured housing and the leisure lifestyle they offer, opening day Thursday, April 30th has been designated Manufactured Housing Day at the show. By attending Manufactured Housing Day, you will not only learn about the numerous benefits of manufactured housing, but you can save too! Purchase your tickets ONLINE and receive $3 off opening day admission compliments of DeTray’s Custom Housing, Lakeview Meadows, Skyline Homes and Palm Harbor Homes, sponsors of Manufactured Housing Day.

Palm Harbor Home Being Assembled at The Show

Palm Harbor Home Being Assembled at The Show

This year DeTray’s Homes of Olympia is proud to display “Mt. Constance” another innovative home from Palm Harbor Homes. It is one of three models in the “Olympic Mountain Range Family of homes”. The Mt. Constance is very energy efficient being built as an “Energy Star” rated home, but also is a “Energy Miser” home with LED pendant lights and LED can lighting in the kitchen and master bath. It also features a programmable thermostat, Enerfoam sealants on all wall receptacles and switches. It has a very distinguishing exterior that is quite outstanding along with tall interior wall construction and 80″ windows allowing more light to stream into your home. There are many very unique features in this home, things such as a stainless steel “Chimney” range hood, an apron sink, stacked stone split face backsplash and an upgraded appliance package. In the master bathroom, you will find Vessel sinks, a 72″ soaker tub, separate stall shower and barn doors on the bathroom opening, (yes barn doors). This is really a must see home. Be sure to check it out while at the show.

DeTray's  Custom Housing Display Homes Being Assembled at the Show

DeTray’s Custom Housing Display Homes Being Assembled at the Show

DeTray’s Custom Housing based out of the South Hill of Puyallup will be displaying Skyline’s, “Scenic View” and Kit Homebuilders West’s “Cabin Fever”. These two vacation homes, featuring Fiber Cement and Montana Timber siding, oversized windows, natural wood cabinets, low maintenance floor coverings, plus very inviting front porches, would be eye candy for anyone’s waterfront vacation property.

Today's Manufactured Homes Offer Spacious Interiors

Today’s Manufactured Homes Offer Spacious Interiors

Why manufactured housing at a RV Show? Many attending the Puyallup Show are searching for something to place on their vacation property. While a RV or park model makes sense some of the time, a roomy manufactured home may be a much better solution. A typical RV is built for weekend getaways and a week or two long family vacations, not for long periods of occupancy like manufactured homes can withstand. Manufactured homes offer better value than other housing solutions. Since modern manufactured homes are built to a different set of standards than RVs or recreational park models, the cost per square foot is often considerably less. For what you would pay for a nice 400 square foot fifth wheel or park model, you are likely able to buy nearly 800 square feet worth of a residential styled manufactured home. Maybe you have been considering a site built home for your vacation property. Once again, manufactured homes are a better solution. Consider the following: finding a builder to construct your vacation home can be a difficult task. Most onsite builders subcontract the majority of the work to other businesses such as plumbers, electricians and roofers making scheduling difficult and in many cases driving the cost of the total project through the roof. If your vacation property is in a rural area the cost rises even more as all these sub-contractors add for their travel time. With a manufactured home these costs are controlled in a factory setting. Building in a factory maximizes efficiency, eliminates mistakes and there is never a construction delay due to the weather. Manufactured homes are fast too! Once your site is prepared for a manufactured home, the home can be delivered, set up and ready for you to occupy in a matter of weeks, not months. The quick installations that manufactured homes offer make them a great option for areas with short building seasons like the mountains too.

Leisurely Community Living

Leisurely Community Living

Manufactured homes also provide the ideal retirement home for RVers on the go. Since manufactured homes are built indoors to a national building code (unlike conventional site built homes) they are better built requiring less care and maintenance than their site built equivalent, allowing RVers to spend more time on the road and less time on home repairs. For an even more carefree leisurely retirement experience consider placing your manufactured home in a 55 plus park like Lakeview Meadows.  To learn more about the benefits of living in a manufactured home community, sit on the Manufactured Home Parks – Safe Affordable Community Living  seminar at 2:00PM Thursday, April 30th and 2:00PM Friday, May 1st in seminar Room B at the show.

Often manufactured homes are suitable as a secondary dwelling unit on a single property. Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) also referred to as accessory apartments, second units, or granny flats, are additional living quarters on single-family lots that are independent of the primary dwelling unit. The separate living spaces are equipped with kitchen and bath­room facilities and can either be attached or detached from the main residence. These are a great choice for an aging relative, college student or young adult who needs a place to call their own. They also make a great guest suite when out of towners come for a visit.

As you can see, manufactured homes are extremely versatile and can serve for a variety of housing needs including a vacation home on the lake.

Home 8

Be sure to attend Manufactured Housing Day, April 30th and take a look at what today’s manufactured home offers. While you are there be sure to thank our sponsors DeTray’s Custom Housing, Lakeview Meadows, Skyline Homes and Palm Harbor Homes for the discount on admission.

For complete information including show times and driving directions, visit

2015 Puyallup Show – Something For Everyone!

The 41st annual Puyallup RV Show April 30th – May 3rd, 2015 at the Washington State Fair & Events Center has something of interest for every member of the family.

In anticipation of the Seattle Mariners having a great season, everything baseball is the theme of this year’s show. We invite you to load up the kids, don your Mariners gear and head on down to the show for some ballpark fun.

Following is a sampling of what you can see and do at the show:

RVs – Homes – Booths                                                                                                

The show offers everything from a tent trailer to a vacation home suitable for your lakefront property.


RVs in the ShowPlex

What would a RV show be without hundreds of the latest RVs of every size and type? This year’s show features over a dozen well known local dealers as well as a couple of new faces. Purple Line will be exhibiting the Opus folding trailer and Freespirit Recreation will be showing the “go anywhere” Journey XL. With all these dealers and products there is no better place to compare and save.


More RVs Outside

Today’s RVs offer you the freedom to go where you want when you want. When you travel by RV you are your own captain. You decide when to depart, which route to travel, what to see, when and where to stay the night. You may decide to stay along a mountain stream far removed from civilization or at a deluxe RV resort featuring swimming pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, golf and other luxuries. Either way, you will be sleeping in your own bed every night. Those are just some of the travel benefits. What better way to reconnect with the family than around the campfire after a day of hiking or sightseeing. Today’s RVs lend themselves to all of your family’s favorite pastimes. Modern RVs have features only dreamed of ten years ago; fireplaces, GPS navigational systems, power slide outs, computer workstations and satellite TV systems allowing you to view the game from your favorite campsite . Whether it is a tent trailer or a motorhome there is a RV that will fit your lifestyle and budget at the show. Not sure you are ready for a new RV? Head over to the Field of Dreams Used RV Corral to view a selection of gently loved RVs.


Manufactured Homes Great for Vacation Housing

Manufactured homes are an added bonus to the show. Do you have a favorite weekend get-a-way destination? Looking for something a little larger and more permanent than a traditional RV? Consider a manufactured home. Economic conditions make it difficult for many Americans to afford a weekend retreat or vacation home. However, growing numbers of consumers are discovering that site built homes and condos aren’t the only options when it comes to having a vacation cottage. Manufactured homes offer all the quality and amenities you want at a price you can afford. . . . whether it is your first home or your last. They are built in indoor factories allowing for superb quality control, cost savings and timely completion – with no adverse weather conditions. Manufactured homes are the only housing in America built to a national building code. Interiors of homes can be modest or feature spacious living rooms with vaulted ceilings, full dining rooms, eat-in kitchens with the latest conveniences, elegant bedrooms with walk-in closets, dressing areas and bathrooms with recessed tubs and whirlpools. Many offer log siding and rustic interior options, making for an affordable cabin by the lake where you can watch the Mariners winning season from the comfort of your favorite recliner. Opening day, April 30th is Manufactured Housing Day and you can save $3.00 when you buy your tickets online compliments of our sponsors.


Vendor Booths

The show also features a wide selection of vendor booths offering goods and services supporting the RV lifestyle. On the financial side of things you will find insurance companies specializing in RV coverage, lenders ready to help you finance the RV of your dreams and investment specialists ready to make sure your retirement funds last as long as your RV travels do. Of course to really enjoy the RV lifestyle you need to visit the show vendors offering the latest RV accessories along with those offering great places to camp. There will also be several home improvement companies at the show ready to take on those pesky home repairs you have avoided, allowing you to spend more time on the road this summer camping with the family.


Fun & Games


Win big at the show! Adults, stop by the kiosks in the ShowPlex and enter to win a Grand ($1,000 cash) AND a trip for four to the Oregon Jamboree Music Festival including camping passes for your RV and a friends RV along with other valuable prizes.


Kids be sure to grab a Field Map and Sport Sack when you enter the show, then search the bases for the six hidden treasure chests containing fun baseball prizes. Each chest contains a different prize, so be sure to find all six and score big! Open to children 12 and under.


Clowns will be strolling the fairgrounds Saturday and Sunday making sure everyone is having a good time. Watch out though, those sporting a frown or other negative expression may quickly find a balloon animal on their head and a smile on their face.


Take a trip on the free show shuttle. Those needing a lift or just wanting to enjoy a ride behind an antique tractor are invited to climb aboard the People Mover for a trek to or from the show entrance.


Head on over to the S’more Center, grab a roasting stick, plop a marshmallow on the end and grill it to perfection. Combine it with some fixin’s and you will soon be enjoying a favorite of campers everywhere. Free, open to all ages. Parents, must accompany and assist their young children.


Information Galore!


Before you head to the show, be sure to download the Puyallup RV Show app. The App features maps to the show, a searchable database of manufacturers and brands exhibited, seminar times along with a build your own schedule feature allowing you to maximize your time at the show, places to take notes of your favorite RV and where you saw it, a social networking page allowing you to share your experience with family and friends, plus much more.

There is an extensive variety of seminars at the show. Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor) will be providing remedies twice a day for a whole host of RV ailments, Matt Lynch will discuss how to equip vehicles to tow / carry about every RV combination conceivable, Dave Helgeson will teach you how to find scenic boondocking campsites across the west along with his secrets for finding free campsites in Washington. If you dry camp often, don’t miss the 12 Volt Solutions seminar where you will learn about the latest in lithium batteries, solar power and LED lighting. If you want to learn the ins and outs of financing a RV, sit in on the Finance With Confidence seminar presented by WSECU Saturday and Sunday. A complete list of seminar descriptions and a schedule can be viewed here.

With so many things to see and do at this year’s show you may not be able to locate them all. No worries, if you can’t find what you are looking for stop by the Show Information booth located in the southeast corner of the ShowPlex and ask.

Finally, by attending The Puyallup RV Show you will also be supporting Washington State Parks. One dollar out of every $10 adult ticket and $9 senior ticket purchased at the box office will be donated to the state parks system with our sponsor WSECU matching the donation.

Enjoy the show!

Spring Prep Tips


Spring is here and that means one thing; time to go camping. Below are a few things you should check before heading out for the first camping trip of the spring.

Inspect your roof and caulking around the windows, vents, air conditioners, doors and corner mouldings to make sure there are no cracks or missing caulk. Small cracks and holes can cause water to infiltrate your RV.

Check your tires for cracks in the sidewalls or cracks between the treads. Any cracks should be a sign of potential tire failure and warrant a trip to your local tire store. If no cracks are found, check your tire pressure as it has likely fallen a couple pounds over the winter. If they are low, inflate them to the recommended pressure.

Spring Prep 1

Batteries should be cleaned, tested and charged at the beginning of each season. If you remove the battery leads during cleaning be sure to mark the polarity of the leads to assure they are reattached to the correct battery post. Typically, for the start battery on motorhomes, the red lead is positive and the black lead in negative. For the house battery, the black lead is positive and the white lead is negative.

Liquid Propane Gas (L.P.G):
Follow the following steps before checking your L.P.G.

  1. Make sure all L.P.G. appliances are turned off.
  2. There is no ignition source nearby (smoking, open flames, sparks, etc).
  3. The L.P.G. leak detector inside the RV is turned ON.

Open the valves on your propane tanks. Smell / listen for any leaks (propane is scented to smell like rotten eggs). Next, check the valves and regulators for leaks by using a soapy water mixture (dish soap in a spray bottle works well). If you see bubbles forming, you have a propane leak. Seek out a professional to inspect and repair it for you.

Fresh Water:
Test your fresh water plumbing system before departing on your first spring trip to discover any problems that may have developed over the winter. Start by filling your fresh water tank. If you winterized your unit make sure the water heater bypass valve is returned to the “normal” position. Turn on your water pump and open a hot and a cold water faucet allowing air to escape until the water flows steady. Inspect all faucets and pipes for leaks. Inspect the water heater pressure relief valve and drain plug (found on the outside of the RV) for leaks. If your RV was winterized, make sure to run enough water through each faucet to be sure all RV antifreeze is removed. Now shut all the faucets and with the water pump sill on, sit and listen for the pump to cycle on and off. If it does, there is a very likely a leak in the plumbing system and further investigation is needed.

Note: If you are concerned about bacteria having formed in your plumbing system over the winter you can sanitize the system using the method found here.

Test Appliances:
After you have tested the L.P.G. and fresh water systems and made any needed repairs it is time to test your appliances. Turn on the propane tank and light a burner on your stove (it might take awhile for the air in the line to be replaced with propane). Once you have a steady flame burning on the stove feel free to fire off the refrigerator, water heater and furnace.

Spring Prep 3

Waste Tank Valves:
Assuming you dumped and rinsed your holding tanks at the end of last season, the next step is to check the valve operation on your holding tanks. Carefully work the handle in and out to make sure it is opening and closing properly. If either value is hard to open, apply some silicone spray to the shaft then work the valve open a closed a few times allowing the lubricant to work.

Spring Prep 2

Detectors:                                                                                                                                             Check the batteries in your smoke and monoxide detectors to make sure they are operating correctly. Spring is also a good time to change the batteries in these devices.                             

Now that you have prepped your RV, get out there and enjoy everything spring camping has to offer.


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