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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.


RV Doctor Returns To 2015 Puyallup RV Show

Gary Bunzer the “RV Doctor” will be returning to the 2015 Puyallup RV Show as the featured seminar presenter.

RV doctor 1

Gary Bunzer “The RV Doctor”

While not a real certified medical doctor ( M.D.), Gary has definitely earned the title to be called the RV Doctor. For 40 plus years, Gary has immersed himself in understanding and healing all types of RV disorders. Over the years he’s cured a wide variety of RV ailments, from dripping roofs to constipated holding tanks and in the process he has gathered a wealth of knowledge about keeping RVs healthy and running smoothly. Gary writes technical articles, troubleshooting tips, installation guides and owner’s manuals for RV owners, suppliers and manufacturers. Additionally, he writes and edits textbooks and curriculum materials for RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) and RVDA (Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association). Broadcast quality training DVDs are also a focus of Gary’s educational efforts for RVers and professional RV service technicians. His short, informative RV owner webcasts can be found on You Tube and other RV websites.

He created and facilitated a comprehensive, community college Distance Learning RV Technician Training Program where graduates gained the insights and skills at troubleshooting and repairing all RVs as well as preparation for industry certification. In May of 2010, Gary was awarded the 2009 National Education Service Award by RVIA for his many contributions to RV technical education. You can follow Gary’s latest posts at:

RV Doctor

Gary will be presenting some of his most popular seminars at the 2015 Puyallup Show, which are as follows:

The Top 10 Maintenance Tips Every RVer Should Know
The degree to which we enjoy the RVing lifestyle is proportional to the amount of trouble-free traveling we encounter. When Gary’s ten tips are correctly employed at their specific intervals, operational problems within the RV systems will be minimized and oftentimes, eliminated entirely. Learn the secrets at this seminar!

Technically Choosing Your Next RV
You’ve perused and studied many articles and websites on how to “choose” the RV of your dreams. You’ve attended seminars, interviewed friends and family, and reconciled every possible scenario to finally narrow the field of possibilities down to those RVs you would consider for purchase. Now what? Toss those names into a hat and hope for the best? Why not compare your short list from a more technical standpoint? It just may be the difference between two or more seemingly similar coaches. All RVs are not created “technically” equal! Learn how to tell the difference in this informative seminar.

The RV Doctor’s Top 10 RV Facts of Life
Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, has seen it all over the last 45 years in the RV business. Over time, the Doc has collected a few RV Facts of Life. Learn how to cope and even take advantage of these non-negotiable realities. If you want to get the most out of your recreational investment, this seminar is for you.

120-Volt AC Electrical System Safety
Under no circumstances should you ever feel a tingle or shock when touching your RV! This seminar provides an understanding of how the AC system works and knowledge of what to do and how to look for AC electrical anomalies. What test devices should you carry with you as you travel? Learn all about it in this seminar. This presentation also suggests safeguards to help reduce the potential of an electrical emergency. Learn a simple inexpensive trick that guarantees no damage to your RVs electrical system will ever occur.

Don’t miss Gary Bunzer “The RV Doctor” at the 2015 Puyallup RV Show April 30th – May 3rd at the Washington State Fair & Events Center. He will speak at noon and 4PM Thursday through Saturday, noon and 3PM Sunday. A complete seminar list and schedule will be posted on the show website in early April.


Pioneer Park

Will your spring or summer RV travels take you north to the Canadian border? If so, be sure to take a break and visit Pioneer Park in Ferndale, Washington. It’s just off I-5 and fun for young and old.

Pioneer park 2

The 25-acre park on the banks of the Nooksack River was created from land purchased in 1901 from Mary and R. Clinton Smith by the Old Settlers Association. The slab cedar houses have all been relocated from their original sites in Whatcom County. Many of these structures would have been demolished for new development if they had not been moved to the park.

Pioneer Park

The first cabin arrived in 1930. As other log buildings were donated, the park became a pioneer village, which now consists of 12 buildings dating from the late 1800s. The park was deeded to the City of Ferndale in 1972. A church, one of the oldest buildings in the park, is a popular location for small weddings. Each cabin serves as a mini-museum, packed with late 19th century and early 20th century artifacts from around Whatcom County.

Those of you traveling with children will be glad to know the park has a playground where the kids can unwind after a day of RV travel.

If you are fortunate enough to be passing through the area during the last full weekend in July, be sure to attend the Old Settlers Picnic at the park. One of the oldest running special events in the state, the festivities are held Thursday through Sunday and include parades, dances, a carnival, concessions and free entertainment. In December, the park is transformed into a winter wonderland for an Old Fashioned Christmas. The aromas of fresh baked bread and cedar boughs fill the air along with the sounds of traditional Christmas carols. This event will definitely put you in the Christmas spirit.

Whether you visit for just a lunch break or the day, Pioneer Park is a place you don’t want to miss.

If You Go:
The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no admission charge to visit the park. Guided tours are available for a fee May through September. A large meeting room with adjoining kitchen and restrooms are available to RV groups and food may be purchased with prior arrangement. Gifts are available at the general store. Call 360-384-6461 for general information or for group tour and fee schedule.

From I-5 take the Ferndale 262 exit and travel west. Turn left on 1st Avenue (the first street after crossing the bridge over the Nooksack River) and go to the end of the street where you will see the park. Be sure to park in the lot marked Pioneer Park and not the Senior Center next door, which has no room for RVs to turn around. Street parking is also available. Those navigating by GPS will find the entrance to Pioneer Park at N48 50.618 W122 35.502


Free Camping Courtesy of The Discover Pass

Most people associate the Discover Pass with Washington State Parks, but gaining access to state parks is only a snippet of what the Discover Pass can provide to an active RVer. The Discover Pass also provides access to nearly 1 million acres of land managed by the WDFW (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) AND 2.2 million acres of land managed by DNR (Department of Natural Resources). Both agencies offer access to hundreds of opportunities to recreate and camp on state land via the Discover Pass. Overnight camping is no cost, but you must display your pass to enter and camp on state land.

Let’s take a look:


The mission of WDFW is to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities. WDFW manages recreation land for visitors to enjoy a variety of activities, including fishing, boating, hunting, wildlife viewing, hiking, camping and many others. The WDFW manages 33 other wildlife areas along with 700 water access sites across the state.

Wildlife areas: Wildlife Areas provide habitat for fish and wildlife as well as land for outdoor recreation. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people visit these areas to camp, hike, fish and enjoy other outdoor activities compatible with fish and wildlife stewardship. These activities, in turn, support local economies and contribute to Washington’s wildlife-related recreation industry. Click here to find a listing of the 33 wildlife areas and the ones that allow camping.

Water Access Sites: WDFW maintains Water Access Sites throughout Washington state offering boaters and bank fisherman access to lakes and waterways. This link will allow you to search for any water access points under WDFW jurisdiction. You can search by site name, body of water or county. By clicking on one of the sites listed from your search you will be provided with the following information: location (complete with coordinates and driving instructions), facilities (restrooms, boat ramps, docks, ADA access, etc), contact info, and most importantly if camping is permitted. Quite often there is even a picture of the access site.

This Link will provide you with a matrix of all access sites and facilities in the Columbia Basin operated by the WDFW. The matrix conveniently displays the name of the facility site, location and available facilities including; boat launch, toilet and if you can camp or not. Fortunately the majority of the sites permit camping!


WDFW Camping


Washington DNR

DNR seeks to provide outdoor recreation opportunities to the public throughout Washington state. The agency provides trails and campgrounds in a primitive, natural setting. Most recreation on these lands takes place in the 2.2 million acres of forests that DNR manages as state trust lands. DNR manages 1,100 miles of trails, 143 recreation sites, and a wide variety of landscapes across the state.

DNR offers hundreds of campgrounds across the state with access to miles of designated trails. Depending on where you go you will find trails for hiking, motorcycles, mountain biking, ATV riding, boating, horseback riding and four wheel drive enthusiasts allowing you to camp and enjoy your favorite form of recreation from one convenient location.

Most DNR campgrounds offer a camping experience similar to national forest campgrounds offering a designated space with a picnic table and fire ring. Some DNR campgrounds are even equipped with a group shelter, potable water and accessorized to support designated trail users. (i.e. corrals for horse users, loading ramps for ATV users). As with most national forest service campgrounds, pack it in – pack it out applies regarding your trash.

Click here for a State-wide Recreation Map showing all of the DNR lands and the allowed activities, including camping.

Click here for a complete listing of DNR Managed lands which allows you to search by region and see which campgrounds are currently open or closed. The link will also allow you to view a detailed map of the region showing the recreational opportunities that await you. To see an example click here for a detailed map of Southwest Washington DNR managed lands.

Make the most of your Discover Pass by camping at no cost in Washington DNR or WDFW areas and enjoying the recreational opportunities they provide.

DNR pic

DNR Campsite


Fun For The Whole Family!

There are many new activities offered at the 2015 Great Seattle RV Show that offer fun for the whole family. These combined with your returning favorites offer something of interest for every member of the family.

Let’s take a look:

Treasure hunt: Arrgh matey there is treasure to be found at the 2015 Seattle RV Show. Children 12 and under brave enough to seek pirate treasure can obtain a treasure map and booty bag at any show entrance. Follow the map to reveal the locations of the six treasure chests hidden throughout the show. Snatch yourself a piece of pirate booty out of the chest and stash it in your booty bag. To avoid the Pirate Curse, be sure to take only one piece of treasure from each chest! Be sure to find all six chests as each contains a unique piece of pirate plunder. Enjoy, but beware of pirates lurking in the shadows guarding their treasure!

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Digi Photo: Fun and silliness awaits your entire family at the Digi Photo Booth daily noon – 4PM in the East Hall. Not your typical clunky old-school mall style photo booth, it’s a fresh-rendition of the fun photo booths you knew and loved as a child allowing you to instantly share RV show fun through Facebook and other social networks.

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Game Truck: Teens looking to take a break from Mom and Dad will want to spend some time gaming with the newest video games at the Games 2 U Game Truck. This fun attraction will be available for all to enjoy on Saturday and Sunday only.

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Journey to the Klondike: Relive the 1890’s Gold Rush at the Go Klondike exhibit at the north end of the Concourse (2nd level). Many interesting exhibits await your exploration in this fun and interactive space. Kids can dress up as sourdough prospectors, a Can Can dancer or maybe as bad guy Soapy Smith and have their photo taken too. Relive the hardship of the sourdoughs as they trudged over the mountain passes with 2,000 pounds of supplies at the Chilkoot Pass display. Of course a trip to the Klondike wouldn’t be complete without a dog sled experience. Next catch yourself a case of gold fever at the gold panning trough. Once you catch the fever, you will want to plan your trip to the Klondike to find your own gold. Planning is easy at the Routes to the Klondike exhibit. After reviewing the modern routes to the Klondike, stop by the MV Lotus display and contemplate what it would have been like sailing there in a ship from 1909! To round out your journey to the Klondike check out the Klondike Gold Rush National Park (both the Skagway unit and Seattle unit) along with Parks Canada displays.

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Win Big!

Multiple opportunities to win await you at the show.

For starters, be sure to stop by the kiosks on the Concourse (2nd level) and enter to win the following three prizes:

– Free RV Fuel For A Year

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– A three night resort stay in Las Vegas, Mazatlan, Palm Springs or Sun River

– The opportunity to take your RV to the Oregon Jamboree featuring Keith Urban complete with campsite and a sweet spot pass that will put you at the center of the action.

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Somebody that attends the RV show is going to win, so why not you?

Go Klondike is offering a dream trip to the Yukon complete with airline Tickets for two, 3 Nights 4 days at a Yukon fly-in wilderness resort and 2 tickets on the Yukon & White Pass Railroad!

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Finally, download the Show App on your mobile device and check out the valuable discounts and prizes offered via “Show Me Your App”


Go Hawks! Celebrate another great season by the Seattle Seahawks by taking a selfie in front of Superbowl roman numerals proudly displayed in the North Hall.

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Relax: We invite you to sit down and take a break at a number of areas.

Beer and Wine Service & Seating is available at the north end of the East Hall. Tables and seating are open to the whole family and mom and dad are welcome to enjoy a beer or wine while they contemplate the perfect RV for the family.

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Three seminar areas offering hundreds of seats allow you to take a load off your feet while your brain soaks in valuable and entertaining information. You are welcome to nod off for a few winks too! A complete listing of the seminars can be found here.

West Hall Concessions: Tables and chairs can also be found just north of the West Hall Concessions next to the Information Center.


We hope you enjoy a fun filled day at the 2015 Seattle RV Show!

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