Most of us RVers started by camping in a tent!
RV Roadside Assistance – Know What You Need Before You’re Stuck Somewhere!
What Is RV Roadside Assistance?
RV Roadside Assistance frees you from the hassle of an emergency mechanical breakdown or accident. A good program will look after your family, your RV and all your household cars. This doesn’t preclude the need for regular RV and motor home maintenance such as checking and flushing fluids on a regular basis and annual or even more frequent brake system and engine inspections by a mechanic.
What Should RV Roadside Assistance Help You With?
- Emergency towing: you should be able to call your program’s dispatch center 24-7, 365 days per year.
- Flat tire changes: by simply calling your program’s network of tire providers, their technicians should replace a flat tire with your inflated spare, even if they have to tow you to the nearest professional service center (at no extra cost).
- Travel delay assistance: your program should refund your emergency travel expenses if you’re more than 100 miles from home and involved in an accident.
- Lock out service: one simple call and your program should send out a pre-paid locksmith to you right away, wherever you happen to be.
- Family protection: your program should cover you, your spouse and your minor children.
- Fuel delivery: your program should provide you with up to 5 gallons of fuel to get you to the nearest service station, free of charge, if you run out of gas.
- Tips for RV maintenance and winterizing: your program should provide you with tips in print or on their web site for maintaining and winterizing your RV.
A cell phone is necessary in the event that you need to summon roadside assistance. Keep a list of important phone numbers and RV data handy to aid in getting proper service. Carry the service manual for your coach, and the tech service manuals for the manufacturer. You should also keep a supply of visibility items in your RV: reflective triangles, flares, flags and even reflective vests.
Different RV Assistance Programs
The two main options for RV roadside assistance are the AAA and the Good Sam Emergency Roadside Service Program. Many insurance companies, such as Allstate, and campgrounds, such as KOA also offer RV roadside assistance. Coach-Net specializes in emergency road service for RV’s. The best service providers are those that are RV oriented, as they are better acquainted with the unique needs of the RVer.
Why You Need An RV Assistance Program
Without emergency road assistance, an enjoyable tour can rapidly become a costly catastrophe. That’s why it’s important to have a reliable emergency road service available if you own an RV – whether it’s a motorhome, toterhome, travel trailer, fifth wheel, or camping trailer.
To minimize the need for roadside assistance, review maintenance procedures, service your RV and check system operation before you leave for your trip. In a survey done by Coach-Net, it was found that the majority of operational RV issues are preventable, with engine issues topping the list at 31.7 percent of all calls.
No port in a storm
by Mark Nemeth http://www.marxrv.com/index.htm
Everyone who travels has a pretty scary story about getting caught in some kind of killer storm. Well, here’s mine. The reason it’s here in the dummy section is that I could have avoided the worst of it if I had paid attention and taken quick action. Anyway, here’s the story: I was traveling west on Highway 90 in Texas, between Del Rio and Big Bend. It had been cloudy and drizzly all day but nothing really serious. I had just stopped in Sanderson and filled up my fuel tanks. It wasn’t raining at the time, but was cool and windy. I rolled out of town and after about a mile, I realized that I could see my headlights on the road ahead. It had gotten very dark. I remember looking at my watch and thinking: “geez, it’s 2:30 in the afternoon… it shouldn’t be this dark”. Then the thought occurred that I was probably heading into a major thunderstorm. For some reason, turning around and heading back to town never even occurred to me but it’s definitely what I SHOULD have done! Or I should have at least attempted to find someplace a little sheltered to pull well off the road and wait it out. What I did, however, was continue merrily on my way smack into one of the worst storms I’ve ever encountered while driving. It hit almost instantly, with blinding rain and wind gusts that exceeded 70 MPH (I heard later). There was no possible way that I could continue, so I pulled to the side of the road and put my flashers on. Almost immediately, visibility dropped to zip in sheets of horizontal rain. I couldn’t see to move. The wind was coming at me almost exactly from the left side and I really began to fear that it would roll the trailer over. I backed the trailer around to the right and down the embankment as much as I could in an attempt to get it facing more head on to the wind and then I sat there and waited for it to end. It seemed to go on forever. I remember praying that there wouldn’t be a tornado buried in there and wondering what I’d do if there was. The fact that I was barely clear of the single travel lane also worried me, but no traffic passed me while the storm was really wailing. The wind got so bad at times that the truck seemed to be lifting up on two wheels and the rain, driven by the wind, forced it’s way into the truck past every door and window seal. The temperature dropped from the mid 60s to 40 degrees in about 2 minutes as sleet began to mix in with the rain. It probably was 20 minutes before it eased enough for me to be able to move and then I fought gusty winds and heavy rain for another 5 or 6 miles before I was finally out of the worst of it. I know now that I was lucky I got out of it intact. I should have picked a better spot and gotten parked before I was blinded or headed back into town to wait it out. Being trapped on the side of the road with nowhere to go was the worst possible situation I could have been placed in. Next time, I’m going to pick up on the warning signs sooner and take action, rather than let myself get forced into a bad situation.
Ouch, Dammit! I was rolling out one morning, and my route took me right through the small town nearby. I had some mail to send out and there was a post office on the right with a good size parking lot. Perfect! I failed, however, to notice the steep angle of the entryway. When I made the turn, the leading edge of the rig crimped the truck bed pretty good. What really bothered me is that I ALWAYS pay attention to this sort of possible situation and avoid them. This morning, for some reason, I just wasn’t thinking. Oww! Oh well, life goes on…..
Some RV and campground tricks and hints
RV living in cold weather…By -M.C. Pletcher
These illustrations and articles came from “Field & Stream” magazine.
Dig a Dakota Fire Hole –
Native Americans used a Dakota fire hole to hide cooking fires from their enemies. Turns out that these small pits also consume less wood while burning hotter than open fires. Plus, they excel in windy conditions and provide a great platform for cooking. The fire hole works by drawing fresh air into the combustion chamber. Hot air rises from the hole, creating a draft that draws air through the vent and into the base of the fire. The cycle is self-sustaining, and digging the vent on the upwind side of the fire hole helps suck up the breeze like the air scoop on the Bandit’s Trans Am. Here’s how to dig one.
- Dig the fire chamber. Excavate a pit 1 foot in diameter and 1 foot deep. Now widen the base of the chamber a few inches so it has a juglike shape. This lets you burn larger pieces of wood.
- Dig the air tunnel. Start a foot away from the edge of the chamber, on the upwind side, and carve out a molelike tunnel 5 or 6 inches in diameter, angling down toward the base of the fire chamber.
- Build your fire in the chamber and top the hole with a grate or green saplings stout enough to hold a pot over the flames.
Strengthen a Tent With Picket Stakes –
This next-level guy-out plan kicks in when the wind cranks up to 25 mph. Picket stakes boost the holding power of tent stakes, so use them on the guylines attached to the side of the tent that faces the wind.
Hammer Time Drive a tent stake into the ground and attach it to the tent guyline as you typically would.
Line Up To make the picket-stake line, attach one end of a 16-inch length of parachute cord to the first stake (A, below). Run the cord around the stake twice and finish with two half hitches. Cinch tight against the stake.
That’s a Wrap Drive another tent stake (B) into the ground 8 to 12 inches from the first stake so that it’s in a straight line with the guyline. Wrap the running end of the p-cord around the second stake twice and finish with two half hitches.
Petiquette…Camping with pets
Pets are not irresponsible, only some pet owners are. Read the rules of the park and respect them.
RVing with pets is important to many people. They would not be able to travel otherwise. You must train your pet to live according to the rules. If you don’t you will make it difficult for others who have pets. Some parks do not allow pets, or they limit the size by weight. Others disallow certain breeds. Rules, rules, rules …. it gets disgusting, but rules are made because of those inconsiderate people who ruin it for all.
Hey, if you do it right you can enjoy your pet almost anywhere. Just be considerate of others.
Some parks have rules that do not allow you to leave your pet alone. If you do leave your pet alone in your RV on a warm day be sure it has plenty water and windows open or leave the A/C running. On a nice day the fan should be on. It’s a good idea to have a small fan for the pet. We carry a 6 inch metal fan that we got at Camping World and mounted it on a small board. It’s 12 volts and when we must leave our dog in the truck (with the windows open) we turn the fan on. We are very concerned with the heat and do not leave valuables in the truck so that we can leave the windows open.
Long Leash vs Short Leash
Many campgrounds require short leashes. With a short leash you can definitely control your pet better. Dogs learn to walk next to the person walking the dog. With a long leash the dog ends up walking the walker. After learning to tether the dog with a short leash he or she will cooperate much better and will obey other commands better too. The dog learns who is in charge. Most people think the dog or cat enjoys the freedom of a long leash. You may have to wean them off of the long leash, but it is worth it in the long run. The long leash makes it hard to stop and talk with other walkers because the pet will inevitably wrap the leash around your legs. If you enjoy walking, the short leash will allow you to walk without stopping every ten feet or walking around the object the dog got caught on. The dog will walk along the side and dogs who are not usually under control will become tamed by the short leash and allow you to enjoy a brisk non-stop walk. You will know when the dog needs to stop. Don’t forget to take the bags!
Do pick up the do-do that dogs do. If you have a dog, clean up after him, not just at campgrounds, but public parks, schools and neighborhoods. No one wants to see your dog’s crap in the grass. Did you ever step in it? Then you know!
It is a simple task to pick up the doggie mess with a cheap sandwich bag. Put your hand into the bag like a glove and pick it up. Then grab the bag envelope flap and turn the bag inside out which will put the stuff safely in the bag. Carry it to the trash container. Some people use those accumulated Wal-Mart bags. You do not have to get any mess on your hands. Deposit the bag in a garbage can.
Most RVers are considerate about their pet and clean up after them. It is interesting to know that more than 66% of RV-travelers have pets along for the ride. RVers at any age and their pets are on-the-whole a good lot.
While on the subject, find a good place for you pet to “go to the bathroom”. Not on the flowers, playground or next to the pool. Control them with a TIGHT SHORT LEASH. They will wait until you get to the best spot. Keep the leash short until you get into a wide open area. When you see other pets or people, shorten the leash. Teach your pet to heel. This is good obedience training. Pets are much like children, they have to be watched and taught correctness.
Try to be polite to irresponsible pet owners. Let the pets meet and greet. This will break the ice and you can tactfully discuss the rules about petiquette. Try to be positive and friendly. They are more likely to take your advice if you don’t accuse them of wrongdoing or preach. Speak generically, as if it is not them you are trying to correct. Of course there are times that one must be direct, but try to leave that up to the management if possible.
Leash and collar with ID tag.
Paper towels and disinfectant cleaner
Adequate supply of pet food and smacks.
Food and water bowls
Pet bed or crate
Medication (flea and heart)
Refuge bags or “pooper scooper”
Towels to dry pet
Article by Adam O’Connor – RV Motorhomes and Toterhomes Guide
Get the Right Tires for RV
Recreation Vehicle Safety & Education Foundation or RVSEF opines that the most vulnerable safety component of an RV is its tires. As any experienced RVer would know, weights and tires are interrelated and thus, it is important to balance the weight as well as to stay within the safe weight limit. In order to understand the role your preferred tires will play, you need to have a clear idea about the weight limitations of your recreational vehicle. The weight limitation is mentioned on the federal data plate and in the user manual. In addition, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association requires its member manufacturers to provide the detail information inside the RV’s cabinet door. Some of such basic information includes:
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR is the maximum amount of weight that your recreational vehicle can carry, when it is fully loaded including the gear, fluid, supplies, propane, and passengers. It also includes the tongue weight.
Unloaded Vehicle Weight: UVW or Unloaded Vehicle Weight is the weight measured when your recreational vehicle leaves the factory. This includes only the weight of the mohorhome along with oil, lubricants, and fuel.
Gross Axel Weight Rating: It is also referred to as GAWR and is the maximum amount of weight each axel of your recreational vehicle can bear. The RV must be fully loaded including the axel’s weight.
Cargo Carrying Capacity: This is also termed as CCC and is an important weight for the RVers to know. This denotes the amount of weight that you are allowed to load into the recreational vehicle. Cargo Carrying Capacity is calculated by subtracting UVW along with the weight of LP gas and water, sleeping capacity (154 lbs/person), dealer-installed accessories, and tongue weight from GVWR.
Gross Combination Weight Rating: Also known as GCWR, it is the maximum amount of combined weight allowed for both your recreational vehicle and its tow.
Once you know the RV weights and the details associated with it, you can decide about your RV tires.
The tires of the recreational vehicles are specific to their size and carrying capacity. In addition, measure the tire pressure cold. As you travel, the air will heat up. The temperature can also vary depending on various factors including speed, weather, and type of road material. To measure the tire pressure of your motorhome while travelling, you need to stop for around 20-30 minutes to let the tires cool down.
RVers also need to measure the tire tread. Those who have duals must have at least 13/32 on their outer wheel and 10/32 on their inner wheel. Also check the sidewalls for cracks and never use chemicals to shine or clean the tires of your recreational vehicle. Such chemicals tend to break down your tire material. And to brace the tires use graduated chocks instead of squared edge blocks. You are also required to rotate your RV tires regularly.
Know Your RV Weights
Understanding the RV weights is crucial for a safe RV ride. In addition, you must stay within the RV and town vehicle’s weight ratings. The weight numbers of recreational vehicle fall into two categories – actual weights and ratings. The actual weight is the measured weigh of your recreational vehicle and its components. In general, weights quoted by RV factories are averages or estimates of the vehicle’s actual weight. Weight ratings are the limits, which are placed on your recreational vehicle and its components. You should never exceed the weight ratings. And confusion occurs if you mixed up these two categories.
As an RVer you need to understand the difference between the weight categories. Many new RVers often get confused with RV weights, especially with gross vehicle weight and gross vehicle weight rating. GVW or Gross Vehicle Weight is the total weight of your fully loaded recreational vehicle or travel trailer. This includes the weight of the passengers, all cargo, fluids, and optional equipment. Gross Vehicle Weight is measured by a scale. Those who are using a motor home without towing anything, the Gross Vehicle Weight will be the total weight of the vehicle including all its components and the passengers. However, if you are using an RV with more than one unit, the Gross Vehicle Weight is just a part of the total weight.
It is important to know your Gross Vehicle Weight, without which it is impossible to determine whether or not you are within the weight limits of your RV. Though the manufacturer or dealer provide information about the average or estimated weights of your RV, it is better to drive the vehicle on a scale to get the accurate weight.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR, on the other hand, is the maximum weight and the Gross Vehicle Weight of your RV should not exceed this number. GVWR is applicable to both recreational vehicles and travel trailers. It is also referred to as Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight.
RVers who are using large towable trailers, especially that weigh more than 5,000 lbs, can use a Weight Distribution Hitch System. This system applies a leverage to distribute the weight of your motor home to all axels of RV and tow vehicle. As a result, you can enjoy improved ride, braking control, steering and safety. In addition, it’s important to check the RV weight on a regular basis. And those who travel a lot on their recreational vehicles need to get their motor home checked frequently.
The next important factor that RVers need to consider is what they pack while traveling. You must choose and pack items wisely while on the roads. Keep the heavier items forward and low, while the lighter items high. Also, balance your personal belongings smartly between right and left sides and avoid taking any loose items. Finally, never stow your heavy items in places where they can tumble into electrical, plumbing, and other equipment.
Tires are ones of the most important aspects, when it comes to RV weight distribution. Both overloading and under-inflation will damage the tires, causing premature tire failure. You can find the maximum load rating on the tire sidewalls. However, the amount of pressure you need to use will depend upon the load you put on the tires. Companies manufacturing tires usually publish charts so that you can get a proper idea about the inflation pressure that you can put for specified weight loads. Some of these charts also come with speed ratings.
Finally, re-organize your RV occasionally and get rid of the things that you have not used in a while or you think are now useless.
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