Cost of Owning an RV: What to Consider?

The average family of four spends around $4,580.

Cost of Owning an RV: What to Consider? Image above: Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Cost of Owning an RV: What to Consider? Image above: Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According to a study by American Express, that’s the cost for one vacation.

Buy an recreational vehicle and your family can enjoy numerous vacations for a fraction of that cost.

However, when you own an RV there are other ongoing expenses you need to be aware of when considering the cost of an RV lifestyle.

RV Insurance

When budgeting for an RV include the insurance cost in that budget. Doing the research before buying provides a clearer financial perspective of the true cost of the RV.

The insurance jungle can get a bit confusing. Here are some tips on getting the best insurance deal for your RV.

Specialized RV insurance is preferable to auto insurance for your RV. The two are very different. RV insurance covers many more risks specific to an RV that are not included in auto insurance. Some examples are total replacement coverage, personal belongings coverage (e.g. your furniture and appliances), coverage for snowbirds and full-timers.

Cost of Owning an RV: What to Consider? Image above: Califonnian RV Resort, Acton, California. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Cost of Owning an RV: What to Consider? Image above: Califonnian RV Resort, Acton, California. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Also, you have specialized RV claims agents who know RVs, as opposed to auto-adjusters who don’t really understand them.

Compare insurance quotes. Insurance rates are dependent on many variables. Selecting insurance coverage based solely on price is not recommended. Instead, obtain free quotes from multiple companies online, compare their policies, and pick the policy that offers you maximum coverage at the best price.

Factors that affect insurance rates include RV type and model, current value of RV, state or province in which the policy is issued (insurance laws vary), amount of coverage required, primary purpose of the RV, previous RV ownership history, insurance claims history, age, marital status, associations or memberships that offer discounts, and credit score.

Fuel

The dramatic drop in fuel costs over the past year makes owning an RV very attractive. Even so, you need to be prepared to incur additional fuel costs when you travel with an RV just as you would with any other form of travel.

Cost of Owning an RV: What to Consider? Image above: Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights
Cost of Owning an RV: What to Consider? Image above: Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider that fuel costs vary over time with supply and demand, exploration and production costs, and taxes which vary from state to state and province to province.

Storage

Consider where you will store your RV and the related costs. Be aware of current city bylaws that may prohibit short and/or long term parking on your property. The costs of renting a storage unit will depend on the size of your unit, whether you want an enclosed space and whether you’ll be renting this for short term or long term storage. Storage units can run anywhere from $30-40 per month to as high as $150 per month or more.

Campground Fees

The cost of campgrounds for RVs varies by location, campground amenities, and length of stay. Depending on where you travel and the degree of luxury you desire, costs may range as high as $100 per night or more. Expect to pay more when camping near a major tourist attraction or large city, the ocean or popular lake, and during peak season.

Cost of Owning an RV: What to Consider? Image above: Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights
Cost of Owning an RV: What to Consider? Image above: Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights

RV Maintenance

An RV is a major investment. Like home ownership, regular maintenance is just a part of the deal. Every year, you’ll want to inspect roof, sealants, wheel bearings, and appliances. Thorough and frequent cleaning will also go a long way towards keeping your unit in good shape but you may want to schedule yearly inspection by your local RV service department just to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

If you do your own RV maintenance, be careful what products you use. General-purpose cleaners are not intended for RVs and can cause damage. Use RV-specific cleaning products only.

Worth Pondering…

Have you put…

Step up

Antenna down

Wife in?

—sign at a Dickson, Tennessee campground

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4 Key Tips To Planning Your RV Vacation

Ah, life on the open road! What’s not to love? There’s the freedom, the adventure.

Fort Edmoton Park, a living history museum, in Edmonton, Alberta. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Fort Edmoton Park, a living history museum, in Edmonton, Alberta. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And you’re the master of your universe, with a kitchen and fridge on board, and no longer a slave to bathroom breaks and fast-food meals.

More than 20 million Americans will travel in RVs throughout the summer months, heading to the nation’s 16,000-plus campgrounds and enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

Before departure, however, planning is required to ensure that your vacation vision becomes your rolling reality. By spending time planning in advance of your RV vacation you’ll get more out of your holiday as well as avoid some of the common pitfalls.

Whether you’re headed to a nearby location or somewhere farther afield this summer, the following four tips from Vogel Talks RVing will help ensure you get the most out of your 2014 RV summer vacation travels.

1. Plan out your RV vacation

Have a plan. Start planning your RV vacation well in advance of your anticipated departure.

Pore over some maps, browse online, and dream out loud with your family about the places you’ve always wanted to see.

Sedona and Red Rock Country, a vacation hotspot, has appeal for every member of the family. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Sedona and Red Rock Country, a vacation hotspot, has appeal for every member of the family. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A surefire way of making sure everyone is onboard with the RV vacation is to brainstorm favored vacation destinations. This list may include locales like beaches, lakes, mountains, forests, deserts, national parksstate parks, provincial parks, historic sites, theme parks, previously visited RV destinations, and other natural wonders.

Then, tally up everyone’s choices and you should have a good idea about an RV vacation that closely matches your family’s ideal RV vacation. The closest you can get to satisfying each family member’s wishes, the more successful your vacation will become.

Let a route and game plan start to ferment.

2. Plan a route & make campground reservations

Being a free spirit when you hit the road and going where the wind takes you does have a certain appeal. However, when you are limited by time and want to see the best of what an area has to offer it is advisable to plan a route before leaving home.

This applies to the route you plan to travel, how many hours a day you plan to drive, and where you plan to stay. To avoid disappointment make campground reservations well in advance. Remember, this is peak travel season.

If you travel with a pet always ask about their pet policy. Some parks have restrictions on the breed of dog they will allow. Always remember to pick up after your pet.

Historic Boston is another family destination vacation that has something for  every family member. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Historic Boston is another family destination vacation that has something for every family member. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keep in mind that campground and RV park amenities vary. Amenities may include a club house, activity center, swimming pools, spas, hiking trails, dog walks, laundry facilities, restaurant, playground, cable TV, Wi-Fi, and organized events and activities.

3. Know your RV

You might be ready for your RV vacation but is your recreational vehicle?

Although it may seem that nothing could go wrong when you’re all packed and eager to leave for your trip, forgetting to check on all the important areas of your RV will, sooner or later, come back to haunt you.

Maintaining your RV is essential to ensure that you have a trouble-free trip. Inspect all the belts and hoses for cracking. Check your headlights, turn signals, and tires. Take a look at all your hitch and towing equipment. Check fire extinguishers, smoke alarm, and carbon monoxide detector. Taking a few precautionary measure before you hit the road could help to avoid a mechanical breakdown.

Every time before you head off, make sure you check:

4. Create an RV checklist

RV camping success depends largely on organization. Families will find limited room in their RV and need to pack accordingly.

Just when you think you’ve seen as much color and sculptured rock for­mations Mother Nature can create, you enter Bryce Canyon for yet anoth­er brilliant and stunning display. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Just when you think you’ve seen as much color and sculptured rock for­mations Mother Nature can create, you enter Bryce Canyon for yet anoth­er brilliant and stunning display. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pack the right things. Several weeks prior to departure, create your RV checklist. This includes everything you will need for your trip including kitchen utensils and supplies, paper products, food, clothes, bedding, toiletries, picnic supplies, maps and GPS, first aid kit, tool box, flashlights, spare batteries, outdoor activity gear, camping chairs, digital camera, food for your pet, propane, and plenty of water.

Vacation time is valuable to all of us. Time away from work and the everyday stresses and worries of life at home is time to be treasured.

RV camping is a great way to combine a road trip with a relaxing outdoor family vacation.

There’s nothing quite like taking a road trip in an RV.

Summer is in full swing with people full of excitement, anticipating their family vacation. It’s a time to make new memories and see new places.

But these anticipated memories can soon turn into a nightmare for those who fail to plan ahead.

Worth Pondering…

RV vacations have beginnings and ends, but it’s what’s in between that counts.

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Camping World Announces Expansion Plans

Camping World Inc., the nation’s largest RV and outdoor retailer, announces that it has acquired property in both Saukville, Wisconsin (Milwaukee area), and Fort Pierce, Florida, for expansion and future development to meet customer needs for product and service in new markets.

CW-GS-Combo-Logo-Print1Plans are underway to expand the company footprint with two additional locations in high traffic, outdoor centric markets, according to a company news release.

“These are great markets for Camping World/Good Sam to expand to,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World.

“These locations fit nicely into our existing footprint and have a strong base on Campingworld.com customers as well as Good Sam members already in the area. We are excited to move forward in our own growth while serving our customers’ outdoor, RV, and camping needs.”

The Camping World of Milwaukee and Camping World of Fort Pierce will feature motorhomes and towables from the finest manufacturers and brands including Winnebago Industries, Fleetwood, Thor Motor Coach, Itasca, Coleman, Heartland, Keystone, Forest River, Cross Roads, Monaco, Holiday Rambler, Jayco, Starcraft, and Coachmen.

camping_world_logoOn the accessory side the new locations will feature new and innovative products including interactive displays and customer experiences from the top vendors such as Dometic, Thetford, Honda, Goodyear, Winegard, ADCO, Camco, Roadmaster, Husky, Resse, Cequent, Exide, Ultra-Fab, Coleman, Valterra, Dicor, Champion, Rand McNally, Max-Air, BAL, Cummins, Onan, Progressive Dynamics, Weber, HWH, Presto-Fit, Stromberg-Carlson, Atwood, Xantrex, Magellan, King Controls, Charbroil, Amerigas, Exxon Mobil products, and Norcold.

“These new locations position Camping World for continued growth in both Florida and Wisconsin. Today the company operates a store in Madison, Wisconsin and in nearby Island Lake, Illinois. In Florida, the existing 13-store Florida network will be enhanced with the new Fort Pierce location. Our Florida customers continue to embrace our growing presence in the sunny state,” stated Johnny Sirpilla, chief business development officer for Camping World/Good Sam.

“We look forward to delivering the highest quality and outstanding service that Camping World customers have come to know and expect across the country.”

Details

Camping World & Good Sam

Both founded in 1966, Camping World is America’s No. 1 source for RVs, camping accessories, RV maintenance, and repair.

Good Sam is the world’s largest RV owners’ organization offering helpful technical tips, vacation planning, extended warranty, magazine subscriptions, roadside assistance, and more to serve the outdoor enthusiast.

Good-Sam-Club-logo-300x259Partnered together, Camping World and Good Sam offer more to those who love the RV lifestyle by offering one-stop shopping and resources for everything RV and outdoor.

Good Sam Enterprises LLC is the parent company of Camping World and the Good Sam Club.

Camping World features over 10,000 products located at over 100 SuperCenters nationwide, easy online and catalog shopping as well as stocking a wide selection of new and used trailers and motorhomes from top RV manufacturers.

Good Sam members receive cost-saving benefits and services, plus valuable RV information and travel tips.

Additionally, Good Sam represents more than 2,000 local RV chapters designed to bring RVers together from similar geographic regions for group camping excursions.

Camping World is the title sponsor of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in addition to the Official RV and Outdoor Retailer of NASCAR. NASCAR is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc.

Websites: campingworld.com and goodsam.com

Worth Pondering…

Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.

—Demosthenes

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Protect Your Turbocharger

If your coach has a diesel engine, it almost certainly has a turbocharger.

Cummins VGT Variable Geometry Turbocharger
Cummins VGT Variable Geometry Turbocharger

And, if you ever have to replace the thing, it’s going to cost a lot of money.

You can greatly decrease your chances of ever needing a replacement by remembering just a few simple things.

When stopping after a hard run, never kill the engine without letting it cool for a few minutes first.

Never kill the engine while it is on “fast idle.”

Change your engine oil religiously.

Close adherence to those three rules will almost certainly assure you of a long turbocharger life, according to a Motorhomes of Texas news release by Mike Martinkus.

Now if you want to know the short version of “why,” read on.

Turbo’s are driven by the exhaust gas blowing out of the engine. That exhaust gas is piped to the turbo unit and causes an impeller inside the unit (think propeller) to spin and that impeller is mounted on a shaft that runs through the turbo housing to an impeller on the other side of the turbo body. That second impeller blows fresh compressed air into the engine and that compressed air gives the engine more power.

When the engine is at idle speed, around 600 rpm (revolutions per minute) the turbo impellers are spinning at several thousand rpm.

ISX15 for Heavy-Duty Truck (2013) produces 400-600 hp at 1450-2050 lb-ft
ISX15 for Heavy-Duty Truck (2013) produces 400-600 hp at 1450-2050 lb-ft

But, when the engine speeds up to just a thousand rpm (high idle), the impeller speeds increase to tens of thousands of rpm. When the engine is at highway speeds, the rpm of the turbo REALLY goes up—as much as 150,000 rpm. Yeah, that’s some spinning right there.

The turbo shaft spins so fast that it is very hard (read expensive) to manufacture bearings for a shaft that spins that fast so a lot of turbo’s shafts don’t have bearings but instead ride on oil. That oil is the engine oil which is supplied to the turbo under pressure by the running engine.

If the turbo does have bearings, those bearings are lubricated and cooled by the engine oil—that hot engine oil which is, in fact, much cooler than the turbo charger and its internal parts. It’s hot because remember it is driven by the exhaust—hot exhaust which gets hotter with increased rpm. The faster the engine runs, the hotter the exhaust, the hotter the engine oil becomes and the faster and hotter the turbocharger gets.

If you are driving hard, the engine is hot.

The turbo is spinning at 150,000 rpm and has reached 1,200 F. When you shut off the coolant supply (oil) by killing the engine, the oil that is in the turbo charger literally boils and cakes the shaft with burnt oil residue. That burnt residue does not make for a smooth spinning shaft and ultimately will cause the shaft to stall completely.

Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort Super Site
Let the turbo cool down for a couple of minutes before killing the engine. This diesel pusher is enjoying a Super Site at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort south of Mission, Texas.

In addition to damaging the shaft the vanes that comprise the impellers are by necessity very light and very thin. Excessive heat and or lack of lubrication will eventually kill them. Those blades start flaking off and being ingested its bye bye turbo and maybe sayonara to the engine too.

Let the turbo cool down for a couple of minutes before killing the engine. Kill the engine from idle but give the turbo a chance to slow its spinning first.

Remember, keep the oil clean.

Worth Pondering…

“Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space.”

It could be the theme song of every RVer, though it’s not likely what Steppenwolf had in mind when they recorded Born to be Wild in 1968.

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Five Things You Need to Know Today: March 9

Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!

1. RV Catches Fire in Texas

This photo was taken approximately four minutes after a motorhome caught fire. It gives you an idea of how fast you need to get out of your coach if it ever catches on fire. (Source: http://rvtravel.com)

A man and a woman were temporarily stranded in Beaumont, Texas, Tuesday (March 6) after their recreational vehicle burst into flames, reports KIIITV.

The couple says they were traveling to Austin from Louisiana and got stuck in traffic on I-10 due to an overturned 18-wheeler. The driver says he was being re-routed onto Eastex Freeway when he and his wife smelled smoke and pulled onto the side of the road.

The man was trying to disconnect several batteries used to power appliances in the RV, when the vehicle caught fire.

2. Maintenance Tip

You’ve got a lot riding on your tires. The better you take care of them, the better they’ll take care of you.  Proper tire pressure:

  • Helps you get the most from every gallon of fuel
  • Helps maximize the life of your tires
  • Helps your motor home ride and handle the way it’s designed to
  • Helps ensure your coach can safely handle loads up to its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

So it’s important to check tire pressure at least once a week when you’re traveling. And since tires warm up as you drive, it’s important to check the pressure cold—before you start driving.

3. Flying J Opens Travel Center in Utah Dixie

Knoxville, Tennessee-based Pilot Flying J has opened a new travel center location in St. George, Utah. The new Flying J Travel Plaza is located at 113 Motel Drive at Exit 77 off Interstate 15 along U.S. Highway 78.

The 13,350-square-foot travel center features six gasoline islands, eight diesel lanes, and two RV lanes along with Diesel Exhaust Fluid at the pump. The facility also features high-speed fuel pumps that provide faster flow so customers can refuel quickly as well as a restaurant and a wide variety of convenience items.

The St. George location includes a Denny’s restaurant; food deli; restrooms; Western Union and check cashing; an ATM; laundry services; 108 parking spaces for cars and general merchandise.

RV customers have access to parking, bulk propane, and a dump station in addition to the two RV fuel lanes.

As with all other Pilot Flying J locations, the St. George Flying J Travel Plaza honors the Frequent Fueler Advantage card.

Pilot and Flying J merged in 2010, and both brands are still available on U.S. highways. Pilot Flying J has more than 550 retail locations across North America. The company is located in 47 states and eight Canadian provinces.

4. Yellowstone Campgrounds Start to Reopen May 4

Xanterra Parks and Resorts, the concessioner that runs lodges, restaurants, and activities in Yellowstone National Park, will start opening campgrounds there in early May, The Associated Press reports. Campgrounds start to open on May 4 with the Madison Campground, followed by Fishing Bridge RV Park on May 11.

The park itself reopens to automobiles in April when the major roads are cleared of snow.

The Old Faithful Snow Lodge Geyser Grill and gift shop will be first to open on April 20, followed by the Mammoth Hot Springs gift shop and grill on April 27. The major lodging facilities will open throughout May.

According to Xanterra Parks and Resorts all park operations will be up and running by mid-June.

5. Exploring Verde Valley

Pink Jeep tours are a popular way to venture into Red Rock Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

At our core, we are explorers. It’s in our bones, our marrow, our guts to venture out and discover. Exploration and adventure are vital to the human soul. Called by distant voices or prodded by an inner whisper, we travel, we seek adventure.

During the past several years we have enjoyed months at a time RVing throughout southern Arizona, enjoying abundant sunshine, and a fascinating backdrop of mountain ranges. Whether we’re at Yuma, along the Colorado River at Lake Havasu or Bullhead City, Quartzsite, Catalina State Park, and Tucson, Ajo, and Organ Pipe National Park, Tombstone, Bisbee, Patagonia, Coronado National Memorial, or Ramsey Canyon in southeastern Arizona, or a Maricopa County Regional Park in the Phoenix area, there’s much to explore.

But, each spring finds us gravitating north to the scenic and historic wonders of Verde Valley.

To continue reading, click here.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Worth Pondering…

Destination is merely a byproduct of the journey.
—Eric Hansen

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Camping World Announces Expansion Plans

Camping World, America’s number one source for RVs, camping accessories, RV maintenance and repair has announced a series of store openings in new markets over the next 12 months.

“Camping World is poised for growth in every segment of our business with a goal of 100 stores by 2014. A larger store base will allow us to better serve our 4 million customers nationwide and our 1.3 million Good Sam members. As our ecommerce business continues to explode with record traffic, page visits, and sales, we will continue to invest in our brick and mortar business units with the addition of over 200 service bays nationwide in the next 12 months including more paint and collision centers, accessory stores, and RV dealerships,” said Marcus Lemonis, Camping World’s Chairman & CEO, in a new release earlier this week (October 26).

Retail accessories store expansions are currently planned in Fort Myers, Detroit, Nashville, Las Vegas, Tucson, and Knoxville, including RV Sales offerings in select locations. Additionally, new store openings are coming in Orlando, Ocala, Cocoa Beach, Raleigh, South Florida, Harrisburg, Oklahoma, New England states, Virginia, Texas, and Washington State.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to grow our business through stand-alone new store openings as well as partnering with quality RV dealerships in strong RV markets. This strategy not only supports our consumer base but provides a great value to our vendor partners. As our national network continues to expand our brand value increases and the traffic benefits we offer a dealer partner multiply. I have had a number of RV dealers express their interest in partnering with us and I look forward to more of those calls,” replied John A. Sirpilla, President of Camping World’s Accessory Division.

Credit: rvtravel.com

Camping World carries the largest selection of RV related products in America, with over 81 Super Centers located nationwide. The company maintains an intense focus on strategic partners that provide new and cutting edge products and services for its customers.

“Dometic is proud to partner with Camping World and looks forward to being part of the future growth plans. We appreciate their forward thinking, aggressiveness, and drive in the RV marketplace. Dometic is committed to growing with them through continued product development and consumer education,” said Mark Minatel, Dometic Vice President of Sales.

Additionally, the Camping World brand is the clear market leader in the sale of new and used RVs, with over 35,000 units sold annually. The Camping World brand has been the leader in market share for the sale of new and used RVs for the past six years and continues this leading position in 2011.

Sirpilla added, “In addition to new growing our store footprint, new product offerings continue to be a significant focus for our merchandising team. Our customers continue to look to Camping World for value in products that cross over from RV to home use providing the best value for their shopping dollar. We are known for unbeatable value in core RV products and will continue to lead the industry in bringing exciting new products ranging from electronics, housewares, satellites, hitch and tow, and more into the RV lifestyle to enhance the RV experience. We are proud of our vendor line up and are working diligently to grow our product offering with the strongest vendors.”

Details

Camping World

Credit: venturedfw.com

Camping World is the world’s largest retailer of recreational vehicles and provides outdoor enthusiasts over 8,000 RV parts and accessories, service and collision centers along with other products and services to enhance the RV and outdoor lifestyle. Today the company serves RV enthusiasts with over 81 RV lifestyle retail locations engaging in the retail sale, finance, service, and rental of recreational vehicles, with over $300 million of new and used recreational vehicle inventory representing more than 13 RV manufacturers and 150 brand names.

Website: campingworld.com

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