Saving Money On an RV Road Trip

Knowing where to cut costs, save money, and be more efficient in your travels is the key to staying within your travel budget.

Fleetwood Providence Diesel Pusher parked at a Canyon de Chelly National Park (Arizona) view point  © Rex Vogel, all rights
Fleetwood Providence Diesel Pusher parked at a Canyon de Chelly National Park (Arizona) view point © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Following are some tips that will help you save money while still enjoying all the fun, freedom, and flexibility that RVing has to offer:

Before You Go

Check tire pressure regularly; improperly inflated tires means more money for fuel. Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4 percent, according to International Energy Agency. Proper inflation also reduces the incidence of tire failure.

Preventative measures and maintenance will reduce the risk of problems. Preparatory activities should occupy your to-do list prior to any RV trip. It’s important to make sure that all of “the little things” are in place and working properly. While it does take time, it’s far better to be prepared than face an unanticipated malfunction that sabotages your road 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 extinguisherssmoke alarm, and carbon monoxide detector. Taking a few precautionary measure before you hit the road could help to avoid a mechanical breakdown.

Check the weight on your loaded RV. Keeping the rig to the recommended weight will save on both maintenance costs and fuel.

Anyone who has listened to John Denver sing about country roads and the Blue Ridge Mountains can easily imagine the transcendent beauty of Shenandoah National Park.
Anyone who has listened to John Denver sing about country roads and the Blue Ridge Mountains can easily imagine the transcendent beauty of Shenandoah National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Buy your groceries and supplies at a regular store in your town and use coupons whenever possible. Purchasing items at a camp store or convenience store is crazy expensive. You pay a premium for convenience.

When planning your trip, check out the Chamber of Commerce websites for areas you plan to visit. Call or email to request an information packet by mail. Not only will these info packets have plenty of brochures and information on various local attractions, they often include discount coupons. If you’re on the road just stop in.

If you belong to the AAA, ask about discounts on restaurants, museums, theme parks, fairs, and special events.

Reduce Campground Costs

Camp closer to home. Remember, you’re always on vacation at the campsite, even if it’s only an hour drive from home.

When camping with your RV, commercial campgrounds can take a big bite out of your wallet. You can often find better deals at public campgrounds operated by small towns or counties.

Join a membership campground system such as Thousand Trails.

A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Join a camping discount club such as Passport America or Happy Camper.

Consider staying for free or nearly free on federal BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.

Take advantage of free overnight parking, offered by Wal-Mart, Sam’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kmart, and some Flying J Truck Stops. It’s also a good idea to know the state towing laws to avoid tickets or towing.

Many Casinos allow free overnight RV parking. A few Casinos require that you be a customer in order to park. There are some Casinos that allow no overnight parking, or require that you park at their adjoining RV campground at their customary nightly rates. You will also find a few Casinos that offer free RV dump stations, and even a few that offer RV hookups on site.

Stay longer in one place. Many RV parks are vacation destinations in their own right, offering something for everyone—swimming pools, playgrounds, game rooms, boating, fishing, nature trails, planned activities and more.

A block east of Santa Fe Plaza is St. Francis Cathedral, named for Santa Fe’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A block east of Santa Fe Plaza is St. Francis Cathedral, named for Santa Fe’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Having a written budget is essential to getting your finances under control. If you do not have a written budget it is hard to know if you are living within your means and saving enough money for your long term goals like purchasing a new recreational vehicle.

Worth Pondering…

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.

—Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849

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The Expansion-Bust Cycle of Membership Camping

Membership camping systems come and go tending to follow an expansion-bust cycle.

Camping at Hershey Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Camping at Hershey Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A privately held company, Western Horizon Resorts (WHR) was founded by Jim Loken and family in 1984 and was designed to provide RVers with “an exceptional outdoor vacation experience”.

At its peak in 2010, WHR operated 18 camping resorts located in nine states— Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington—with 3,000+ RV sites and numerous rental trailers and cabins.

Following numerous sales and bank foreclosures their family of resorts has shrunk to six; eight so-called affiliated resorts (formerly owned by WHR) are also available to members at a discounted rate.

Enter Camperworld Vacation Club, a family of seven membership camping RV parks in the state of Utah.

Thousands of members of Camperworld are upset because their offices have been shut down, the website is down, the campgrounds are closed, and they have to pay more in dues.

A recorded phone message has this to say to members, “Thank you for calling Camperworld we are closed until further notice.”

Camperworld is $4.5 million in debt and members have received a notice asking for an addition $880.00 due by April 20 (2014). It is also posted on the website under “Camperworld Special Notice: Updated Information”.

Camping at Chesapeake (Virginia) Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Camping at Chesapeake (Virginia) Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Following is the posted information:

Q. How much is the assessment?

A. $880 is due no later than the 20th of April, 2014.

Q. What about the $500 idea?

A. KSL-TV got it a little off. Here are the facts. Today, the Board of Directors agreed to $500 assessment rather than $880 if you meet the following conditions…
Your membership now has, and you are willing to give up one or more of the following:
Fixed dues for life, or a dues reduction for life, or free dues for life, or no dues option at 72 years of age, or no dues till 2017 or you have Assessment proof status.
In agreeing to surrender this status, no other features, just the dues discount or Assessment block you will then pay $500 by the 20th of April, 2014 and moving forward begin to pay $499 each year for dues starting January 1st, 2015.
If you are unwilling to surrender the one above listed features, the assessment amount for you will stay at $880. Taking advantage of the $500 option, if you qualify, helps everyone!

Q. What if I send in the money but Camperworld closes or files Bankruptcy?

A. All assessment money will be in escrow pending an accounting on April 21st, 2014. If funds are insufficient to run Camperworld in a size to service its members for the full year, every dollar must be returned at once.

Q. What will prevent this from happening next year?

A. 1st, What got us here, “dues deals” are now blocked from happening ever again. 2nd, The new programs provide a dues plus situation. That means that the new programs like the Explorer program, pay for themselves and extra to buffer the missing dues of others. The new programs don’t bet on a sales price to fix 1 year, rather they gain more dues every year to cover the member plus a little to cover the gap.
2nd, Many members with the “dues discounts” will take the high road because of their love for Camperworld and help everyone by surrendering the discount which is responsible for the entire assessment to begin with.

Q. Where did all the money go?

A. This year, with the majority of members were on a dues discount of one form or another, Camperworld collected just over $700,000 total. This money went to pay the hard money loans and operating costs that made it possible to make it until March 2014. Another hard money loan is still outstanding and due in addition to the $4.5 million due Zions which is not a hard money loan but is under review with Zions because of our financial state. It took just over 2.5 million to run the 7 parks last year after your new board made cuts, bringing it to the leanest in years. Randy Townsend covered 1 payroll out of his pocket 2 or 3 months ago. It was paid back.
Of this you can be sure,

Camping at Lynchburg (Virginia) Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Camping at Lynchburg (Virginia) Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

We are never to repeat the past and in fact are all about the business of making it impossible to do so. Our actions should speak loud and clear that the new board of directors are not interested in a gimmick loaded fast buck or a big commissions. Everything we do shows the opposite. We, your board of directors test every move we make to see if we are making the financial health of Camperworld stronger, not just in the short term, but in the long run!

Q. I can’t come up with the assessment money in time, what do I do?

A. A minimum of $300 must be paid by the 20th of April, 2014. The balance can be paid in 3 more installments.
A group of volunteers will be contacting all members one on one starting on April 9th to answer any additional questions. If you have not received a call by April 14th, e-mail drhonline@me.com and I will contact you directly.

Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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AmeriGO RV Club Set to Launch

RV industry veterans and membership club innovators have developed a new company—AmeriGO RV Club—poised to be the ultimate RV club and online community dedicated to RV enthusiasts.

AmeriGO RV Club LogoScheduled to launch in October 2013, AmeriGO RV Club boasts value-added membership benefits, services, and discounts via a highly advanced online RV club experience, explained Joe McAdams, chairman of AmeriGo RV Club, in a company news release.

“With decades of experience in the RV industry and having already built an amazing set of offerings with our allied partners, it is with great enthusiasm that we announce the development of AmeriGO RV Club,” said Joe McAdams, Chairman of AmeriGO RV Club.

“Our goal in creating AmeriGO is to build a trusted resource for products, services, and information that adds value and security for the RV enthusiast by providing access to and savings at our premier network of RV vendors, dealers, and campgrounds.”

Distinctive Benefits, Partners and Sponsors

Led by RV industry experts and featuring a vast range of partnerships with leading companies, AmeriGO RV Club has established an RV Club benefits program with unique offerings designed especially for RVers, according to the news release.

The club will present exclusive programs, services, and savings for members.

AmeriGO’s alliances present a vast range of benefits to members as follows:

  • AmeriGO has teamed up with Equity LifeStyle Properties, owner of Thousand Trails campgrounds and Encore RV Resorts, to offer Club members a discount of 10 percent off daily rates at over 170 locations across North America
  • Via a strategic alliance with AmeriGO, Progressive presents RVers the opportunity to shop for and purchase Progressive RV insurance policies online at AmeriGOrv.com and via the AmeriGO Agency
  • AmeriGO has teamed with Carefree Resorts to give club members access to a family of RV resorts where they will be welcomed by friendly and helpful staff, and can enjoy safe, well maintained communities with modern amenities and vibrant activity programs while benefiting from a discount of 10 percent on overnight stays
  • AmeriGO RV Club members will have exclusive access to an AmeriGO RV Club Protection plan by American Guardian Warranty
  • AmeriGO RV Club has created a strategic alliance with Newcoast Financial Services to provide RVers with the best finance programs available in the industry—featuring the most competitive rates and terms available as well as experienced staff with specialized knowledge in RV lending
  • AmeriGO is pleased to join forces with the highest quality RV dealerships; the company’s goal is to establish a coast-to-coast network of certified dealerships that will offer AmeriGO members peace of mind as they ride the open road across North America

RV Enthusiast Focused Resources and Online Community

Joe McAdams, Chairman of AmeriGO RV Club
Joe McAdams, Chairman of AmeriGO RV Club

Designed around a collaborative online community AmeriGO members will have access to an ever-expanding range of RV-related news and information, RV travel tips and hints, tech resources, RV living articles, popular and fun RV destinations and much more.

Members will also be able to share their experiences and engage in communication with other like-minded RV enthusiasts via the site’s online community, local chapters, and social media channels. Those new to the RV world will have the opportunity to learn all about RVing from experts, friends, and family as well as fellow RVers.

Comprehensive online RV search and shopping offerings will also allow AmeriGO RVers to find public and private campgrounds, and dealers across the nation.

Most Affordable, Comprehensive RV Club

Joe Daquino, President of AmeriGO RV Club
Joe Daquino, President of AmeriGO RV Club

With a yearly membership fee of only $9.95, AmeriGO RV Club offers an affordable, comprehensive RV club with access to a spectrum of benefits, services, and resources dedicated to RV enthusiasts.

“We are thrilled to launch AmeriGO RV Club as a premier membership club dedicated to RV enthusiasts,” said Joe Daquino, President of AmeriGO RV Club.

“At AmeriGOrv.com, we are creating a highly advanced online destination that provides RVers with unmatched value and makes the RV experience easier and more exciting than ever.”

Details

AmeriGO RV Club

In pre-launch phase, AmeriGO RV Club is being developed as a premier member-driven club for RV enthusiasts that will serve the entire RV marketplace.

The company’s programs will present consumers with valuable benefits, discounts and unique opportunities designed especially for RVers, and featuring a highly advanced online destination and community for anything and everything related to RVing.

Website: amerigorv.com

Worth Pondering…

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.

—Sir John Lubbock

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Alamo Palms & Victoria Palms Resort Sold to ELS

Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc. (ELS) acquired two properties, Victoria Palms Resort and Alamo Palms, in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas.

Alamo Palms
Alamo Palms

The two properties contain approximately 1,765 sites on approximately 175 acres for a stated purchase price of $25 million. The company funded the purchase price with available cash.

Victoria Palms is an age-restricted, 1,122-site property with 270 manufactured home sites and 853 RV sites.

Alamo Palms is an age-restricted, 643-site property with 293 manufactured home sites and 350 RV sites. The acquisition will compliment ELS’ South Texas portfolio of eight properties and 5,100 sites and further strengthen its presence in the market.

Details

Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc. (ELS)

Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) is a leading operator of manufactured home communities, RV resorts and campgrounds in North America and currently owns or has an interest in 383 properties in 32 states and British Columbia consisting of 142,679 sites.

ELS offer beautiful communities and parks in the most desirable locations, while offering various homes and camping options to meet a wide variety of our customers’ needs.

The company is a self-administered, self-managed, real estate investment trust (REIT) with headquarters in Chicago.

Victoria Palms Resort
Victoria Palms Resort

Through Encore and Thousand Trails ELS has operations in Alabama (1), Arizona (31), British Columbia (1), California (22), Colorado (3), Florida (33), Illinois (3), Indiana (5), Kentucky (20), Maine (5), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (3), Nevada (4), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (3), New York (5), North Carolina (8), Ohio (2), Oregon (6), Pennsylvania (11), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (2), Texas (17), Utah (1), Virginia (5), Washington (14), Wisconsin (5)

RVontheGO is your passport to campsites and cabins at over 170 Encore and Thousand Trails campgrounds and RV resorts across the United States.

Address: Two North Riverside Plaza, Chicago, Illinois 60606

Phone: (800) 274-731

ELS Website: equitylifestyle.com

RVontheGO Website: rvonthego.com

Thousand Trails Website: thousandtrails.com

Alamo Palms

Alamo Palms is a beautifully landscaped 58-acre age-qualified community offering 292 manufactured home sites and 352 RV and park model sites for both permanent and seasonal residents. Amenities include free cable TV and high-speed Internet at site, game room with pool tables, tennis and shuffleboard courts, swimming pool and heated spa, club house, and two large ballrooms.

Address: 1341 West Business Highway 83, Alamo, TX 78516

Phone: (800) 780-7571

Website: alamopalms.com

Victoria Palms Resort             

Victoria Palms Resort
Victoria Palms Resort

Victoria Palms Resort is a premier age-qualified RV resort and manufactured home community catering to those 55 years and older. Located in Donna, Texas, the gated resort offers guests a lush, beautifully landscaped environment and a wonderful community spirit.

Victoria Palms has over 850 concrete pull-through and back-in sites with full hookups, 25 fully furnished cottages, over 300 manufactured home sites, 20 hotel rooms, and 100 suites. Amenities include free satellite TV and high-speed Internet at site, 10,000 square foot activity building, 35,000 square foot central clubhouse, 12,000 square foot ballroom, fitness center, tennis courts, large swimming pool, restaurant, and a variety of activities.

Address: 602 N. Victoria Road, Donna, TX 78537

Phone: (956) 464-7801 or (800) 551-5303 (toll free)

Website: victoriapalms.com

Texas Spoken Friendly

Worth Pondering…

Winter Texan is Better Than No Texan

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Texas RV Parks Anticipate Strong Winter Season

Campgrounds and RV parks that cater to Winter Texans in South-Central Texas anticipate a stronger winter season than last year, thanks in part to the Eagle Ford shale oil pipeline project, which has brought scores of construction workers into the area, according to a news release from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).

“Last winter was about the best we’ve ever had and we’re going to be about 20 percent ahead of that this winter, so we’re looking really good,” said Doug Shearer of Parkview Riverside RV Park in Rio Frio.

In addition to seeing the return of their Winter Texan visitors, campgrounds in the Texas Hill Country and other areas of South-Central Texas are filling up with construction workers involved in the Eagle Ford shale oil project, which is boosting campground occupancies during the fall shoulder season, Shearer said.

Other Hill Country campgrounds and RV parks also anticipate a strong winter season, including Hill Country RV Park & Cottage Rentals in New Braunfels.

“We have a waiting list for both RV sites and park model rentals,” said Bryan Kastleman, the park’s manager.

Other parks are similarly upbeat.

“We did well last winter, but we’re doing better this winter,” said Teri Blaschke of Hidden Valley RV Park in Von Ormy.

Hidden Valley RV Park near San Antonio is family owned and operated by Mark & Teri and the Coleman Family since 1973. Officially in Von Ormy, the heritage of the two towns has long been intertwined.

“People are making reservations further in advance, so we’re being able to tell sooner what our vacancies will be. I do have spots here and there for travelers, but our long-term sites are already booked.”

Blaschke added that she is putting in eight new campsites for the winter season and they are already reserved.

Further to the north, La Hacienda RV Resort in Austin is already booked solid for the winter season.

“We’ve got a waiting list and we’re turning people away for the 2012-2013 winter market,” said park owner Ken Butschek, who added that his year-to-date revenue is up about 15 percent over last year’s figures.

La Hacienda RV Resort has a mix of sites that are owned by RVers as well as elegant park model cottages that are available for rent. The park also has about 30 sites that are available for overnight use.

“We have a loyal group of repeat Winter Texans. But we’re also seeing a lot of people who are trying out our park models,” Butschek said.

Further east, Rayford Crossing RV Resort in Spring and Timber Ridge RV Village in Tomball are already booked for the winter season, said Gwen Craig, who co-owns both parks. She said she has waiting lists for her seasonal sites, although she has kept a few overnight sites available for travelers.

“Every year we’ve outperformed the prior year in occupancy and revenue,” she said, adding that this year is again shaping up to be stronger than last year.

Thousand Trails RV Resort at Lake Conroe is also seeing a strong winter season, fueled both by Winter Texans as well as families from Texas that come to the park on weekends to take part in organized activities and special events.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome, that rises 425 feet above ground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome, that rises 425 feet above ground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“We’re seeing younger crowds,” said Terry Munoz, resort manager of the 360-site park.

“Even during the winter the locals come out on weekends, so long as we have mild weather. We do a lot of themed weekends and activities.”

Texas Spoken Friendly

Worth Pondering…

There’s something different about this country from any other part of the nation.

The climate is generally pleasant.

The sun is generally bright.

The air seems to be always clean.

And the water is pure.

The moons are a little fuller here.

The stars are a little brighter.

And I don’t how to describe the feelings other than I guess we all search at times for serenity.

And it’s serene here.

—Lyndon Baines Johnson

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Thousand Trails Camping Is Better with Friends Sweepstakes

Thousand Trails, home to some of the most beautiful and natural campgrounds across the United States, is giving outdoor enthusiasts and their friends a chance to get out and camp with the Camping is Better with Friends sweepstakes.

One lucky camper and a friend will win a free week of camping and a camping gear package, with a combined value of $2,100, according to a news release.

Sweepstakes entrants will also be entered for a chance to win one of five second place prize packages.

The sweepstakes grand prize includes a week long camping trip for the winner and a friend at any participating Thousand Trails or Encore RV resort campground.

In addition, the winner and his or her friend will both receive a package of camping gear, including the following:

  • Eureka! Mansard tent
  • Rand McNally Trip Maker RVND 5510
  • Slumberjack Big Timber 20 Strongback chair
  • Lodge seasoned carbon steel skillet
  • ThermaCELL outdoor lantern, mosquito repellant appliance plus refills, holster, and swivel light
  • Coghlan’s Camper’s S’mores Grill and Corn Popper
  • MyRVMarket Party Table
  • Funky Colored Flames
  • Lunkerhunt Edu-kit and fishing lures
  • Winlow Handy Beaner
  • ChicoBag Bottle Sling rePete
  • Outdoor Products Trail Diva
  • Camp Cooking
  • Industrial Revolution Stormproof Match Set
  • Nite Ize Meteorlight LED ball
  • Coleman Instastart Coffeemaker
  • Coleman All-In-One Portable Sink
  • $100 gas card
  • Thousand Trails backpack blanket, travel mug, koozie, window cling
  • One year subscription to Trailblazer magazine
  • Nature-Zyme products
Thousand Trails Camping Is Better with Friends Sweepstakes

Five additional winners and a friend of their choice will be selected to receive a second prize package that includes a Thousand Trails backpack, blanket, travel mug, koozie, window cling, and a one year subscription to TrailBlazer magazine.

To enter, visit the Thousand Trails Facebook Promotion page. Entrants are also encouraged to invite their Facebook friends to enter.

All official terms and conditions can be found on the Thousand Trails Facebook Promotion page.

The contest will run through June 29.

Details

Encore and Thousand Trails

Encore and Thousand Trails feature 173 RV Resorts across North America. Owned and operated by Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc., Encore, Thousand Trails, and its affiliates offer RVers opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in top vacation destinations, complemented with resort style amenities.

Phone: (866) 730-0637

Website: thousandtrails.com

Camping Is Better with Friends sweepstakes

To enter, visit the Thousand Trails Facebook Promotion page.

Entrants are also encouraged to invite their Facebook friends to enter.

All official terms and conditions can be found on the Thousand Trails Facebook page.  The contest will run through June 29.

Worth Pondering…

There is something very special about the natural world, and each trip outdoors is like an unfinished book just waiting for you to write your own chapter.

—Paul Thompson

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Rand McNally Offers New Destination for RVers

Rand McNally has expanded its award-winning travel community Best of the Road with a new microsite dedicated to RVers.

The Best of RVing site kicks off with a prize-a-day giveaway featuring items such as Rand McNally RV GPS devices, e-reader tablets, and campground memberships.  In collaboration with the Good Sam family of RV clubs, the site also features an RV Stories contest in which RVers can win up to $5,000.

“Following the success of the Best of the Road online community of road travelers, it was logical to build a special section just for RVers,” said Dave Muscatel, CEO of Rand McNally.

“Rand McNally has a long-standing relationship with RVers, who use our TripMaker RVND RV GPS as well as the Rand McNally Road Atlas, to explore the country. The Best of RVing site extends that experience, providing an outlet for RVers to connect, share their stories, learn about the lifestyle, and get practical tips from experts and partners.”

Launched a year ago, bestoftheroad.com is a community of road travelers who review the best stops on America’s highways and byways—including small towns and the points of interest between them. Every year votes are collected for the best small towns, which are then visited by amateur travelers in a Best of the Road Rally.

Best of RVing kicks off with a prize-a-day giveaway for all site registrants until August 31, 2012.

Prizes include Rand McNally’s TripMaker RVND GPS devices for RVers; NOOK Tablets from Barnes & Noble; and from Thousand Trails, Annual Camping Passes to their premier campground network. RVers simply register on bestoftheroad.com/rv and automatically they are entered to win.

In addition to the daily giveaway, the site also features an RV Stories contest, sponsored by Good Sam.

Contest entrants submit their best tales and videos in one of six categories: Oops! Bloopers & Video outtakes; Pay it Forward; Pet Stories; Outdoor Epiphanies; Camping with Kids; and Head-Turning RV Mods & Upgrades.

The RV community is invited to vote on the stories. Monthly prizes—such as $500 gift certificates to Camping World Supercenters, DISH Tailgater portable HDTV systems, Good Sam Club, and Good Sam Roadside Assistance memberships—will be awarded.

At the end of the summer, for each of the six categories, Rand McNally and Good Sam will name Grand Prize winners. The Grand Prize winners will receive $5,000 each, provided by Nokia’s Location and Commerce business, which includes NAVTEQ Maps and Traffic, the leading data enabling solutions for fleet logistics, geospatial analysis, and asset management.

Beyond the contests, the site offers information for the experienced RVer as well as the newbie, including:

  • RV News and Resources
  • New RVer
  • RV Solutions
  • RV Navigation
  • RV Living
  • RV Traveler
Join the fun as our Best of the Road RV travels the country from May through July 15.
Join the fun as our Best of the Road RV travels the country from May through July 15.

“Rand McNally has a great sense of the RVer community and what they are looking for in navigation and products that help enhance the on-the-road lifestyle,” said John Sirpilla, President of Camping World.

“We are excited to support the new Best of RVing site as it provides the RVer community with a wide range of opportunities to get updated on the latest and greatest and share with each other—from RV specific road trip ideas, to product news, to lifestyle tips.”

Details

Rand McNally

Rand McNally is the most trusted source for maps, directions, and travel content.

Website: randmcnally.com

Best of RVing website: bestoftheroad.com/rv

Best of the Road website: bestoftheroad.com

Worth Pondering…
Every exit is an entry somewhere else.
—Tom Stoppard

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Geocaching: An Outdoor Adventure for RVers

Living life on the road in an RV brings fresh and exciting experiences.

Whether scanning the trees for an elusive bird or hiking local trails, RVers across the country are always on the lookout for new outdoor adventures. One of the newest ways RVers can get out and enjoy nature is geocaching.

This modern-day treasure hunting combines old-school puzzle work with some of the newest GPS technology and is a great activity for all ages and physical abilities.

A Geocacher can be any person seeking fun and adventure in the outdoors. From families with children and seniors to rock climbers and hikers, geocaching is one of the fastest growing, live, recreational social media activities.

Seth Rosenberg, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc., owner and operator of Encore and Thousand Trails RV Resorts and Campgrounds, agrees geocaching is an interesting activity for RVers.

“Geocaches are as varied as people’s imaginations,” Rosenberg said.

“We have found there are geocaching sites near several of our properties. Some of the cache containers are just small tubes with logbooks, while larger caches may contain trinkets and knickknacks for swapping. It simply adds another fun dimension for RVers.”

With more than 4 million users, geocaching.com is the most popular geocaching website. Members of this community use GPS-enabled devices and their wits to find containers hidden by other geocachers. Users can search by city, state or zip code to find cache locations within a particular area.

Having an error factor of up to 30 feet, GPS devices will only take the geocachers to a general area. Camouflaged into the surrounding area, caches should be difficult for an unsuspecting person to spot.

A sample geocache

Geocachers use the provided clues and their own intuition to find the caches.

Rules for the sport are basic. If a geocacher takes something from a cache, they need to leave something of equal or greater value. Sound ethics, like respecting private property, minimizing the impact on nature and not endangering people, are encouraged and vital to the continuation of the sport.

A common practice of geocachers is to “Cache In, Trash Out.” By picking up trash on the way back from a geocache location, geocachers help keep natural areas clean.

Cache listings include ratings for difficulty and terrain. From 1 to 5, the listings give seekers an idea of what to expect before heading out on their find. A listing with a rating of 1/1 will be easy to locate and on easy terrain. A listing of 5/5 will not only be difficult to locate, it may entail climbing rocks, trees or even rappelling from heights.

With the ability to pick and choose geocaches of different difficulty ratings in virtually any location, geocaching is a perfect sport for RVers. Geocaches rated as an easy find on flat terrain are perfect for families with young children or seniors with limited mobility. Although many of the geocaches are easy to discover, there are more than enough difficult caches to satisfy the more adventurous RVers.

Since its inception in 2000, geocaching has given people the opportunity to visit new and interesting locations, enjoy the outdoors and make new friends. RVing has been doing the same for decades. The curiosity and inherent sense of adventure of RVers makes geocaching a natural fit.

With geocaching becoming more popular among RVers, it is no surprise to find cache locations close to RV resorts and along highways. Whether RVing the deserts of the Southwest or the dense forests of New England, thousands of geocaches are waiting to be discovered.

Related Stories

Details

Encore and Thousand Trails
With locations across North America, Encore and Thousand Trails provide the best in outdoor vacation destinations. Catering to the RV customer and outdoor enthusiast, Encore and Thousand Trails combines the beauty and relaxation of nature with resort-style amenities.

Encore and Thousand Trails feature 173 RV Resorts across North America. Owned and operated by Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc., Encore, Thousand Trails, and its affiliates offer RV and outdoor recreation enthusiasts opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in top vacation destinations, complemented with resort style amenities.

Phone: (866) 730-0637

Website: rvonthego.com

Worth Pondering…
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

—Lewis Carrol

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5 Helpful Tips for a Travel-Ready RV

The excitement of another spring and summer travel season will soon be upon us again.

To insure your recreational vehicle is in travel-ready mode, the RV experts at Encore and Thousand Trails recommend five helpful tips before hitting the road.

1. Exterior

Inspect the roof, sidewalls, end walls, and around windows and doors for cracks or voids in the seams and seals. Scrape and reseal any affected areas with the appropriate sealant. Open awnings and check for frayed or ripped material. Remove stains and mildew with special awning cleaner and allow awning to dry before rolling back up. Check hardware for functionality and replace as needed.

Insects and rodents can make winter homes in the outside compartments. Clear any nests or debris and inspect wiring and hoses for signs of chewing.

Look underneath the vehicle for fluid or fuel leaks and address those as necessary.

Ensure proper function of headlights, brake lights, and reverse lights.

2. Hot Water Heater

If the water heater has been drained for the winter, this is a good time to flush the unit. Some units utilize an anode for corrosion prevention. Remove anode from tank for inspection. As a general rule, if 75 percent of the anode has been corroded away, it should be replaced. Refer to the owner’s manual for specific replacement requirements.

Is your RV road ready?

Fill water tank with a mixture of half vinegar and half water to remove any buildup of lime. Turn on the water heater. Once the water is hot, turn it back off and either wait until the water cools or use protective gloves and stand clear while draining the tank. Flush with fresh water until the discharge is clear and refill for future use. Doing this once a year will help to extend the life of the heater.

3. Liquefied Propane (LP) Appliances

All LP appliances should be inspected for gas leakage and proper function. Clean any debris or insect nests out of the burner assemblies. Making sure there are no open flames, turn on the main gas supply valve, and pay special attention for any gas odors.

Spray gas fittings and connections with a soapy water solution. Bubbling indicates a gas leak and should be repaired by a qualified RV technician.

Light LP appliances and test for proper operation.

4. Batteries

Posts and cables corrode over time and need to be cleaned regularly for maximum output. A mixture of baking soda and water is an economical cleaning agent and applying a corrosion preventative will help slow future corrosion.

Check the water level of batteries and fill with distilled water to proper levels.

If needed, charge the batteries.

5. Plumbing

Winterizing plumbing is a must for RVs stored in cold weather climates. Now that spring is here, water tanks should be drained and the entire plumbing system sterilized before use.
Combine ¼ cup of bleach to a gallon of water for every 15 gallons of tank capacity. Add bleach mixture to tank and fill completely. Using the water pump, turn on faucets one at a time and let them run until an odor of bleach is detected.

Do the same for the shower and toilet. Wait three to five hours before draining tank and refilling with fresh water. Repeat the process of running water through each water fixture until all bleach is out of the plumbing. The tank is now sanitized and ready for use.

Details

Encore and Thousand Trails

This travel season gives RVers a great opportunity to experience Encore and Thousand Trails RV Resorts premier campgrounds. Offering resort-style amenities, Encore and Thousand Trails RV Resorts provide RVers with the best in outdoor destinations, recreation, and family camping.

Encore and Thousand Trails feature 173 RV Resorts across North America. Owned and operated by Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc., Encore, Thousand Trails, and its affiliates offer RVers opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in top vacation destinations, complemented with resort style amenities.

Phone: (866) 730-0637

Website: rvonthego.com

Worth Pondering…

Let’s Go RVing! Moss is starting to grow on my non-rolling stone! It is definitely time to get back in the RV and out on the open road.

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Thousand Trails Let’s Go Camping Contest

Thousand Trails RV Resorts is kicking off the 2012 camping season with the Go Camping contest.

The contest gives campers a chance to win an Ultimate Coleman Camping Gear Package valued at $1,750.

The Go Camping Contest and Coleman prizes coincide with the launch of the new Thousand Trails Annual Tent Camping Pass, an annual pass that provides a year of tent camping for one low price.

The contest will run through May 31, 2012, according to a news release.

The contest’s grand prize includes a mix of camping necessities and luxuries, designed to help a family of four enjoy the ultimate outdoor getaway.

The grand prize package includes:

  • Coleman Instant Tent
  • Coleman Propane Coffeemaker with Stainless Steel Carafe
  • Coleman sleeping bags
  • Coleman propane stove
  • Coleman Xtreme 6 cooler
  • Coleman lighting
  • Additional Coleman gear

In addition to the grand prize package, four additional winners will be selected to receive additional prizes:

  • Second Prize — Coleman Instant Tent
  • Third Prize — Coleman Stainless Steel Belted Cooler
  • Fourth Prize — Coleman RoadTrip Grill
  • Fifth Prize — Coleman Quad LED Lantern

In conjunction with the contest, Thousand Trails is introducing its new Annual Tent Camping Pass.

Available for $249 for a year of camping, the pass gives tent campers a full year of camping (subject to length-of-stay policies) at up to 90 campgrounds across the U.S. and British Columbia.

Details

Encore and Thousand Trails

Encore and Thousand Trails feature 173 RV Resorts across North America. Owned and operated by Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc., Encore, Thousand Trails, and its affiliates offer RVers opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in top vacation destinations, complemented with resort style amenities.

Phone: (866) 730-0637

Website: rvonthego.com

Thousand Trails Annual Tent Camping Pass

Phone: (877) 522-1834

Website: tentcampingpass.com

Let’s Go Camping Contest

Website: myequitylifestyle.com/GoCamping

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Worth Pondering…

There is something very special about the natural world, and each trip outdoors is like an unfinished book just waiting for you to write your own chapter.

—Paul Thompson

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