Planning that next RV trip

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Our website averages at least one or two emails a week asking us for help plotting an RV route. Usually it’s either someone with a brand new RV or often an RVer just asking for suggestions as they plan a trip into parts unknown to them.

You may have heard or seen us mention before that the only thing we like better than an RV trip is talking about RVing. The problem is that to plan a trip correctly or at least the way that has proven tried and true for us there are a number of questions that need answering up front to do it right.

That being said we have updated our “Planning Page” (http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/research.htm) on our website and outlined the steps we take in planning each new voyage into uncharted territory. We always chart it beforehand!

A big part of the fun of a trip for us is the planning. On our page you’ll find all kinds of information and resources that we use to keep our RVing about the fun of the trip and not the worry that can accompany tackling the unknown.

Have a look. If it helps you with your trip planning we’re happy. Many people like to fly by the seat of their pants which is fun for them but that’s just not us.

After you try our suggestions for planning and if you have any questions we’ll be happy to try and answer them. We do answer all emails. You’ll find our email address also on the Planning Page.

Safe travels and always enjoy the journey,

Jack and Niki
snowbirdrvtrails.com

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Niceties & Necessities – or How to make RV life easier, safer and more fun in a 19′ Roadtrek Simplicity SRT RV!

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When Niki and I downsized from a 32′ Fifth Wheel with three slide-outs to a 19′ van we knew there would have to be some adjustments made. What to pack, what not to take? What was a necessity for both safety and everyday life on the road and what would be nice to have if we could fit it in?

We did a lot of research to determine what we needed to add to an already pretty well outfitted camper. The Roadtrek is a totally self-contained vehicle and built to enable owners to go “off-the-grid” and set up camp whenever and wherever the road takes them.

Our Roadtrek has its own generator providing both 12 and 110V current for the fridge roof-top AC, TV/DVD/Surround-Sound and electrical outlets, propane for the range and tank-less hot water heater.  Gray, black and fresh water tanks and both a slinky and electrical macerator evacuator for discharge. It also contains a regular toilet and both an inside and outside shower.

Not much is missing but after eight years on the road we have learned that a few things added makes RV life safer, easier and a whole lot more fun.

We have added a page to our website listing the “Niceties and Necessities” we have researched, purchased and added items made to fit the Ram ProMaster and Roadtrek Simplicity. If you have a Roadtrek or possibly see one in your future perhaps our research may be of help to you.

Click the link, have a look and if you have any questions send us a note. – Jack and Niki

Gadgets & Gizmos for RVers and Campers – One RVer & Camper to Another!

Gadgets & Gizmos for RVers and Campers – One RVer/Camper to Another!
Updated: 3/28/17
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Our last three weekends are coming up at the Oldsmar Flea Market, then we close for the Summer.
We may have just the Gadgets and Gizmos to make your RV trip or your campsite a little more enjoyable and safer for this Summer.
Everything is new or gently used at ½ original price or less. If you see something on this short list you may want to send me a note and I’ll hold it for you for this coming Saturday morning.
We are at the Oldsmar Flea Market on Saturdays and Sundays through April 16th when we take a break for the Summer. Find us undercover in Building G West – Space #32. We are Jack and Niki and blog about our routes and travels on snowbirdrvtrails.com. Do stop by and say hello.
PARTIAL LISTING OF WHAT WE HAVE FOR YOU-
Small Blonde RV Coffee Table with Dropleaf Adjustable Top with Space for Games and Shelf for the Remotes $45
Coverite Aerotech Car Cover, Size F – Fits cars from 17′ ‘7 to 18’ 9 in length – $35
Outdoor Sport & Homesteading Books $5/ea
New – Gal EPDM Rubber Roof Coating $25 Time to re-seal your roof?
New – Gal BLAST Rust Remover $15 Takes the rust off anything!
Putty Tape $5 Very pliable.
Gel Coat Scratch Patch $5 Several colors.
Screws for RV Outside Walls & Trim – Assorted Pkgs $2-$5
Assorted Hose Connections
Assorted Sewer Slinky Connections $1-$2
Sewer Solution “Water Powered” Black Tank Macerater  $45
Maroon/Beige Early American Pattern Fringed Couch Throw $10
Maroon Octagonal RV Centerpiece Rug $10
Electrolux Stick Vac & Charger $50 Used in our RV and works fine.
10′ and 20′ TV Cable w/connections
Electric Mini-Cupcake Maker $10
Maps & RVing Mags 25 cents/ea
Lazy Days Umbrella $5
Coleman Twin-Mantle Gas Lantern w/hard plastic carry case $35
Scarce Coleman Flashlight/lantern (Hand-sized/battery op) $25
Early Coleman two-burner camp stove (Uses propane bottle) $25
Flame-less Insect Repellent Candles $5/ea
Eagle Kerosene Lamp w/globe $25
Brand New (boxed) Magic Chef Sandwich Toaster $15
Sony CFD-450 Portable AM/FM/CD Stereo w/detachable Speakers $45
Carpet Sweeper $15
Delonghi Radiator-Style Electric Heater  $17
Hand Bicycle Pump $4Radiator

Belkin N600 DB Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router$8

Aladdin Pump-A-Drink – 1 Gallon water jug / water cooler $12
Hiker’s Camo Hammock $5
Hot Melt Glue Gun  $4
Radio Shack Cordless Solder Gun  $5
Large Coleman Plastic Thermos Bottle Drink Holder in Zipper Pouch Tote Bag $10
Yellow RV Stabilizer Jack Pads set of 4 $5
Whiskey Flask w/leather case $5
Sewer Snake Clog Cable 1/4″ Portable Auger Plumbing Drain Cleaner $12
Day/Night Shade Repair Kit $5
Electric Propane Alarm $5
Small Pet Carrier $10
Walkman CD Player $25
Folding 2-wheel Cart w/bungees $12
Foxfire Homesteading Books $10/ea
Fish & Game Cookbooks $5/ea
Webbed Folding Lawn Chairs w/pads 2 @ $5/ea
Flea Market Address is 180 Racetrack Road, Oldsmar, NY and located between Tampa and Clearwater, Florida.
As always your best offers are invited for consideration.
We are  open to friendly haggling on prices.

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Summary – Fall RV Route South via I-87, I-287, I-78, I-81, I-40 and I-75

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On the road again!

Our 2016 Fall migration South is complete after seventeen days on the road – over 1,900 miles through ten States and eight campgrounds we have arrived at our Winter home in New Port Richey, Florida.

The trip was smooth overall and the only really “rattle the teeth”, bumpy stretch was a few miles through Allentown, PA on I-78. We ran into very little construction and no stoppages along the route and we saw only one accident the entire way.

We found the truckers to be very good about sharing their roadway with us. I would mention one thing though – we saw many of our fellow Rvers exceeding the speed limits on the interstates and as a word of caution you might check the speed rating on your tires. We run 14 ply which not only give us the weight capability we need but are are also rated for a lot more speed than we would ever use. The one accident we did see involved a truck pulling a 5th Wheel though we do not know the circumstances.

We stayed two nights each at eight campgrounds coming down. Seven were new for us. As you may have read from our Snowbird Blog reports, we didn’t find all of them to be great values though none were deplorable and all would be okay for an overnight stop. Saugerties was overpriced but you come to expect that near metropolitan areas.

 

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RV route – Northeast to Florida’s Sun Coast

Pennsylvania Dutch, Endless Caverns and Crossroads Travel were Passport America Members (50% discount) and the rest were Good Sam campgrounds (10% discount). They all more than paid back any membership fees in discounts.

If you have followed us for any length of time you know that we love to find new local restaurants along any route and this trip brought some new ones to share as well as a couple of previous winners that we were happy to visit again.

Saugerties Diner surprised us on the first night of our trip and did it well enough for us to visit the second night as well. After the bad experience we had at the remaining HoJo’s Restaurant in Lake George, NY before our trip, we were happy to find this former HoJo still dishing out good food and service to match.

While at our second stop at Pennsylvania Dutch Campground, we felt the 45 minute drive to once again visit the Oregon Dairy Restaurant and Buffet in Lititz, PA to be worth it. If ever in that area you would not be disappointed by stopping in for a bite.

The Adairsville Inn Restaurant at our 6th stop at Harvest Moon Campground was also a special surprise. Nothing fancy, no linen tablecloths nor liveried servers, just plain old down-home country specialties served buffet style and overseen by two sweet, personable and older Southern ladies as charming as they could be. They are only open certain days and times so check with Miss Pam at the campground.

 

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Adairsville Inn Restaurant – Georgia hospitality

The two restaurants we mentioned at our last stopover in Lake Park, Georgia – both The Farm House Restaurant and (if you like good Mexican food) the Rodeo Mexican Restaurant, are worth spending a night or two in one of the three nice campgrounds at this exit off I-75.

After a great Summer spent with family and friends and exploring the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY and the Green Mountains of neighboring Vermont, and to cap it off with a safe and uneventful journey back to Florida, to say we are truly blessed would be an understatement.

If you would like to see a quick summary of our trip and stopovers including all of the info about each and a listing of mileages and costs, visit the 2016 Fall RV Route South page on our website.

Thanks for traveling a few miles with us and if you have any questions about this or any of our Snowbird RV Trails send us a note at snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you. In the meantime we invite you to “friend” us or “follow” us to join our next adventure.

You can also find photos from our trips and explorations on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/snowbirdrvtrail/ or more about us at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/aboutus.htm.

Safe travels and enjoy every trip,
Jack and Niki
K.C., B.B., & Stanley

 

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Until we meet down a future Snowbird RV Trail

 

What I did on My Summer RV Vacation (and maybe you should too?)

I do a visual inspection of the outside of our 5th Wheel at least a couple of times each year. I’m looking for screws that show rust and also caulk that is missing or in need of repair. I heard someone say there are a thousand screws holding the outside of a trailer together and I am leaning toward believing it – there are a lot of screws!

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RV Water Leak Prevention
Visual Inspection and Repairs
Part I – Dealing with rusty screws

How we do it and the parts and tools we use…. on our website at
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/rvleakprevention.htm

Upcoming: In Part II we’ll deal with making the ugly job of caulk removal and replacement on an RV easier and the end job looking more aesthetic when finished.

In Part III we’ll discuss the many “fun” uses for “Eternabond” and other rig-saving RV tapes. Move over duct tape you have some fine competitors in the RV world!

New shoes all around!

There is both good and bad sometimes when deciding to spend the Summer in the mountains of Upstate NY! Niki, I and our furry kids packed up and motored down the Northway – with 5th Wheel in tow – for 80 miles to Queensbury for new tires to be put on the RV.

I had two goals this Summer. One was to have new tires put on for our trip back South coming up soon. The other was to try the new Sailun tires which I have researched ad nauseam and found enough good reviews to warrant giving them a go.

Most of the Summer – on and off – has been spent trying to find a dealer locally in the Plattsburgh area that sells the Sailuns and/or find a professional installer to put them on if I ordered them in.

The RV dealers in the area weren’t interested in the project at all. I had a lapse in memory for a moment and forgot that most if not all RV dealers are interested in sales and certainly not service after the fact. I have a couple of stories of past experience in that regard but perhaps another time.

There are several tire dealers in the area but none I found had the tires I wanted nor the space nor the experience that I felt comfortable with to install them. Suddenly the Sailun tires are out of stock everyplace online even if I had found an installer.

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Longer story short I felt more comfortable with a tire dealer (Tire Warehouse) down in Glens Falls. He ordered in the 14 ply Goodyear tires (G614RST LT235/85 R16) I have been running on the rig for the past six years without problems.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and the trip was uneventful. The lot at Tire Warehouse was small, a fact I noted with many dealers when I started looking at places mindful of towing in a 32′ 5th Wheel, but we made it fit.

My only complaint and I guess the moral of my story had to do with the installation of my new tires. They had two of the four new tires installed on the trailer when I noticed there were no clips used to balance the tires. When I asked about it they told me they NEVER balance trailer tires. I was dumbfounded! I was brought up knowing that if it rolls and is attached to any vehicle it gets balanced. We had a short discussion about the problem and the new tires were taken off, balanced and put back on. Other than that and being up-charged over the original quote I was happy with the end product.

We will be heading South in a few weeks with new tires all the way around – truck tires this past Spring and now new trailer tires. The bank account has been seriously compromised but that takes a back seat when it comes to safety.

It pays to use tire covers to block out UV rays but also inspect your RV tires regularly for wear and sun damage. Think seriously about replacing them when they are 5 to 7 years old even if they look fine. They do get a lot of wear and tear as you take them to new places on new adventures. Be sure to have the new tires balanced as well.

Oh, and yes, the good far outweighs the bad when we made the decision to spend the last five Summers in the Adirondack Mountains. Next year an exciting new destination for us but more about that later.

Latest RV recalls now available – Is your RV on the list?

Latest RV recalls now available

From the editors of RVtravel.com
February 7, 2016
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Is your RV on the list?
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The latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers have been released by U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The long list includes models from Holiday Rambler, Monaco, Safari, Entegra Coach, Forest River, Foretravel, Jayco, Newmar, Open Range, Starcraft RV, Tiffin, Triple E, Winnebago and others – plus tires and vehicles commonly used to tow RVs. CLICK HERE TO SEE IF YOUR VEHICLE IS ON THE LIST.

7 Important Winter Swimming Safety Tips

Our safety conscious friend Angie has been thinking about “Polar Bear Plunges” and passes along some good info about getting through the frigid months safely. -Jack
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Greetings from Sanford, NC!

I write to you today while the temperature outside is in the upper 30s – it feels very frigid to me, but I bet some people would much prefer this temperature to their own!

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about Polar Bear Plunges – with the temperatures dipping, the weather conditions are right. I love the idea behind them (braving the cold for a great charitable cause) but the extreme conditions do scare me a bit. If you’re not prepared for what lies ahead, you may be putting yourself at risk for injury (or worse…).

That’s an issue we can solve through health education, which is why I’m writing to you today. I put together some winter safety resources I found in hopes you’ll share them with your site visitors (may fit well here: http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/emailbag.htm):

Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter
http://www.cdc.gov/features/winterweather/

Top Ten Red Cross Cold Weather Safety Tips
http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Top-Ten-Red-Cross-Cold-Weather-Safety-Tips

8 Ways to Handle Swimming in Cold Water
http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/8-ways-to-handle-swimming-in-cold-water

10 Do’s And Don’ts for Polar Plunges
http://blog.intheswim.com/10-dos-and-donts-for-polar-plunges/

Warning Signs of Hypothermia
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/stay-safe-cold-weather/warning-signs-hypothermia

Basic First Aid Resources
http://www.onlinenursingdegrees.org/nursingfacts/first-aid-resources.htm

7 Scientific Tips for Staying Warm
http://www.livescience.com/49050-staying-warm-scientific-tips.html

Let’s get out there and brave the cold, but let’s be safe doing so, too. 🙂

Take care and stay warm!
Angela

Angela Tollersons ǀ angelaT@forfamilyhealth.net
http://forfamilyhealth.net/ ǀ A Health & Happiness Resource for Families.
500 Westover Dr. #9372 ǀ Sanford, NC ǀ 27330