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SPRING 2011

This Techie’s Dream Coach Logging On and Recording Your Travels Plus:

Work Camping Yellowstone RV Insurance Retiring On the Road


betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


dream it. feel it. go for it. when you were a kid imagination fueled your soul. you rode on broomstick horses and took the oceans by storm. there were dragons to slay and fireflies to catch. we can help you bring back those feelings. RV travel can take you to the land of awe or the coast of solitude whenever you’d like. you can go to the corner of jazzed and woohoo on a whim. or maybe take a few months off and experience it all. wherever you want to go. however you want to feel. lazydays will help you get there.

888.626.7800 | lazydays.com

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YES, IT’S EXCITING TO SEE

A MULLET TOSSED BETWEEN TWO STATES. On the state line between Alabama and Florida each spring, thousands gather for the annual Interstate Mullet Toss, and it’s like no other beach party event you’ve ever seen. Prizes are awarded for the greatest distance a mullet is lobbed between states. And while the fish-tossers are the stars, there’s much more to enjoy: great music, people-watching, and more. But once the party’s over, you’ll be more than ready for some peace, quiet, and comfort. Our newest Tiffin delivers those in ample measure: the 28-foot Allegro Breeze.®

The Breeze is easy to maneuver and easy to love. It fits into smaller campsites beautifully and makes a spontaneous beach trip easier than ever. Yet the Allegro Breeze features many creature comforts from our larger models, like a memory foam queen mattress, fiberglass shower with skylight, and a solid surface vanity. And it’s backed by the industry’s best warranty. Plus, when you buy from Lazydays, you’re working with a dealer who cares just as much about your satisfaction ▲ THE ALLEGRO BREEZE: Small is big, indeed. as we do. Wherever the road leads, you’ll be right at home in the Allegro Breeze. We’re here to make sure of it.

tiffinmotorhomes.com

Lazydays is a proud dealer and partner of Tiffin Motorhomes. Visit lazydays.com to learn more. betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


46

42 8 30 8 St. Petersburg:

The Sunshine City

History, culture and shopping abound on the bay

18 Wired for the Road

40 Troubleshootin’ with Ernie

42 Work Camping at

How one tech guru custom wired his coach to be able to work from anywhere

21 Living the Dream

How we use technology to plan, preserve and share our travels

28 Today’s Nomads

Helping disabled RVers continue to love the lifestyle

30 Sweet Freedom

Dayle and Tom Patty beat the odds and retire during an economic downturn

34 RV Insurance 101

What you need to know to make sure you’re covered

36 Bringing Home the Wall

Yellowstone

Bill Whetstone illustrates the benefits of work camping in a treasured national park

One RVer let her coach “go to the dogs” 44 Modern-Day Missionaries and she loves every minute of it Three different organizations who share their faith from an RV

24 Geeks on Tour

Cleaning your refrigerator’s burner tube

Tom and Dee Twigg made it their mission to bring the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to those who cannot travel

46 Hunting Family Fun

Best friends create the ultimate family RV playground

48 The Ten Commandments of RVing: No. 10

The cat who found himself stuck in a pickle

50 RV Events

What’s happening in the RV community

51 RV Details

An RV for everyone

59 Partner Spotlight 60 Technically Speaking with Steve

RVers toughest questions answered

Turn the page to find out how to learn even more about betterRVing. ➤


HOW TO AVOID HIGHWAY TICKETS series

TONS MORE!

ARCHIVED ARTICLES in case you’re looking for something

Log on and get everything in the magazine DRIVERS CONFIDENCE COURSES WITH BARNEY video

TROUBLE SHOOTIN’ WITH EARNIE video

HITCHIN UP YOUR TRAVEL TRAILER video

WAY TICKETS series HOW TO AVOID HIGH

TONS MORE!

looking for something LES in case you’re ARCHIVED ARTIC

BARNEY video CE COURSES WITH DRIVERS CONFIDEN

ARCHIVED ARTICLES in case you’re looking for something

RV PLACES TO SEE series

WORKCAMPING WITH BILL WHETSTONE series

PLUG IN, LOG ON: RV INTERNET SECURITY video

RECIPES FROM THE RV COOKING SHOW video

RV PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK product spotlight

DRIVERS CONFIDENCE COURSES WITH BARNEY video

HOW TO AVOID HIGHWAY TICKETS series

HITCHIN UP YOUR TRAVEL TRAILER video

TROUBLESHOOTIN’ WITH ERNIE video

video TRAVEL TRAILER HITCHIN UP YOUR

WITH EARNIE video TROUBLE SHOOTIN’

agazine erything in the m Log on and get ev

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betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


Welcome to the land of “aaahs.” There’s no place like home, especially when “home” is the new Tour® 42QD. Built on the 400-hp or 450-hp* Maxum® chassis, this spectacular three-slideout floorplan takes zoned living to a whole new level. Up front, our exclusive extendable sectional sofa anchors the lounge area and provides perfect seating for the home theater, conversation with friends or contemplation by the optional fireplace. Mid-coach, the spacious, fully equipped galley makes creating memorable meals a joy, while just past the half bath you’ll find the master suite, luxuriously appointed with king bed, large wardrobes, retractable 32” LCD TV and its own private master bath. Ready to take in the new Tour? Visit GoWinnebago.com or call 1-800-643-4892.

Check out the new Tour at Lazydays or see it online at lazydays.com.

betterRVing.com | 888.626.7800

©2010 Winnebago Industries, Inc.

*400-hp initial production, 450-hp with 2010 EPA emissions running line change Fall 2010

A Winnebago Industries Circle of Excellence dealer for 25 years.


the dream evolves...

t

o an RVer, an RV is more than just a vehicle. It is a piece of the soul; a traveling companion who begs to go on a journey that knows no specific destination but promises to reward the traveler by turning the time spent pursuing the dream into memories that will last forever.

In this issue of betterRVing, we will meet several RVers whose experience has inspired them to personalize their RVs to reflect their evolving identities. We will meet a young entrepreneur, who found her calling with the help of an RV that has allowed her to pursue her passion of Grooming Mobile Dreams. We will discover how a software developer became Wired for the Road by turning his RV into a computer network unlike any in our industry. We will follow two best friends who worked together to create the ultimate weekend RV campsite and are now Hunting Family Fun with the people they love the most. We will also learn how a retired couple has lived their dream of full-time RVing and discovered Sweet Freedom over the last several years despite living on a modest, fixed income during a financially troubling time. Through these RVers and the personal marks they’ve made on both their RVs and their lives, we hope to inspire others to look within themselves and then to the horizon and imagine the possibilities. As always, we encourage you to join us online at betterrving.com and share stories of your personal adventure with passionate RVers from around the world. Enjoy the journey (and the issue).

John Horton Lazydays, Chief Executive Officer

ADVERTISING Director, Liz Lema 866.317.4012 • For advertising inquires: advertising@betterRVing.com SUBSCRIPTION Coordinator, Ronda Baer 866.531.6827 • For customer service inquires: customerservice@betterRVing.com Managing Editor: Ann Cosentino, ann@betterRVing.com • All rights reserved © 2010 Lazydays® • 6130 Lazy Days Boulevard, Seffner, FL 33584-2968 betterRVing.com is published four times per year by Lazydays. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs, which must be accompanied by a self-addressed envelope with return postage. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher.

FROM JOHN

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


All of the R. NoNe of the V.

Since 1968, Carriage has been creating the very finest luxury fifth wheels in the industry at a fraction of the cost of high-end motorhomes. How? By eliminating the two most expensive components– the chassis and engine. Livability, luxury, durability, affordability–that’s what Carriage Resort Vehicles™ are all about.

See the full Carriage lineup at Lazydays. lazydays.com | carriageinc.com

is a proud dealer and partner of Carriage, Inc.

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RV LIVING

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


The Sunshine City } St. Petersburg BY ADAM PORTER, PHOTOGRAPHY JEFF FAY

St. Petersburg, one of Florida’s original vacation destinations, remains one of the most inviting. But this waterfront hot spot is not just about enticing shorelines and endless summers. Beneath that sun-bronzed skin, “St. Pete” maintains a multifaceted, artistic soul. While beaches and bikinis may always grace postcards, locals know this easy-livin’ city by the bay is home to respected museums, renowned theaters and countless other cultural surprises.

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itinerary

You could easily spend a day or even a week here content to be immersed in artistic and cultural marvels without ever venturing near the fabled emerald waters and sugar sand of St. Pete Beach.

HISTORY In 1875 Detroit native General John Williams arrived with a plan to create a grand destination city with inviting parks, broad streets and posh hotels. It would be a recreational mecca with a sunny disposition, refined cultural poise and a thriving artistic heartbeat. Williams purchased 2,500 acres on Tampa Bay, built a hotel and waited for the tourists to arrive. Peter Demens came first. The Russian-born entrepreneur connected the Orange Belt Railway to William’s property and

named the town at the end of the line after his birthplace, St. Petersburg. The 1920s were boom years, bringing legions of tourists down from the frozen North. The town grew and Mediterranean Revival architecture spread along the waterfront — a style seen in the majestic Vinoy hotel and the luxurious Tuscan manses along Coffee Pot Bayou. Visitors to the St. Petersburg Museum of History (www.spmoh.org) are often surprised to learn that

St. Pete is the birthplace of commercial aviation, a fact brought to life by the full-size, working replica of the world’s first commercial airplane, Tony Jannus’ bi-winged Benoist airboat. Another, much older, mode of transportation is the dugout canoe used by the native Tocobaga people. These exhibits bookend more than 32,000 artifacts and an archive containing more than 13,000 historic photos and documents. The Museum of History is located at 335 2nd Ave. NE.

“... a recreational mecca with a sunny disposition, refined cultural poise and a thriving artistic heartbeat.”

RV LIVING

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


St. Petersburg THE PIER / PERFORMING ARTS

S

t. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront is not all glassencased relics, evocative masterpieces and standout performances. The iconic inverted pyramid at the St. Petersburg Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE, is a destination all its own. Shopping options combine typical Florida tourist kitsch – hand crafted art, memorabilia and souvenirs – with tropical fashions, collectibles and unique pieces of Florida’s past. Be sure to stop by Vino Florida to stock up on all the best vintages from across the Sunshine State. Rooftop restaurant Cha Cha Coconuts has a definite tropical feel. The sea breeze, unparalleled view and Caribbean-influenced menu combine to offer total tropical immersion. The venerable Columbia Restaurant has been a bay area institution since 1905. Enjoy a taste of Spain and fresh Gulf Coast seafood. The pelican feeding is a mustsee. The savvy birds are already waiting at the designated spot, and the result is a definite Kodak moment. The popular Dolphin Tour boat leaves right from the pier. While a dolphin sighting is guaranteed, you may also spot manatees, stingrays and countless varieties of native water birds. Visit www.pierdolphincruises.net or call 727.647.1538 for times and costs.

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St. Petersburg: enticing, engaging and evocative. Expect clear blue skies in any season and soul-stirring destinations in every direction. Now, all you have to decide is where to start first — and whether to pack for that picnic. The Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College 253 5th Ave. N

The Palladium Theater offers exciting musical variety. Styles include brass standards, classical sonatas, piano concertos, blues, rock, folk and jazz. The venue hosts small ensembles from the Florida Orchestra as well as local and national acts. For schedules and ticket information visit www.spcollege. edu/palladium or call 727-822-3590. Progress Energy Center's Mahaffey Theater 400 1st St. S

The Mahaffey Theater hosts internationally-known soloists, family fun extravaganzas and their signature “Broadway Plus!” series of musicals, stage shows and performances. For show dates and tickets visit www.mahaffeytheater.com or call 727.892.5767.


VISUAL ARTS Museum of Fine Arts 255 Beach Dr. NE

The Museum of Fine Arts boasts the only comprehensive art collection, from antiquity to present day, on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Exhibits include works by celebrated painters Monet and O’Keeffe, as well as ancient Greek, Etruscan, African and Asian artifacts. Easily toured before lunch, the museum’s permanent collection still offers more than enough to keep the art lover or history buff entranced all day. The expansion wing hosts periodic special exhibitions. If you come in the late morning or decide to make a day of it, be sure to grab a bite in the MFA café. For more information about the Museum of Fine Arts or to learn about upcoming special exhibitions, visit www.fine-arts.org or call 727.896.2667. The Dali Museum 1 Dali Blvd.

The Dali Museum celebrates the work of noted Spanish surrealist, Salvador Dali. Even the building is a reflection of the man. An architectural enigma, it is both resonant and mystifying. Walk up the vanishing spiral stairs and gaze out the geodesic dome at the meditation garden below and the waters of Tampa Bay beyond. Dali’s work is an engaging conundrum, always open to interpretation. The display of juried student art pieces, though temporary, is extraordinary. These kids, some as young as 13, have produced inspirational works that reflect incredible talent, thoughtful perspective and expansive vision. For more information about the Dali Museum, visit www.salvadordalimuseum.org or call 727.823.3767.

The Chihuly Exhibition 400 Beach Dr. NE

The Chihuly Exhibition is a stunning collection of work by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. Focusing on light, form and color, each piece in the collection is unique and each room in the gallery offers a distinct sense of the fragile brilliance the entire collection exudes. Known for his asymmetrical art and team technique, Chihuly has produced an incredible body of work, including the Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier, Ikebana, Persians and Tumbleweeds. The gallery itself is a work of art with rich natural colors and cedar plank walls that add depth to the rainbow-hued glasswork and provide a sensual reminder of the artist’s Pacific Northwest home. For tour information, hours and admission rates visit www.chihulycollectionstpete.com or call 727.896.4527. Visitors can also take a trip around the corner to the Glass Studio and Hot Shop at the Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., to observe glass artisans creating their next masterpieces. As you watch, the artist will walk you through the process of bringing his vision to life. Tickets for the Hot Shop must be purchased at the Chihuly exhibit. Combo passes are encouraged. Learn more at www.moreanartscenter.org.

RV LIVING

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


St. Petersburg

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betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


St. Petersburg REFRESHMENT & RELAXATION At Straub Park you can lounge in the shade of towering oaks or kick off your shoes and walk barefoot in the grass. If you’re planning a picnic, you can’t go wrong stopping on the way into town at Café Mozart German Bakery (6754 4th St. N) for coffee, dessert and the best fresh made bread. Of course, if you prefer full service dining to a do-it-yourself lunch, St. Pete’s downtown area offers a cornucopia of outstanding options. 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House

The Garden Restaurant

400 Beach Dr. NE

217 Central Ave.

Choose dining room or patio seating and sample their terrific beer and wine selection. The menu offers sushi, seafood, steaks, chicken and combinations for those who want the best of both land and sea. You will enjoy reasonable prices, quality food and a waterfront view. www.400beachseafood.com.

Located in a circa-1880s building with a courtyard shaded by a banyan tree. The atmosphere is tropical but the menu is definitively Mediterranean. Enjoy live jazz on Friday evenings. Buster Cooper toured the world with Duke, Benny and Herbie, so you know he’s got the chops. www.thegardendtsp.com.

The Moon Under Water

Fourth Street Shrimp Store

332 Beach Dr.

1006 4th St. N

British colonial fare, including a wide selection of curry, Mediterranean and vegetarian dishes are sure to please. The place takes its name from the notorious practices of 18th century recruiting sergeants, but the only danger here is having too good a time. www.themoonunderwater.com.

A local favorite just around the corner from downtown. Known for what it’s named for, this quirky little joint offers fare that is both inexpensive and delicious with outstanding service, and a fun and funky atmosphere. www.theshrimpstore.com.

Central Avenue Oyster Bar 249 Central Ave.

Specializes in oysters and other seafood. Those not fans of shellfish may opt for steak, chicken or pasta. Enjoy the entertaining house band in the evenings. Reservations accepted. Call 727.897.9728. www.centralaveoysterbar.com.

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side trips

Make time for two treasures of St. Pete that each offer invaluable experiences of education and preservation in their own unique ways – Weedon Island and the Florida Holocaust Museum

WEEDON ISLAND Weedon Island & Natural History Preserve 1800 Weedon Dr. in St. Petersburg.

If you are one of those many RVers who enjoy a bit of woods with your waterfront, Weedon Nature Preserve is a must-see. In addition to the expected seaside palette, visitors are treated to fields of green marsh grass and mangroves in shades ranging from crimson to indigo. Well-maintained boardwalks offer an easy walking tour that winds through scrub and mangroves for about three miles. The observation tower is the perfect place to view the entire preserve. Looking through your camera lens, you can capture nesting raptors, water birds standing in the shallows, fishermen on the pier and rivers of grass leading away from the water’s edge. Though you can see the city on the southwestern horizon, up here the world is quiet, peaceful and detached. Back down the boardwalk, the Natural History Center displays prehistoric artifacts from Florida’s native people, including many items found at the preserve. While the preserve is open to visitors daily, the Natural History Center is only open Wednesday through Sunday.

HOLOCAUST MUSEUM Florida Holocaust Museum 55 5th St. S

D

esigned to remember, educate and empower, the Florida Holocaust Museum’s permanent exhibit, “History, Heritage & Hope,” features original artifacts, video and photos as it walks visitors through the history of the Holocaust from centuries of anti-Semitic propaganda to the ghettos and, finally, to the concentration camps. The centerpiece of this exhibit is an original boxcar used to transport hundreds to German concentration camps in Poland. Behind the boxcar is a ceiling-high wall of photos of those who suffered and, in some cases, survived the camps. Visitors can often meet one of these brave individuals in the museum gift shop. Standing with Eva Gerson, as she not only introduces you to the names of those on the wall, but tells you their stories – and her own – is a profoundly moving experience. Her firsthand account brings the horror of the Holocaust home like nothing else, and her matter-of-fact manner echoes the strength needed to survive in a world gone mad and to later thrive in a foreign land. The second floor houses temporary exhibitions including Holocaust art by impressionist William Pachner and surrealist Samuel Bak. The third floor showcases Dr. Herbert Savel’s carved portraits of Holocaust victims. Side by side with the actual photographs, these colorful images are Dr. Savel’s “Kaddish in Wood,” a prayer of last rites for those who were robbed of this final blessing in life. Visit www.flholocaustmuseum.org or call 727.821.8435 for more information To read more about Eva Gerson and fellow survivor Phillip Gans, visit betterRVing.com

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


St. Petersburg PARKING & TRANSPORTATION Parking in Downtown Parking in downtown St. Pete is within easy walking distance to most of the stops on your itinerary. But, if you want to save your energy, you can always hop on the trolley or hire a horse-drawn carriage for a tour of the waterfront arts district. The trolley stops at both Pier parking lots. To reserve a carriage, call 816.215.8613. The Dolphin & Pelican Parking Lots The Dolphin & Pelican parking lots are located on the north and south side of the approach to The Pier. The Dolphin parking lot is a “pay and display” lot. Park all day for $3 per car. During special events, parking is $5. The Looper Trolley The Looper Trolley service runs every 15 minutes and will also make stops at the Dolphin and Pelican Parking Lots. Stops include Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg Museum of History and the downtown shopping areas. The trolley runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to noon on Friday and Saturday.

rv tip No. 4

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can find and your tummy is a’rumbling you ays zyd La at lf rse you d fin you if d An nt and Pub at the Campground. ura sta Re 10 it Ex W NE r ou at Y a lot of JO es) RV (complete with awning and slid It’s a full menu, full service, full bar e on ftsmen inside RallyCenter! So com cra ys yda Laz r ou by lt bui tom cus yourself. in, grab a booth or table and enjoy

live well. eat well. travel well. Exit 10 is located at Lazydays RV Campground and is open from 3pm to 9pm Monday - Saturday. 813.246.4999 x4870

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wired for the road Working from Your RV

BY FRED SMITH, PHOTOGRAPHY JEFF FAY

G

erhard Sammet

is the kind of RVer you hope is parked in the spot next to yours when your RV’s satellite TV or computer Internet isn’t working. The veteran computer software developer and technology guru has taken do-it-yourself RV wiring to a new level in creating an onboard computer network that stands at the vanguard of RV innovation. On his way to becoming a full timer, Gerhard left the corner office in his rear view monitor and discovered a working environment with a much better view.

RV LIVING

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


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Working from Your RV.

‘‘

O

ur RVing adventure started as an accident. When my son graduated from high school, he and a bunch of his buddies wanted to take a trip out to the southwestern United States. My wife, Clara, and I wanted to surprise him in Colorado so we bought a 31 foot travel trailer. We didn’t make it. The trailer was too big for our Jeep and broke down in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. We left the trailer at a shop in Albuquerque and bought a Class C motorhome. By the time we got home to Florida we realized we didn’t really like the Class C experience. We kept it for about five days, then we went to Lazydays to buy a true Class A. In about two weeks, we went from owning a travel trailer, to owning a Class C and finally owning a Class A. We never dreamed it would happen this way, but here we are. We’re fulltimers now and home free. I’m a computer software consultant. I’ve been consulting since 1976 and have clients all over the country. I work exclusively out of my coach using VPN, virtual private networking, to dial into my clients’ computer systems. For my work, I need reliable and secure Internet service. I simply can’t be limited to a Wi-Fi signal at a campground, which can be spotty at times. After researching and investigating how other RVers were getting Internet in

RV LIVING

their RVs, we found something that would work for us. And we can use any TV as a computer monitor. We set up a LAN, local area network, in our coach. It starts with a Sprint air phone card that is plugged into a router mounted in the cabinet above the passenger seat. That router is hard wired into my 24-port gigabit switch which is in the cabinet above where the couch would be. I removed the driver side couch and had a custom desk built, but we’ll get to that in a second. The switch allows all of my computer equipment to be networked together. I have a tower computer, four laptops and an iPad. The network allows all of my computers, my printer, Xbox, Blu-ray player, surround sound system and all our TVs in the coach to share the Internet signal from one air phone card. As far as network architecture in an RV goes, I may be a pioneer. I haven’t seen anyone create something like this. We ran 200 feet of Cat-5 cable through our coach. We went from the router above the passenger seat, behind the TV and cabinets, above the cockpit, down the A-pillar, out of the firewall, over to the generator area and then all along the frame member. We came out underneath the frame member and ran through the pipe that moves in and out with the slideout and houses the refrigerator power. We had to pull the refrigerator out and run behind the wall, behind all these cabinets and finally back to the switch.

It seems like a long way to go, but since we can’t have Cat-5 cable sticking out underneath the slideout, we had to follow the path of the manufacturer’s wiring. We then ran more wire from the router to the AV cabinet (right above the passenger seat) so that my Xbox, Blu-ray player and surround sound system can also be connected to the network. We ran an additional 400 feet of speaker wire for the surround sound system following the path of the manufacturer’s wiring harness to give everything a clean install look. I use several computers simultaneously when I work, so I like to have a large work surface. In working with the cabinet shop at Lazydays, we came up with a diagonal design that would give us the extra space beyond what you could get from the manufacturer. There is access for power, a monitor stand, storage for a printer with hinges that let the door open all the way. The cabinet shop did a fantastic job matching the finishes, countertop, and hardware. The attention to detail makes it look like the workstation was made at the factory. I work 10 to 12 hours each day. I’m at my desk the whole time, so I needed something that was comfortable and large. This is great for me. It’s like a full size corner office where the view is always changing.” See a video featuring Gerhard explain how he set up his network at betterRVing.com.   BRV

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


living the dream Working from Your RV

BY FRED SMITH, PHOTOGRAPHY STEVE WIDOFF

t

risha Francisco has the kind of

passionate energy that can almost squeeze into the Grand Canyon. A self-professed animal person, she exudes a welcoming charm that is perfectly suited to winning the hearts of humans. She has a boundless enthusiasm to both explore and discover, coupled with the kind of inventive spirit that would make a pioneer raise his glass for the first of many toasts. Two minutes after meeting her, it becomes obvious that the most qualified and entertaining person to tell her story as the founder of Cross Town Pet Care mobile dog grooming service is Trisha herself.

betterRVing.com | 888.626.7800


over the last 40 years, our family has worked hard to establish and maintain a reputation for integrity and loyalty in the RV industry. Today, with Entegra Coach, our signature line of motor coaches, we’re following in the footsteps of our father, Lloyd, who taught us the importance of the Golden Rule.

from the ground up, with a commitment to unfailing customer service and unmatched quality. That’s how a great partnership was created with Lazydays as the exclusive retailer during the Entegra Coach introduction and as a participant in the 2011 Entegra Preview Rally.

With his principles in mind, we’ve built the company

Each Entegra Coach is backed by our exclusive family promise to treat our customers fairly and to provide exceptional customer service—before, during and after the sale. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us.

Derald & Wilbur Bontrager Entegra Coach Founders

entegracoach.com

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


‘‘

Working from Your RV

I

grew up riding horses in Pennsylvania. I did three-day eventing, horse trials and other competitions. I started riding before I could walk and spent most of my childhood in a 60- to 70- horse barn. I’m an animal person, and I guess I always just assumed that I would take over the barn when I grew up. I tried to be a “real” person, or normal I should say. I went to college and left college to go back to horses. Then I divorced myself from horses and went into the vacation rental business on Sanibel Island in Florida. When my mother got sick, I moved back to Pennsylvania to work on the family farm. After she passed away, I stayed on for another year trying to figure out my next move. I took a few community college courses to see if school would stick. It did, so I went to college in North Carolina. My best friend since childhood was back home and working as a dog groomer at PetSmart®. We were both in a stage of our lives where we were trying to re-invent ourselves. I looked at what she was doing and decided once and for all that college wasn’t for me. I moved back to Florida, this time to Tampa, and started going to a dog grooming school. It was a three-month course, and while I was there, I ordered the RV that would become the basis for my mobile dog grooming service.

betterRVing.com | 888.626.7800

The RV comes from a company out of Granger, Ind., called Wag’n Tails. They modify buses and trailers into mobile dog grooming units. There was a show on TV called “Groomer Has It”; I didn’t really watch it, but this was the [same model] RV that they gave away on national TV. This particular RV is considered the crème de la crème of mobile grooming units. It has a Ford Triton® V10 E-450 engine with a Glaval Bus shell body. It’s got a grooming table; a tub; and a clipper vacuum, which is a lot like a Flowbee. It’s healthier for the dog and you since you don’t have dog hair floating around. I’ve added a few modifications of my own. I installed a bigger ramp to the tub, because I groom a lot of Great Danes, which are tough to get into a tub with the standard issue ramp. I had the tub base expanded since I tend to work with more big dogs than small dogs. I also added floor drains. For Internet access, I use a tethering device so I can get online from just about anywhere on the road. I have a Cummins Onan generator, a tank with 100 gallons of water, a hot water heater, refrigerator, microwave, flat-screen TV with a DVD player and a bathroom for humans. The RV has been engineered to be more sophisticated than most traditional brick and mortar grooming shops. I have more technology on ®

board, and I’m able to keep this unit a lot cleaner and more sanitary than I would if I had a standing shop. Time is money: If the RV breaks down and I can’t get in for service right away, I lose time and money. I’ve learned how to do a lot of preventative maintenance. I do my own oil changes on both the RV’s engine and the generator. I’ve learned how to change out fuel filters and fuel pumps. I’ve also learned about fuses. You do what you can with what you have to stay on the road. I’ve sought out help and guidance from people who know more than me and are willing to help me learn. Someday I’d like to take Master Certified RV Technician courses to learn as much as I can about repairs. I like hands-on things, and I like to learn. I guess that makes me an RVer at heart. I also love the fact that I’m on the road and get a different view everywhere I go. I tend to be a bit of a free spirit, and I tend to do whatever the heck is on my mind. Life is short and you don’t really know how long you’re going to be here. But I really love what I do. Someday I hope to expand my business to include more RVs on the road. It’s dog grooming. It’s not brain surgery. Actually, it’s more fun than brain surgery, I mean … you get a lot more kisses from your clientele.” Visit Trisha’s mobile pet grooming service online at www.crosstownpetcare.com. BRV


betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


how we use technology to

plan, preserve and share our travels BY CHRIS GULD OF WWW.GEEKSONTOUR.COM

Hatteras National Seashore. I tore myself away from my worrying and joined Jim and Odie (our mini-poodle) for a walk on the beach. I took my camera. I was in heaven. My worries washed away with each wave, and in their place was the growing certainty that this was the life I wanted to lead. It is now seven years later. We’ve been around the country several times and filled in every state in the lower 48 on our RV’s map. We’ve lost count of the number of national parks we’ve visited. We saw all 12 official U.S. presidential museums, plus a few unofficial ones. We’ve stayed in luxury RV resorts, seedy trailer parks, empty spaces in the desert, and friends’ driveways! All the while we’ve been working one way or another and figuring out how to pay our way. We’ve only just begun. May 15, 2004, marked one month on the road as full-time RVers. The initial flush of excitement had dissipated and the creeping panic of “oh-my-god-what-have-we-done” was rearing its ugly head. There we were with no income, a downward stock market depleting our savings, and we’d left Florida with all family, friends, clients and other support systems behind. I told Jim we should rush on up to New Jersey where we had a free campsite waiting for us in the form of a friend’s driveway. We could save the cost of gas by staying put for a few weeks. We could bury our noses in our computers, get some Web site work done and make a little money. He said, “Well, all right, but let’s go for a walk on this beach first, OK?” He’s a smart man. He knows that arguing with me about money is a fruitless exercise, but giving me a change of scenery will win his case most every time. We were parked at the Ocracoke Campground at Cape

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Technology Makes Our Life Possible! Jim and I made our living in the computer training field before we hit the road. We really didn’t know what we would do to make a living on the road, but you can bet we needed computers and the Internet. In 2004, cellular data cards were not an option. If we wanted to have the Internet wherever we went, we needed to fork over $6,000 for a DataStorm satellite dish. We did. And we loved it. There we were at Ocracoke campground at Cape Hatteras National Seashore: no electricity, no water or sewer, no phone, but we had Internet access! We could work on our Web sites – at least while we ran the generator. Finding Our Way with GPS and Mapping Software We love maps, and that big print Rand McNally is always within reach when we’re on the road, but the ways that computers can enhance the map experience these days are priceless. When planning our trips with the computer, we


have the ability to search along our route for the types of places we like to go: presidential museums, hot springs, Thousand Trails parks, etc. We use Microsoft® Streets & Trips to do all of this at once. With paper maps, we would need several large directories and guide books to accomplish the same tasks, not to mention the notebooks we’d have to fill with our decisions of where to go. And I just don’t know how we ever lived without GPS navigation. I’ll never forget when the tollbooth operator told us that we couldn’t go through the tunnel in Baltimore. He made us exit the highway — after he extracted the toll from us! We got off at an exit that put us on city streets with crisscrossing railroad tracks. We were lost, but because of the GPS navigation on our laptop, we knew exactly where we were and we could navigate to the nearest bridge. We are also fascinated with Google Earth. Using its 3-D mapping software, we can fully explore a destination from the comfort of our coach. When we realized we would only have two days to spend in Washington D.C., we spent time beforehand getting acquainted with the city using Google Earth. By the time we arrived in person, we knew exactly what we wanted to do. Preserving Our Travels in Pictures I’m not a shopper. I don’t buy souvenirs. There’s no place to put them if I did! My one vice is taking lots of digital photos. They don’t cost anything, they don’t weigh anything, and they don’t take up closet space. In our eight years of RVing, we’ve amassed 42,473 pictures! That’s according to the count that Picasa™ gives me. Picasa is a free program by Google that you can download to your computer to help you organize and edit your digital pictures. One thing I love about Picasa is that it can manage pictures on an external hard drive just as easily as those on your computer’s internal drive. Picasa makes it so simple to add captions to pictures that I caption all my “keepers.” That way, even when memory fails me — as it is prone to do — I know exactly what a picture is about. Even better, I can find a picture

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by searching for any word included in the caption. Want to find that picture of Stonehenge on the Columbia River? Just type Stonehenge into the search box. Probably the best thing about Picasa is how easy it is to make your pictures look better with just a couple clicks. Make a dark picture lighter, or a crooked picture straighter; Picasa makes it single-click easy. We get lots of compliments on our photos. We know it’s because we spend just a few seconds improving them with Picasa before we share. Sharing Travel Photos with Web Albums and Facebook With just a couple clicks, and using space that Google provides for free, Picasa will upload your best photos to a Web Album where all your friends, family and potential new friends can see them. We also use Facebook to keep in touch. Now, with our DROID smartphones, it’s a matter of seconds to snap a photo and upload it to Facebook where friends can see it. You can see our public Picasa Web Albums at www.picasaweb.google.com/chrisguld. Keeping Our Travelog with Blogger

I’ve always been a journal writer. I have journals going back to when I was eight years old! Unfortunately those paper books got wet and ruined somewhere along the way. Now, I keep my journal on the Web. There are so many advantages to this. First of all, it will never get destroyed. It’s on the Web, and I back it up to my own computer periodically. You can include pictures, even videos. It is also easy to search. If I want to remember where we were in July of 2007, simply click on the archive link for that month. Need to know the name of the great RV park where we stayed in Montana next to the hot springs? Just search for hot springs and browse through the results. Blogger. com is the free program we use to write about our travels. See our public blog at www.geeksontour.blogspot.com. BRV What About You? More and more people are finding that laptop computers (and smartphones and GPSs, etc.) are indispensable to their RV travels. Are you one of them? How do you use technology to enhance your travels? Find the online version of this article at www.betterRVing.com and leave a comment. The author, Chris Guld, and her husband Jim have a business called Geeks on Tour. Chris and Jim present seminars at rallies and have taught thousands of RVers to use their computers as they travel. GeeksOnTour.com is a membership Web site with hundreds of “Show-Me-How” tutorial videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, route planning with Streets & Trips, and sharing your travels on a Web site using Blogger. You can follow Chris and Jim and leave comments on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/geeksontour.

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Turning Lazy Days Into Summer Fun.

YOU CAN’T BEAT A DAY IN THE FOREST. At Forest River, we know your dreams of life on the road are about sharing adventures, discovering new places and enjoying the relaxing day with friends and family. Forest River’s full lineup gives you the opportunity to EXPLORE.

So what are you waiting for? Visit forestriverinc.com and get lost in a Forest today!

Charleston | Berkshire | Georgetown | Cedar Creek | XLR | Sierra | Wildwood | Surveyor | r · pod | Rockwood betterRVing.com | 888.626.7800


Disabled RVers, sharing a common bond BY ADAM PORTER

Despite physical and psychological limitations that might motivate some folks to park the RV permanently, Marshal Morgan and his wife, Shauna “Cat” Mulligan-Morgan, continue to enjoy the lifestyle they love. Motivated by theirs and other stories of disabled RVers, the couple created Today’s Nomad, a growing community of fellow RVers dedicated to the RV lifestyle despite the challenges created by advancing age or physical and psychological limitations. The Morgans’ profound hope that “all those who seek the solace of the wondrous outdoors may continue to experience the healing songs of nature that soothe the spirit and indelibly touch the soul.” Following graduation, Marshal Morgan gravitated to hospitality management. After several successful years in the industry,

work; but, recognizing kindred spirits, they continued to keep in

health issues began to derail his promising career. Marshal was

touch online. One year later, in 2008, they decided they were done

determined to take the cards he held … and deal them. Presiding

with being apart, so they married and set off together full time.

over Vegas gaming tables, Marshal watched players hit and miss

Soon, they learned that, though they loved being together,

while the odds continued to stack against him. First PTSD. Then

with all Shauna’s computer and camera equipment, things were

COPD, a degenerative lung condition that left him unable to work.

getting cramped in Marshal’s 26-foot fiver. Their search for a

Tired of simply playing the hand he was dealt, Marshal decided to

family RV brought them to Lazydays in Central Florida. Shauna

push “all in” to a lifestyle he had learned to love as a tent-camping

loved her experience in the Sunshine State’s home of the RV

Cub Scout and continued to enjoy through adulthood. He hooked

lifestyle. “One of the things I noticed was how friendly and

up his fifth wheel and headed off into “come what may.”

knowledgeable everyone at Lazydays was. From chauffeuring

Meanwhile, another camping enthusiast was undergoing her

us around to answering questions about specific units.” The

own health-related rebirth. Injuries sustained in an automobile

Morgans appreciated the family approach and were impressed

wreck ended Shauna Mulligan’s nursing career. Despite her

by Lazydays’ huge service center. Eventually, they found their

extensive back injuries, Shauna was not one to take this lying

current rig, a 34-foot Terry fifth wheel that turned out to be

down. During recovery, she worked to put her photography

perfect for this newlywed couple’s full-time lifestyle.

hobby on a paying basis. She developed a strong niche as a marketing consultant and photographer for golf courses across

And what, exactly, does that lifestyle look like for the Morgans? At first glance they are just another happy, adventurous

the nation. Over 10 years her pictures paid the bills as her RV

full-time RV family — until you notice the tanks and tubes.

took her to all the places her camera longed to capture.

Some folks attempt to look past them, others relate all too

Leisurely cruising the country from coast to coast, hauling his

well. Marshal’s COPD is in stage 4, requiring continuous

fifth wheel from place to place, Marshal decided to start looking

supplementary oxygen. His prognosis is simple: persistent

for someone to share the wonder and beauty with. Meanwhile,

deterioration. This knowledge encourages Marshal and Shauna

Shauna, was also always on the go, if at a quicker pace, traveling

to live each day to the fullest and to reach out to other disabled

from course to course, shooting pictures. She, too, was eager for

RVers as friends and advocates.

companionship. The two met through an online dating service

Their most enthusiastic icebreaker is Marshal’s psychiatric

and started to chat. When they learned they would be in North

service dog, Diva. This furry bundle of love and energy has been

Carolina at the same time, they decided to meet face-to-face.

trained to assist her master when he becomes panicked or stressed.

Marshal and Shauna met up in Surf City and quickly realized they

Diva can sense an oncoming panic attack and knows what to

were enjoying each other’s company in person at least as much

do to help keep Marshal calm. Most of the time she does this by

as they had enjoyed chatting online. Though there were definitely

simply being Diva. “After all,” Marshal says, “how can anyone

sparks, Shauna still had a job to do, so she continued traveling for

stay in a panic state with something so cute and loveable to hold?”

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betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


Goals of Today’s Nomad Diva allows Morgan and Shauna to live the RV lifestyle they love. But, they have also had to ask themselves the difficult questions faced by all RVers that are in declining health:

• Our goal is to provide a fully interactive Web site and blog to allow others

• What will happen as I get older and less mobile?

to share their knowledge and get

• Do I really have to give it all up or can I simply change

answers to their questions.

my routine? • Which RV parks are disabled friendly? • Where can I go for information? • Where can I go for support? • How can I meet other RVers who are dealing with similar issues? Those stories, combining love for the outdoors with the difficulty and discouragement associated with a disability, motivated Shauna Morgan to launch an online community, www.TodaysNomad.com, as well as a Facebook page of the same name dedicated to building a social network of disabled RVers. Other related projects are in the works. The Morgans may not be able to scramble over rocks and leap streams without a thought as they once did. In fact, narrow

• We want to help seniors and disabled members of our society find accessible outdoor recreation. • We hope to encourage sharing firsthand stories and pictures on an interactive Web site and blog. • We want to provide accurate and up-to-date information on parks, forests and other outdoor locations.

doorways and uneven surfaces are all it takes to create barriers to the beauty of their beloved outdoors. “But,” says Shauna, “We have found pieces of paradise scattered all over this beautiful land of ours — watched sunrises and sunsets and made memories that nothing can ever tarnish.” She pauses as reminiscing turns to resolve. “And we will keep capturing that beauty on camera and living the lifestyle we love as long as we can.” To learn more about the Morgans and Today’s Nomad, send an e-mail to info@todaysnomad.com or visit www.TodaysNomad.com.  BRV

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• We try to encourage a sense of community among people through scheduled campfire conferences. • We are building a network of people and locations to help others find the solace of nature.


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betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


 Sweet

freedom BY FRED SMITH

At a time when a crumbling economy threatened their dream, a retired couple opened their minds to discover full-time RVing, off-the-grid boondocking and sweet freedom.

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Sweetfreedom

D

ayle and Tom Patty were inspired by more than the majestic trees and heavenly views of Oregon’s Mt. Hood. While paddling a river in the national forest with their young children more than 20 years ago, the Pattys took notice of a couple who hosted the campground they so enjoyed. “That kind of freedom was always in the back of our minds,” says Dayle from the kitchen of her fifth wheel home as she grins at a picture of her now grown children and pours a cup of coffee for her husband of 41 years. “We were intrigued by the concept of staying out there and supporting your lifestyle instead of having to go back to work.” Tom leans back in his recliner, smiles and says, “It always seemed to me like a marvelous way to spend your retirement.” For the last eight years, the Pattys have been full-time RVers enjoying firsthand the kind of freedom they once admired from a distance. Now in their early 60s, retired and living on a fixed income, their chosen lifestyle has, in the last several years, been challenged by the tightening grip of economic woe. Amid rising fuel prices and falling retirement benefits,

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including no cost of living increases, Dayle encountered a quote from “Norman Vincent Peale,” renowned minister and author of The Power of Positive Thinking. Though its message was simple, its effect on the Pattys life would be profoundly liberating: “Change your thoughts and it will change your world.” By changing the way they thought about the world, Dayle and Tom Patty’s world began to change as they embarked on a journey they had waited their whole lives to become a reality. They embraced the concept of work camping, a fairly common practice among full-time RVers that includes working seasonal jobs at popular RV destinations in exchange for wages and other benefits to supplement the RVer’s lifestyle. The Pattys subscribed to Workamper® News, a bimonthly publication dedicated to informing full-time RVers about seasonal jobs across the country. To help them get the jump on the latest work camp opportunities, Tom subscribed to a hotline by way of the periodical’s Web site (workamper.com). Each day, the Pattys were e-mailed lists of the most up-to-the-moment job postings. Armed with an unflappable will and the latest job

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listings, Dayle and Tom went about choosing their work camp adventures. “Location, location, location,” explains Dayle. “We pick the area of the country where we want to be and look for jobs within a 50-mile radius of our target destination.” About their methods of choosing where they work camp, Tom adds, “We can accept a job that isn’t quite a perfect fit for us, if it’s where we want to be.” “We’ve met a lot of people on the road who refuse to accept a work camp job unless it includes their full hookup site,” says Dayle, “but we’ve changed our thoughts and it’s changed our world. We’ve taken jobs that didn’t include a site, but we earned enough money so that by the time we paid for our site, we were far ahead of the game.” An open mind and insatiable wanderlust has carried the Pattys to work camp adventures all over the country. Their résumé includes stops in Coffeeville, Kan., for Amazon.com; Standish, Mich., for Big Bend Campground; East Dumerston, Vt., for Brattleboro North KOA; Woodland, Wash., for Colombia Riverfront RV Park; Lake George, N.Y., for Lake George Escape; and Black Hills, S.D., as Forest Service Campground hosts. hroughout their work camp life, the Pattys have made every effort to learn from their fellow work camping RVers. By exposing themselves to the RVing community, they tapped into both a boundless vault of knowledge and an endless stream of ideas about the intricacies of the RV lifestyle. They absorbed every bit of information they could, believing that the more thoughts and perspectives they incorporated into their world, the more their world could change for the better. A breakthrough came in Quartzsite, Ariz. Situated on Interstate 10 about 20 miles east of the California border, Quartzsite is a mecca for boondocking RVers and a place where, for the first time, the Pattys encountered RVers living “off the grid.” As he stepped outside to turn off his fifth wheel’s generator for the night, Tom noticed a peculiar thing at Quartzsite. “All the other RVs had their TVs and lights on, but I didn’t hear a single generator,” explains Tom. “They’re not burning generator fuel. They’re not making noise or creating fumes, but they’re enjoying TV and lights. I must be doing something wrong.” With their curiosity aroused, the Pattys gathered all the information they could about off-the-grid RVing. From the experienced RV community at Quartzsite, they learned the finer points of boondocking’s most fundamentally important elements: water and electricity management. Pumping water into their holding tanks while camping at more remote locations proved to be a challenge that required both ingenuity and teamwork. At camping areas with a single water source, Tom would pump water into a bucket he had rigged with a spigot that fed a series of hoses running to his fifth wheel. As water traveled by way

T

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of gravity to the RV, Dayle would then turn on a macerator pump that pushed water into both their holding tank and a 50-gallon bladder that was attached to the underbelly of their RV. When the tank and bladder were full, Dayle would notify Tom by way of their two-way radios. Now with nearly 100 gallons of water stored, the Pattys could boondock for about a week and a half.

“We were intrigued by the concept of staying out there and supporting your lifestyle instead of having to go back to work.” Tom leans back in his recliner, smiles and says, “It always seemed to me like a marvelous way to spend your retirement.” 

To offset the rising cost of generator fuel, the Pattys immersed themselves in the study and practice of solar technology. Piece by piece, they cost-effectively acquired and assembled a solar system that includes two solar panels and four 6-volt batteries. Now fully implemented and functional, their investment, says Dayle, has more than paid for itself considering the amount of generator fuel they’re able to save coupled with the ability to bypass campgrounds with full utility hookups in favor of more isolated camping spots that are less pricey, if not free. When hard times threatened Dayle and Tom Patty’s dream of full-time RVing, the couple worked together and found a way to endure and thrive just as they have done for the last four decades. They embraced the challenges they faced with the kind of creative and inventive spirit that defines the driven RVer. The Pattys changed their thoughts and changed their world to a point where the road ahead is wide open with possibilities. “We knew we could find a way to make it happen,” explains Dayle with the optimistic enthusiasm of a twenty-something eager to change the world. “We knew we could do it and now we have … sweet freedom.” BRV


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rv  insurance { What you need to know to make sure you’re covered } BY STACI BACKAUSKAS

M

ost RV owners understand how important insurance coverage is for their motorhomes. What they may not know is that no matter what kind of RV they own, their insurance needs go beyond the scope of a traditional auto insurance policy. Lazydays insurance expert Judy McNab explains that, “There are components offered with RV insurance that aren’t available on a regular auto policy. And they can make a big difference.” “Many RVs come with slideouts, awnings, external racks and satellite dishes,” she says. “You’ll also want coverage for tow dollies and trailers. And because your RV is your home while you’re in it, the most effective coverage includes both auto and homeowner’s components.” Here are some of the options available on an RV policy that are not part of basic auto insurance. Emergency vacation expense provides living expenses when your vehicle is uninhabitable due to an act of God or man, and you’re more than 150 miles from home. This includes food and lodging and in some cases transportation. Vacation liability covers slip and fall injuries. When you stay at a campsite, it’s almost like renting a condo. You’re liable for the property you’re on, for yourself and for anyone visiting. If someone jogging through your campsite trips on your wiring and hits his head, it’s your liability exposure. Full-timer’s liability coverage goes beyond vacation coverage. This works more like a homeowner’s policy, including personal liability along with living expenses. If you went golfing and you hit someone in the head with your ball, that’s your liability, and you need protection for accidents like that. Personal effects coverage covers the replacement costs for the contents of your RV. Diminishing deductible reduces your deductible over time. For every year you go without a loss, 25 percent of the original deductible is eliminated. After four years with no claims, you have no deductible. Total loss replacement reimburses the entire replacement cost if your vehicle is totaled. This specific component is only written if the unit is less than two years old. If the damage occurs within the first five model years, the RV will be replaced with a brand new vehicle. For damages that occur in the sixth model year or later, you will receive the purchase price toward the purchase of a replacement vehicle. Purchase price guarantee covers vehicles that are more than two years old and you provide documentation of the purchase price. If an act of God or man destroys your RV, you’ll receive the purchase price toward a replacement. Choosing to purchase your RV insurance from an agency like the Lazydays Insurance Center can also save you money. Many RVers have toys like Jet Skis,™ ATV’s, golf carts and motorcycles, all of which can be protected by Lazydays’ coverage partners. RV owners who tow campers or fifth wheels can also reduce their premiums by insuring both their RVs and the trucks they use for towing with one company. Lazydays insurance agents are licensed to write in 35 states and are experts at knowing each state’s requirements. To assist RVers in determining the best policy for their needs, McNab offers a free insurance seminar every Monday at Lazydays in Seffner, Fla. “Insurance is needed and it can feel complicated,” McNab says. “But when you have someone to help you filter through all the information, the RV insurance world can be simple and keep your investment protected.” To reach Judy McNab with questions about insurance or for more information on the seminars, call 866.317.4014.

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INSURANCE GLOSSARY ACV (ACTUAL CASH VALUE)

What your insured item is worth at fair market value, including depreciation. This is what most auto insurance companies use when writing a policy.

RV (REPLACEMENT VALUE)

What it will cost today to replace your insured item. This is what many RV insurance companies use when writing a policy.

ACT OF GOD The type of

damage done by hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, winds and sometimes a wild animal, such as a deer.

ACT OF MAN The type of

damage incurred from a collision with another vehicle or entity.

PIP (PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION) A type of

insurance required by some states that covers your medical costs, up to the purchased policy amount, in the event of an accident.

UNDER/NON-INSURED MOTORIST This covers you

in case of an accident with someone who has a small amount of insurance or none at all. It covers, up to the policy amount, what your auto insurance doesn’t pay if you need additional medical care.


bringing home the wall - 3 pages

Bringing Home

theWall BY ADAM PORTER, PHOTOGRAPHY JEFF FAY

As a member of the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, Thomas Twigg did his duty and completed his mission. Now this disabled veteran and his wife, Dee, have a personal mission. The Twiggs intend to bring the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to people all over the country who cannot travel to Washington, D.C. For the Twiggs, it is imperative that all veterans and their family members have the opportunity to seek some closure in return for answering the call of duty. Financial and physical hardships should not hinder this. To fulfill this mission, Tom and Dee have constructed a replica of the Wall that stands 8-feet tall and 46-feet long. The scaled size allows it to be displayed indoors as well as out. And, because the names are closer together, despite the smaller size, the impact is huge. “It hits you all at once,” says Tom. “It brings back the reality of what it cost us to be over there.” The Central Florida residents have been traveling since 1995, displaying their replica wall at community events, schools, VA hospitals and other locations. Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with Tom and Dee Twigg about their mission, motivation and goals.

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bringing home the wall - 3 pages

AP: What motivated you to take on this project?

at the two empty seats and was sad,

a woman approached with her mother.

missing my kids. My youngest daughter,

They handed me a manila envelope and

DT: The Wall was born out of another

Shannon, who was about 13 at the time,

asked me to keep the items inside with the

memorial tribute, our “POW/MIA Dinner

asked me what was wrong. I told her

“Dinner Table” wherever it went. I opened

Table.” Tom and I are both Native American,

and she responded: ‘Mom, count your

the envelope to find two Bronze Stars and

and we attend the Chambers Farm

blessings: they are at school. How do you

a Purple Heart. The mother explained that

Thanksgiving Day Pow Wow in Fort McCoy,

think the families of the POW/MIAs feel

her son’s name was carved on the Vietnam

Fla., each year. At the ’93 Pow Wow, a group of Vietnam veterans asked me to ‘think of something special to memorialize our POW/ MIAs at the next Pow Wow.’ I thought about it and prayed about

today?’ Just like that, the idea of the “POW/MIA Dinner Table” took shape. AP: And how did the Dinner Table lead to the replica wall?

Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C, but, because she was sick and likely dying, she would not be able to make the trip. I thanked her and returned the medals. I told her I would not take them now, but if

it and, finally, sitting down to Easter dinner

We displayed the “Dinner Table” for the first

she made it to the ’95 Pow Wow, I would

the following spring, I had an idea. Our

time at the 1994 Thanksgiving Day Pow

bring the Wall to her.

family had gathered for dinner, but two

Wow. Over 2,700 people passed by it.

TT: Of course, we had no idea how to make

of our kids were away at college and

They hugged each other, cried and left

that happen, but we knew we were going to

couldn’t join us. Like any mother, I looked

items. The Saturday after Thanksgiving

keep that promise. During the 2 ½ years

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Bringing Home

theWall

AP: What is on your immediate itinerary?

TT: We have a venue Memorial Day in Rainelle, W.Va. Then we are going to the VA hospital in Beckley, W.Va. We also have a VA hospital in Phoenix that has asked us to try to get there. Finances being what they are, that one is a long shot, but we’re working on it! AP: How are you funding this mission?

TT: A veteran’s organization called Allied Veterans of the World, Inc. and Affiliates donated funds so that we could build a new Wall. They also generously contributed $30,000 to help us purchase our motorhome and the trailer we haul the Wall in. That organization is wonderful, and their Commander, Jerry Bass, has been a tremendous help. Another person who has stepped up in a big way is Dr. William Broussard, co-founder of The Allen Broussard Conservancy. He made it possible AP: So, the veterans are finding closure and the kids understand that those names are not just numbers in a history book, but real people, real lives.

for us to be carried with their 501(c)3.

TT: There is no better teacher than each of

expenses out of pocket with my disability

those 58,000-plus names on the wall.

and our Social Security. The RV, a 1996 Sunrise, has allowed us to reduce costs by

the same situation.

AP: When you display your wall, what has the response been?

DT: We talked to some people at a local

TT: The response has been tremendous.

the time we can set up on location. But, with

home improvement store and they helped

People tell us they have found a sense of

the price of fuel, insurance, Wall maintenance

us with materials and design ideas. Our first

release. They leave mementos at the wall.

and travel expenses, it’s getting tough.

Wall was smaller than the current one, but

We have all types of items: pictures, baseball

we finished it in time for the ’95 Pow Wow.

gloves, letters, flowers, etc. We carry a

need sponsors to step up to the plate.

The mother and her daughter returned that

lot with us. Others we forward to D.C.

year to pay their respects and leave the

Everything has a story behind it. Everything

AP: So, you definitely need sponsors. How can folks help?

medals with the Wall.

has meaning.

TT: Folks who are genuinely interested can

TT: Watching them, we realized just how

AP: So each person who visits has the

significant interacting with the Wall is for

opportunity to reflect or interact with the

those who lost sons and brothers but have

wall in his or her own way?

I spent in the West Haven, Conn. VA hospital, I saw my fellow veterans take many day trips to Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It’s a beautiful memorial; but, of course, the bedridden patients couldn’t go! The van was not equipped for them. Meeting this family made us wonder how many others were in

been unable to find closure — not allowed a last goodbye.

DT: Yes. We let them know we are there to try to answer any questions they might have, but

AP: So your goal is to help veterans and families find closure?

we’re not there to put on a show. If they ask,

DT: Our mission is two-fold: first, to reach

for. Then we try to leave them alone with their

every confined, hospitalized or paralyzed

memories, and let them find peace.

veteran and family member who is either

we help them find the name they are looking

Without their help, this mission may not have gotten off the ground. TT: We have been covering all other

eliminating motels and restaurants. Most of

Bottom line is, to keep doing this work, we

help by spreading the word about us and our need for sponsors. When they visit our Web site, www.BringingHomeTheWall.com, they can learn more about us, see how others are responding and donate to the cause. AP: Thank you again for your service and for what you are doing for our veterans.

TT: You’re welcome, and thank you for helping us get the word out. For more information about Tom, Dee and

D.C.; second, to educate school children

AP: Your home base is in Central Florida, but you have been traveling all over the state, even up and down the East Coast with the Wall.

about the real hazards of war so that these

TT: We want to go everywhere we can.

the Twiggs about bringing the Wall to your

future community and government leaders

Wherever there are veterans or their families

community, call 407.433.0015 or e-mail Tom

truly understand the consequences.

who need closure, who need peace.

at bringinghomethewall54@yahoo.com. BRV

physically or financially unable to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington,

RV LIVING

Bringing Home the Wall, as well as more stories of lives touched by this effort, visit www.BringingHomeTheWall.com. To contact

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


2011 BOUNDER

For Family. For Fun. Forever.

Class A Diesel

Class A Gas

Class C Diesel

Class C Gas

Providence Discovery Expedition

Pace Arrow • Southwind Bounder • Bounder Classic Terra • Storm

Tioga DSL Tioga Ranger DSL Jamboree DSL Jamboree Sport DSL

Tioga • Tioga Ranger Tioga Montara • Jamboree Jamboree Sport Jamboree Searcher

Join us at the third annual Fleetwood RV National Rally. June 25-29 Shawnee, OK

Whatever your motivation to own a motor home, you want a vehicle you can trust on the road ahead and a dealer you can trust to take care of all your needs. That’s why Fleetwood RV offers our full line of motor homes at Lazydays, the nation’s largest motor home dealer. Together, we stand behind our products* and support your lifestyle. Don’t take our word for it. Find out for yourself what keeps our customers coming back. Visit us at Lazydays today. *All 2011 Fleetwood RV motor homes include a 1-year membership to Coach-Net.

www.fleetwoodrv.com/mhevent betterRVing.com | 888.626.7800


troubleshootin’ with ernie

Ernie Herring 35 Years Experience RVIA/RVDA Master Certified Technician

Cleaning Your Refrigerator’s Burner Tube

E

very RVer should start the day with a complete, nutritious breakfast. Even though Ernie may not be like every RVer, he’s never been one to skip a meal, least of all breakfast, which Ernie frequently concludes is one of the most important meals of the day (next to lunch, brunch, the afternoon snack, dinner, dessert and the all too underrated midnight snack). But it seems there is something afoul this morning as Ernie’s milk has gone sour (Fig. 1). Upon further inspection, it appears that Ernie’s refrigerator has ceased to produce cold air and has rendered his milk as rancid as a three-day-old tuna sandwich in the glove compartment of a sun-soaked Pinto. Fortunately, Ernie’s not one to cry over putrid milk, since he knows the flame in his refrigerator’s burner tube has likely burned out as a result of being hit by small dust particles and debris from the flue pipe. Today, Ernie is going to demonstrate how to remove debris in his refrigerator’s burner tube so gas can properly flow through the tube and light the flame that heats the flue pipe and percolates the cooling unit’s chemicals needed to properly cool his refrigerator. The first thing Ernie is going to do is turn off his refrigerator’s power (Fig. 2) to stop the gas flow to the refrigerator’s burner tube. Then he’s going to remove his refrigerator’s service access door on his RV’s exterior (Fig. 3). Next, he’s going to remove the wind deflector plate that protects his flue pipe from wind created by passing highway traffic (Fig. 4).

RV TOOLBOX

Once the flue pipe is exposed, Ernie is going to remove another wind deflector plate to reveal his burner tube (Fig. 5 ). Since debris has collected in the burner tube and extinguished the light needed to spark the burner flame, Ernie is going to have to remove the debris by gently blowing it out with a short piece of air hose (Fig. 6). Air hoses are available at most camping supply stores. If you can’t find one, a drinking straw will do the trick. Ernie is going to insert the hose into the burner tube (Fig. 7). Then he will remove the dust and debris that has collected in the tube by gently blowing in the hose for a few seconds (Fig. 8). Once the debris is cleared, Ernie is going to turn on his refrigerator. When gas is flowing freely into the burner tube, Ernie will hear a light clicking sound. This sound is the ignitor lighting the flame in the burner tube. When Ernie sees the small blue flame, he knows the debris in the burner tube has been cleared, and he can replace the wind deflectors that protect both the burner and flue tubes. After he replaces the refrigerator’s service panel and the fridge has cooled, Ernie can get back to what he does best … preparing for the most important meals of the day with a hearty breakfast complete with cold milk! Be sure to visit betterRVing.com to see videos of Ernie troubleshootin’ all kinds of problems in his RV. Remember always to consult your owners manual or a certified RV technician before attempting to work on your RV. No RV technicians were harmed during the writing of this article. BRV

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


1

4

2

3

5

6

7

8

Step-By-Step Something wicked comes Ernie’s way.

FIG. 1:

Turn off your refrigerator’s power. This will stop gas from flowing to the burner tube.

FIG. 2:

Remove your refrigerator’s service door.

FIG. 3:

betterRVing.com | 888.626.7800

Remove the first wind deflector plate to reveal the flue pipe and burner tube.

FIG. 4:

Remove the second wind deflector plate to allow access to your burner tube.

FIG. 5:

A short piece of air hose can be purchased at most camping supply stores.

FIG. 6:

Stick one end of the hose into the burner tube.

FIG. 7:

Gently blow air into the hose for a few seconds to remove debris in the burner tube.

FIG. 8:


Work camping is a great way to use your RV to see different places, to support programs... and to have a lot of fun.

RV LIVING


Yellowstone

work camping at BY BILL WHETSTONE

t

his is our second season working here at Yellowstone — to be more specific, at Old Faithful. This year, we opened the new Visitor Education Center Aug. 25. The building has a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. What this means to all of us, is that the education center has one of the highest LEED certifications for energy and renewable resource compliance. The building is positioned over a thermally active area, so it is built above the ground, not into it. The roof is an energy compliant roof built over an inner roof with an 18-inch air space, making the outer roof a “cold roof.” Water use is monitored and only renewable resource wood was used for fixtures. Lots of natural lighting and ventilation fills the building. What does it all mean to you the visitor? A beautiful energy-efficient building with great exhibits! The main hall with a floor-to-ceiling window overlooks Old Faithful; the peak of the window is high enough for visitors to see the entire eruption. A big display at the ranger desk shows the eruption predictions so you can jot down the times to plan your walk through Geyser Basin. Rangers are extremely helpful answering questions, whether they are about wildlife or geology. A new exhibit hall with many exhibits sponsored by the National Science Foundation appeals to all ages. Dioramas of wildlife and geological features, a model of a geyser that actually erupts, plus easy to understand explanations of things like pH levels and what they relate to make this educational experience accessible and fun. All this in a hall with a cork floor that is amazing to walk on! The theater, which can seat up to 200 visitors, shows movies like “Fire and Water,” an award-winning film documenting

how geysers work. For instance, the water gushing out of Old Faithful and other geysers actually fell over 400 years ago as rain and snow, after which it was absorbed, filtered and accumulated to form a geyser. One of the top features, at least for me because this is where we work camp, is the Yellowstone Association Bookstore. I heard one visitor say it was like walking into a Barnes & Noble. The store is beautiful and has a superb assortment of books, ranging from children’s books to geological treatises. The mission is to educate and engage the visitor in a way that inspires them to help preserve the park. The Yellowstone Association is a nonprofit organization; proceeds from the Association are invested back into the park in the form of grants for educational purposes. Last year, the Association contributed more than $1.6 million to the park. Check out www.yellowstoneassociation.org for more information. The Visitor Education Center building dedication was made special by speakers such as, Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife, Jon Jarvis, Parks Director of the National Park Service, Suzanne Lewis, Yellowstone Park Superintendant, and keynote speaker, Paul Schullery, the Park historian and noted author. In an amazing coincidence of timing and serendipity, just as Paul Schullery finished his speech, Old Faithful erupted as predicted. What a fitting conclusion to a dynamic dedication! Work camping is a great way to use your RV to see different places, to support programs such as this and to have a lot of fun. Work camping in a place like Yellowstone National Park is an amazing and wonderful experience. BRV


Modern-Day Missionaries Sharing Faith from an RV   BY STACI BACKAUSKAS

RV LIVING

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


All

traffic alone,” he laughs, “ and parking — it can be a lot a fun.” The Chabad Lubavitch uses customized RVs because they’re welcoming. “They make you feel comfortable. It’s a beautiful mobile home with couches, chairs and books to read,” Baumgarten says. His slogan, “a mitzvah on the spot for people on the go,” is known across Manhattan where he shares his faith with hundreds of people a week.

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found an RV to be a

comfortable & effective way to share

their faith with others.

From monks and apostles walking rocky terrain to missionaries and preachers traveling by ship, those committed to their faith have used any means available to share it. Now there are some who’ve discovered that RVs are a great way to bring messages of faith to those who are seeking them. Rabbi Levi Baumgarten, a member of the Chabad Lubavitch — a Hasidic movement in Orthodox Judaism — drives a 2009 29-foot Winnebago Sightseer into Manhattan five days a week. The “Mitzvah Tank” (mitzvah is Hebrew for good deed), has been providing a way for New Yorkers to connect with their heritage and learn more about the Jewish faith since 1974 when Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson began the mission. “It’s a synagogue on wheels,” says Rabbi Baumgarten. “Jews and non-Jews come to speak with a Rabbi to get inspired.” Since 1989, Baumgarten has used an RV to share the strength of the Jewish faith — after he finds a place to park. “The

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Duane and Erica Careb have devoted themselves to various Christian ministries, serving as premarriage mentors and counselors in their church and teaching marriage seminars nationwide. Their current passion, RVchurchesUSA.org, is a unique Christian ministry that provides both spiritual and RV-lifestyle content, resources and tools to support Christian RVers. When they began boating on Lake Michigan almost two decades ago, the Carebs hosted a Bible study with another couple. This inspired Duane to bring on-site nondenominational church services to the marina. “My co-pastor and I contacted a local church that was happy to provide worship leaders and speakers who rotated with us each month,” Duane says. After years of coordinating and structuring on-site marina services all over the country, Duane has brought the mission onto land. “After we sold the boat, we decided instead of getting another water yacht, we’d buy a land yacht,” he jokes. They now travel in a 2007 40-foot Itasca Eclipse named “The Blessing.” He and his volunteers have spent 2½ years developing relationships between campsite owners and local churches. The RVchurchesUSA Web site has an online directory of campgrounds and resorts in the US that offer on-site services and is searchable by state. “All of the services are Bible based,

include music and run less than an hour,” he says. Although they had no RV experience prior to 2008, there are only a handful of states they haven’t seen. The ministry keeps expanding and the Carebs hope to have a membership available soon that will offer RVers discounts at campgrounds and resorts that offer worship services. Phyllis and Eugene Unterschuetz are members of the Bahá’í faith, a 150-year-old tradition that claims over 5 million followers across the globe. They’ve taken their faith’s tenet of eliminating racial prejudice on the road, having traveled to 47 states facilitating hundreds of presentations on how to heal racial issues. Their latest book tour, an 8-month journey that began in May 2010, took them to 22 states where they have given about 120 presentations. Authors of the book “Longing: Stories of Racial Healing,” the Unterschuetzes had no intention of their 6-month travel commitment growing into 14 years, but have no regrets. “It hasn’t always been easy,” Phyllis admits. “Our first camper was 22 feet and we joked about always having to do the RV two-step — having to coordinate your steps, waiting for someone in the kitchen to move before you could go to the bathroom.” Now in a Holiday Rambler fifth wheel, they both appreciate the additional room as well as what their travels have brought them spiritually. “We feel very blessed,” says Eugene. Although they have different beliefs, Rabbi Baumgarten, the Carebs and the Unterschuetzes have all found an RV to be a comfortable and effective way to share their faith with others. To learn more about any of these modern-day missionaries, visit their Web sites at www.MitzvahTank.com, www.RVchurchesUSA.org or www.StoriesOfRacialHealing.com. BRV


HUNTINGfamily fun  Best friends create the ultimate family RV playground BY FRED SMITH, PHOTOGRAPHY FRED SMITH

T

he unpaved path to George Canale and Bill Vickers’ RV campsite winds nearly two miles off of State Road 100 into the heart of Robert’s Ranch in Palatka, Fla. Avid outdoorsmen, business partners and best friends, George and Bill had two things in mind when they created their site amid a canopy of sprawling trees that make up the 7,000-acre hunting preserve in Central Florida. “We wanted to enjoy the outdoors, and we wanted to enjoy quality time with our families,” says Bill from the couch of his Keystone Laredo fifth wheel. Bill’s wife, Kim, agrees and adds that when it came time to make the major purchases that would define the family playground, “It was the guys’ decision, but the wives and the kids picked the creature comforts. We all enjoy it.” What the Canale and Vickers families enjoy nearly every weekend begins with a space that features identical Keystone Laredo fifth wheels parked parallel to each other. The trailers face north and south, respectively, so that they open toward each other. Between the trailers lies a custombuilt wood deck that serves as a common area and gathering

RV LIVING

place for the two families to enjoy meals and downtime together. The deck is outfitted with all the essentials for a professional outdoor cookout including a picnic table, gas grill and dual industrial strength outdoor heaters. “Our personalities are definitely opposite. He’s the pit bull and I’m the poodle,” says Bill of their respective demeanors. Kim interjects, “They make great decisions together. George gets an idea and wants to pull the trigger. Bill will sit back and examine all the options.” George’s wife, Michelle, chimes in, “They complement each other well. George and Bill make a great couple.” Their friendship began in 1997; George and Bill met while working at an aviation company. In 2005 they partnered to form Turbine Aircraft Support Group, a manufacturer’s representative organization specializing in the sales representation of large airframe manufacturing companies. Each a licensed pilot, the two friends share a passion for both aviation and the great outdoors. “George always enjoyed fishing,” explains Bill, “but when

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


he met me and saw that I was into fishing, hunting and anything that had to do with the outdoors, he called me the ultimate redneck.” Indulging in his friend’s variety of outdoor activities, George followed Bill on a few hunting trips and soon immersed himself in the sport. “George caught the hunting bug,” says Bill, “and when George catches any bug, he goes from zero to 60 in about two seconds.” The duo embarked on hunting trips across the country. Joyous as the times were, George and Bill realized their excursions were lacking a key component. “Our families were at home,” says Bill. “We were enjoying the outdoors, but we were missing the opportunity to spend time with our families.” nter the family RV camp. Take two fifth wheels joined by a custom built deck, add a grill, a campfire, a gargantuan hunting preserve and you have the ultimate outdoor family get-a-way spot. “We have the best of all worlds,” says Bill. “We get to enjoy hunting, camping and the outdoors, but we get to do it as a family.” When it came time to pick the RVs for their playground, George and Bill selected identical 2011 Keystone Laredo fifth wheels. “With a fifth wheel,” says Bill, “you are always mobile. I can unhook the RV from the deck, hitch up to my truck and be on the road in 20 minutes heading off to the next family adventure.” Price point and livability were strong determinants

for George and Bill in choosing the Laredo. “With three slideouts and high ceilings,” explains Bill, “the sense of space is great.” Spaciousness in the amount of storage the Laredo offers was also a factor that made the Laredo a sensible choice. Kim is quick to point out that the pass-through storage bays hold the family’s hunting gear along with anything else they might need in the pursuit of outdoor fun. Having blazed their share of trails into the wild blue yonder as pilots and having roamed the countryside in camouflage as hunters, two lifelong friends have discovered the joy of sharing outdoor fun with their families. With a vision for adventure and a spirit for invention, the Canale and Vickers families are poised to live their RV lifestyle to the fullest and share their journey together.  BRV

E

Take a peak online at Lazydaysevents.com

π

Whether you are looking for fun Here, There or Everywhere, we have it listed on Lazydaysevents.com (There’s even the occasional WooHoo event that you just can’t miss!)

So, turn to page 50 in this issue of betterRVing and visit us online at Lazydaysevents.com. Find out what’s going on with Lazydays and so much more!

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Stuck  in a Pickle

The Ten Commandments of RVing: No. 10 BY CHRISTIAN LAZZARINO

“WHAT ON EARTH IS THAT THUMPING SOUND?” My father yelled over the hum of the RV generator. Our very large family (nine kids and two adults, last time I got a correct count), was on our way back from our annual family reunion in Tennessee. Something, somewhere, somehow, had been making a dull thumping sound in the RV ever since we left for home. We looked everywhere. Mom checked to make sure no one’s antsy feet were kicking and no cabinet doors had come loose. There was something making that noise, and we just couldn’t seem to find it. In every good Italian-redneck family, family reunions are unparalleled. There are few circumstances in life when it is acceptable to make or consume hot dog pizza or utter the words, “Just make sure all the little kids are in the house before you try (insert hair-brained idea here) …” But such is the joy of our loud, rambunctious get-togethers. Our family knows how to have a good time, and with 40 aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, grandmas, grandpas and random vagrants in the mountain house for a weekend (or two), you just never know what will happen.

RV PETS

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


Our RV — a 1998 Winnebago Brave lovingly dubbed Willis — rumbled into my aunt’s front yard where we set up camp on the evening of July 3. Before you could blink, Willis’s awning was extended, a campfire was made, and my little brothers were squishing fireflies (sometimes a 6-year-old has to do what a 6-year-old has to do). The warm summer air was thick with smoke, laughter, contentment and some unnameable odor that we could never quite blame on anyone we loved. Willis’s bays were full of sports equipment; his carpets were gray with dirt tracked in on countless tennis shoes and boots. My big, wonderful family sat around the campfire and the family animals gathered around. Pickles and Duchess (my aunt’s cats) and Lucky (my Aunt’s dog) were in close proximity to the festivities at every turn. They circled each family member in turn, hoping and praying that someday, someone, would drop their dinner. They were in luck; in our family there is a tradition that has spanned the many generations before me and that my generation will pass on to our children: No one EVER goes hungry. Needless to say, the animals spent lots of time around Willis, waiting for their share of the “family tradition.” After a weekend of fun, it was time for us to head back to Florida. My type-A personality father was always ready to leave at 5 a.m.: For though he loves the family, he loathes the drive. To him, there is nothing — man or beast or heavenly creature — that can keep him in the RV any longer than he has to be. So I knew, after two hours of listening to the incessant thumping sound, that when Dad pulled the RV over, he meant business. We parked Willis and all 11 of us combed the motorhome looking for the culprit. Suddenly, from outside the motorhome, I heard the opening of a storage bay and a scream. Not one of pain or terror, but the tortured scream of a man who just found the only thing that would prolong his journey home: My father had found Pickles, who had stowed away in Willis’s belly. Poor Pickles, the culprit of the thumping noise, had given no thought to the journey he would take before he fell asleep in the storage bay. My ever compassionate father had offered to make Pickles a wilderness cat, but my aunt would hear none of it. After many phone calls and a couple hours of waiting, my aunt showed up to reclaim her shaken kitty (who, I swear, smelled faintly of spaghetti sauce). This experience, dear reader, led to the scripting of the 10 commandments of RVing, beginning with this:

Rule No. lO Always check your storage bays BEFORE driving away. Go online to betterRVing.com for more from this series.

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Winnebago Industries Tailgate Weekend April 15-18

Lazydays RV Campground, Seffner (Tampa), Fla. Preview the all-new 2011 Winnebago motorhomes on site at Lazydays RV Campground. You will also have the opportunity to meet the Chairman of the Board and CEO Bob Olson and his wife Kathy. For more information or to make reservations, call 800.905.6627 or visit lazydaysevents.com.

Tampa Bay Spring RV Show April 7-10

Florida Strawberry Festival, Plant City, Fla. For more information visit frvta.org.

Friends and Family Rally May 11-14

Lazydays RV Campground, Seffner (Tampa), Fla. When you provide Lazydays with referrals, you become a part of our Friends & Family Program. As a member, you will receive personal invitations to complimentary Friends & Family rallies where you will be individually recognized for your referrals. For more information, contact Ronda Baer at 813.246.4999 Ă—4563.

Saturday Night Cruise April 23 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Main Street Zephyrhills, Zephyrhills, Fla.

& Here (Stuff to do at Lazydays) Everywhere (On the Road with Lazydays) There (Stuff to do within a Short Drive)

RV EVENTS

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


Details RV 2011

Thor Tuscany pg. 52-53 2011

Heartland Landmark pg. 54-55 2011 Rockwood

Premiere Hardside pg. 56-57

betterRVing.com | 888.626.7800

888.626.7800 BETTERRVING.COM 51


2011

Thor Tuscany

Italian cypress and rolling hills will come to mind as you luxuriate in this villa on wheels by Thor. The 2011 Tuscany offers spacious living and storage room highlighted by elegant details.

RV DETAILS

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


The dazzle factor: The main living space boasts a gleaming porcelain tile floor, dark solid wood cabinetry and a 40-inch HD LCD TV with 5.1 surround sound home theater. An innovative wrap-around couch in buttery soft UltraLeatherTM paired with a 68-inch air-bed sofa create the perfect space for entertaining in comfort. The bedroom features a king size bed with a pillow top mattress, a 26-inch LCD TV, and plenty of storage for your wardrobe. The luxury continues to the cockpit and beyond: The 6-Way Power UltraLeatherTM reclining driver’s seat and 6-Way Power UltraLeather™ oversized passenger seat with electric footrest will make any distance delightful. The full basement with pass-through storage and optional easy-slide storage tray make loading and unloading a snap so you can set up quickly and enjoy your exterior 32-inch HD LCD TV under the shade of the remote controlled patio awning.

A large shower and vanity worthy of a four star hotel await you after a day of sightseeing.

Glide-out utility tray basement storage makes accessing your stowed chairs and coolers easy.

betterRVing.com | 888.626.7800


2011

Heartland Landmark

The warmth and elegance of this luxury fifth wheel welcomes you home every time you enter. The 2011 Heartland Landmark offers a creative use of space and a cozy atmosphere.

RV DETAILS

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


Convenience is key: The living space features an electric fireplace tucked neatly beneath the 42-inch HD LCD TV and a home office alcove that has a two-tier pull-out media storage drawer. Keyless entry, halogen directional lighting and an Oxygenics速 shower head are some of the features that make living in the Landmark effortless. Culinary bliss: The kitchen offers pass-through cabinets, a large pantry with a sliding panel of shelves to ensure organization, and plenty of drawers and nook spaces to make the most of the space. The four-door, 9 cu.ft refrigerator features raised wood fronts to blend seamlessly with the hardwood cabinets. The double-sided stainless steel sink has a gooseneck faucet for easy washing.

This space-saving pantry with gliding shelf makes excellent use of space for storing your dry food staples.

The pass-through basement storage in the Landmark provides ample room for all of your extra supplies.

betterRVing.com | 888.626.7800


2011

Rockwood Premiere  Hardside

Roughing it? Hardly! Innovation and comfort are key with this new addition to the Rockwood popup line.

RV DETAILS

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


The perfect getaway: The Rockwood Premiere Hardside is ideal for the adventurous soul or the family who loves to escape into nature together. Warm two-tone fabric interiors, cherry-stained wood cabinetry with raised panel doors, stainless steel appliances and “tile-look� linoleum create the ambiance of a cozy retreat. Additional standard features like soft quilted innerspring mattresses, outdoor gas grill with worktable, and the Create-a-breeze three speed fantastic vent fan make relaxing after a hard day of play easy. Built to protect: The innovative Premiere Hardside construction offers a completely enclosed living area for a safe retreat from the elements. A fiberglass vacuum bonded roof with metal interior roof is seamless in the center to prevent leaks. Other features that provide peace of mind are the standard LP leak detector and the optional carbon monoxide detector.

The handy outdoor shower makes washing the dirt off from your latest adventure easy as pie.

betterRVing.com | 888.626.7800


What is the measure of the perfect RV? (How hard your heart beats when you finally find it.)

Whether you’re looking for a small towable pop-up or a lavish Class A motorhome, we have the one that will make your heart stop in its tracks. If you’re not in our neighborhood just go to lazydays.com and use the navigation on the left hand side of the page to shop our inventory - both new and pre-owned. If you see something that interests you or you fall in love with a particular RV just give us a call or send an email and we’ll help fulfill your RV dream.

lazydays.com

Passion. Freedom. Comfort. Excellence. This is where dreams come true. 58 BETTERRVING.COM WINTER 2011

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


PARTNER SPOTLIGHT How long have you worked at Lazydays? More than 24 years. I started out working at the lot in Zephyrhills, Fla., building park models. At that time we had seven dealerships throughout the state. When they closed that lot, they asked me to come work in Tampa. I said, “I’ll try it for a couple of months and see how it goes.” That was 24 years ago. What is the most important thing you have learned while working at Lazydays? I’ve been lucky to grow with Lazydays. Our company has matured over the years and improved itself through hard work and dedication to our customers, and I like to think that I have too. What experience in your life prepared you most for your job? Prior to working at Lazydays, I always had jobs that involved taking care of customers. Once I got here, my commitment to customer service jumped to a whole new level. After all, taking great care of the customer is what Lazydays is all about.

SNOW CHAMBERLAIN Event Coordinator

How many times do you think you have said the magic words “Welcome to Lazydays” in your career? Who knows: 40, 50, maybe 100 times a day for 24 years. I’ve said it a few times.

What do you personally do to enhance the customer’s experience at Lazydays? I try to make every customer I meet feel welcome, important, comfortable and understood. I do everything I can to make each customer’s experience at Lazydays a happy one. Smile and be nice. That’s worked for me for a long time. What are you particularly proud of regarding Lazydays? I’m proud of the way we’ve survived the tough times, particularly the spell we just experienced over the last few years. We sacrificed what we had to, but we never lost sight of what’s truly important. We never lost sight of our customers and their dreams. What one thing about you outside of work might surprise both customers and co-workers? Everybody seems to know that I’m into cars and motorcycles. I love to travel and meet people and see places, but everybody at Lazydays seems to know that too. I guess I don’t have that many surprises. I live for Lazydays … and cars.

Roam the country—

NOT THE ROAD!

Blue Ox® TruCenter® Steering Control

Blue Ox® TigerTrak™ Track Bar

TigerTrak™ track bars stop rear-end sway, improving handling, while making the ride more enjoyable. Eliminates side to side sway of springs Simple bolt on installation, no drilling or welding required Fits for both front and rear axles of most front engine, gas motorhomes Chassis warranty is not affected by installation

brv3711

betterRVing.com | 888.626.7800

Do you wish your motorhome drove more like your car? Are you tired after only a short time behind the wheel? Do you worry about keeping your motorhome under control in the event of a front tire blow out? TruCenter® is the solution for you. Double-sealed, Nitrogen gas spring exerts up to 270 pounds of pressure on your steering, taking the “floating” feeling out of your steering wheel Convenient push button allows for adjustment for cross winds and road crown Keeps your steering stable so you can stop safely in the event of a blow out, rather than pulling uncontrollably to one side.

Call “Bethany” for more information! One Mill Road • POB 430 Pender, NE 68047 800-228-9289 www.blueox.com


NO NEED TO PANIC! DON’T FREAK OUT! IN AN EMERGENCY PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL US 24/7. LazydaysService.com

Sometimes when you’re out and about in your RV, little problems arise and you need some help. Your awning won’t retract, your hose won’t connect, the microwave won’t work at full power and there’s no one around to give you a hand. Don’t panic, don’t fret – just pick up your phone, dial 877-406-8950 and we’ll help you through it. If it’s after hours and an emergency occurs, such as your furnace or AC won’t come on, your LP detector goes off, or something just as dire, call us at 877-406-8950 and one of our 24/7 Service Experts will talk you through a fix. If it can’t be resolved over the phone, they’ll help put you in contact with someone close-by that can correct the problem. Why would we do this? Because we believe the RVer’s journey should be one that creates great memories–not bad ones. RV SERVICE We strive to give you peace of mind. A craftsman for every need


ask steve

Technically Speaking with Steve Roddy He’s an RVIA/RVDA Master Certified technician with over 38 years of RV experience. Some call him a living legend in the RV industry. He just likes to be called Steve.

Q

The retractable electric steps at our RV’s entry no longer fully retract and seem to be getting slightly worse. Is there an easy remedy to this like adding hydraulic fluid perhaps?

A

The lack of lubrication is the No. 1 problem with poorly functioning entry steps. Low voltage from batteries would be the No. 2 problem. Make sure all the pivot points of the steps are cleaned and lubricated. WD-40 will clean the steps but use KwikLube or a silicone spray to lubricate the steps. This should be part of your monthly maintenance. Check the water level in the batteries and check the voltage from the batteries to make sure the steps are getting the proper battery voltage.

Q

We are hooked up to city water and should not have water going to our RV’s holding tank, but the volume of our holding tank seems to be increasing as time goes by. Is there a valve to prevent water flowing to the holding tank?

A

There is a valve that directs water from the city water connection to the fresh tank. It is the valve that is manually turned to tank-fill or it is an automatic valve that shuts off when the tank is full. Normally located outside in the water bay (city water connection, tank rinse, holding tank valves, etc.) is a lever that is put in a city-water or a tank-fill position. I have seen this valve leak or not shut off water to the tank completely. Also, in some cases the handle can be removed so the valve can be turned to correct the leak problem and then the handle reinstalled.

Q A

What is the best way to go about lubricating the gears and rails for my slide-outs?

It is important to keep the gears clean, but do NOT use grease for lubrication. Grease buildup can negatively affect the drive gear. One of the most important items to lubricate is the bottom of the room. If the bottom of the room is dirty, it creates a lot of friction and resistance when the room is moving. Also lubricate the rollers or glide strips behind the lower slide seals with a light lubricant such as a silicone spray or CRC. The gears that you can see do not create a lot of heat or friction unless they are dirty.

Q A

I had to disconnect my gas alarm in my trailer. Now it keeps going off for no apparent reason. Any ideas?

Never assume an alarm is not sensing LP (propane) from somewhere. When you confirm that you have no LP leaks, then (1) check for low voltage to the detector, (2) see if your detector has expired (all detectors have an expiration date) or (3) have your detector inspected by a certified RV technician to ensure that it is not faulty.

Q A

I spent all winter correcting my slice off the tee. Any advice before I tee off this season?

Prepare to hook.

Q How can I get the quickest response to my questions? A We have technical experts who will respond to your questions at www.facebook.com/betterRVing. Or, send your tech questions to insider@betterRVing.com.

betterRVing.com | Spring 2011


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