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Have you ever walked into an RV showroom and thought, “If only this showroom were a little bigger, I wouldn’t have to go outside to look at more models.”
Attend the Atlanta Camping & RV Show, and you’ll get your wish. How does a couple of hundred thousand extra square feet sound?
The Atlanta Camping & RV Show will be held inside Atlanta Exposition Center South, Jan. 25-27, 2019. It bills itself as the largest all-indoor RV show in Georgia, and with 211,00 square feet crammed full of every kind of RV imaginable, it’s not hard to see why.
Wear comfortable footwear. You’ll have walked miles if you’ve traveled very aisle and walked through every RV on the floor.
The space will be filled with inventory from nine Georgia RV dealers.
They present varying manufacturers that specialize in different types of RVs.
Most of the participating dealers will list on the show’s dealer web page the units they’ll display closer to the date of the show. It’s impossible for dealers to show every model from every manufacturer they represent, but here are some of the brands sold by participating dealers:
So, as far as your RV life goes, what are you thinking about right now?
If all you want to do is make some changes to your RV—a new awning, a better generator, a stronger hitch, a more comfortable couch or bed—here’s a chance to find countless makes and models of the products you’re considering, all in one place. You’ll probably discover a few that you had no idea were out there.
Dream a little. Even if all you want to do is improve the RV you have, by touring the new RVs—including upscale models—you’ll see established and coming trends. Just about anything that’s popular on new RVs becomes available in the aftermarket sooner or later.
If you want to upgrade—buy a bigger trailer, switch to a motor home, move from a Class B to a Class C or Class A—they’re all bound to be on the show floor. You’re lkely to see not only examples of those RVs, but also fifth wheels, toy haulers and the increasingly popular park or destination trailers. Just starting out in RVing? You’ll see more modest trailers, too, such as popups, teardrops and truck campers.
You can do a lot more than kick the tires. Test out the work triangle in a Class A kitchen. Get behind the wheel and see how it feels. Sit on a toy hauler’s fold-down deck and see if it’s the kind of outdoor setting that satisfies you.
If you’re seriously looking, bring your title. Dealers offer big discounts on show models, with very little wear from all those visitors and intact manufacturers’ new-RV warranties. Discounts of tens of thousands of dollars are common at shows on bigger, more luxurious models. Even a teardrop or popup will carry a hefty show discount. Many deals are done on the show floor. Dealers sell used RVs, so they’re likely to take yours in trade.
In addition to the dealers, more than 80 exhibitors will set up booths displaying accessories, such as awnings, patios, outdoor tables and chairs, foldout grills and firepits; replacement items, such as interior furniture, appliances and generators; and destinations, such as campgrounds, parks and communities.
You’ll also be able to hear talks and see demonstrations to help you better maintain, travel in, insure and use your recreational vehicle. Manufacturers of products and providers of services who conduct the demonstrations share information based on their knowledge of RV systems and RV life. Sometimes celebrity RVers do the talking.
Among the topics will be things to do and avoid on short and long trips, how to find good campsites, hiking, and memberships that enhance the RV experience.
And of course, any time you get thousands of RVers together, you just get a chance to chat one another up and discover great tips about RV living and places to visit.
Event: Atlanta Camping & RV ShowVenue: Atlanta Exposition Center South3850 Jonesboro RoadAtlanta, GA 30354(I-285 at Exit 55)Dates: Jan. 25-27, 2019Hours: Friday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Cost: $10, ages 17-54; $9, age 55 and older; $6, ages 6-16; age 5 and under, free.Parking: FreeDirections: The Atlanta Exposition Center South is about a 2-hour drive south from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa.
Ready to get your RV into the holiday spirit? Here are some ideas.
It’s easy and affordable to imbue your trailer or motorhome with Christmas spirit.
Nothing says Christmas like presents, so why not use that motif where you can in your RV?
Kitchen cabinet doors are a great place. They’ve got that Christmas-present rectangular shape. Their transformation into gifts concentrates on the doors.
You can just add ribbon and stick-on bows to the doors to dress them up in holiday style. Wrap the ribbons over the edge of the doors and tape them to the insides of the doors, or use a few tacks—as few as possible. If the bows won’t stay in place, use a paper stapler to fasten them to the ribbon.
Make a bigger splash by using rolls of wrapping paper to add color. Solid colors may be the best choice here; patterns can overwhelm. Use the paper—maybe a red or green, or a sparkly version—to wrap each door. Leave the smooth, full covering on the outside. Fasten with transparent tape or tacks inside. Fold the wrapping paper over the edges of the door and crease it at the edges so it lies flat more readily.
After the paper is on, you can apply the same ribbon-and-bow treatment mentioned above. Now, that’s a Christmas gift look.
If you have the floor space for a tree, wonderful! It doesn’t have to be—and maybe shouldn’t be—too tall if you’re traveling, so it doesn’t tip over. If you’re here at the resort for the holidays, just set it up as you would in a bricks-and-mortar home. If you’ll be traveling, screw the tree stand onto a carpet-covered plywood cutoff, maybe 3x3 feet. Set the plywood on no-slip drawer liner so it doesn’t wander when traveling. It’s also good to tether the tree with string and thumbtacks before you move.
No room for a tree? No problem. Try stringing green garland—natural or artificial—along a wall. Natural will provide a holiday scent. Make sure there’s slack between connection points so it bows a bit toward the floor. You may not want to screw into your RV walls to do this, so use clear or white no-screw picture hangers every few feet. They’re cheap, they’ll get the job done, and they remove easily when you pull on a tab after the holidays.
Whether you have a tree or garland for greenery, add some mini LED lights—white or colors—to liven them up, and some small ornaments. You can even find RV-themed ornaments. If you plan to drive with the decorations up, choose modestly sized ornaments and use green or black tie wraps to attach them, rather than metal hooks. Some big red or white velvet bows add a tasteful pop. String white or colored LED bulbs through the garland.
If you live in a park, make sure you stay within the rules for outdoor holiday decorations.
An easy way to add nighttime decorations is with a laser light that projects against the side of your RV. Lights that project red and green dots are common, but these days additional colors are available. Many laser projectors offer a menu of shapes, often including holiday-related shapes—holly leaves, trees, stars, angels. Some laser projectors are dedicated to holiday shapes. You can set the projectd shaps to be stationary or to move. You’ll need a lasr light approved for outdoor use and an outdoor-rated power cord.
Tips for decorating inside can work outside, too. A tree with lights at your site is tasteful and fun, and garland and/or a string of LED lights can be temporarily strung on your RV exterior for holiday flavor. The wrapping technique can work on your RV door just as easily as on cabinets, as long as you’re not traveling. You can buy weatherproof holiday door wraps, which you’ll have to trim to size for your RV. If you use paper, make sure the roll is long enough to go the length of the door, then cover with clear plastic. A traditional wreath is always fashionable—and removable when you roll.
Wreath decals are also available. As are decals with other holiday images and messages. They eliminate having to remove them when you travel.
Happy holidays, everyone!
photo credits: Pinterest
If you’re looking for a holiday decoration stamped with the words “Made in China,” you don’t want to visit Christmas Made in the South. The juried craft fair makes several stops in Georgia and nearby every November and December.
The name pretty much describes what you’ll find from the 200 or so crafters and artisans who set up shop each Christmas season at the show. All the products are handmade by Southerners.
“Juried exhibit” means not just any crafter can come in and sell at the show. Artisans must send photos of their work to show officials. If the jurors see merit in the work—uniqueness, originality, quality, booth appeal—they invite the applicant to sell at the show. Exhibitors must display and sell the type of work reviewed by the judges.
Shows take on a regional flavor because the juries differ from place to place.
Where some regional shows might deal with a single craft, Christmas in the South welcomes a variety of works, as long as they deal with a single holiday: Christmas. When 200 or more crafters are selling in one spot, you’re bound to see all kinds of products.
Among the handcrafted items are pottery, candles, blown glass, tree ornaments, jewelry, tapestries, outdoor decorations, and painted and caned furniture, a popular category.
If you’re a crafter yourself, the shows offer a chance to talk to people who are good at what they do and usually are willing to talk about it. Learn new techniques. Find out what goes into a craft you might consider adding to your own repertoire.
You can personalize some products, too. Ornaments, for instance, can be ordered with your name or a family name, and maybe the year. It’s an opportunity to buy some personalized gifts for people on your Christmas list.
The show began as a church event on a single Saturday. Now it is run by Carolina Shows, Inc., which stages craft fairs and festivals throughout the South. Carolina Shows has been promoting events for more than 30 years, and it imbues each show with professionalism.
If the promoters find a product that doesn’t suit the tenor and standards of the exhibit, for instance, or doesn’t reflect what the jury approved, they’ll remove it. They’ll even take down signs that fail to meet standards.
Admission for all events is $7 for all three days, age 13 and older; children 12 and under enter free. For discounts, print $1 off coupons per ticket online
Two Christmas Made in the South shows remain this season in Georgia:
Venue: Macon CentrePlex200 Coliseum DriveMacon, GA 31217Dates: Nov. 2-4, 2018Times: Friday, 10 a.m. -7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.Admission: Parking: FreeDirections: The Macon CentrePlex is a 3½- to 4-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa. Venue: Savannah International Trade & Convention Center1 International DriveSavannah, GA 31421Dates: Nov. 16-18, 2018Times: Friday, 10 a.m. -6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.Admission: $7 admits one adult for all three days, age 13 and older; children 12 and under, freeDiscounts: Print $1 off coupons per ticket onlineParking: FreeDirections: The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center is a 5¾- to 6-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa. Another Christmas Made in the South will be in Jacksonville, Fla., during Thanksgiving weekend:
Venue: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center 1000 Water St.Jacksonville, FL 32204Dates: Nov. 23-25, 2018Times: Friday, 9 a.m. -6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.Parking: $5-10Directions: The Prime Osborn III convention center is just under a six-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa.
There also will be a Christmas Made in the South in Ladson, S.C., just outside of Charleston, that’s actually a bit closer than Savannah:
Venue: Exchange Park Fairgrounds9850 Highway 78Ladson, SC 29456Dates: Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2018Times: Friday, 10 a.m. -6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.Parking: FreeDirections: The Exchange Fairgrounds are a 5-hour and 20-minute drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa.
Photo Credits: Christmas Made in the South
If you’re planning to venture into colder climes with your RV for some winter camping, there’s plenty you should do before you go—and while you’re there.
Hitting colder areas with your RV is a welcome activity for many. There are ski slopes or cross-country ski areas to try, maybe just the sight of some snow-covered mountains to experience, and perhaps family to visit.
Don’t take the trip lightly. You must act to protect your RV and yourself.
Do you have a warm winter coat or jacket? Gloves that can protect you not just from the cold temperatures, but also from snow and ice? A winter hat? Really good sunglasses? Boots in case it snows? Some really warm sweaters and sweatshirts? An electric blanket for cold nights?
All may come in handy up North or out West, especially in higher elevations. Consider dressing warm when you drive instead of turning up the heat, which makes some drivers drowsy. Include a pair of thin driving gloves to ward off the cold feeling of the steering wheel without reducing grip.
If you’ve ever driven with snow on the roadside and the sun shining a day after a storm, you’ll know why good sunglasses are a must. Those conditions can be blinding.
You can get anything you need online if you can’t find it locally.
Winter driving is tough on a vehicle. You must do quite a few things to be safe on the road and at your campsite.
A collapsing shovel saves a bit of space, but make sure it’s strong and lightweight. A bag of sand is a good idea in case you get stuck on ice or packed snow. Pour the sand into a container with a locking lid to keep your storage space tidy.
Have your antifreeze/coolant checked. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze/water should protect your engine to 50 degrees below zero. That will raise the boiling point, too. Make sure hoses are sound. Carry a vial of stop-leak additive just in case a hose springs a leak. Quality duct tape can help temporarily, along with a spare gallon of antifreeze.
Put winter fluid in your washer reservoir to prevent freezing. (Never add engine-type antifreeze to it; doing so would damage your RV’s finish.) Check wiper blades. They’re cheap and easily replaced.
For campsite hookups, consider heated water lines so they don’t freeze. The safest routine is to fill your tank and disconnect, then store your empty hose. Reconnect when you must refill, then disconnect and empty the line again.
To keep lines from freezing, run your propane furnace and space heaters at all times when temperatures will be close to or constantly below freezing. Place conventional blankets over windows and doors where cold air may enter. (Keep a vent open, however, to allow moisture to escape.) Place small electric space heaters in the vent area to protect water lines there. Install heating pads on your fresh water tank and keep them turned on.
After emptying your tank, make sure the hose is clear before storing it. Any remaining residue—including solid waste—can freeze and block the pipe. Install heating pads to both gray and black tanks—and keep them turned on. Place a small electric space heater in the wet bay.
Temporary skirts help keep you and the lines warm. If there’s snow on the ground, you can pile snow along your camper to keep the wind from getting underneath. Avoid shoveling your RV in.
If warm-climate fuel is in your tank, it may not be formulated for Northern temperatures. Pour diesel additive or, if you’re powered by gasoline, dry gas into the tank. Pour the appropriate additive into your generator tank, too.
Mount snow tires on your tow vehicle or motorhome on all axles. Carry chains for the drive wheels. Towing in snow can be dangerous. Be extra cautious, driving slowly and keeping a longer distance behind vehicles. It’s easier to drive a motorhome in snow than it is to tow. If the forecast says a storm is coming, there’s no shame in deciding to leave early or stay an extra day or to.
You can always prepare your camper for winter and just use campsite facilities. It’s better to have goose bumps going to and from the facilities than a frozen water or waste line.
If you think Georgia runners are tailbacks who gain a lot of yardage for the Bulldogs, you don’t know much about Georgia peanuts.
Runners are often the peanuts you snack on during the game. They’re the most common type of peanut grown in the state. That’s significant, since Georgia has just under 50 percent of the peanut acreage cultivated in the United States.
October just about finishes the Georgia peanut harvest, which begins in August, so let’s talk peanuts.
Here are some other quick Georgia peanut facts:
To thrive, peanuts need about 22 inches of rain during the growing season and sandy soil that drains well. That’s why the Coastal Plain is prime peanut country.
Allergy Warning: If you have a peanut allergy, no preparation in the world will make peanuts safe for you. If you’re preparing food for guests and using peanuts as an ingredient, from Chinese chicken to candy or sweetbread, make sure none of your guests has a peanut allergy. It can take very little peanut content to trigger a dangerous anaphylactic reaction in those who have the allergy.
If you want to enjoy some George peanuts, here are a few suggestions:
For boiled peanuts, you need green peanuts, or dried peanuts that you rehydrate. The peanuts should still be in the shell. Raw peanuts for boiling often are Valencia or runners. Dried peanuts might be the Virginia type. Despite the name, most are grown in Georgia.
Boiled peanuts, unlike dried and roasted peanuts, are soft after they are cooked. They have to be refrigerated not only before they are boiled tp keep them from spoiling, but also afterwards. If you want to make a large quantity for later eating, freeze them in bags. They’ll keep for months if frozen, then microwaved to thaw.
You can boil peanuts on the stovetop, but it’s easier to boil them in a slow cooker, such as a Crockpot. Boiled peanuts are almost always salty. Popular seasonings are Old Bay or Zatarain Cajun-style.
If you use dried peanuts, rehydrate them by placing them into a pot of water, unheated, and let them soak overnight.
We’ve looked for some good recipes. Here are links to a couple:
Crock Pot Spicy Boiled PeanutsStovetop Salted Boiled Peanuts
You can certainly go out and buy roasted peanuts. They’re all over the place, from gas stations to corner stores and supermarkets. But why not roast them yourself? If you like them really well done, which processed peanuts often are not, you can turn them a savory toasted brown in your own oven.
Peanuts can be roasted in the shell or out. It’s easy to roast raw peanuts, or dried peanuts, which stay fresh longer than raw peanuts do. You can roast them with salt and/or seasonings, or plain. That’s a matter of taste. There’s no right or wrong seasoning. And here’s good news: Roasting takes less than an hour, which is a fraction of the time required for boiling.
One thing to remember about roasted peanuts is that once you roast them, they continue to cook even as they cool off. A peanut that’s hot and a bit chewy right out of the oven will be a little more done and crisper after it cools.
Here are a couple of recipes:
Roasting Peanuts—Oven, Microwave or Oil Roasted Raw Salted Peanuts If you want to learn more about peanuts and myriad ways to prepare them—for breakfast, snacks, natural peanut butter, or as part of your main meal—visit the Georgia Peanut Commission website.
After you’ve done the work, munch on a few peanuts with family or friends during a football game or while just socializing outside your RV.
Photo Credits: Wikihow, Quora
You can sit around a campfire and tell ghost stories for Halloween. Or you can get that creepy, crawling, cold feeling up and down your spine that comes from visiting some places in Georgia that many say are truly haunted.
So, in the spirit(s) of Halloween, we’ve gathered the details on a few ghost tours that you can experience in Georgia. Included are links to driving directions. Wherever you go ghost hunting, take a sweater. The experienced say the temperature drops when ghosts are near.
Not far from Americus is Andersonville National Historical Site, which honors the victims of the Confederate prisoner-of-war camp there. Park rangers lead respectful tours of the site, which also houses the National Prisoner of War Museum. Treatment of prisoners by both the Union and Confederacy was abysmal, but Andersonville was, by all accounts, a death camp. Many visitors say they can hear the cries of agony from some of the 13,000 Union soldiers who died at the prison, infamous for its lack of sanitation and food.
The superintendent of the prison, Capt. Henry Wirz, was hanged after the Civil War for war crimes. The hanging failed to break his neck, so his body twitched at the end of a rope until he suffocated. His ghost reportedly has been spotted roaming the grounds.
Andersonville National Historical SiteNational Prisoner of War Museum 496 Cemetery Road Andersonville, GA 31711Phone: 229-924-0343Cost: FreeReservations: Not required except for groups of 15 or moreDirections: Andersonville is about a 4-hour drive from Crossing Creeks, just less than 2 hours south of Atlanta.
Starting at the Decatur Town Square, tour guide “Boo” Newell leads visitors to buildings and cemeteries that people say are haunted. She delves not just into places where paranormal events have been reported, or where she’s experienced them, but also into the city’s history. The walk is about a mile long, so it’s the right length for kids as well as adults, but it takes two hours. What does she talk about? Murder, passion, vice, war and tragedy, she writes on her website. Plan to shoot photos—many people say orbs indicating paranormal activity show up in theirs.
Decatur Ghost TourAddress: 101 E. Court Square, Decatur, GA 30030Phone: 864-517-0688Hours: 7:30-9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday year-round Cost: $15, age 10 and older; $12, age 9 and youngerReservations: onlineDirections: Decatur Ghost Tour is just over 2 hours’ drive south of Crossing Creeks.
Here’s a chance to hunt for the supernatural and help to preserve Roswell’s historic features. A portion of every admission fee goes toward preservation projects.
Dianna Avena and other experienced paranormal investigators lead a 1-mile, 2½-hour Roswell Ghost Tour Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Roswell is an equal-opportunity haunt: Spirits have been reported in mansions as well as working-class homes and abandoned mills outside of town. Participants, and not just the tour leaders, say they have captured photographic, video and audible evidence of paranormal activity—people who no one remembers seeing, a person who casts no shadow, moans of workers in the mills. There’s a reduced price for children 12 and younger, but the tour guides do not recommend that children under age 13 take the tour.
Roswell Ghost Tour610 Atlanta St.Roswell GA 30075Phone: 864-517-0688Time/Place: 8:30 p.m.-1:20 a.m, Friday-Sunday, Gazebo in Roswell Town SquareCost: $15, age 13 and older; $10, age 12 and youngerReservations: onlineDirections: Roswell, about a half-hour north of Atlanta, is an hour and 45-minute drive from Crossing Creeks via either US 19 or U.S. 76 and Interstate 575. It’s only a few minutes from Decatur.
The Windsor Hotel in Americus is a Best Western Plus establishment. Perhaps the plus refers to its spirits.
There’s nothing unusual about a doorman helping hotel guests with luggage—unless it’s at the Windsor. At the ornate Victorian-era brick hotel, there’s one—Floyd, an elderly gentleman—who guests occasionally report helping them out. The thing is, the Windsor hasn’t had a doorman in years. Floyd really had worked there.
Then there’s the patter of little feet running through the hallways at night. That might be Emma, the daughter of Emily Mae, the housekeeper. The only problem is that both were slain in the 1920s when Emily Mae’s lover pushed them down an elevator shaft.
And some guests say things they own are moved inexplicably from one place to another in their rooms. There is one explanation, of course, and the hotel is glad to share it with folks on the ghost tour.
Windsor Hotel Historic Haunted Ghost ToursAddress: 125 Lamar St., Americus, GA 31709Phone: 229-924-1555Time: Daily, 8-9 p.m.Cost: $12Directions: Americus is a little over 2 hours south of Atlanta, about a 4¼-hour drive from Crossing Creeks.
If Savannah is, as reputed, the nation’s most haunted city, there are sound reasons. It was the center of the slave trade. Its population was ravaged by a yellow fever epidemic, with many victims buried in the Colonial Cemetery. And undoubtedly, women were raped and people were killed as a result of the city’s capture under Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who surprisingly spared the city from being torched. Sherman telegraphed President Abraham Lincoln to tell him he was presenting Savannah as a Christmas gift in 1864. Savannah did experience a devastating fire in 1865, although its cause has been a subject of debate.
Savannah’s status as the haunting capital may be the reason the city offers so many tours of ghost sites and graveyards. Rather than single out one, we’ll send you to a Savannah ghost tour list with offerings and prices. Some tours are walking; others are riding. Some are adults only; others are child-friendly. One even welcomes well-behaved dogs.
Directions: Savannah, a coastal city, is about a 5½-mile drive from Crossing Creeks. The quickest route is past Atlanta, so it would be easy to work in other sites in this blog while driving to or from Savannah.
Photo Credits: Wikipedia
Football season is upon us, and that means tailgates are as common as touchdowns.
Whether you’re tailgating outside the stadium or watching the game on your RV’s outdoor TV while you tailgate at Crossing Creeks RV Park & Resort, you’ve got to show your team colors.
You can find a host of ways to do that, beyond (and including) apparel in your team’s colors: flags and pennants of many sizes, decals for your RV, logo-emblazoned grills, a fire pit to warm up the after-game gathering, and tables that look like the playing field. You can find gear that tout the pros or college ranks.
Here are a few items to help you back the team while you’re enjoying good food, fine beverages and great company. You can order just about anything team-related online, shipped right to your door. Not available: A victory, but that’s why you al get together and cheer on every play.
Fly those colors as the Falcons fly toward a Super Bowl berth. You can go understated with a garden flag, step it up with a 44-inch double-sided house flag or go all out with a 5-foot banner that mimics the Stars and Stripes. Each banner bears the Falcons’ black and red colors and the stylized Falcon logo. From nflshop.com. Cost: $14-$40.
Your RV may not be a ramblin’ wreck—at least we hope not—but you can let everyone know it carries genuine Yellow Jackets fans. Pick up precision-cut decals of many sizes for Georgia Tech and other schools at fanatics.com. Cost: $5-$12.
How ’bout them dogs? No, not the Georgia Bulldogs. The hot dogs. Or the steaks, the burgers or the salmon filets? You can cook them over a portable iron grill bearing the University of Georgia’s big “G” emblem. It’s got built-in handles for easy carrying and storage when the party’s over, and both ardor and the coals cool. From fansedge.com. Cost: About $80.
Even Southern nights get cool in September and October for that post-game gathering. You’ll feel a warmer glow with a fire pit that bears the Georgia Southern Eagles logo, or the emblem of another favorite team. This fire pit measures 24 inches in diameter. It includes a grate for grilling, a poker and a weather cover. The team pits are available from serenityhealth.com. Cost: About $250.
After grilling and whipping up some great side dishes, you’ll need a place to put out that tasty spread. How about an all-aluminum, non-rusting Georgia State tailgate table? At 2x8 feet, it’s got plenty of room for everything you prepare and whatever your guests contribute, but it folds to a mere 2x2 feet to slip neatly into one of your RV’s storage areas. The painted surface wipes clean faster than a tailback can hit a hole in the line. The table looks like the Panthers playing field, with logos at the 30-yard lines. Look for other schools, too, at Fansedge.com. Cost: About $200.
Bug splatter is a real problem with summer and fall driving, and the longer you wait to get the bugs off your RV, the more difficult it will be. Absolutely get rid of them before winter.
Even more aerodynamic RVs are like bricks on wheels. They’re bound to catch a lot of bugs, especially in Southeastern states, including Georgia. One look through a splattered windshield on your way to or from Crossing Creeks RV Resort and Spa in Blairsville gives you a good idea of what the bugs do to the painted front ends of your RV. They may not show as readily on paint as on a clear windshield, but the bugs are there.
Let’s look not just at how to get dead bugs off your RV finish, but also how to lessen the likelihood that they’ll become a real mess in the first place.
You can’t escape bug splatter, but you can reduce just how much bugs stick to paint and decals.
The best defense is to do something you ought to do anyway to maintain the value and appearance of your RV: Keep it washed and waxed. Any high-quality wax will provide a protective layer against insects.
There are other preventive products, too. RejeX Polymer Coating, for instance, coats paint and decals with a micron-thin shield. Originated to protect airplanes, it’s glossy like wax, so you can use it alone on the front of your RV. Wax or RejeX make it easier to wipe off insect residue, but wax and RejeX don’t mix, so don’t use them together on the same area. Rejex can also be used on headlight covers and windshields. Photo credit: Rejex.com.
One of the traditional methods, but one that’s highly effective, is to use drier sheets—yes, the same sheets you throw in the drier to soften clothing. Do this in the shade or at least on the cool side of the RV, away from direct sunlight.
For bug removal, place a dryer sheet in a spray bottle and fill it with water. Spray the mixture onto the bugs and wipe off with—what else?—another dryer sheet. You may have to repeat, but the method gets the job done.
When you’re finished, wash and apply a new coating of wax or sealant. Photo credit: ezvidwiki.com.
Some automotive washing mitts do a good job of scrubbing off dead bugs. A good example is the Griot’s Garage Micro Fiber Wash & Scrub Mitt. Use a bucket of water mixed with the cleaning agent you normally use to wash your RV. The mitt soaks up plenty of water for a thorough wash.
One side of the mitt has tendrils of micro fiber for routine RV washing. The other side is textured with plastic edges for bug removal. The honeycomb on the textured side bites into bug splatter and helps to remove bug residue without scratching paint. You’ll still have to scrub, and possibly repeat. Photo credits: Griot's Garage.
Chemical cleaners—Maguiar’s Heavy Duty Bug & Tar Remover is an example—are formulated to soften bugs so they can be wiped off. You know Maguiar’s is working when it foams on the surface. Different cleaners may give different results. A soft rag or sponge should do for scrubbing, if necessary. When using any chemical cleaner, it’s a good idea to use latex gloves to limit exposure to your skin.
The makers of chemical cleaners say they engineer their cleaners so they don’t harm finishes, but it’s always a good practice to follow a vigorous chemical bug cleaning with a thorough wash. Apply a new coat of wax to keep more bugs from sticking. Photo credit: Meguiar's.
Some RV owners swear by dry washes, such as Aero Cosmetics Wash Wax All. You can use it in some RV parks that ban washing with water. You can also use it during stops while traveling. Spray it on, let it work in to soften the bugs, and wipe off with a micro fiber cloth. For stubborn splatters, scrub with a wet cloth before wiping dry. It leaves a slick sheen that will help to prevent future insect sticking.
If you want to cook outside the RV—and let’s face it, that’s what most RVers do on most days—you have to set everything up: the grill, the table, the chairs.
Now you can forget about the grill. No, sandwiches are not on the menu. You’re still going to cook out, but if you have one of the many new RVs so equipped—including trailers, fifth wheels, and Class A, B and C motorhomes—you’ll have a foldout grill or kitchen that makes outdoor cooking simpler. More comprehensive cooking centers are a tailgater’s dream.
Outdoor cooking areas aren’t new to RVs, but originally the outdoor food-prep areas were the only one the RV had, as on a teardrop camper. On a bigger RV, an outdoor kitchen is in addition to, not in place of, the RV’s traditional interior kitchen. And more manufacturers are making the external ktchens available as options or standard on upscale RV models.
You might just be surprised by how well equipped some of the outdoor kitchens are. Few are identical, even among those offered by a single RV manufacturer.
The more luxurious examples have not only a gas grill, but in many cases also a counter, a sink, a refrigerator, and cabinets and/or drawers for stowing away all the utensils and accessories, even dishes.
Outdoor entertainment centers have flat-panel high-definition TVs; stereo receivers, disc players and speakers; and in some cases, sinks with running water and bars, or at least a counter that can be used as a bar. There are even some kitchen/entertainment center combinations.
A good example of a basic kitchenette is available on some Keystone Hideout models. The kitchen has a slideout gas cooktop and a mini fridge beside it. There’s also a shelf/cubby area for storage. It’s compact and efficient. Probably best suited for breakfast, it does not include a grill.
More elaborate outdoor kitchens have everything you need to refrigerate food; cook it on a foldout stovetop or grill, or in a counter-mounted microwave; and serve with ease from the countertop. Almost any upscale outdoor kitchen will include a sink with running water, even if only a small one.
Grills and stoves may be mounted in drawers that slide out, or on arms that swing into position.
A nifty design on some outdoor kitchens is a fold-up door. The cover is flat when traveling, painted and decaled to match the side of the RV. When opened, it serves as an awning, deflecting rain and sun.
The Thor Outlaw Class A Toy Hauler has an entertainment center that seemingly has everything but the big game. It’s perfect for a tailgate bar setup. The 50-inch TV is nestled into built-in cabinetry. Below it is a faux stone countertop with a sink and running water.
Under the counter are built-in cabinets and a bar fridge. To the left of the entertainment center is a half-bath with an exterior door—perfect for accommodating party guests without having them walk through your living quarters.
Some manufacturers mount the giant TVs on slides. An end-mounted hinge allows the TV to be viewed from the kitchen, or when swung away, from the picnic table.
Maybe the neatest outdoor kitchen you’ll run across isn’t available from an RV dealer. It’s a roomy home-built mobile kitchen made from a used popup trailer, with the look of an old-time refreshment stand. It’s pulled behind a motorhome. Check it out.
Now, that is a tailgate party waiting to happen.
Photos: Courtesy of Keystone RV Co.
Any RV has fluids that need to be changed periodically and disposed of properly.
Fluid change requirements in an RV don’t differ significantly from those of a car or SUV you drive every day. The biggest difference may be the number of miles driven. If your RV is on the road for only 3,000 or 4,000 miles each year, you may not reach the change intervals in terms of miles, but you should still change the fluids periodically, and the filters along with them.
A motorhome has more fluids: motor oil, antifreeze/coolant and hydraulic fluid. An RV trailer may have only the hydraulic fluid.
Here are some fluid-change guidelines.
This is the lifeblood of your engine. Oil must flow freely to bathe moving internal engine parts. Oil lowers friction and heat, reducing wear. For oil to flow freely, it must be relatively clean, be the right weight for your vehicle and have a clean filter. All that information is available in the owner’s manual. A service department also will know it.
Generally speaking, an oil and filter change every 4,000 to 5,000 miles is sufficient. But certain conditions place additional stresses on oil and may call for more frequent changes: towing; driving under heavy loads, in extremely hot weather, and in high altitudes; and idling for long periods.
If you don’t travel as many miles as are recommended for oil changes, change the oil yearly.
If you change the oil yourself, buy a pan to catch the old oil. Save it for recycling. (More on that later.)
The difference of opinions on transmission oil changes is wide. Check your owner’s manual. Some sources say 100,000 miles; some say 50,000 miles. If you tow a trailer, your pickup’s tranny fluid should be changed under the “severe service” schedule, which would be more frequently. The Chevrolet Silverado “severe service” recommendation, for example, is every 45,000 miles. If you purchased an independent, extended warranty, check to make sure it does not require more frequent intervals.
It’s pretty safe to say that motor home transmission fluid should be changed under the severe schedule as well, since it’s powering thousands of extra pounds.
As a rule, check your transmission fluid seasonally, using the transmission dipstick, with the engine running. If the level is full, and if the liquid is clear and is its normal color—probably red—and doesn’t smell burnt, you’re good to go. If something is abnormal, have your transmission checked.
If you change the fluid yourself, make sure the fluid you buy is compatible. A dealer parts department or auto parts store will know the proper fluid. Catch and hold the transmission fluid for recycling.
Much like transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid is usually good if it is clean, the original color and doesn’t smell burnt. A good rule to follow is to change hydraulic fluid every two years, but always if it appears out of the ordinary.
Hydraulic fluid changes are messy. Filter requirements vary. Some models have not only an external filter, but also an internal filter. Make sure you use compatible filters.
Capture and save hydraulic fluid for recycling.
Safely and responsibly disposing of used oil isn’t as hard as you might think. The important thing is to keep it out of landfills, where it can leak and contaminate underground water and soil.
Many service stations accept used oil, including hydraulic fluid and transmission fluid, which are also classified as oil. Many service centers have setups that enable them to burn the oil, using it as heating fuel. Most Autozone parts stores and Pep Boys accept used oil, but many independently owned corner service stations do, too. Just call and ask.
Oil filters should be hot drained—kept at 60 degrees or above and allowed to drain into a container. For up to 12 hours. Drained filters can be sent to landfills in some states, including Georgia, but recycling is a more environmentally friendly practice.
Some municipalities hold annual hazardous waste collections and accept used motor oil and filters, even though normal used oil is considered regulated, not hazardous. Check your municipal government’s website or just call to find out. Hydraulic fluid, transmission oil and gear oil are all considered oil and can be recycled.
*Photo courtesy of Wikipedia