Three Poisonous Plants To Avoid While Camping

People go camping for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is to enjoy the outdoors. Whether it’s hiking, strolling, fishing or swimming when we are camping we want to enjoy the great outdoors. There are several plants and animals that we need to watch out for and avoid when we are out in nature. Three of these plants include poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. With a bit of knowledge you can keep an eye out for these and you will know what to do if you happen to come in contact with them. The old adage of “leaves of three, let it be” could be used for poison ivy and oak, but not poison sumac.

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is found throughout much of North America, primarily to the east of the Rocky Mountains. It grows in wooded areas, predominantly around edge areas, on exposed rock, in open fields and as underbrush. The identifying characteristics of poison ivy include a cluster of three almond shape leaflets, reddish hairs on the vine and no thorns. If you do come into contact with poison ivy it will cause itching, red inflammation and possibly blistering. To treat exposure, over the counter medicines such as Calamine lotion and home remedies such as oatmeal baths and baking soda can help to relieve the irritation.

Poison Ivy

Poison Oak

Poison oak can be found from Virginia west to Texas and Oklahoma. It is an upright shrub with three leaflet clusters and grows in thickets, forests and dry, sandy fields. Exposure to poison oak causes similar symptoms to poison ivy; itching, red inflammation and blistering. Treatment is also similar to poison ivy, over the counter lotions, oatmeal baths and baking soda.

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Poison Sumac

Poison sumac is the most toxic of the three plants. Contact with poison sumac will cause more lengthy and painful skin eruptions and irritation. Poison sumac is found in wet areas, such as swaps, bogs and flooded areas in the eastern United States and Canada. Unlike poison ivy and oak, poison sumac is found in the form of a small tree or shrub. The plant contains greenish leafs that are oblong in shape with 7-13 leafs per stem. It also has grey fruit or berries.

Poison Sumac

For more information regarding these three plants visit http://www.wikipedia.com.

Pennsylvania does your RV stink?

Have you ever walked into a stale RV and wondered where the smell is coming from? Or are you trying to remove a smell in your RV after a long winter storage? The various smells and odors that form in RVs can be removed and taken care of. Here are 8 tips to removing bad odors from your RV.

1. Sewer Smell in the Bathroom
There are tons of chemicals that eliminate RV toilet odor on the market, each catering to the different ways your tank is dumped. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t help at all! Good ventilation for the black water tank is a must. The tank is vented out the roof of an RV. When traveling down the road, the wind can push wind down through that ventalation pipe, pushing the smell back into the RV instead of drawing out the odor. So…what do you do? You can install a special sewer vent that is designed to suck the odor out of the black tank with only a small breeze. See your local dealership to find out if they carry these special sewer vents.

2. Kitchen and Bathroom Drain Odors
When your trailer is not in use, water trapped in the P-traps under every sink and the shower can grow bacteria, spreading the smell throughout your RV. To keep the smell from forming, mix a cup of baking soda with a gallon of water. Pour the mixture down every drain and then dump what’s left into the kitchen sink so the mixture will go into the gray water tank too.

3. Rodent Odors in your RV
Dead rodents can be one of the worst smells in your RV. To remove the odor, find the dead rodent and remove it. Then scrub the area well, making sure to remove the odor and the bacteria/diseases that might have been left.

4. Bad Smelling Potable RV Water
When your water from your fresh water tank starts to smell or taste bad, it’s time to clean out the water system. The only way to get the fresh water tank system clean is to sanitize your RV water system with a diluted mixture of household bleach and water (make sure to rinse out the bleach mixture completely from your fresh water tank before use). If you keep having bad water issues in your fresh water tank system, consider installing a water filtration system.

5. Smelly RV Carpet and Pet Odors
The best way to remove smelly or pet stained carpets in your RV is to tear it out and replace it with laminate flooring. If you can’t afford to replace your carpet, another option is to get your carpet professionally cleaned. Invest in throw rugs to help keep your carpets clean and fresh as long as possible. You can also get your upholstery professionally cleaned, helping to eliminate any odors on your furniture too.

6. RV Refrigerator & Freezer Odors
To avoid a mildew or stale smell in your refrigerator and freezer, wipe down the inside with soap and water after every trip. Then leave the refrigerator and freezer doors left ajar to allow all moisture to evaporate. Leave either a shallow bowl or a box of baking soda in both the fridge and freezer will also help absorb any odors that may develop.

7. Stale RV Smells from Non-Use
If your RV has sat around for a while without regular use, a stale smell will start to appear. It’s usually smells, on top of smells, on top of smells! All in all…your RV needs to breath! Installing vent covers over the existing roof vents allows you to leave the roof vents open slightly, letting the hot stale air escape. Solar powered vents can also help you draw out the air more efficiently too. Removing the entire stale odor from your RV also involves doing steps 1 thru 6 and cleaning every surface in your RV. There are products on the market that claim they deodorized storage and mildew odors, but cleaning with regular household products work just as well.

8. Propane and Ammonia Odors
These two odors can mean big problems! If you start to smell a strong ammonia odor, the source will be the cooling unit of your refrigerator. The ammonia odor will be strong enough to bring tears to your eyes. There is really nothing you can do to fix it on your own. You’ll need to see the Service Department at your local Dealership, and be prepared for it to be expensive.

Propane odor can come from many areas and sources in and around your RV. Like the propane tanks, stove, oven, refrigerator, water heater, furnace, etc and the all lines that connect these appliances to the tanks as well. In order to detect a leak around the fittings, use a small brush and soapy water. Make sure to have adequate ventilation before you go looking for a propane problem. If you’re ever in doubt, call the Service Department at your local Central PA RV Dealership.

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Watch “How to Control Moisture and Musty Smells in an RV” from Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor.

 

RV Odors: How to get rid of RV odors by the RV Doctor

**These tips for how to remove odors in your RV came from “RV Odor Problems: How to Remove 10 Different Odors from your RV” written by Curtis in the RV Section on the thefuntimesguide.com website.

Triple Towing: Legal or not in your state?

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Sometimes when traveling we just need to take a bit more equipment than the average family. For example you might want to tow a boat & a camper behind your vehicle. This is known as triple towing.  It is important to know your limits when it comes to triple towing.

Triple towing is illegal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. However the good news is that in most states it is legal to tow two trailers at the same time behind your vehicle. It is allowed in the following States:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah

But things aren’t always just black and white so here are some exceptions to the rule. And the states listed above can change their laws at any time. States will have different variations of triple towing so it might restrict your abilities to triple tow.

Be sure to find out which states limit the total length of all 3 units to 65 feet. But in other circumstances the limit is 70 feet or 75 feet total length. Other issues you might find is that States can also limit the second trailer to recreational equipment, such as a boat, snowmobile, or ATV 4-wheelers.  Special endorsement on your driver’s license to tow any trailer over 10,000 lbs or to drive a motor-home that is over 40 feet in length is required in California.

Some good websites that contain the rules and guidelines for triple towing by State are Woodall’s Rules of the Road & Towing World. Although these websites do contain good information, it is important to know that rules and laws can change frequently and information can often times get mixed up so be sure to find out the latest rules and regulations before you plan your trip.  To do this, contact the Transportation Department or Highway Patrol in your State & the States you are traveling through.

Lastly, remember that safety is the name of the game when it comes to triple towing so be sure that you are properly following all safety measures and regulations. Triple towing requires a great deal of responsibility. This responsibility includes being able to maneuver in close spaces, using your brake with enough room to stop safely, and knowing how to back up all those units without causing a wreck. But most importantly, use common sense and watch your surrounds.

** This information came from “The Fun Times Guide” on their article called “Triple Towing: What You Need To Know Before You Pull 2 Trailers Behind A Car, Truck, or RV”.

***Lerch RV does not recommend triple towing.  And if you decide to triple tow, do so only after you know all the risks. Make sure you can see 200 feet behind the last vehicle you’re towing (towing mirrors help with this), and when you are backing up, you know how to maneuver your trailers properly. Check all State laws and guidelines when tripe towing or even thinking about triple towing. And remember it is illegal to triple tow in the state of Pennsylvania. 

****Article adapted from towing article found on Bish RV blog.

Caring For Your RV Awning

Caring for your RV is very important. I always stress how a small amount of preventative maintenance goes a long way.  However keep in mind that your RV awning fabric is equally important. Here are some tips to keep your RV’s awning looking new for a long time.

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  1. One of the best ways to keep the fabric looking good and to delay the need for deep or vigorous cleaning is to hose fabrics off on a monthly basis with clear water. This practice will help prevent dirt from becoming deeply imbedded in the fabric. In most environments, a thorough cleaning will be needed every two to three years.
  2. When it’s time for a thorough cleaning, the fabric can be cleaned while still on an awning frame. For vinyl fabric – Use a soft brush and warm water with soap. For acrylic fabric, use a stiff brush and warm water with soap.
  3. When cleaning the fabric, it is important to observe the following:
  • Caution:  Do not use oil based cleaners or any caustic, granulated, or abrasive type cleaners on your RV awning.
  • Always use a natural soap, never detergent.
  • Water should be cold to lukewarm, never more than 100°F.
  • Air-dry only.
  • Never apply heat to the fabric.

Always allow the fabric to dry thoroughly before rolling up the awning to avoid mildew. Vinyl-coated polyester fabrics are mildew resistant because of a chemical biocide in their coating. Under ordinary conditions, mildew will not appear. However, in areas where high temperature and humidity are common, mildew can be a problem and may require the material to be washed more frequently than in cooler, drier climates. To clean mildew from a unit’s awning, thoroughly rinse the fabric with clean water and allow to air dry completely before rolling it up.

An additional way to helping to protect and pro-long the life of your RV awning fabric, is to have the Trident Awning Protection System applied to your awning.  This protection treatment helps prevent mildew stains, mold growth, UV fading, chipping, and cracking of your RV awning.  For more information on the Trident Protection System or care of your RV awning, please contact Pennsylvania’s largest travel trailer RV dealership.

Condensation in Pennsylvania RVs

Condensation in RVs is common and, over the years, I have had lots of questions regarding condensation,so we’re here to explain what it is and how to minimize it in your RV.

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Condensation is defined in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as: a chemical reaction involving union between molecules often with elimination of a simple molecule (as water) to form a new more complex compound of often greater molecular weight.

Condensation happens when the surface the condensation has gathered on is cooler than the temperature of the water vapor that created the condensation. Where there is a high level of humidity from normal day activities, such as cooking or showering, condensation will form when this humid air comes in contact with colder surfaces, which causes dampness on surfaces.

While most RV manufactures can’t guarantee an elimination of all condensation, I would like to provide you some tips to lessen the condensation that happens inside your RV. When you’re cooking or showering, be sure that you’re using the roof vent fans. The fan will pull the moisture out of the unit, reducing the chance for it to collect on the windows and the walls. Using an extra fan to help move the air around inside of the RV can also help. Another idea to reduce the chances for condensation to form is to use the microwave to heat up water, rather than the stove, to contain the moisture and limit the amount that is allowed into the air. If no microwave is available, opening a small window while heating water on the stove will allow the moisture to escape. In addition, using a small de-humidifier inside of your RV will help with removing the moisture from the air.

The more you allow the moisture building inside of your RV to escape and move the air around so it has less of a chance to settle, the less condensation you’ll find in your unit. If you use these tips and adapt them to other purposes, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of condensation that forms on your walls and windows inside your unit.

If you need additional roof vent fans installed or your existing ones fixed, please contact your central Pennsylvania RV dealer, Lerch RV at 800-722-1236. Our RV service department will gladly help you out.

Camping Season Tips

Spring has arrived! And I have camping fever. As many of my friends and relatives do.  As the camping season begins, there is a lot to think about and plan for your upcoming camping adventures so we created a list of tips that can help your camping season run smoothly.

  • De-winterize and clean your RV a couple of weeks before your first camping trip.
  • Give your appliances and major components a look over. Make sure everything is in good, safe working order before you first trip. If you need any help call your central Pennsylvania RV dealer.
  • Pack your camper ahead of time with all the nonperishable items you’ll take with you on your camping trip. It’s helpful to pack things that can stay in your RV all season long so you don’t have to unpack and repack everything each trip. (i.e. blankets, pillows, dishware, games, etc.)
  • Book your campsites for the whole season as early as possible. With the popularity of camping, many campgrounds have been experiencing packed weekends.
  • Plan your meals ahead. Don’t wait till the last-minute to decide on the food you want to take.
  • Use recipes that call for the same ingredients to avoid taking along a bunch of different ingredients.
  • Be sure to do all the necessary maintenance checks before hitting the road to help avoid any mishaps while you’re on your camping excursion. No-one likes surprises.

These are just a few helpful tips to hopefully make your camping season go off without a hitch.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Pennsylvania’s Keystone Fuzion Toy Hauler Dealer, Lerch RV.

FUZION

It’s More than a Garage!

With automotive exterior lines and innovative interior patio door the new Fuzion is “More Than A Garage”. Boasting a stylish modern interior with custom furniture and cabinetry the Fuzion has a look that is unparalleled. One look at the Fuzion is enough to get your heart racing!  Manufactured by the Keystone RV Company, the Fuzion line up of fifth wheel and travel trailer toy hauler RVs is pretty amazing.  Currently Fuzion offers four different travel trailer toy hauler floor-plans that range from 30′ – 35′ in total length.  With unladen weights ranging from 6,700 lbs through 9,150 lbs., there is a Fuzion travel trailer toy hauler for everyone.

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Fuzion fifth wheel toy haulers are produced in eight different floor-plans.  Ranging from the Fuzion 310 at 35′ in length up to the Fuzion 412 at a total length of 41′.  The Fuzion toy hauler offers the avid RVer, a 102″ wide body, 3/8″ roof decking, 5/8″ one piece decking in living area, a full 1″ one-piece decking in garage area, 5″ wood trussed roof spaced at 16″ on center which gives you a full walk-able roof.  Aluminum framed, fully laminated fiberglass side walls sit on a frame of 10″ or 12″ steel twin I-beam construction. Solid surface counter-tops in the kitchen and bath are both beautiful and durable. The high-rise pull out kitchen faucet allows you to easily fill larger vessels in the sink, instead of elsewhere.  The Fuzion fifth wheel offers more and larger windows than any other RV in its class. And virtually all Fuzion windows open to bring in the fresh air.  Leather wrapped window treatments add style, while recessed lighting from above adds to the elegance.  And do not forget those day/night shades for privacy and functionality at all times of the day.

The garage area of a Fuzion is really a true multipurpose room.  It is just not a garage any longer, it is versatility.  Whether you plan on using the garage as your ‘Man-Cave’ for the weekend, or a bunk house that offers the comfort of home. The screened in porch and opening windows provide you with un-limitless ways to enjoy your Fuzion garage.

In conjunction with many great features, Fuzion offers two gray water tanks with 86 gallons of capacity, a black water tank with 43 gallons of capacity and 100 gallons of fresh water. For most models, 60 pounds of propane with automatic change over comes standard. A few upgrade options include a 5500 watt generator, double electric queen beds with opposing sofas, six point level system, 2nd AC with heat strip, dual pane windows, rear ramp patio with awning, and Fuzion’s intense full body paint.

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Keystone Fuzion toy hauler fifth wheel, in full body paint.

Whether you are bringing the toys along, or are looking for more interior storage space.  Stop by Pennsylvania’s newest Keystone Fuzion dealer, Lerch RV and take a look at the new 2013 Fuzion toy hauler fifth wheels and travel trailer offerings.