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When Did YOU Catch the RV “Bug?”

posted by Brandon Esparza @ 10:40pm, Tuesday 8 December 2015.

I think this all began when I started working for RVT.com way back in late 2012. I’d never worked in the RV industry before, and the whole RV thing seemed kind of foreign to me. I did not “RV” growing up… actually we didn’t even really camp.

… Now fast forward 3 years, and our family has a full blown case of the “RV Bug!”

For us, it came on quietly… we almost didn’t even notice the symptoms at first.

First we found ourselves “joking” about getting an RV and doing some traveling.

Then, suddenly, before we knew it… The jokes turned into a serious conversation.

And then… something of a loose “plan” started developing!

If I had to pinpoint the moment, I’d say that we officially knew that we had a full-blown case of “RV” when we visited a local dealership and stepped into what might just become our new home for the better part of next year.


What was the catalyst? What made it “real” for us?


Well, here are OUR family's reasons in a nutshell:

What made it serious for me was the fact that we have family and friends literally scattered across North America... from Texas to close to the arctic circle, and from the east to west coasts.

We found the visiting them all just wasn’t feasible for us, and we would just have to be satisfied with that.

Or did we? NO!


Because we could get an RV, travel for perhaps six months to a year and see them all in one shot! And we wouldn’t have to just see them for a few of days each, we could spend WEEKS hanging out, reconnecting, and becoming more of a family and community again.

I’ll be honest, for me, the idea has become “burning hot!”—I’ve become downright indignant about being “stranded” here.

I mean, sure we could try to fly all over the continent, or cram into our small car and drive (not likely!). We could stay in hotels, or possibly find short term rental properties…

But the RV choice just seemed like the best option for us.

I think especially because, after our trip, we could either:

a) Keep the rig and keep enjoying it, year after year... or
b) Sell it off and recoup some of our costs (impossible with the other options)


But during this process, I’ve also been wondering about how others caught the “bug.” With so many RVers out there, and each story a little different, there had to be some interesting stories.

I asked a few people how they caught “RV.”

(Ok, I ran a survey and asked 100 people; here were some of the typical responses):

  • Hereditary (i.e., from family/parents)
  • Close contact with other RVers (i.e., from friends)
  • Overexposure to the ground (i.e., as a result of traditional camping)
  • Contracted digitally (i.e., from the internet)

Here are two other responses that I enjoyed:

  • Watched the movie “RV” 
  • “I was in the parking lot before a San Diego Chargers game and someone was making hot wings.” (Haha).

After that last response... I found myself “hungry” for more RV stories.

So how about it? How did YOU catch the bug (or are you still in denial like we were?).

Drew Clifton is a digital marketing consultant working with RVT.com.

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How to Expertly Clean Your RV Awning

posted by Brandon Esparza @ 10:38pm, Tuesday 8 December 2015.

Keeping your RV awning clean is the best way to prevent damage to the fabric and hardware so that you can preserve its lifespan and get the most out of your investment. Your awning is always being exposed to the natural elements, meaning that there are lots of opportunities for mildew to grow and damage to occur. Routinely cleaning it yourself might be a bit time-consuming, but it’s certainly necessary and, fortunately, not very difficult. If you’re unsure of how to go about this, here is a step-by-step guide to ensure that your awning stays fully functional and provides you with shade and luxury for years to come.

Step 1: Understand the Difference Between Acrylic and Vinyl Fabric

Vinyl and acrylic are the two most common types of fabric that RV awnings are made of, and the way to go about cleaning your awning will depend on what type of fabric yours is made from.

  • Vinyl fabric is a very pliable plastic material that is created to prevent mildew (though it’s not mildew-proof) and is often easier to clean. Mildew will still occur if the material is very dusty or the awning is in a warm, humid location.

Step 2: Open Your RV Awning All of the Way

If your awning has been stored away for a while, open it all of the way and thoroughly look over the fabric for any signs of mildew or damage. The best way to prevent this from happening is to simply hose off your awning on a regular basis. The more that you do this, the less you’ll need to deep clean your awning.

Step 3: Deep Clean Your Awning

For acrylic fabrics:

  • Use a soft brush or sponge to dust off any loose dirt (using a hard scrubber can disrupt the water-resistant nature of the awning).

  • Use a hose to spray the entire surface of the awning

  • Make a gentle cleaning solution with water and mild dish soap. If the awning is very dirty, you can buy special cleaners designed for acrylic fabric.

  • Distribute the cleaner over the entire awning and let sit for a few minutes (5-10).

  • Rinse thoroughly with the hose.

  • If necessary, you can purchase a spray that will coat the fabric with a water-resistant agent to ensure your fabric stays durable during wet weather.

For vinyl:

  • You can use a stiff scrubber or brush to remove stains and dirt, as vinyl fabric is often more durable.

  • You can buy a mildew-resistant spray or use the dish soap formula to thoroughly clean the awning.

  • Allow cleaner to sit for 5-10 minutes.

  • Hose down thoroughly.

Step 4: Allow to Air Dry Completely

Rolling up the awning while the fabric is still wet can cause damage to your RV awning, so always make sure it has enough time to completely dry before putting it away. Similarly, using hot air to dry either vinyl or acrylic awnings can be harmful to the material and shorten its lifespan. Air drying is the only method that you should use for drying.


Regular maintenance and cleaning is the best methodology to ensure the longevity of your RV awning. In addition to this, you can also use protective wraps, or Weatherguards, for those times when your awning is closed or you are traveling down the road during inclement weather. They roll up with your awning so that the fabric is protected from the elements when it is closed. The added protection also furthers the life of your awning, and there are several colors and materials to choose from so that they match your RV and your awning’s style.

After you deep clean your awning, let it air dry, and roll it back up. You shouldn’t have to worry about cleaning it again for several months. As stated above, hosing it off every few weeks or so will stop dirt from collecting and mildew from forming, reducing the amount of times that a deep cleaning is needed. This advice, along with utilizing a protective wrap, should help you get the most out of your awning so that you can enjoy shade-filled road adventures many times over. Happy travels!

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How to Winterize Your RV and Prepare it for Storage

posted by Brandon Esparza @ 4:04pm, Wednesday 4 November 2015.

Some live in their RVs year-round, taking on the world one mile at a time. While that would be the life, at least for an adventurous soul like myself, most of us only use our RVs during the warmer months to explore and enjoy our favorite corners of the world in comfort and style. For those of us that will be storing our rigs throughout the winter, it is very important to winterize the water system and prepare the other systems and the coach for storage. As we all know, an RV is a huge investment, and properly preparing it for winter storage is one of the best ways to ensure that you’ll be able to enjoy your rig for many summers to come.

Before you start, you might want to print up this handy checklist to have on hand for the process.

First Things First

The very first thing you want to do is give your RV a very thorough cleaning, inside and out. It’s especially important to make sure all traces of food and food items are removed. Anything from a completely sealed bag of rice to a tiny pile of crumbs can attract pests that can damage your rig, and even canned food is safest in your home pantry through the winter, especially in extreme weather conditions.

Roof and Seals

While you’re cleaning the outside of your rig, take a moment to inspect your seals and your roof. Check to make sure all your seals are tightly in place and that there is no cracking or deterioration. If any seals are loose or cracked, it’s best to repair them before you stow away your RV, as faulty seals can lead to mold and water damage that can be costly, and even completely destroy your home-away-from-home.

Clear your roof of all debris, as these can cause corrosion over time, and wash it with soap and water. A simple mop and broom will do most of the time. If you plan on using any sort of roof sealant, it’s best to wait until it comes out of storage in the spring or summer, and make sure you use the right sealant for your roofing material. The best thing you can do to keep your roof in good shape is store it under a cover of some sort when not in use. Sun damage and harsh weather are enemies of your RV’s roof, and protecting it is well worth the investment in the end.


The most daunting task is definitely flushing out your plumbing for winter, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. The first thing you want to do is empty all of your holding tanks and dispose of their contents properly. Clean out your black and gray tanks and drain your water heater (if you have one.) The next step is to flush everything out using a water pump.Once all of the pipes are clear and empty, it is time to add the antifreeze. Keep in mind that if you have a water heater or any inline filters, they will need to be bypassed before the antifreeze is added. You’ll need to pressurize your system before hand, and once the anti-freeze is being distributed, start from the closest faucet and work your way back. Turn each one on until you see a little anti-freeze, flush the toilet until antifreeze appears, and also make sure to press the valve on your city water inlet until you see antifreeze. Lastly, pour a little antifreeze into each drain, and flush some down the toilet into the holding tanks. In the end, every RV is different, so it’s best to refer to your owner’s manual for complete step-by-step information on how to winterize your specific model.


Gasoline has a shelf life of about a month, and stale gasoline can do serious damage or completely destroy your generator, so make sure that you run it dry before storing for long periods of time.

LP Gas System

Make sure that all of your propane appliances are in working order and that there aren’t any leaks in any of the connections or fuel lines. If you suspect a leak, use the simple soapy water in a spray bottle method to find it, and make sure it gets repaired before storing for the winter. The last step is to fill up your tank and make sure all the lines are completely shut off.


If you have a motorhome, you will want to top off all your fluids before winter storage. If you top off your gas tank as well, use a fuel stabilizer and run it for a bit to make sure it gets distributed through your system. Have a mechanic check her out if you suspect any problems, but if not, a tune-up is probably best for when she comes out of storage and is gearing up for another summer of fun.


The last thing you’ll want to do is unhook your batteries so they don’t completely drain or corrode over the winter. If you ever plan on going more than a month without starting your rig, it is always best to unhook them. Make sure they are fully charged, unhook the cables negative side first, and clean any corrosion with a solution of two cups water and ¼ cup baking soda. Remove them and store in a place where they won’t freeze.


We all love romping the outdoors in our RVs, and it’s always a little sad to see them tucked away for the colder months. But when warmer weather comes, we want a minimal amount of maintenance and preparation to get them back on the road again, which is why it’s so important to make sure you follow these steps.

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Top 5 RV Camps Around Florida's National Parks

posted by Brandon Esparza @ 4:49pm, Tuesday 24 March 2015.

Florida has a lot to offer visitors, and that includes an impressive array of parks in, around, and outside of The Everglades. There are many amazing parks that can be found throughout the state of Florida. Whether your taste is in National Parks or State Parks, you don't have to worry about finding some amazing places to visit with your RV.

Silver Palms RV Resort
The Silver Palms RV Resort is consistently one of the most popular RV Resorts in Florida and it is located in Lake Okeechobee. In fact they are less than half a mile from Eagle Bay and only a couple miles from Paradise Run Park. This gives quality location, the full range of convenience, and is right next to some of the largest parks and natural areas in all of Florida.

Coastline RV Resort
This one is located south of Tallahassee - in the Panhandle, and just off the Gulf of Mexico. This is another RV resort that gets very high ratings from a large number of visitors looking to check out Apalachicola National Forest. This location is right on the National park's southern front, and also right off the Gulf of Mexico, giving visitors plenty of options of what to do for days on end.

St. George Island State Park
There are multiple RV camps right by this state park, and they offer the full range of amenities to visitors who want to see up close the amazing ecosystem that Florida has developed over millions of years.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
The John Pennekamp State Park is located on famous and scenic Key Largo. This park is one of the most beloved in all of Florida, and it is one of the easiest ones to reach out of all the Florida Key Islands since it is one of the closest to the mainland.

If you want to check out the Florida Keys and some of their incredible state parks, but don't want to spend your entire vacation doing it, then stopping at John Pennekamp Reef Park at the RV campsite of the same name is the way to do it.

Long Pine Key Campground (NPS Campground)
The Long Pine Key Campground is an actual National Parks Service campground located right inn the Everglades, Florida's most famous National Park and one of the most famous National Parks in all of the United States.

This is a popular RV campground that might be a touch on the rustic side, but it puts you in the heart of the park in addition to offering power outlets and all the basic amenities you need to enjoy your time out in the wild.

There are literally hundreds of RV parks around the State Parks and National Parks in Florida, and anyone traveling shouldn't have any problem finding a good place to camp out no matter how long their trip might be.

These are just a few of the great RV camps available, but never be afraid to go out and explore your own!

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