Monday, August 29, 2016

Fun in the Olympic Penninsula

First of all, if you have never been to the Olympics, you are missing out! This is one of the most beautiful places in the world and according to National Geographic, “Romantically Wild”. There are so many things to do in the Olympic Peninsula but I will cover a few just to get you going.

Photo from:
The Olympic Game Farm is a fantastic start. This is great for the whole family. Take a drive through 84 acres to see buffalo, tigers and yes…the waving bears. If you don’t feel like a drive. Take the family into the petting farm and aquarium. There are many animals for the kids to ooh and ahh over! 

For the main attraction… the scenic Olympic National Park.
Take a rainforest tour through the Hoh and Quinault rainforests. Be transported to another world (Or so it seems). See Sitka Spruce and Cedar trees that reach a height of 300 feet tall.  Moss covered trees, winding creeks and gorgeous falls will definitely win your heart over. The Forests are not the only incredible activity. Enjoy a Whale watching cruise or if you are seeking more adventure, do some river rafting. Did you know that Olympia has the largest herds of Roosevelt Elk in the world?

Waterfalls! Don’t forget Waterfalls!
Be witness to 22 of most beautiful waterfalls right here in the Peninsula. Many trails are

Well, if the beautiful forests, waterfalls and whale watching don’t draw you in, maybe a relaxing bike ride on the Olympic Discovery Trail ( will. The ODT runs 130 miles from Port Townsend to the Pacific Ocean; passing through Sequim Bay Park (A 92 Acre Marine camping and RV park). While on your bike head east 3 miles to the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal center and house of myths. Visit master carver Dale Faulstitch and his team carve the Native American totem poles. These very poles are seen throughout the Peninsula. Learn about the Native roots here Olympia (

 Or head west to the Dungeness River Audubon Center. See the Historic Railroad Bridge State Park and take a guided bird walk. Don’t forget to take a peek at the Driftwood Sculpture Exhibit

Lastly, a must see is the Dungeness Spit, one of the world's longest natural sand spits. The area was declared a national wildlife refuge in 1915 because of the abundance of bird species. Just over 250 species call it home.

Well, if you want adventure, beauty, whales, wildlife, waterfalls and forests. It’s all right here in the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington.
Editor: R.C. Norman

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Reinventing the Fifth Wheel

Reinventing the Fifth Wheel

The Fifth Wheel by definition is "an extra wheel for a four wheeled vehicle or a coupling between a trailer and a vehicle used for towing." We all know it as a travel trailer attached by a specialized hitch in the center of a Truck bed. This differs from the traditional hitch on the very back of a vehicle near the bumper. This specialized hitch is much like a smaller version of those used on 18 Wheel Trucks. The hitch easily connects to the Fifth Wheel by driving the Truck backward to lock it in place with the Trailer. 
The ease of hitching and un-hitching is appealing to most RV'ers. It is also proven to be more secure on the road and prevents the possibility of a Jack Knife situation. Often, a Fifth wheel is used for long term travel or extended stays and acts much like a Home away from home while being able to utilize the truck for driving into town. Another great feature is that the overall length of a Fifth Wheel is reduced because a portion of its front is swallowed by the Truck bed. The Fifth Wheel trailer tows much more securely than those of the traditional hitches because all of the hitch's weight rests on the back tires of the Truck.
Photo from: 
1938 REO Tractor and Curtiss Aerocar Fith Wheel

According to, the first Fifth Wheel was invented in 1927 by an aircraft designer and then licensed for the road in 1929 at the whopping price of $5000 (This was not affordable to the average consumer). It was built to be very aerodynamic. At that time the Fifth Wheel was towed by Coupe vehicles and Roadsters with the specialized Fifth Wheel hitch on the back. They say the Fifth wheel, at that time could be towed safely up to 55 miles an hour. According to the current NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) statistics, 40% of Fifth Wheel Roll overs occur in speeds at 55mph.

 Let's fast forward to 1976 when Jayco started producing the first Fifth Wheel trailer with a full stand-up height front bedroom. A lot has changed. The Jayco Eagle and Designer have now become very popular Fifth Wheel models with luxury in design. More currently Jayco added the luxurious Pinnacle model to the roster.

Valley RV Supercenter has brand new
at extremely Discounted Prices!

Why so many 2015 Fifth Wheels?
I talked to our Sales Manager Chuck Joss and he said "We simply bought an abundance to keep up with the demand. We did just that and with a little to spare".There is word that Valley ordered roughly 3 million dollars in new inventory for 2017 and now those 2017 Coaches are coming in as we speak. There are now only seven of the 2015 Fifth Wheels left and of course they are priced aggressively. By design the dealership must make room for the new inventory and do what a Dealership does...sell those RV's. These situations make a great discount for the consumer.

Jayco Pinnacle 36FBTS
Special Price:$64,995
That's a savings of $27,016

Valley RV Supercenter currently has seven Fifth Wheel models at extremely reduced prices. You will see a few of them featured here in this article complete with a video tour and pricing. In the current discounted line-up they have two Eagle Premier 331RKTS models, two Pinnacle 36FBTS models, one Eagle Premier 361 REQS, one Pinnacle 38FLSA and a Pinnacle 36RSQS. All of these 2015 units can be found on Valley's website with full pricing and details.

Jayco Eagle Premier 331RKTS
Special Price:$58,777
That's a savings of $17,901

These are all brand new Fifth Wheels with the famous two year Jayco Warranty still intact. That means the consumer is purchasing a brand new unit with full Warranty at an incredible price. Chuck Joss added "As a dealer we take bit of a loss on these but we are really happy to pass that discount onto our customers."

Jayco Pinnacle 38FLSA
Special Price:$69,888
That's a savings of  $23,667

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How to use Tire Blocks the Right Way

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How to use Tire Blocks the Right Way

RVers use Tire Blocking to keep their RV level. There will be times at the RV Park or in rough terrain where your unit will be on a slope and the only way to keep your RV level is by using Tire Blocking. Even your jacks will not fully be able to get you level in these situations.

If you haven't used Tire blocks already, at some point you will because its really important for your RV to sit level. Setting your RV level will keep the refrigerator working properly and keep your dinner plate from sliding off the table. There is a correct way to use Tire Blocks. If Tire Blocking is not done correctly, it can cause permanent damage to your RV tires and can also lead to a tire malfunction on the road.

Most RV's (And most automobiles) are equipped with radial tires. That means that the tire has steel wires in the rubber to give it more durability. Although, when you are blocking a radial tire you want to make sure the bottom of the tire is rested completely on the block and is supported by the block. If the block is only supporting a portion of the tire surface it can cause the Steel wires to kink or fracture.

Keep in mind you can also use Tire Blocks to keep your jacks from sinking in the sand. Just place the blocks under the jack foot and make sure that the whole surface area of the foot rests on the block.

1. Keep the alignment of force centered on the blocks. Look at the tire, imagine a center line drawn through it and that will also be the center of your block.

2. Make sure the surface (footprint) of the tire is supported by the block

3. Make sure the tread or sidewall is not pushed in or out but laying normally onto blocks (This will ensure Steel wires are supported correctly).

Leveling Blocks, also called Stacker Blocks, Jack Pads and Stabilizer Pads are available at most RV Parts stores and some Hardware stores. There are a variety of options. You can even build your own custom blocks out of wood if you dont want to purchase them. Most RVers purchase the red or yellow blocks because they are light weight and easy to store.

Click below for more info on CAMCO brand Leveling Blocks:

Editor: R.C. Norman

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


The Life Straw

The Best Gadget of the year according to Time Magazine is the "Life Straw"!

This is a personal water filter. Huh?  Personal Water filter? Yes. The Life Straw is a large easy to pack ( Only 9" long and 1" in diameter) and carry filter with a straw built in. The Straw is supposed to remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and exceeds the EPA guidelines for E. coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium oocyst.

With high standards for Filtration this gadget uses no batteries, has no moving parts, has no iodine or iodinated resin and is BPA free. The Life Straw will filter up to 264 Gallons of water or 1000 Liters and guess what? It can be bought for less than $20!

A number of people have tested the Straw and have had great results using it in streams, lakes and all types of water in the outdoors. The claims have also said there was no added taste and it ensured them from getting sick. Sounds like a winner. This item is sold at Bass Pro shops.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Drive up the Oregon Coast!

Every month we get exciting stories from customers, friends and colleagues in the RV lifestyle.These stories are just too good to not share. So we started this column where you can send us some of your great adventures and travel stories. Send your story to us HERE

A Drive up the Oregon Coast!

Just recently my wife and I decided for our anniversary we were going to take a 4 day trip up the Oregon Coast. I have been to Oregon many times and never thought much of it, but traveling up the coast has given me a new respect for Oregon.
The beginning of our journey starts all the way south just on the northern tip of California in a small town called Crescent City. We arrived rather late in the evening and could not see the incredible Redwoods that surrounded us but that morning was a great sight. Then we decided to move northbound toward Washington State.

First stop was Bandon Wild Game Park. This was a great experience; we got to pet a 6 month year old Bengal tiger, a lynx, albino skunk, deer, goats, peacocks, feed a brown bear and made faces at a chimpanzee. This park had much more to offer but we had to leave if we were ever going to get home on time. My wife and I stayed there for roughly about 4 hours; we could not get enough.
Our second stop was actually a series of stops up the coast looking at the incredible views. The Oregon coast has got to be one of the most beautiful voyages on Earth. The pictures above is not even close to everything we experienced. One thing that we learned is that there was a cute little town called Newport. We were getting hungry so this seemed like a good time to stop.

The minute we got to Newport, we could hear a bustling in the town, the smell of the ocean air and cooked seafood. We heard loud growling like cries echoing off the docks and buildings below and the people talking almost in a frenzy. With our curiosities piqued we made our way to the docks downtown (A real short walk). That's when we encountered the Sea Lions! These guys were so fun to watch. They spent a great amount of time bathing in the sun on the docks below and squawking at one another for space to lay next each other uninterested in the gawking groups of people taking pictures of them. We both felt that the Sea Lions are the main attraction next to the breath taking views.

Newport had some great dining and fun entertainment. One of the places we explored was the Waxworks Museum. This roughly took about an hour to fully appreciate and was a great investment. You will see wax sculptures of people from history like Lewis and Clark, to fantasy stories like Star wars and Lord of The Rings. Below is a picture of Johnny Depp. Interesting... but the museum doesn't section off the sculptures from the public, but when we got to Johnny Depp you they had caution tape and big sign warning to stay at a distance.. My guess is that all the teenage girls wanted to get close to him and take pictures.
This was one of the best trips we have had. We highly recommend the Oregon Coast!

Editor: R.C.Norman

To the Columbia River Gorge!


To the Columbia River Gorge!

It had been several years since we had a real vacation.  My husband and I had spent the last few years preparing to make this trip to Eastern WA. We bought a Class C and purchased the necessary items to take a month long hiatus. Tommy, now 2 years old was old enough to travel with us and Sophie; who had been talking about this trip over the school year was eager to take her best friend Tyra. Let’s not forget to mention Thor our golden retriever who is just happy to be wherever we are. We packed up and headed east from our bustling West Seattle neighborhood.

We have family in Yakima and we don’t get to see them often. So our month long escapade started with a family visit.  Just the thought of leaving behind all the worries of the past year gave me new life and an anticipation for the road. Is it the trip itself that gives us the means to release all our cares and start anew? Or is it the anticipation of something new lying ahead that releases our childlike wonder and sets us free?

Whatever the case, we were bright eyes all the way to my brother’s house; a quaint wooded  area off the edge of town, where we spent the next week playing with my niece’s and nephew, sharing stories and playing games. The silence, at first, made it hard to sleep at night but after a couple days, I think we got used to it. It was good to feel at home away from home as we prepared for the next phase in our journey. The Columbia River Gorge.


Do you have a favorite RV Vacation story?  Tell us about it! If you have pics even better!
 We'll post it in this Newsletter.
At the end of the month we will choose the best story.
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We reserve the right to edit spelling, punctuation and grammar. While we do our best to use every submission, we do not guarantee  publication.
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Editor: R.C.Norman

How do I get an accurate reading of the charge on my RV battery?

Send us your Questions!
 Every month we answer a new RV technical question from one of our readers and post it here .
 Yours could be next. 
Click HERE to send us your questions!
We have an older unit; 2001 R-Vision. I have a question about the little colored panel lights regarding the level of charge the battery is at in our RV. Are those lights accurate in regards to the charge level on the battery on ours and even the newer RVs? If not what would you recommend as a good accurate battery tester to determine the percentage of discharge?

Great question!
The light gauge inside the RV is not very accurate. It is there to give you a ball park reading. If no power is being used, that is when the gauge is the least helpful. If the unit is turned on or you are using power, that is when it is the most accurate (But again the gauge gives only an estimated charge reading).

The most accurate way to know the charge/discharge of your Battery is with a product by Zamp Solar called Battery Check (Wireless Battery Management). This product can be used in use with your cell phone (No Solar panels needed). This product retails for about $269.99. It gives:
- Real time Battery Data (Volts, amps, time remaining, temperature, battery status, state of charge and battery health)
- A free downloadable app for your phone
- Easy installation (DIY)
- Settings for automatic alarms with use on your app

Editor: R.C.Norman