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How To Have an Address When Full Time RVing

How to Have a Address When Full Time RVing

One of the first things new full time RVers need is an address. Your insurance will ask where your RV is “located” most of the year, your driver’s license needs your physical address, and if you want to register to vote, it all requires a physical address.

You first step is to choose what state you are going to call your new home. There a several states to choose from, including Texas, Florida, South Dakota, and a few others. You’ll want to research states that work for full time RVers and choose the one that best fits your needs.

When it was time for us to go full time, we chose Florida because it’s where we planned to spend our first few winters as full timers, there is no yearly state inspection, no state income tax, and a few other things that made it more convenient for our situation.

Once you have your state chosen, you will need to create an account with one of the mail forwarding services for that state. Your options include Escapees in several of the full timer states and, our chosen service, St. Brendan’s Isle in Florida.

Once you have your account and address set up, it is simply a matter of visiting the state’s DMV website, and determining what you need to start transfering your license. Many times, you can also find a “How to become a resident” page that is great for full time RVers. For example, St. Brendan’s Isle has a guide to becoming a Florida resident.

With your state residency changed and your mail forwarding account created, you are now ready to start handing out your shiny new address to any organization that needs it.

Not sure how to get all the mail that your mail forwarding will be accumulating? Need to just get a few items, without the need to change residence?
We have a post for how to receive your mail on the road too!

 

Is Good Sam Worth It?

Is Good Sam Worth It?

Whether you’re just starting out, or a seasoned RV’er exploring the discounts, everyone eventually wonders about Good Sam. Keep in mind, Good Sam offers several products, each one being a totally different service.

If you’re looking for Good Sam’s Roadside service, with no limit towing to the nearest service center or their Insurance through National General, we have a blog post Which RV Insurance and Roadside Assistance Are Best for Full-Time RV Living.

If you’re looking for information on the Good Sam Club, which offers discounts at various locations, then you’re in the right place!

Fuel Discounts

One of the first discounts Good Sam likes to mention is their fuel discount.

At the time of this posting, Pilot is offering $0.03 off each gallon of fuel, with their FREE rewards card. Good Sam is offering $0.05, with their paid club membership. If you purchase 100 gallons of gas, that’s an additional $5.00 in savings using the Good Sam card. While this can add up, we have found Pilot/Flying J often, although not always, to be more expensive than many other places to buy fuel.

At the time of this posting, the fuel range in our current area in Virginia is $2.47-$2.89, according to Gas Buddy. Gas Buddy also shows the nearest Flying J being priced at $2.47 (not including the discount) – making them currently one of the lowest prices in this area to buy fuel.

Camping World Discounts

If you walk in to any Camping World, you will see the little “Club Price” tags hanging all over the racks. These tags let you know that if you’re a Good Sam member, you’ll get that lower price. The catch is, Camping World is often, almost always, more expensive than any other big box or online store. Here’s a few examples at the time of this posting:

The Rhino Extreme 15′ Sewer Hose Kit is $4.00 cheaper on Amazon at $46.11, with “damaged box” options as low as $38.15.

A Camco RV Roof Vent Cover will cost $1.50 more + shipping.

The big price differences come in with items like LED bulbs. Most campers will use the 921 style of LED bulbs, which are (approximately) a whopping $8.00 PER BULB cheaper on Amazon.
Don’t forget to check out our post on testing various types of LED bulbs in our RV!

RV Park Discounts

We haven’t used Good Sam in quite some time but, when we had it, we rarely used it for park discounts. We always call around and find the best deal, and the parks we chose were rarely Good Sam parks.

Discounted and Free Dump Stations

The final main discount we’re going to cover are the free and discount dump stations you get with your Good Sam membership. Some Camping World locations have a dump station you may use. When we were members, we needed to dump *and* were near a Camping World once. We used the dump station, which was difficult to get to and had several sewer hoses lying about – one of which broke while using it, I should have known better.

Your membership also gets you a discount at Pilot and Flying J RV dump stations. We do use these on occasion but, often, there are cheaper or free options available as well that we use instead.

So, is Good Sam Worth It?

If you will be frequenting Pilot/Flying J and you want your RV gear right away, and will be buying it from Camping World, then a Good Sam Membership may be for you!

What do you think? Do you have a Good Sam membership? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments!

Replacing Our Exterior Slide Seal

Replacing Our Slide Bulb Seal

The top slide seal on our camper was in pretty bad shape. With all of the Facebook posts we’d seen, it looked like replacing even a portion of these slide seals is super expensive to have done by a dealer. Being we love DIY we decided to do it ourselves. We began looking up slide seal costs. RV websites and a local dealer wanted over $400 for the single bulb seal we needed. Yes, over $400 for a single bulb slide seal.

We did some shopping around, and found exactly what we needed – actually, almost 20 foot more than we needed – on Amazon for less than $100. Yes, that $400 slide seal was less than $100!

As far as replacing your RV slide seal… If your wiper seal is still in good condition, as ours was, then this process is super simple. Here’s how we did it in less than a couple of hours.

Things you’re going to need.

Removing the Old Seal

For some reason, I was a dunderhead and did not start taking photos right away. We’ll have to work with what I have 🙂

Old Slide Seal

As you can see, our old seal was in bad shape. Cracking, smushed and, in some places, falling apart.

The first step, was to remove the staples on each end of the seal. This was done by using a pair of pliers, “jiggling” the staples, and pulling. With the staples out, it is simply a matter of grabbing the old seal, and pulling. Our seal was deteriorated to the point that it just pulled off, without even needing to slide it off the track.

Old Slide Seal Removed

With the old seal removed, we finally remembered to start taking pictures. Here you can see the bad condition our seal was in.

Slide Wiper Seal & Bulb Seal Track

With the old seal removed, you can see the track the bulb seal slides into.

Sealing Things Up

Now is the time to remove any remaining staples from the old slide seal, and seal the holes up with Proflex RV. If there are larger holes, like the one in the above photo that can be seen where the track meets the metal of the rv if you look closely, it’s a good idea to patch them with Butyl Tape before covering with Proflex.

We did this a little out of order, which is why you see bulb seal in these photos.

Installing the New Seal

Once your caulk is dry, or if you have clearance to add the seal without disturbing it, you can install the new bulb seal. Simply slide the new seal onto the track, and begin pushing it down the length of the wiper seal track. Our seal was done from one end – the starting end – by one person, and went on smoothly. If you seal sticks, you may need to have someone feed the seal along from the other end.

New Slide Seal in Place

Slide the new seal until it is in the location of the original. It should protrude slightly over the lower, vertical seal.

Cutting New Slide Seal

Cut the other end of the slide seal, leaving the same overhang as before.

If needed, you can now add any staples to hold things in place. We did not staple our seal down, as any time it could move, the slide will be holding it in place. You will also want to caulk any areas where water may enter your rig around the seal. Our seals are pretty solid already, and this was not required – but it’s always good to double check.

And, that’s it! We easily replaced our RV’s exterior bulb seal. The side slide seals use the same process, should any of yours be worn. While you have your ladder out, don’t forget to inspect your roof for any needed repairs. We have a post on sealing up your camper, if you need tips on that too!

RV Etiquette – Putting Your Slides Out at Walmart

Facebook. Where all the debates seem to happen. One thing we see discussed a lot, is whether or not you should put your slides out at Walmart. One side says you shouldn’t, because you’re not camping. The other side says who cares, as long as they’re not in the way. What it comes down to, really, is what does Walmart says.

It’s time to settle this.

Corporate

We started off by contacting Walmart Corporate, through their website, with the following question:

Hello,
As some of your stores allow overnight RV parking, as per Walmart corporate policy, I have a question.
For RVs with slide outs, is there any issue with extending them, as long as they are not obstructing traffic?

Thank you for your time.

We received back a basic response of:

Dear Alan,

Thank you for contacting Walmart where we are happy to help. For information regarding your inquiry, please contact your local store and speak with a salaried member of management.

To find the phone number for your local Walmart store, please visit the www.walmart.com website and select “Store Finder” from the options under “Stores” at the top of the page.

Thank you,
Walmart Customer Care

Being we wanted an answer from the corporate level, we pressed a bit further:

Hello, and thank you for responding.

I understand that different stores have policies on whether or not RV parking is allowed – as per your company policy https://corporate.walmart.com/frequently-asked-questions.
However, I am interested in this one aspect, for those that do allow it. I do not need to know from a local store, but if in general, having the slide out on an RV is an issue for Walmart.

Thanks!

Alan Cook

That’s when we received back the response we were looking for:

Dear Allen,

If the store allows rv parking I don’t think having the slide out will be an issue.

Thanks
Walmart Customer care.

There you have it, Walmart customer care says it shouldn’t be an issue. We also asked through Facebook, but have yet to receive a response.

Individual Stores

You may be thinking, what about the store level? Lucky for you, we’re in the process of planning a trip right now! We’re going to call ahead for some overnight stops, and see what they say. Heck, better yet, we’ll call some in other parts of the country too.

Four Walmarts were called, two answered and the questions were asked ‘Do you allow overnight parking’ and ‘Is it ok to extend slides, as long as they are not blocking any traffic areas’. Below is what we were told. Once we hit the road again, we’re going to update this post with a few more responses from other stores.

Store 1283
14500 US Highway 301 South
Starke, Florida
32091

They believe it is fine to put the slide out. If we wanted, we could come in and check with a manager, but as long as it is not obstructing anything, they believe it is fine.

Store 770
3503 Tenth Street
Great Bend, Kansas
67530

Extending slides, or “whatever we need” should not be a problem, as long as we are not blocking traffic and parked back in the back parking area, near the trucks. I was also given a few other options of places to park, where we would be fine to park, and extend as needed.

There you have it, Walmart’s stance on having slides out while overnighting in their parking lot. Have you asked about slides? Post the answer you were given in the comments and let us know!

How Do You Secure Items While Traveling in Your RV

How to Secure Items While Traveling in Your RV

When you’re traveling down the highway, the last thing you want is one of your knick knacks or pictures falling and breaking, or even worse, becoming a projectile and heading straight for your head!

When it’s time to secure items in your RV, you have a few options for holding down those precious keepsakes and random loose items.

Mounting Putty

We use mounting putty for holding down everything from planters to bobble heads. It’s easy to apply, doesn’t leave a mess behind, and can be reused over and over, as long as it doesn’t get too dirty.

Camping Straps

For some larger items, like our printer and our cast iron pans, we use camping straps to hold things in place. We also have a post on how we strap down our cast iron pans for travel.


Tension Rods

You know them, you may use them in your fridge, but did you know you can use them EVERYWHERE!? That’s right! We use some in our …drink… cabinet to hold bottles, in our office area to hold books and storage bins in place, and much more.


Velcro!

Pictures, containers, things that you want to stick and unstick and stick again will love some velcro. Plus, it has that satisfying sound…

 


Bungee Cords

When all else fails, grab a bungee cord.
It’ll work for now.
We keep a bunch of these around, just in case. No where to hook them? No problem! Just grab a pack of screw in hook eyes, and make your own bungee cord hooks on each side of all your loose objects.

Must Have Tools For Full-Time RVers

Must Have Tools For Full-time RVers

When you’re getting ready to head out, having the right tools is one of your top priorities. When you’re in an RV, where every pound counts, keeping those tools to a minimum can be a challenge. Here’s the main weight-saving super essential tools we have on board.


Black & Decker Matrix Drill Set

This handy system packs a pile of tools in a small package. We’ve used the air compressor for our truck, camper, and bike tires, the reciprocating saw for cutting fire wood, and various other drills, saws, and the sander for remodeling our camper. The Matrix Drill is by far our favorite tool on this list. Make sure you pick up an extra battery or two, for those all day project marathons.


Reciprocating Saw Blade Set

Cut Down on the number of saws you need by grabbing a set of reciprocating saw blades for your Black &Decker reciprocating saw. We’ve used ours with a hack saw blade for cutting metal, PVC pipe,and much more.

 

A standard in any situation, wrenches and sockets are a must- don’t forget those deep wells! You can pick up an inexpensive Amazon Basics set for under $50, or a higher end Dewalt Set for under $200.


Ratcheting Multi Tip Screwdriver

Unloading that pile of standard screwdrivers is going to save weight and space. You can replace them all with a single multi tip screwdriver, while sharing the tips with other sets you have in your arsenal.


Extra Screwdriver & Drill Bits

RVs use a lot of square head screws, parts that need replacing use whatever they see fit, and you just never know what you’re going to encounter. Having extra odd sized bits for your ratcheting screwdriver will make sure you’re always ready for anything. Sets like the one linked also come with, and store, all your drill bits you’ll need as well.


Volt Meter

When your water pump stops pumping, your lights no longer light up, or your water heater stops heating – troubleshooting with a voltmeter is going to be your first step in locating and solving the problem.

 


Wire Repair Kit

Electrical issues, wiring in new components, repairing electronic brake wires, or just hooking up new stereo components. The list goes on.
You’ll need a wire repair kit, and make sure to keep various connectors on hand.


Caulk Gun

Seals come loose, rubber rooves tear, and accidents happen. When they do, being able to patch the problem before water gets in is important. Keep a caulk gun and, with it, and tube or two of both Dicor Self Leveling Lap Sealant and Proflex RV handy, and you’ll be ready. Not sure how to calk a roof? We have a post all about recaulking our RV roof and side seams!


Basic Pliers Set

For holding and squeezing, you still can’t beat a basic pair of pliers.

 


Good Old Fashioned Hammer

Driving in stakes, hitting a breaker bar, making a quick “it needs to stop rubbing” repair, and maybe even driving nails – you can’t go wrong with a hammer.
If you have the space, you may  want to grab a matching rubber mallet – all the fun, with less damage.


A Good Utility Knife

Cutting rope, string, tape, and wire. Opening boxes and breaking them down. Cutting your meat for dinner. So many uses, don’t forget your utility knife.
You might want to also grab a pack of extra blades too.


Basic Level
From leveling your camper, to leveling your project, a level is a must for any tool box.

A Good Headlamp
Because you know things love to break in the dark and in poorly lit, hard to get to places – make sure you always have a headlamp charged and ready.

 

 

That’s our essential tool list. If we missed your favorite tool, let us know in the comments!

Where Do You Find Fresh Water When Traveling Full-Time in Your RV?

How to Find Fresh Water on the Road

Out of all our supplies, water seems to be what we go through the fastest. Knowing where to find water when on the road is one of the most important pieces of information to have, below we provide you with a few places to get both filtered drinking water and regular city water.

Filling Your Fresh Water Tank

Many gas stations have a water hookup. The location of the hookup will vary. Truck friendly fuel centers and truck stops often have hook-ups at the truck fuel pumps, some have them next to the air fill and vacuum areas, some regular gas stations have a random faucet at a curb, or on the side of their building. Whenever we have needed to ask, the clerk was more than willing to let us fill our tanks. Just make sure any water you use is potable water, if you plan on drinking it.

Lots of local parks have hookups to water their gardens. If you ask, they will often let you fill your tank up off their potable water hose.

Rest areas in some states have fresh water fills (and dump stations, too!). A quick Google of the state you’re in and “rest area RV dump” should point you in the right direction.

RV Park Water Faucet

RV Parks! Even if you’re not staying there, they’ll be more than happy to take a few bucks for a dump and fill. Call first – Often, they will tell you they have fresh water fill on the phone, then when you arrive tell you the water is non potable. When this is the case, press the fact that you need water, and called ahead to make sure you could fill. They always work it out so you can fill, often by directing you to an open RV site where you can use the water hookup. It should run you $5-$10 at most locations for a dump and water fill. Often, just a water fill will be free.
Some locations will try to charge you $30. Laugh at them. Laugh hard. Then call somewhere else.

Finding Filtered Water, and Small Quantities

Walmart, some Home Depots, and various grocery stores have a water fill machine. It’s usually around $0.25 – $0.35 per gallon. For our drinking water, we carry four 6 gallon water jugs, using a Dolphin Water Pump, and two 7 gallon jugs with a spigot. All of our drinking water comes from these machines, allowing us to never have to worry about chlorine or eggy flavor.

 

Some Walmarts and hardware stores – like Ace Hardware – will let you fill a jug from the hose in their garden center. Simply ask and see what happens.

You can even try checking directly with the chamber of commerce or parks in your area. For example, in Zephyr Hills Florida, there are multiple Zephyr Hills drinking water fill ups with a cost of only $0.25 cents per gallon, paid on the honor system. We have also been directed to spigots and told we can fill up using them at no charge.

Looking for more RV’ing tips? Check out our RV How To’s section for all our awesome tips!

Starting Your Own Tee Shirt Business

How to Start Your Own Tee Shirt Business

One of the questions we are often asked, is how we make money on the road to fund our travels. Designing and selling tee shirts is one of our income streams, and it is easier to start doing than you may think!

I don’t have room to store tee shirts!
Great news, you don’t have to! There are websites offering POD (Print on Demand) services. These websites allow you to upload your artwork and sell it on anything from tee shirts, to coffee mugs, to pillows. You simply upload your artwork, select some product options, and let them handle everything else

No design experience? No problem!
All it takes to start selling shirts are a few good ideas. If you have the ideas, but lack the knowledge of design programs, like Photoshop or Illustrator, there are designers out there willing to work for less than $10 per design. Websites like Fiver and others will help pair you with a designer that will fit your needs.

Which POD Sites Really Work?
As always, we do not recommend it unless it works, and we’ve successfully sold our designs on the following sites. Creating accounts and selling on these would be your best place to start and will net you the most sales.

  • Merch by Amazon – Amazon’s massive audience has netted us the most sales over any of the other platforms. At the time of this posting, Merch is only shirts.
  • Redbubble – Another site bringing in steady sales, Redbubble is one of the larger POD companies, offering a wide variety of products to sell your designs on.
  • Teepublic – Lower in sales than some others, but still worth a mention. Teepublic is another site offering way more than just tees.
  • Cafepress – CafePress is another site offering a large amount of products for your design to be printed on. While the sales from this site are not as steady as some, we do still receive the occasional sales.
  • Etsy / Printful – That’s right, you can sell your shirts on Etsy and have them fulfilled by a company called Printful. You simply set up your products in Printful, sync everything over to your Etsy store, make a few adjustments in Etsy, and publish. From there, everything is automated! When an order comes in, Printful will automatically handle everything and ship the shirt to your customer.
    Printful can also sync your shirts to your own website.
  • Threadless
  • Teespring
  • Zazzle – Zazzle makes us the least of any of sites on this list. If you’re successful, leave us a comment and let us know!

We Finally Went West, and Saw Some of Route 66

Historic Route 66

Our business had been preventing us from heading further west in our adventures, but, we finally worked out what was needed and it was time to adventure along.

We headed out of Florida for the winter, and made our way along the coast, stopping at a few overnight spots found in our previous trips. We were anxious to see new places, and covered ground quickly until Texas.

In both and Texas and New Mexico, we found that quite a few of their towns have free RV parking and some, like the Waylon Jennings RV Park and a spot in the town of Levelland, Texas have both power and water hook-ups – for free! Some other areas, like San Jon, New Mexico offer free overnight parking with no hookups.

San Jon Free RV Parking

San Jon Free RV Parking

As you may know, we’re big fans of roadside attractions and there are plenty of neat things to see around Albuquerque,  New Mexico.

One of the coolest, was a local architect who built a custom ‘bug’ house for himself, complete with dinosaur guards. Additions were also made for a few of his neighbors as well. You can check out the story on Roadside America.

Then, it was on to Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Park, New Mexico. This was a really fun stop along our path and is a must see for anyone traveling through the area. As they say on their website’s gallery page, “Capturing the feel of Tinkertown with a few photos is near impossible. It’s the kind of magical place that needs to be experienced first hand.” We do, however, have a video for you of one of their animated, singing machines. Tinkertown is great, admission is ridiculously inexpensive, you should stop in.


This video originally had the music from the machine playing but, apparently, the song being played was I Want To Be A Cowboys Sweetheart by Patsy Montana. Because of this, SME filed a copyright claim “On behalf of: Columbia Nashville” and were going to run ads on the video, with all proceeds going to them. We have edited the video to remove the song, they take enough money from the little guys.

We stopped by a few other neat attractions in New Mexico, then headed towards Arizona.

Arizona was a lot of fun, and probably the best time we had on this trip – mainly because it was a lot of relaxing down time. We met some cool people, stayed at an Abandoned KOA at Two Guns Ghost Town, and visited Quartzsite, where we enjoyed two of the boondocking locations. After our little break, we started heading further west.

We made it to California and, in planning where to go, discovered that everything we heard was true. California is not very RV friendly, especially to those who boondock and overnight in free spots. We did find a few areas in the desert, near the border that allowed boondocking. Our van managed to get us stuck in the sand at one point, making us long for 4WD.

We spent most of the time making our way along towards a Facebook acquaintance we were going to meet in person, with a little driving along the coast. Along the way we did visit a few neat stops including the Sequoia National Forest, which made for a nice drive, and to see more Roadside America goodness.

After leaving our acquaintance’s area, we found that California doesn’t see a problem with having thick branches right against the road, in public parking spaces. During this, we also learned we  should have stuck with Progressive Insurance (just not their Roadside).

Bright side, the parking was for an awesome beach, that made for a great walk along the California Coast.

One of the best parts of the west, and one of the things we reminisce about the most… In N Out Burger. Get the fries monster style.

And that was our trip to the California Coast. It was definitely an adventure, encouraged us to buy a new tow vehicle, and gave us great times we’ll never forget.

Camping and RV Do’s and Don’ts

RV and Camping Do's and Don'ts

You know how it is. You find a great spot to spend some time camping, you get all settled in, then “they” show up. Well, no one wants to be that person. That’s where the internet can help with the top things you need to make sure you do and don’t do when you’re camping, overnighting, or just around others. Hey – we’re all in this together, lets see if we can get along.

We created a poll in a couple of our Facebook groups, and these are the top 10 pet peeves from our members.

  1. Visitors who don’t get the hint to leave.
    We’ve all been there. Someone is just in the mood to talk, and no matter how many times you try and exit the conversation, you just can’t get them out the door.
  2. Drunks
    A couple drinks are OK, heck several drinks are OK. But, when you’re the one knocking over things and falling into the campfire…. You’re number 9 on this list.
  3. A** Hole Husbands Living in a Small Space
    We’re not touching this one….
  4. People Complaining About Campfire Smoke
    If you go camping, you know there will be camp fires. Fire makes smoke.
  5. Loud Kids, and Lots of Them
    Kids are one thing. Lots of kids are another thing. Lots and lots of screaming kids in a small area… That’s a whole new level.
  6. Loud Generators
    Birds chirping, crickets cricketing, the wind rustles through the leaves, and your neighbor fires up his 5,000 WATT Harbor Freight generator to vibrate your camper, and rattle your brain. Well, you can’t hear those loud kids anymore!
  7. Loud Music, and It’s Not Even Good Music
    You like country but hate rap?
    You like rap but hate country?
    We don’t all have the same taste, your neighbors might not want to hear your music.
  8. Dog Crap. Everywhere
    It’s not too complicated. You walk your dog, you take some bags. Your dog poops, you pick it up (with the bag!). Even if you have a little dog, and “Oh, it’s just little poops”, it still makes stinky crap on someone else’s shoe. Be a champ, pick it up.
  9. Bark Bark Bark Bark Yap Dogs
    Training. It’s not hard, it just takes dedication and knowledge. Teach your dog not to bark at anyone and everything, and everyone will appreciate it. Seriously, I agree with the poll here, there isn’t much worse than a dog that yaps all day, and will not shut up.
  10. Cutting Through My Spot
    Seriously, there are paths, roads, empty areas, fields, all kinds of ways to get places. Why must you cut right through someone else’s spot? Get the extra few steps – your fitbit, Pokemon, or whatever will appreciate it.

Have a pieve we missed? Something you think is worse than the above? Let us know in the comments!

How to Install a Digital Thermostat in Your RV

Installing a Digital Thermostat in an RV

If your RV’s thermostat is anything like ours has always been, it doesn’t work well. Our thermostat was getting bad to the point where barley nudging the temperature adjustment plus or minus 1 degree would cause a 10 degree or more difference for when the AC would cut on.

Taking a break from driving all over the country for 3 years, staying in the Florida summer heat – we had to solve this problem, and did so using a Honeywell Programmable Thermostat. This new thermostat works fantastic, and keeps our camper’s temperature regulated and comfortable.

The programmable features are neat too, in case you want it cooler during the day, a little warmer at night, and frigid like the arctic on the weekends.

You will need a small screwdriver, also known as a precision screwdriver, to loosen the screws in the thermostat. You can pick up a precision screwdriver set like this one on Amazon, usually for well under $20.

We have handy photos of the process, after the video.

**Always remember to turn off the breaker or disconnect power to any device before servicing it**

Which RV Insurance and Roadside Assistance Is Best for Full-Time RV Living

The Best RV Insurance and Roadside

We see it asked pretty often – which RV insurance is best and which RV roadside assistance should you get?

When we did our research, we looked for the insurance companies that had “full timer packages”, and insured RVs for full time travel. Of those, it seemed to come down to Good Sam/National General and Progressive. For our RV roadside assistance package, Progressive, Good Sam, and Coachnet were the big players to try.

While many people may love their insurance company, the real test comes down to having to file a claim and that’s where we can pick our winners. Here’s our claims experiences, with two similar issues.

Progressive

One day while giving the RV a checking over, we noticed a soft spot on the edge of our roof, cased by a tiny slit in the rubber.

First Rubber Roof Damage to Our RV
First Rubber Roof Damage to Our RV

We called Progressive, who had a adjuster out to us in less than 24 hours. That adjuster took lots of photos of our RV, spent some time on the phone, told us ‘you can’t even patch that, it’s too close to the edge, and a patch will not hold up’, and wrote us a check on the spot for a full rubber roof replacement. It was a super easy process, and our full timer package covered a motel/hotel stay and meals while our RV was in the shop overnight.

Progressive’s roadside assistance, however, is outsourced to another company and Progressive’s roadside left us stranded for three days on the side of the road. That was not fun, made us pretty angry, and we decided to switch to Good Sam/National General.

Good Sam/National General

While in California, we were leaving a day at the beach, pulled out of the street parking, and heard a terrible cracking and popping sound. Upon investigation, we saw there was a branch we didn’t notice that lined up with the edge of the parking spot, and it single handedly destroyed our awning and made several punctures in our roof membrane.

Second Rubber Roof Damage to Our RV
Second Rubber Roof Damage to Our RV

We called National General, who directed us to a website, where we would have to take our own pictures and upload them. No adjuster was sent out.

National General agreed to pay for a new awning, then stated that our roof would be repaired “as good as new” by having a patch placed on it. No matter how much we disagreed that a patch was not pre-accident condition, and that a patch would not hold up to our full time useage like a replacement roof would, they still insisted that a patch was all we needed and all they had to cover.

We had the awning repaired, to make our camper road worthy again, and made our way back to Florida, where we would arrange to have our roof evaluated. Our National General rep proved to be often hard to communicate with, receiving no response for long periods of time. Finally, with a shop working with us, National General agreed to cover the roof replacement.

We’ve since switched back to Progressive for our insurance.

What About All The Rest?

We’ve looked in to several of the other larger insurance carriers and, while several are recommended in the Facebook RV groups, they do not cover full timers. No matter who you choose for your RV insurance, make sure they know you will be full time, and have full time coverage. Basic auto insurance and basic RV insurance will not cover everything you will need as a full timer.

What About Roadside Assistance?

While we feel having Progressive insurance is our best bet, as we said, their roadside left us stranded for three days.

When we switched to Good Sam/National General for insurance, we also decided to give Good Sam’s Roadside Assistance a try. We had a minor issue or two with them but, from what we have seen, most people are happy with their service, which is very reasonably priced. In the end, although it’s a little more pricey, we tried and stayed with Coachnet, who has been great. Several of their services are unlimited – which is something that at the time is/was lacking with both Good Sam and Progressive’s roadside services. Their customer service is great, and the providers they have sent out to help us seem to have been far superior to that of Progressive and Good Sam’s solutions.

There you have it. In our experience, the best combination is Progressive Insurance with Coachnet Roadside. Have you had different experiences? Let us know in the comments!

Connection RV Roadside Assistance

Easy Way To Store Lodge Cast Iron Pans In An RV Or Travel Trailer

Securing our cast iron pans

Purchase a strap such as this one.  They are fairly cheap and we use them often. We even strap our printer and laptops in place with them. If you are going to strap down multiple pans setting a paper towel in between pans will keep any grease from transferring to the bottoms of other pans in the stack.

storing Lodge Cast Iron Pans safely in a travel trailer

We use the Lodge 12″ Skillet and the Lodge 3.2 Quart Cast Iron Combo. Both have handles on each end. To do this you will need these or similar style cast iron pans with handles at each end.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet and Pan RV Storage

Take your strap and feed it through the bars of your stove top as seen in the above photo.

strap down Lodge Cast Iron Pans in an RV

Center your pans over the strap and pull buckle through all of the smaller handles in you cast iron pans.

Safely strapping down Lodge cast iron pans for travel mode in a motor home

 

Take the other end of the strap and wrap it once around all of the long handles of your Lodge cast iron pans.

Clip the clips of your strap together. Make sure to move the pans back and forth a bit and pull the strap tighter as needed. Ours move around as much as a few inches to each side but have never come loose from our stove top in the 3 plus years we have been using this method.

That’s it you are done! No more cast irons bapping around in your fragile cabinets or flying out of doors due to weight!

Here’s a quick video, showing how it’s done.

Our Stay at Cumpressco Campground – Green Swamp West Tract, Dade City, Florida

Cumpressco Campground - Green Swamp West Tract, Dade City, Florida

Green Swamp Preserve was yet another great place to enjoy a week stay. Like the other great free camping areas in Florida, there are miles of trails to explore. Green Swamp, however, contains two equestrian campgrounds, and features a larger amount of gravel/shell roads than any of our previous stays. This allows for a lot of easy, comfortable bike riding.

Also within biking distance, a mile or less away, is the Withlacoochee River Park. This site features paid camping with hook-ups, tent camping, an observation tower, both paved and unpaved trails, and more.

When we arrived at Cumpressco Campground, we selected the very back of the site, where there was enough of a clearing to put our solar panels in the sun for a decent portion of the day. As we were the only one’s here, we pulled in right next one of the shelters, which made for an awesome spot.

Next to the camping area, only a hundred feet or so from our camper, is a cow pasture. A few times a day, we can sit and watch the cows relaxing and grazing in the sun before moving on.

There is wildlife aplenty on the preserve as well. We have seen large tortoises, huge grasshoppers, heard coyote, and much more. For around an hour one day, we even had a gecko hang out with us at our picnic table – only about a foot away from us.

One word of warning. With all the great outdoors and wildlife, comes mosquitoes. Lots of mosquitoes. If you use bug spray, bring it. If you do not, be ready to build a nice fire to keep them away.

Overall, even with the bugs, we really enjoyed this campground. Over the weekend, we had two other small groups show up to camp, but the rest of the time had the place all to ourselves.

Have you stayed in the Green Swamp Preserve? How was your experience? Tell us in the comments!

Bigfoot Trail Camp Recreation Area, Perkinston, Mississippi

Bigfoot Trail Camp Recreation Area

When hurricane Irma started heading towards Florida, it was time to for us to hit the road again and head out of the state. We did a bit of Walmart hopping to wait things out but, as always, that only works for so long. We needed the quiet of the woods! This is when we found Bigfoot Trail Camp Recreation Area in Perkinston, Mississippi.

During the week, we had the back 1/2 of the camping area all to ourselves, and on the weekend, only a few horse trailers showed up for a short time. The campground was quiet, filled only with the sounds of wildlife, and there were butterflies. Lots, of awesome butterflies.

The sites, including firepits and picnic tables were clean and mostly well kept. Grass around some picnic tables and benches was a little tall, but not enough to be unusable. There is a bathroom facility here; we located a  water hydrant, but does not seem to be in working order. The campground contained multiple large sites on a long, easily accessible loop. There are also a few horse trails that made for a few nice walks with our dog. Since this camping area is not situated on water the mosquitoes were limited to a short period around dusk. Firewood is scarce unless you walk a horse trail and brave some high grasses to drag some logs out of the woods.

This was another great stop along our journey – I’m sure we’ll stay here again next time we are through Mississippi.

Cell/Internet Signal

AT&T: 1-2 bars of 4G LTE
Sprint: 1-2 bars of 3G
Verizon: 1-2 bars of 4G LTE

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