August 28, 2009
by Bridgette Meinhold
Inhabitat April 1, 2009
Earlier this year the residency program at the Andes Sprouts Society issued a call for housing units for that fit the theme “Small is Beautiful.” Among a slew of excellent entries, our favorite was this Rolling Stones traveling capsule by Slovakia-based Nice Architects. Part gypsy wagon, part RV trailer, and all aerodynamic eco-capsule, this mobile modern living structure is compact, built from environmentally friendly materials, and self-sufficient in terms of energy, water and waste.
Nice Architects‘ Rolling Stones capsules are inspired by gypsy wagons, which served as both living quarters and backdrops for gypsies work as entertainers. The unit is completely mobile when towed behind a vehicle, and when stationary it can be expanded to form an open air studio space or even a mobile stage. Its round shape is meant to resemble a rock in a meadow, and the project blends into its natural surroundings through the use of a reflective surface made from recycled aluminum can tiles. The rest of the structure is constructed from locally sourced wood and OSB panels.
Each unit runs 270 sq feet and is designed to accommodate 2 people comfortably, although 6 people could stay in it if necessary. There is a bedroom with a double bed and closet, a bathroom with a toilet, shower and sink, and as a living room with a kitchenette. A reservoir on top of the capsule is used to collect rainwater and can serve as an emergency sleeping space.
The units are designed to survive independent of outside amenities, and each one comes equipped with either a solar system or wind turbine mounted on top. Below the floor of the unit are two reservoirs for clean water and grey water, which can be used for toilet flushing. A composting toilet takes care of solid waste, and an electric heater provides both heat for the unit and hot water. All in all, it’s a pretty cute and compact little unit – almost like an Airstream that has been hacked and rebuilt by gypsy rock and roll musicians.
August 27, 2009by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
as appeared on RV Home Yet? August 26, 2009
- 21% -Freedom
- 21% – Adventure
- 21% – Love of travel
- 14% – Save money/cheaper
- 14% – Follow the good weather were 14% each
- 4% – Curiosity
- 4% – Run away from home
- 2 1/2 % – Ability to visit family
Occasionally a couple or family will sell everything, become full-time RVers with the express purpose of finding a new place to live. Such is the case of Streett family. The four family members took a 14-month, 31,000 mile RV trek. They left their home in Chino, CA knowing they wanted to find a better place to live. After 28 states and 71 overnight stops, Sequim, WA became their new home. They all learned a lot from the experience and have no regrets.
When we sold our home in Pennsylvania before hitting the road, we did not know if we’d ever settle down again. We did know we would not want to return to Pennsylvania. However, we have met other couples became full-time RVers who had in the back of their mind that they did want to relocate.
Our second year on the road, we worked with a couple who had sold their house in North Carolina, bought an RV and began workamping in Minnesota. They ended up selling the RV and staying.
Another couple from Colorado ended up settling in the funky town of Bisbee after only a few months on the road. We camped with them at a couple of different small gatherings and could tell that they were not RVers at heart. They were looking for a permanent place.
And, a third couple, originally from back East, fell in love with Strawberry, AZ as they came down Highway 87 off the Mogollon Rim. Then they moved to Payson where winters were a tad milder. Finally they bought a house in Florida, then Arkansas, then last I heard, were back in another house in Florida. I don’t know what they are looking for or if they have found it yet. An RV would be easier to move!
Sometimes RVers become immobilized by finances or illness, settling down to deal with that issue. That’s a different situation all together.
It’s all good, however. The RV lifestyle is a “vehicle” for living out your choices, whether that be for the adventure and love of travel like most people, or to find a new life. The RV lifestyle is fluid and accommodates changing choices. If you do RV for a while and then decide on something else, it doesn’t mean your original choice was wrong. It’s just a new choice. It can also be an effective way to decide on an area to settle in if you are looking for a new home.
Here’s to your travels! May they fulfill your dreams, whatever those are.Please add your comment below or email Jamie at [email protected]
reprinted with permission
August 26, 2009by Mark Polk
Mark is a regular contributing author
Weighing your RV can be the difference between a safe, enjoyable trip and a costly, disastrous trip. With multiple slide out rooms, amenities like washers and dryers, large holding tank capacities and the ample amount of storage space available on today’s RVs it’s easy to see why so many are overloaded. Overloaded RVs are extremely dangerous. Actually there are a lot more reasons for weighing your RV than I listed here, but my intent was to highlight some of the most important reasons for weighing your RV.
Note: When talking about weights and weighing RV’s there are some differences between motorized and towable RV’’s. This article is generic in nature and some terms and definitions for certain type RV’s are excluded. My goal with this article is to discuss weight issues that commonly apply to both categories of RV’s.
First and formost safety is the number one reason to weigh your RV. Driving or towing an overloaded RV is a leading cause for RV accidents. Overloading your RV puts you, your passengers and other people in harm’s way.
Overloading RV’s is tough on the tires. The tires on your RV are the most vulnerable component affected by overloading the RV. There are numerous reasons for this. One reason is when the tires are not inflated properly for the load. Failure to maintain correct tire pressure can result in fast tread wear, uneven wear, poor handling, and excessive heat buildup, which can lead to tire failure. Another problem is, when you weigh your RV the total weight of the axles may be within the axles weight rating but it may be overloaded on one side of the axle or the other. For the sake of an example, let’s say you have an axle that is rated for 6,000 pounds. When we weigh the RV, the weight on that particular axle is 5,950 pounds. We are within the weight rating for the axle itself, but when we weigh each axle end separately we discover that one end weighs 3,400 pounds and the other end weighs 2550 pounds. We are still within the 6,000- pound axle weight rating, but the tires are rated for 3,000 lbs. at a specified psi. This means the axle end that weighs 3,400 pounds is overloading the tire by 400 pounds, even if the inflation pressure is correct. Eventually the overloaded tire will fail.
Overloaded RV’s can result in suspension system and brake related problems. Overloading can lead to rapid vehicle suspension system wear, or component failure to include: springs, shock absorbers, brakes and tires. Overloading the RV increases the stopping distance and if serious overload conditions exist for extended time periods the brakes can fail completely.
There is a reason RV’s have weight ratings. The suspension system, tires, wheels, brakes, axles, and the RV itself all have weight ratings. Weight ratings are established by the manufacturer, and are based on the weakest link in the chain. When you exceed a weight rating you are overloading one or more of the components on the RV and risk wearing the component out prematurely or complete failure of the component.
1) The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is one of the most crucial safety factors for your RV. The GVWR is the maximum allowable weight of the vehicle when fully loaded for travel including, all passengers, all cargo, fluids and fuel. The GVWR is equal to or greater than the sum of the unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) plus the net carrying capacity (NCC) for the RV.
2) The Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) is the maximum allowable weight that can be loaded on each axle of the RV. The GAWR is based on the lowest weight rating of other components in the system, like suspension components, brakes, wheels, and tires.
3) The Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) is the maximum allowable combined weight of the fully loaded vehicle and the fully loaded vehicle/trailer being towed. It is dangerous to exceed any weight rating, and the only way to know is to have the RV weighed.
Note: There are many other weight ratings for motorized and towable RV’s. Never exceed any weight rating.
Poor Weight Distribution is a common problem with RVs. When weight is not properly distributed and/or the RV is loaded improperly the tire(s) and other components on the end of the axle that is overloaded are subject to failure. When a tire fails many RVers contribute it to a defect in the tire, but with overload conditions that is seldom the case. The only way to avoid this is to weigh each axle end separately to determine if a tire overload condition exists. If any overload condition exists it must be resolved immediately. In some cases it might be possible to redistribute the weight and then weigh it again. If the overload condition still exists you will need to remove some of the weight from the RV.
Overloading can result in untimely breakdowns and costly repairs. When an overload condition exists components on the RV can wear out prematurely. Transmissions overheat, brakes wear out, tires fail and the end result can be an unexpected and sometimes dangerous breakdown. These situations can often times be avoided by knowing and managing the weights in and on your RV.
Overloading your RV is unsafe! That’s the bottom line.
That’s some pretty convincing reasons for weighing your RV, but just how do you go about it? The actual process of weighing your RV is not that difficult. It may take a little time at the scales, but it is well worth it knowing that you are traveling safely within all weight ratings.
The first step is to find scales where you can weigh your RV. This shouldn’t be a problem; you can look in the Yellow Pages under moving and storage companies, gravel pits and commercial truck stops. There are several different kinds of scales. What is important is to find scales where you can weigh individual wheel positions in addition to the overall weight, and the axle weights. Remember we said earlier it is quite possible to weigh an axle and be within the Gross Axle Weight Rating, but you can exceed the tire rating on one axle end or the other. Call the number where the scales are located and ask them if it is possible to weigh your RV in these configurations.
The next step is to weigh everything! The day you head to the scales have the RV fully loaded for travel. If you tow a vehicle or trailer behind the motorhome take the loaded vehicle with you. If it’s a tow vehicle and trailer have it loaded as if you were leaving on a camping trip. Be sure to include all passengers, cargo, food, clothing, fuel, water, and propane.
I am including a link to a brochure that you can download, print and take with you to the scales. It will walk you through the proper procedures for weighing your RV. http://www.bridgestonetrucktires.com/us_eng/rv/index.asp
Always keep in mind that weights (over time) can and do change according to how you load and distribute the weight in your RV and on many other factors. You should get in the practice of weighing your RV periodically to stay within all weight ratings. Whenever an overload condition exists resolve the problem before using your RV.
Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University
August 26, 2009
Cell phone signals and wireless Internet connections don’t exist in the California mountains where Forest Home is located. But this hasn’t prevented the 72-year-old Christian camp from using Facebook and Twitter to attract campers.
Faith-oriented camps’ embrace of technology is part of their proactive approach to stay open at a time when the economy has hastened the demise of already struggling camp ministries.
“Our industry can’t escape what has happened to other industries,” said Bob Kobielush, president of the Colorado-based Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA), which has shrunk from 1,093 members to 929 over the past five years. “In camp- and conference-centered ministries, we are in a consolidation and readjustment phase.”
Camp attendance has been declining since the 1990s, according to Kobielush, due to rising operational costs, government regulations, competition from sports and music camps, and the growing popularity of summer mission trips. He also noted that many churches no longer value the traditional camp experience, and that many megachurches now offer their own camps.
Kobielush likens this season of change to what many churches went through a decade ago when the number of megachurches burgeoned. He said Christian camps must reinvent themselves if they are to remain open. Many have responded by connecting with megachurches, developing programs that appeal to ethnic groups, or offering day camps at churches.
“They’re reaching into the church and into the community,” said Kobielush.
Forest Home’s Web presence is one way to reach that community. Dave Grout, vice president of marketing and communications, said while Forest Home is not “out of the woods yet,” the camp has fared well.
Decreases in individuals’ and youth campers’ attendance has been offset by increases in large groups’ attendance. Forest Home had nearly 58,000 campers last year, and expects the same amount in 2009.
The popularity of camping programs for groups has balanced the declining attendance at several camps across the country. Kobielush said it could take three to five years before Christian camps see growth in attendance again, but he remains optimistic. “The whole movement is going to come out much stronger as a result of the challenges we are facing,” he said.
Dwight Gibson, vice chairman of the board for Simpson Park Camp in Romeo, Michigan, the second-oldest ccca camp (established in 1865), is conducting research on Christian camping’s impact on the spiritual growth and development of believers.
“Camping is not old-school,” he said. “It is a significant strategy for ministry today because it reaffirms community and discipleship, it shows the fullness of God in creation, and it allows people to have a break from their normal routine to discover God afresh.”Copyright © 2009 Christianity Today. August 11, 2009
August 20, 2009by Mark Polk Mark is a regular contributing author
Just about every campground you go to will have a list of rules that they request visitors to follow, just like the rules you probably have for your own household. Another list of rules that isn’t necessarily written anywhere is what is referred to as campground etiquette. These are the rules that RVers learn over time and practice out of respect for other campers, the campground owners and the environment. When you arrive at the campground you should always observe campground etiquette.
Be a Good Neighbor
This is a big one and it encompasses many areas surrounding your stay at the campground. When a campground gets busy it means more people, more RV’s, more children, and more pets, which usually equates to less personal space for everybody. One of the reasons we enjoy getting away in our RV is to get a little peace and quiet. Now it’s understandable for children, who are excited to be camping, to make some noise but there is a time and place for everything. Not everybody likes getting up early or staying up late, so you need to be considerate of other people around you.
Campgrounds have quiet hours and campers need to observe these quiet hours. During quiet hours you shouldn’t hear generators running or loud parties next door. If you arrive at the campground early in the morning or late in the evening, try to limit the amount of noise you make while getting set up.
Police your Area
In the military, “police call” meant to go through an area and pick up any trash and to keep your area looking clean and presentable at all times. This is a good rule for campers. Your neighbor, who in some cases is only 15 or 20 feet away, doesn’t want your trash to end up in their camping area. Try to keep your campsite organized and keep the trash picked up. Don’t let things like paper plates and paper cups sit outside, that can quickly end up next door. Trash and food left outside can also attract some unwanted guests like ants, mice, squirrels, raccoons, and even bears. Keeping your camp area clean and picked up will make this less likely to occur.
Fires and Fire Pits
If there is a fire restriction where you are staying never start a fire, even if there is a fire pit. Avoid putting trash in the fire pit too; if it isn’t wood it shouldn’t go in the fire pit. Trash in the fire pit can attract more unwanted guests. Never cut branches from a live tree, or the tree itself to use for fire wood. In many public campgrounds gathering firewood is strictly prohibited, check with the campground rules about fires and firewood. Many public and private campgrounds sell firewood for you to use for a campfire.
Always make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the area unattended, or retiring for the night. If you are a smoker avoid throwing cigarette butts on the ground. If conditions are right, and the cigarette butt is not completely out, it could start the entire forest on fire.
Instruct Children on Campground dos & don’ts
Children just want to have fun, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of other campers. Instruct your children not to run and ride bikes through somebody else’s campsite to take a shortcut to the swimming pool or the game room.
You are in essence renting the space you are in and it should be just that, your space. You should also explain to children that they need to be extremely careful when riding bikes, skateboards, scooters and running through the campground. There is constant traffic in and out of a campground, especially when it’s busy and not everybody is watching for small children. This is why adults should always go the speed limit too, which is usually 5 miles per hour in the campground area.
Even though the majority of campgrounds you visit are for the most part safe and secure you shouldn’t leave your guard down too much. Leaving valuables sitting around the campsite unattended, or leaving your door open or unlocked is asking for trouble. Not everybody is as honest as you may be. Unsecured bicycles, scooters, video games, hitch work and other valuables can be an easy target for the not so honest camper.
Control your Pets
Pets and RVs just seem to go together, but keep in mind not everybody is a pet lover! If you have pets at the campground it is your responsibility to control them. First make sure you understand the campgrounds rules as it pertains to pets. Your dogs should never be outside unless they are on a leash. And even when they are on a leash you need to keep them out of other camper’s campsites. Use the campgrounds designated area for pets, if there is one, and always clean up behind your pets.
Control your dogs barking. I have seen instances where people leave their pet at the campground while they go on a day trip and the dog barks nonstop all day. It is your responsibility to control a barking dog. Don’t be surprised if you are asked to leave if your pet is out of control.
Respect the Environment
There are a lot of beautiful places for us to visit with our RV’s and it is up to us to protect these areas during our stay. Don’t litter or put trash into the streams, rivers and lakes. Don’t start a fire if there is a fire restriction, even if there is a fire pit. Never empty your gray or black water tanks anywhere except in specified dump stations and campground sewer systems. Always leave the campsite in the condition you found it or in a better condition than you found it in.
Campgrounds have camp hosts and campground managers who are available on site. If you have a problem with another camper or a campground staff member you need to address the problem with the camp host or manager and let them resolve it.
Happy Camping,Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University
August 13, 2009by Duane Careb
Now that’s an excellent way to honor those men and women who serve us by joining the military!
Carefree RV resorts is offering a 50% discount to active and retired military personnel and their families at their 35 parks in Florida, Texas, New Jersey, North Carolina and California on all Sunday-through-Thursday stays.
“We think this is a great way to show appreciation for the contributions of our Armed Forces,” said David Napp, CEO of Carefree RV Resorts. “All veterans need to do to take advantage of the promotion is to show their military ID or other form of ID that shows their military service, Napp said, adding that the discounts also apply to immediate family members traveling with the veterans.
The discounts are subject to space and availability through December 31, cannot be combined with any other discounts and cannot be used Labor day weekend.
Kudos to Carefree RV Resorts’ administrative team!
Visit www.carefreervresorts.com for more detailed information and let them know you appreciate their discounts given to veterands.