Christian Children Becoming Viral?

November 30, 2010

by Dountonia S. Slack as appeared on BellaOnline
a contributing author on RVchurchesUSA

“I think it’s a virus!” stated a student at the high school where I work in response to the recent virusoutbreak of unplanned pregnancies within our academy. She estimates about 75% of the girls are with child and having “baby daddy” drama.

The other day, I asked another mom-to-be what teenagers need that they are not getting from adults. Her response was, “Support…physical, mental, and emotional…encouragement. Everybody wants to be encouraged.”

Recently, a college student (a baptized son of a preacher who grew up in the church) confessed to me that he is not a Christian and is studying the text of another religion. A few hours later he posted a status on Facebook asking, “Why are you a Christian?” to his community of “friends” which spurred a plethora of responses from Christians and non-Christians alike. And moments ago, a girl burst into my office yelling about being persecuted by Christians for following a religion she was forced to convert to as the result of her mother’s remarriage, “I hate being a _____! My life has been completely destroyed since my stepfather moved in!”

Children, teenagers, and young adults are crying out and no one is listening. Instead, we respond to them with movie nights, harvest parties, and Christian Bingo when what they really need is authenticity – authentic faith, authentic communication, and authentic fellowship. But, often we are too busy planning bigger and better programs forgetting about the need to equip our future with the spiritual depth they need in order to survive in a world full of empty lies.

These lies promise love, security, and wealth. Even worse, when our children become of age, we push them out the door into a microcosmic cesspool of ideas where Christianity is mocked; the wisdom of man is glorified; Hedonism reigns; and scientific theories are taught as absolute truth. Thus, it is in an environment like this where viruses are born and invade the minds of our children.

Viruses are submicroscopic, parasitic thoughts/ideas/imaginations that infect our children and often lead them to feel lonely, misunderstood, and doubting their faith or the truths of the Bible. They consist of a core of misinformation repackaged to sound like truth. Most viruses are too small to be detected inside the walls of our churches. As a result, their presence become known only after our children have been isolated in despair, a relationship, or a dormitory room. So, how do we prepare our children for the viral infection that is waiting to consume their spiritual lives once they leave (or stop believing in) the protection of our homes/churches?

The answer lies in deliberately disciplining our children by teaching them to renew their minds, to have the mind of Christ, and living out the faith for themselves. Far too often our children are insulated from the realities of life’s problems. Therefore, we miss opportunities for them to activate their faith, under the umbrella of our guidance, while they genuinely develop coping/problem-solving skills using God’s Word. Proverbs 4:5-6 reminds us that we should teach our children to: “Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you.” Therefore, Biblical Wisdom sees the world and life from God’s perspective.

Our children need opportunities to practice this wisdom and to discuss, process, and/or inquire about that which they have learned in non-judgmental surroundings. There is a battle for the minds of our youth: science wants them to believe there is no God; anthropology wants them to believe all gods are the same; television wants them to be numb to sin; professors want them to believe that Christianity is a fairy tale; and, unequally yoked boyfriends/girlfriends want them to believe that “No one will ever love you the way I do.” “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, ‘He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness,’” (1 Corinthians 3:19). Thus, it is important that we raise our children to have a consistency in thinking Biblically in all areas of life in order to sanitize the thinking that spreads the viruses of this world.

Dountonia is BellaOnline’s Baptist Editor

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Should You Cover Your RV?

November 30, 2010

by Ashley Gannon
for RVT.com Blogsrv_cover

To cover or not to cover? That’s the question RV owners face. Constant exposure to sun, rain, pollution and debris can take a toll on the exterior of your RV. Over time, UV rays from the sun are extremely damaging to RV roofs. Leaves and tree debris that collect on RV rooftops can exacerbate deterioration and lead to leaks if not cleared off regularly.

In northern states, snow and ice take a similar toll. Excessive moisture, particularly in humid southern states, can cause mold growth. And air pollution is constantly chipping away at your RV’s exterior finish.

Obviously, regular maintenance and indoor storage are the best ways to protect your RV investment. But few people have a garage large enough to house their RV. Rented storage lockers and winter storage facilities are an option for some, but most RVers keep their RV parked in the driveway or backyard.

Open-sided shelters are a good choice as they protect your RV’s roof from sun, rain and debris, while allowing plenty of air flow to prevent mold growth. Hard-roofed and canvas shelters are available for RVs.

Special RV covers are another choice. Covers should be made of breathable fabric and sized to fit the make and model of your RV. The two biggest problems with covers are chaffing and mold from moisture accumulation. Tightly securing the cover and parking your RV where it is protected from the wind will minimize chaffing. Inspect your RV periodically for moisture infiltration to prevent mold.

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Eternal Truths

November 21, 2010

by John Imler
John is an RVchurchesUSA Ambassador and author of It’s Never Too Late

While eternal truths are found in God’s Word, I am amazed at the various ways God reminds us of them. Recently I read remarks Billy Graham gave to a local group who truthwas honoring him. His last sentence stuck in my mind: Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil – it has no point.

As I pondered this thought, I recalled the words of King Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived: “Meaningless! Meaningless” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecc. 1:2). As he contemplates “life under the sun” he examines the purpose (or point) of life with a question, “What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun” (Ecc. 1:3).

With his superior wisdom, King Solomon continues to examine man’s earthly journey and sums it all up with these words: “This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes” (Ecc. 7:29).

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God had done from beginning to end” (Ecc. 3:11).

“…death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart” (Ecc. 7:2).
So, if everything under the sun is “meaningless,” what is the purpose (or point) of our lives? Solomon sums it up with these words: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecc. 12:13-14).

Solomon’s words about our “life under the sun” are echoed throughout the Bible, yet probably no more forcefully than when Christ said “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth….But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven….For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Both Billy Graham and King Solomon agree that, without God at the center of our lives, our earthly lives have no point – and are “meaningless!”

John welcomes your comments either below or email him directly at [email protected]

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Guarding Against Spiritual Numbness

November 16, 2010

by Dountonia S. Slack as appeared on BellaOnline
a contributing author on RVchurchesUSA

“And they told him, ‘Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.’ And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them,” (Genesis 45:26 ESV).numbness

I must admit, although not very often, that there are times within my spiritual walk that I become “deprived of the power to feel or move normally,” (American Heritage Dictionary, 2009) within Christ. I become “emotionally unresponsive or indifferent” (American Heritage Dictionary, 2009) for no apparent reason.

Even just going through the motions of Christian activity becomes impossible for me. I become severely frost bitten – not depressed, not joyful – just frozen like a child in a game of freeze tag. And, these times are not necessarily triggered by sin but, in my case, predictably lead to sin although I sincerely desire not to sin (Romans 7:19).

I call this state of being spiritual numbness. It may last for a couple of hours or an entire day. These moments are characterized by total inaction. I cannot pray; I cannot meditate on the Word; nor am I able to allow a fellow brother or sister to bear my burden with me. I hate these moments because my zest and zeal to do the work God has called me to do temporarily lose its kinetic energy and lock me into place. As I analyze this condition, I acknowledge that this state may stem from an unconfessed fear that prevents me from faithfully walking into what God has for me because intellectually I understand that “one cannot go with God and remain where he is,” (unknown).

In Genesis 45:25-28, Jacob was told that his favorite son Joseph was alive but he did not believe it until his sons told him the words of Joseph and showed him the blessings that came to him through Joseph. Then he believed Joseph was alive, though he had not yet seen him. Like Jacob, I have found that the only way to defrost from spiritual numbness is to immerse myself with people and media (radio, television, music) that speak the words of Jesus and demonstrate His blessings in their lives. As a result, I become revived and re-energized which allows me to see those who are hurting, identify with their pain, and to minister the Word of God so that they may be introduced to the Savior or encouraged to press on.

When I focus inward, I become immobilized. It is only when I am reminded of His Word and focus on what He is doing in the lives of others and my own life am I able to put His Word into action. Our Christian walk has nothing to do with isolationism, but everything to do with relationship with Christ Jesus and fellow believers. In freeze tag, the only way to unfreeze a frozen friend is for a person who is not “it” to run by the frozen one and touch him. It is my prayer that those who are not frozen to touch the spiritually numb with the power of God’s Word in a warm and loving way whenever and wherever the need arises.

Dountonia is BellaOnline’s Baptist Editor

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Warning!

November 16, 2010

by John Imler
John is an RVchurchesUSA Ambassador and author of It’s Never Too Late

A gospel song posts a warning for believers who are just beginning their walk with God: “It’s Not An Easy Road.” New believers often have the impression that their lives will now be easier and that things will go much smoother. rough_roadHowever, what they have just experienced is a switch in masters (Matt. 6:24) who are at war with each other (Eph. 6:12). They are now soldiers in God’s army and will need training to prepare for the battles ahead.

Previously, humanly speaking, they weren’t even aware that there was a battle going on between God and the devil, between good and evil. They simply faced each new day with an attitude of just go with the flow, do what ever feels good and eat drink and be merry (Isa. 22:13).

But, as they read the Bible, they will find that there are responsibilities to following this new Master. He has declared, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15, 21, 24).

In reading the Bible it is obvious that Jesus, the apostles, and the early church did not find this New Way an easy path to walk. They all suffered severe persecution and many were put to death for their decision to follow the instructions of God. So, as Peter puts it, “Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as so something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).

Our walk with God will require many things of us: determination (1 Cor. 2:2), steadfastness (1 Cor. 15:58), and perseverance (2 Peter 1:5-8). In our walk with God we are reminded of those who have gone before us in Hebrews 11. It begins by saying, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This is our walk with God—being certain of what we cannot see with our physical eyes, only our spiritual eyes.

We know that there is perhaps an easier way but we have chosen the more difficult way (Proverbs 14:12).

The chorus of that gospel song says: “No, no, it’s not an easy road…But Jesus walks beside me and brightens the journey, and lightens every heavy load.” At the end of this walk there awaits us “the gift of God (which) is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” and our new Master (Romans 6:23).

John welcomes your comments either below or email him directly at [email protected]

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Don’t Guess – Test Your RV Batteries

November 9, 2010

by Mark Polk
Mark is a frequent contributing author

The only way to know the condition of your RV battery(s) is to test the state of charge. RV-batteriesAll batteries will lose a charge over time, not to mention the parasitic loads that can drain RV batteries in storage. You should test the battery state of charge periodically and charge any battery that is at or below an 80% state of charge.

Note: An 80% state of charge for a 12-volt battery is 12.5 volts, and 6.25 volts for a 6-volt battery.

Testing the battery state of charge is not difficult to do. There are basically three ways to test the condition of your RV batteries.

1)      You can use the monitor panel in the RV.

2)      You can measure the voltage with a digital voltmeter.

3)      You can test the specific gravity with a hydrometer.

The least accurate of the three testing methods is the RV monitor panel, but if this is your only means for checking the battery(s) it will give you a general idea of the condition. When you check the condition of your battery using the monitor panel make sure the RV is not plugged in to shore power, if it is you will get a false fully charged reading. To get a more accurate reading of the battery’s condition check the monitor panel when the RV is not plugged in and turn a couple of overhead lights on to place a small load on the battery.

Measuring voltage with a voltmeter has its advantages. If you have sealed batteries your only choice is to use a voltmeter, and measuring voltage can give you a quick picture of the batteries depth of discharge, so you know when they need to be recharged. To measure the voltage you need a good digital voltmeter. Set the meter on DC voltage and connect the red lead to the positive terminal and the black lead to the negative terminal.  A 12-volt battery that is charged should read 12.5 to 12.7 volts. Readings less than 12.5 indicate the battery state of charge is below 80% and the battery needs to be charged.  A 6-volt battery that is charged should read 6.25 to 6.37 volts. Readings below 6.25 indicate the battery state of charge is below 80% and the battery needs to be charged.

Note: To get an accurate reading the battery should not be tested if it has been charged or discharged in the last 12 hours and preferably 24 hours.

The preferred method for testing the battery’s state of charge is to check the specific gravity reading of each cell. You can purchase a hydrometer at an auto parts store for about ten dollars. The electrolyte in the battery cells is a solution of acid and water so you need to wear safety glasses and gloves and avoid any contact with your skin. The first step is to remove the vent caps and check the electrolyte levels. There has to be enough in the cells for the hydrometer to pick up a sample. If you have to add any water prior to testing you will have to charge the battery and let it sit for 12 hours before testing the condition of the battery.

Next, fill and drain the hydrometer at least twice in each cell before taking a sample. Take the reading and record it and drain the electrolyte back into the cell you are testing. Test all of the cells and replace the vent caps when you are finished. Specific gravity readings for a charged battery should read between 1.235 and 1.277. Specific gravity readings below 1.235 indicate the battery state of charge is less than 80% and the battery needs to be charged.  If there is a .050 or more difference in the specific gravity reading between the highest and lowest cell, you have a weak or dead cell in the battery.

Note: If your hydrometer does not compensate for temperature you must correct the readings to 80 degrees F. Add .004 for every 10 degrees above 80 degrees F and subtract .004 for every 10 degrees below 80 degrees F.

If you put your RV in long term storage it’s a good idea to remove the batteries and put them in storage too. This is quite simple to do. When you remove a battery always remember to remove the negative terminal first and then the positive terminal. Label the battery cables so you remember how to make the connections next spring. Clean the batteries with a 50/50 mixture of baking soda and water if necessary. Check the electrolyte level and add distilled water if necessary.  Test the battery state of charge and charge any batteries that are at or below 80%. A discharged or partially charged battery will freeze much faster than a charged battery. Store the batteries in a cool dry place but not where they could freeze. Completely charge the batteries before re-installing them next spring. When you reinstall the battery connect the positive cables first and then the negative cables.

Knowing the battery state of charge and re-charging a discharged battery in a timely manner will extend the life of the battery.

Caution: RV batteries can be dangerous to work around. If you are not familiar with batteries or if you do not feel comfortable working around batteries have your battery maintenance performed by an authorized service center.

For more information on deep cycle batteries be sure to check out our Deep Cycle Batteries Care & Maintenance DVD or our Deep Cycle Battery Care & Maintenance E-Book

Happy Camping,
Mark

Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University

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Crispy Bacon to Go!

November 9, 2010

by Melissa A. Trainer
as appeared on Woodall’s Family Camping Blog

How do you cook bacon when you are camping? We enjoy bacon when we are home. baconHowever, I think we enjoy bacon even more when we are camping.

Over the years, I have cooked bacon in a variety of ways when we are camping–in a skillet on the gas stove in our camper, in the microwave on a paper towel, and in a massive cast iron frying pan over a campfire. I think, perhaps, I like the flavorful results of outdoor campfire method the best, but overall I find cooking bacon to be a rather messy tedious form of campground cookery. There is always grease to deal with and a hot pan to maneuver.

Hence, a few years ago I started to experiment with cooking bacon at home before we left on a camping trip. I think I first started doing this when my husband and sons took their annual fishing/camping trip. I knew Christopher would be pressed for time each morning when they were tent camping, but I still wanted the kids to get a decent breakfast before they went fishing offshore for the day.

So, before the boys left home, I cooked up a batch of bacon, drained it, and stashed it in a Ziploc bag with some paper towels. The crispy cooked bacon was stored in the cooler and Christopher simply had to reheat the bacon in a skillet over the Coleman camp stove in the morning. This method proved to be so convenient that I started doing it for our family camping trips. I cook a batch or two of bacon in my home kitchen and then stash it in our camper fridge so we can easily enjoy it when we are traveling. I know there are convenient forms of precooked bacon, but my family really doesn’t enjoy those processed products…

I think my method simplifies the camping breakfast. And, thankfully, cleanup is kept to an absolute minimum!

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Billy Grahm’s Suit

November 3, 2010

Billy Graham is now 91-years-old with Parkinson’s disease.

In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte, billy-grahmNorth Carolina, invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor.

Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson’s disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, ‘We don’t expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.’ So he agreed.

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, “I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century.

Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.

“The conductor said, ‘Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.’”Einstein nodded appreciatively.

The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. “The conductor rushed back and said, ‘Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.’

Einstein looked at him and said, ‘Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”

Having said that Billy Graham continued, “See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. My children, and my grandchildren are telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing.”

“I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am. I also know where I’m going.” May your troubles be less, your blessings more, and may nothing but happiness, come through your door. “Life without God is like an un-sharpened pencil – it has no point.”

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Eliminating RV Odors

November 2, 2010

by Mark Polk
Mark is a regular contributing author

Odors in our RV come in many different forms and are caused by many different sources. Some odors are pleasant, like fresh coffee brewing in the morning, and some odorsare not so pleasant. The “not so pleasant” category includes holding tank odors, pet odors, cooking, smoke, must and mildew odors, just to name a few. Some of these odors result from normal use of the motorhome and some from sitting in storage. Today I want to give you some tips on how to control and eliminate some of these unpleasant odors.

Tip #1

Because RV’s are relatively small in size, when compared to a 2,000 SF home, odors tend to be more pronounced. Add to this the RV sits closed up for periods of time and these odor problems are compounded even more. This leads to one of the key factors for controlling odors, ventilation. Ventilation not only helps with odors, but can limit the amount of heat build-up in the RV too. A quick fix for this odor related problem is to install some aftermarket roof vent covers, like MaxxAir vent covers, over the existing roof vents. They are easy to install and a great feature about these ventilation products is that you can leave the roof vents open, even when it’s raining outside. These ventilation products will keep the air circulating throughout your motorhome and help prevent musty odors. Watch my installation video.

Tip #2

With the ventilation problem solved we can focus on other types of odors that linger in our RV. These odor molecules aren’t just in the air, they get in the fabrics, carpets, ceiling, window treatments and other areas of the RV. Pet, smoke, and musty odors can be extremely difficult to eliminate. During my days of selling RV’s I witnessed RV interiors that were professionally cleaned, but odors, like smoke, still remained afterwards. I also experimented with many different odor controlling products, but perhaps the best product I found for eliminating difficult odors is Fabreze. Lots of air fresheners just mask common odors, but in many cases masking an odor won’t eliminate it. You need something that can kill the odor causing bacteria in the air, which is what Fabreze does. After RV trips, or before storage, clean the RV thoroughly and spray Fabreze throughout. Don’t forget to spray the upholstery, carpet and fabrics too.

Tip #3

To help prevent cooking odors from becoming permanent odors in your RV make sure you turn the range exhaust fan on whenever you are cooking, and it’s a good idea to open a window too. To maximize the efficiency of the range exhaust fan keep the filter clean. On some RV’s it is necessary to go outside and open the range exhaust fan door so the cooking odors actually vent outside. Check your RV owner’s manual for more details concerning maintenance and operation of your range exhaust fan.

Tip #4

When it’s time to put the RV in storage there are several steps you can take to assist with controlling and eliminating common household odors. First, thoroughly clean the interior of the RV. Remove all perishable food and leave cabinet doors and drawers open so air can circulate. Defrost the freezer and thoroughly clean the refrigerator. Leave the refrigerator and freezer doors cracked open. I put a small tin of charcoal in the refrigerator compartment to help absorb any odors, baking soda works well too.

Tip #5

If you decide to leave your clothes in the RV during periods of storage use some mothballs to help control musty odors and leave the wardrobe doors and clothing drawers open to promote air circulation.

Tip #6

This brings us to the least favorite topic when discussing odors in our RV, RV holding tank odors. The good news is there are some very effective methods for controlling these odors too, and it doesn’t involve strong chemicals that can be dangerous to humans, pets and septic systems. First it would probably be helpful to explain why we sometimes get a bad odor from the RV black water holding tank, especially when you are traveling. Motorhome holding tanks are designed with a vent pipe going from the holding tanks to the roof. The holding tank odors accumulate in the tank and can’t really vent outside because there is no air pressure to force these gasses (odors) up and out of the vent pipe. The real problem occurs when wind blows across the vent cap on top of the RV roof, which escalates when you are traveling. This higher air pressure forces air down the vent pipe pushing the tank gasses (odors) to the only other way out of the system, the toilet. Whenever the air pressure is higher inside the holding tank, than it is inside the RV, the odor escapes into the RV by way of the toilet when it is flushed.

The good news is there are aftermarket RV products that will help solve holding tank odor problems caused by the design of the RV waste water system. These products are basically a redesigned breather system that attaches to the top of the vent pipe and actually draws the fumes out of the holding tank. These products work when the RV is stationary and when it’s moving.

Tip #7

Another problem associated with RV holding tank odors is the use of strong chemicals to help control these holding tank odors. Some of these formaldehyde based chemicals are dangerous to humans, pets, and the septic systems we empty our holding tanks in to. Because little water is used, in comparison to a domestic waste water system, RV holding tank wastewater is far more concentrated. The organic strength from the mixture in an RV holding tank can be fifteen to twenty times stronger than a typical wastewater system. This problem is compounded when the RVer gets some odors from the holding tank and dumps even more chemicals in the holding tank in an attempt to control the odors.

As many of you, who know my work know; I am a big advocate for saving our RV dump stations. I recommend using a holding tank treatment that is environmentally friendly and safe to use in septic systems. Enzyme based holding tank treatments, combined with a redesigned vent breather system, can effectively control holding tank odors. Don’t be afraid to put some holding tank treatment in the gray water holding tanks too. When the gray tank is empty add some water, and the holding tank treatment, to the sink drains to help keep the gray water tank free of odors. I add some dish washing liquid to the gray water tank periodically to assist with breaking down and grease and keep the holding tank clean.

So it’s safe to say with proper ventilation and a few good aftermarket RV products you can eliminate all of the tough odors commonly associated with enjoying our motorhomes.

Learn everything you need to know about using and maintaining your RV in this comprehensive online RV training program. Watch Video

Happy Camping,

Mark

Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University

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