Celebrating the RV: A Great American Innovation

In the early 1900s, America’s frontier spirit was still everywhere to be found. Homes on the hard edge of nature weren’t enough for us; we had to invent the RV to really blur the line between homesteading and exploration.

There’s always something impressive about an RV, but when you look back over the last century, you see how far the industry has come. They’re innovative by nature, and yet their evolution and amazing future are truly something worth exploring. Were you aware of the incredible roots of the earliest RVs? Let’s discover those and a lot more!

RVs existed before the highway system

Before 1910, the RV experience was literally on rails: those looking for a home away from home could spend time in private rail cars beside train routes. The experience as we know it didn’t take real shape until Pierce-Arrow debuted the first RV, the Touring Landau, in 1910. It cost $8,250 ($219,615 today) and boasted a back seat which became a bed, a sink, a chamber pot toilet, and a phone connecting the driver to the passengers.

As American roads improved in availability and quality, RVs were right behind. They were better known back then by the names “camping trailers” and “auto campers” and were soon being produced by companies like Auto-Kamp Trailers and Los Angeles Trailer works. Some notable models of the period were:

One of the golden age RVs was…a tree?

You’ve heard of a travelogue. Now meet the Travel Log. Charles Kellogg merits special mention for turning an 8-ton (16,000 lbs.), 22-foot Redwood log into the world’s first motor home way back in 1917. Kellogg was a man of many talents who created his timber-tastic RV to travel nationwide alerting the public to the endangerment of California’s beautiful Redwood forests.

The finished RV weighed 3 tons and contained a kitchenette, toilet, 12 lockers, guest room, dining table, and bookcase. It’s one of a kind to this day and still open to visitors.

The boom time for RVs

This Hall of Fame shows some great examples of the rise of the RV through the 1950s and 1960s. This was an aerodynamic period when residential appliances really started appearing inside trailers, transforming them into real mobile homes. It was a visionary period. If we offered you an RV that was 65 feet long, had two bathrooms and a 21-inch TV, we bet you’d consider it!

Those stats belong to 1952’s Executive Flagship which was followed near the close of the decade by Shasta trailers. They would go on to become the most popular travel trailer of their era. The 1960s were when RVs became truly iconic. Fiberglass bodies made RVs even more aerodynamic, and motor homes appeared with foldaway beds and sliding windows.

Winnebago launched in 1966 and sold over 20,000 units by the end of the decade. Outdoorsy gives a neat little summary of some notable 1970’s models including the Argosy and the Volkswagen Westfalia. Heading into the 1980s, the Fleetwood Bounder was a very popular family RV which gained some notoriety thanks to TV’s “Breaking Bad.”

A lot is going for the Bounder. Plenty of storage and a comfy interior accompanied a stove and oven, microwave, fridge/freezer, bath, and toilet. You can take a virtual tour of this classic and see why they’re popular as used models today (even if the owner thinks it’s a ’98!)

The 21st century’s additions to history

Since we’re noting down the milestones in RV history, we should mention how incredible a modern rig can be. Consider the EleMMent Palazzo Superior: a nearly $3 million groundbreaker containing a master bedroom, expandable roof deck, 40-inch TV and a wine rack. It’s one of the sleekest we’ve ever seen and shows just how far RVs have come in 100 years.

We hope you enjoyed our journey through time. If you always want to be up to date on the modern RV lifestyle, join up with us today and be part of our community!

The RV Advisor is proud to provide our thousands of members with practical wisdom for life on the road. We cover everything from buying new or used, roadside assistance and where to stop and shop. You can drop by our home page for a live chat, email us at info@thervadvisor.com or call 833-229-0911.

 

 

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10 Rules of the Road: An Inside Look at Responsible RV Behavior

The rules of the road can be as mobile as you, so know the hard and fast ones

RVs are subject to plenty of rules that go beyond the usual road requirements. The first rule is the golden one: local, state, and federal laws can impact what’s acceptable and what’s not. The right thing can vary so you must be aware of the regulations in your current location.

Some rules apply no matter where you are. Here are the top ten you should always keep in mind.

1. Safety first

A seatbelt is always a must. Drivers or passengers who forego one don’t face a very high financial fine, and in some states, it’s a secondary offense, meaning an officer can’t pull you over for that issue alone. However, just because it’s a secondary offense in some state, the dangers to your safety and your life are steep. This interactive map will tell you what’s expected and where.

Don’t let the excitement of living on the road make you feel too at home. RV living is all about freedom, but never confuse freedom with risk. Buckle up!

2. Look at your license

You may need a special license to drive your RV. Then again, you might not. It depends on state requirements and the size of your RV. Regulations are ever-changing over time and state lines. Your local DMV is the best place to start for information.

3. Passenger rights (and wrongs)

Your passengers may want to move around the RV while it’s in motion, but that isn’t always safe. Some RV-ers rent a second vehicle to carry others while keeping the RV empty of all but the driver and front seat passenger.

As we said above, seatbelts should be worn wherever they’re available, and for younger children, a car seat can be installed to keep them secure. Any passenger in any vehicle should keep in mind that they may feel stationary, but they’re moving as fast as the vehicle is. If it stops, they’ll be thrown around at the speed prior to braking.

4. Not so fast!

Speed limits change. They can be one thing for car drivers, another for RVers and truckers and may even differ depending on the time of day. This great list lets you know the speed limits for all 50 states as well as any differences relating to mobile homes. The list also makes a good point about RV stability in relation to speed.

5. Stay stable

Keeping your RV under control depends on awareness and multiple time factors: perception, reaction, and braking. The average stopping distance is 500 feet based on those. Be aware and judge the road – and your proximity to other drivers – accordingly.

The term “sail” is parlance among RV-ers for how much sway RVs experience when hit by wind. Winds of 53 mph and upward are cause for taking care especially if the wind is coming from a direction other than dead ahead.

If your RV has an awning or sunshade you roll out, a strong wind could use that to tip your rig when stationary and especially while in motion. It’s a good rule of thumb to be aware of weather conditions where you are going.

6. Don’t overload

RVs are built to be homes on the road, and homes contain a lot of stuff. Your RV’s owner’s manual will give you the safe numbers on how heavy you can go and still be safe. An overloaded RV wreaks havoc on itself and makes it harder to control on the road. Consult this guide to loading lingo for more information and consider sneaky weights that may be holding you down.

7. Never drive tired

If a standard driver can pull over to rest, then RVers with homes on wheels have no excuse not to nap! The National Safety Council states that driving tired can is considered to be driving while impaired. Your reaction times will be slow and the danger high if you’re drowsy at the wheel, so stop whenever you aren’t 100 percent alert.

8. Protect your pets

Plenty of us take our animal friends along for the ride, and they depend on us for their wellbeing. Monitor your RV’s temperature and be aware of local wildlife. Make sure your pet is safely crated or secured during travel and know where the nearest vet is.

9. Buy RV insurance

We like to stay neutral in our blogs when it comes to service providers but trust us when we say that RV insurance goes a long way (no pun intended). We recommend picking some up, and we can help you do it.

10. The great wide opening for trouble

Every RV is subject to width, height, and length restrictions. These vary from state to state (sometimes dramatically) but being aware of them keeps you legal and most importantly, safe. Bridges, narrow roads and plain old parking can quickly become a nightmare if you don’t keep your dimensions in mind.

We hope this made RV-ing a little safer. If you want to become a real RV veteran, we’re here to inform and empower you!

RV Advisor is proud to provide our thousands of members with practical wisdom for life on the road. We cover everything from buying new or used, roadside assistance, and where to stop and shop. You can drop by our home page for a live chat or email us at info@thervadvisor.com.

 

 

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Staying Connected on the Road

The latest RV upgrades and technology

RV travel lets you get away from the stress of your life and see the country in an entirely new way. Living a simpler life on the road doesn’t automatically mean leaving technology behind, however. There have been many advances in RV technology in the last few years that can keep you connected.

Here are some of the latest RV upgrades and tech tools

Solar power and your RV

One of the biggest trends in the RV industry has to do with solar power. Some houses and even office buildings use solar panels to lower energy consumption. Now, this technology is being applied to RVs. Having solar panels cuts down on the need to run generators, which are noisy and can emit noxious fumes. Solar power is ultimately better for the environment and safer for passengers, too. While solar panels aren’t cheap, they end up paying for themselves over time since you’ll spend less on propane gas to run that generator.

Internet access and your RV

There is no getting around the fact that we rely on our computers and smart devices for almost everything. It used to be difficult to get any type of reliable Internet or Wi-Fi connection for an RV.

For one thing, RVs are constructed of materials that inhibit Wi-Fi signals. While many RV parks offer free Wi-Fi, it’s often not very reliable. Data plans sold through cellular carriers can be equally problematic.

However, today you can buy signal boosters and antennas and set up mobile Wi-Fi hotspots through your cellular carrier. Most RVs today also come equipped with built-in USB charging ports, which a big convenience.

Helium technology and RVs

One of the newest trends in the industry is something called helium technology. It doesn’t have anything to do with balloons, however. A patented process developed by Keystone RV Company, “utilizes new design and manufacturing technologies as well as construction materials to significantly reduce the weight of the RV without sacrificing strength, cargo capacity or features.”

Improving battery life in RVs

High-end lithium batteries are a smart way to upgrade your RV’s electrical systems. They are essential if you want to implement solar power since they take power generated and convert it into usable energy to run your devices. Lithium batteries also require less maintenance, have a higher power capacity, a more efficient charge, and they last longer, which will help you save money over time.

TV screen time and your RV

It’s possible to watch all of your favorite movies and TV shows while you’re on the road as most modern RVs come equipped with at least one flat-screen HDTV. Some have built-in DVD players and others can be easily hooked up to one. If you want to access TV channels, there are a few ways to go.

Audio systems and your RV

What’s a road trip without music? Today’s RV sound systems offer better quality, more options and more controls. Interior speakers are now placed throughout the driving and living spaces and many systems have touchscreen controls. You can also find RV models with exterior speakers, so you can listen to music while you’re outside. You can often access satellite radio for a wider selection of music, sports and talk channels, too.

Navigation and your RV

No matter how romantic it might sound, getting lost in the middle of nowhere is not fun. GPS technology in RVs can access directions, even in places where cell and internet signals are spotty. Many modern GPS systems also come pre-loaded with useful information about campground listings, RV height and weight restrictions, construction delays, gas stations, and suggested activities or points of interest.

Traveling in an RV doesn’t automatically mean going without your devices. These tips will help you access all the technology you need.

At RV Advisor, we offer unbiased information for current and potential RV owners. We want you to have the best RVing experiences possible. Become an RV Advisor Member to gain access to our exclusive offers, invaluable insights, and tips, or email us at info@thervadvisor.com with any questions you have. Or stop by the site for a live chat. We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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