Having a longer rig with a gas truck means I can't always drive in and out of gas stations with ease. Gas stations with RV Islands quickly became favorites because of their stress free nature. This site is meant to be a collection of stress free stops that can accommodate longish rigs with gas engines.

Map

Know of any good stops? Next time you're on a trip take a picture and email the details so I can add it to the site. rvislands@gmail.com or leave me a comment in the box to the right hand side.


Please, tell everyone you know with a RV about this site.The more users we have adding locations the better the site will be for everyone.

How not buying a cheap mesh furnace guard almost cost us $5,000!

Have you ever seen those mesh guards on the outside of RVs for the refrigerator and the furnace? They are cheap enough around $10 or so a piece.

Well...they are VERY important. Ask me how I know...

So, assuming you asked, when we bought our new RV we wanted to put them on, seeing the wisdom of spending just a little bit now to protect our RV.

But...the store, we went to buy them only had one for our refrigerator and not for our furnace. With so much going on (settling into RV life for the first time) we completely forgot about the missing furnace mesh protector.

Why didn't I just go to Amazon and order them...

Here are a few Amazon links to mesh covers. Be sure to measure to make sure you get the right ones.

Furnace and Water Heater  
Refrigerator

Fast forward a few years...and you guessed it, we had a problem.

I noticed a black soot coming from our furnace. We were going into winter and this was not good!!!

We called a RV mobile technician and something (wasps or possible a mouse) had crawled up into our furnace and made a nest and/or died up there in enough quantity that we had a big problem.

Our furnace got so hot that the metal discolored and it blew a hole in the metal to boot! I'm pretty sure if this had continued without us noticing we could have had a fire and lost the whole RV. So, I am extra thankful that we caught it before something tragic happened.



We had to completely replace the furnace and we're about to have a $5,000 hit to our savings.

What to do...

  Somehow, I thought to call our RV insurance company just to see if they cover such things. The lady who answered put me on hold while she asked someone else. I really didn't have hope that they would, but as the saying goes, "Never say, no for them."

Turns out, because we had comprehensive insurance it could be ruled an act of animal they covered the new furnace (minus of course our deductible.) Yipeee!!!

We were so relieved! Now, I don't know what your deductible is, but as happy as we were not to be paying for the whole furnace we sure were kicking ourselves that we hadn't tracked down a furnace vent cover sooner!

Now, that's all the money side of it, there's also that winter was upon us. Thankfully, it was a very mild winter where we were, but there were delays, after delays, after delays getting the furnace from the factory and let me say that electric blankets just can't be over-hyped enough in such situations.

So, the moral of the story is and what we've now done is buy every mesh vent cover that we can get our hands on.


Because I do not want to be responsible for your RV here is a disclaimer: This information is just what I do. If it would damage your RV please don't do this. I am just a fellow RVer like you trying to figure this stuff out and not a chemist or a professional anything to know what could or could not hurt your RV.




How I keep track of where we are / RV Decor / Good to have in an Emergency

Traveling for a while I quickly realized that it would be a good idea to be able to know at a moment's notice exactly where I was.

I imagined calling 911 only to not know (under pressure) my exact address or where I put the RV park's receipt to find it! When seconds count, I don't want to be searching for our current address.

                I also needed something to hang as decor in this area of my living room/kitchen.

Thus the ever changing address chalk board was born. These are just a few dollars and the peace of mind they give me has been worth every penny.


I update them every time we move and now when I need to order something on Amazon, or give my address to order pizza, or put it in Google maps to find out where the closest Walmart is I have it close at hand.
 



To get the letters to be dark enough to be able to see them across the room I use chalk board marker.
 



I hung them with command hooks and also use a second one for motivational sayings, but have been toying with using it to indicate if the grey tanks are open or closed, as I could put open on one side and closed on the other and just flip the sign when things change.



Sorry about the reversed pictures (if anyone knows how to fix this, I am all ears...)

Our solution to RV storage and the messy basement



In the basement of the RV we installed storage shelves. This way I can get things from underneath other things without taking them all out. We measured everything and use storage totes in these shelves.

It took a couple hours but we took metal shelving from a home improvement store, cut them to the perfect size, and put them in our basement and then filled the shelves with the storage totes that were just right.


This way we have a levels of totes plus a small section under them that we can slide our truck bed topper (when not in use) and a shelf over the top of all of it we can slide lawn chairs into.

We can get to all our fresh water, sewage, electrical totes without pulling out all the other things. 

We also labeled the totes and their lids on all sides with sharpie, so we don’t get them mixed up.

Here is a picture of the results.



We made everything tight enough that things don't tend to slide around when we travel. If you're interested in the way we divided up our things, we have totes for:

Black tank things
Fresh water things
Electrical things 
Chemicals (so they don't spill anywhere but in the tote, if that)
Wheel chocks and the leveling pads
Extra water hoses that are neither fresh water or black tank (think for washing the truck and RV)

On the side of these totes we're able to store our king pin hitch (when not in use) and the torque wrench/socket (that we use to check our tires' lug nuts.)


My DIY Back Tank Enzyme Cleaner

Having a black tank was a new and a little scary experience for us. Scenes from the Robin Williams movie RV come to mind.

However once we were shown how to empty and flush a black tank, we soon realized that it is not as bad as it seems, but the cost started to add up...

The cost for the special RV toilet paper (I'll be posting about our solution to that soon) and the cost of the special tank cleaners and deodorizers were not something we thought about when buying a RV. Our grocery budget didn't know what hit it!

                      Worst of all some of them didn't seem to actually do anything!

We tried a few finally settling on one that worked very well from Amazon, but the cost of it (even more than the others) prompted me to look into making my own.

With a bit of trepidation (I had to look up how to spell that!), I made an old enzyme cleaner recipe I had for things like floors etc. and we decided to give it a try.

The results were amazing! It worked better than the store bought expensive stuff and costs pennies!

Here's the recipe along with some tips:

In a large container (think at least a gallon) that has a lid (screw top is better) mix:

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups lemons cut up (or lemon remnants)

Fill the container with warm water (leave about an inch or more of space at the top)

Put the container in something that you won't need to use often (like the cake pan you see in the picture) and put the lid on loosely. Of course, during travel I secure these so they don't spill.

    But, if you don't put the lid on loosely pressure will build and....well it won't be pretty.

Now, leave it alone for about 2 weeks or longer.

About a cup or two down the black tank and/or grey tanks (if you like) will keep everything dissolving nicely.

Tips

Keep a batch brewing going at all times and when I run out of the batch that I'm using, I switch over to the brewing batch to use and make another batch (draining out the sold bits before I use it).

I use two old laundry detergent containers for this process, one of which I cut the spout off of, so I could fit the lemon pieces into it and the other I left the spout on for easy of use.


Get lemons and make lemon aid. I store left over peels in a zip lock bag in the freezer. This way I always have lemons I can make the cleaner with and my husband gets fresh lemon aid on the regular (which he appreciates).


We've been using this for a few years now with no problems, but because I do not want to be responsible for your RV here is a disclaimer: This information is just what I do. If it would damage your RV please don't do this. I am just a fellow RVer like you trying to figure this stuff out and not a chemist or a professional anything to know what could or could not hurt your RV.