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. 

 

 Map Legend 

Gas = Blue 

Possible Gas that I haven't researched yet = Yellow 

Nice to know it's there = Red

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.

RV Gas milage tips

How to Save Money on Gasoline

If you’re asking how can you save gas money while driving, then there are two ways to go about it.  1. Look at reducing consumption ...

Finding RV friendly gas station and RV Islands tips

Negitive degree weather in a RV in Texas 2021 and what we'd do differently

Our extreme winter adventure in Texas during temps down to -1 and how we coped and what we wished we knew or did to prepare.

This is what we faced. We knew cold weather was coming but no one realized the electric grid would have issues. We ended up with power for 30 minutes every hour for a few days (which coming on and off kept us up at night) though we were blessed to have that much electric so we could keep the things in our frig and we could recharge the batteries. 

When power was out our cell phones did not have good signal and you could not carry on a normal phone call conversation as the audio would go in and out.

The hardware stores sold out of anything that could help (like insulation, heater tape etc.) Not that heater tape or heated hoses do any good without electricity...  

The freezing weather made it unbearably cold, the roads icy and eventually the water levels low enough in the city for there to only be a trickle from the tap and a boil water advisory was issued. 

The grocery stores closed, the gas stations ran out of gas, propane was hard to find (in part because without power places closed.) We waited at Loves for over an hour waiting for them to pump propane in a line with at least 30 others, after being told by the Loves attendant that they didn't even know when/if propane would be delivered to the Loves itself (as they couldn't get through to the propane delivery company on the phone.)


Things we are glad we did:

Had a two week supply (2 cans per person per day) of canned soup, paper bowls, and plastic spoons under the bed. The stores still aren't open due to the brown out and boil water advisory. (I put this in place after being sick earlier in the year and unable to cook or do dishes.)

Bought 8 gallons of drinking water, plus a case of 16 ounce bottles.

Had REALLY good winter coats (however my mittens were nothing against this weather.)

Filled up on propane, and topped it off as we could. Had a backup propane tank as well.

Bought a RV with a arctic package so that we had tank heaters for the grey and black tanks (although without electricity...let's just say when I finally got the grey tanks to open there were chunks of ice...CHUNKS) 

Had a solar device to keep our cell phones charged. That was a bit of piece of mind that at least they wouldn't go completely dead. This is one for illustration purposes that I found on Amazon, which is much better than the one we have.


Things that broke or didn't work in the freezing temperatures:

The grey and black tanks stuck closed (but thankfully we did not end up with a sewer hose, which we have been through before...) Although after a few days we started to worry about not being able to run water if there's no place left for it to go.

The water pumps refused to turn on after a while (I'm glad it came back on after the temperatures warmed up and have heard tales of them cracking and needing to be replaced entirely.)

The battery nearly died (remember we were in brown outs off and on and we made a mistake.)

The heater water hose froze (later we figured out our mistake.)


What we'd do differently:

Have better mittens

Buy more propane. Perhaps even renting a large tank to get us through the cold snap

Buy more water. It seemed silly at the time to buy any, since we had filled our fresh tank, but once the water pump stopped working we lost our access to that water.

Insulate the battery compartment, to possibly help the tank valves not freeze and the water pump to continue to work.

Consider skirting the RV. The expense and the bulk (storage when not needed) of skirting has to this point stopped us.

Be aware of where the heater hose thermostat is (ours was in the basement) so that the hose knows it is cold outside.

Plug the heater hose into the camper, not the campsite pedestal. That way when the electric turned off (brown out) and we ran the generator the heater hose would still be heating.

Have wet wipes and dry shampoo to at least be able to feel cleaner between chances for a shower. 

Put RV safe antifreeze down the grey tanks.

 

Links are affiliate links and I will get a percentage of the sale if you purchase via my link (thank you!)

How to clean RV shower door tracks

You know those awful shower door tracks they put in RVs...the ones that literally gave me a blood blister when I forgot ONE time to lift my foot high enough coming out of the shower...the kind that collect grime and hair and who knows what else. 

I tried all different ways to clean it but it just gets dirty again so quickly it was worth all the effort...and yet it bugged me. It stared at me EVERY time I visited the bathroom.

After years of trial and error I found the solution! Here it is: a three prong blind duster. It works well and is easy enough to use that you can use it often enough to keep up with the debris that ends up in the tracks. 

This works so well I'm thinking of adding it to my "must have items that make RV living so much better list."

 

 

 

 

I mention it in my about section (but of course) links are affiliate links and I will get a percentage of the sale if you purchase via my link BUT I do really have and use this item personally.

RV toilet paper???

Toilet paper…

 

RV black tanks can have issues with toilet paper and so there is an argument for using the expensive RV specialty toilet paper. It’s not unheard of for RVers to skip flushing their toilet paper altogether and simply bin it in the trash.

 

After all you spent a lot buying your RV and repairs are not cheap. But after a while of shelling out a good portion of my weekly grocery budget for a 4 pack of RV toilet paper at Walmart, I finally decided to take the plunge and do the toilet paper test that is spoken of in RV forums and Facebook groups. That is, I took a normal toilet paper square and put it in a cup of water for 15 minutes to see how well it would disintegrate compared to the specialty RV toilet paper.

 

To my and my husband’s surprise, the run of the mill Angel Soft brand tested better/broke up more in 15 minutes in water than our expensive specialty RV toilet paper. We switched to Angel Soft and haven’t looked back or had any issues with our black tank. Although at one point in the Covid-19 toilet paper shortages we found it hard to find any…the expensive RV toilet paper was still there waiting for us, which is good if not expensive to know should there be another run on toilet paper in the future.

 

 

 

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.

I mention it in my about section (but of course) links are affiliate links and I will get a percentage of the sale if you purchase via my link. 

Camping/RV themed things that made me smile

I keep a Pinterest board of things I come across that made me smile when I saw them. It can be a meme or a joke or just a funny t-shirt. I figure I don't have to own it to enjoy it and in wasting some time...I mean researching items on Amazon I came across some camping/RV themed things that made me smile and thought to share in case they make you smile too. We could all a little more happiness sometimes.



 

 

I mention it in my about section (but of course) links are affiliate links and I will get a percentage of the sale if you purchase via my link.

RV shows on Amazon now

I was flipping through Amazon and thought to share some RV shows I found there in case you were looking for some inspiration. The ones without a price listed (I believe) are free if you have Amazon Prime.


How do you manage extreme heat in an RV?


Once in TX it was around 114 degrees with no shade. Our outdoor thermometer attached to the RV read 124 degrees and then broke. We like to say it just gave up.
 
Here’s how we stayed cool.
Our AC’s but even then they couldn’t keep up with the heat and it was still unbearable in the RV even after the sun went down so much heat had been absorbed it couldn’t cool down properly by the time the sun rose again.
 
Opened our front awning to shade it on one said and bought extra house awning/shade cloth and attached as a shade on the other side. Still not enough to cool it down enough.
 
Installed garden misters on our roof with a timer so that when the sun came up they would mist our A/Cs with water helping the ACs to stay cool and cool down the RV better. Now, it became somewhat bearable.
 
Didn’t really cook so as not to heat up the RV
 
 
Since this experience when we resealed and cleaned our roof instead of resealing we applied a white silicon paint that both resealed the roof and offered a layer of thermal protection to the RV roof and the bright white helps reflect the sun. It’s also mildew resistant and cleaning the roof is much easier now. We noticed a difference in how hot the RV gets in summer now. It took a little over 5 gallons to cover the entire 40 feet length of our RV. The name of it is (If you’re interested) “Henry Tropicool Roof Coat”
 


What are major things to learn before buying a RV?



Recently, I was asked this question and here are my top things to know before you buy a RV.



Things to check before you sign on the dotted line:



Make sure you can both tow your rig’s weight (there are charts) but also that you can stop it with your brakes. Sometimes a RV’s brakes can fail and you want to have the power needed to be able to stop should that happen.

Your insurance most likely will not pay if you are in accident with an under powered tow vehicle (probably an exclusion for that) So, knowing can both save your liability, but most importantly possibly save a life. Here's a video link to explain how to figure it out

There are RV inspectors you can hire to inspect them and see if there are any glaring problems that you can avoid by knowing before you buy.

Go up and check the roof. If they won't let you, don't buy it. Roofs are a major source of leaks and you should know that it in general looks okay before you buy. A leak in a RV can ruin the walls and lead to mold making the RV all but unsaleable later.
 
Check your tires (brand etc) and battery before you accept delivery. Know if you have good ones while you can still bicker with the dealership. They’ve been known to put dangerous tires on (meaning the brand) or not great batteries in as a way to save money.

Check the frig for recalls. There’s been a rash of frig fires and frig recalls lately. Do a quick search of the RV you want to buy and it’s frig make model serial number before you buy that RV. A fire in a RV spreads quickly (So quickly by the time firefighters comes its often too late to save it) and often means a loss of the whole RV. So, this is a big deal to check on.


Things to know before you take it on the road:

Know how tall your rig is. Pay attention to bridge signs. Many a truck and camper has had their ACs or roof ripped off on low bridges. There are RV GPS that you can put your height, length and weight into so as never to end up somewhere you can’t safely be. See my Bad Bridges page for videos of what can happen and a few of the locations I know about.

If you are towing something like a trailer with chains, know that the chains MUST be crossed, you must have two chains and the safety pin must be in. If they are not crossed the whole thing can come off if you hit a bump. There are laws about it and you can get a ticket but more importantly you can loose your trailer down the road and/or kill someone if you don’t. Watch this video if you need convincing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCDt4tjxp-E





Good to know these exist:

I wrote a long blog post on all the must haves for a new RV, check it out here to see the list and my reasoning behind each item.

There is no regular gas at truck stops back where the truckers go. This is exactly why I started documenting the gas stations we went to that were easy to get in and out of. We don't leave on a trip without first plotting out which gas stations we plan on stopping a.

You can save on gas by using the app GetUpside It offers up to .25 cents back per gallon. My code Olivia8775 will get you an extra .15 cents back. For us were averaging about $5 back per fill up.

RV gasoline milage Atlanta gas Motorhome 5th wheel


Knowing you are not alone:

There are FaceBook groups for newbie RVers that can booth answer your questions on the fly and offer assistance if you get into trouble. Being on them and reading what others are posting can be an education in itself.

We are a friendly bunch in general. If you have a question most people at any RV park will be happy to chat with you about how they do this or that. Many people do things differently but finding out the ins and outs of why they do this or that can arm you for a better journey.
  


Happy Trails and Safe Journey


How to make the most of those online purchases



So, finding out how to get the best bang for my buck at online retailers like Amazon got my attention. Thus far this is my strategy. If you know of any others, please do drop me a line at RVIslands@gmail.com.

1. Install an add on to my browser called Keepa. This is FREE! It tracks the price of things in my Amazon wish list and when they go on sale it tells me. It also provides a graph of their price over time so I can see what the price has done lately. By having this I tend to put things in my wish list (which prevents an impulse buy) but also by the time it goes on sale sometimes I don't even want it anymore, which prevents me buying some of what I don't need.

2. I installed an extension called Honey. This one automatically tells you if there are any promo codes for the item(s) and helps you apply them. (Works even when you're just ordering pizza online and it's Free!)

3. I use Ebates (now called Rakuten) extension to get cash back on my purchases. If you use my link  you get $10 in your account and I get something too :). This is FREE too!

4. I linked my Amazon and email account to Paribus.co (notice it’s .co not .com) it tracks your purchases and if the price goes down automatically asks for a price adjustment for you! And it's FREE!

5. Amazon’s Smile program which give a percentage of my sale to the charity of my choice. This is FREE and donated .05% percentage of my purchase on Amazon to my favorite charity.

6. Use a credit card with cash back for online purchases like 5% from Amazon’s Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. I wish this was an affiliate link, but not sure how to do that with this (Please, drop me a line if you do!) 

Or alternatively to the credit card, if you have a charity you'd like to support, ask if they are participating in Shop with Scrip's e-gift card program.

In writing this post I thought to see if there were any more I might want to try out and came across these. Just install them yesterday, so I'm not sure about them yet but thought to include them in case you want to look into them too.

7. I'm just now looking into the extension Amazon Assistant that compares prices from different sellers on the Amazon site itself. 

8. GumDrop by Goodshop gives you more promo codes.

9. The Camelizer a price tracking extension.


Well, that's all but if you know of any others, please do drop me a line at RVIslands@gmail.com.