Recently, my family and I took a trip down to Ocotillo Wells, CA. The first/last time I had been down there was pre-baby with my husband and his parents. I had fallen in love with the beautiful desert landscape, the quirky desert towns, and, of course, off-roading. The speed! The adventure! Going places off the beaten path that I would never seen any other way. Truly amazing!
This last time we ALL went. Me, my husband, my three year old, my in-laws, and the Great Grandparents, as well as some family friends. There were 9 of us.
We spent the day there riding and hanging out at our basecamp, a 2000-something Weekend Warrior.
Hey, it’s a classic.
Hanging out with my family and friends out in the beautiful desert was just wonderful, but the most impressive event of the day has to be the great ride that our 92 year old Great Grandpa Bill took in the side-by-side.
That’s right, 92. He was able to enjoy being out in the desert with his family because we had a comfortable place for him and Great Grandma (did I mention she is 86 years young?), the rest of us adults, and a 3 three year old, too! The toyhauler provided us with plenty seating and a bed to take naps in, cold beverages, food, a toilet, shade. Everything we could need, we had.
About the Author: Rachel Olson first started in the Folsom Lake RV Service Department in 2011 and worked as a Service and Parts Advisor for several years. She currently works as Admin & Marketing Coordinator for the dealership. Her favorite RV at the moment is anything with a bunkbed or loft.
Now, the long answer:
First, you need to know, I personally believe in them. Having come up in the dealership in the Parts and Service side, I have had first-hand experience with them. They can be a huge financial safety net, if you have the right one.
I have them on both of my cars. And although, I don’t have an RV yet (WAIT! I have a growing family, and eventually, we will. We do have family members that own RVs-from motorhome, travel trailer, and residence style-that they generously let us use from time to time), but when I DO get an RV, I will get an Extended Warranty on that, too! I even have a warranty on my house. But each time I consider an Extended Warranty, I ask certain questions. I have detailed them below.
But enough about me.
So, you’ve decided on your RV. Congratulations! You’re investing in your quality of life and vacation time! There are many ways to protect your investment, including the obvious of carrying insurance on your RV (a requirement here in California), in case of an accident. All new RVs come with a manufacturer’s warranty and the length of time and warranty itself depends on the manufacturer of the brand you select. There are other products and services that are available to cover you, such as Tire and Wheel Replacement coverage, Paint and Fabric Protection with warranty, Roadside Assistance Plans with Towing, etc. These all deserve time and attention separately. Today, we are going to talk about Extended Warranties (Service Contracts).
To start with the basics, an Extended Warranty is a contract between the underwriting company and you, the RV Owner, to cover expenses related to the repair of your RV. They cover a certain number of years, with a selected deductible amount, on certain items covered in that individual contract.
Each company has different policies and procedures, but every Extended Warranty company requires that the repair facility contact them for authorization prior to any work being performed in order to cover a repair. Repairs that are completed at a repair facility and then submitted to an Extended Warranty will not be covered under the service contract.
There are many options when it comes to selecting an Extended Warranty provider. But the first choice you need to make is if you want to purchase one. The answer will be different for every person.
You will need to ask yourself a couple questions, weighing the costs and benefits:
Does the potential cost of repairs for the RV outweigh the cost of the extended warranty?
Am I a handy person, and can I and do I enjoy fixing things like replacing a water pump, replacing a circuit board in a RV refrigerator (12volt/110v/LP), replacing slideout or landing gear motors if they fail?
And, you need to understand the details of the contract itself:
What is covered?
This should be outlined in detail. Most service contracts will not cover wear and tear of the RV. In other words, if it is a cosmetic issue, or you caused the damage, it won’t be covered.
How is it covered?
What are the details of the deductible? Some contracts have one deductible per visit, other companies have one deductible per repair item. So you could be spending $100.00 on a visit for two items, or $200.00 on one visit depending on who you have for your service contract.
Is the diagnostic time covered under your contract? Some companies will only cover the cost to repair the item, not to diagnose it. So you could spend $130.00 in diagnosis time, plus the deductible (or more). So, if your Extended Warranty company doesn’t cover diagnostic time, and there is a deductible for each item on the repair order, you could be pulling some serious dough out of your pocket, even with an Extended Warranty service contract.
Where is it covered?
Is it a dealership only service contract? Or can you take it to any repair facility? Some dealers sell warranties/service contracts that are valid only at the selling dealer’s repair facility. Other Extended Warranties will work with ANY repair facility.
What limits are there?
Can the warranty contract be cancelled by the Extended Warranty company for too many repairs on your RV?
However, don’t let this deter you from considering an Extended Warranty!
There are companies that make it simple, straightforward and easy, as long as you follow their procedures. For instance, Easy Care and American Guardian Warranty Service both offer service contracts that have one deductible per visit (not item), and include the diagnostic time and repair time in their coverage. The service facility just needs to obtain authorization from them prior to doing the work.
Ask questions at the dealership about the Extended Warranties they offer, ask about the details. Weigh the pros and cons of your options, including expenses of buying the contract, or paying out of pocket for full cost of repairs.
Some people have purchased their contract, used it, and been so happy with it, that when their term expired, they renewed their contract for another term (typically 3 – 5 years). And honestly, I know of customers who have never needed to use the service contract after the manufacturer’s warranty expired. Just remember, you need to do what is right FOR YOU.
If you want to purchase one, but don’t want to come out of pocket right away for the expense of its purchase, often times the Extended Warranty contract can be put into the financing of your RV. There are usually incentives available at the dealership for you to purchase the Extended Warranty at the time you purchase your RV, rather than adding it later.
If you do decide to wait on the Extended Warranty, be sure you have all the paperwork completed before the expiration of your Manufacturer’s Warranty, so you don’t have to pay expensive rates to have your RV certified prior to the Extended Warranty being issued. In other words, you can’t have something break, and then buy an Extended Warranty to have it fixed. The RV has to be certified in good working order first!
In summary, if you think an Extended Warranty is right for you, then make sure you are getting the right kind of coverage for your needs and expectations.
If you would like more information, please contact our Finance Manager, Melinda Miller at 916-635-4545 to discuss pricing and plans that are available, with no pressure or obligation.
By Rachel Olson for Folsom Lake RV, February 12, 2018
It was only a matter of time before Jayma Valentine began traveling across the country in an RV. Although she did not own an RV, Jayma had an affinity for them and frequently “lurked” in vintage trailer online groups.
“I was about 4 years from retirement, and thought RVing was really something I could do on my own and be fun,” she explained. After some research, she decided that a truck and travel trailer would be the least expensive option for her, especially since if she was traveling in a motorhome, she would need to tow a vehicle behind it.
Jayma explains further, “You should visit a lot of places and do your homework, ask a lot of questions.”
And when she was ready to “get serious” about getting an RV for herself? “I had looked at a lot of places, and one weekend I had gone down to a lot near Stockton to look at an RV I thought I might like. I took my friend with me and we drove all the way down there, and when we got there, it wasn’t there! So on our way home, my friend suggested we stop at Folsom Lake RV, since we were already out.”
“I walked up to the RV that was right up front,” she remembers, “I walked right in and it had everything I was looking for,” adding, “And a really great price!”
In fact, Jayma finds that RVing is a natural fit,
“I like to have all my stuff around me. I want my bed, my bathroom,” she laughs, “I’m a homebody really. I just want to go everywhere, too, so I bring it with me. The first thing I pack is my sewing machine. Never leave home without your sewing machine!”
I ask her how she felt traveling solo as a woman with her RV, and her response is solidly practical.
“If I waited for someone to go with me, I’d never go,” I could hear the smile in her voice, “My advice to anyone, really, is just get on with it. Just go!”
Jayma spent her first long distance trip driving across the country to her high school reunion in South Carolina. She spent solo nights at campgrounds, and met up with friends along the way.
“I have friends all over the country, so I always had a destination where someone was waiting for me,” she explains. Adding, “It was nice to take my time driving and visiting friends and sightseeing along the way.”
But one of her favorite perks of RVing is being able to pull over and use her own bathroom.
“The first time I drove through Needles, CA and didn’t have to use a bathroom there was just so nice! If you’ve ever been there, you know what I’m talking about,” she laughs.
After her big cross country trip and back, and a trip up to Anacortes, WA, Jayma decided that she would like a slightly larger RV, one with a slideout to really add usable space.
“I wanted just a little more room so my friends and I can all hang out together and not be tripping over each other,” she explains. “So I stopped by Folsom Lake RV, and the same damn thing happened again! I walked into the first RV up front and it was just what I was looking for!”
Luckily, she had a truck that was capable of towing an increase in length and weight, “Be sure to buy, if you’re thinking about buying a truck, be sure you buy more truck than you think you need,” she advises.
Also, bring your own WiFi. Some places don’t have internet available for their campers. Jayma will plan just about a day in advance, so she will wake up and look up on her iPad where she thinks she is going to end up by the end of her drive, and then make her reservations online accordingly. Sometimes she doesn’t make reservations,
“But if you are on the East Coast, you should, because it’s more crowded, especially if it’s sunny, or coming up on a weekend.” Oh, and she doesn’t have a cell phone, just a pay-as-you-go phone for emergencies,
“I use my iPad for everything, maps, making reservations, listening to audio books, email.”
Jayma has felt safe at every campground she has stayed at,
“People are always really friendly and willing to help a fellow RVer. I’ve never had a problem, except with WiFi.” Jayma says she picks campgrounds a couple of ways. If she is headed to visit a friend’s town and has a stopover on the way, she likes to stay at a campground close to the freeway, so it’s easier to get back on the road in the morning. Jayma says she avoids rest stops and parking lots,
“I just stay at campgrounds.” In fact, Jayma says her Christmas card list has grown substantially from all the people she has met while on the road.
But after she picks up friends, they will go to specific destinations. One of the highlights was spending “two nights on a grassy knoll” with her friend from high school in Hamilton, MO and visiting the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Originally a JC Penney, the Missouri Star Quilt Co has become one whole block of stores,
“Each store has its own type of fabric!” she exclaims.
Some other travel advice she has:
Be aware of any games or races that are going to cause traffic in the area you are headed.
Don’t try to leave the Seattle area anytime on a Friday if you want to avoid gridlock.
Favorite pit stop: Cracker Barrel
When giving directions for backing up the trailer use driver side and passenger side, not right or left.
And her biggest piece of advice,
“You really do want a surge protector, some of the boxes I was plugging into were pretty gnarly,” she reports. Adding, “Actually, all the basics you (Folsom Lake RV) told me to buy were necessary.”
Currently, Jayma is preparing to go RVing for months on end, something she’s been wanting to do for a long time, “With RVing, there is no timetable, it’s not like a timeshare, and really, the only major expense for this is gas.” Which is true, an RV provides everything, or as Jayma puts it,
“My bed, my food, my toilet.”
Special thanks to Jayma for agreeing to this interview and for sharing her experiences RVing and her wonderful pictures, and for being our first customer bio on our blog! Any questions or story ideas can be directed to Rachel Olson at Folsom Lake RV, 916-635-4545 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awhile back we posted some helpful videos and links for our most Frequently Asked Questions for service. Here is a link to that post because these tips never get old and are good to review!
Also, be sure to check out our Service Page on our website. There are more videos and some information on what you need to do to maintain your RV to keep it in tip top shape! So you can be doing less of this:
If you just bought an RV and want to go camping, there are a few items that are essential for making your camping trip a success that are not included in the RV itself. Why is that? Some people have all the items they need already from the RV they are trading in, so they really don’t need to get duplicates, but the main reason is everybody is different.
That may seem like a flimsy excuse, but it really is true. The type of camping you plan to do (boon-docking or full hook-ups?), the location of your site (Is there constant direct sunlight? Does your site provide chemicals and pump outs?), and the frequency of your trips (Something you use often is better if it’s sturdy enough to stand up to repeated use?) really determine what supplies you will need.
Additionally, not everyone wants a satellite on their trips, while others want to get all the channels of their favorites while out exploring. It is all a choice. What a great choice to have!
So, I’ve put together a list of the essential things you will need if you just want to get out there RIGHT NOW and you don’t have anything except your awesome new RV!
Let’s start with getting the water IN:
Freshwater hose- self explanatory
Pressure regulator- Not all campsites are the same water pressure, and some even have high pressure to meet the demands of many campers, so this is a must to not bust your pipes.
Water filter- Even though the water may be municipal water source, the water filter will help eliminate sediments that can settle in your pipes and clog the foot pedal in your toilet causing it to not have water flow to flush. This can be a costly maintenance item, as sediment is not a warranty issue. Some toilets have a replaceable toilet valve, and others require replacement of the entire toilet. It’s best not to have to find out the hard way.
Now let’s get the water OUT (waste):
Sewer hose- This is something that I recommend not going cheap. Invest in a quality hose with all the fittings included. That way the fittings don’t get lost, and the hose isn’t going to crack and leak…on you…
Tank chemicals- Always, always, always use a tank chemical to dissolve the waste in your tanks. Also use them in your gray tanks. Always.
RV safe toilet paper- This TP is designed to break down in the tank with the use of chemicals. Just because it says “septic safe” doesn’t mean RV safe. Think about it. Septic systems sit for months, RV waste needs to come out in a few days. Always make sure RV TP is the ONLY thing going into the black tank besides waste. Clogs and solid foreign objects can cause cracks, leaks, drainage issues, and other smelly, messy problems.
Other important items
Your RV needs a deep-cycle 12 volt battery to work, even if you are plugging in.
Fuses – 15 and 40 are the most common, and you need to keep a stash at all times.
Surge protector- keep your electrical system safe from power surges
Electrical adapter – What amperage is the site? What amperage is your RV? They need to match, or you need to get an adapter.
Wheel chocks- This can be as simple as a couple blocks of wood, or the kind that lock between your wheels. Just make sure you have something.
A final note on the importance of surge protectors:
The necessity of this item cannot be stressed enough. The surge protector is like the everyday one protecting your TVs and computers at home and work. It will save all your appliances that run on electricity from a damaging power surge. Think about it- what does your RV use for electricity? TV, DVD, Radio, microwave, refrigerator, POWER CONVERTER (main power center in an RV). A power surge is not a warranty issue, nor do campsites take responsibility for them. If damage were to occur to these items, you would need to submit to insurance and go through that claims process, or come out of pocket to replace/repair the items. It’s just a lot easier to purchase and USE a surge protector to keep using your RV and having fun. You just plug the surge protector into the receptacle and the your RV into the surge protector. Easy and done.
There are many other parts and accessories you can add to your RV to customize it to match your needs. And that’s one of the best parts! You get to make it fit YOU and YOUR LIFESTYLE, and you get travel the country with it. Now that’s freedom. The items listed above will get you started and as you learn what type of camper you are. Research items that other campers suggest while out camping and our Parts Specialists can help you with parts and accessories, too. It’s something we love!
Soon, you will have a dialed-in RV.
If you are a seasoned RVer, or have just got started and learned some things on the road, what are some of your MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED RV accessories for the newbies?
Please share in the comments. Now, let’s get camping!
I’ve thought and thought and thought about how to write this post. We all have been affected by the North Bay fire storms, whether peripherally, or directly. It is traumatizing. Heartbreaking. Devastating.
A friend of mine posted on Facebook a call for items for a family of five she knows who had lost everything in the fire-I gave them all of my son’s clothes he had grown out of. While packing the clothes in a Rubbermaid box for them, my three year old asked me what I was doing. I told him there were some kids who needed some clothes.
“I need clothes,” he reminded me.
“Yes, you do,” I responded with a smile, “Your clothes that fit you fill your whole dresser. You have enough clothes. These clothes in the box don’t fit you anymore because you have grown. These kids don’t have enough clothes, so we are going to let them have them.” I wasn’t sure if he would throw a tantrum, when I told him, so I waited…
He picked up his stuffed giraffe he had since he was born.
“I don’t need this anymore because I grew. I’m a big boy now. I gonna give it to the kids.” He then placed the giraffe on the top of the packed clothes. I asked him if he was sure he was ready to part with it because he wouldn’t get it back, and he said yes. Later, when I packed up the car to take him to preschool he asked me,
“What happened to the kids?” Not wanting to scare him about the overwhelming loss and danger, I simply said that they needed help.
“It is important to help people when they need help,” I continued, while buckling his car seat strap.
“Mommy, what happened to the helpers?” he asked wide-eyed and curious.
“Sweetie,” I smiled, “WE are the helpers.”
Last week, we had a couple take delivery of their new RV. They lost their home in the fires. This new RV is going to be their home. We got the call on a Monday, agreements were made Tuesday, and they picked up the unit Friday morning.
All of us were touched and saddened by their story. But most of all we wanted to help. We are a family here at Folsom Lake RV. The dealership is family owned and operated. The staff are friends and spend time together outside of work. And one of the reasons we are closed for the holidays is so that all the staff can spend time with their loved ones over the holidays.
We believe that our customers become like family. We always give our new customers some gifts from us when they pick up their new RV, some things that will help them enjoy their RV and get out there and have fun. It is a time of celebration! But these customers were in different circumstances. They had lost everything. So we added a little something extra to help them take the steps toward rebuilding their life, a few comforts and necessities for their new home.
To them, it meant so much.
To everyone affected by the firestorms, we are sorry. We hope you are able to find comfort and security. If you need assistance, please contact us.
To all the helpers, thank you. Firefighters, medics, volunteers, shelter housing. Thank you for supporting our community.
The Sacramento Bee has published an article on available resources for victims of the fires and available ways to help here.
#WhereWouldYouGo? This is the passion we share at Folsom Lake RV.
Do you dream of a sandy SoCal beach, with a warm breeze, and crashing waves? Do you dream of following Historic Route 66 and encountering all the funky and fun Americana along the way? Do you dream of the great Alaskan wilderness and its vast expanses?
Mindfulness, goal setting, and positive thinking are all qualities to practice because:
We get a lot of calls from customers on advice and technical support with their RV. We’ve selected some how-to videos to answer some of our most frequently asked questions in our Service Department. We hope these videos are helpful to you. We thought they were great!
Electrical System Overview, and Common Pitfalls
How to Manually Override your Slideouts
How to Flush your Black Tank (If It Doesn’t Have a Built-in Flush System)
As always, we at Folsom Lake RV are here to answer any of your burning questions. So if this doesn’t cover it, feel free to contact us. And if we are closed, don’t forget if you are a member of Coach-Net, they have 24/7 technical support and roadside assistance available to you.
I previously posted about how my family enjoys escaping for the weekend (sometimes just a day!) to the Delta. Afterwards, we had a lot of requests for some suggestions on where to stay in an RV. With miles and miles of delta waterways, there are tons of places to stay. We narrowed it down to a couple of places we like in the the Isleton/Walnut Grove/Lodi area to keep this post from becoming a book.
Any of the following RV resorts are a great place to launch your weekend adventure exploring the unique area of the Delta. Be sure to check out the town of Locke. A National Historical Landmark, it was established by Chinese immigrants who built the levees that created the delta farmland. And when you do embark on the water, remember, there are miles of waterways to explore. So, bring a map, plan your trip, and make sure you know where the fuel docks are! (and wear a life jacket.)
On Ida Island, in the Sacramento River Delta, this Resort is a water lover’s paradise. It has full hook up sites, partial hook up sites, cabins, and tent camping. There is river access, so bring your boat or personal water craft! If you prefer to stay on land, there are on-site activities like basketball and horseshoes. You can eat at their restaurant and hang out on the beach.
Next to Wimpy’s Restaurant, this resort has monthly and long term sites available, too (for those lucky enough to be Full-Timing). Of course, there is a boat launch. And it’s super close to Giusti’s Place, featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Giusti’s says it is the oldest restaurant and bar in the California Delta and has been one of the Delta’s favorites for over 100 years.
There are so many amenities and so many things to entertain the kids, right on site! This resort boasts laser tag, a giant jumping pillow, swimming pool, gem mining, and more. And you can rent paddle boards, boats, or kayaks to explore the Delta You can even have Yogi Bear make a personal visit. They have theme parties on the weekends (see calendar) and a restaurant.
There are lots of local activities and things to see in the area, too. The Grand Island Mansion serves an elegant brunch on weekends, there are many wineries in the area open for wine tasting, and there are lots of local festivals.
These festivals are coming up soon, and I’m thinking we’re going to make another trip to the Delta to check them out.
Do you have a favorite Delta Dive? Your go-to boat launch? Let us know in the comments!
(All photo credits go to their respective webpages.)