The Family that Rides Together Stays Together!

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 derek on the hills in desertlove 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.

It was a priceless adventure for all of us.

Take a look:

Wanna play, too?  We’ve got a great selection of toyhauler fifth wheels and travel trailers to get you and the family out there!

-Rachel Olson, May 24, 2018




360 Virtual Tour -2019 Cruiser RV MPG 2800QB

Take a 360 degree virtual tour with Rachel at Folsom Lake RV.  You can move the view left, right, up, and down to get a full view of the RV!

Want to see more?  Follow the link here for specs, pics, etc!

Want to see other Cruiser MPG floorplans?  Click here!

Happy Trails!


Is an Extended Warranty (Service Contract) worthwhile?

The short answer: It depends.


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:

  1. Does the potential cost of repairs for the RV outweigh the cost of the extended warranty?
  2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


  1. 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.
  1. 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.


Piggy bank photo: By Ken Teegardin from Boulder, Boulder (Hand Putting Deposit Into Piggy Bank) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

How I became a Solo Female RVer: A conversation with Jayma Valentine

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!”

jv back in camping 1
Jayma’s first RV (from Folsom Lake RV!) Photo courtesy of Jayma Valentine.

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.

hamilton mo electric only jv pic springdale
Camping on a grassy knoll in Hamilton, MO. Photo courtesy of Jayma Valentine.

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.”

jv red desert rose wyoming sunset
Campground just off the freeway in Wyoming at sunset. Photo Courtesy of Jayma Valentine.


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









Discover the Delta: Escape the “Everyday” for a Special Day


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.)

  1. Vieira’s Resort – Isleton, CA


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.


2.  New Hope Landing – Walnut Grove, CA

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.


3. Jellystone Camp Resort: Yogi Bear’s Tower Park California – Lodi, CA


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.

Grand Island Mansion

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!

-Happy Camping!

(All photo credits go to their respective webpages.)


5 Exceptional RV Campgrounds Close Enough for Weekend Getaways!

cougar bicycle scene(Photo courtesy of Keystone RV)

With the daily hustle and bustle to “get things done,” it can be hard to unplug and unwind after a hard days work, or two, or five!  Our Senior Fun Specialists (and Folsom Lake RV owners), Debbie and Charlie, have spent their lives, and careers, RVing around the United States, and have found some of the best places to set up camp, unplug, and unwind.  They’ve shared 5 of their favorite local RV campgrounds below.  They are all within a few hours drive from Sacramento, making it easy to getaway with the family for the weekend!  Of course, all of these campgrounds are dog friendly, so you can bring the entire family.

Your super easy, and super fun, family weekend awaits!

Placerville KOA

Located in Shingle Springs, this campground is located in California’s historic Gold Country, and is a great starting point for touring the “Wild West.”  Visit Coloma (the site of the first gold discovery in California) for Gold Rush history, hiking, and river rafting trips.  Head up to Placerville (13 minute drive from the campsite) to see why its nickname is “Old Hangtown,” and continue on to Apple Hill for apples, pears, and pumpkins in the Fall, and Christmas trees in the winter.  Plus, some of El Dorado county’s best wineries are literally minutes away.

Placerville KOA also has free movie nights, bike rentals, and a free 24-hour shuttle to Redhawk Casino, just 5 miles away.

49er Village RV Resort

Ready to venture out just a little further into the countryside?  Take a trip down Highway 49 to Plymouth and stay at the “Gateway to Shenandoah Valley.”  Plymouth was founded in 1871 as a mining town, and is surrounded by historical sites.  There are cavern tours, gold panning experiences, and at the Chaw’Se Grinding Rock State Historic Park, in Pine Grove, you can visit a reconstructed Miwok village and museum.  For even more Gold Rush history visit Historic Jamestown, or head over to the town of Columbia to immerse yourself among the highest concentration of gold rush-era buildings in California.

The 49er Village RV Resort has 2 swimming pools, fishing, and games/activities available on site.

Petaluma KOA

The San Francisco North/Petaluma KOA is surrounded by adventures for all types, including visiting the world-class city of San Francisco, touring Napa and Sonoma wineries, checking out the Sonoma Raceway, and exploring Point Reyes National Seashore.  Petaluma KOA has all kinds of on-site amenities available as well, so if you decide to stay in, there’s plenty to do.  In the summer, on-site activities include a rock wall, Jumping Pillow, pool and spa, mega playground, karaoke, hayrides and live weekend entertainment. They also offer guided tours of San Francisco and the wine country.

And don’t forget to dine at one of Petaluma’s fine restaurants.

Below: Wally loved to hang out at the campgrounds and people-watch (Courtesy of Debbie and Charlie at the Petaluma KOA).
wally cycle

Casini Ranch Family Campground

Tucked into a bend in the Russian River, you can enjoy the wilderness at Casini Ranch Family Campground in Duncan Mills, CA.  Just little over 2 hours from Sacramento, you can really unplug here as there is 1 mile of beach access for swimming and fishing, and a launch for canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards.  You can “get lost” on the miles of trails at the Willow Creek State Park, or visit the majestic redwoods at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, just 18 minutes away by car.

But don’t worry, there are hookups and WiFi available if you want them.  They also have movie nights, hayrides, and ice cream socials.  Call for schedule.

Durango RV Resort

Thirty minutes south of Redding, in Red Bluff, CA, Durango RV Resort is another highly recommended campground.  The resort sits along the Sacramento River and is centrally located for excursions to Shasta National Forest, Lassen National Park, and Whiskytown Recreation Area.

Like all of Debbie and Charlie’s favorites, this resort offers a host of on-site activities and amenities, including a basketball court and putting green.  If you are looking to really relax and unwind, the resort offers a spa for massage services to promote deep relaxation and ease stress.  Now who wouldn’t want that?

These campgrounds are all open year-round, so you can potentially camp on any given weekend.  The best way to make your trip the easiest as possible is to plan ahead!  Book your reservations early, especially for the summer season, to maximize your weekend fun!


(Folsom Lake RV did not receive any contributions or compensation for the recommendations in this article.  All sites have been personally camped at by Debbie and Charlie, and their recommendations come from their experiences.)

Additional Sources:
Google Maps

Ultra Light trailers enabling more people to go RVing

Buying an ultra lite travel trailer is not an easy task.  Defining what IS an “ultra light” trailer is as important as the sticker on the side of the trailer calling it an ultra light travel trailer. Today’s RV manufacturers are quick to label a trailer with graphics calling it “ultra light” or the words “half ton towable.”  You can never assume that if the manufacturers call the unit an ultra light that it is suitable for your vehicle to tow.

Here at Folsom Lake RV we take seriously the professionalism required to determine whether your vehicle can tow safely the vehicle you are considering purchasing.

We found these 8 tips from Jim Gorzelany (CTW Features; link here) to determine what you can tow and if you can do so safely.  We’ve listed them below:

  1. Know your limits. Read your car or truck’s owner’s manual to determine its recommended towing capacity as equipped (this can vary depending on the engine, transmission and other components) and be sure to stay well within the stated limits. This includes the weight of a boat, trailer and cargo. Overloading a vehicle can cause significant mechanical issues, and a too-heavy trailer can sway excessively behind the tow vehicle, causing control issues and encroaching on adjacent lanes of traffic.
  2. Check the hitch. Be sure your vehicle’s hitch is up to the challenge – if you’re hauling something that weighs more than 5,000 pounds, you’ll need a weight distributing or fifth-wheel hitch to safely handle the load. Once hitched and with the wiring harness connected, verify that the trailer’s brakes, brake lights, and turn signals are synchronized with the towing vehicle.
  3. Spare me. Ensure both the tow vehicle and the trailer are equipped with spare tires and that they’re properly inflated.
  4. Pack accordingly. If you’re pulling a camper, make sure the load to be carried within it is evenly distributed for optimal stability. Aim to place 60 percent of the cargo weight in the front half of the trailer, and distribute items evenly on the left and right sides of the unit. Be sure to tie down everything securely.
  5. Tend to the tow vehicle. Always have your car or truck checked out by a mechanic before hitting the road, especially fluid levels, brakes and tires; it’s a good idea to have the oil changed before embarking on a long trip. Be sure to inflate the tires to the proper air pressure specified for towing (again, check the owners’ manual for this information).
  6. Take a test drive. Even experienced haulers should practice pulling a load around town or – even better – within a large empty parking lot to get a good feel for how everything behaves before hitting the highway. Be sure to rehearse accelerating, turning corners, stopping, backing up and parking.

Folsom Lake RV has the ability to test tow before you buy an ultra light trailer.  This is not offered at other dealerships.  Folsom Lake RV has invested in tow vehicles to test trailer towing for both Teardrop and folding camper trailer.  We also have a heavy duty truck with a Fifth Wheel hitch already installed.  Or we can install a brake control in your vehicle and we will test tow in your Truck or S.U.V. or S.U.T!

  1. Know the laws. Towing regulations vary from state to state, and you may require a special permit or license depending on what you’re hauling, or special equipment including larger side- and rear-view mirrors. Those taking longer trips should consult bordering states’ towing laws to make sure the rig won’t be violating specific towing restrictions.
  2. Take it easy. Once you’ve departed, proceed at a moderate pace and allow sufficient distance for safe stopping. A sudden stop at excessive speeds can cause the trailer to skid out of control or flip over. If you feel the trailer swaying at highway speeds, take your foot off the accelerator to reduce momentum, but do not apply the brakes. It’s a good idea to pull over every hour or so to ensure the trailer’s lights and brakes are working, the tires are at the proper inflation level and that the load within the trailer remains secure.

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Video: Property of Folsom Lake RV