LTRVD0375 RV Service Academy

RV Service Academy

The RV Service Academy is the focus of this week’s show with an interview with Mike Tibbs, Operations manager and head instructor at this school for budding RV service technicians. We had driven by their building for years and we finally got to do an interview.

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Business History

This business has been around since 1986 and this is their 30th year of continuous operation. They are located at 1012 10th St East in Palmetto, FL. The web address is http://www.rvsa.net
The classes at the RV Service Academy are quite thorough and cover almost every aspect of servicing RVs of all types. There is not, however, any training on engines or chassis. The 10 week course covers pretty much everything else in an RV.

Topics covered

Classes are 8 hours a day 5 days a week and cover basic electricity in 12 hours as well as 40 more hours on advanced RV electrical systems with a very heavy emphasis on Safety. That same safety focus is carried forward in the 12 hours of training in LP gas. Other course modules cover the entire range of RV appliances including water heaters, gas furnaces, absorption refrigerators, LP ranges and ovens, air conditioners, and generators. Many other topics are covered including hydraulics, fresh and waste water systems and toilets, Trailer hitches and hitch systems, as well as awnings and other accessories.

Students take a comprehensive final exam to become RVSA Certified Technicians after 400 hours of training. We all know about the severe shortage of qualified service technicians in the RV industry. The RV Service Academy graduates many techs that go on to work at dealerships as well as starting their own RV service businesses. These new graduates can get starting salaries ranging from $15/hr. up to over $40/hr.

The RV Service Academy holds 4 classes per year. Class size is limited to 18. They are approved for Veterans’ training for those who qualify through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. There is no room or board available and students must find local housing. There are several RV parks and many motels in the area.

For more information, call (941) 722-5256.


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LTRVD0374 National Park Maps

National Park Maps Website

We have found a link to an excellent website with links to over a thousand National Park Maps to over 90 National Parks and Monuments. The site is http://www.npmaps.com Matt Holly, the author of this website, is a park ranger. During the government shutdown in 2013, having nothing to do, Matt developed this website and started filling it with national park maps. The maps come from all over the national park system’s hundreds of web pages, and took a lot of research to dig out. Many are hiking maps showing the many trails within the park. Some of these are topographic maps of some of the remote regions of these parks. Next time you plan a trip to one of our national parks, check out this excellent site.

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5 Questions to ask when buying an RV

We look at a short eBook from our friend Terry Cooper concerning the 5 questions you must ask and have answers to before buying an RV. First of all is “Why?” Why do I want to do this and will I be satisfied with the decision? From there we go on to whether or not one can live comfortably in such a small space, and what amenities and features do you need or want. Next we discuss who can help you evaluate the RV you have found, and last but not least, how can you learn more about this lifestyle? In conclusion, you need to do a lot of homework before you pull the trigger on a purchase.

Terry is a principal with the RV Inspection Connection at https://rvinspection.com/ .

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Our new Monthly Newsletter

We are starting up a monthly (for now) newsletter called Living the RV Dream (imagine that). It will have new information on the latest happenings in the RV Industry and lifestyle. We will also give you some behind-the-scenes looks at Living the RV Dream. We’ll also have information on upcoming promotions in our store as well as events where we will be attending. I hope you will check it out and subscribe to the newsletter, as I think you will enjoy it! We will not share readers’ e-mail addresses or other contact information with anybody else and never will. On each page of the Living the RV Dream website is a block for the Newsletter.

We hope you will fill out your email address in the block on the top of the left hand column and press the subscribe button. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure you want to subscribe. The web address is http://www.livingthervdream.com

Most noteworthy of all, we have finally repaired our main email address in order to contact us. From now on, please use livingthervdream@yahoo.com for all correspondence. You will get responses from that email address.

LTRVD0373 Planning our Trip

We discuss planning our Trip this July from Florida to Essex Junction, VT by way of our kid’s place in Maryland. We are using all our usual resources for this. First we plan the stop in MD on the way up as well as on the way back. We start with the US Military Campgrounds and RV Parks website ( http://www.militarycampgrounds.us/ ) to find the nearest Famcamp.

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The next step for planning our trip is to start a new file in the DeLorme Street Atlas software on my computer. That allows me to plot out the best and most direct route as well as calculating fuel costs and best times to fuel up.

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Next is the Passport America website where we determine if there are any discount parks along our route where we might stop for a night. We also use the Good Sam RV Travel guide to check the ratings on the parks we might choose.

Then we lay it all out on a calendar page to include campground reservation numbers, where and when we will be staying at a campground and try to fill in any blanks on the schedule. This is also when we lay out the budget for fuel, camping, and outside meals. We also have to take into account the logistics of Kathy’s weekly and monthly medical supply deliveries.

Kathy discusses working at Dollywood as a seasonal employee. It is not traditional workamping as Dollywood does not provide camping spaces. There are great perks however, including a healthcare clinic. The work is 3 or 4 9 to 11 hour days working in House and Grounds, Food and Merchandise, and Attractions (rides). The pay starts at $9.00/hr. For more information, call 865-HAVE-FUN.

We introduce our new Facebook Group, Living the RV Dream Sales and Swaps. The group is for private party sales of anything RV. No dealers are allowed.

LTRVD0372 Finding RV Campsites

We talk all about finding RV campsites in both public and private campgrounds on this podcast. During the mail segment, we read an interesting way folks steal your vehicle by stealing the security code transmitted when you use the lock on the key fob. Use the manual lock button to prevent this.

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Finding RV Campsites seems to come up a lot on ours and other Facebook groups. It’s really not so hard using some of the many websites and apps available to us. We discuss the ones that have worked for us over the years in some detail.

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Our go-to app is the AllStays Camp and RV app available for IOS and Android devices. It’s powerful Filtering allows you to view many types of camping places and services along with low bridges by height. The display can be both 2 dimensional or satellite views. The GPS will track your speed as well. Clicking on a campground icon will bring up the phone number, website, directions, images, and reviews along with general information like number of sites, special conditions, and a price range. The app is $9.99. http://www.allstays.com/campgrounds/

We also use another app called CoPilot. This app is somewhat unique in that it loads all maps in memory so a GPS enabled device will not require a WiFi signal to operate and navigate. Check it out at https://copilotgps.com/us/

RV Parking is a website that has information on over 20,000 parks with very useful filters to narrow down your search. http://www.rvparking.com/ A similar program and app is RV Parky with information on over 25,000 parks in the US and Canada. http://www.rvparky.com/

The Ultimate US RV Campground Project app is a very useful tool for finding RV Campsites in the public sector. It lists over 21,000 facilities that run the gamut from full service campgrounds to remote back packing sites, A good buy at $3.99 http://www.ultimatecampgrounds.com/uc/index.php

This list would not be complete without talking about RV Park Reviews. This website has reviews by campers of locations throughout the US. There is a map and a form for submitting reviews. http://rvparkreviews.com/

We also discussed apps by Passport America, KOA, and a wonderful National Parks app from National Geographic. Check it out at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/mobile/apps/national-parks-by-national-geographic/

Kathy talks about the upcoming Avon, OH Duck Tape Festival June 17th to the 19th. Don’t miss this one where over 60,000 people come every year.