Ok, so we have a bunch of new Pie Iron Related videos this week, since Pie Irons are our Accessory of the Week. This is one I may have to try before my next trip, just put it on the grill…
We found these guys while looking around Youtube, doing hardcore work-related research…
It doesn’t matter how easy you tell someone pie irons are, if you actually see it it will sink in faster. That is why it is our Accessory of the Week. Check this out:
This looks so good, I just want to start a fire here in my office and cook one up… but the Fire Marshall has specifically asked me not to do that anymore.
Use your discount to pick up a double Pie Iron today, your stomach will thank you, as will your family!
We at Westland Camping Center love our Pie Irons. That is why Pie Irons are our first official Accessory of the week. The are as easy as you want it to be, or can be as extravagant as you like, and it all tastes better over a fire. Check these guys out, and see for yourself how easy a hot lunch can be.
We found these guys, and man do they make us hungry. Since the Pie Iron is our Accessory of the Week, we thought we would share these great recipes and tips throughout the week. Today, Pizza Calzone!
Here is a great video we found that step-by-step walks you through seasoning your Cast Iron Pie Iron. And since the Rome Pie Iron is our Accessory of the week, it is only fitting that we highlight how to take care of it!
Eliminate the need for expensive slider 5th wheel hitches with the Reese Revolution King pin, now on all Flagstaff 5th wheels. Check out the video below.
I know this may sound counter-intuitive for a camping professional to say, but it is true: Camping isn’t easy. There is a lot of planning that goes into a camping trip, planning routes, destinations, menus, etc.
But the value of going camping far surpasses (in my opinion) any other family vacation option. I grew up in a camping family, and every year we would travel to some new destination such as the U.P. or the Smokey Mountains. We even camped at the Wisconsin Dells one year, and it was awesome.
It took some planning on the part of my parents, but the time we spent playing catch by the beach, learning about animals, and perfecting S’mores was worth it to me – and them.
I am taking this opportunity right here to thank my parents, Dave and Irene, for taking the time to plan out our camping vacations.
To help get you into the planning groove, do a little research. Practice makes perfect. You have the advantage of the internet, so use it. To make preparations easier, there are checklists available online that other campers have put together and published for the common good, but feel free to adapt them to your specific needs.
Find what works for you and do it. Your kids will thank you in twenty years.
RV DUMPING; NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK: Part 2 (Standing to the side)
Last time I discussed the things you need to do every time you use the sewer system, let’s review: The proper chemicals with a few gallons of water, and the proper tissue. Everybody caught up now? Good, let’s move on to the actual job at hand…
You may be at a site that has a full sewer hookup, or you may use some sort of Tote Tank, or just stop at the dump station on your way out, but the basic procedures are about the same, although the specifics vary from trailer to trailer. Hook up your sewer hose, pull the valves and wait for it to drain, then close the valves, rinse.
Do yourself a favor and invest in a good quality sewer hose kit. They may be a little more money, but not leaking on your shoes is totally worth it. Try to get a set that has a sewer fitting attachment, so that you get a good seal at both ends. Also get yourself some disposable dump gloves. I know some people have heavy rubber gloves they store and use over and over again, but I prefer to use fresh ones every time (and always stand to the side when taking off the cap to the dump valve, there is almost always a teeny amount of liquid in there).
After dumping both the black and grey water tanks, many places have a hose you can use to rinse your sewer hose, or if you have a sewer tank back flushing system, now would be a good time to use it. The more water you have circulating in that tank, the more effective the dumping is, and the less likely you will have issues later on.
Only one more installment to go: Home maintenance and Storage! I have goose-bumps. Seriously.
Nobody likes thinking about it, nobody likes doing anything about it, but it is the single most important element to a successful vacation: THE SEWER SYSTEM!!! This is part one in a series that will help de-mystify your black water system, and teach you prevent problems, and be a hero to your whole family.
It’s hard to get excited about this, but think about it, nothing can ruin a camping trip faster than a sewer backup, or plugged or leaking drain assembly. And if a few (fairly easy) steps are actually performed consistently, you should never have a problem:
- Use the chemicals. There are lots of different choices in toilet chemicals, both pre-mixed liquids, as well as pre-measured drop-ins. The chemicals do two things, they break down the waste and toilet paper, making the dumping (emptying) process faster and easier, with less chance of blockage or back-ups, and they deodorize the tank to help keep the odors in check. If you don’t know which one you like, try out a sample package, and see what works for you. And make sure whatever product you use, you add a couple of gallons of water into the tank to make sure you have good chemical coverage.
- Use the right toilet tissue. No, regular 1 ply T.P. is not the same as the T.P. specifically designed to break down in the toilet chemicals. There are a few different brands of this as well. You can shop by price if you want, but make sure it says that it is designed for RV sewer systems. Other “cheap” toilet papers lead to clogs and what I call “sewer spit wads” that can clog the drain pipes, and cling to the sides of the tank, and the probes that tell you how full the tank is leading to false readings.
There is a lot more to learn, but this is a good start. Next time, we’ll cover what happens at the dump station, and how to make it a clean and easy process.
Though this video doesn’t specifically address a specific unit or year, we think not only is the information great, the scenery is fantastic. Extra bonus points if you guess all of the locations you see here!
Camping Destination: White Birch Campground
If you are looking for a cool place to spend a weekend that isn’t too far away, The White Birch Campground is a great place to go. Located a short four miles west of Houghton Lake, nestled on the banks of the Muskegan River, White Birch is a relaxing place to spend a long weekend.
The year 2010 saw some changes for this company, including new ownership, and an increase in both facilities, and service. Having stayed at this campground under both owners, I was greatly impressed with the new improvements. There was firewood delivered directly to the site, as well as a shuttle service to the local convenience store for supplies every weekend night. We had a larger group of tent campers, so we stayed on the group site called “The Point,” which is surrounded on two sides by the river, and was about a hundred yard walk from the parking area through the woods along the river. We were not looking forward to lugging all of our gear there, but we didn’t have to. They used a tractor and trailer to haul all of our stuff down, so all we had to do was unload and unpack. These are all free services offered, and greatly appreciated.
The campground also has a livery service right on the spot, dropping off customers at multple points along the river depending on what kind of time you want to spend on the river. They offer canoes, kayaks, and tubing, for whatever kind of river trip you are looking at. My wife and I had brought our own kayaks, and they shuttled them for us as well, with only a nominal fee for the trouble.
The campground includes flush toilets and showers, as well as water and power hookups, and a sewer dump station. The property is private and out of the way and mostly tree covered, but some spectacular stargazing can be had with only a short walk to open farmland, where our group got to witness a meteor shower in full effect (it was pretty cool).
For entertainment, there is (aside from the kayaking) an outdoor game room, horseshoes, water volleyball set up in the river, and of course, fishing and swimming galore.
And after talking to the owners, they have big plans for White Birch, so this season, if you want a great weekend away, look hard at a trip to Houghton Lake, and White Birch. You will also be impressed.
Ask any person who has ever shopped for an RV at an RV dealership, and they will probably tell you about being set upon by teams of hungry salespeople, ready to jump on you and shove you into the most expensive thing that your credit can get you, all while dripping hair oils on your new jacket. Whether you are looking for a travel trailer, 5th wheel or pop up camper, Westland Camping is committed to selling you exactly what you want.
We take the time to figure out what your needs are, what you can safely tow, how many people are you going to be accommodating? It takes time to do, but matching up the right camper for your needs shouldn’t just be price driven. Remember, if the trailer isn’t right, the price never will be.
Westland Camping also make sure you leave here with everything you need, from cooking utensils to activities like kayaking and fishing that you can enjoy while you are out.
Come on and check us out, we would be happy to help.
This past weekend saw Westland Camping at the RV show in Novi Michigan, where We got the opportunity to show off one of our favorite Flagstaff Travel trailers, the Flagstaff 30WFKSS. This Trailer is part of the V-Lite series, identified by the distinctive V shape in the front. Come on and take a look. you can also read more about it in this article on the Gr8 lakes camper blog.
Every day, people walk into Westland Camping looking to purchase a new travel trailer 5th wheel or pop up camper, and we ask them some basic questions about what they are looking for. An alarming number of people really have no idea. I am going to talk about the basic steps you need to take to find the right RV for your family’s needs.
First of all, how many people are you looking to sleep? Is it just you and a spouse? Do you have kids or friends you need to accomidate? This is an important first question, because your answer can eliminate over half of the floor plans out there, making your choice that much easier. For example, this 831 FKBSS is great for sleeping 2, and equipped to sleep up to four, but utilizes the air mattress hide-a-bed. This 831 BHWS unit is set up to sleep 10. Both are about the same size, and about the same price, but are set up for very different families.
The next thing to consider is what kind of tow vehicle are you planning to use to pull it? Or are you planning to pull it at all? any vehicles can either narrow down your choices or open up opportunities you hadn’t considered before. Small tow vehicles such as the Ford Escape or Dodge Caravan are limited to 3,500 pound tow limits (if equipped properly), a Jeep Liberty can tow up to 5,000 pounds. The Ford F-150 can tow over 10,000 pounds if properly equipped. If you do have a smaller tow vehicle, then maybe you should consider a Walkabout trailer, designed fromt he ground up to be Ultra Light-Weight. (like, super light). Knowing the answer to this can help you direct your attention to units that fit your vehicle as well as your family.
One last thing (at least for this article) is what type of camping are you planning on doing? If your dream is a lot of longer trips where you do a fair amount of moving from place to place, maybe you would like a unit with less set up, like a travel trailer. But if you like the feeling of sleeping outside, then perhaps a tent camper (or pop up camper) or hybrid travel trailer is the right unit for you.
These are a few of the questions you should ask yourself when choosing the right camper or RV for you and your family. Obviously, this doesn’t take into account new/used, price ranges, financing, or that sort of thing, but that is going to have to wait for it’s own article. If you have any questions, about what RV is right for you, then give us a call, and we will be glad to help.
This February, we have the opportunity to show the latest and greatest RV’s for all to see at the Suburban Collection Showplace. Here are the details from the RV show website, from MARVAC, the Michigan Association of Recreational Vehicles and Campgrounds:
February 8-12, 2012
Add this event to your calendar)
(If prompted to OPEN or SAVE, choose OPEN)
Weekdays 2-9 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
All types of new recreation vehicles—over 250 units and 50 brands displayed; folding campers, motor homes, travel trailers, truck campers, fifth wheel travel trailers and toy haulers, ranging in price from $4,999 to more than $400,000. Booths featuring parts and accessories, campground information, on site RV financing and RV rentals make this the complete RV show experience. Consumers can pick up the new 2012 RV & Campsite. This guide to camping and RV dealers in Michigan now includes coupons.
Suburban Collection Showplace (formerly the Rock Financial Showplace)
46100 Grand River Avenue, Novi, MI 48374.
On Grand River, south of I-96 between Novi Road and Beck Road.
Westland Camping was featured in an article and video posted by their acclaimed outdoor columnist Erik Sharp. He visited our booth at the show on Saturday, and the article ran in the Sunday edition.
Also Featured, our friend from the Michigan Kayak Fishing Club, Lucian Gizel.
The article (and video) featured a look at our Ocean Kayak angler edition boats, and on the Bitin’ Titan Lures, also available from Westland Camping.
At Westland Camping Center we work hard to make it easy for you to shop for a new tent trailer, camper trailer, expandable, ultra-lite trailer or 5th wheel. For example, our entire inventory is online with photos and specifications so you can research models from your own home.
Most of our online visitors come from nearby in Michigan (see map) including Plymouth, Farmington, Livonia, Westland, Dearborn Heights, Fraser, Southgate, Southfield, Ann Arbor, Canton, Lansing, Allen Park and Monroe.
We also have visitors daily from Ohio, California, Illinois, New York, Florida, Wisconsin and Canada.
But what amazes me is that in the last two weeks we’ve also received inquiries from around the world including the Netherlands, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany, Ghana, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica!
With our ability to ship world-wide, our commitment to great prices, our family-friendly service and no-pressure sales, it is encouraging to know that word of Westland Camping is getting around!
We will be on hand talking to folks about Old Town and Ocean Kayaks, TFO fly rods, Lake Fork Tackle, and just getting out and enjoying what nature has to offer. We love doing this show, it is always a great time.
Below is a list of items we take with us on every camping trip. We recommend them to friends and customers, we trust them with our families, and we’re sure you will trust them too. Everything here is available at our store, or you can order online and get it delivered right to your home.
1. Chempace drop-in toilet chemicals
Toilet chemicals are the most important element to your black water (sewer) system on your camper. Make sure you have the ease of use that drop-ins provide. They are less expensive than pre-mixed liquids, and easier to store, because they don’t freeze during the winter. Stock up on these – you’re going to need them.
2. Aquasoft toilet tissue by Thetford
Only toilet paper designed for RV black water systems should be used in your trailer. Prevent clogs, and avoids the hassle of time consuming tank clean-outs when the kids are cranky from the heat and the wife is complaining about the clean-out station smells.
3. Valterra EZ-Coupler Sewer Hose set
Don’t get caught without a good quality sewer hose. The EZ Coupler set has built in fittings, and the sewer fitting, and easily converts from a 10’ to a 20’ hose, depending on what you need. Made with heavy duty 18 mil vinyl for long lasting protection from leaks and pin holes.
4. Valterra water pressure regulator
All RV manufacturers recommend using a water pressure regulator to protect your RV’s plumbing fittings. It keeps the water running between 40-55 psi. and stops water surges from campgrounds (they don’t use fancy plumbing) from damaging any of the water lines in your trailer. One leak inside your trailer and this will pay for itself.
5. Iosso water repellant
Camping is fun, but getting wet is not. This works on any fabric that is exposed to the elements. Use it on tent campers, tents, boat covers, luggage bags, trailer covers, anything you want protected.
6. Lap sealant (roof caulking) by Dicor
The most expensive repair bill you’ll ever get on your camper will be if the roof leaks and you don’t do anything about it. This is the only caulking you should be using on your rubber roof on your RV. It is designed to level itself, and fill gaps in your application, making a good seal. Trailer manufacturers recommend checking your roof every three months.
7. Black Streak Remover from Best
Remove those ugly black streaks from your camper easily, keeping your RV looking showroom clean for years to come. Especially useful when the family in the next lot pulls up in a $500,000 motorhome.
8. Replacement Anode Rod by Camco
For use primarily with Suburban water heaters, this is one of the most sought after repair parts. When you drain your water out of the water heater, make sure you inspect the anode rod, and replace it if necessary. Protect your water heater from corrosion, and avoid costly repairs down the line.
9. Mud Dauber Insect Screens by JCJ Enterprises
Insects will gravitate to any area that smells like Propane. This means that your furnace exhaust, water heater vent, and refrigerator vents are all likely places for mud dauber wasps and other insects to nest. Protect yourself from accidental fire, as well as exhaust vent problems with these easy to install screens.
10. 7-4 wire adapter by Hopkins
Once you’ve got a good hitch, everyone in your family will know it and they will want you to tow something for them. When you need to tow any smaller or older trailers, this adapter converts the round 7-way plug on most new vehicles, to a 4-wire flat plug, common among smaller campers, and utility trailers. Make sure you have one in your
The standard recommendation is that you re-pack your trailer wheel bearings once a year. This is because trailers tend to sit a lot and that can contribute to condensation inside the wheel and that can lead to rust which, in turn, leads to partials which can score surfaces and cause friction and bearing failure. Re-packing the bearings also makes it easy to inspect your brakes and running gear in order to detect and fix potential problems before they become a hazard.
Check the nuts, bolts, and other fasteners to ensure that the hitch remains secured to the tow vehicle and the coupler remains secured to the trailer. The connection point may require periodic lubrication to permit free movement of the coupler to the hitch ball. A light application of grease is also recommended on RV fifth wheel hitches.
Under inflation reduces the load-carrying capacity of your tow vehicle or trailer, may cause sway and control problems, and may result in overheating. This causes blowouts or other tire failure.
Over inflation causes premature tire wear and affects the handling characteristics of the tow vehicle or trailer.
Ozone UV rays and contaminants cause RV travel trailer and fifth wheel tires to deteriorate over time so for safety is recommended they are replaced every 3 to 5 years regardless of tread wear. Check your tire dealer or tire manufacturer for specific recommendations. On a regular basis, have the brakes on both the tow vehicle and travel trailer inspired. Be sure that necessary adjustments are made and any damaged or worn parts are replaced.
Always inspect seals around your doors and windows as well as the roof where ever sealing is evident. Sealing material should always appear clean and soft as well as completely covering the gaps. Dry, dirty, shrunken seals will let in water and cause damage. Click here for more info on roof maintenance.
Don’t hesitate to call your repair shop if something doesn’t seem correct. There are no dumb questions only informative answers. Many will not charge you to make a quick visual inspection of your unit and advise you if a more in depth look should be made.
Check out the new Flagstaff T12RS Hardside Pop Up in this video we made in our showroom (it was my first video, so be kind).
Westland Camping Center, video from a recent open house event.
This is a tour of the Exclusive Diamond Package on the Flagstaff Island Kitchen 5th wheel. It features a ton of new features that add a great looks and function to this light weight 5th wheel.