Category Archives: Technology

Luxury motorhome technology tips and articles.

How to Get Wi-Fi While on the Road

You don’t necessarily need an Internet connection in order to have a successful motor home trip. After all, Americans have been travelling without access to the World Wide Web for decades, using only paper maps and old-fashioned asks for help to get around. That said, having a good connection really helps. If you’d like to take your Internet-capable devices on the road, you have a few options to make that possible.

Public and Private Wi-Fi Connections

As you know, many businesses and attractions have Wi-Fi available for you to connect to. Whether that Wi-Fi is free and open for everyone (public) or available only for paying customers (private) depends entirely on the whim of the business, but there’s little question that Wi-Fi is becoming more widespread regardless. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to expect most businesses to have an Internet hookup.

In practice, what does this mean for your motor home trip? If you’re relying only on the Wi-Fi offerings of others, you won’t want to be counting on your connection too much, as there’s no guarantee as to the next time you’ll have Internet. It helps to check with your campground in advance if this is a make-or-break situation for you. Overall, while relying on public and private Wi-Fi connections isn’t ideal, it’s free. You can get a lot of your heavy lifting done by conducting research and downloading maps in advance. Plus, freedom from the Internet might just be the digital break you’re looking to have with your trip.

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Service Providers

Say what you will about going back to basics, but many of us rely on the Internet these days, and for good reason: it makes life a lot easier. When you’re on the road, you might need an interactive map or exact directions to your campground. Or, you might want to see where the cheapest gas prices are in your area, or how long until the next rest stop. In these cases, a paper map just won’t cut it.

These days, it’s not much of an issue to rely on your smartphone to provide much of your crucial Internet means. However, for those with limited data plans, this isn’t always possible. That’s why most of the major cell phone carriers, like AT&T and T-Mobile, offer mobile Wi-Fi hotspots that rely on the same data networks that their phone plans operate on. The devices themselves, which function like wireless routers, usually cost under a hundred dollars, though you’ll want to do a provider-by-provider comparison to find the exact plan that works for you.

Other Options

For most people, a mix between relying on Wi-Fi hotspots and using a mobile service provider hotspot will probably be the best option. But, for whatever reason, that might not work out exactly for your needs. In that case, there are a few other options that, while not totally practical, you might find feasible for your trip.

For some time, the motor home Internet connections relied on satellite to get hooked up to the ‘Net. These days, popping a satellite dish on your coach isn’t as practical as it once was; not only does the dish itself cost thousands of dollars, but the service itself also costs money, which some motor home enthusiasts say is only rising. For those with smaller budgets, a Wi-Fi booster might do the trick. The device does exactly what it sounds like – it allows your device to connect to signals that are farther away. With this option, though, you’re again dependent on those public and private networks that may or may not be there when you need them.

Each year, the Internet, and the number of devices that connect to it, grows and grows, so it’s getting easier to always be connected, wherever you happen to be. However much you need an Internet connection depends, of course, on your needs and budget, but these options will be more than enough to get you started on your digitally-connected motor home trip.

How Motor Home Technology Has Changed Over the Years

Due to the wonders of modern technology, today’s motor homes are the best they’ve ever been. A quality motor home is safe, convenient, and has all the comforts you could ever need. However, it wasn’t always like this. The motor homes of yesteryear were quite different from what you may be used to, and it can be fun – and educational – to take a look back at how motor home technology has changed over the years.

Before Motor Homes

Perhaps unsurprisingly, motor homes share a common history with other motorized vehicles, such as cars and trucks. The very roots of motor homes can be found in the times before combustible engines, when people travelled by horse-drawn caravans. This was before air conditioning, pull-out beds, and potable water tanks. While the buggies of old are far removed from today’s luxury motor homes, you can draw one major similarity: the old wagons provided a safe home for people making long journeys. Sound familiar?

The First Motor Homes

It’s a little difficult to declare the first motor home, as that term didn’t really catch on until the mid-20th century, but the vehicle that many point to as the first modern ancestor was the Pierce-Arrow Touring Landau. The Touring Landau, which was first shown at Madison Square Garden in 1910, didn’t look like what you would consider a modern motor home: it was small, a little cramped, and in all honesty, nearly indistinguishable from the other vehicles of that era.

However, there were some important differences that set it apart from the Model T. It had a chamber pot toilet, pressurized sink, and fold-down bed, marketed specifically for the traveler. While the Touring Landau was clearly a vehicle of its time with some added amenities built in, it sowed the seeds for today’s motor homes.

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Motor Homes Hit Their Stride

The early 20th century was a tough time for motor homes. First, there was the Great Depression, and then there were two World Wars. People simply didn’t have the time or the money for any motor home fun. But during the post-war boom of the 1950s, motor homes faced a reversal of fortune. People now had disposable income and time to vacation with their families.

Winnebago launched in 1958 and within 10 years they were mass producing motor homes that were much more affordable. The motor home company helped pitch their motor homes by selling the idea of “Thermo-Panel” walls, which kept heat inside the home. So, instead of setting up a tent outside, motor home families were encouraged to make their camp indoors, which was an important distinction. Other manufacturers of the time, such as Travco, pushed other innovations, such as the use of fiberglass in motor homes.

Massive Technological Advancements

Since the boom of the mid-1900s, motor home manufacturers have slowly and steadily introduced new technologies to their products, in line with technological advancements in other industries. With the invention of radio and television came sound systems and TVs in motor homes, and so on and so forth.

But these new technologies aren’t just for interior comforts. Throughout the years, engineers have pioneered new aerodynamic designs that make motor homes easier to drive and safer on the roads. And with the rise of computers and the internet in the past few decades, we’re seeing some exciting new applications, including the ability to wirelessly control some features via smartphone.

It’s been a long road from the horse-drawn buggies and Touring Landaus of the past. While today’s motor homes are a far cry from their ancestors, understanding their history allows for a greater appreciation of how good we have it now. Be glad for the technologies we have, but also be excited for the new ones to come.

5 Travel Apps That Are Must-Haves For Your Smartphone

If you’re planning on hitting the road any time soon (And who are we kidding? Of course you are!) you’re going to need some help. In this day and age, that help probably won’t be in the form of a creased, crumpled road map. Yes, it’s time to ditch the atlas and go digital. Before your next trip, do yourself a favor and check out these five travel apps for your smartphone.

Get Around With Google Maps

There might be a chance that you already have this app; on Android phones, it’s usually installed by default. But if you either don’t have it, or you just haven’t checked it out, drop everything you’re doing and check it out now. Google Maps is the de-facto map app and offers pretty much everything you need for getting from point A to point B. Best of all, Google is constantly updating the app, so you don’t have to worry about maps being outdated or features not working. It’s true that Apple has its own map system you can use on an iPhone, but users have panned the app for its incorrect maps and just bad user design.

Stay Fueled Up With GasBuddy

When you’re on the road for an extended period of time, fueling up is simply a fact of life. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it as cheap as possible. Through user-submitted information, GasBuddy tells you where the cheapest gas is around you. If you submit reports yourself, you can earn points and even money back. The gas prices you submit could help out fellow travelers!

Travel-Apps

Share Fleeting Moments With Snapchat

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to keep your close ones in the loop with your travels, but sometimes, the process of sharing can overburden you. Nothing takes you out of the moment like seeing who liked or commented on a post. That’s why you should check out Snapchat for your photo visual sharing. The point is that your photos and videos disappear after 24 hours, creating a looser and more in-the-moment atmosphere. No, Snapchat isn’t just for teenagers, and in fact, people of all ages happily use the app to efficiently share their ephemeral experiences.

Create Simple Itineraries With Google Keep

Google Keep, the tech giant’s note keeping system, is about as easy as a to-do app gets: simply create cards for either notes or checklists. While the app is simple in concept, the applications are as wide-ranging as your imagination will allow. You can create a card for every city you plan on visiting with a checklist of activities you want to do while you’re there. Or, when a fellow road warrior recommends a great vista to check out a sunset, quickly jot it down.

Listen to Tunes With Spotify

There are quite a few music apps out there, so why choose Spotify? For one, it’s got a huge library and a huge user base, meaning that it’s not going to be changing or going away any time soon. But perhaps the biggest benefit Spotify has going for it is tons of playlists, built for any type of mood or situation. So, you can find the perfect musical match, whether that’s for white-knuckle overnight driving or soothing morning sunrises.

These are some great travel apps to get you started, but your needs are going to vary from everyone else’s. Don’t be afraid to check out your phone’s app market and see what works for you. Your smartphone is a powerful tool, and it’s worth the time and research now to try out the perfect apps that will make your travels run more smoothly.

Hi-Tech Gadgets For Your Motorhome

Your motorhome is a pretty amazing machine on its own. But when you are loading up a large rig and getting ready for a cross-country trip, there is no such thing as, “too much” when it comes to amazing additions.

Whether it’s you and one other traveling partner or an entire family that is getting away, here are some hi-tech gadgets for your motorhome that you’ll be sure to truly love.

Bluetooth Speakers

What good is a family getaway if everyone has their headphones in and are ignoring one-another? Well if you have some Bluetooth speakers hooked up to your rig, you’ll be able to pump up the volume for everyone to enjoy. And since Bluetooth speakers can be found with weatherproof designs, you’ll be able to keep the party going even in rain or snow.

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GoPro Cameras

You want to make sure that you get all of your great memories on record, so get out the GoPro and attach it to your motorhome. You never know what sort of footage you’ll catch, but you’ll be sure to find something that will look great when added to your vacation highlight reel.

Led Lighting

Want to keep everything lit, but want to avoid draining the battery of your motorhome? Then you better make sure that you have LED lights. These lights will keep everyone out of the dark, but also avoid making the same type of ecological imprint that batteries have.

Wireless Weather Station

Getting stuck in inclement weather can put a major damper on any travel plans. To make sure that your party isn’t delayed, gear up with a wireless weather station. You’ll be able to get the weather that you need, which might help you miss that big traffic jam that everyone else will get stuck in.

All-In-One Tablets

Tablets are going to be incredibly useful throughout your motorhome. Not only can your tablet control different parts of your motorhome, such as the lighting or alarm system, but you can also load it up with tons of movies, games, books, and more.

Wi-Fi Hotspot

Your tablet will become your go-to resource while in your motorhome, and the Wi-Fi hotspot will make sure that you can easily connect wherever you are. Whether you are looking to stream tons of content or send out an important email, you’ll be able to do so with a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Space Heater

Running the heat of your motorhome for all hours of the day won’t be realistic, and a space heater will help you to avoid that from happening. A space heater will also add heat to the areas just outside your motorhome, which is a common place for people to gather and spend time.

If you want to take your already amazing motorhome to the next level of cool, then be sure to upgrade it with plenty of hi-tech gadgets. The hi-tech gadgets for your motorhome on this list are a great place to start, and they’ll make for a more enjoyable road trip next time you’re out.

Why Freightliner Makes the Best Motor Home Chassis

Your motor home is more than just a house on wheels. Instead, it is mobile accommodation that allow for you to view the world in a completely new way. With a motor home, you can choose where you decide to go and where you want to stay. You won’t have to plan ahead for a hotel, and you’ll also be able to travel with much more of your personal belongings. To some, a motor home is not just a house, but rather a way to make memories that will last a lifetime.

With so much that a motor home offers, it only makes sense that you’d want to ensure that it is as safe and reliable as possible. This is why one of the most important decisions factoring into your motor home purchase will be the chassis.

There are a variety of different chassis out there to choose from. However, there is no question that Freightliner makes models that are far above-and-beyond the competition. Here are some reasons why Freightliner makes the best chassis for your motor home.

Your Motor Home, Your Choice

No matter the size of the unit that you are pulling, or the power of the truck you are pulling it with, you’ll be able to find a Freightliner chassis that is perfect for you. Each chassis is built with precise detail to attention that ensures the safety of your motor home. With a variety of different options to choose from, you’ll be sure to find the chassis that is right for your personal setup.

A Customized Ride Height

The ride height of your chassis is one of the most important factors to consider for your motor home. With Freightliner, you’ll be able to adjust the ride height of the chassis to a level that is ideal for you. Not only will this make for an easier and smoother ride, but it will also limit the amount of general wear and tear that you otherwise might have on your vehicle and the motor home.

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Specialized High Altitude Adjustments

There is no telling what sort of terrain you may come across while on the open road in

your motor home. Whether you are setting course across the flat highways of Kansas or the treacherous terrain of the Rocky Mountains, Freightliner chassis will help you reach your destination safely. There are a variety of different chassis options that prepare your motor home for whatever the road may bring. Unlike other chassis, which don’t provide nearly the same amount of security.

The Help You Need

With freightliner, you’ll never go at it alone. Instead, you’ll have the support that you need from a trusted and reputable team. Freightliner is dedicated to providing customer support to their clients, in order to ensure that you are safe while on the road. Whether you are having issues with the chassis itself, or if you simply have questions about maintenance, you can get the answers that you need in a timely fashion. With as important as your motor home is, it only makes sense that you’d want to protect it as best that you can. With a chassis from Freightliner, you’ll have the best chances to keep you and your family safe every time you hit the open road.

Do you have questions about purchasing a new or pre-owned motorhome or just about the luxury motor home lifestyle in general? If so, please contact us so we can answer all of your questions and concerns!

Go Green with a Coachmen Motor Home

Going Green. It’s one of those terms that has invaded our daily lives and has, in many cases, changed the way we live. Studies show that approximately 90 percent of Americans recycle, 4 percent actively attempt to reduce their utility usage, and basically every company on earth has started or has gotten involved in some sort of “Green” initiative. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that large motor home manufacturers are beginning to design Green coaches. Really, it’s the best of both worlds for consumers; you can still purchase a beautiful, luxury motor home while doing your part to promote an eco-friendly society.

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Coachmen Mirada motor home’s are designed with certified green best practices

Coachmen, a Forest River entity, has been producing Silver and Gold TRA certified (TRA-Certification, Inc. is an independent, internationally accredited, third-party green certifier since 1967) RV’s for over a year now with great success. The Green certification is predicated on a few different factors – production technique and building with environmentally friendly materials being the most prevalent. The TRA has given both the Encounter (read our review of the 2015 Encounter 36BH here) and Mirada, Silver certification levels.

Weight is something that can have a large effect on how Green a motor home is. The heavier your coach, the more fuel it will ultimately require, thus making it less friendly to the environment. To combat the weight issue manufacturers face when constructing a motor home, Coachmen uses Azdel composite sidewalls instead of traditional wooden sidewalls. These super light panels are made from a combination of polypropylene (a thermoplastic polymer resin used regularly in toys, carpeting, paper, loudspeakers, and hundreds of other products consumers use on an everyday basis) and fiberglass. In addition to weighing just half of traditional wooden RV panels, Azdel composite panels are also extremely durable. They are 100% resistant to water, rotting, and mold. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t keep your coach housed somewhere covered in the off season, but it will be next to impossible for the walls of your Coachmen to be damaged by the elements. These panels also have 3 times the amount of insulation to that of their wooden counterparts. More insulation means less heat in the wintertime and less AC in the summer, which means less gas guzzling. Azdel panels are completely odorless, absorb sound extremely well to help keep your ride quieter, and are impact and puncture resistant.

coachmen green motorhomes

The Green motor home’s Coachmen are putting out sets a nice precedent for the rest of the RV world. You can still produce a high quality, luxury coach that is not only efficient from a production standpoint, but that efficiency (without a higher price tag) can be passed along to the consumer. Sounds good to us

Want to take a look at our line of Coachmen products?  Do you have questions about purchasing a new or pre-owned motorhome or just about the luxury motor home lifestyle in general? If so, please contact us so we can answer all of your questions and concerns!

 

Going Green – The Benefits For Adding Solar Panels To Your Motor Home

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These days, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the world is a bit more environmentally friendly than it was years ago. As society turns more and more green, the motor home industry has begun to follow suit. It’s not uncommon any longer to see a brand new coach fully equipped with a state of the art solar panel kit, so we figure that it’s our duty to give our readers some information on how it all works.

There are quite a few benefits to installing solar panels on your motor home. For starters, you’ll rarely need to depend on potentially faulty or inadequate electric hookups at a site again (we’ve all been there, and it’s a major pain). Second, your coach will have a limitless power supply…that is, as long as it’s sunny out.  Also, your solar panels can dramatically improve the life of your batteries. Most importantly, if you’re wise enough to claim your motor home as a second home (a vacation home perhaps) and it is recognized as such by the IRS, you’ll be eligible to receive a 30% federal tax credit.  Here’s a good resource to learn more about the Renewable Energy Tax Credit and how it may apply to you.

Depending on how often and far you travel, you’ll need varying degrees of solar solutions (i.e. fulltimers will obviously need a much larger and sophisticated setup than the average Weekend Warrior). The first step you’ll need to take in assessing how much power you’ll require is figuring out the amp ratings of all your devices and appliances. Check your owner’s manual to find out that info, and then use this amp to watt calculator to start getting an idea of what type of system to invest in.

After you figure out how powerful of a solar energy system you need, it’ll be time to purchase a charge controller and a remote meter. The charge controller is super important because it will help limit the amount of charge going to the batteries of your coach. If you overcharge the batteries, you may end up damaging them or ruining them completely. Here’s a good place to check out charge controllers for sale. The remote meter works in conjunction with the charge controller, basically giving you an idea of the temperature level of your batteries, how much charge they have, if they need to be charged, etc. Keeping an eye on the remote meter will ensure that your batteries aren’t in danger of being critically damaged.

Solar Charge Controller For RV

When installing the panels on the roof of your coach, you’ll want to make sure that you’re securing them with brackets that have the ability to rotate so you can position the panels in the best possible place to gather the most amount of sunlight. Try to avoid buying brackets that don’t give the solar panels the ability to angle to pickup more sun. You’ll also want to have the panels installed with a decent size gap between the base of the panel and the roof, maybe 6 inches or so. That will allow the panels to stay cooler and produce more energy (if they start to overheat, it could have a negative effect on the amount of power they put out). Make sure to keep the panels clean so they can operate at the highest level of efficiency. While you’re out on the road lots of dirt and dust can end up coating the panels so get up on the roof every now and again and wipe them off.

There are tons of resources out there about how solar works, all of the benefits, who is a good candidate, and so on, but this should be a good start to get you going. So get out on the road and help the environment at the same time!

 

Do you have questions about purchasing a new or pre-owned motorhome or just about the luxury motor home lifestyle in general? If so, please contact us so we can answer all of your questions and concerns!

 

Choosing the Best Sound System for Your Motor Home

Having an awesome soundtrack is one of the most important parts of taking a long road trip, if you ask us. The power of music is strong and we’re here to help you harness that power by making sure your coach is equipped with some audio equipment that produces such a crisp, clear sound that even you won’t be able to ruin songs with your “singing”. The whole idea of owning a motor home is to be able to travel with all of the amenities you’re used to at home, so why should your music have to suffer just because you’re away from your expensive home audio system?

How far you wish to go in setting up your sound system is entirely up to you. Meaning, you can completely customize your coach with a full-blown home audio system and all the components (a/v receiver, amp, subwoofer, in-wall/in-ceiling speakers, etc.) fully installed or you can purchase an all in one micro hi-fi system that is fully capable of putting out great sounds. Like most things in life, it’ll come down to your personal preference and how important having quality sound is to you.

For the music enthusiast

If you’re really into music and you own a motor home, you’re in luck. High-end audio manufacturers like Polk Audio have you in mind and offer a full line of speakers and components specifically for RV’s. Consider replacing your in-wall speakers with a pair of the DXi651’s. For only around $100 for a pair, you’ll be getting insane value for your money. These speakers feature Polk’s patented Dynamic Balance technology that makes for great sound while driving out distortion and other unpleasant noises. You’ll also need a subwoofer or two depending on the size of your coach and also how much bass you want to kick out. For your subwoofer installation, consider tucking them away underneath a fold out couch. The interior body of the couch will act as a housing unit for the subs that will help to create a deep bass sound throughout the cabin while keeping the speakers completely hidden.

Keep in mind, with a good receiver you can also integrate this system with your TV to create an awesome movie viewing experience. Check out the MM Series by Polk…subs specifically designed to for auto that have great sound quality. Again, for the money (around $279 a piece), you really can’t go wrong.

DXi Polk Audio speakers
DXi Polk Audio speakers

Pair the DXi’s and the MM sub with a PA D 4000.4 amp and now you’re cooking with butter. This sleek amp by Polk puts out triple the sound than some if it’s larger, but less powerful counterparts. Throw in a pair of 6x9’s for the outdoor patio area with extended wires so you can take your music outside with you and move the speakers around to best suit your needs. All in all, you just got yourself a brand new, top of the line audio system for your coach for less than $1,000. Not too shabby.

For the music dabbler

For those that like to listen to music but aren’t hell bent on having every individual component to their system, then you may want to check out the Sonos wireless hifi systems. Why is Sonos perfect for you, dabbler? Because there’s not a tangled mess of wires to work your way through and hide, you can stash speakers all around your motor home so they’re barely visible but totally able to be heard and then some, and their systems are extremely user friendly. Sonos offers an app that allows users to control the entire system from essentially any mobile device and also has the ability to play different music in different rooms (What do you mean? You don’t want to listen to One Direction all night? No problem, close the door to the bedroom and listen to whatever you want while the kids do their thing). Finally, this system supports pretty much every music streaming app/service available so you’ll never be limited on what to listen to.

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Sonos wireless hifi system

Hopefully, this will be somewhat helpful when you start thinking about how you can make your next trip just that much more enjoyable. In our opinion, each trip should come with its own soundtrack, just make sure you have a system that suits your needs to play it.

Do you have questions about purchasing a new or pre-owned motorhome or just about the RV lifestyle in general? If so, please contact us so we can answer all of your questions and concerns!