Humidity And Temperature Monitor In RV, Motorhome, Trailer

Managing temperature and moisture in your RV can be a challenge, particularly as you travel between climates.  Too much humidity can cause problems like mold, rust, and allergies.

Too dry of a climate can cause discomfort from dry skin rashes and drying out the sinuses, although rarely affects RV performance. Those RVing with pets or who work on the road need to be particularly concerned with the climate in their RV as tools and electronics can corrode and pets can have health issues related to humidity and temperature.

humidity and temperature
The Govee WiFi thermometer-hydrometer helps monitor the climate in your RV (Image by Govee)

Govee is a new smart home company that specializes in research and development of artificial intelligence and intelligent hardware.  More than 60% of the 200 employees are tasked with research and development of new products and interfaces.

Govee’s mission is to provide better products through connectivity and smart technology, such as smart LEDs, smart sensors, and home security.

One of Govee’s products is a WiFi thermometer-hydrometer that is compatible with your iPhone/Android smartphone.  This device monitors indoor temperature and humidity and can give real-time data even if you are not in your RV.

The WiFi thermometer-hydrometer was developed by one of Govee’s employees who worried about his dog, named Foamy, spending the day at home while he was at work.  He used a camera to watch his dog and thought it would be an added benefit to be able to monitor the environment to ensure Foamy was comfortable and not getting too hot during the summers.

humidity and temperature
Being able to monitor the climate in your RV can allow more freedom to explore. (Image by Govee)

Many RVers will relate to this situation during times that they may not be able to take their pets with them (such as in many National Parks). Being able to monitor the humidity and temperature in your RV and ensure your pet is comfortable can give you more freedom to go for a hike and explore an area with less worry.

The Govee device includes a highly sensitive Swiss sensor and an App system that has been specially developed.  The App is easily set up and allows for real-time monitoring as well as the ability to set specific alerts that are sent directly through the App.

The folks at Govee are continually working to improve and add to their product line, and take pride in their rapid response to customer inquiries and solutions to customer’s needs.

RVers may also be interested in the Govee wireless security system.



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How To Prepare For Winter Camping In An RV Motorhome

Proper preparation and gear are essential to avoid winter camping problems. Let’s look at five winter camping challenges and how to avoid them.

winter camping

1. Keeping holding tanks from freezing

After a weekend of winter camping, the next step is to pull into the dump station to empty your tanks. You then pull the dump valve and nothing happens as the contents are frozen.

Now, you will have to wait until they thaw before you can dump the waste. To avoid this, consider using a holding tank heater. They are similar to electric blankets and attach to the underside of the holding tanks with adhesive.

If you’re just an occasional winter camper, pour non-toxic RV antifreeze in your tanks through the P-traps or toilet. This will keep the contents slushy. Some RVers recommend using rock-salt, but it can corrode metal parts in the gray and black plumbing systems.

2. Maintaining heat

Regardless of how well you seal up your windows and vents to keep out the cold, you will still need an adequate heat source to keep your RV from freezing up.

This is just one of the winter camping problems you’ll face. To overcome this, your built-in forced-air furnace should always be the primary source as the ducts are routed to keep the plumbing from freezing and keeping the occupants warm.

Further, a secondary option is oil-filled electric heaters. They emit a mild radiant heat, are essentially noise-free, and present little fire hazards.

Catalytic safety heaters, which run on propane rather than electricity, offer radiant heat and operate safely below the combustion level of flammable materials. Also, finding out how to effectively maintain power when winter camping is also pertinent to enjoying cold winter camping.

3. Sealing windows, vents, and skylights

How to find and prevent leaks in your RV is important any time of the year. But during winter it’s essential to keep yourself and your plumbing system warm by keeping the warm air in.

Winter Camping Problems
Proper sealing of windows and vents is important to maintain heat in your RV. Photo by Vivater airforums.com member

So, while leaks need to be detected (and fixed), you also need to increase insulation for winter camping. Windows, roof vents, and skylights are good places to start. The majority of RV windows are single-pane and many don’t seal well. One option is to install storm windows (if offered by the manufacturer).

Another solution is to insert heat shrink film on the insides of the windows. This is a clear film that you cut to size, stretch over your windows, and then heat shrink with a hairdryer. It’s available at most home improvement stores.

Roof vents and skylights are the next places to insulate. Most RV accessory stores sell RV vent cushions, which fit into standard roof vents. They can simply push up in place. For larger openings like skylights, vent cushions can be custom made to fit precise sizes.

4. Ensure a fresh water supply

Winter camping problems also extend to keeping a supply of fresh water. If you hook up to the campgrounds water spigot, you may freeze your hose.

To offset this, utilize an electrically-heated RV hose, which is basically a hose with built-in heat tape.

Another option is to leave a faucet dripping as moving water doesn’t easily freeze. If you do this, have your gray tank open or a significant gray tank capacity. Or, fill your freshwater tank and utilize your water pump.

Winter Camping Problems
Prepping your RV means fewer problems at your winter site. Photo by Polymark iRV2.com member

When your fresh water tank runs dry, refill it with the campground spigot. Also, drain or store the water hose somewhere warm between tank fillings.

5. Getting your fridge to run properly

Who would think keeping food cold would be a problem when winter camping?

Two problems can possibly crop up. The first is the mixture of chemicals and fluids in the refrigerator’s cooling unit can start turning into a gel below 20° F. This slows down the recirculating and cooling process.

Another potential problem is the refrigerator thermostat sensor may sense cold air coming through the exterior refrigerator vents, rather than the cold air in the food box. This may cause the refrigerator to cycle-off.

So, to avoid these winter camping problems, block the first two or three top vent slots of the exterior refrigerator access door. This will keep cold air from the back of the refrigerator.

Don’t forget to remove the obstructions after your campout. For your refrigerator’s thermostat sensor, use a nonflammable material in the event it might come loose and contact the refrigerator burner or electric heating element.

Once you realize these issues and start enjoying yourself, you’ll soon find out why RVing in winter can offer great experiences.



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What To Look For When Buying A Used RV Motorhome Or Trailer

Buying a used RV can be a nerve-racking experience, but it can also be a way to avoid breaking the bank on a brand-new model. If you know what to look for in your potential purchase, you might just score the deal of a lifetime.

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The more you find out about the RV’s history, the less likely you’ll be to buy a piece of junk. Photo by Greg Gjerdingen/Flickr

Shopping for a used RV

Before you decide to start looking for an RV, figure out what type of motorhome or trailer will best suit your lifestyle. If possible, rent or borrow an RV and take it on a weekend excursion to see what you’re comfortable with. Can you drive a 40-foot rig? Do you enjoy camping in smaller vehicles, or do you need more space?

What floor plan is most convenient for you? When you have what you’re looking for in mind, establish a budget for yourself. Remind yourself of your budget while shopping for RVs and don’t exceed it. This will prevent you from overspending. You can also request quotes from your insurance company to determine what your insurance will cover.

There are plenty of RV listings online, from websites like eBay and craigslist to RVT and Camping World. You can also find classifieds on RV forums like Airstream Classifieds and iRV2. Shop around locally and pay attention to current prices and market values.

Do some research to educate yourself; you’ll feel much more prepared to bargain. Remember that low prices and gas mileage are not always a good sign. Why does the owner want to get rid of the vehicle so quickly? Why didn’t they drive it often? Are there issues with handling? RVchecks offers $25 history reports for some vehicles. The more you find out about the RV’s history, the less likely you’ll be to buy a piece of junk.

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Oftentimes you will pay a much lower price when buying from a private source. Photo by dave_7/Flickr

Buying from a private owner versus a dealership

When shopping for a used vehicle, you have two choices. You can visit a pre-owned RV dealership, or you can buy from a private owner. Private purchases through craigslist or another site are better in many ways since they put the seller and the buyer at the same level of experience.

There is more freedom to negotiate, as the seller is usually eager to get rid of the large RV taking up their yard. For even more bargaining leverage, you can offer to pay in cash and take the vehicle immediately. Oftentimes you will pay a much lower price when buying from a private source.

Alternatively, you can visit a dealer, who will most likely mark up the price for pre-owned RVs. However, if it is your first time purchasing an RV, you might feel more comfortable buying from an RV dealer without having to conduct a full inspection.

Visually inspecting the RV

If you decide to buy from a private source, always ask to take a look at the vehicle. Never purchase a used RV without thoroughly inspecting it!

One of the biggest reasons to avoid buying an RV is if it has water damage. Walk through the rig, checking for mold, bubbling, and rot in all corners. Check for soft spots on the walls and around bathroom fixtures. If you see brown spots on the floor or ceiling, rust on the exterior screws, or dips in the roof, you should probably steer clear.

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Walk through the rig, checking for mold, bubbling, and rot in all corners. Photo via clint623 on iRV2 Forums

Don’t be afraid to peer into cupboards and closets with a flashlight and stand in the shower to check its size. Jump on the floor and push on the walls to test structural integrity.

It’s also important to climb onto the roof and examine the seals. If the caulking appears crumbly or blackened, there’s a good chance that the roof will leak. While you’re up there, check the ladder for loose screws. Remove all vent covers and take a look at the seams underneath. If possible, use a garden hose to spray the roof and windows, then check for leaks inside.

Ask the owner to pop the hood so that you can check the RV’s oil. If there is engine damage, the oil will smell burnt. Check the power cord and battery bank, and make sure the battery is running at 12.6-12.8 volts. If the date on the battery is older than 7 years, it needs to be replaced. Examine the tires as well; the last two digits on the inscription will tell you the year they were manufactured. If the tires were made more than 5 years ago, they need to be replaced.

Testing RV functions

Before purchasing, ask the owner to let you take the rig on a test drive. If they won’t let you test it, don’t buy it! Drive at top speeds on the freeway and practice maneuvering in an empty parking lot. You may also want to have the owner drive part of the time and experience the ride from the passenger’s seat. Check for odd noises or jolts while driving, and make sure that all systems are operational.

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Check for odd noises or jolts while driving. Photo by Oscar Nilsson

After the test drive, make sure to run all other functions and look for issues. Check that all locks and latches are secure, and turn on light fixtures. Run all electrical systems, including air conditioning and heater.

Check awnings for proper function and make sure that no tears are present. If the RV has slide outs, make sure that they are fully operational and without damage. Inspect tanks and water heater for any leaks and check the plumbing as well. Check the water pump and turn on all faucets. Turn on the oven and stove and sniff around for any propane leaks.

If you find a few minor problems during your inspection, don’t panic. You may still get a good deal, though you will have to pay a little extra to fix the issues. Estimate repair costs and add them to the seller’s price to determine whether the purchase is worthwhile. You may even be able to point out problems that the seller had missed and use them to your bargaining advantage.

Questions to ask

One last step you should be sure to follow is to ask questions. Before starting your interrogation, make sure the person who is showing you the RV actually is the owner, not some friend or relative who happened to be available.

The owner’s mother is not likely to know much about the RV and most likely won’t be able to answer your questions. You should also make sure that the RV’s vehicle identification number (VIN) matches the registration and paperwork with the owner’s name. If the owner can’t provide you with the vehicle’s registration, steer clear.

used RV
You may be able to point out problems that the seller missed and use them to your bargaining advantage. Photo by Rawpixel/Unsplash

Asking about the RV’s history can provide you with valuable information about the quality of the vehicle. How many people have owned the RV? If it has been through several owners and is still in good condition, chances are that it will last longer.

Have animals lived in the RV? This is a very important question to ask if you are allergic. Has anyone smoked in the RV? Did its past owners take good care of it and regularly check the safety features? Has the RV spent a lot of time in areas with extreme weather? Ask about warranties, past repairs, and the reason that the owner is selling it.

If you follow these steps when buying a used RV, you’ll find that it’s possible to own a high-quality rig without spending a fortune. If you remember what to look for and what to avoid, your next purchase will be a walk in the park…the RV park.

Read this article from Do It Yourself RV on why you should never buy an RV brand new.



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What Type Of RV Motorhome Or Travel Trailer Should You Buy?

Are you considering buying an RV? Maybe you’re new to RV travel, or maybe the vehicle you had before just didn’t work for your lifestyle. Either way, learning more about the different types of RVs that are on the market can give a sense of which one is right for you.

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Photo from Pixabay

Motorhomes

Motorhomes are some of the most popular RVs out there. They come in three different body styles and offer an array of comfortable camping opportunities.

Class A motorhome:

As the largest and most luxurious type of RV, Class A motorhomes range anywhere from 35 to 45 feet in length. Benefits include a spacious interior and full utilities. There is plenty of storage and room for extra appliances. Both diesel-powered and gasoline-powered motorhomes are available.

On the other hand, the size of a large motorhome can be intimidating. Class As are difficult to maneuver, hazardous to drive, and expensive to operate. Based on the difficulty of running errands, many RVers choose to tow a separate vehicle behind their motorhome.

You should consider buying a Class A motorhome if:

  • You often travel with a large family
  • You are looking for more storage or space
  • You plan on full-timing or RVing often
  • You feel comfortable driving a very large vehicle

Class B motorhome:

Also known as camper vans, Class B motorhomes are easy to drive and to park. They can be powered by either diesel or gas and are cheaper to operate than most RVs. Class B’s are also easy to store. They require minimal campsite setup and are convenient for day trips and errands.

However, this convenience does require you to sacrifice some storage and comfort. There is limited space inside since Class B motorhomes are built like vans with raised roofs. Expect to spend a good amount of time outside during the day.

You should consider buying a Class B motorhome if:

  • You plan to travel solo or with one companion
  • You move from campsite to campsite often
  • You have a limited budget
  • You don’t feel comfortable driving larger vehicles

Class C motorhome:

Class C motorhomes fall somewhere between a Class A and a Class B. They reach lengths of 20-30 feet, making them slightly easier to park than Class As. Basic facilities are included in the vehicle, and sleeping quarters are more spacious than in a Class B.

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Class C RV. Photo: Mitch Barrie/Flickr

Some Class Cs offer pop-outs on the sides or convertible furniture. However, the challenge of driving a Class C motorhome makes it difficult to leave the campsite for a quick trip.

You should consider buying a Class B motorhome if:

  • You are looking for more luxuries than a camper van
  • You travel often or full-time
  • You can’t afford a Class A motorhome
  • You desire space and comfort while camping

Detachable units

Trailers and other detachable units are a popular choice among full-timers and part-time campers alike. Their flexibility and versatile designs make them the perfect solution for some RVers.

Travel trailer:

Travel trailers vary in length and connect to several types of tow vehicles with a standard ball hitch. Travel trailers are often fairly roomy and come equipped with facilities, heat, and air conditioning. They also make it possible to detach your tow vehicle and run errands, leaving your trailer at the campsite.

On the other hand, travel trailers can be difficult to level properly and maneuver. Issues like weight and tail sway may come into play, and it is almost impossible to reverse when towing a travel trailer.

You should consider buying a travel trailer if:

  • You own a large vehicle, like an SUV, that can handle the trailer’s weight capacity
  • You often leave your campsite to run errands
  • You want spacious and comfortable living quarters
  • You want complete protection from the elements

Fifth wheel:

Like travel trailers, fifth wheels connect to a tow vehicle and include plenty of storage. The main difference is that 5th wheels have a gooseneck connection instead of a standard ball hitch. This connection is safer, more reliable, and makes the trailer easier to maneuver.

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Photo by Larry Page/Flickr

The overhang also provides extra space in the trailer’s interior. However, a gooseneck connection also limits the type of vehicle that can tow your trailer—a 5th wheel can only be towed by an open-backed pickup truck. This can make traveling with a large family difficult since truck cabs are often very small.

You should consider buying a 5th wheel if:

  • You own an open-backed pickup truck
  • You want a trailer with enhanced stability and maneuverability
  • You are looking for extra storage and a roomy interior
  • You plan on traveling with several people, but no more than can fit in your truck

Tent trailer:

With their small, lightweight frames and reasonable costs, tent trailers are a popular choice for part-time campers. They are easy to store when not in use, and give campers a more comfortable alternative to a tent.  However, they offer limited storage once collapsed and on the road. Tent trailers provide less protection from the elements and require more time to set up at the campsite.

You should consider buying a tent trailer if:

  • You are looking for a more convenient alternative to tent camping
  • You plan to travel only occasionally
  • You don’t plan to store much in your trailer
  • You have limited space to store a trailer

Toy hauler:

Sport utility trailers, or toy haulers, are designed to transport sports vehicles and recreational equipment, but most also feature small living quarters. The size of your toy hauler determines how much space you will have.

These types of trailers can be outfitted with appliances, and their dual functions make them ideal for recreational events or excursions. However, some RVers may feel nervous about camping in close proximity to fuel, oil, and other substances that may exude toxic fumes. Storage of equipment takes first priority in this type of vehicle, so living quarters tend to be cramped.

You should consider buying a toy hauler if:

  • You need transportation for your ATVs, bikes, or kayaks
  • You are looking for a trailer with facilities and storage
  • You participate in outdoor sporting events
  • You prioritize storage of gear and sport vehicles over personal comfort

Truck camper:

Truck campers are designed to incorporate the benefits of both trailers and motorhomes. Consisting of a single detachable unit that is transported in the back of a pickup truck, truck campers are easy to store and to detach from your truck at the campsite. They function like small trailers but are easier to transport. Some truck campers have pop-out sides, and many include basic necessities. However, space in a truck camper is minimal compared to many trailers.

You should consider buying a truck camper if:

  • You don’t require much space or storage
  • You often go on spontaneous, short-term trips
  • You want the convenience of a trailer without having to tow one
  • You have limited space to store an RV

Teardrop trailer:

Teardrop trailers are a specific style of travel trailer that is smaller and lighter than most. It fits in any campsite and offers protection from the elements. Some teardrop trailers include kitchen facilities that open to the outside.

Most include air conditioning and room for a two-person bed. However, space is very limited in teardrop trailers, and there is usually not enough room to stand. Be prepared for tiny but cozy sleeping quarters with 1-2 windows.

You should consider buying a teardrop trailer if:

  • You plan to travel solo or with one companion
  • You need extra storage on the road, but not at the campsite
  • You are looking for a simple yet effective way to camp
  • You camp in many small campsites

Hybrid trailer:

A hybrid trailer is very similar to a travel trailer, but it also encompasses certain elements of a tent trailer. It can be partially collapsed during storage and transport, but its pop-out tent sections provide more interior space than most trailers its size.

Hybrid trailers often include full facilities and can entirely disconnect from their tow vehicles. However, they also take more time to set up and can be more difficult to store than an ordinary tent trailer.

You should consider buying a hybrid trailer if:

  • You enjoy the experiences of both tent camping and trailer camping
  • You want interior space without having to tow a huge trailer
  • You feel confident about setting up your campsite
  • You camp occasionally but are not a full-timer

Airstream:

Though a brand, Airstream creates iconic trailers that belong in a category by themselves. Because of their aerodynamic body shape, Airstreams receive better gas mileage. They have unique durability, causing them to last for up to 40 years.

Classic Airstream. Photo via Wikipedia

The low center of gravity found in Airstream trailers makes them more stable and safer to tow. On the other hand, the interior of the trailer is narrower than most, making it hard to move around inside. Airstreams also lack in insulation, making them slightly uncomfortable to live in during extreme weather.

You should consider buying an Airstream trailer if:

  • You plan to travel often and invest in it long-term
  • You camp in areas with mild weather
  • You have a limited budget for gas
  • You want added security when towing a trailer

Special-function RVs

Some RVs serve specific purposes. While less versatile than common trailers or motorhomes, they are a good choice for RVers who choose to pursue a specific habit or hobby.

Equestrian RV:

Equestrian motorhomes or horse trailers are essential for those who wish to bring their horses camping. The size of the RVs and their living quarters varies, but they usually house 2-4 horses and up to 3 people.

The horse compartment of an equestrian RV features lightweight stalls to keep your horses safe on the road. The living quarters sometimes come equipped with facilities. However, equestrian RVs can be very difficult to store or to maneuver. They are also fairly expensive.

You should consider buying an equestrian RV if:

  • You plan to bring your horses with you
  • You don’t want to tow a separate horse trailer behind a regular motorhome
  • You can afford a horse trailer or equestrian motorhome
  • You aren’t traveling with a large family

Ice fishing trailer:

Ice fishing trailers are one of the most obscure types of RVs. Lightweight and often custom-built from salvaged travel trailers, they are designed to be towed onto solid ice.

With complete facilities, luxuries, and protection from the elements, these unique trailers are some of the best RVs for cold places. Campers can uncover an opening in the floor of each trailer to access holes in the ice. However, ice fishing trailers are rare. They are built specifically for ice fishing and won’t be as durable on other trips.

You should consider buying an ice fishing trailer if:

  • You spend the winters up north in icy places
  • You take frequent ice fishing trips
  • You want the comforts of home in your trailer
  • You own a vehicle that is safe to drive in icy areas

Park models:

Park models are an option for those who stay in one place for long periods of time. They include home-like floor plans and luxurious comfort, sometimes connecting to regular city facilities.

Space and storage are plentiful. However, they are very expensive, and not the most mobile form of RV. Boondocking is definitely not an option.

You should consider buying a park model if:

  • You are a full-time RVer
  • You plan to move to a new location only once or twice a year
  • You want the experience of living in a small house, but with some mobility
  • You want full facilities and lots of storage

Disability access RV:

Many manufacturers will make RVs with certain specifications on demand. They can modify motorhomes, trailers, and other types of vehicles to meet the client’s needs. Features may include roll-in showers, ramps, and lifts, low kitchen cabinets, or wide doors. These types of modifications allow RVers with disabilities to travel in the comfort of a familiar environment.

You should consider buying a disability access RV if:

  • You are confined to a wheelchair or have some other physical disability
  • You find that hotels have a difficult time meeting your needs
  • You are prevented from using a regular RV
  • You require specific features in a living space

By paying attention to your lifestyle and the features of an RV that would suit you best, you can invest in a vehicle that will meet your individual needs and make trips a real breeze.

See also: The Pros And Cons Of Fifth Wheel Trailers



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How To Get Sand Out Of Your RV Trailer & Motorhome

Visiting the beach is a must in the summer, but it also means you’re going to be bringing back tons of sand. Here are a few things you can do to help keep sand from getting tracked in and around your RV.

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Camping by the beach, never a bad idea. Photo by DillyLynn/Wikipedia

Use a brush to clean off

Pack a small brush to wipe off your clothes, shoes, and pets before stepping inside. Find one with soft bristles like this sand brush or a better quality (though pricier) horsehair brush with a sturdy wooden handle. Brush off all your items like your camping chair and beach bag before storing them away.

Rinse off your feet

If you wore flip-flops or went barefoot, you will want to thoroughly wash off your feet before stepping back in your RV. Use a portable showerhead or just a water bottle to wash off your feet, hands, and gear.

Take your shoes off and leave them at the door

This may seem simple but it can make all the difference. Storing your shoes by the door will not only keep them from tracking in sand but also any dirt, mud, or leaves.

Find a place by the door where you can set up some hooks and mesh holders or somewhere that you can set up a small coat rack to hang your shoes. Shake them off well and wash them off if necessary before bringing them inside.

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An easy way to hang your shoes. Photo via Wheeling It

Store clothes and towels in a separate laundry bag

Shake off your beach towels and store them in a separate laundry or trash bag before bringing them inside. Toss in any clothes you wore, your swimsuit, and anything else that needs to be washed.

Use a patio mat

Laying out a mat in front of your door is a good idea no matter where you’re camping to help keep dirt out. These RV patio mats are very lightweight and can be conveniently washed off, folded up, and stored in a travel bag.

Keep a small broom and dustpan in your RV

No matter how hard you try, there will still be sand that somehow manages to get in on the floor. Keeping a compact broom and dustpan on board can be very handy for doing a quick sweep after coming back in from the beach.

See also: What You Need To Know About RVing On A Beach



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