RVs for Preemies

I came across this article and couldn’t pass up sharing it. We all think of RV for leisure and travel, but for some it really truly is a home or even a home away from home as is in this case. This is a very heartwarming story:

Kristian Sandoval and Kristine Ibanez have been calling the parking lot of Sutter Memorial Hospital their home away from home for the past five weeks. Through pregnancy complications, Kristine gave birth to the couple’s first baby almost three months early. Little Anais Giselle weighed only 1 pound, 13 ounces at birth and has been in the Sutter NICU ever since.

Cyndi and Dustin Mitchell, founders of the Alyboo and Izybee Foundation, heard about the Modesto couple’s story and offered them RVs 4 Preemies, a brand-new RV set up for the couple to live in on the hospital grounds so they can be with their daughter as much as possible.

“We don’t have a vehicle, so it would be impossible to go back and forth to our home,” Sandoval said. “If we didn’t have the RV, we’d be sleeping in the hospital just waiting for our daughter to be released.”

Kristian and Kristine are the first family to live in RVs 4 Preemies. The Mitchells started the foundation after their twin daughters Alyssa and Isabella – whose nicknames are Alyboo and Izybee – were born prematurely at Sutter Memorial Hospital two years ago. The foundation has volunteers who donate various items to NICU babies and families to help make their stay more enjoyable. Though the Mitchells live locally, they saw many families who had to make a long trip each day to visit their babies. With no place to for NICU families to stay, they bought an RV last summer and started RVs 4 Preemies.

The spacious RV comes complete with a bathroom, kitchen and is able to sleep six. Kristian and Kristine feel very fortunate to have the RV to live in and have opened their doors and invited other families in the hospital over as a place to get away.

“A lot of these people are going through really hard times,” Sandoval said. “Just the way Cyndi didn’t judge us or care who we were when she offered the RV, I want to help others out as much as I can, even if it means taking one person’s mind off this place for one minute.”

The Alyboo & Izybee Foundation is currently in the running to receive $50,000 from Pepsi for their charity. The Pepsi Refresh Project featured the foundation in its national contest, and will award the money to charity with the most votes by the end of January. The Mitchells say the money would help allow 12 families to utilize the RV and open a volunteer workshop, which would help provide 1,200 handmade items for babies and care packages to families. For more information, visit http://www.abibf.org/
The temporary move to the Sutter parking lot for Sandoval and Ibanez began on Dec. 3, when Ibanez checked herself into an emergency room in Modesto.

“I was having trouble breathing and had major swelling on my feet and legs,” Ibanez said. “Everyone said the symptoms were normal, but I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t breathe.”

The ER prescribed Kristine with Vicodin to help with pain and released her. Not satisfied with their advice, Kristine went straight to Memorial Medical Center for another opinion and after only a few hours was rushed to Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento with congestive heart failure.

“It was a really, really scary thing,” Ibanez said. “They knew there was a big possibility that I would have to give birth soon, so we both came here to Sutter Memorial Hospital.”
Kristine’s lungs began filling with fluids and within a few days her kidneys were shutting down. Fearing for the safety of both mother and baby doctors performed an emergency Cesarean section on Dec. 9.

“It was the scariest day of my life,” Sandoval said. “My two girls’ lives were up in the air, and not knowing what is going to happen is very scary.”

After three days in the ICU, doctors were able to stabilize Kristine and she was able to see her baby for the first time.
“The first day they let her see our daughter, that was the day she started healing,” Sandoval said. “Up until then she was torn apart.”

Baby Anais is now almost 3 pounds and continues to improve daily. Although her parents spend a majority of the time with her in the hospital, being able to walk to their temporary home parked only 50 yards away makes all the difference.

It makes everything so bearable,” Sandoval said. “It kind of makes me feel guilty because in the RV I’m not really at the hospital. I feel like I’m at my home. There are a ton of people that don’t have something to take their mind off this hospital because they don’t get to leave. They are in the hospital all the time.”

Doctors expect Anais to be released from the hospital in the middle of February. Until then her parents will be by her side in the NICU, or resting comfortably in the parking lot, the place they call home.

“We try to know that we haven’t been dealt anything but blessings and good stuff,” Sandoval said. “We are playing this waiting game and waiting to go home, but we feel very blessed. We are trying to show the love that we have been given.” [Source: Sacramento Press]

We really think that RVs for Preemies really is a great cause. If you think so too, cast your vote at Pepsi Refresh Grant and help make a difference today!


A RV Rally and Spring Training? You Better Reserve Your Spot Now!

There’s is this great company out of Southern Arizona, RallyMasterUSA.com, that is putting together its inaugural Spring Training RV Rally in Glendale, AZ co-hosted by Camelback Ranch.  There hasn’t been anything like it and we’re excited for this awesome RV Rally!

Camelback Ranch is providing a field within its large facility that Rally attendees will call home for 4 nights and 3 days. In that time, attendees have the opportunity to experience the best of both the Spring Training & RV Rally worlds. The rally includes a welcome reception, breakfast & dinner daily, entertainment nightly, and of course beautiful Southern Arizona afternoons full of baseball. There will be guest appearances at the campsite, as well as RV’r favorites…free stuff.

What:  1st Annual Spring Training Rally

Where:  Camelback Ranch – Glendale, AZ

Spring  Training home to: Chicago White Sox & Los Angeles Dodgers

When:  Check-­‐In: Feb. 26th, Check-­‐Out: Mar. 3rd

RallyMasterUSA.com is putting a spin on RV Rallies & Events. Keeping some of the ‘norms’ expected at an RV Rally, but    putting  them in places not so normal. They understand that as diverse as RV’rs are, most are young at heart, and    are always looking for the next adventure. The goal of RallyMasterUSA.com is to offer all RV’rs the opportunity to  experience the fun of an organized Rally without the need of being part of a specific group or organization. “Our rallies   are open  to everyone.” For more information on this RV Rally, please visit www.rallymasterusa.com, or contact Kiri Gragg  at 520-­‐591-­‐1532 or kiri@rallymasterusa.com.

There are only 55 spots available so if this is something that interests you, you’d better reserve today! And of course you’ve gotta let us know how it went!


RV Cooking: Dog Treat Recipes

This one is strictly for the dogs!  Since we love our pets so much, why not give them a healthy treat baked up by their favorite person, you!  Here are a few recipes you can bake up that good and easy:

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuit with Oatmeal


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (you can use another type of flour if your dog is sensitive to wheat)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth (I used smooth this time)
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water

Additional flour for rolling


    1. Preheat oven to 350° F
    2. Mix dry ingredients together.

    1. Mix in the peanut butter and hot water. You may need to add more water if the dough is too sticky.

    1. Knead the dough well.
    2. Roll out the dough into 1/4″ thickness and cut into shapes with dog cookie cutters.

Note – This recipe doesn’t call for it, but I put an egg wash (one egg whisked with a fork and then brushed on with a pastry brush) on the treats before I baked them. It gives them a nice sheen once they’re baked. Here’s how they look before baking.

Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven and let them cool overnight.

If you and your dog can’t wait that long, cool them completely on a wire rack before serving.

After: The cookies get very hard, just the way dogs like them!

Storing: This peanut butter dog biscuit recipe makes biscuits that will last in a sealed air tight container at room temperature for one week. You can store them in the refrigerator for 3 weeks and in the freezer for up to 6 months. [Source: Dog Treat Kitchen]

Canine Carrot Cookies

2 cups carrots — boiled and pureed

2 eggs
2 tablespoons garlic — minced
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (alternative: rice flour or rye flour)
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ

Combine carrots, eggs and garlic. Mix until smooth. Add dry ingredients.
Roll out on heavily floured surface and cut into bars or desired shapes.
Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes or to desired crunchiness. The centers
will continue to harden as they cool. Brush with egg white before baking
for a glossy finish. [Source: Hungry Mutt]

Bacon Chicken Layer Cake

This recipe makes a real layer cake! Chicken, bacon and yogurt provide aromas that drive dogs crazy for this cake.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 2 jars strained chicken baby food
  • 2 cups finely shredded carrots
  • plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 2 or 3 strips of bacon, fried crisp, then crumbled, or use bacon-flavored jerky strips, cut into bits.

Generously grease and flour two 8″ round cake pans; set aside. Combine flour and baking powder; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat softened margarine until smooth. Add eggs and corn oil; mix well. Add strained chiicken, and shredded carrots and mix until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour batter into the 2 prepared 8″ cake pans. Bake at 325° for 60 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

Place one layer on a serving plate and spread yogurt over top. Place second layer on top, then spread yogurt on top and sides of entire cake. Sprinkle crumbled bacon or bits of jerky strips over top. Use “Pupperoni” sticks for candles. [Source: Dog Birthdays and Parties]

I think it would be a great idea to take a RV trip for your dogs birthday and make it a birthday weekend!  And of course invite all of your fellow RVers and travel trailing friends and their pups too!


Cold Weather RVing Tips for your Pets

Are you ones of those RVers who heads in the opposite direction of the snowbirds and well, basically into the snow?!  There is tons to do in the winter in your RV, right?  And if you’re like most, your little furry friend travels with you. Dogs might seem tough, but cold weather affects them too. Here are some tips to help keep your pup safe and warm during your cold weather travels:

*Give outdoor dogs shelter with straw (not hay) or a dog bed.  Do not use heaters unless they are approved for animals.  Consider a heated mat for animals which can be placed under a blanket or dog bed.

*Consider a dog sweater and booties for small dogs or dogs which are sensitive to the cold.

*Outside dogs need more food because they burn more calories in order to keep warm.  Indoor dogs who get less activity in winter months may need less food in winter.

*Always bring your dog indoors for extreme weather.  Even a hearty winter dog breed like the Husky may not be able to handle an extreme ice storm or blizzard.

*Keep puppies and older dogs indoors.

*Make sure dogs always have fresh water with no ice.  Get a special heating dish or give fresh water frequently.

*Check your dog’s ears, tail, and feet for frostbite.

*Check your dog’s feet for ice.  Ice balls can form, especially if your dog has long hair around their feet.  Trimming the long hair may help.  Remove ice with a warm washcloth.  Also check their feet for cuts.

*Walking dogs on sidewalks melted with salt is okay but make sure you rinse their feet off with warm water when you get home.

*When going for walks, keep your dog on a leash at all times.  Dogs can get lost in the snow because all the scent markers have been covered.  Keeping them on a leash will also keep them from running over ice and falling through into a body of water.

*Be careful of ponds and other bodies of water.  If your dog falls in the water, call for help.  Do not go after him yourself.

*Make sure your dog is completely dry after grooming before putting them outside.

*Beware of antifreeze from cars.  Antifreeze is tasty to dogs but deadly.

*If you travel with your dog, don’t leave him alone in the car.  In summer months where your car becomes an oven, the opposite occurs in winter where your car becomes a refrigerator. [Source: American Dog Blog]

We’d love to see pics of you and your furry friends on your cold weather RVing adventure. Post them to our facebook page!


Be Careful of Where You Park Your RV!

You don’t want to end up like this RV did….skiing down the mountain!

No one was injured when a parked RV slid off an embankment Tuesday at Appalachian Ski Mountain.
The RV passengers were on the slopes when the Fleetwood RV slid at about 11 a.m., leaving a dog trapped inside the vehicle.
Blowing Rock Fire & Rescue and the N.C. Highway Patrol responded to the accident, and rescuers cut through the windshield to free the dog.
Trooper T.B. Hendrix of the N.C. Highway Patrol said it appeared that the vehicle was parked too close to the bank and slid backward, stopping on its side on a pile of trees and debris at the bottom.
A wrecker was able to pull the RV upright from a road at the base of the hill, but that same icy road made it difficult for the wrecker to pull it back to the main parking lot, Hendrix said. [Source: Watauga Democrat]

Now that’s gotta be just a little bit embarrassing and not to mention costly.  And thank goodness that the dog was unharmed!  So fellow RVes and travel trailer-ers, be careful of where park!


Change a Tire on Your RV?! You Can Do It!

Changing a tire on your RV sounds much more complicated than changing a tire on your car, right? Well it’s not that much trouble at all really. Below are some few steps to get the tire changed and you on your way!

Step 1 – Position one RV jack just behind the back wheel and the other just in front of the front wheel. Be sure that the jack is “gripping” the frame of the RV.
Step 2 – Jack up the jack in the back until it makes contact with the frame.
Step 3 – Jack up the jack in the front until it, too, has made contact with the frame. Now jack it up three more pumps.
Step 4 – Jack the back jack three more pumps. Continue to alternate between the front and back jack, three pumps at a time, until that side of the RV is high enough off of the ground that the tires can spin freely. Do not jack it up any higher than this.
Step 5 – Use a wrench to remove the lug nuts holding the bad tire in place. Set them aside in a safe place, since you’ll be using them again in a few moments.
Step 6 – Remove the bad tire and mount the new tire. Replace the lug nuts and use the wrench to tighten them well.

Tips & Warnings

– Some companies manufacture RV leveler-like products specifically for changing tires (one example: the Trailer-Aid).
They simply require that you drive your good tire onto them, thereby lifting that side of your RV and allowing you to change the bad tire–all without the use of jacks.
– Make sure the emergency brake is on before attempting to change an RV tire.
– Put wheel chocks beneath the two wheels still on the ground; you don’t want the RV moving during the tire change.
– Never put any part of your body underneath the RV at any time during the tire change, even if it is only an inch off of
the ground.
– As soon as possible after changing your RV tire, visit a repair shop to have the lug nuts torqued properly.
– If at all possible, call roadside assistance to handle the tire change for you. [Source: Trails]
If you’ve changed a tire on your RV, what was your experience like? Do you have any tips or advice to share?

RV Friendly Casino’s….You Betcha!

So I was driving on the road in my trusty RV when I got the itch to throw a little dice.  A few change of plans and we were destined for a casino road trip! Sounds like tons of fun, right? Now on to planning the trip. After some online research I found a site that listed RV friendly casino’s located all over the country called Casino Camper. This site makes planning much easier, let me tell you. And they offer some casino camping etiquette which is quite helpful:

Facilities vary, but generally you’ll be “blacktop boondocking” in a parking lot. Here are some guidelines to help you enjoy this free dry parking and to be a good guest of the casino:

  • Call Ahead If you’re concerned about whether or not overnight RV parking is allowed call the casino and ask to talk with Security.  Our website is a good starting point; however, don’t be upset with a casino if our information is incorrect, it’s not their fault.  Please send send a report and we’ll update our listing.
  • Don’t Leak in the Parking Lot! If your RV is leaking anything take care of it first or stay away from the casinos please. Leaking oil, transmission fluid, waste water, etc. is a sure way to get kicked out – and rightfully so.
  • Find a good parking spot It will often be obvious, either they’ll have signs pointing the way or you’ll see other RV’s already there. Otherwise drive to a distant area of the parking lot, and please only take as many spaces as you need. If the area isn’t full, I recommend leaving at some space between you and any neighboring RV.
  • Be sure you feel safe When you arrive check things out. Look around and make sure you feel comfortable.
  • Check with casino security Sometimes security will see you drive in and meet you to ensure you know their parking rules. If they don’t, it’s a good idea to check in with them. Some casinos require you to fill out a form, or to join their players club. Sometimes they’ll give you a list of rules. In other locations there’s no formal process.
  • Can you use jacks to get level? This is sometimes OK, ask Security. If you must use jacks, be sure to put boards down so you won’t leave marks on the asphalt. Trailer and 5th wheel owners, be aware that some places have rules against dropping the rig and driving off.
  • Length of stay? If you plan to stay more than one night make sure this is allowed. Some casinos have no set policy, others say 1 night, 3 days, etc. so be sure you know.
  • Setting up camp? Using your big awning, table, chairs, BBQ grill, etc. Some casinos have an actual dry camping field or lot, and everyone “makes camp”. However, in most cases you’re staying in a regular parking lot so you don’t want to look like you’re establishing residence!
  • Keep your area clean Every time we go outside our RV we pick up any trash, cigarette butts, etc. that we see — it doesn’t matter if it’s “our” trash.
  • Be a good neighbor Be considerate with your generator, TV, stereo, etc.
  • Use common sense and common courtesy with your pets — I don’t have to go into detail here do I?
  • Give the casino your business We gamble a lot, maybe you don’t gamble that’s fine. Casinos often have very good restaurants and buffets. Some will have arcades, bowling, movie theatres, etc. Higher end places will have a spa, hair salon, retail shops, and so on.
  • Enjoy yourself! And send us a review to tell others about your experience [Source: Casino Camper]

Best of luck and hope you hit the jackpot!


Now’s the Best Time for a RV Show!

Are you traveling in your RV and need something to do? Or are you in the market for a RV, fifth wheel or pop-up?  Or if you just like to check out shows, then you should head to the nearest RV show!  January through early April are the best months to catch a RV show and catch up on all of the latest RVs, technology and more.  To find a RV show nearest you check out the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association website by clicking here.

RV Shows are the best opportunity to see tons of RVs all in one convenient place. And you can check out a wide-range of what the traveling/camping world has to offer like travel trailers, motor homes, fifth wheels, pop-ups, hybrid campers, truck campers and more. The possibilities are just about endless.

This is also a great time to compare the different models and manufactures. There are tons of options these days so you can really take your time and see what’s just right for you. And then you can head to your local RV dealer and see what they have in store for you!

RV shows are definitely family friends events so bring everyone!  Tell us what RV show you attend and your favorite part!


Hybrid Campers…They Save on Gas too!

We have all heard of hybrid vehicles which have gained more and more popularity over the last few years with the world movement to be more environmentally conscious.  The whole point of a hybrid vehicle is to use less gas and be more efficient.    The same goes for a hybrid camper.  So what is a hybrid camper?  I would simply explain it as a mix between a traditional travel trailer and a pop-up trailer.    The majority of the camper is like a hard sided travel trailer, but a hybrid also has canvas slide outs similar to a pop-up.  This unique combination has gained popularity over the last several years.

One major reason for the increased popularity is due to the fact that hybrids usually have lighter tow weights than a traditional travel trailer.  This is appealing to those who want the most efficient gas mileage when towing.

Hybrids also have great floor plans.  These hybrids don’t look nearly as big as a traditional travel trailer when folded up, but once the slide outs are pushed out they are quite roomy.

In addition, because hybrid trailers are fairly new, manufacturers are working very hard on building them with the upmost quality which is sure to last.

Hybrid campers have become a great alternative to the traditional travel trailer.  If you are in the market for a new travel trailer, look at both options and of course let us know what concerns or questions you have by leaving us a comment.


Hey Nichols, My RV Can Fit in that Gas Station, Right?!

Knowing how tall your new RV, travel trailer or fifth-wheel is very, very important. I mean you don’t want to pull into a covered gas station and take the air conditioning off! Or worse, you completely damage the covering of the gas station or drive thru!  It seems like common sense, but sometimes it’s just overlooked.  Believe me, I have friends that’s it’s happened to.  You really do need to know exactly what spaces you can and more importantly can’t fit into.

Here’s a funny clip of an interview with Drew Barrymore about her one month RV roadtrip across the US and her experience of not knowing the height of her RV:

Pretty funny, right? Well I guess so if you’re a celebrity with deep pockets. Most of us would most likely think twice about RVing again..or for a while at least.  So make sure you know the height of your RV, travel trailer or fifth-wheel so you don’t make the same mistake.  Feel free to comment with any questions!