An RV is a big purchase, and you want to be sure you’re doing it right. You’ve researched the type of RV, the specifications you want, and maybe even the manufacturer – but what you don’t want to forget is the dealership you’re buying from. Where you buy your RV can make or break your RV buying experience, so before you rush to the closest dealership with the lowest price on the rig you want, take some time to look into the places you’re considering buying from. If you’re wondering how to find a good RV dealership to work with for your purchase, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you with your search.
Read the reviews
The most obvious place to start is to read the reviews of the dealerships you’re considering online. You can find reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook pages, or more specific review sites like dealerrater.com. As with any reviews, you should take them with a grain of salt. Most people only take the time to write a review if they are extremely unhappy, so review sites can be one-sided. People who had a bad experience share their thoughts, and people who had great experiences go on their way and enjoy their RV. Instead of looking for if a dealership has negative reviews or not, look for common themes.
Look for certifications
There are plenty of certifications and accreditations out there than can signal that a dealership knows their stuff. Many RV manufacturers award dealerships for having extensive experience selling their products. When you call to inquire about a dealership, ask what certifications or accreditations that dealer has, especially if they claim to specialize in a certain manufacturer.
Know their service capabilities
One of the biggest tells on whether or not a dealership is a quality one or not is their service department. You want to find a dealership with plenty of service bays and certified service staff. Of course, if you’re buying out of state and don’t plan on ever having your rig serviced at that location, this is less of an issue. But as a general rule, it can still be an indicator of quality as a reputable dealership will typically have parts and accessories counter and a service counter in addition to their sales staff.
Size doesn’t always equal capability
When you’re looking for an RV dealer, big doesn’t necessarily mean good and small doesn’t always mean bad. There are plenty of small dealerships out there that can provide hands-on, personalized sales and service because they have a smaller client base they devote more attention to. Likewise, there are some mega RV dealerships out there that have so many clients that that get lost in the mix and don’t get a top-notch experience. Take some time to give the small dealerships a second look and pause for a moment before automatically going with a huge dealership.
There are thousands of RV dealerships out there for you to choose from, and it just takes a little digging to find the one that’s right for you. If you do your homework, you’ll walk away from your RV buying experience more confident in the rig you spent a lot of money on, and you can rest assured you’ll be taken care of should anything go wrong. Check out our in-stock inventory to begin your hunt for the new or used RV that’s right for you.
Most sightseers in South Dakota head straight to places like Mount Rushmore and Badlands, or even Custer State Park. While those big-name parks are certainly worth your time, there is so much more that our state has to offer. We all need a dose of the outdoors every once in a while, and sometimes you need to enjoy nature away from the crowds. If you’re looking for a little more solitude with your time outside, try these underrated parks and trails in the Mount Rushmore State.
Black Hills National Forest
Technically, yes – this vast swath of forest does encompass several of the aforementioned popular haunts like Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. But the enormity of this 1.2 million acre stretch of land that even extends into Wyoming is what puts it on this list. You just have to do a little bit more digging to find the less-trafficked trails – and there are plenty. Head west of Green Star Camper Center’s hometown of Rapid City to Pactola Lake to find scenic hikes like Osprey Trail and McCurdy Gulch Loop. Or, explore the northern side of the forest as you head towards Spearfish to see Botany Canyon or climb Crow Peak.
Lookout Mountain Park in Spearfish
Spearfish is unsurprisingly known for Spearfish Falls, where you may encounter quite a few other visitors trying to see the sights. We can’t blame them for wanting to take in its beautiful cascading waters, but we love the sweeping views atop Lookout Mountain Park. It is close to the city, so it’s popular among locals, but it’s less of a tourist stop than other spots in our state. There is also an abundance of trails to try here, so you can forge your own route and get find a quiet corner.
Bear Butte State Park
This serene hike in Sturgis climbs a mountain that’s sacred to several Native American tribes in the area. The Lakotah tribe calls it “Mato Paha” or “Bear Mountain,” and it’s viewed as a place where the creator communicates with them. You’ll likely see colorful little flags and pouches tied to trees in the area that represent prayers offered on the mountain. If you’re looking for a slice of peace and tranquility, you’ll find it in the mountaintop views and spiritual aura of Bear Butte.
While you’re in Sturgis, head over to Sturgis Reservoir. Here, you’ll enjoy both waterside and mountaintop views on the 3.7 mile trail. These trails used to be closed to the public but in recent years have been opened for more people to enjoy them. You’ll still find a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle here though as you explore the Deadman Mountain and Vanocker Canyon area.
Homestake Trail in Lead
If you didn’t know this trail was there, you’d likely never find it! This 3 mile trail connects the towns of Lead and Deadwood and leads you on an old railroad path past an old gold mine. The Lead side of the trail begins in the back of a dog park, and it ends up in Deadwood, a short walk from the Mickelson Trail trailhead. Follow the white diamond markers to stay on the trail. You’ll find forest and hilltop views along the way, as well as a chance to see what’s left of the Homestake Gold Mine.
Underrated Places to Get Outside in South Dakota
Hopefully this guide has given you some ideas of new places to explore in our state of South Dakota. If you’re looking for a way to get there, we can help! Visit our South Dakota RV dealership at Green Star Camper Center in Rapid City. We carry new travel trailers and fifth wheels as well as used travel trailers and fifth wheels. Give us a call today at 605-343-6877 or visit us at 120 N. Cambell Street Rapid City, SD 57703.
We know some of our readers RV all year long, but others pack up their rig for winter. The leaves are turning green, the weather is getting warmer, and we’re seeing lots of rain and showers. We hope you’re as excited as we are – it’s springtime!
With the turn of the season comes a bit of responsibility if you have an RV. There are some steps that need to be taken in order to prepare your rig for spring and the adventures ahead. That’s why we’ve put together a list of five actions we think you need to take maintenance wise so your motorhome is spring ready!
Check your tire pressure and tread.
During the winter months, your tires can lose around two to three psi of pressure each month. If you store your RV somewhere outside, or you’re in a really cold climate, your tires are probably even more deflated when it’s time to uncover it. Checking your tire pressure might be one of the most important steps you can take in ensuring a safe trip each time you travel.
Not only should you check the tire pressure, but now is a good time to check the tread on your tires. A general rule is to replace them once they reach about 6/32 tread depth.
Recharge and reinstall batteries.
Just as your tire lose pressure over time and in cooler weather, batteries lose a certain amount of their charge because of internal leakage. You can reduce the amount of charge they lose and extend their lifespan by charging them throughout the off season, but it’s not a problem if you don’t! Just be sure to give them a good charge before the season starts.
You can check the charge by using a voltmeter, but make sure the battery isn’t connected to electricity. You’ll get a false reading this way. If any battery you check isn’t fully charged, allow it to do so. And, be sure you give yourself enough time between charging and when you plan to leave. Depending on the size, a full battery charge can take anywhere between a few hours and a few days.
Flush your entire water system
. You probably filled your pipes or holding tank with anti-freeze before the cold weather arrived, and the time has come to flush it out. You’ll want to drain the tank entirely and then add fresh water in to flush out the anti-freeze. Turn the water pump on and open all water faucets to let water run through them for at least several minutes. Flush the toilet a time or two, as well. Once the water runs clear, you’re safe to turn the pump off and close all faucets.
You’ll also need to replace the water cartridges your removed during the winterizing process, and be sure to dump your gray and black tanks at an official dumping site.
Running water through the faucets for several minutes often completely dissolves the anti-freeze taste, but not always. Give it a small taste, and if you get any residual or lingering anti-freeze taste, baking soda will do the trick! A great all-purpose to even store in your RV to always have on hand, sprinkle a bit in each drain and run water again until it tastes clean.
Once you flush your water system, it’s a good idea to sanitize it, too. This will remove any mold or bacteria that built up over time. You can do this by creating a weak bleach and water mixture and flushing it through the water system.
Check all parts of your engine.
If you aren’t comfortable doing this yourself, (no shame in that) bring it to a trusted dealer in your area and have a technician complete a full maintenance check. This way, you’ll be confident your rig is performing at its best.
If you’re a DIY kind of person, below is a short list of all the items and fluids to check. If any of these levels are low, top them off or bring it in to be serviced by us!
Power steering fluid
- Oil level (it may be time for an oil change, as well)
- Windshield washer fluid
- Brake fluid
- Check that all lights are fully functional
After checking your fluids, hop in the driver’s seat and start the engine. Make sure all gauges, meters and lights are working. This is a great time to check windshield wipers, too.
Restock your first aid kit and emergency materials.
This is yet another critical step in preparing your RV for spring but is often overlooked or simply forgotten. You might still have your first aid kit ready and available, from last season or even before, but are the medicines expired? Are there any bandages you’re running low on?
Go through your kitchen next and toss any dried food that expired over the winter, and restock on plenty of bottled water. You should also check your tool set and make sure you haven’t misplaced any basic tools you might need on the road.
We hope our list of things to do to your RV to prepare for spring helps you in having a wonderful camping season. As always, check us out on our website, or stop by and say hello to a friendly staff member today!
Your guide to exploring the great outdoors in South Dakota is finally here! The Midwest isn’t the first thing you think of when planning a road trip, but most folks do travel through on their way from coast to coast. Surprisingly, South Dakota has many exhilarating things to do and unique places to experience. You may even find some gold while you’re here! Lets see what’s on the list.
Art Alley in Rapid City
First stop on our guide to exploring the great outdoors in South Dakota is in our hometown, Rapid City! Hop out to explore this gem located in downtown Rapid City on the side of Hotel Alex Johnson. “Art Alley” is known for the local artists expressive forms of life meaning. Take a cool selfie or artistic shot for your social media feed to show your intuitive wild side. The art is said to change weekly, having artists from all over the world stop in and “blast” pieces on the wall during their visit. You never know… you might show up and see one come to life before your eyes.
Experience Mount Rushmore
This famous monument, visited by over 2 million tourists each year, is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota in a town called Keystone. The faces of these founding fathers are over 60ft in length and almost 100 years old. In the 1950s and 1960s, local Lakota Sioux elder Benjamin Black Elk (son of medicine man Black Elk, who had been present at the Battle of the Little Bighorn) was known as the “Fifth Face of Mount Rushmore”, posing for photographs with thousands of tourists daily in his native attire. The South Dakota State Historical Society notes that he was one of the most photographed people in the world over that twenty-year period. Get your camera out and pose like Benjamin Black Elk in front of the faces for an epic historical photograph.
Pan For Gold in the Historic Department
“We’re rich!” In 1874 gold was discovered at French Creek in South Dakota, now referred to as “Custer County”. Since then over 20 million ounces of gold have been discovered. Today, many visitors stop and pan for gold in the streams surrounding the Black Hills. Make sure you’re prepared to explore this unique experience! You’re going to need:
- A gold pan – A variety of gold pans can be purchased, or you can make your own with a shallow, round pan lined on the bottom with lightly crumpled aluminum foil.
- A spade – A small spade or hand-shovel will be necessary for transferring river sediment into your pan.
- A seat – Squatting next to a riverbank quickly becomes exhausting. It’s usually a good idea to have a nice, low seat to sit on, such as a step-stool
- A safe place to put your findings – You could end up with thousands of flakes of gold by the end of the day that are no thicker than an eyelash; make sure you have a secure place to put them after panning so they don’t simply get swept away in the wind.
- Free time and patience – Gold panning isn’t normally done as a means of reliable income anymore. You can certainly make some money with it, but it is very easy to become frustrated if you can’t be patient.
Take An Easy Hike to Spearfish Falls
Talk about an interesting story behind this natural wonder! During the early 1800s, the Burlington Railroad line took passengers right over Spearfish Falls, making it a popular tourist icon back in the day. Though, in 1917, the falls were actually turned off for 86 years, as the creek water was diverted to a hydroelectric power plant for the Homestake Gold Mine. But in 2003, the waterfall was restored. To this day, you can see the remains of the rail line. Because the falls were defunct for so long, they’re definitely a lesser-known gem in the canyon, and the hike, which starts from the parking lot of the Latchstring Restaurant, is pretty easy.
Visit the World’s Only Corn Palace
In 1892 (when Mitchell, South Dakota was a small, 12-year-old city of 3,000 inhabitants) the World’s Only Corn Palace was established on the city’s Main Street. Now over 100 year old, it has become known worldwide and now attracts more than a half a million visitors annually. The palace was conceived as a gathering place where city residents and their rural neighbors could enjoy a fall festival with extraordinary stage entertainment – a celebration to climax a crop-growing season and harvest. This tradition continues today with the annual Corn Palace Festival held in late August each year.
We hope this guide was helpful with fun ideas for you to explore in the great state of South Dakota. If you’re looking for a means to travel, look no further than Green Star Campers. Green Star Camper Center, a South Dakota RV Dealership carries New Travel Trailers & Fifth Wheels and Used Travel Trailers & Fifth Wheels. We stock Rockwood and R.Pod’s by Forest River, as well as Bullet by Keystone and many more. Give us a call today at 605-343-6877 or visit us at 120 N. Cambell Street Rapid City, SD. 57703
Lately it has become progressively common for people of all ages to take on the art of living through RV’ing. Exploring life through the vast planes, mountainous ridges and winding valleys can be enticing and gives families the opportunity to create everlasting memories. Some even take it a step further by setting up camp in completely underdeveloped areas.. crazy right? Well not THAT crazy. This way of RV’ing is referred to as “Boondocking”. No hookups, no noisy neighbors, just you and the company you want with what you have. If this sounds like your kind of adventure, lets discover how to get started with boondocking.
Just about everyday you will need to think about where to stop and rest over night in a safe, free parking lot. There are three well known ways to do this:
- Stealth camping. Stealth camping is mainly for vans and smaller RVs. You can park anywhere that doesn’t have a “no parking” sign and the possibility of security knocking on your door in the middle of the night (apartment complex, hotels, etc). This would be considered a short term overnight option.
- Parking lots. Walmart, Bass Pro Shop, Cracker Barrel, and others like this with large parking lots will often allow for free overnight parking. Each store is different so check out the guidelines by looking online or calling in. Other great options are rest stops, picnic areas and truck stops if you just need a place to park for the night in between destinations.
- Dispersed camping. This is a term used for free camping that is allowed on public land, including National Forest Land and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land. Each state has other options for dispersed camping, such as State Trust Land, State Forests, Wildlife Management Areas, State Parks, etc. You’ll need to know the regulations and check for road closures ahead of time With dispersed camping, there aren’t marked campsites or services/facilities and it’s first come first serve. The idea is that you show up and pick a suitable, open spot for your RV within the boundaries and can typically stay up to 14 days although you’ll want to verify the relevant limit.
Power sources such as generators, RV batteries and inverters for cell phones are a great way to charge up. Take it a step further by purchasing a Solar Panel package. These consist of panels, batteries, an inverter, a controller and all the necessary line fuses and cables needed to live life on the green side. This will also ensure you never run out of energy. Pretty smart and eco-friendly, right?
Believe it or not, water will run out fast. Making sure you have the right amount of containers to fill up is important. You’re going to want to do this at just about every stop you make to avoid running out. Additionally, you’ll want to consider a few extra jugs if you have pets on board. While washing dishes and clothing you will carry two tubs, one to wash with and one to rinse off. For showering options, bathe at RV campsites or install a pressurized showerhead that saves water. You can find one for under 10 dollars here.
Parking in a populated place that feels safe is not always your best bet but sometimes it is. To maintain a theft free experience you’ll want to practice safety at all time. An idea from one of our frequent buyers is to put a sticker on the outside door of your RV to indicate that an alarm system or guard dog in inside. Better yet, install a 12 volt alarm or take your pup RVing with you. A doggo makes a great alarm system and no one wants to be bitten by one.
It is also smart to engage in conversation with other Boondockers to share experiences. Collaboration can be key for knowing how to stay safe while traveling. Lastly, if you ever feel unsafe and own a motor home, keep the jacks up, awning in and your RV ready to roll. If you are threatened you can just jump in the cockpit and drive away at a moment’s notice. Safety is number one, so make sure you stay alert but also don’t worry too much. Boondocking is generally a safe and fun way to live on the road.
At Green Star Campers we want to make sure you’re well informed and equipped for your boondocking expeditions. We carry both new and used travel trailers while also a large selection of fifth wheels. We are the largest RV accessory and parts store in Rapid City. Visit us online or on-site today to get you ready to hit the road, or feel free to give us a call at 800-817-4879 if you have any questions!