There are plenty of blogs and specialty websites devoted to what you should or shouldn’t do as an RV owner. I have read blogs that list the negatives. positives, recommended practices, essential needs, newbie mistakes to avoid, the lists go on. My perspective is that you and only you can determine much of what is really important and that which is not. You learn from your own mistakes and experiences.
Everyone has their own skill sets and capabilities. There are multitudes of types of RVs and they can be old, new or in between. Each has it’s own needs and requirements for success. I won’t bore you with some of the obvious, like if you have a fifth wheel or travel trailer you damn well better be able to back it up. Common sense comes into play all too often and you just can’t teach that.
My own experience is the real subject of this post. Already I’ve had my share of the mistakes, problems, issues, stress, relaxation, fun, trials and tribulations. The following is a random list of things that I’ve experienced in my travels. It’s not an exhaustive list, just some ideas based on what I’ve learned during my journey.
- Need for tools: Depends on your own skill set. If you have trouble working a screwdriver like I do then only get the basics. If you need something fixed you’ll have to get someone who is capable and they will have the specialized tools that are needed.
- Emptying tanks: You better learn the right way early. Don’t believe the gauges. And make sure you open the right valves in the order that you were told. Or you might have a tank fill up when you least expect it.
- Your utilities: I’ve got an external surge protector for the electric, a 50 amp to 30 amp and a 30 amp to 20 amp converters, a pressure regulator and external filter for the water, coax cable for the satellite and another for cable TV. Iv’e used them all. Be prepared to unhook in the pouring rain at a muddy campsite, you will get dirty putting the hose, electric cable and the coax away.
- Storage and the proper loading of cabinets & drawers: Do not overload the upper cabinet or when you go over a curb while making a U-turn you might dump it all on the floor. I did that.
- Cooking needs: Make sure you have such things as lighters, cooking tools, wok, cutting boards, coffee making, spices, plastic bags, wrap and the list expands even more when you cook outside on charcoal as I do most of the time.
- Dry camping or boondocking has additional needs: solar, inverter, enough battery power and a monitor to track them. I’ve got my motorhome setup with it all.
- Entertainment: You’ll need something. I have DISH satellite, a Kindle reader, an iPad and my laptop. You can’t rely on campground wi-fi to get things done.
- Laundry: Bring enough clothing so you can make it at least a week or more between trips for laundry. Bring lots of quarters, soap and dryer sheets.
- Personal care including showering: Bring some dry hair shampoo and rinseless soap for those times in between good showers.
- Navigation devices: I use my smartphone and a dedicated GPS
- Repairs while traveling: I had a fuel leak. Probably a result of recall work that I had done back home in Buffalo. Be prepared to find another place to sleep, especially when it takes nine days, as mine did.
- Campgrounds: Don’t try too hard to find the perfect one. They are few and far between. Take the reviews with a grain of salt. Yes, there are some where you sit on top of your neighbor with little privacy, many are overflowing with transient workers who come and go every day going to work, some are overpriced, wi-fi sucks at almost all of them, some have no shade and it’s too windy to put your awning out, some get very muddy when it rains…. You just have to adapt.
All in all, you learn from your own experiences and from those of others that have written wonderful web postings. When I consider the diversity of the many people I have met, many of whom have become friends, the beauty of our country’s outdoors and all that I’ve learned about myself, then the trials and tribulations all make it worthwhile.
George, I thought we might see you again before you left! I ended up with Roy’s nasty cold after we last saw you, and really hope he didn’t share the joy with you. Roy seized the opportunity to do some day long rides exploring without me. Felt up to golooking for gourds on Monday (they were closed, don’t believe all website info), ended up in bed with sinus headache/migraine for 2 days. Took a road trip to Patagonia today, slept for 3 hours after we got back home, feel like the damn thing is coming back. More sneezing and coughing. We are meeting up with a friend in Yuma on the weekend, then heading to Roy’s brother. Internet has been down, and phone not working worth a shit. Thanks again for the awesome supper, and adapting to the travel adventures with Laurel. The beer’n’patio pic from McGraw’s looks great!
Good to see you’re enjoying your retirement. Looking forward to seeing you at the Oink, perhaps over a pint.
Or before. I do plan to make foray into Canada this summer. And at least one pint, I’m sure.
It was good talking to ya
Likewise. I’m looking forward to that party on the new deck.
Life on the road can be a challenge but wearing shorts while the snow back home gets deeper makes it all worth while. There are also those rare occasions when the place you are staying becomes a community of friends you keep in touch with the experience is priceless!
Could not agree more. Maybe next time we can meet up again.
Nice to hear from you and read your pearls of wisdom. We are in Georgia for now…rainy and chilly today but looks better in a couple of days. Thoroughly enjoyed the gulf coast…had perfect weather, saw pretty sites, met a few nice people. All in all it has been great. Will be back on Cape Cod early April.
And you? Where are you?
Just leaving Tucson today. Slow trip to the West. Will end up near San Diego to spend some time with an old friend from back home. Until we meet again…. Enjoy!
Great posting , like you said learn as you and from other people. Glad you enjoying the lifestyle and experiences, they can not be beat !
Man were we close. We just crossed in the night. I’, finally leaving Tucson today. Will probably spend a couple days in Ajo on my way West. Safe travels on your way back. When I take my foray into Canada, I’ll try to look you up.
That was pretty close did not know where you were for sure. Yes look us up.
I’m glad you’re still upbeat after what seems like a real (and ongoing) trial by fire to get this RVing life cooking for you. Being screwdriver stupid like you, it doesn’t seem like a fun thing to me (as you relate it.) I hate trying to connect hoses and such especially in the rain. But the beer does looks good (and well deserved.)
It’s a little like shoveling snow, getting the ice off your windshield or just freezing your butt off when you walk outside… I prefer my “trial by fire” life style now. A little rain or mud or stubborn connector is still pretty easy. LOL.