Lindsey the Full Time RVing Corgi Late Summer 2019 Update

Greeting from Lindsey, the full time RV living Corgi! July was a big deal for me as I had my 15th birthday in July. In human years that would make me over 100 years old! We were on the road traveling back from seeing Mom and Dad’s family. So I spent my birthday near the water in Biloxi, MS.

The last time I wrote was early summer and I had just come back from the beaches of Port Aransas, TX. Mom and Dad needed to head back to the NRVTA to teach a couple of one-week classes and Dad wanted to take a Lippert Class that was also taking place there.

Right after that we were on the road again headed to Florida. It seems to me that heading to south Florida in July is a stupid idea. But I found out that it was not a sightseeing trip but to help move Dad’s Mom out of south Florida, to Georgia, to be closer to his brother. It was really hot!

So right after the Lippert class, the slideouts were moving in, the leveling jacks were retracted and we were off! By that night we were hanging out at a Cracker Barrel in Shreveport, LA. With an added fuel stop, it was an easy 140 miles. I was keeping my eye on the GPS. Dad did not notice that I was paying that much attention to it, but I was.

After three more days of RV travel, we arrived in Fort Myers Beach, FL. We had stops in Gulfport, MS and Lake City, FL before making it to South Florida. They were long drive days for me, especially with the pounding roads through Louisianna!

We spent eight days in south Florida visiting friends and family and helping to get Dad’s Mom moved out of Naples, FL. I have been visiting this area since I was just a little pup. In fact, the RV park we stayed in was the same one we stayed at last year.

Mom and Dad have friends in Estero, FL that they always see when they are in the area. In fact, their fur-kid Rylee is Mom and Dad’s God dog. So I got to see Rylee again, and of course, Winston went along too. He got to meet Rylee for the first time. Rylee was not that excited to have Winston in her home. So we all had to keep separated so there would be no little tiffs between us dominant Corgi’s. I am too old to care but Rylee doesn’t know that!

So, once the visiting and moving were taken care of it was time to leave South Florida. Our next stop was in south Georgia. Just north of Valdosta is a town called Tifton. That is where Dad’s Mom was going to be living. After a 430 mile drive, we were in a nice little park right off I-75. We stayed there for a week while Mom and Dad spent time with his brother and sister-in-law and finished up the moving situation.

By then it was time to meander back to Texas for the next round of classes at the NRVTA. We spent three days heading back. We boondocked in Crestview, FL, Biloxi, MS on my birthday, and Alexandria, LA. It was pretty hot the whole trip so the generator got a real good workout when we were boondocking.

Boondocking at MYRVMail in Crestview, FL
Boondocking at Harrah’s Casino in Biloxi, MS

Well, that’s was has been going on since my last post. I am a pretty old girl, so it’s time for a nap. Dad helped me with writing this post because my eyesight is not that great anymore! My eyes are pretty cloudy with cataracts, but I’m doing okay for such an old girl! I can find my food bowl, crate, and the door, so I guess I should be happy!

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to support my little Bro’s online store that has all kinds of great doggy stuff! He calls it Winston’s Favorite Things!

Also, leave a comment and ask me a question about the full time RV life. I have learned a lot from Mom and Dad!

Lindsey out!

yourfulltimervliving.com – Major Updates on July 29th, 2019!

On July 29th, 2019, yourfulltimervliving.com underwent a major upgrade to both WordPress and the websites theme.  The goal of the update was to better protect it’s visitors via the new security that comes with the upgrade, and to offer a better visitor experience!

These updates should also help the mobile visitors that are using phones and tablets to have a better website experience at yourfulltimervliving.com.

Please contact admin by commenting below if you notice any non-responsive links.  Every effort has been made to account for all changes but given the vastness of the website, things could have been missed.

We would appreciate your cooperation in helping us to be sure everyone has a positive experience at yourfulltimervliving.com!

Thank you!!

Lindsey the RVing Corgi Early Summer 2019 Update

Greetings from Lindsey, the full time RV living Corgi!  In less than a month I am going to be fifteen years old!  I have overheard Mom say to Dad that being a fifteen-year-old Corgi is way above the average for the life expectancy for my breed.  Maybe my life as an RV camping dog has extended my life due to all the adventures I get to have.

Or, it could be all the good food that Mom gives me.  She has been doing that my whole life.

I have already told you about Winston who came to live with us last December.  Mom has been feeding him the same way she did with me when I was a puppy.

I am not that crazy about the little nipper, but I’ll have to give this younger generation credit for mastering technology.  He has mastered Mom and Dad’s language and has been posting to social media and he even created his own online store to sell his favorite things.  He says it’s better than having a paper route as a kid!  LOL!!

In his online store, he shares all the tasty food items that Mom buys for us.  I’ll have to give him credit where credit is due.  He did a good job on his online page.  He added it to this website.

rv camping dogs

I know Mom and Dad already wrote about their recent travels to the beach in Port Aransas, TX.  But, I wanted to share a few things too.  Above is a picture of me on the beach.  It was great to have my RV home parked at the beach where we could camp for a few days.

I got to sleep a lot because Mom and Dad spent the whole time hanging outside the RV, or on the beach.  I got some great naps in while falling asleep to the thunder of the surf.  It was very restful!

rv camping dogs

Here is a picture that Dad took while driving the RV over the bridge that leads to Mustang Island.  Port Aransas is on the north end of the island.  Dad likes to come in from the south to avoid the ferry when coming in from the north.

We did that once, and that was okay in order to have the experience.  But, the waits can be long depending on when you travel and the time of year.  In the summertime, it is always busy!

While in town, in addition to camping on the beach, Mom and Dad stayed at several RV parks during their visit to Port Aransas.  Dad talked about that in a previous post so I won’t rehash that here.  But I will also comment on one thing that Dad mentioned: watch the electrical services and the proximity of those to your RV slideouts.

If Dad had not been paying attention he might have done damage to the RV slideout during deployment when it could have come in contact with the RV sites electrical service.

rv camping dogs

In this RV site, we had to pull in and back out.  The site was not very wide so in order to avoid a problem with the slides out, the RV had to be situated at the back of the site.  Some RV’s might have been able to get the box between the slideouts, but not with ours since the two slideouts cover most of the streetside sidewall with no room between them.

If we had our truck with us on this trip we would have parked it in front of the RV.  The truck stayed back at the NRVTA as Mom and Dad did not need it.  You see, they teach there every five weeks so that is kind of like a home base.

So, pay attention to how you park your RV when you get it situated on your RV site.

 

rv camping dogs

Here is Miss Tiffy at our beach spot just before a beautiful sunset.  The beach cleared out right around dinner time.  It was so peaceful.  I had a great nights sleep while continuing to feel the pounding of the surf given my limited hearing.

rv camping dogs

Winston got us all up early one morning with his loud talking and crying.  He is high maintenance!  Mom says he loves to be loved!

Even though it was early, it was really cool.  Dad got a lot of shots of the sun coming up, like the one above.  The pictures were so good he decided to use one of them as the main banner on their website.

rv camping dogs

Here’s a picture of Mom carrying me out of the RV so I could relieve myself.  My nap was interrupted, but when a girls gotta go, she’s gotta go!  Mom has to remind me to go out or else I pee in my diaper.  I talked about that in my last springtime blog.

rv camping dogs

And here I am at my window in the RV!  It is right in front of the co-pilots seat and at floor level.  I lay here a lot and watch the world go by.  I told Dad he needs to put an awning above my window because it gets hot when the sun beats down on it.  LOLOL!

rv camping dogs

Finally, just recently Dad decided to clean and protect the roof of our 2016 Tiffin Allegro Open Road 36LA.  It was quite a project.  He was up there for hours!  It sounded like a big rat was up on the roof!  That’s what Mom said anyway.

He was so proud of the results.  It looks like new.  He applied a coating of a product that I can’t name, but I think he is going to post something in his page of RV Resources here on the website.

I’ll have to say that the roof has quite a shine!

Well, Dad says that it’s time to end this.  He has to type for me because I can’t see very well anymore.  Thank you for stopping by!

Lindsey, out!

Texas Camping – Port Aransas RV Parks

Pam and I love the beach, so when we are enjoying Texas camping we have found that we like to visit Port Aransas RV Parks!  We also want to share our experience with Port Aransas beach camping.

So far in 2019, we have visited two Port Aransas RV parks.  And in March and May of 2019, we enjoyed Port Aransas beach camping.  I want to talk about both these experiences so that you can learn about a future beach camping experience that you might want to enjoy for yourself.

port aransas rv camping

Here we are parked at Tropic Island RV resort.  It is located on Avenue G just southwest of the Ferry terminal on Mustang Island.  We stayed here twice: once in March of 2019 and the second time in May of 2019.  The RV park is very adequate for a stay, but depending on the size of your RV, and the parking of vehicles by other full time residents, it can be difficult to navigate the RV park’s roads.

port aransas rv camping

This was the site we had the second time we stayed.  It is a pull in / back out RV site.  It was very nice, but the only problem we had was the location of the electrical box in relation to our streetside slideouts.  We had to park toward the rear of the site to make it work for us.  If we had a tow car with us we would have parked it in front of the RV for this RV site.

port aransas rv camping

You can see by the picture above that these pull-through sites funnel into a road that is very narrow.  If placed in these sites with a forty-foot fifth wheel and truck, getting in and out of these could be a problem if the park is full.  Even an experienced RVer with a towable RV could find navigating these a challenge if vehicles are parked right to the end of these sites.

The lesson here is, know before you go!   We ask what RV site we will be on and we check the online park map and Google Maps to see what the conditions are.

We stayed at an RV park a little northeast of Port Aransas, in Rockport.  They assigned us a site over the phone, the last one that was available for a standard back in site.  I checked out the site from my computer and saw that we may have tree issues.

When we got to the RV park, and while Pam was checking in, I went to go look at the site before driving to it.  I discovered that my suspicions were correct.  There was a tree on the site that would prohibit us from getting in there.  It would hit the roof.

So I went back to the office and relayed that observation.  Since there was no other back in sites they upgraded us to a pull-through site at no additional charge and stated that tree trouble was not our fault.  That was Wilderness Oaks RV Resort.

port aransas rv camping

Here we are parked in Pioneer RV Resort in Port Aransas.  This park is a little southwest of town.  It is a larger park that is on the beach, the other side of the dunes.  We were about an eight-minute walk from the beach, down our access road, across the boardwalk, to the beach.

We used our little red folding wagon to load up our chairs and other beach toys to transport them the beach where we spent hours sitting and enjoying the view.

port aransas rv camping

Pioneer RV Resort is well maintained and manicured.  While we were there and since it had been a very wet spring, the mosquitos were a problem.  Even in the wind, they were biting.  We don’t know if it is always this way but if staying here, bring repellent if coming in the spring.

port aransas rv camping

Here is a photo of a beautiful sunrise on the beach!  Winston, our corgi puppy, woke us up early because he wanted us to see it . . . . LOL!

Mixed in with our stays at Port Aransas RV Parks we stayed right on the beach in Port A, on Mustang Island.  You can get on the Island from the north by taking the ferry.  It’s a short ride across the channel to the island.

We usually come in from the south through Corpus Christi, but we have taken the ferry once.  It was fun to do!

So, the deal with staying right at the beach is there are miles of Beach access road that run parallel to the beach, and areas where you can park an RV and stay overnight.  The only cost is the beach parking permit that is required for anyone parking at the beach.

In 2019, the beach parking permit costs $12.  It can be purchased at local vendors: Stripes, IGA, the Chamber, City Hall, Beach Mart, and Snappy’s.  While we were there in May, there was a trailer at the end of Avenue G and Beach Access Road.  They were selling beach parking permits as well as other beach services.

Here is a panorama shot of us with the awning out, beach chairs out, and enjoying the view.

One thing I love about full time RV living is the ability to change the view out the RV windows.  It’s great when you can look out the window and see a view like this!

Here we are looking from the beach access road towards the beach.  Our jacks were down and the slides were out.

port aransas rv camping

Here is another view looking at the front of the RV and towards the beach.  We have had people tell us that they would never park at the beach: too much sand will be brought in.  Well, if you have kids that are not well trained, that’s possible.

What we did was to place a 2’x6′ mat at the bottom of our entry steps.  We kept a broom nearby.  We left our Crocs outside, kept the mat swept, and entered the coach barefoot.  We have carpet on each step so we had no trouble with sand in the RV!

Here’s a similar shot as the one above but it was later in the day and towards sunset.  The clouds can pick up the pinks and reds as the sun sets.  By this time of the day the beach clears out and becomes very peaceful.

The day we took this picture the wind was fairly brisk, so we did not deploy the RV awning.  To do so could have resulted in damage to it with the gusts of wind we were experiencing that day.  So we used our chair umbrellas to shield ourselves from the sun.

Here we are enjoying an adult beverage right on the beach.  We brought the little red folding wagon out and sat for hours enjoying watching and listening to the ocean.

Once the sun set we decided to have a beach campfire.  You are allowed to dig a hole and burn firewood.  Just be sure to clean up after yourself when you are done!  We saw some people leaving their campfire pit without filling it in.

port aransas rv camping

So, how long can you stay and enjoy Texas camping right on the beach?  In a three week period, you can stay three nights.  In the slow season, you may be able to stay longer, but you would have to ask permission to do that.  We saw some folks that had been camping for five to six days.  For more of the rules, you can visit the City of Port Aransas website.

On our way out of Port Aransas, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel to boondock for the night.  They have wonderful RV lanes for RVers!  This particular stop we decided to eat in so we got online and placed a food order and then went inside to pick it up a half hour later.  We had a great meal and a great night.  We either have dinner or breakfast when we stay at Cracker Barrel locations.  That’s how we pay our camping fees . . . LOL!

port aransas rv camping

We also stopped at Cabela’s in Buda, TX.  They allow RVers to stay overnight as well.  We go inside and talk to the manager to let them know we would like to spend the night.  They appreciate that and grant permission to do so and let the evening manager know that we are on the property.

We are so blessed to be able to live the lifestyle that we do!  For those of us that can live in a few hundred square feet on a full time basis, we have the ability to experience so many great places and people.

We hope that you will have the chance to do the same!

 

Blessings,

Howard, Pam Lindsey, and Winston

Full Time RV Living – Some of What We Have Learned After 11 Years

It is hard to believe that Pam and I started full time RV living eleven years ago!  Before that time we knew we loved RV travel and all the benefits there were for us, but we were not sure how long we would try it for.  We did not plan an exit strategy, we just figured we’ll “grip it and rip it” and see where it leads.

There is so much of our story on our website about full time RV living, and our business endeavors, so I am not going to rehash that here.  What we did want to share is some of our latest revelations of things we experienced in our recent travels.

We spend a fair bit of time in Texas at the National RV Training Academy.  When we are not teaching we hit the road and travel to locations where we can help others with our business services while we enjoy RV travel and the tax advantages of operating our business on the road.

 

Stories From Our Recent Travels

We left Texas and headed to Alabama in late January.  We had two purposes for going: one was to visit Red Bay, AL where Tiffin Motorhomes is located, and the second was to work with some RV inspection clients while we were on the road.  We needed some minor repair work on Miss Tiffy and the factory service department at Tiffin is really the best place to go.  The dealerships take too long and you don’t get to stay on board and interact with the technicians as you do at the Red Bay location.

The only problem for some could be that when you go you don’t get to schedule an appointment.  You check in and wait for them to call you to a service bay.  It could be a day or two, or it could be a week or longer.  But, you get to have your issues addressed directly with the technicians and you are there to see what is done.  For Tiffin owners, this is a really nice service.  So, we learned if you want your service issues addressed, go to the manufacturer’s service facility for peace of mind.

 

Miss Tiffy is Fat!

Since we have had Miss Tiffy, purchased last year in July, we have had it weighed twice.  The first time we were grossly overweight (get it, GVWR, Gross Vehicle Weight Rating).  We just drove over the CAT scales at a Pilot/Flying J location after we had removed approximately 1,000 pounds since the last weighing, but we are still over the GVWR rating with full water and full fuel.

full time rv living

So far in our full time RV living journey, we have never had a storage unit.  The best scenario has been a motorized unit pulling a trailer, but we wanted to get away from that.  We just want the RV and our truck.  That being the case everything has to fit in both and not exceed the RV’s cargo carrying capacity.

full time rv living

For the first time, we have had to get a storage unit so we could take out all the extra stuff and weigh Miss Tiffy.  Now that all that “stuff” is out we just need to get rid of a little more and we’ll be okay.  But, that means if all the stuff that is in the storage unit does not fit in the truck, some of it has to go.

What we continue to learn is that you really have to be diligent in watching how much of your possessions are loaded into the RV and do not exceed the recommended cargo carry capacity.  If you do, then you are risking damage to the running gear and are also risking safety.  Weighing the RV on a regular basis is the only way to know that you are traveling safely!

 

Reducing Bodily Injury to My Head!

When we purchased Miss Tiffy we chose a particular floorplan so I would not have to bend underneath curbside slideouts to get into our storage bays.  RVers are delusional if they think everything they need will fit inside the RV and the storage bays are for occasional use.  We are in and out of them constantly.  So, that plan has worked well.  Everything we think we need on a regular basis stays on the curbside of the RV and the rest is on the streetside where our two slides reside.

However, the streetside contains the plumbing bay which houses the water, sewer, and electric service.  This area is also accessed very regularly.  It is located beneath our main larger slideout which extends out almost three feet.  That requires a lot of bending underneath the slideout to access this area.  Setting up and breaking down with the slideouts out has lead to encounters of my head with the slideout t-molding, which can be sharp!  Even wearing a hat has not saved me from a bleeding incident.  I have talked with other RVers.  I am not alone in this activity.

While getting ready to leave in January I was wearing a heavy coat due to temperatures in the thirties.  I had my hood on as well.  While working to get the RV services unhooked I hit the front portion of my head on the lower Schwintek rail of our rear slideout and about knocked myself out.  With my hood over my head, I just misjudged things.  Advil was the solution for that stupidity!

So what have I learned?  When dealing with a Class A motorhome, regardless of what I am doing I have to take the time to pay attention to where I am when under and around the slideouts to be sure to avoid another bloody incident. 

I have had to change our order of events a little when coming and going from RV sites.  When hooking up and removing services from Miss Tiffy I now make sure the slideouts are in.  This situation is a problem mostly because compared to the other RV’s we have owned, the storage bays sit lower than our other full time RV living RV’s.

 

Boondocking

We also discovered on recent travels that not all Cracker Barrel locations allow RVers to stay overnight in their RV/Bus lanes.  We have never had an issue up until recently.  I am sure that is due to either a city ordinance or because disrespectful RVers have taken advantage and ruined it for others by taking up residence instead of showing up for the night, having a meal, and then leaving the next morning.

full time rv living

We have seen people at Walmart locations with their slides out, jacks down, chairs, grill, and patio mat lout like they are at a campground.  That is not the intent of boondocking at Walmarts and Cracker Barrel locations. 

The best rule of thumb for places that do allow overnight blacktop RV parking is to not look like you are staying overnight: slides in, jacks up, if a towable RV have the tow vehicle attached, and don’t stay too long unless clearing it with the management of the location.

 

Pilot/Flying J Truck Stops

We have known for years that truckers really don’t like RV’s in their fueling area.  They seem to get frustrated with us being on the highways as well.  They like to cruise along at the maximum speed, and then some.  I, on the other hand, have discovered that reduced speeds are safer and less stressful.  These big RV’s don’t stop easily and it is easier to do that by reducing the speed a little.  We like to travel at 55-60mph regardless of the maximum speed.

full time rv living

We were boondocking in a Flying J truck stop recently while heading west to Texas.  We decided to take an out-of-the-way end spot to not get sandwiched in between two trucks.  I also shifted the RV towards the outside of the lane.  A truck pulled in, got very close to us, ran his generator so as to blow the diesel fumes at our entry door, and then later threw a bag of chicken bones and a half drunk soda out of his passenger side door at our RV.  Nice!

We only stayed there because we were out visiting friends and we parked at the truck stop because we thought it was safer than leaving the unoccupied RV at Walmart.  There were no RV parks in the area and we thought this would be a good option.  We don’t typically stay at truck stops, and this further confirms the reason why.  Not to mention the whole place smelled like urine.

The lesson learned?  Only stay at these locations in extreme emergencies!

 

Boondocking at Casinos

We have known about this for years and have visited several locations.  What we learned recently is that there are several along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi that are right across from the beach, allow multiple nights of boondocking, and they have security on the premises.  These boondocking spots are usually parking lots that are on the outskirts of their facility where there is space for larger vehicles.

boondocking

While staying at Harrah’s in Biloxi, MS we had the chance to visit the beach, take long walks along the peninsula and stay for three nights for free while getting to enjoy the water.  Winter time at beach locations is difficult because the snowbirds take up spaces, raise the nightly fees, and leave no availability for the transient crowd.

So, we learned to never give up on finding something!  Pam found this location and it was a nice surprise.

 

RV Park Electrical

Having worked in the maintenance department of several RV parks I can say with assurance that the RV park electrical pedestal may not always be adequate to supply the needed power to my RV.  After blowing up my EMS unit three times in the early years, I learned that testing with a voltmeter first is a good thing to do!

While in Alabama, along the Gulf Coast, we visited an RV park that we have visited on and off for the past four years.  It was newer back in the earlier years but now it has been a bit neglected.  I can always tell by the condition of the electrical service.  When I flip the breaker prior to plugging in and the spring action is loose, to me this may indicate a problem.

I had just parked the RV, it was raining, and I decided to just plug in the EMS unit and omit the voltmeter check.  It indicated low voltage on one leg of the 50 amp service.  I got out my voltmeter and double checked before having Pam run to the office to seek a solution.  The voltmeter confirmed my EMS results.  We had 12 volts on one leg and 126 volts on the other leg.  The EMS unit will not allow power through to the RV with this condition.  That is why these devices are so important!

rv park electrical

We contacted the RV park office.  Their solution was, “just don’t use the EMS unit!”  That is not what I wanted to hear!  You don’t run things in the RV with low voltage.  You can do serious damage to electronics and appliances!

I told the RV park maintenance person that if he would get me a new breaker I would replace it.  I know liability wise that should not be allowed, but he went to go find one.  They had no one on property to perform this fix and the person who could was not going to be back till that evening.  The other option was to move to a less desirable site.

A new breaker was delivered and I replaced it with the member of the RV park staff watching me.  Once replaced all was good.  The whole repair only took a few minutes.  The nice thing was he offered to go to the office to see if he could get us a free night for helping out.  He did and we were happy!

Once again, I confirmed the reason why I never trust that the electrical service is adequate and why I always check first before plugging in my shore power cord to an unknown source.  Being lazy and ignorant of this issue could be costly!

Okay, so those are a few things I wanted to pass along.  Maybe they will be helpful to you.

Please feel free to leave a comment before you go.

Lindsey the RVing Corgi Winter 2019 Update

Greetings from Lindsey, the full-time RV living Corgi!  It has been two months since the little nipper that Mom and Dad call Winston, joined our family.  He is a real pain and I don’t really spend time with him.  I am an old girl and he just wants to nip and jump at me.  I am not in the mood for that at my phase of life.

camping with dogs

I have not been feeling great these days.  Mom and Dad took me to the vet and they pulled blood samples to see how I am doing.  All the tests came back good.  Nothing was of concern according to the Vet.  Mom and Dad were really happy to hear that!

Speaking of hearing, I don’t think I have that sense anymore.  Either that or the world has gotten pretty quiet.  But, when I look at Mom and Dad and they talk to me, I see their mouths moving but no sound coming out so I figured I just can’t hear anymore.

Also, the little nipper looks like he is always barking, and I don’t hear that either.  Or, maybe he is trying to cough up a fur ball . . . . . LOL!

Mom got really concerned a few weeks ago because I stopped eating my food.  That hard kibble really hurt my teeth!  That stuff is just too much for my old teeth I guess.  But I could not tell Mom what the problem was.  She was really worried.  But, she figured it out after a few days and started feeding me rice.  Mom and Dad also bought some high-quality canned dog food for me to eat.

I really like my new food!  All is good in that department now.

I have been drinking a lot of water too.  Mom seems to think more than normal so she does not leave the water bowl out for me anymore because I drink the whole thing and then I can’t hold my bladder, and then I pee on the floor.  Mom gets really frustrated.   Here I am sleeping near my window in the RV.  It’s better known as my peeky hole.

camping with dogs

So, in order for me to continue to sleep on Mom and Dad’s bed, I have piddle pads and I have to wear a diaper.  It’s not very comfortable but it does save Mom’s sanity from having to clean up urine puddles in the RV.

 

Lindsey’s Travels

For the past month, I have really been a traveling Corgi.  We logged about two thousand miles traveling around the southeast.

camping with dogs

We were in Red Bay, AL where our RV was made.  Mom and Dad had some minor service issues they wanted to be addressed there.  They were also able to do some RV inspections while in Alabama. 

It was cold there!  We had weather that was in the low twenties some nights!  I think this winter has been really cold.  As an older Corgi, I really feel it.  I am really glad Dad bought the infra-red heater to help keep the RV more evenly warm.  I feel much better with it running!

camping with dogs

They also took a factory tour.  They said it was really cool to see how our RV was built!

camping with dogs

camping with dogs

While on the road Dad decided to do his regular leak test on the propane system.  He discovered a leaking hose coming out of the ASME tank regulator.  While in Alabama he had it replaced as it was a special set up that was best purchased from Tiffin.

camping with dogs

We then traveled into Florida and visited Passport America and MY RV Mail.  From there we headed down to the Gulf Coast in Alabama, spent some time at Harrah’s Casino in Biloxi where we were able to boondock in their lot and enjoy being right across the street from the Gulf of Mexico.  We also boondocked around Gulfport, MS where Mom and Dad met with a business client.  It was nice that the weather was warmer there!

camping with dogs

We then traveled into Louisiana and spent some time around the Lafayette area at a nice campground with small lakes surrounding the property.  From there we boondocked a few more nights at Walmart and Cracker Barrel before arriving back at the National RV Training Academy where Mom and Dad teach others about RV inspections and starting an RV inspection or RV related business.

Okay, that’s all for now.  Thanks, Dad for helping me write this one.  My paws just can’t work the keyboard as they could a few years ago.

Leave me a message below if you want to say hello.  Dad will pass it along to me.

 

Lindsey out.

Lindsey the RVing Corgi Early Winter 2019 Update

Greetings from Lindsey, the full-time RV living Corgi!  I don’t know where 2018 went but it sure did go by fast.  At fourteen and a half years old I cherish every day as an RVing Corgi!

When last I wrote I mentioned that Mom and Dad were talking about another fur-kid.  Of course, they would choose another Pembroke Welsh Corgi as I am the third one they have had.  I posted a picture of the little nipper in my last blog.  It is a picture Mom and Dad got from the breeder.

On December 22, 2018, Mom and Dad woke me up real early and put me in the truck, in the cab of course.  I found out later that this was going to be a trip from Texas to Kansas to go pick up my new brother.  I was not excited!  I know what puppies are like.  Mom and Dad reminded me what a pain I was to Maya!

After leaving Texas at 3 AM, we drove over five hundred miles to the breeder’s location in Paola, KS.  It was quite a long drive, and even though I like to sleep all the time, I was ready to get out of the truck.

Once we arrived at our destination, Mom and Dad disappeared and left me in the truck.  I assumed they were meeting the new puppy before I got a chance to have my say about this whole thing.  Here he is, on the right, with one of his sisters.  Mom and Dad wanted the fluffy male corgi, but they were also looking at the female.

A short while later Mom came and got me and brought me into the breeder’s home to meet the little ball of fur.  I know they already decided they wanted him and my opinion really did not matter, but I did get a chance to check him out.  Since he has grown up with so many Corgi’s I was not a big deal to him.

He did the usual nip and run puppy thing but I snarled and he ran.  So I think we came to a quick understanding that I am the Queen of the castle. Here’s a picture of the Mom, PJ.

And here is the Dad, Reggie.

So, after about three hours of time with the breeder, meeting the mother and father, and getting the furball’s ownership transferred to Mom and Dad, we were back on the road, but know there was a crate next to me in the truck and I had to share my space with him.

We traveled for an hour and then stopped at a hotel for the night.  Since we started at 3 AM and it was now late afternoon, we were all tired, except for my new bro-fur!  So we stopped at a LaQuinta, which is a great hotel if you travel with dogs.  Since Mom and Dad are RVers, it is rare for them to be out of the RV!  In eleven years of full time living it has only happened a few times.

Mom and Dad said this trip was just too quick a turnaround to bring Miss Tiffy, and traveling into Kansas in the winter time can be problematic.  So the hotel was the only option.  So here was our room for the night.  It was quite comfortable and we were able to keep the puppy pen on the tile.

And here’s the happy family . . . . Not!   “Get him away from me!”

I keep referring to the little nipper as the furball and the bro-fur, but I guess it’s time to reveal his name.

Mom and Dad had decided on a name prior to meeting him.  They chose the name Sir Winston Churchhill’s Quandary.  The reason for the Quandary part of the name is that Mom and Dad have named all of us Corgis after tall mountains in Colorado, those over 14,000 feet.  I was named after Mt. Lindsey in the Sangre de Cristo range in Colorado.

I hear Mom and Dad calling him Winston.

So, after a night in the hotel and another long drive back to Texas where the RV is currently located, in less than forty-eight hours I traveled eleven hundred miles and returned with Winston.  We arrived home a few days before Christmas.  Mom and Dad wanted a few weeks over the holidays to get Winston settled into a routine.  They had the time to spend every day with him getting the little piddler housebroken.  Here he is in his playpen.

It has been three weeks since he invaded my space and life is very different than it was before he arrived.  Now I know how Maya felt when I showed up as a puppy.  She was so good to me!  I have to remember that even though I am old and cranky that I need to be nice to him like Maya was to me.  Yes, I must teach him in the ways of the force!

However, Mom and Dad are keeping us separated so we don’t get into a fight over food and toys.  Unlike Maya who was so easy going I do have a food and toy fetish: what’s his is mine and what’s mine is mine.  You know how that goes.

I will be fifteen in July.  Mom and Dad had me to the vet recently and had my blood tested.  Everything was normal so they were really happy!  They want me to be around a while longer.  I’ll do my best even though it is getting hard to get around.  I know Mom’s healthy diet: healthy food, freeze-dried protein patties, and healthy treats.  She has been feeding me these things all these years and it has really helped to extend my life!  Thanks, Mom!!  Even the breeder was impressed!  You see, Winston and I came from the same place.  Pretty cool, eh?

Well, that’s it for now.  I’ll check back in again and let you know how life with Winston is going.  I hear he is going to have his own section on the website.  He already has a Facebook page.  Better him than me!

Lindsey out!

Lindsey the RVing Corgi Fall 2018 Update

Greetings fellow RVers and those that want to be!  Lindsey here.  It has been a few months since the last time I pawed out a blog.  The last time I wrote I was sharing about our new RV home.  We have been living in Miss Tiffy, our third full time RV home, for a little over four months.  I really like Miss Tiffy!

full time rv living

So what have I been up to since last I wrote?  Well, I sleep a lot . . . . LOL!  Hey, I am fourteen and a half years old.  I deserve a few good naps throughout the day.

full time rv living

There are times when Mom and Dad are around a lot and other times they are gone all day.  Since we spend a fair bit of time at the RV Training Academy where Dad teaches, those are the times I can really catch up on my sleep.  When Dad is not teaching he works from the RV and tends to keep waking me up to go outside to go potty, to kiss my head, and play with me.

nrvia

“Ready for the Next Class!”

nrvia

“The NRVIA November 2018 Advanced Graduating Class”

nrvia

“Sixteen Inspectors Inside an RV Getting Ready to Inspect”

In late September and early October Mom and Dad were really busy due to teaching responsibilities and then the NRVIA National Conference.  As soon as that was over I noticed that the RV was going into moving mode.  That sounded good to me because I always love a good road trip!

nrvia

“The 2018 NRVIA National Conference – A Morning Session”

In early October we packed up Miss Tiffy and headed towards the beach, one of Mom and Dad’s favorite places to visit!  The destination was Galveston Island where we were back in early summer.  We stayed at Sand Piper RV Park and decided to return to the same location as it was close to the beach.  This time Mom and Dad also took the bicycles along, as well as my wagon.  There were some bike paths that Mom and Dad noticed when they visited back in May.

ful time rv living

“Galveston Island Beach”

full time rv living

“Miss Tiffy at Sand Piper RV Park”

The other thing Mom and Dad wanted to do on their trip was to have Miss Tiffy weighed now that the RV is fully loaded for travel after moving everything out of Frank and the trailer that we used to pull behind it.  The facility for weighing is part of the Escapees organization and it is called SmartWeigh.  The location in Texas is in Livingston which was along the route as we headed to Galveston.

We overnighted at Walmart in Livingston and planned a stop at the SmartWeigh facility the next morning.  It is set up so you drive through the park to a concrete pad where you drive up on that scales.  Each tire is weighed separately in order to get the total weight of the RV.

smartweigh

“Getting Lines up for a SmartWeigh”

smartweigh

“The SmartWeigh Facility in Livingston, Texas”

smartweigh

“Miss Tiffy Getting Weighed”

smartweigh

“A SmartWeigh Scale”

The front axle was weighed first on both the streetside and the curbside.  Once those values were determined the RV was moved so the rear axle measurements could be taken.  Before the weighing process, we were given a form to fill out.  It was sent to us via email when we scheduled the SmartWeigh.  What information was needed was the gross vehicle weight rating as well as the gross axle weight rating, tire load caps and current air pressure.

What we are trying to determine when weighing an RV is if the vehicle is overweight, or maybe it is underweight but overloaded on one of the axles.  It is also possible for the vehicle to be heavier on one side than the other.  There are several possibilities here that could lead to an unsafe condition due to excess weight being applied to any single tire or dual tire setup.

I overheard Dad talking to Mom about all this so I am just passing along what I heard.  I am a pretty smart Corgi but I don’t know a lot about this RV stuff, just what I overhear.

After we finished with the weighing process, and by the way, Miss Tiffy needs to go on a diet, we headed south for Galveston Island.  We spent three nights there and enjoyed some warmer weather and a little time off.

After our time in the Galveston Island area Mom and Dad packed up Miss Tiffy and we headed northeast towards Arkansas.  We were headed back to Heber Springs, AR where I have been for the past five years when mid-October rolls around.  Mom and Dad go there to attend the Workamper News Rendezvous.  It is a great time that they get to share with a couple of hundred other RVers who come to learn about the work camper lifestyle.  Dad had a session where he shared how work camper dreamers can achieve the lifestyle.  And since Mom and Dad have been living it since 2008 they have a lot they can share.

workamper news

“Workamper News Rendezvous”

workamper news

“Miss Tiffy at the Workamper News Office”

I came on the scene in 2004 when Mom and Dad were still renting RV’s and exploring the RV lifestyle.  In fact, when I was a puppy and they came and adopted me from my birth mother, they showed up in an RV.  The first month of my life with them I thought we lived in one.  But then we went to the mountains of Colorado and I lived in a really big house for a while with my sister Maya.  I saw a lot of snow during the first few years of my life!  I thought the world was always white.

After leaving Heber Springs, AR we headed back south.  We took a few days and boondocked in Texarkana and then visited an RV park on a large lake in northeast Texas.  We then headed back to the Training Academy for another round of classes. 

We love boondocking at Cracker Barrel!  They welcome RVers by having RV/Bus lanes.  They are always conveniently located off major highways and are easy to get in and out of.  All they as is if you do stay overnight to please come in for dinner or breakfast.  And why not!  The food and service are always good!

full time rv living

“Miss Tiffy at Cracker Barrel”

So that is pretty much what I have been up to since late summer.  Stay tuned for my ongoing adventures because from what I hear Mom and Dad have been talking about a new fur-kid.  I am not excited about having to train a new puppy in the ways of the force . . . . LOL, I mean how to be a Corgi, especially one that lives full time in an RV!  I will be sharing a lot of pictures of the cute little nipper!

full time rving with dogs

Happy RVing!!

Lindsey the RVing Corgi Late Summer 2018 Update

Lindsey the full time RVing Corgi here! I wanted to update you all on what has gone on the past few months. The last time that I wrote I was on my way to Florida because Mom and Dad had some work there and they also wanted to visit friends and family while in the area.

Dad packed up Frank, our class C RV, and we headed out of Texas to go some eleven hundred miles to the Tampa, FL area. It was great to get away from Texas and the one hundred degree temperatures. Florida is hot too, but it was in the low nineties, high humidity, but always an afternoon shower.

Mom, Dad, and I boondocked a few nights on the way to Florida, but it was so hot that they decided to stay overnight in an RV park because they did not feel it was safe to run the generator all night while sleeping. I was glad they did!

After three days of travel, we wound up in the Tampa area and stayed at Lazydays RV Resort. Mom and Dad like going there because they can check out all the RV’s and see what is new in the industry. I recognized the place as I have been there so many times before.

When we first got there Dad got out my wagon and he put me in it. Before I knew it I was being pulled around the dealership, and I was allowed inside too. I suddenly got the idea that perhaps they were not only looking at RV’s to just look but perhaps they were thinking of getting another one.

How I knew was we appeared to be in the sales area where everyone was welcoming us to Lazydays and offering assistance. I loved all the attention! I looked so cute in my wagon!

After that, we went over to the campground and parked the RV. I was still not sure what Mom and Dad were up to, but by conversations I could understand, it did sound like a newer RV was in my future. I like Frank but I sure would like a little more room to stretch out and play. Plus, a few more hiding spots would be nice!

Over the next few days, Mom and Dad were sure gone a lot. While they were away I got caught up on my naps. Travel days really wear me out. It’s hard to get a really good nap when the RV is rolling down the road, especially with some of the roads in Louisiana and Mississippi!

We were there at Lazydays for about a week and then, all of the sudden, we were leaving. So I figured that maybe we were not getting another full time RV home. It looked like we were heading further south. A short while later we were in Fort Myers, FL. Mom and Dad told me they were there to visit Dad’s Mom and their God dog Rylee.

Since they left the HMRVI truck back in Texas, Mom and Dad rented a small car to be able to go visit friends a family. I got to go along several times when we went to visit Rylee and her Mom and Dad. Rylee came to stay with us three years ago when she was just a puppy. She got a little fresh with me back then so I bit her ear. I think she still remembers that! For this visit, Mom and Dad thought it was best if we stay separated so as not to get into trouble. I was also trying to stay away from the two-year-old boy. I am an old girl and not able to play that way anymore.

Then, while Mom and Dad visited his Mom, I stayed home and got to catch up on more sleep. It was a long day because they had to go down to Naples, FL. After eight nights down in the Fort Myers/Naples area, over the July 4th weekend, we were on the road again. I did not know where we were going, but after a stop at Publix for groceries, we were headed back north. I have a good sense of direction!

A few hours later we were back at Lazydays again. Now I was really confused. There was not that much talk about what was going on, or at least that I could hear or understand. My hearing has really gone downhill these days.

Oh, and I had my fourteenth birthday on July 9th! At ninety-eight years old I guess I am doing pretty good! I may not be able to hear and get around as well as I used to but I am doing pretty good for a Corgi of my age.

Anyway, Dad parked the RV in the campground and then they disappeared again. At this point, I knew something was up. Then, the next day I noticed things were starting to get packed up. The pictures were coming off the walls and stuff was being put into bags and boxes.

Then, the RV was on the move again. Dad went a short distance from the campground and parked it in a lot with a bunch of other RV’s. All of a sudden this big beautiful newer looking RV was parked next to Frank. Mom and Dad seemed to know what was going on. They disappeared into the other RV, and, all of the sudden, I was whisked away out of Frank and into the other RV! Wow, it is beautiful!

I was checking it out and Mom decided my crate was the best place for me to stay out of the way. All the stuff from Frank was now being brought into the new RV. It took a few hours and it looked like a bomb hit, but all our stuff was now in the new RV. I heard Dad refer to it as Miss Tiffy.

Later on, after stuff started to be put away, I was able to check out my new digs. It is really nice, and it has so much more room than Frank! The one thing that I did notice right away is that the flooring is really slick! For me, it’s like walking on ice. Dad put down some carpets for me so I have a place to get some traction. Dad keeps laughing at me but I am not amused!

We spent the night in Miss Tiffy, at the dealership, and then by late morning, we were on the road heading back to Texas. Dad had to get back for business. Miss Tiffy rides so much better than Frank due to the larger tires and suspension system. I was able to roam about a little but I mostly stayed in my crate as it is much safer that way during travel.

While I was continuing to investigate the RV over the next few days I discovered the most wonderful thing for a full time RVing Corgi: a doggy peep window. It’s right at my level and lets me look out anytime I want. I can even lay there and enjoy the view, whether we are moving or not. It is located by the front curbside corner of the RV.


I also love my new couch! It is a great place to sit with Mom and watch Lassie.


Another really cool thing is that I can use Dad’s office area when I want to write my website posts. It’s really comfy and I have plenty of room to work. Mom has to help me up on the chair but once there I can really get things done. I think better with my hat on!


It has been four weeks that we have now been living in Miss Tiffy and I must say that I approve! Mom and Dad did a good job picking out my new RV home. From what I heard they worked really hard to check her out to be sure she was what they were looking for and that she would be trouble-free. You can read their side of the story here.

Time for another nap! Thanks for stopping by. I’ll check in again soon.

How to Buy an RV – Our Latest Story

If you have been to our website before you know a little bit about Pam and I. For those that have not, we have been living the full time RV life since 2008. In that time we have had two RV’s that have served our purposes well during those years. Recently, we decided it was time for number three. So, I want to discuss what we did and some ideas on how to buy an RV.

Here are the RV’s that have helped us travel the United States since 2008.

how to buy an rv
how to buy an rv
We have now welcomed this RV into our family! We call her Miss Tiffy. She is a Tiffin Allegro Open Road.

how to buy an rv
After our previous two RV’s, why did we choose this one? What was our thought process? What class of RV were we looking for after having a 5th wheel and a class C RV?

After spending ten years in an RV and over one hundred thousand miles driven in RV’s, we know exactly how to buy an RV! Of course, since our business involves being in the RV industry and being RV inspectors, that makes the process that much easier. Let’s see if we can share some information that will help you as you do the same!

Why Did We Choose This RV?

So, we spent six and a half years with the truck and 5th wheel and three and a half years with the class C RV. Many fellow RVers asked us why did we go from a large 5th wheel and truck, some sixty feet of RV, to a thirty-foot class C pulling a trailer? Did we lose our minds?

The answer to that question lies in the needs of the RVer at the time that the purchase is made and how you see your RV life in the foreseeable future. Can you really know what RV will best suit your purposes for years to come? Do wants and needs change over time? Absolutely! We would have to be mind readers to be able to see years into the future to know what we would be doing so we could choose an RV that would suit those needs.

For the first six and half years of our full time RV life, we work camped in areas we wanted to visit. We spent months in those locations. One place was right on the beach in the panhandle of Florida. We enjoyed that areas so much we spent a total of forty-three months on and off over a period of years. We just kept coming back. And being that Florida is our domicile state it made sense at that time.

That style of full time RV living where you are not moving around a lot matches well with a 5th wheel RV. They are set up like a small condo with all the amenities you need to be comfortable. But, for us, the problem came when it was time to move. It took us many hours to get ready and once on the road, navigating to certain locations took careful planning due to the size of the RV.

The other issue was backing the RV into tight spaces. At sixty feet long we had issues in older RV parks that were not designed for today’s larger RV’s. I had experience backing RV’s of this size as I was trained by a retired semi-truck driver in an RV park we were work camping at. He let me move 5th wheel RV’s around the park and get them set on RV sites.

Even with all that experience, backing the 5th wheel is the thing that scares a lot of people away from them once they own them for a little while. Even if they get good at it, the process is always nerve-racking after a long days drive. And, pull through RV sites are not always available. And, if they are, they cost more. We have found this to be a problem for some.

After all those experiences with the 5th wheel for six and a half years, and due to the change in our full time RV living lifestyle at that time, we needed to go smaller in order to make more frequent travels to many locations easier due to our business that we run out of our RV home.

So, we decided on the class C RV, knowing that it would be much smaller and there would be issues related to the lack of space compared to the 5th wheel. However, when it came time to move, drivability, ease of getting in and out of any RV spaces, ease of fueling, less fuel and maintenance costs, better mileage, easier to clean, etc. we found ourselves enjoying the experience of living in Frank, as we called him.

I wrote an article on the full time RV living and small RV motorhomes that you can visit if you would like to know more about my thoughts on the positives and negatives of a small RV motorhome.

What Was Our Thought Process?

Having all those RVing experiences, since we started back in 2008, and with those two completely different RV’s, plus all the time we spent renting Class A gas and diesel RV’s, as well as class C RV’s, we had a pretty good idea at this point how to buy an RV that would now suit our needs for years to come.

So, what were we now thinking would be the major things we wanted in our next RV home based on how we live our full time RV lifestyle? Now, before I share this list let me tell you this! No RV is absolutely perfect and able to meet all your RVing needs. Even if you had one custom built, there would still be the issue of the chassis and the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

We had to sit down and look at our previous experiences, what was currently available on the RV market, what manufacturer would best meet our needs of quality and durability, have a good reputation in the industry for overall quality and service, and overall meet most of our full time RVing needs.

What Class of RV and Manufacturer Would Best Meet Our Current Needs?

Taking the previous discussion into account, we decided on a Class A Gas RV based on these needs:

  • A gas engine over a diesel engine due to the desire to have the engine up front and easier access to maintenance facilities.
  • More adaptable to sit for extended periods of time or frequent travel compared to a diesel engine that is more suited for frequent travel and higher engine mileage.
  • More bang for the buck in the gasoline chassis and the fact that we did not need the carrying capacity that a diesel chassis offers.

Here are some of the other things we had to have. They are available in either a class A gas or diesel RV:

  • An RV with two slides on the streetside and not on the curbside.
  • 2,600 to 3,000 lbs of cargo carrying capacity.
  • A suppression system to reduce sway.
  • A floorplan that allows for boondocking when the slides are in.
  • No plumbing located in slideouts.
  • A residential refrigerator.
  • A washer and dryer either as a combo unit or separate ones.
  • A bath and a half.
  • A space to create an office work area.
  • Only one black and one gray water tank.
  • All solid flooring with no, or very little, carpet.
  • Pass through outside storage bins.
  • A large shower.
  • A king size bed.
  • A comfortable chair for Howard to sit and work or to watch TV.

Once all these things were found, the next issue to overcome is whether the RV is built right and all the systems are functioning as designed. This is where the RV inspector training comes into play!

Looking at all the criteria above and having the knowledge about RV manufacturers and their building practices, as well as the track record from friends who own RV’s, we chose the Tiffin Motorhomes brand as our RV of choice.

Once that was settled we only had to choose a floorplan that met the needs that we stated above. It was easy to find a floor plan that fit our desires perfectly. There were six options available and one was a clear choice.

how to buy an rv

how to buy an rv

how to buy an rv

how to buy an rv

how to buy an rv

To Buy a New or Used RV?

We never buy new RV’s as there is no need for such things! If you are patient and know exactly what you want, knowing how to buy an RV is easy! You can save tens of thousands of dollars buying a two-year-old RV!

When we were ready I did a quick search at a dealership that we bought our class C RV, and guess what? There was a 2016 Tiffin Allegro Open Road in their inventory that has just come in with only 1,226 miles on it! We contacted the dealership and put a deposit on it until we could see it in person.

Armed with our list of criteria, mentally, of course, we drove 1,100 miles to Florida to go visit the dealership and the RV. Our first viewing of the RV was promising. Pam and I went into inspection mode and did a quick evaluation of the major systems to see if all was okay.

I headed to the roof and Pam investigated the interior. It was looking promising. The next step was to verify all equipment was as listed on the build sheet. During all this investigation we quickly found some issues that we made known to the dealership and that we wanted to be addressed before we would possibly take possession of the RV.

We decided it was worth it to go on a test drive. We had expectations about what it would drive like, but due to the newer Sumo suspension system on the Ford F53 chassis, we were hoping it would not sway as much as previous rentals we had on the gas platform. Once driven, we found we were happy with the drivability so we decided to negotiate based on the dealer taking care of the concerns we had.

After a few weeks and patience on our part to get the dealer to get our concerns addressed, we were able to take possession of the Tiffin Allegro Open Road!

So How Has it Worked Out?

We have been in Miss Tiffy for almost four weeks now. We drove her from Tampa, Florida to East Texas. She performed admirably! There have been no issues since then. Due to the careful process that we initiated for investigating the RV prior to purchase, we were able to find the right RV for us.

All the items that we had stored in the class C RV, Frank, have disappeared into Miss Tiffy along with all the items stored in the trailer. Between Chevy Chase, our work truck, and Miss Tiffy, there is plenty of storage for our belongings.

We are thoroughly enjoying our new RV home!

How Can You Know How to Buy an RV?

Be sure to have a list of all the “must haves” for you based on your previous RV experiences. As I have said before, if you are considering the full time RV lifestyle, and you have never RV’d before, please rent for a while before deciding on your full time RV home.  A mistake can be very costly, perhaps to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars!

Also, unless you have the experience and credentials, we would suggest seeking the assistance of an NRVIA inspector to be sure you get all the facts about the RV you are considering prior to purchase!

Pam, Lindsey and I wish you all the best in your current and future RV travels!

 

Full Time RV Living and Small RV Motorhomes

Pam and I have been living in Frank since February of 2015. But I have another story coming about that.  Stay tuned!

Before Frank, we had a forty foot 5th wheel, shown below.  We decided to downsize to make our frequent travels much easier than they were with the sixty foot of 5th wheel and a large truck.  We started our full time RV living in 2008.  After nearly seven years of full time RV living, we decided to start looking at small RV motorhomes.  That is when we decided on Frank, our 2013 Winnebago class C RV.

Living in a large RV is fairly easy for the inexperienced RVer.  But to move into something that has nearly half the square footage takes careful planning.  And to enjoy full time RV living in small RV motorhomes also takes a close bond between the people living in it.

These days there are many small RV motorhomes to choose from.  They come in class A RV’s, class B RV’s, and class C RV’s.  Pam and I chose a class C RV because we liked the Ford chassis that it was built on as well as for the ease of regular maintenance at a Ford dealership.

When you are moving around a lot, boondocking in various locations (no services camping), have a need to get fuel anywhere you want without worrying about the length of your RV, and not having to worry about the height of your RV, these small RV motorhomes that are being sold these days can be very comfortable for full time RV living.

However, there are some drawbacks to living in these small spaces compared to a little larger RV.  A lot of the issues will come in relation to the compatibility of those living in it.

Take two people that have never lived in a small space, they have always lived in a large home, don’t spend much time in each others space, and stick them in a small RV motorhome, and there will be friction.  It would be like throwing two outdoor cats in a small cage.  That will never turn out well!

So what are some things that Pam and I can share about living in small RV motorhomes?  After three and a half years of doing so, we can absolutely offer information to help you from making a possible mistake unless you are completely sure you can deal with the things we will discuss here.

I will list the positives and nagatives, and in no particular order of importance, because what may be a big issue to us may not be for you, and visa versa.

Positives

  • Maneuverability:  driving something that is between twenty-six to thirty-two feet makes it easy to travel any roads that you desire to travel on.  Pam and I have been on the back roads in many states, including gravel, and have never had to worry about the road width or the clearance height.  A little over ten feet tall is easy to clear most impediments, but when the RV gets to over thirteen feet, things change.
  • Drivability:  a smaller RV drives a lot like a larger car or van.  Sharper turns when needed can be accomplished when conditions change and you wind up in a tight place filling the RV with fuel.
  • Better fuel economy:  Pam and I have easily gotten ten miles to the gallon while keeping the RV at a reasonable speed.  Now fuel consumption is not a big issue for us.  But, we keep the speed down for safety.  The faster you go the better the chance is to mix it up with everyone else.  RV’s don’t stop on a dime!  Around sixty miles per hour is fast enough.
  • Easy to back up:  plain and simple, the shorter the RV is the easier it is to backup up, to turn sharply, and to see around the vehicle.
  • Easy to Boondock:  when staying overnight in Walmart’s, Cracker Barrels, Cabela’s, truck stops, etc. it is easy to slide in anywhere and blend in.  Plus, some smaller RV’s don’t always need to have their slideouts out to be functional.  We have lived for days in Frank without the slides out.  Keep this in mind when choosing a floor plan.
  • Maintenance is Cheaper:  when it comes to fuel fill-ups, oil changes, tires, batteries, etc. small RV motorhomes are easier to care for than their larger counterparts.  We have been able to easily get service at Ford dealerships around the country because we could easily get in their service bays.
  • Less to clean inside and out:  this is an obvious one!  We can vacuum Frank in five minutes!
  • Easy to Break Camp:  when it comes time to move, it’s slides in, services unhooked, jacks up, and we are off.  When we had the behemoth fifth wheel RV it took hours to get the things ready to move, including hooking it up to the tow vehicle.
  • Towing / Hookup:  hooking up a trailer or vehicle to small RV motorhomes is easy due to you are towing less weight and both vehicles are a lot more maneuverable.  So, getting them connected is much easier.
  • Great if you are moving around a lot:  the ease of getting in and out of RV sites, driving in city traffic, using it to go shopping without a tow vehicle present, and maneuvering in tight places makes small RV motorhomes a very popular choice.

Negatives

  • Carrying Capacity:  depending on the chassis that the RV manufacturer uses, the amount of stuff that you can carry is reduced in these smaller RV’s.  Values can range from five hundred pounds to a little over two thousand pounds.  When you are putting all your worldly possessions onboard for full time RV living, and towing a trailer or a vehicle, this can become a big issue.  You will want to consider this point carefully and look for the label on the RV that shows these figures.
  • Drivability:  you will feel the wind more and the effects of trucks passing you in a smaller RV.  When you have a crosswind while driving highway speeds it can be a fight to keep the RV in a straight line path as you battle the wind gusts.  It is the same with trucks passing.  They tend to push you away when they first pass and then suck you in as they go by.  No big deal, you just have to be aware that this is what happens in these lighter RV’s.
  • Storage:  even though there is limited storage in some of these RV’s you can still overload them.  We had Frank weighed at each tire and found that our rear axle was at maximum load and the front axle was a bit under.  What added the extra weight was the five hundred pounds of tongue weight from the trailer.  But, the trailer allowed us to carry a couple of thousand pounds more stuff that the RV could not carry.  It could tow a maximum of five thousand pound trailer with a five hundred pound tongue weight.
  • Towing:  so, even though we could tow what we needed, for others, the limitations of the small RV chassis and what it can tow can be an issue.  If you have a larger vehicle, the RV may not be able to pull it given the maximum weight rating and what is being towed.
  • Small bathroom:  okay, this can be a big issue!  We have had a small bathroom now for over three years, and we have made it work.  Now we are not large people, but if someone is, the smaller showers will never work!  If you drop the soap you will not be able to pick it up without turning off the water and opening the shower door or screen.  Just moving around can be difficult.  And, you may only have a six-gallon water heater.  Long showers are not going to be an option.  You can use the facilities at the RV park, but most times that is inconvenient and they are not always as clean as we would like them to be.  Also, using the RV toilet and wiping your hind end can truly be problematic with some of the toilet locations!  LOL
  • Personal Space:  chances are, if you are both moving about in the RV, you are going to be in each other’s way.  There is no personal space.  There is no getting away from your spouse if arguments occur.  That is why we recommend to people who are thinking about adopting the full time RV lifestyle, to rent an RV that is very close to the one they are considering so they can go out and experience what life will be like aboard these small RV motorhomes.
  • Laundry:  you will find most small RV motorhomes will not have a washer or dryer.  You really have to be in the thirty-six-foot length, or more, to get either the separate or combo units installed.  Is this a big deal?  It depends on you.  We had a washer and dryer in our 5th wheel and loved them.  It avoided having to go to the RV park laundry and spending hours getting the job done.  Laundry facilities can range from great to not so great.  Also, you just never know what has been washed in them before you get there!
  • Hanging clothing:  there is limited space for hanging clothing.  Having a large wardrobe selection will never work in this type of RV.  That means you will be washing clothes more frequently.
  • Cooking Space:  if you want to cook gourmet meals, the RV lifestyle is not the ticket.  There is limited space and you can only do so much in it.  We cook frozen pizzas, make salads, bake chicken and fish, and can make skillets on the cooktop stove.  You can do pretty well, you are just not going to be able to create four-course meals.  And your dishware should be unbreakable and easy to clean by hand.  Large pots and pans will not be easy to clean in a small RV sink!
  • Kitchen Gadgets:  these are great to have around the house but you probably won’t have room to store them in the RV.  You may be able to bring along a few of your favorites but the rest will have to go.
  • Small Refrigerator:  an RV refrigerator in a small RV motorhome is going to have less than half the storage capacity as one that you have in your home, around seven cubic feet.  Sometimes you may get twelve cubic feet but at the cost of losing kitchen storage.
  • Limited Seating Space for you and visitors:  this is pretty straightforward.  The shorter the RV, the less seating arrangements will exist.  You have to decide what you can live with.  Pam and I can sit at the dinette, spin the front driver and co-pilot seat around (which is not comfortable because they sit too low), and if we want to lay down we have to use the short queen bed.
  • Limited Sleeping Space:  in larger RV’s you have a bedroom, a sleeper sofa, and perhaps some other bunk type arrangements.   But, in a small RV, you get a smaller bed, perhaps a dinette that makes into a small bed, or maybe a bed over the cab.  In most cases, these are fairly small and not very comfortable for six-foot tall RVers.
  • Limited Freshwater, black, and gray tank storage:  you have approximately half the storage. or less then you do in a larger RV.  That is no big deal if you are staying in RV parks all the time.  But if you want to dry camp, then this issue can become problematic.
  • Limited Electrical Supply:  this can be a big issue!   Most people don’t understand that when they leave their sticks and bricks home, where you can turn on anything electrical you want, and live in an RV, that this is not the same when it comes to electrical usage.  You only have limited electrical supply that you can use.  Most smaller RV’s supply 30 amps of power.  That is enough to run an AC unit and something else in the 1000 watt range.  After that, you have to pick and choose.  During the winter months it easier because heating devices can run on propane.   My point is, you only have 3,600 watts of power compared to a larger RV that has 12,000 watts.
  • None of the extras you get in a larger RV:  things like more seating area choices, extra beds, recliners, washer/dryers, ceiling fans, dishwashers, fireplaces, storage space, inverters, multiple AC units, bigger bathrooms, room to move around, etc.  The list goes on and on!
  • One AC unit:  if it breaks you only have the only the one.  This can be problematic when temperatures are in the nineties and it can be days before a fix can be found.  Mobile RV techs can come to the rescue but they will still have to order an AC unit to replace it.  Most times these units cannot be fixed, they have to be replaced unless it is just a fan or control module issue.  When it comes to the cooling unit, when it goes, replacement of the whole unit is recommended.
  • Limited working room for running a small business:  since Pam and I run a small business from our RV home we can tell you that it becomes a lot more challenging in small RV motorhomes!  My printer is constantly moving about so that it is not in the way depending on what we need access to.  And during travel days it migrates between the bed and the kitchen countertop.  Having enough workspace is difficult.  It is either the small dinette table, a freestanding table, the kitchen countertop, or a mixture of the three.
  • Pets play space in bad weather:  due to limited floor space pets don’t have a lot of room to romp around
  • Not full time RV living rated:  most small RV motorhomes are not rated for full time RV living or warrantied if they are lived in full time.  The main problem with this is the RV will not last as long as those that are.   It will be colder in the winter and hotter in the summer.  It will also take more resources to heat and cool.
  • TV viewing may be problematic depending on the floorplan:  In smaller RV’s, trying to watch TV can be a problem because if someone is preparing a meal or moving around a fair bit, there is always someone in your way.  This is a constant annoyance in Frank.  If I am sitting trying to watch TV I can only see half the screen because it is located by the kitchen countertop.  Also, the TV may not be located in a place that allows for comfortable viewing.  It may be good for short sessions, but not two-hour movies.  Just saying.
  • Odors are more intensified in a small space:  this one speaks for itself!  The smaller the space the greater the problem.

I hope these items that have been mentioned will be helpful as you look into full time RV living in small RV motorhomes.  Please remember that these are just opinions that I have expressed that are based on our ten years of full time RV living.

Please feel free to leave a comment below.

 

Blessings,

Howard, Pam, and Lindsey!

Lindsey, the RVing Corgi Early Summer 2018 Update

full time rv living

 

Lindsey the full time RVing Corgi here.  It has been awfully hot lately!  It seems like we went from winter to summer in a matter of weeks.  I have been spending more time indoors because it is way too hot for this furball!

Mom and Dad have been spending a fair bit of time at the National RV Training Academy (NRVTA).  They have had a lot of classes that they have held there so far this year.

They have also been out traveling around Texas doing RV inspections for clients that need their services.  The cool thing is when they leave the NRVTA they bring the RV home and I get to go along.  Isn’t that cool?

 

 

Earlier this year at the NRVTA a small temporary facility was brought in to start classes while the bigger facility is being built.  The picture at the top of this post is the concrete slab awaiting the steel for the building to arrive.  So, the picture above shows where classes are currently being held.  It is called the Little Red School House.

I heard Dad say that once the Big Red School House is completed there will be seventeen thousand square feet of space in the new training facility.  It will look like this picture rendering:

national rv training academy

 

So, what have I been doing while all this stuff that has been going on around me?  I have been sleeping a lot.  I am going to be fourteen years old on the ninth of July.  Wow, that’s at least ninety-eight in human years!  For an old girl, I am still doing pretty well, but this typing thing, and seeing the laptop computer screen is getting a little tough, so Dad has to help me out.

While Mom and Dad are at work I get a lot of sleep.  But when they take me on RV inspections I get a little out of my rhythm.  They just keep waking me up with all the comings and goings and the moving around of the RV home.

A few days ago Mom and Dad packed up the RV again and we have been driving for days.  I think we are in Florida.  It seems familiar.  I recognize some of the smells from when we were here late last year. 

I think Dad is going to see his Mom.  I heard him talking about having a little extra time to get away before they need to be back at the NRVTA for the next round of eager students who want to learn more about their RV’s and how to inspect them.

I think I heard them say that tomorrow they are going to stay at Lazydays RV Park.  There is a 126-acre dealership attached to the facility.  Dad has used the rally facility before to hold classes.  They think I am sleeping and not paying attention, but my big ears are always listening to what’s going on.

I remember the place very well!  Mom and Dad have walked me all over that place looking at all the RV’s.  I think it’s like a candy store for grownups, especially my Mom and Dad. 

Dad has a tentative inspection there on Friday.  I am sure they will also be looking around while they are there.  They always do!  It’s a great place to check out all the new and used RV’s in order to keep the inspection and tech skills sharp.

Well, that’s it for now.  I’ll check back in pretty soon because I think I will have lots more to talk about.

But, right now I am ready for a nap!

 

Lindsey . . . . out!

Lindsey, the RVing Corgi Early Spring 2018 Update

Well, Spring is finally here and I am glad!  It was a cold Winter and I don’t think my old bones could take any more of the cold weather that I and the RV have had to endure.

When I last wrote it was really cold!  I was wrapped up in my blanket that Mom bought me because it was so cold in the RV.  RV’s are not meant to be in freezing temperatures for long periods of time.  We are in Texas at the moment and I thought it is supposed to be warmer than this.

rv dogs

We had the wettest February on record since they started keeping them in the Dallas area and the tenth wettest month on record.

Up until just recently, we have still had nights in the forties.  This Corgi thinks that is a little chilly for April in Texas!  But, it looks like all that is behind us and we are warming up.  The past few days I have been panting a lot so Mom has had to run the AC to cool off the RV.  Big weather swings here in the Southland.  They say everything is bigger in Texas and I think that goes for swings in the temperatures too!  LOL

So what has this Corgi been up to?  Well, not too much.  I sleep all day in my crate because that’s where I like it, sometimes on the floor, I get up for a drink of water and to go out to potty, and then back in for a cookie and more sleeping.  At night I sleep on the bed and protect Mom and Dad.  It’s a tough life but someone has to do it.

rv dog

Mom and Dad did not move the RV as much this winter as they did last year.  At this time last year, we were in Bakersfield, CA and it was one hundred a six degrees.  Yikes!  They were there for teaching an RV Inspector training class. 

We have been taking some short trips around Texas recently, but our full time living RV has been hanging out a lot at the National RV Training Academy because that is where Dad teaches.

I hear Mom and Dad talking a lot about preparing for classes.  They help people with learning how to fix their RV’s themselves and for others who want to become RV inspectors.

I don’t mind hanging out here in Athens, TX because it is a really nice RV park with lots of room to roam, several small lakes on the property, a duck named Alfalfa that I can chase, turtles and fish, I hear coyotes at night sometimes that I can talk to, so it’s really cool.

There is also lots of activity going on the RV park because the National RV Training Academy is being built right now so there is always something for me to watch when I am out taking Mom and Dad for a walk.

Mom and Dad took the RV out last week to go help someone who had purchased a new RV and then had lots of issues with it.  They asked if Mom and Dad could help him by inspecting it, generating an RV inspection report, and then sending a copy off to the manufacturer because the issues were all covered under warranty and they needed an independent third party evaluation done on the unit.

I hear Mom and Dad talk a lot about what is going on with the RV industry these days.  They don’t think I am listening, and that I am sleeping, but my big ears hear everything!

They have noticed that RVers who are buying new ones are sure having trouble getting them road ready because there are so many issues that they are coming with from the manufacturer. 

I think I heard Dad say he was reading in March of 2018 they shipped in excess of 50,000 RV’s out of Indiana.  I was there last summer and got to meet all the Amish people and their horses.  I like it there!  Lots of things to herd because that’s what I am, a herding dog.

Sorry, I was reminiscing!  I get easily distracted in my old age!  Anyway, they talk a lot about people they hear about and how they are having issues when buying these new RV’s. 

Mom and Dad used to only inspect used RV’s, but they get as many calls for new ones now as they do for used RV’s because people are hearing of all the problems with the industry: a lot of demand and not enough laborers to handle the demand!  At least that is what I think I hear Dad say!

So, I think Mom and Dad have a really cool business because they are able to help people and sometimes I get to go along.  When they are traveling a fair distance they have to take me and my RV home along so this old girl is looked after.  And, I get to see what they are doing.

The last place we went to, at an RV dealership, the story I eluded to earlier, they parked our RV home right by the RV they were inspecting and in between naps I was able to watch what they were doing.  Dad was crawling on top, underneath, all around looking at stuff and Mom was inside doing her thing.  Dad has tools and stuff but I don’t know what that’s all about.

rv inspection

Anyway, about four hours into the inspection they were starting up the RV and leaving and I thought that was odd because it usually takes them a good six hours or more to do their work. 

I was cool with that, time to move on!  I found out the RV dealership kicked them out because they said if they had known what Mom and Dad were doing they would not have allowed them on the property.

All they were doing was inspecting the RV according to NRVIA standards.  They were there inspecting an RV that was owned by their client.  It was there because of the number of issues generated in the manufacturing process. 

They were not doing anything wrong other than documenting what they saw.  They did return the next day to finish the inspection once the issue was cleared up.

Oh well, it was a nice trip and I got to see some new places.

Well, that’s about all that has been going on since my last post.   Mom and Dad have been busy, I have been sleeping, and Frank the RV keeps moving.  It’s a Corgi’s life!

Time to go, my paws are tired from typing!

Lindsey out!

Lindsey, the RVing Corgi Winter 2018 Update

Well, what can a Corgi say about this winter . . . . . Brrrrrrrrrrrr!  Mom bought me two new fleece blankets to help keep me warm!   I have been hiding under them a lot!  Here I am in my crate.   Mom caught me trying to keep warm.

full time rv living

It has been so cold I have had a hard time getting my paws wrapped around a keyboard to create a new website post.

full time rv living

But here goes!

Since December I have been keeping my paws at the Texan RV Park in Athens, TX.  Mom and Dad have been busy teaching classes at the new National RV Training Academy that is located at the Texan RV Park.  Needless to say, I get a little lonely sometimes but I do get a lot of sleep.  And that is never a bad thing.

It has been so cold here in northern Texas this year that it even reached a low of ten degrees Fahrenheit one night.  Mom and Dad unhooked the RV from its park services, brought the slides in and had to use some external heat sources to keep the RV and its water systems from freezing.  From what I overheard Dad say, RV’s are not designed to live in this kind of cold weather.  But, this winter has been unusual according to what I am hearing everyone says.

full time rv living

Look at the ice build-up from just a leaky faucet at the RV park’s water service just after two days!  Wow, I wanted to go out and lick it but it was just too cold!

full time rv living

Sorry for the sideways pictures!  I just could not get my fat paws to rotate them.  Oh well!

The day Dad took that picture it was 18 degrees Fahrenheit and predictions of snow showers.  I only went out to do my business and came right back in.  Yikes!  Way too cold for this Corgi that has gotten used to Florida winters!!

full time rv living

This is what my RV home looked like after a Texas winter storm blew through.  Notice the RV is not hooked up to water and sewer service.  It’s a good thing that Dad did that.  Others who did not unhook their RV services had their water hoses and sewer hoses freeze and rupture.  Dad says you have to be mindful in the winter if you are going to enjoy RV living when it is below freezing.

This is the first year in ten years of full time RV living that I have had temperatures this cold!  We had a brief period of teen temperatures while in the panhandle of Florida back in 2014.  I remember Dad took a picture of the RV with ice all over it from an ice storm.

I can’t seem to locate it so you will have to take my word on that.  I do remember it was 16 degrees though.  Dad had to get out a hair dryer to heat up the door and melt the ice so he could take me out to go potty.  Once he got the door open he found the steps of the RV all iced over so he had to thaw those out too.

Fortunately, with our current RV, Frank, there are no steps other than the external step we use sometimes.  It can be removed if it becomes iced over.  I think you can see it in the picture above just to the left of Frank, the RV.

In the past few weeks we have had temperatures in the twenties and thirties at night, but in the next few days, it is supposed to get into the seventies during the day and the fifties at night.  That is much better for February, I think.  I can deal with that.  When it is below forty degrees it is just too cold for me!!

Well, not much else to report so far this year.  Mom and Dad have been working a lot and trying to keep warm.  I even saw ski jackets come out that I have not seen in years.  Oh well, I am tired and need another nap.  This writing this is exhausting.  I don’t know how Dad can write thousands of words doing these posts.

This Corgi just does not have that much to say!

So, bye bye for now and we’ll catch up with you again soon!

The RV Show USA

Check Out:

“The RV Show USA”

We discussed with Alan Warren, the show’s host, the full time RV living lifestyle: who we are, how we got started, how you can do it too, and ways to afford the lifestyle!

===> Part One – The Full Time RV Living Lifestyle <===

 ===> Part Two – How You Can Afford the Lifetsyle <===

===> The Entire One Hour Show <===

Lindsey, the RVing Corgi Early Winter 2017 Update

Hello, from Lindsey the full time RV living Corgi! It has been a few months since I last checked in. Please forgive me as I am an older Corgi and I seem to nap more frequently than when I was younger. Plus, the home on wheels has been moving around a lot these past few months!

With my short legs its hard to use the laptop while the RV is in motion. I keep falling off the dinette seat. And by the time we get to where we are going, I am too tired to think about writing.

So, here’s what we have been up to. Since we left Gettysburg, where I last wrote to you, we traveled to Heber Springs, AR for three weeks of business activities for Mom and Dad.  First, there was another RV Tech Course, the eleventh for the year, the Workamper News Rendezvous, a yearly gathering for work campers to learn more about the lifestyle, then the NRVIA National Conference followed by a five-day advanced RV inspector training class.

I did not see much of Mom and Dad during that time because they were always gone from the RV.  We did get to camp outside the Workamper News office.  Steve and Kathy Jo Anderson, the owners of Workamper News, have RV services so we were able to hang out there.  It was really convenient and allowed Mom and Dad to be closer to the action.

The Anderson’s also have a fur-kid named Charlie that I can play with when I’m not in a grumpy old lady mood!

Dad was able to spend time in the mornings with the students in the RV Tech Course.  From what I understand the class is designed to help people understand their RV better.  Once they complete the five days they are able to solve most of the problems that they will have in their RV’s and do that by themselves. That can sure save time and money! I see Dad fixing stuff all the time. Sure makes me happy! I don’t want to be without lights, water, electricity, etc.

The Workamper Rendezvous is for RVers who want to learn more about living in their RV’s, traveling the country, and working in areas where they want to hang out for a while.  The event was to help people learn how to become a workamper, how to market to employers who want workampers, and planning to get to that point.  Dad did a seminar on the steps to becoming a workamper. Mom said he did a good job!

Then, a few days later, there was the NRVIA National Conference.  This is a yearly event that brings the NRVIA certified RV inspectors together to learn more from each other as well as from vendors who come to share their knowledge.  Dad got to act as Emcee again like he did last year. They must have had fun because they were sure gone from the RV a lot!  I heard Dad talking about all the great stories of how NRVIA inspectors helped folks who bought an RV.  Because of what they do, many have been spared from buying a money pit!

I really like traveling in my RV!   I can’t imagine what it would be like to have one that has constant problems.  Now I know I have heard Dad say that they are not called RV’s, but RVR’s. He says that means “Repair Vehicle Regularly”.   I think what he is saying is that if you move your RV a lot, it is going to develop issues.  The main reason is that it is like a rolling earthquake.  With the condition of highways in the US, things are going to rattle loose and need repair.  At least I think that is what he is saying.

He does not speak Corgi well as I would like, but I think that is what I learned from listening to his conversation with Mom.

After Heber Springs we left and headed back to Athens, Texas to the Texan RV Park. This is the new home of the National RV Training Academy.  Again, Dad and Mom had more classes, just like in Heber Springs, AR.

Then, Mom and Dad had a family emergency, plus they had another class to teach in Baton Rouge, so in mid-November, we left Athens, TX and spent a week in Baton Rouge with some really nice people. I was alone a lot, once again, but I sense the people that Mom and Dad were with great people.

We parked outside one man’s house in a place he had set up for services for our RV home. I also saw Mom and Dad bopping around in a big electric cart. They had to go about 300 yards to a facility that was set up for them to train some advanced RV inspection skills to folks who work with government agencies to help displaced homeowners find temporary housing in RV’s. They need to be inspected first, so Mom and Dad were helping to get them up to speed to do that.

After that, we were off to South Florida. We were on the road for two more weeks and were back in Athens, TX by early December for the last round of classes for 2017.

While in Florida, Mom and Dad decided to buy a new truck. I was thinking it was for me so I could also go with them more, but I don’t think that was the reason. From what I understood by pretending to sleep, but really listening in to what they were saying, was that in order to serve their clients better they felt a Chevy Colorado with a 6-speed manual transmission, that could be flat towed, would be a good choice for their business.

Dad says it a real “Bare-Hare”, a term picked up from Steve Anderson, which means it does not have all the frills that some trucks do, but then again, any truck that has a manual transmission is built that way. Dad likes that because he says all my dog hair really sticks to carpets and it is hard to vacuum up so he is glad the truck does not have any. But, I can still leave nose marks on all the windows . . . LOL!

Dad wants to put a truck topper on the rear truck bed to allow for safe storage of work equipment.  He then wants to create some graphics for that topper to advertise for their company, HMRVI Corporation.  I think he should put a picture of me in the back window for people to enjoy!  LOL

Since the holidays are just around the corner Dad is in the RV all the time and keeping me awake.   I wish he would get back to work!  Uh oh, Dad is behind me looking over my big ears and he just corrected me.  He says he is working, just on different projects from his RV office in our RV home.

Given it is now almost Christmas, I want to wish all my peeps out there a very Merry Christmas and wishes for a healthy and pawporous, I mean prosperous New Year!!

Lindsey out . . .

 

Kidde Safety Recall – Kidde Extinguisher Recall

The Kidde Company (pronounced Kida) announced a massive recall on the fire extinguishers that they produce.  This Kidde safety recall has been initiated for the safety of its customers.  The Kidde extinguisher recall is on certain Kidde fire extinguishers.  The company says they are broadcasting this recall voluntarily and that they will replace it for free, a comparable or better unit if you follow the proper steps.

About forty million of the Kidde brand fire extinguishers have been recalled because they may not work properly.  One death has been reported along with injuries and property damage due to the failure of these units.  The Kidde fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to operate and can fail during a fire emergency, according to this recall notice.

In addition, the nozzle can detach from the body of the unit with enough force to pose an impact hazard!

I will help you identify whether your Kidde fire extinguisher is included in the recall and show you where to find the information you need to process your request for a free replacement.

kidde extinguisher recall

Now, let’s see if your Kidde fire extinguisher is affected by the recall!

There are two styles of Kidde fire extinguishers included in the recall.  They are certain plastic handle fire extinguishers and push button pin fire extinguishers.

kidde extinguisher recallIf the Kidde fire extinguisher has a gauge, the first thing to look for is a vertically oriented pull pin that is either fixed with two connectors or hanging with a single connection.  The other distinguishing factor is a straight, not a curved handle.

kidde extinguisher recallkidde extinguisher recallkidde extinguisher recallkidde extinguisher recall

The other type of Kidde extinguisher recall is for certain units with the push button.  These extinguishers have push buttons and a t-shaped pull pin and a loop handle.  They come in two sizes and may be either red or white.  If your push button model is used with a personal watercraft, Kidde does not currently have an exact replacement for it, but they will provide a replacement that is US Coast Guard rated, and of a similar size.

kidde extinguisher recallkidde extinguisher recallkidde extinguisher recallkidde extinguisher recall

Let’s take a moment to identify Kidde fire extinguishers that are not affected by the Kidde safety recall.  If your fire extinguisher has a metal handle and metal pull tab, in any style, it is not affected like the plastic handle extinguishers with horizontal plastic pull pins.

kidde extinguisher recall

Curved black plastic handled units are also not affected.  These extinguishers come in various sizes and are either red, white, or silver and can be BC or BCE rated.  The important thing to remember is the horizontal plastic pull pin and curved black plastic handle units are not on recall!

kidde extinguisher recallkidde extinguisher recall

To process a replacement as part of the Kidde extinguisher recall you will need to provide three unique identifiers from your unit.

kidde extinguisher recall

You will first need to locate and identify the model number and color of the fire extinguisher.  The model number can be found on the bottom right of the Kidde fire extinguisher label, perhaps below the UL mark.  It may consist of both alphabetic characters and numbers.  If more than one model is listed on the label you will only need to submit the first model listed.

kidde extinguisher recall

If you are entering your replacement request online, the web form includes a drop-down list of affected models in the color of the Kidde fire extinguisher.  Please be sure to select your respective combination of model and color.  If you don’t see your fire extinguisher listed it is not subject to the recall.

kidde extinguisher recallkidde extinguisher recall

For the date of manufacture, you will need to locate the ten digit code on the side or back of the cylinder.

kidde extinguisher recallkidde extinguisher recall

You are going to be interested in digits five through nine.  These will tell you the day and year that the Kidde fire extinguisher was manufactured.  Digits five, six, and seven represent the day of the year.  That can be from one to three hundred sixty-five.  Digits nine and ten represent the last two digits of the year.  For example:

kidde extinguisher recallkidde extinguisher recallkidde extinguisher recallThe final item you will need to complete your request for a replacement is the serial number.  The serial number is located near the model number on the unit’s label and it will consist of a combination of both alphabetic characters and numbers.

 

kidde extinguisher recall

Now that you have all the information you need for the Kidde safety recall, and determined yours is on recall based on what I have discussed here, you can go to kidde.com, or call their toll free number to so they can ship you a replacement.

kidde extinguisher recall

From kidde.com:

kidde extinguisher recall
Please keep your affected Kidde fire extinguisher until the replacement unit arrives.  Once you receive the new one you will find instructions on how to return your affected fire extinguisher.

This Kidde safety recall is so widespread that recently fifteen RV manufacturers submitted a recall notice.  These include Midwest Automotive Designs, Winnebago, Thor Motor Coach, Forest River, Keystone RV, Bison Coach, DRV Suites, Entegra Coach, Cruiser RV, Heartland RV, K-Z RV, Highland Ridge RV, Starcraft RV, REV Recreation Group, and Pleasant Valley Teardrop Trailers.

All tolled that equals 1,883,731 affected RV’s with these Kidde fire extinguishers that were factory installed.

These RV manufacturers will let their owners know and direct them to contact Kidde directly using the information that I have shared here.

Best wishes for safe RV travels!

Howard and Pam – usedrvinspection.com

Lindsey the RVing Corgi Early Fall 2017 Update

Since my last post telling you all about my emergency surgery, I have been a busy Corgi!   Mom and Dad keep moving my home on wheels.  Since July I have been in nine states.  I have spent a lot of time getting lulled to sleep by the drone of the road as Mom and Dad drive to all the places they have taken me too.

After a while, one park seems like another.  I can only tell the difference between them by the smells I pick up.  And since they are not mine, I get to read all the other p-mail left by other traveling canines.  And of course, I get to respond in kind.  “Life is never boring for me, the RV traveling Corgi!”

So, after my surgery thing in northern Indiana, near Elkhart, Mom and Dad stayed another week or so conducting business and visiting RV manufacturers while I rested up after my traumatic experience.  My fur has still not completely grown back but I have less of an Amish but then I did a few months ago.  An old girl like me does not grow fur like I used to like when I was a puppy, even given my clean eating regimen that Mom has had me on my whole life.

Before we left Indiana Mom and Dad worked with a client of theirs to provide RV inspection services on a brand new RV.  I thought that was kind of weird since Dad says he inspects used RV’s.  He has been asked by banks to inspect new RV’s.  It turns out these homes on wheels, whether new or used, need someone to take a look at them before unsuspecting buyers wind up with a money pit or a warranty headache.

Dad’s client was very happy after he found out all the things that needed attention.  He was saved from having to bring the RV back for the nine days it remained at the dealership being repaired.  I was out in the RV while Mom and Dad did the inspection.  They were at the RV dealership most of the day, so I know they were really searching to find problems with the RV, and to be sure the RV was ready to be lived in.  I got to see Dad’s RV inspection report that he sent to the client.  Wow!  Even I had to say, what a dog with fleas!  This new RV needed some TLC before it headed out on the road!

After leaving the Elkhart area Mom and Dad stopped in Indianapolis to visit the folks at JG Lubricant Services to see what happens to the oil and coolant samples that they pull from motorized RV’s like mine.  Dad wanted to see how the whole process works once the fluid samples reach the lab.  Once again, I was in the RV while they did their thing.  Sometimes I really feel left out, but I know four-legged kids are not allowed to go everywhere unless they are service dogs, which I am not.  I am just a faithful fur-kid who offers love, affection, cuteness, and guarding services.  LOL

Mom and Dad really enjoyed their time with Tom Johnson of JG Lubricant Services and the folks at the lab.  They said everyone was really nice and very excited about the possibilities that exist with fluid analysis services being offered by NRVIA inspectors.

From there it was time to head to Texas to meet up with friends and business associates at their new RV Park.  It’s called Texan RV Park.  From what I hear there is going to be lots of excitement going on there over the next six months.  I’ll keep you posted on that one.  I get to chase and bark at all the geese that hang out at the pond that is behind our RV site.  Lots of fun for me!

After Dad’s advanced RV inspector training class, we all had a few weeks to chill out before heading out on the road again.  This time it was to Hershey, PA for the RV show that happens every year in early September.  This was my third time to the show.  Mom and Dad were gone a lot so I had to guard the RV and catch naps when I could.

Mom and Dad got to spend time with some of the other vendors that offer awesome RV products!  At least that’s what they say.  They especially love Eric and Tami Johnson who offer products, and great service, to keep RVers connected on the road, safe as they travel, and equipped with lots of other cool stuff!  Dad loves his wifi booster!  I think he also said something about getting a cellular signal booster to help with his MiFi unit when the signal is weak.  They have been in some areas recently where a few extra bars would really help with video streaming.

Dad said he was able to do some seminars and talk to future RV owners about buying and selling an RV with confidence.  He had 30 to sixty folks per session.  I heard him say that people really enjoyed the insight into things to think about before purchasing an RV.  He and Mom also were in the Workamper News booth and the NRVIA booth answering visitors questions about the work camping lifestyle, RV inspections, and becoming an RV inspector.  They told me it was a lot of fun!

So now we are in Gettysburg, PA for a few weeks with a lot of people who want to learn about how to fix their own RV and then possibly becoming RV inspectors.  Dad says nobody should be without a small business of their own.  It’s a great way to take advantage of the American dream.  It’s really a great idea for full time RVers and part-timers too.

Okay, it’s time for another nap!  I will check in next month and let you know what else I have been up to.  THis next month is going to be busy for Mom and Dad with lots more traveling, so check back and I’ll share what me, Mom, and Dad have been up to.

Lindsey out!

Pay Attention to Gas Prices Near State Lines!

So far this year, Pam, Lindsey, and I, as we have traveled, we have gone at least 500 miles to the next destination. This kind of travel has taken us across multiple state lines, sometimes a couple of them a day.  I frequently pay attention to gas prices near me as we move across state lines.

What I wanted to share in this post is something that is of importance to most RVers, fuel costs.  Now, we don’t stress over this subject because it is what it is:  I don’t know of anyone who can move their house and all their possessions so cheaply.  For us, we get around ten miles to the gallon with our current RV.  So, if we travel 1,000 miles, and gas costs $2.50 a gallon, as an example, we would spend $250 for that distance.  Not too bad!

Gas prices Near Me!

What if gas prices near me are possibly less.  What if we were able to buy that same gas for $2.20 a gallon?  Would it be worth knowing that?  If that cheaper gas was located at a place that was on our route, and we could drive a little further to get to it, why would we not do that?  That could save us $30.  No big deal, but it just makes plain good sense, right?  The other case can happen as well, the gas could be more.

Crossing state borders can drastically increase or decrease your gasoline bill.  GasBuddy has identified twenty high-risk areas where knowing that they can exist can definitely save you some moola!  When it comes to filling up a fifty to one hundred gallon fuel tank on an average sized RV, these differences can be significant.  Hey, any savings you can make might buy your evening dinner at Cracker Barrel!

“Generally, the price spread between states next to each other is the difference in state and local taxes, but can be enhanced if the two neighbors have different types of required gasoline from different regions,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst.  “Usually, traveling across state borders isn’t an event that sticks out to motorists who are usually busy taking pictures of the welcome signs, but gas prices can stealthily surge just by crossing over the state line.  To avoid overspending, motorists should mind the price spread and look up gas prices on both sides of the border in advance to make an informed decision on where to fill up.”

gas prices near me

As Pam and I travel we have found that Google Maps, running on a tablet attached to a suction cup windshield mount, has been the best way for us to get where we are going and the easiest to deal with.  Google Maps is an easy app to use as well as it has live updates during travel.  This app also shows gas prices near me.  This information, as well as the GasBuddy app, has definitely saved us money as we travel through different states.

gas prices near me gas prices near me

Now, we have been fans of Pilot and Flying J travel centers because you can be assured there is enough room to navigate the premises with any type of RV.  Plus, if you have the RV plus card you can save five to eight cents a gallon and charge at the pump, no need to go inside.  Now, I still compare their prices against other retailers, but usually, it works out in my favor.

I also want to get back to this live update comment I made.  With the Google Maps app running while I drive, with the traffic feature enabled, if there is an accident ahead that has slowed traffic, or closed the highway, I am re-routed around the slow up and saved from sitting in a traffic jam and wasting fuel.

gas prices near me

gas prices near me

During our travels last month we were stopping for fuel as we had planned to do before crossing a state line, and upon trying to re-enter our planned route the Google Maps app told us that we should not get back on the highway entrance ramp, but travel seven miles south of that and re-enter the highway there.  The app identified a seven-hour delay because of an accident.  As we got further south of our location and were able to see the highway, there were two trucks that had hit one another.  We found out later that one trucker was dead on impact.  The highway was littered with debris and it took all day to clear before vehicles were let through.  We, however, did not have to sit on the highway and wait due to our technology running.  Apparently, not a lot of other people use this great source!

But, when it comes to finding gas prices near me, the Google Maps app is definitely the best way for me to pay attention to fuel prices, as I need fuel, and am near state lines where gas can either be more or less on one side of the price line or the other.

So, use those great resources that are out there and enjoy your travels!

 

Blessings,

Howard and Pam

Lindsey, the RVing Corgi Summer 2017 Update

Well, a lot sure has happened since my last post!  Unfortunately, it happened to me.

Mom was doing her daily brushing of my fur and noticed a bump on my really cute Corgi butt!  No pride here.

Mom was really concerned and decided to take me to the vet for testing on the new growth.  I did not notice it but Mom is always concerned about me given I will be thirteen on July ninth.

Friends of Mom and Dad were so nice and allowed us to borrow their really big truck to take a trip to the vet that was about eight miles away in the next town.  Taking the RV for short trips can be a pain sometimes!  Mom and Dad usually take the Honda out when they need to run errands, but since it does not have a side car it would be hard for me to travel on it.  LOL

I really did not know where they were taking me until I got there.  I am not a big fan of vets because it usually means I am going to get poked.  And that is exactly what happened.  First, it was sticking needles into the growth on my butt and then they wanted some of my blood too!

I am not sure what was going on but Mom and Dad seemed really sad!  They had to schedule some emergency surgery in order to remove my butt lump.  I don’t know what the big deal was but there seemed to be some urgency to getting the thing removed.

I overheard Mom say that if it was not removed I would only have three to six months to live.  Yikes!!

I am so glad Mom and Dad care about me and take care of these things!  I had no idea what was going on the day of surgery other than I got another ride in a rental car.  Mom and Dad had to rent a car because I was going to have multiple trips back and forth to the vet.

So, Mom dropped me off at 8 am in the morning and I was excited to get in there as I remember getting Beggin Strips the last visit.  I am all about the food you know!

I was placed in a little pen, given something and after that, I don’t remember too much till Mom and Dad came to pick me up.  I had a thing on my head and some stuff sticking out my butt.  I think it looked bad because Mam and Dad looked really sad again.

I did not realize how bad I look till I saw these pictures.  Mom worked really hard to keep my incision clean.  I have been taking lots of pills wrapped in chicken.  Yummy!  They are supposed to help me get better.

Mom and Dad had to wait a week to get the report back from the lab on testing of the mast cell tumor that was removed.  I guess the news was good because there was a big cheer when they talked to the vet.  It appears the tumor was the lowest in severity and that they got it all.  According to the vet, there is a low chance of it coming back.  Thank goodness!!

A few days later I had my drain tubes removed.

Five days later I had the stitches removed.  The vet was happy with my progress.  Mom and Dad want me to be around for a lot more years.

As of today, my incision is healing well and I am on the mend.  It has not bothered me and I have been leaving it alone, so no more cone on the head.  Yea!!

Mom and Dad are going to be giving me a natural cancer support concoction that she found online after doing lots of research.  They have been big fans of essential oils and herbs for many years!  So they are going to get something specifically formulated for us four-legged furkids.

Thanks, Mom!   I hope to be doing my bark report for many more years to come!!  Please share your furkids experiences if you want to in the comment area below.

Until next time . . . . .

Lindsey, the RVing Corgi Early Summer 2017 Update

Lindsey here!  Since my last writing, I have been in eleven states.  Mom and Dad still keep moving my home on wheels.  They say full time RV living for them involves traveling and working in multiple locations in order to grow their business.  I don’t know what that means but I do get to leave p-mail in a lot of different states.

Things have improved on the computer usage issue.  Dad bought another HP laptop computer, with Windows 10, so now there are three laptops around.  I guess humans like to look out the window too and that’s why Dad spends so much time in front of the computer.

Dad wanted to get rid of the oldest one but I grabbed it and now have one that I can use to write my blog posts.  With my big paws, I can’t type very well, but I am getting better at it.

I was able to change the fonts sizes on the screen so I can see things a lot easier given my failing eye site!  I will be thirteen human years old next month.  That makes me at least ninety-one in doggy years.

I spent a few weeks in Mesa, AZ where it was hot and there was absolutely no grass to pee on!  It is nothing but gravel, palm trees, and cactus.  Mom and Dad were busy spending time with other people who live in RV’s talking about technical stuff that makes no sense to me.  But they seem to enjoy it!

From there we left to head to a place called California.  I was there when I was a puppy, but I don’t remember that much during that RV trip.  Anyway, we did get a chance to do a little sightseeing on the way there.  We stopped in a place called Lake Havasu.

 

 

This place was a little better than Mesa.  At least there was a big lake and a little more grass.  We stayed in an RV park near town.  Mom and Dad were gone quite a bit going to see this thing called the London Bridge and the sites of Lake Havasu City.  They even rented a Hobie kayak and paddled around the bridge and lake.

I couldn’t go because it interrupted my nap time.

After a few days there we headed to Bakersfield, California for another session of classes that Dad was teaching.  It was really hot there!  One day it hit one hundred and three degrees.  I nearly burned my puppy paws on the gravel and asphalt.  We were there for a few weeks and then we got to leave.

The RV park was in the middle of orange groves and there was not much else around.  So, between the heat and that, I was ready to move on!

From there Mom and Dad said we were headed to a much cooler place, and that it rained a lot too. We traveled north to a place I had never heard of.  After leaving California we were in a state called Oregon.  It did get much cooler and rainy.  One day it was in the forties, whatever that means.  All I know is that I was glad to have my heavy fur coat.

After spending a few weeks with more nice people in both Salem and Jefferson, Oregon, we took a long drive to Colorado where Mom, Dan and I used to live.  We were only a couple of hours from where my “stick and bricks” home used to be.

We came across the central part of Colorado on Hwy 50.  We had to cross a mountain pass called Monarch Pass.  We climbed over 10,000 feet and found snow from a late season snow storm.  Dad took a picture of the RV there.

We ventured on and stayed a week in a town called Canon City.  Mom and Dad spent time with more RVers, some that are also enjoying the full time RV lifestyle, talking about the advantages of operating a small business out of their RV home.

Some of them decided to take Dad’s advanced RV inspection training class the next week in Pueblo, Colorado.  But before leaving Canon City Mom and Dad were able to do a little sightseeing.  They visited a place called the Royal Gorge Bridge Park.  They do allow dogs there, and I could have gone except that given my age I am not able to really take long walks like I used to.  So I stayed in the RV and took a nap.

I heard Mom and Dad talking about it.  They said it was really a beautiful place!  They took lots of pictures of the Colorado landscape.  I included some of them here.

royal gorge

After some boondocking nights around Colorado Springs, Mom said we needed to leave the state and head to Indiana.  Now I have been there before.  I was there a couple of years ago when Mom and Dad were there for factory tours and teaching engagements.

So now we are in Shipshewana in what I have heard Mom call Amish country.  There are a lot of horses here and people riding around in buggies, or what some call carriages.  Some of the people here don’t have cars.  They choose a more traditional lifestyle.  They seem to love to make baked goods and country style cooking.

Mom and Dad seem to like it!

We’ll be here for a bit while Mom and Dad conduct more of their business activities.  I have had a chance to meet some big furry beasts that are in the field behind our RV home.  I think they are also horses, but I have never seen ones this big,  I barked at Mom and she said they are draft horses.

Well, that’s all for now.  I’ll bark again soon!  It’s time for a nap.  I wore myself out remembering all the places I have recently been.

Don’t Wait for Service, Learn How to Fix it Yourself!

Royal Gorge Bridge Park

Full time RV living allows for such great opportunities to work and visit beautiful locations.  We recently had the opportunity to be back in Colorado.  We took our RV home to Canon City.  A must visit place was the Royal Gorge Bridge Park!

royal gorge

We were in the area to teach a morning business session during RV Mobile Academy’s 5-day RV maintenance tech course.  It is a class designed for RVers to help them better understand their RV and how to fix it when things go wrong.

Royal Gorge Bridge Park

 

When you visit the Royal Gorge Bridge Park you get a pass for two days.  We were unable to go again the next day so the folks at the park were gracious enough to allow us to visit again a few days later by validating our pass for the week.  Admission is $26 for the two-day pass, but given the facility and the number of things you can do while visiting the Royal Gorge Bridge, it is well worth the money.  Plus, those monies go towards keeping the place beautiful and maintained!

royal gorge

 

We started our visit to the park by taking the new gondola that takes you across the gorge to the other side where there are several attractions to enjoy.  They have the world’s scariest Skycoaster, the Plaza Theater, the Tommy Knocker Playland, the Elk Park Amphitheater, Eateries, and Spectacular Views.

 

royal gorge

There is lots of history at the Royal Gorge Bridge Park!  There is a short movie that is played all day long at the Plaza Theater.  It charts the history of the Gorge, how it was developed and the story of the bridge.

royal gorge

royal gorge

royal gorge

Most people don’t realize the Canon City wildfire of 2013 mostly destroyed the Royal Gorge Bridge Park, except for the bridge and a few structures. Most structures in the park were destroyed as well as the gondola and the incline railway.

royal gorge

royal gorge

royal gorge

royal gorge

So, in 2013 the rebuilding began!  Everything has been rebuilt, new structures now stand where old ones were destroyed, and the park has been greatly improved.  It is very modern and a very comfortable place to hang out and enjoy the beauty of the Colorado landscape.

We really enjoyed walking the bridge due to the views and beauty of the Royal Gorge!  In our two days visiting the park, we saw the bridge at many different times of the day and during different weather conditions.  The second day we were there the winds were gusting to 30 mph and made for an exciting walk across the bridge.  It was much like walking on a cruise ship.  Check out this video!

Did you see the bridge move and sway in the wind?  Suspension bridges are designed to do so.  It really freaks people out when they first see this for the first time and experience the sensation while walking across the bridge.

From a high viewpoint structure on the other side of the bridge, we caught a beautiful view on the second day we visited the park.

royal gorge bridge park

We found our visit to the Royal Gorge Bridge Park very relaxing!  It is a beautiful place to walk around, play on some of the attractions, and enjoy the incredible views that exist in the Colorado Rockies!  Come enjoy it for yourselves.

Pam, Lindsey, and I wish you happy RV travels as you enjoy this beautiful country of ours!

Walmart Overnight Parking – Is RV Wally Docking Safe?

While out enjoying the full time RV living lifestyle Pam and I spend a fair bit of time at Walmart Overnight Parking spots because we are on the move a lot.  There are many occasions as we are traveling from one RV training location to another that we just don’t have the time to seek out an RV park that is off the beaten path.

 

The best part about Walmarts is that they are conveniently located right off most major highways.  This makes it a great spot to stop for the night, restock on needed items whether they be food items or other necessities.

We also like that most Walmart’s welcome RVers to stay the night as long as we adhere to a few rules.  Some Walmart’s do not allow overnight parking due to the county or the local ordinances, but most do.

 

When Walmart Overnight Parking you don’t want to look like you are staying long term: slides out, jacks down, chairs and awnings out, the grill operating, etc.  This is not the intent of what Walmart Overnight Parking was set up to be.  It is for a short rest and then it’s time to move on.  You might also be required to check in with the manager to let them know you are staying in their parking lot.

We see people doing all the things I just mentioned.  Unfortunately, if enough people do this Walmart may have fewer and fewer locations that allow RVers to stay overnight. Some already do not allow truckers anymore due to issues that have arisen with their use of the Walmart parking lot.

 

Is it Safe?

 

As we travel about and share our “Wally-docking” experiences we do get questions about the safety of overnight Walmart parking.  Like anything, you have to careful when you are in a strange place and are not completely aware of your surroundings.  Situations can change and safety must be considered at all times.

 

We have spent the night parked with truckers, other RVers, and car sleepers!

 

We have stopped at Walmart locations that were on our travel plans, and once having arrived at the location, moved on because we felt it would be safer to seek another location.  We do have other safety measures in place to protect ourselves and our property, but we would rather not put ourselves in that situation in the first place.

 

In certain situations, we have decided to stay but then decided to not leave the RV, but just rest a bit and then move on.

 

Some would say that if this is such an issue, why not just stay at an RV park.  Well, truth be known, some of the RV parks we have stayed in were worse than any Walmart parking lot that we have been to!

 

We have also stayed at Cracker Barrel locations, truck stops, and rest areas.  In the nine years we have been on the road, we have been fine.  We just keep our wits about us and consider all the facts before planning a stop and re-assess once we get there.

 

We have to say that we appreciate Walmart’s allowing us to stay with them and we are loyal supporters of the Walmart chain.  We pay our camp fees for the night by shopping with them.  LOL!

 

Walmart Overnight Parking in our RV is a convenient way for us to travel on business, shorten our travel time by not having to deal with campsite registration, hookups, time to get to the RV parks, etc.  It works well for us, our full time RV lifestyle, our business needs, and the ability to keep costs down while logging the miles.

 

We recently stopped in Fort Stockton, TX on the way to Mesa, AZ.  There must have been thirty RV’s in the parking lot.  Apparently, we are not alone with our choice to spend time at these locations.

 

Pam, Lindsey, and I wish you happy travels!

Lindsey, the RVing Corgi Spring 2017 Update

Lindsey here!  Sorry I have not been writing as much as I have before.  I have been busy traveling because Mom and Dad keep moving our home on wheels every week or so.  Also, they are around so much I can’t even get my paws on a computer to use.

I can’t believe it has been since last May that I have written a blog post on Mom and Dad’s website!

I will have to say that since I had my last birthday I have been a bit depressed.  I am now twelve years old and will be thirteen in July.  My paws are not quite as flexible as they used to be.  I am having a hard time with the keyboard.  And, I need glasses to really see well enough to do my best work!  But Mom and Dad can’t find any that fit my face and meet my fashion requirements.

Mom and Dad are so busy these days traveling from spot to spot helping people find good used RV’s like the one I travel in.  They also help other people to learn how to do the same thing if they desire a similar lifestyle.

I love that I always have a new source of p-mail to check out at all the different places I get to visit!  I leave my responses but I am not always around long enough to check back for the response.  It’s okay though.  I love moving on to the next adventure!

Last week Mon and Dad were teaching an all day class and I was so glad to see them return to the RV in the late afternoons.  But then, all of the sudden the walls were coming in and the jacks were coming up and my house on wheels was headed out of the RV park we were staying in.  I was like, what the heck?

They forgot to tell me on Friday night that we had to be in another state, 1000 miles away by Sunday.  So, I did what every self-respecting Corgi does in such situations, I crawled into my comfy crate and started a wonderful nap while Mom and Dad drove my home on wheels for 325 miles.  I did not see much of them till around 11 pm because I was enjoying my sleep time.

We stopped at a Walmart in Fort Stockton, TX for a short rest before another big drive day.  I was pretty rested so Mom took me for a little walk amongst all the other RV’s that were there.  After that, I was ready to return to my home on wheels and start another good nap with Mom and Dad, on their bed.  Ah, life is good.  My job is to protect and serve!

The next day we were out early and off to a place called Tuscon, AZ.  I had been through there before about six years ago but don’t remember it too much other than sitting on the side of the road with a tire/brake issue.  At least that is what I heard Dad say.

After an eleven hour day of the RV moving down I-10 through three states, we arrived in Tuscon, AZ.  Guess where we stayed?  At Walmart!  Mom and Dad call it Wally Docking.  They love Walmart because most of them welcome RVers to stay overnight and rest a bit before moving on.

We are usually not there too long, just long enough to get some rest and shop for supplies.  I see some people who do the same but it looks like they are staying for an extended stay: slides out, jacks down, awnings and chairs out, and the grill fired up.  Not exactly the intent of what Walmart wants to allow.  I think Dad is going to write another post about this issue.  If people abuse the privilege then Walmart may take away the offer and not allow RV’s to stay overnight.  That would be a shame that a few could ruin it for the rest of us nomadic puppy dogs!

After a little more shopping for groceries, the next morning we were off to our destination of Mesa, AZ.  Mom and Dad did a great job of getting us to our destination on time so we could meet some more great people who want to learn all about the RV lifestyle and how to fix their RV’s themselves.

Dad says eighty percent of the things on an RV are easy to access and easy to fix if you have some basic knowledge about them.  Dad also likes to encourage RVers who spend a fair bit of time in their RV’s to run a small business as a way to fund travels.  It sounds really cool but I have no idea what he is talking about.  I guess I should attend his class.

Well, that’s all for now.  I am pretty exhausted and it is time for another nap.  So, until the next time that I can steal Dad’s computer away from him, happy travels my peeps!

Driving I 10 Through Louisiana – December 2016

Traveling through Louisiana along I 10 and I 20 has always been an adventure for us. We get asked by other RVers who are traveling along I 10, headed east or west, how is driving I 10 through Louisiana?  In our years of travel, we have avoided I 10 because it has always been really bad.

While traveling I 10 through Louisiana we have had things fall off the wall in our RV, we have had things unscrew themselves and fall off, and we have even had window shades fall down in our previous 5th wheel due to the abrupt bridge abutments that the state of Louisiana just could not seem to get right.

So, due to all these factors we have avoided I 10 through Louisiana for the past five years up until last month!

Pam, Lindsey and I have logged about six thousand miles in the past four months traveling the east coast states and into the southern midwest.  We have been traveling with the Texas RV Professor and the owners of Workamper News in order to assist in helping RV Tech Course students who want to develop an RV inspection business.

In December we were in New Braunfels, TX and our next stop was Florida. Of course, the logical route was to take was I 10.  But with our past experiences of navigating that route we were hesitant to subject the RV to the needless pounding of the terrible roads in Louisiana.

So, I did a Google search to find out what the current conditions are along I 10 through Louisiana.  All I discovered were posts about past and current traffic, but not about the current conditions of the road while navigating that route.  I found a few posts on the RV forums from RVers asking a similar question, but no one specifically addressed what their experience was driving I 10 through Louisiana.

So I am here to share with you what it was like for us to drive along I10 from east Texas alway through Louisiana into Mississipi.

For those of you that don’t know, we are not driving our big truck and 5th wheel anymore but our Winnebago class C RV.  It is a thirty-foot long vehicle and we pull a six by twelve foot cargo trailer.  The gross vehicle weight of the RV is 14,500 pounds.  We had the RV weighed a while back with the trailer attached and discovered we are about a thousand pounds under that gross vehicle weight.

However, we are at near maximum rating for the rear axle.  So, we are about a thousand pounds light on the front axle but close to the maximum on the rear axle with the fluids aboard that we need to travel comfortably. Why did I bother explaining that?

Well, the more overloaded you are while traveling over rough roads the more damage you can do to your RV!  So, you can see my concern here when I consider travel routes on roads that I know in the past have been a disaster: I 10 through Louisiana, I 40 through Oklahoma City, OK, I 40 through Little Rock, AR, etc.

Here is another factor to consider when traveling on poor roads: the faster you go the worse the pounding will be!

Pam and I keep our speed between fifty-five and sixty miles per hour.  Most times during our travels we are not in a hurry.  We allow plenty of time to get where we are going. So our recent experience on I 10 is based on all these factors.

I 10 through louisiana

As soon as we left Beaumont Texas and headed east through Orange Texas, the road was pretty rough.  Once we got past that section in into Lake Charles the roads were not bad at all.  Due to a late start, we only planned to get as far as Baton Rouge that day.  Even the bridge section east of Atchafalaya was not as bad as I remembered it with the rhythmic up and down motion of the RV.

I 10 through louisiana

The rest of our trip was uneventful.  We were surprised at the overall conditions of the roads and how much better they were than we remembered five years earlier.  You see, we have avoided I 10 through Louisiana for that long!

The next day we headed further east out of Baton Rough looking to head to Gulfport, Mississipi.  We left I 10 and took the northern route along I 12 as opposed to taking the southern I 10 route around New Orleans.  This route was acceptable as well.

I 10 through louisiana

It was not long after that we were out of Louisiana and into Mississipi.

I 10 through louisiana

Our take away from the two-day drive headed east along I 10 through Louisiana was that it was no worse than anywhere else in the country and there were spots that were better than most.  We did take I 20 headed west through Shreveport a few weeks earlier and that was terrible!  We had to reduce our speed down to forty miles per hour in spots so we would not beat the RV to death.  I was afraid of what I was doing to the suspension!

So, if you are headed east and need to use I 10 through Louisiana, I think you will find it acceptable.  If you do, please share your experiences so we can keep this post up to date so other RV travelers can be in the know.  As I said, I was unable to get a real good description of what it was like to travel this route in an RV, so I hope this will help our fellow RV travelers!

As we head back west in a few months, I will give an update of that as well.

As a side not, if you are traveling using a smartphone to access Google Maps, please be sure you have a safe way to view your phone.  Pam and I use a windshield mounted holder that has performed wonderfully.  As we travel about I no longer have issues seeing my planned route clearly and I don’t need to take my eyes off the road.

I 10 through louisianaIf you prefer a professional GPS unit, you must check out this device by Rand McNally.  It features:

  • RV-specific routing – Get customized routing for your RV, or switch to car mode
  • Millions of RV POIs – Find RV parks and campgrounds, and explore places to visit with Rand McNally Editors’ Picks
  • Wi-Fi® connected services – Check weather and fuel prices along your route, access Traffic Everywhere
  • Advanced and improved lane guidance – Be prepared for what’s ahead, whether you’re approaching a turn or heading through a complicated intersection
  • Toll costs – View estimated toll costs and compare routes without tolls
  • Lifetime Maps – Get updates as long as you own the RVND™
  • Includes device Learning Series

I 10 through louisiana

 

Happy RV Travels in 2017!

 

Update March 2017:  We just traveled West on I-10 through Louisiana.  The roads were mostly fine except for Beau Bridge.  The concrete road was old and rutted.  We reduced speed to 45mph and did okay, but it was rough.  We were traveling at full load so the roughness was an issue.

As we got out of Louisiana into west Texas, Orange was pretty bad too for just a brief section of highway.

RV Maintenance Training – Learn at Home

Since I started my full time RVing website in 2012, we have over those years offered to assist folks with their RV problems.  People come to our site and leave us questions to see if we can help them with their issues.

rv electrical problems

When problems arise and we tell ourselves that it is really bad and going to cost a lot of money to fix, that is just a big hairy problem that appears to have no immediate solution.  Better known as a purple monkey!

This is just opinion without fact on the spur of the moment when one does not know how to handle simple issues that randomly occur in RV’s.

 

Here are some of the latest questions that we have had come up:

 

Lloyd – My inside lights flickered when I was connected to shore power. In the morning the lights were dim. I had to hook my battery charger to charge batteries to retract the slide.  When I did the lights went bright again because I was charging batteries.  All outlets were working and so was A/C & microwave. Do you think it’s the converter?

Me – Hi, Lloyd!

Thanks for stopping by our website! What is your battery voltage with the converter on? Then, what is the static voltage with the converter off?

Lloyd – I charged my battery’s, there at 13.09. Hook up batteries they drop to 12.53, hook up shore power & they stayed at 12.53. I turn one interior light on & it drop to 12.24 battery alone & when hook to shore power. Also with the refrigerator on auto both green * yellow (gas) lights flash. Before my issue when I plug to shore power only green light came on.

Me – Hi, Lloyd! It sounds like your converter may not be charging your house battery. Also, since it was not working it weakened your battery to the point that it no longer can carry the load on its own as evidenced by the quick drop in voltage. Check the fuses on your converter. You have to read more than the starting voltage when plugged into shore power and with the converter on. That 12.53 should have been above 13 volts if the converter was working properly.

Keep us posted!

RVTechCourseWaferImage

 

Jessica – I was running my propane heater I haven’t run it yet this year because I’ve been using a radiator heater well I turn it on but i turned it up to 77 and then next thing I know an hour or two later the lights start going dim and the heater shut completely off but the lights are dim and working but the thermostat is completely off what do you think it could be?  COULD IT HAVE gotten too cold and drained the battery or what and then my smart safe propane gas detector is beeping but there is no smell or anything and it was going off the other day but I wasn’t running any gas.

Me – Hi, Jessica!

Thanks for stopping by our website! The propane heater gets its power from the 12-volt house battery system. It does require quite a bit of power to operate. It can drop the battery voltage as much as a half volt during operation. If the battery is weak or the converter is not operating, you will have the kind of problems you are describing. I would check out your static battery voltage and if the converter is actually charging the battery as it is supposed to.

This will require a voltmeter and the ability to check the battery voltage with the converter operating and with it turned off. If things are working properly, there should be at least a half volt difference between the two. A properly operating 12-volt battery at static voltage should read around 12.6 volts.

Investigate and keep us posted! Thank you.

 

Henry – All the small lights in my camper(except for the one in the bathroom quit coming on. One day the lights above my bed flickered till i turned them off. Then a few days later they all just quit coming on. Got any ideas on what it might be?

Me – Have you checked your 12-volt fuses? Check that out and let us know.

 

Peter – Hi Howard, Just a quick word of thanks, your help and attention here are fantastic! Really makes me want to take the course. Too bad I see no Washington State stops

Me – Thanks for stopping by our website and inquiring about more information on an RV Basics Training Course in the Washington area. We will be in Bakersfield, CA in April and Salem, OR in May of 2017. If you want more information you can email me at howard@yourfulltimervliving.com.

 

Linda – Hi: We have a 39′ 2008 HR Neptune motorhome. There are two light switches in the bedroom that are unreliable. Sometimes the lights come on and sometimes they don’t come on for hours after you turn on the switch. Any ideas? Thank you

Me – Hi, Linda!

Thanks for stopping by our website! Light switches can develop a bit of corrosion just due to age and the RV environment. Sometimes some quick action of turning the switch on and off a few times can shake that loose. Of course, if you can find a replacement switch that matches what you have, this option would be the best bet for a long-term solution. You might also want to check your fuses to be sure one is not loose. If so, take a pair of needle nose pliers and crimp the connections a bit to create a better connection.

These are just some of the things we see on a daily basis. It usually is in regards to these kinds of electrical issues!

Did I know how to answer these kinds of questions before I took this training course?  No!  It is only through the knowledge that is shared through this learn-at-home video training program that I now can confidently solve my own RV issues and save money and time having to visit a service center.  They are usually weeks out from solving any potential problems!

 

RV Basic Training

A lot of these problems can be solved instantly if one has the knowledge to understand where the problem is coming from and then self-diagnose the answer. Eighty percent of these things are easy to access and easy to fix!

There is nothing worse than trying to live in an RV with systems that are not working, especially when it comes to lights, heating, cooling, hot water, refrigeration, and 120-volt and 12-volt electrical systems.

So, whether you have an RV or are looking to buy one, do yourself a favor and buy yourself a present of knowledge. You will go from Zero to Hero when you are able to solve your own RV problems!

RVTechCourseWaferImage

 

And the best thing is you don’t need internet access to all the training modules you will receive.  You can watch them over and over again right from your computer, no data usage required!

how to fix rv problems

Let me help you to better understand your RV!  Click Here to jump over to our sister site and use the contact form so we can assist you.

 

Thank you!

 

Late Fall 2016 Update

Pam and I are now entering our ninth year of full time RV living.  It is surprising how quickly that time has gone and the many miles we have traveled.  Are we tired of it? Absolutely not!

We have been to many great places and made wonderful friendships on our many journeys.

When we started out we never dreamed that our path would take us in the direction that we are now pointed in.  Early on we had a vision of what we wanted for a full time RV lifestyle.  We knew that we wanted to run a business on the road and use that opportunity to travel to many places and enjoy the tax benefits.

We have made a business out of helping people to better understand their RV, educating them about the full time RV lifestyle, and how to be sure they are not purchasing a money pit when buying a used RV.  We do that by providing RV inspection services.

We find that so many new RVers, both new and experienced, still don’t really understand how their RV works.  I get questions both online and in person about issues that arise and problems they are having.  You can visit this post to see evidence of that.

The questions and self-diagnosis indicate that there is so much confusion when it comes to understanding the major systems of an RV.  Let’s face it, RV’s are complicated, and when things go wrong it helps to know where to look so you can save yourself money and time getting things back to normal.

Can you find this information online?  Sure!  Google searches can help you diagnose a problem if the information found is correct.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of incorrect information shared by well-meaning individuals.

This may lead to more problems. You have to check your sources before undertaking an RV fix shared by another RVer.

So what can you do if you want to be able to correctly fix most of the issues you will have on the road?  Can you learn the basics even though you may feel you don’t have the skills to do so?

Yes, you can!  I have seen many folks come through a five-day course, either in person or online, and gain the confidence and experience necessary to fix their RV when things break.

I took this step almost three years ago and I have yet to have to call an RV technician to come and fix my RV!  Other fellow RVers we know have not done the same.  They have wound up calling for service because they could not identify and resolve the problem themselves.  They have shared with us their costly stories!

 

Can you learn enough with the proper materials to be able to fix eighty percent of the problems that arise in your RV that are easy to access and easy to fix?

Can this information also be helpful to you when purchasing an RV?

If you would like to know more, leave me a comment in the area on the upper right of this web page and I will get back to you with more information.

 

Where Have We Been the Past Few Weeks?

20161113_105725

Pam and I have been hanging out in the Atlanta area.  This past week we were working with a Level One NRVIA Certified RV inspector to help him gain his Level Two credentials.

We have been parked inside at the RV Loft in Marietta, GA.  Howard and Heather Hoover, along with Casey Boyle offer enclosed and outdoor RV storage at their facility.  They also offer ancillary services: RV repair, RV inspections, detailing, fluid sampling, dump holding tanks, etc.

If you have a need, they probably can help you solve your problem!

We have seen a few folks stop by that needed a short term storage solution while visiting friends and family in the area.  They were not able to stay in their RV with their family so they stored it for a few weeks at the RV Loft.

If you are in the area and need their services, you can be sure you will be taken care of!

 

Winter Plans

This winter we have plans to be in Florida and Texas as we will be teaching NRVIA classes in both locations.  As we head towards spring we are looking forward to heading back out west for more of the same!

Pam and I hope you have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The NRVIA Saves Another One!

NRVIA

Heber Springs, AR – HMRVI Corporation just completed a two-day event at the annual NRVIA Conference.  Owners Howard and Pam Jaros are delighted to share the stories their business, as well as others, have had on the lives of RV owners.  Howard says, “I am working hard to let RV buyers know that certified NRVIA inspectors are available nationwide to help clients to be sure they are not buying a money pit!”

 

Many stories were shared during the two-day event.  For the people that were there as well as those that joined via a live stream, Howard reported that he could not help but get emotional over the services that the NRVIA is providing to its client and the lives that are touched because its certified RV inspector members care about their clients and their industry.

 

One such story relayed during the event was shared by one of its Star Award recipients.  A few months ago, he had the pleasure of being able to assist a new RV buyer with her first RV purchase.  Now, this RV was not going to be just for occasional use, but to go live the full time RV lifestyle.

 

The client had the presence of mind to seek out help with this purchase and luckily she found the NRVIA.  She found an certified NRVIA RV Inspector in her area and he was contacted.  The Inspector did not know the buyer’s plans until he started asking pointed questions.

 

He asked her, “You told me you are buying this RV for full time RV living.  How long have you been doing that?”  The client responded, “including today, two days.”  He then asked, “how much experience do you have with RV’s?”  The client responded, “including today, two days.”  The RV Inspector explained at that point that his two to three-hour inspection was now probably going to require more time.

 

He then asked one more question before beginning to start his work of evaluating the RV for this eager client.   She just wanted to be sure she was not buying an RV that would be riddled with problems that would require more money to resolve and that she was unaware of.

 

Looking at this towable RV and the Toyota she was going to pull this R-Pod RV with, He asked, “how familiar are you with towing an RV?”   She said she had never towed an RV before.

 

The Inspector now realized that the RV inspection was not just about trying to discover potential problems with the RV but more importantly educating this new RV buyer on the things she needed to know to be able to enjoy her new RV.

 

So, what should have been a three-hour inspection turned into six hours because he spent the time with his client to be sure she not only found the right RV but that she knew how to use its complicated systems to enjoy the new lifestyle she wants to live.

 

The moral of the story, the RV was purchased due to the confidence that was built because of the comprehensive RV inspection report created by the RV Inspector, and the client was better educated about her new RV home so she could hit the road knowing she was traveling in a competent and safe RV!

 

For more information about the NRVIA please visit nrviainspector.com

Fall 2016 Update

Pam, Lindsey and I left Florida to travel north to escape the active hurricane season and to attend to some business matters.  Here are some of the things we witnessed and experienced.

 

What it’s like to be at the Hershey RV Show

The Hershey, PA RV Show is held in September each year.  Most recently it has been located at the Giant Center Sports Arena which is located right next to the Hershey World and Amusement Park.

It is a great location that is easy to get to and park at. The only issue that may be encountered is on days when twenty thousand people attend and you don’t arrive at the show early enough!  The automobile traffic can make for a bit of a wait while trying to get parked and gaining access to the show.

Here are some pictures we took to give you a sense of the size of the show and what you can see there.

full time rv living

 

Hershey RV Show Observations!

Pam and I had one main purpose for being at the show, and that was to help educate folks on the full time RV lifestyle and ways to make money while doing that!  We shared ideas with hundreds of people on ways to earn income while on the road, even the idea of working with the NRVIA helping other folks to avoid buying a money pit when at an RV Show!

While there, we did have time to spend looking at what the manufacturers are introducing for the 2017 model year. There is no doubt that high-tech gadgets continue to creep into the RV industry adding more bells and whistles that seem to attract the attention of eager buyers.

While walking through one full time 5th wheel model, I even noticed that they placed a smartphone charger in the kitchen island countertop. It is little things like this that can almost sway a potential buyer to purchase this model over another.

There are many more considerations other than these things that are way more important, but the RV manufacturers know what gets people’s attention!

When counseling potential RV buyers we tell them not to fall in love with floorplans and glitter, but pay attention to construction and quality of the RV build over the superficial stuff!  Sure, those things are cool but pay attention to what really matters, and that is the overall quality of the RV and how it’s built!

RVs rolling down the road experience the equivalent shock, that of an earthquake.  So, how it is built will greatly affect how long it will last when used for full time RV living.

Certainly, an RV show such as the Hershey RV Show, or any others that occur across the country, are a great way to get exposed to many different RV manufacturers and products that benefit the RV experience.  Pam and I have attended many RV shows and that helped us to find out what RV we really wanted.

We are firm believers in buying a used RV, getting it inspected, and saving a lot of money over buying a new RV.  We figure, let someone else pay the depreciation on it.  If the RV is thoroughly inspected and it checks out with no major issues, it can be a much smarter purchase than buying new.

But, if you have to buy just exactly what you want, then buying new may be your only choice, and buying at an RV Show could save you money due to the RV Show deals the manufacturers offer.  That is as long as they have what you want.

 

 

What We Did After the Hershey RV Show!

Pam and I just spent two weeks at Artillery Ridge Campground in Gettysburg, PA.  The RV park is just a mile away from the Gettysburg battlefields and visitor center.  We were able to walk from the campground right to the heart of the battlefields with little effort!

The day we went the weather was beautiful, not too warm, and it was not too busy.  Given it was late September, we did see buses with kids visiting as part of school tours.  Other than that we were able to see most visitor exhibits with unobstructed viewing.

It is hard to fathom what took place back in early July of 1863 till you see the scope of the area in which the conflict came to its final head!  The three days from July 1 – 3 really were a turning point in the Civil War.

I am not a history buff, but the Civil War really came to life for me as I was actually there and able to see all the names of men who died for a cause they believed in.  North or South, it did not matter!  They fought bravely, and as ordered!

Here are some photos of some of the things we saw.

full time rv living

We hope to see you out on the road living the full time RV lifestyle soon!!

Late Summer 2016 Update

Evacuating From a Hurricane

One thing we have to deal with when visiting Florida and staying along the Gulf Coast is Hurricanes!

In our almost nine years of full time RV living, we have had to evacuate from the RV park we were staying in twice! A few days before the Labor Day weekend made it number three!!

We had been watching this tropical depression for almost three weeks as it was looking like it was going to be headed into the Gulf of Mexico.  Towards the end of August, it passed the Florida straights and started its turn towards the Florida panhandle.

Having been hanging around Florida for almost thirty years, we have learned to pay close attention to these storms and heed the advice of the reporting agencies.  These storms are highly unpredictable, and if asked to evacuate it is best to do so!

The great thing about an RV home is that it is easy to do just that!

Tropical Storm Hermine Moving Off East Coast; Dangerous Storm Surge for Virginia Tidewater _ The Weather Channel - Google Chrome 2016-09-03 12.14.24

Once Hermine was a day out, and it was going to make landfall just a bit east of us, we decided to move the RV northwest about eighty miles and hang out at a rest area along I-10.  Since we were on the northwest side of the storm the effects were not as severe as those on the southeast side!

It was easy for us to make preparations to evacuate! I hooked up our trailer, disconnected our services, pulled the slides in, raised our leveling jacks, and away we went!!

There are benefits to full time RV living!!

 

Purple Monkeys and RV Travels

So what is a purple monkey? A good friend of ours coined the phrase and uses it in his RV tech courses to describe seemingly troublesome RV problems that appear to have no simple solution, but can be easily rectified if you understand the big picture.

A purple monkey sits on your shoulder representing a big hairy problem that appears to have no easy fix.  That monkey laughs at you and tells you that there is no solution to your problem!

Now, of course, there is no monkey on your shoulder!  It is just you talking yourself out of being able to diagnose and fix the problem due to a possible lack of knowledge and frustration.  You see, most of the issues that arise in the use of an RV are easy to access and easy to fix, well eighty percent of them anyway!

 

Let’s Focus on Electrical Problems!

Your RV has three electrical systems that all work in harmony to provide for the needs you have in your RV.  If one of them fails, it is likely that another will be affected.

RV Battery Issues

The image above represents the harmony between the 12-volt electrical RV house battery system and the 120-volt electrical system.

For example, if your RV has 120-volt power but the 12-volt system is not functioning as it should, the AC units, the RV refrigerator, the water heater, and the furnace will not work.  Why is this you ask?  Because they are controlled by a 12-volt circuit board that tells these units how to operate.

These are some of the more common questions I receive on a daily basis.  Understanding RV electrical systems is very important when diagnosing RV electrical problems, but most RV owners don’t have this knowledge.  Do you see how a big purple monkey could be laughing at you if these issues arise when you are traveling in an RV?

 

Our Recent Purple Monkey

Pam, Lindsey, and I were headed up to the Hershey RV Show in Hershey, PA.  It is billed as the largest RV show in the country.  We were there last year too.  I would have to say the claim is true because of the amount of RV’s that are displayed at the show.

The Tampa RV Supershow that occurs in Florida, in January, is a much larger venue but they don’t have the number of RV’s displayed as at the Hershey Show.

We have been plugged into 120-volt shore power for most of the summer except for occasional one-day trips.  Our 12-volt batteries are the originals in our 2013 model year RV.  I religiously check and fill the battery cells with distilled water at the first of every month.

In my experience, if these deep cycle batteries are used on a regular basis, and maintained, they are probably good for five years.  So, ours should be in good shape for a while longer.

Now, when we boondock (staying in the RV overnight without the availability of shore power, water, and sewer services) we put more of a strain on the house batteries because they are not being charged unless we drive the RV or run the generator.

In our motorized RV, when driving the RV the engine alternator charges the house batteries.  When parked, and the generator is running providing 120-volt electrical power to the RV, the RV’s converter charges the batteries

Thursday night, after a day of driving from Atlanta, GA to Statesville, NC, we overnighted in a Walmart.  One of our friends calls that Wally-docking!  LOL  Walmart is one of our favorite places to boondock because we can shop and have a convenient place to stay for a night.

As usual, we ran the generator for the evening while we prepared dinner, watched TV, ran the AC unit, and kept the batteries charged.  Once we went to bed we turned off the generator (for safety reasons when it comes to the possibility of CO gasses entering the RV through open windows and vents).

That night it was still a little warm inside the RV so I ran the 12-volt vent fan in the bedroom to draw in the cooler air. It ran most of the night. Usually, no big deal! With the upper sixties temperatures outside the RV, it was very comfortable and we had a good nights sleep.

As I do every morning, when I checked the house batteries, the voltage on the control center was reading 11.8 volts. Hmmmmm!  That is lower than I usually see for other times when we have done the same thing.

No big deal!  Time to turn on the generator again so we can make the morning coffee and do the other things we needed to do that require 120-volt power.  I pushed the button to auto-start the generator and nothing happened!

Uh oh!  I knew there was not enough voltage in the house batteries to start the generator.  Okay, what next?  The chassis batteries were showing a strong charge so I used the battery boost button on the dashboard to bring the house battery voltage up to 12.3 volts.

That should have been enough to start the generator!  I tried it again and nothing, the generator would not start!  The purple monkey was starting to really laugh at me!

Okay, what next?  I decided to drive for a while and see if the alternator could charge up the house batteries even more so they would be strong enough to fire up the generator. After all, one must have his morning coffee!!

Usually while driving the RV, I get a house battery voltage of about 13.8 volts as the engine alternator is charging the batteries while the engine is running.  But on this Friday, that was not the case! The purple monkey is now roaring with laughter!

12.3 volts should be enough to start the generator.  But at the interior control panel, the button used to start the generator at the electronic control center was not working.  The auto-start process would start and error out. I know that the generator only needs 12 volts to turn over so something else must be going on.

So, at this point there appeared to be several purple monkeys having a good laugh at me!  But, since I have skills in these areas as an RV inspector and teacher, I know there are other things I could try.

A generator has two places where it can be started.  In the case of my generator, I can also start it right at the generator by removing the cover and using the internal start switch.  But, before doing that, there are also other reasons why the generator might not start. In this case not likely because it was running the night before.

However, a double check is always a good idea.  An RV generator will not run unless it has at least a quarter tank of gas.  We filled up the night before so that was not the issue.  The other reason it may not start is that there is an issue with the level of the generator engine oil.  I checked that and it was fine!  I just changed it!

So, after having driven for an hour or so, we pulled into a rest area and I removed the cover for the generator, checked the oil and pushed the start button.  It fired right up!  Hmmmm!  Why did it not start from the inside?

From what I can tell, the electronics froze up.  Once the generator was running, all appeared to be well.  With the generator running the converter was now charging the house batteries and we were able to run the RV fridge on electric as it had not been run since the night before (we don’t use propane systems while driving).

During travel on Saturday, all seemed fine!  I do suspect the house batteries were weakened compared to what they were a year ago.  Once we got to Hershey, PA and were boondocking some more, the batteries could no longer handle the usual load.  So, we replaced them!

I bought two new ones, pulled out the old ones, cleaned the cable connections, and hooked up the new batteries.  It is a very easy thing to do as long as you pay attention to how they are connected before you remove the old batteries!

Knowing how your RV works, understanding its systems, and remaining calm when issues arise is the key to keeping that purple monkey caged!  Most times it just takes considering the evidence and using your knowledge about your RV to come up with a solution to the problem.

If you are new to all this, how can you bring up your level of confidence so you can handle the purple monkeys when they show up?

Remember that eighty percent of the problems that arise in an RV are easy to access and easy to fix!  This is what I learned from the Texas RV Professor, Mr. Terry Cooper!  He offers a five-day hands-on RV tech course that teaches both RV owners and RV technicians the basics so you can handle the kinds of issues I described above!

He teaches it around the country and also offers a live stream for folks that just can’t make the live class.

I attended this class back in February of 2014 prior to launching my RV inspection business.  As a full time RVer, I knew some things but I did not know how much I did not know till I attended Mr. Cooper’s class!

If you would like to know more about how you can up your game, you can visit rvtechcourse.com.  If you decide to take the class, please tell Mr. Cooper and Evada Cooper that Howard and Pam sent you!  They will take extra special care of you!!

Understanding Florida Concealed Carry Laws – Part II

In part one of this article, I introduced some of the Florida concealed carry laws.  I addressed the places you can legally carry a concealed firearm, the crimes which may be justified to use deadly force when defending yourself, how your conduct will be measured once you do use deadly force, and when can deadly force be used.

For those of us who live the full time RVing lifestyle, having the ability to legally carried a concealed weapon gives us that added level of comfort. However, with that comes great responsibility!  If called upon to actually pull the trigger and use deadly force, one has to be aware of the concealed carry laws in Florida as well as its reciprocity states.

In this post, I will talk more about when you can legally use deadly force and when should you stand your ground.  These are very important topics when you carry a concealed weapon!  So, please take Florida concealed carry laws seriously.  When the time comes to pull out your weapon you must be aware of the ramifications and the laws you will have to deal with!

 

Law of Self Defense

Deadly force may legally be used in Florida:

  • When a person has a reasonable belief that deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themselves.
  • When a person unlawfully and forcefully enters or entered a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle.
  • When a person unlawfully and forcefully removes or attempts to remove you from a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle.
  • When a person has a reasonable belief that a deadly force is necessary to protect themselves from the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

What would be an example of some of these crimes: murder and manslaughter, kidnapping and sexual battery, robbery and aggravated assault, carjacking and aggravated battery, and home invasion robbery and aggravated stalking.

 

Law of Defense of Others

Deadly force may legally be used in Florida:

  • When a person has a reasonable belief that deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to another.
  • When a person unlawfully and forcefully enters or entered a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle.
  • When a person unlawfully and forcefully removes or attempts to remove another from a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle.
  • When a person has a reasonable belief that deadly force is necessary to protect another from the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

What would be an example of some of these crimes: murder and manslaughter, kidnapping and sexual battery, robbery and aggravated assault, carjacking and aggravated battery, and home invasion robbery and aggravated stalking.

 

What about a trespasser on private property?

If you are going to protect your property because a trespasser has entered, don’t shoot!  Deadly force is not legally justified!  Florida statutes allow for a legal use of force, but not deadly force to terminate a trespass or interference with property.

Now if the trespasser commits or attempts to commit arson, burglary, aircraft piracy or any other forcible felony, then Florida law provides that you are legally justified in using deadly force to defend your property or to terminate a criminal trespass.

 

The Castle Doctrine

The “Castle Doctrine” is the popular name for a legal philosophy that every person, as the “King” or “Queen” of their home, never has to flee the castle before using deadly force against an intruder.  Florida’s version of the Castle Doctrine can be found in Florida Statute #776.013.

Use of Deadly Force Under the Castle Doctrine in Florida

If you know or have reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or act is occurring or had occurred, and you use deadly force when someone unlawfully and forcefully enters or is entering your residence, occupied vehicle or dwelling, or someone unlawfully and forcefully removes or attempts to remove you from those, the Florida concealed carry laws give you legal presumption that fear of imminent death or great bodily harm was reasonable, and deadly force was legally justified without a duty to retreat.

If you have no reasonable escape route Florida concealed carry laws allow you to stand your ground with no duty to retreat and meet force with force!

What are the parameters of this situation?

You have no duty to retreat and have the right to stand your ground if:

  • You are not engaged in unlawful activity
  • You are in a place where you have a legal right to be
  • You have a reasonable belief that deadly force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

 

What should you do after the gun goes bang?  Invoke your legal rights!

Many countless man and women have sacrificed their lives and fortunes so that we Americans may have legal rights.  Don’t waive those rights!  If you are involved in a shooting, you may need every legal right available.

What Should You Do After Bang?

  • Make sure the threat has been controlled
  • Call 911!  Just give your name, location and the nature of the emergency.  Do not discuss what happened as the call is recorded and it can be used against you in a court of law.
  • Return the firearm to safe keeping!
  • Call Your Lawyer!  Don’t miss this step!  Be prepared!!
  • When the police arrive, comply with all commands in a non-threatening manner, keeping your hands clearly visible.  The police do not know who the good guys and the bad guys are when they first arrive.
  • Inform the police that you have been a victim of a crime.  State to the police: “I wish to invoke my right to remain silent, and I want to consult my attorney before making any statements.”  Your freedom, liberty and fortune are at risk, so invoke your right to remain silent and your right to a lawyer.
  • Make no statement to anyone about the incident; wait to talk to your attorney!
  • If asked to accompany law enforcement, comply, but make no statements.
  • Do not make jokes or cute remarks and say nothing, even if you believe you have done nothing wrong.

 

Summary

If you know the Florida concealed carry laws and you abide by them, you will be ready to decide whether or not to use deadly force!

florida concealed carry lawsFlorida concealed carry lawsflorida concealed carry permitArmed and Ready

Thanks to the folks over at US Law Shield for their assistance in compiling the information that I have shared with you!

Understanding Florida Concealed Carry Laws

Recently I posted an article on my website about the process for getting a Florida Concealed Carry Permit.  I would like to expand upon that discussion and talk about understanding Florida concealed carry laws.

When you are full time RV living it is especially important to know what the laws are regarding carrying a concealed weapon and what can happen if you feel you are in a situation where you need to act!

Given that Pam and I travel to many different locations around the country it is even more important to know the laws and how they can differ from our domicile state of Florida!

 

Laws Regarding Select Places in Florida

florida concealed carry lawsflorida concealed carry laws

Is it trespassing if you see these signs?  Florida law is at best silent with regards to whether these types of signs give a CWFL holder legal notice that their entry would be trespassing.  At this time there does not exist a reported court case on this issue.  But, if you have an actual notice that the property owner has advised you not to enter or to leave their private property because you are carrying a gun, and you fail to leave, you are committing an act of criminal trespass.

Parking Lots: business owners can’t prohibit you from lawfully keeping a firearm locked in your vehicle in a business’ parking lot.  Schools, prisons, nuclear plants, companies engaged in national security, companies licensed to make, use, or store explosives, or places where firearms are prohibited by federal law are not included in this parking lot provision.

Bars and Restaurants: it is a crime to carry a weapon into any portion of an establishment licensed to serve alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.  You may not legally carry your concealed firearm into bars, taverns, and the bar area of a restaurant.

Airports: you may not carry your firearm in any portion of an airport terminal under Florida law.  This includes both the secured and unsecured areas of the terminal.

State and National Parks: CWFL holders may legally carry in both state and national parks in Florida.  But, you can’t legally carry a firearm in any federal government buildings such as the museum or ranger stations located in national parks.

 

What Kind of Trouble Can You Get Into?

Florida concealed carry laws state there are misdemeanor crimes and felonies.  How can the improper use of a concealed weapon get you in trouble?

 

Misdemeanors:

  • Open carry of a firearm and displaying it in an angry or threatening manner. This would be a 2nd-degree misdemeanor crime.
  • Exhibiting a firearm in a rude, angry, careless, or threatening manner, but not in self-defense.  This would be a 1st-degree misdemeanor crime.
  • Knowingly discharging a  firearm in any public place, paved road, or occupied premises; recklessly or negligently discharging a firearm outdoors on property used primarily as the site of a dwelling or zoned for residential use.  This would be a 1st-degree misdemeanor.
  • Aggravated assault: an intentional threat to commit an act of imminent violence with the use of a deadly weapon without an intent to kill.  This is a 3rd-degree felony.
  • Any occupant of a vehicle who knowingly and willfully discharges a firearm from a vehicle within one thousand feet of any person.  This is a 2nd-degree felony.

 

Felonies:

  • First-degree murder in a premeditated killing of another person is a Capitol Felony.
  • Second-degree murder is the unlawful killing of another person resulting from a dangerous act committed by a person with a depraved, reckless disregard for human life.  This is a first-degree felony.
  • Manslaughter is the killing of another through negligent acts.  This is a second-degree felony.
  • Then there is aggravated battery which is intentionally causing great bodily harm against another, or using a deadly weapon during the commission of the battery.  This is also a second-degree felony.
  • Maliciously shooting into a dwelling, building, or a mode of transportation.  This too is a second-degree felony.

 

What is the punishment for these Crimes?

  • A Capital Felony is death or life imprisonment.
  • A First-Degree Felony is imprisonment not to exceed thirty years, or when authorized by the statute, up to life in prison.
  • A Second-Degree Felony is imprisonment not to exceed fifteen years.
  • A Third-Degree Felony is imprisonment not exceeding five years and a three-year minimum prison sentence if a firearm is involved.
  • A First-Degree Misdemeanor is imprisonment not to exceed one year.
  • A Second-Degree Misdemeanor is imprisonment not to exceed sixty days.

Florida law provides an additional aspect to the sentencing of individuals who possessed or used a firearm during the commission of a felony crime. Florida Statute #775.087 outlines felony elevation as well as minimum sentence durations.

When it comes to your use of a weapon, your conduct will be measured by the Reasonable Person Standard.

If you use deadly force with the reasonable belief that deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, then you may have legal justification for your actions!

 

What is Reasonable?

The law will judge your use of deadly force using the reasonable person standard.  That is to stay, would a reasonable person under the same or similar  circumstances agree that to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, deadly force was necessary?  This reasonable person standard is the law’s attempt to make the concept of what is reasonable an objective test.

The law does not focus on whether you believed deadly force was reasonable, but whether a reasonable person would consider it reasonable. If the legal system of a jury trial determines that a reasonable person would agree that to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, deadly force was necessary, then you were legally justified in using deadly force.  

However, juries, judges, and prosecutors are human beings, and people can have vastly different ideas of how a reasonable person should act under any given circumstances.  This is particularly true if asked to decide whether or not deadly force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.

 

When is it Not a Crime?

If it comes time for you to use deadly force, you must have justification for the act.  Legal justification is a set of circumstances that the law says is a valid excuse for a person doing something that would otherwise be a crime. As a general rule, it is illegal to shoot someone, however, if the shooting is done under a particular set of circumstances like self-defense or in defense of others, the law states a person is excused from or is legally justified.

 

What is Deadly Force?

Florida law defines “deadly force” as a force that is likely to cause death or great bodily harm.  Discharging a firearm is considered a use of deadly force.

Florida’s laws regarding when the use of deadly force is legally justified is based on a perpetrator’s commission of what is called a “Forcible Felony.”  A Florida Statute lists these crimes as: murder, manslaughter, sexual battery, aggravated assault, carjacking, home invasion robbery, robbery, burglary arson, kidnapping, aggravated battery, aggravated stalking, aircraft piracy, treason, unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb, or any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against an individual.

 

Wow, that’s a lot to digest!!

 

I will continue this discussion in part two of this post.  I will look at when it is legal for you to use deadly force and more on what will happen when you do!  

Please check back to catch “the rest of the story!”

 

Florida Concealed Carry Laws

 

Florida Concealed Carry Laws

 

 

Thanks to the folks over at US Law Shield for their assistance in compiling the information that I have shared with you!

Getting a Florida Concealed Carry Permit!

Having just been through the process I can tell you that getting a Florida concealed carry permit is not a quick process.  It is easy but it takes time!  I will share with you here what it took for me to obtain mine!

Florida Concealed Carry Permit

What is a Florida Concealed Carry Permit, or what some call a CWFL?  A concealed weapon or firearm license is a Florida issued license, a lot like a driver’s license.  It allows the owner of this card to legally carry a concealed handgun or weapon in locations otherwise restricted by law.

Florida Concealed Carry Permit

Florida Concealed Carry Permit

What weapons can be carried in a concealed fashion with this license?  The CWFL allows the licensee to carry a handgun, knives, electronic weapons or devices, billies, and tear gas guns.  That does not mean you can carry others that are not specifically listed in Florida Statute #790.06.  For example, metallic knuckles, throwing stars, and nunchucks are not legal to carry in a concealed fashion.

Florida Concealed Carry Permit

Regarding municipal regulations, before you can start carrying any variations of these legal concealed weapons, beware.  Florida law allows municipal ordinances to restrict what types of knives, electronic weapons, billies, and tear gas guns you may carry in your area.  However, Florida state law does not allow municipal ordinances to regulate the carry of handguns.

 

What Constitutes Being Concealed?

If you are carrying a concealed firearm, it must be carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal the weapon from the ordinary sight of another person.  However, Florida law also provides that if you are lawfully carrying a concealed firearm, it is not a violation if you briefly and openly display the firearm to the ordinary sight of another person, so long as the firearm was not intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner.

If you are in the possession of a concealed weapon then Florida law requires that you have your Florida Concealed Carry Permit and valid identification.  Also, if you have a concealed weapon and a Law Enforcement Officer demands your CWFL, you should provide both your CWFL and valid identification.  Florida law does not require it but it’s just a good practice as you will probably be asked if the situation arises.

 

Where Can I Legally Carry a Firearm in Florida?

If you have a Florida Concealed Carry Permit here are some places where it is legal to conceal carry:

  • In a person’s own home or place of business
  • In a motor vehicle if the firearm is concealed but not in a secure case or is readily accessible
  • In a motor vehicle if the firearm is in a secured case and carried for self-defense or other lawful purposes.
  • Public places not otherwise prohibited by law
  • Hospitals that do not provide mental health services
  • State and local government property any time a meeting is not occurring
  • While engaged in camping, hunting, or fishing
  • While engaged in firearms training, testing, or at a shooting range
  • Grocery, convenience, or liquor stores which are not posted as prohibiting firearms

I will cover more about the concealed carry laws in Florida in a future post! For now, I’ll cover what you need to get the process started and how long it will take till you get your CWFL.

 

Florida CWFL License Reciprocity

Florida Concealed Carry Permit

 

Getting Your CWFL

There is a simple four step process for applying and receiving your Florida Concealed Carry Permit!

 

Step One: The simplest and easiest thing to do is find a reputable source for a concealed carry class and sign up for that.  If this takes place at a gun shop that also has a shooting range it makes it easy to fulfill the CWFL requirements because both the classroom portion and the shooting range requirement can be accomplished all in one session.

I took a class at Shoot Straight while we were visiting Fort Myers, FL.  The Instructor is a police officer and current firearms training instructor.  He did a great job with the three-hour class!  His name is Tony Lauer.  He can be reached at Patriot Professional Firearm Training.

I highly recommend going this route!  A concealed carry firearms class will give you all the materials you need to fulfill the requirements to be ready to mail off your completed application to the Division of Licensing in Tallahassee, FL.  Even if you feel you are an experienced gun owner, the class will help you to understand the laws regarding carrying a concealed weapon.

 

Step Two: Gather all the items I am going to list here:

  1. A completed application.  I got mine from the CWFL class.  If you are a more experienced firearms person you can go directly to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and download and application there.  Instructions are there to follow, if you prefer.
  2. A certificate of completion from a training class.  This can be any firearms training conducted by a state-certified individual.  It can also be an NRA safety or training course, or any equivalent.
  3. You will need documentation of citizenship and residency like a Driver’s License, Passport, State ID, or Voter Registration.
  4. A passport photograph.  In my CWFL class, they took the photo for me and gave me two copies to send with my application.
  5. A legible set of your fingerprints large enough to ensure the application and fingerprint card lie flat and are not folded or creased.
  6. A check or money order for $112 if you are submitting a hard copy of your fingerprints and $70 if that process is done electronically.  I chose the hard copy because it cost $5 to have a local police station to fingerprint me and the electronic feature was a bit more of a hassle and basically equaled the $112 fee.
  7. And, if needed, court documents reflecting the final disposition of any arrests.

 

Step Three: mail the whole packet of documents listed above in a large envelope to the Division of Licensing, PO Box 6687 Tallahassee FL 32314

 

Step Four: If approved you will receive your Florida Concealed Carry Permit in four to six weeks.  They do say they have up to ninety days to approve or disapprove an application for many reasons.  You want to be sure that when you send it in you have everything included and that it is all correct.  You don’t want to have to go through the process twice!

It took me the full three months to receive my CWFL license!  The Division of Licensing pushed it right to the ninety-day timeline.  And I think I know why!  So many in Florida are applying for these permits that it is taking them that long to process all the applications.  The concealed carry class I took was filled, and all of them on the calendar were the same way.

So, that is what it will take to get the job done!  I hope you found this information useful!  As a full time RVer, being able to legally carry a concealed weapon is of great importance to me and my family!  The crooks are armed, and so should I.  It is important to know the laws and be ready should the time come to not let someone else take your life!

As my CWFL class instructor said with great emphasis, “don’t ever LET someone else take your life!”

 

Good luck as you begin the process and continue to investigate all the considerations required when you decide you want to carry a concealed weapon in public places!

 

florida concealed carry permit

 

 

Howard, Pam and Lindsey(the fur-kid)

RV Gas Mileage – Can You Improve Your Results?

rv gas mileageShould an RVer be concerned about RV gas mileage? Should you care about how far your RV can go on a tank of gas and how many miles per gallon you get?  Is there a better way for you to improve your results at the pump?

 

I am more concerned about taking it easy on my RV than I am with fuel economy!

 

Like a car, the harder you push your RV the worse the RV gas mileage will be.  It does not matter if it is a diesel engine or a gasoline engine.  Driving an RV at 70 mph will consume more fuel than driving it at 60 mph.  Most RV’s are big boxes that are not aerodynamic at highway speeds. The faster you go, the higher your fuel consumption, and with exponential results!

 

I have read statistics that state that for each five miles per hour that you drive over fifty miles per hour, you can expect to spend and additional seven to fourteen percent more dollars at the pump!  I am not advocating driving at fifty miles per hour on interstate highways!  But, fifty-five to sixty miles per hour is safer and more enjoyable!

 

What other factors can decrease your RV gas mileage!

  • Not using cruise control.
  • Excessive acceleration from a stopped position.
  • Improper tire pressure.
  • Not keeping the maintenance of the RV up to date.
  • Excessive idling.
  • Carrying too much weight

 

Why would using the cruise control be a good idea when on long stretches of flat roads? Well, first off it makes it easier on the driver as focusing on maintaining a constant speed is eliminated.  Secondly, using the cruise smooths out the accelerator input during longer periods of travel and helps cut down on fuel consumption.

 

Racing to the next stop with your RV while driving in city traffic can cost you a lot! Accelerating at a quarter to half throttle can save you some fuel. Studies have shown that moderate braking and acceleration can save you as much as thirty-one percent in fuel consumption compared to a more aggressive driving style.

 

What about your RV tires?  Can tires that are under-inflated be a problem for your fuel economy?  Of course!  But not only that but for your safety too!  Tires that are under-inflated, or over inflated, can be a condition that will lead to a blowout!  But, back to the reason you don’t want your tires to be soft when talking about wasting fuel is that it will lead to modest levels of increased fuel usage when they are under-inflated.

 

Regular engine service and tune-ups can increase your mileage by as much as twenty percent.  Don’t ignore that air filter! And, ignoring that check engine light can waste almost forty percent of your fuel dollars.

 

rv gas mileageRunning a gasoline engine while stopped for longer periods can waste gas! Tests performed on a ten-mile course and ten stops each at a mile, for two minutes, revealed a nineteen percent increase in fuel usage compared to turning the engine off for each of those two minutes stops. So it’s up to you when you feel you are going to be stopped for more than a few minutes if you want to run the engine or turn it off.  In the summer time, I would rather leave the engine run!  I would rather spend the fuel dollars and be comfortable.  But, this is food for thought!

 

Okay!  I am going to reference a little high school physics on the issue of carrying too much unneeded weight in your RV.  Newton’s second law having to do with force, mass, and gravity can be considered here when it comes to using more fuel due to excess weight.

 

rv gas mileageHave you ever noticed that a heavier vehicle going down a hill picks up more speed than a lighter one?  Have you ever noticed the runaway truck ramps in the mountainous regions of the United States?  What about that same vehicle trying to climb a hill?  Would it not take more fuel to reach the top than if it was much lighter? Sure! That’s Newton’s law in action.

 

Therefore, the more weight you carry, the more fuel it is going to take to get to your destination!  For example, do you need to travel with a full tank of water if you are going from one RV park to another?  A tank of fresh water can weigh three to eight hundred pounds depending on its size.  The same is true for your black and gray water tanks.

 

When traveling in your RV, only have on board those things you need if you want to save on your RV gas mileage!  Pam and I are amazed when we see what people have in the bins of their RV’s.

 

Most of these issues apply to gas powered RV’s as they react differently to load than does a diesel powered RV.  But some of these issues apply to them as well!

 

20150624_173218

Lindsey, our four-legged fur kid, wanted us to throw this image into this post.  She’s a real comedian!!

 

In Conclusion

Pam and I drive our gas powered RV with care!  We are cognizant of how it is loaded, tire pressure while traveling, what fluids we have on board when on the move, and while on the road we drive it like an RV, not a sports car!

 

Given that our Ford chassis is always near its maximum recommended loaded weight, we have a big concern about the powertrain lasting if we are not careful about the way we drive it.  The transmission is the biggest concern.  So we accelerate slowly to take it easy on the engine and transmission and thereby save a little on our RV gas mileage as well!

 

We wish you safe and enjoyable travels as you venture out in your RV! Hopefully, you are enjoying the full time RV lifestyle too!!

RV Fire Safety – We Almost Lost it All!

rv fire safety

When it comes to RV fire safety, you must take the necessary steps to be prepared! We learned this one the hard way and almost lost our RV and all we owned!  It was because we were relatively new full time RVers and trusted the advice of others without checking the facts.

It was an RV trip back in May of 2010. Pam and I were coming out of Wisconsin after visiting with her Dad and brother’s family. We were just about to cross into Illinois and decided to stop to fuel up.

Our 5th wheel RV had a Norcold refrigerator that when we traveled, we left the propane on to keep it cooling.  That is what we did when we rented RV’s!  That was the advice we were given by the rental agencies.  In fact, one rental company told us to not touch the propane tank.  So we didn’t!  We just left the tank valve turned on all the time.

We pulled into a Flying J truck stop to get some diesel fuel.  We had to use the truck lanes due to the dual tanks on the Freightliner truck.  Driving through some of those truck stops can be a challenge due to the heavy ruts from the weight of the trucks and the compressed asphalt due to hot weather.

We pulled into a fuel lane, filled up, and decided to stop for a bit to take a lunch break. So I made my way through the maze of the rutted parking lot with the 5th wheel doing a bit of side to side swaying, and we found a place to park.  We were nestled in between a few trucks, but we had enough room to get out.

As I usually do after traveling with the truck in hot weather, I let it idle for a few minutes to give the turbo time to cool down.  I was sitting in the truck, and Pam went back to open up the RV.  I was logging mileage and doing some mid-trip checks.

Pam opened the door to the 5th wheel while I was still in the truck and I heard the words no RVer ever wants to hear or see, “Fire!”  She screamed loud enough to attract my attention and that of those around us!

I immediately ran to the street side of the RV and shot off the propane tanks.  I don’t know what made me do that, but I did!  I have never been a big fan of propane usage in an RV due to its volatility!  I shut off the tank and ran to see what was going on in the RV.  The fire extinguisher was at the door, and I was ready to do battle!

The RV was filled with smoke!  The fire was at the propane stove.  When Pam opened the door, she saw the stove was on and heard the clicking of the piezo ignitor.  Since I had just turned off the propane, the flames had stopped, but the stovetop cover was still smoldering as it took the brunt of the flames.  The fire had started to work up the side wall of the kitchen slide.

We got the burnt stovetop cover out of the RV and the horrible smell that came along with it!  The trucker next to us heard all the commotion, and he told us he was ready to get the heck out of there!  We had just caught this in time!  Had we not stopped for a break, the RV, and the truck would have been a goner.

Once a propane fire starts, it takes only a few minutes for it to engulf the entire RV, especially at highway speeds!

So what happened?

Remember me mentioning the rutted parking areas at the truck stop?  Well, apparently during the side to side swaying while moving the 5th wheel after fueling up, the plates in the cabinet above the cooktop fell out and hit the controls knobs.  It turned one knob to full propane usage and the other to the engage the piezo – a one in a million chance! We had never had any issues with the cabinet doors before!  After that we did decide to bungee them closed during travel!

So, one cooktop burner was going full blast and burning the Corian cooktop cover creating a toxic gas and a lot of heat build up.  We had a wood bowl on top of that cover held in place by a rubber mat.  That burned as well as part of the wood bowl.  That is how hot the cooktop cover got!

This all happened in a matter of two minutes.  Again, imagine if we had not stopped! Now, what if I was traveling with the propane tanks turned off?  Would that have been a better idea?

Now that Pam and I have been out full time RV living for eight years, and teach people how to be RV inspectors, we are a lot wiser and have more of a mindset towards safety!  We have attended lots of RV shows and rallies!  At one of these shows, we met a gentleman named Mac McCoy.

He has been a firefighter for more than three decades.  He was the fire service training coordinator for the State of Oregon; he has a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science and Masters in Fire Administration.  Since 1999 he has lived full time in his RV and traveled the country talking about RV fire safety.  He is one source I would highly recommend you listen to when it comes to this subject!

If you get a chance to catch him at a local rally or RV show.  It would be worth your time to attend his seminar!  He always has lots of RV fire safety items and information that can help you be prepared for a possible RV fire!

rv fire safety

Here are several things you can do to keep safe while traveling in your RV, both on the road and while parked!  You can find more of these from Mac at macthefireguy.com. Tell him Howard and Pam sent you!  Here are some of Mac’s recommendations:

  • Driving with the propane system on can add danger to you and your RV if you are involved in an accident or have a fire.  We learned this one the hard way!  It was almost catastrophic!   Most people leave the propane system on to keep the RV refrigerator cold.  The fridge will stay cold for eight hours during travel if you leave it closed.  As Mac says, “shut the propane off at the tank when traveling in your RV!”
  • You should have at least three fire extinguishers in your RV!  One should be in the kitchen area, one in the bedroom, and one outside the RV in a readily accessible storage area.  Everyone in the RVing family should know how to use it and where they are!  You also want to be sure you have the right extinguisher for the fire you are fighting.
  • Have a plan of action before a fire occurs!  Think about what you would do if you have an engine fire, a refrigerator fire, a cooktop fire, or an electrical fire.  Do your research so you can avoid any of these types of fires from happening!
  • Know your escape routes out of the RV!  Be sure your emergency windows work and know how to use them.  Imagine having to get out of the RV during a stressful situation.  Be prepared to get out of the RV quickly and how to best do that.
  • Test your safety systems monthly, or a least before each RV trip!  Check the smoke detector, the carbon monoxide detector, and the LP gas detector to be sure they go into alarm.  If they are older than five years, and they don’t have an expiration date on them, but a manufacturer date, replace them with recommended RV application units.  Those from the home improvement` stores are not the best for RV’s!
  • The first rule of fighting a major RV fire is to save the lives of the RV occupants first and property second!  Get everyone to safety first before attempting to extinguish a fire.  Only after everyone is safe should you attempt to put out a fire with the devices you have accessible in the RV!
  • Something people don’t consider when the RV is parked at a campsite is to have an extra hose hooked up or a quick disconnect on your water hose.  If your RV, or a neighbors RV, becomes involved in a fire it may make the difference in being able to save or protect your RV from further damage.

Again, have a plan of action for many possible situations!  Don’t think it won’t happen to you!  If you are prepared and have taken the necessary steps to avoid an RV fire, chances are you will be enjoying your RV for many years to come!

RV Slide Out Problems – Lindsey’s Bark Report

Baroo!  Hello again to all my furry and human followers.  Lindsey the full time RV living Corgi here with my latest and greatest Bark Report.  Mom has been seeing lots of stuff on human Face Book about RV Slide Out Problems.  Since I hear Mom and Dad talking about these issues I thought I would share my four-legged perspective on some of these issues.

Did you know that there are a few different kinds of slide out rooms on RVs?  Well if not, I can tell you there most certainly are.  (Dad’s a big help here since he examines these rooms during the RV inspections that he does.)  The slide rooms can be cable, hydraulic, electric drive, or something called Schwintek.  Each can have their own set of problems.

rv slide out problems

Common to all these rooms is overloading them.  When you get too much stuff (or fat corgi’s) on them, they have to work harder to move in and out.  Or maybe they won’t work at all.  We did that once in one of our first RV trips.  Dad had to go outside and push on the slide out to help it come back in.

If slide outs are overloaded they may not come in evenly.  Thus, you might see that the top is flush with the RV and the bottom is out a couple inches or so. We’ve have seen RVs going down the road like that.  Not good!

You know those really big buses that have the heat running through the floor?  True story.  One guy had so many people in his RV for his seminar business that it bent the slide rails for the full side slide out room.  Basically, he had too many people sitting on the couch and in the dinette area.  Not only that but due to excess weight in the RV, the heating system running underneath the tile floor was damaged.  He had to have the slide out rails and flooring repaired!

All these slide rooms have this big rubber seal around them.  Dad says they are called bulbs (not tulip!) and sweeps.  They are supposed to be right against the RV sidewall to keep water and bugs out.  Proper maintenance on them is needed so they can do their job.  303 Aerospace Protectant is really good for this application!

rv slide out problems

rv slide out problems

Sometimes a slide room can get out of alignment.  If you drive your RV, it will happen. All those rough roads and the twisting of the frame, or sometimes even extending them without the jacks down.  Each RV manufacturer will recommend how it should be done on their RVs.  One cool Tech man showed Dad how to adjust ours when we had that big fifth wheel.  And he had to do it several times.  Easy-Peasy.

Next are the slide room roof and seams.  Mate, you need to keep those maintained as well!  Check the sealant around all the seams and edges to be sure to keep that water out.  This corgi is not a fan of water, especially inside.  Water comes in and then you can get that nasty black stuff growing.

rv slide out problems

rv slide out problems rv slide out problems

Be sure to check the underside of your slide rooms too:  be sure there is no rust on the screw drive that could be impairing its operation, none of the electrical cables are hanging up on anything, the seals are in good condition, and that no rollers are missing.

rv slide out problems

rv slide out problems

rv slide out problems rv slide out problems

If the slides are hydraulic, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the hydraulic fluid supply in the fluid reservoir tank!  Also, keep an eye out for leaks!

rv slide out problems

On the cable type slides (you will know these by the two cable wires top and bottom on each side of the slide room), after a period of time, the cables can tear the rubber seal. Be sure to keep an eye on that too.

rv slide out problems

There is also a slide system called Schwintek, the one that has the bars on each side of the room at the top and bottom. We have these on our full time living RV!

rv slide out problems

Okay, another true story.  You know those RVs with the slide room in the rear of the RV?  On this one RV, when this slide room extended, it just kept going and going and going! Literally.  Like the Energizer Bunny.  

It was a Schwintek slide system that is supposed to stop when it feels resistance from the RV sidewall.  Well, the rear cap joints were not sealed, water got in and rotted the wood.  The slide out wound up falling out the back of the RV!  Talk about a room with a view.  The lesson here, always be checking your sealant and seals around your slide rooms.

So you get to your campsite, push the button for your slide room and nothing happens. Hmmm you say.  Now what?  Lots of the motorized RVs require the emergency brake to be on to extend or retract the slide outs.  Some may even require that the seats be moved forward.  

If your slide out rooms are not functioning it may also be a good idea to check your batteries. If the house battery got shut off or there is not enough voltage, they won’t work.  And still other RV’s may require that the jacks be down before the slide outs will operate.  Get to know your RV.  It will save you from some frustrating moments!

When retracting your slide rooms, be sure to check that nothing is in the way of the room as it comes in.  You could rip off a seat, get something stuck underneath which could damage the rollers, break something, or rip off a cabinet door. Always use your slide room locks when traveling if they have manual ones. Slide outs can work their way out as you drive if they are not secure.  

Same goes for extending them, if you have slide room locks. Make sure they are released.  If not and you try to slide out the room, you could seriously damage your side wall.  Oh and check outside for enough clearance as well. Nothing worse than extending right into a tree, a post, a bin door, or your significant other.

Okay, it is time for me to sign off and sign out and catch some zzz’s. Until next time….

Lindsey out 

Spring 2016 Update

Hello Everyone and Happy Springtime greetings!

Depending on where you are in the country it either still feels like winter or perhaps like summer!  The weather in the United States has been a bit goofy so far this year!

Since our last full time RV living Winter update, Pam and I finished up our series of teaching RV inspector training classes at Lazydays campground in Seffner, FL.  Since then we have been visiting different RV parks around Florida and sharing our thoughts about them on rvparkreviews.com.

We have also been doing RV inspections and trying to fill in the gaps for inspections as calls come into our toll-free number.  Some inspection locations we have been able to travel to and help out and others were just not feasible given the clients location relative to ours.

Last summer we traveled the northeast of the United States teaching in different locations.  We had a great time doing that, but this summer we are going to stay in Florida as we need to be near aging parents who are going to have needs, very soon, I am afraid to say.  We all have to deal with these situations sooner or later!

Having spent many years in Florida we have discovered that the best place to be in the summer months is the Florida panhandle.  The beaches are beautiful and if you are in close proximity to the beach, it tends to be cooler as the gulf breezes off the water help out.

full time rv living

So, we are situated in a very nice RV park that is just a mile from the beach as the crow flies.  The area we are in tends to be busy this time of year as everyone from Alabama and Georgia come south to spend some time at the beach.  It is affectionately known here as the Red-Neck Riviera!

However, the beaches are some of the best in the world with the white sand and turquoise water!

Living in Florida during the summer months, one can’t help but wonder when the next hurricane will strike the state!  We are now outside of the ten year record setting season of 2004 and 2005!  Wilma was the strongest storm to hit Florida as a strong category three hurricane.

full time rv living

For the 2016 hurricane season, the prediction is for there to be fourteen named storms of which eight will be hurricanes and three of those will be major storms.  The prediction is for this to be the most active season since 2012.  Here in Florida that year we had one close call but not a major hurricane landfall.

The Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico look suspect this year according to weather.com and the weather underground!

The average is for a major hurricane to strike Florida every seven years.  Given that statistic we are overdue!  That is why we like the panhandle of Florida as opposed to being down in the peninsula.  At least we can head in a one hundred and eighty-degree direction in order to avoid a serious storm.

Pam and I have spent a night in our full time RV living 5th wheel during a tropical storm.  I can tell you that is something we never want to repeat, and that was only sixty-five to seventy-five mile per hour winds!  These storms are not to be messed with!  When we are told to get out, we do!  So far we have evacuated for two storms.  That one storm I mentioned earlier formed so fast we could not get out.  We just had to hunker down and ride it out.

So, if this is going to be an active hurricane season we will be prepared!

As we travel to different parts of the country we always keep aware of possible weather issues.  In the midwest tornados can pop up at any time.  The first thing we ask when checking into a campground is what to do if that tornado siren goes off?

These are just things you have to do when you are living the full time RV lifestyle!

I have to laugh!  Pam and I are sitting here watching Go RVing on the Travel Channel.  There are two thirty-somethings who have been on the road for eleven months in a class C RV that is bigger than ours.  They are looking for a new RV with more space and a formal dining room.  What a laugh!  I think that is called a house!

She is in a new forty-five foot long 5th wheel toy hauler RV saying, “oh I really like the ceiling fan!”  What?  Is that really that important?  What about the truck you will need to pull it?  What about driving that sixty-foot behemoth that you have never driven before?  What about all the other important mechanical items that really matter when it comes to full time RV living?  Should you really care about the curtains and the ceiling fan?

I wish RV salesman would have some integrity and bring up the issues that would really help their clients!  I hate to see people being mislead just so some salesman can make his commission!  Purchasing the right RV for full time RV living is a major decision and that choice can either lead to a long and enjoyable full time RVing experience or send people back to the sticks and bricks!

That just my opinion anyway!  It’s my website so I can express it now and then!

What do you think?  What changes would you like to see made in the RV sales and buying experience?  Perhaps if we get enough feedback I can get the word out to the dealerships so things can get better!

Please feel free to express your thoughts below!  We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Blessings,
Howard, Pam, and Lindsey

RV Horror Stories – RV Inspections Needed!

One thing is for sure when purchasing an RV; you need to do your homework!  If you are unsure of what you are getting yourself into, please seek the assistance of a professional!

What I would like to share in this post is a few stories about RV buyers that have been saved from purchasing a money pit because they took the time to slow down the sales process and seek some help in evaluating the RV they were interested in purchasing.

Most people who purchase an RV start out an RV show or at a dealership. This is mainly because there is a large selection of RV’s available to look at. This is a good place to start an RV search for either a new or used RV.  But you have to know what you want in an RV, or you may get a good salesperson who will get you excited about something that may not be what you want.

I am an advocate of purchasing a used RV over a new one for two reasons. First, let someone else take the hit for the first two years of depreciation!

The second is, if you buy an RV that is two years old or older, you will save yourself the headaches that come from the issues that commonly need to be repaired because of factory mistakes.  Our friends who have purchased new RV’s have had issues up to two years after their purchase.

You can even find a good used RV that can be ten years old or older!

The thing to keep in mind when purchasing these used units is to realize that there is a great need to have a professional review the overall condition of the RV.  Then all the RV’s essential systems can be evaluated for proper function.  I have discussed a list of recommended items to be checked in another post on this website.

RV Horror Stories

As an RV inspector, I have seen some very unusual situations that have come up during the inspection process!  Because my clients had the foresight to seek out the counsel of someone more knowledgeable about RV’s, they were able to avoid buying a money pit!

The internet has become a very popular way for people to find an RV!  They can be found nearby or in another state.  We have clients who contact us and ask us to inspect the RV prior to them making a trip to see it themselves.  This can save them lots of time and money because the RV they see online is not always in the same condition when viewed in person.

Whether the RV is at a dealership or it is a private sale, the photos shown online never tell the whole story.  We saw this recently for a private seller.

The potential new owner found the RV online and contacted to have an inspection done on the RV.  Most of the RV systems were in working order, but what was not obvious to the untrained eye was an area of water intrusion that was hiding behind some cabinets.  It all stemmed from a roof penetration that could have been easily missed if not for the inspection process!

These are the kinds of issues that will lead to damage to the RV and repairs will cost in the thousands of dollars to repair!  Would it not be better to know this before the sale as opposed to after?

Another client was interested in a class A diesel motorhome that was the make and manufacturer that he preferred.  He did his research, found it out if state and through an online source.  It had the chassis and engine type he wanted, according to the manufacturer specs.  He made the wise move to order a third-party unbiased inspection of the RV.  He also ordered fluid analysis to be performed on the motorized components of the RV.

The inspection was done as ordered and in addition to the RV being completely modified from the roof to the interior, the Cummins engine that he wanted turned out to be a Caterpillar!  Had he known that ahead of time he would have never even considered the RV!  But, he was delighted with the outcome of the inspection because from all that was uncovered it saved him tens of thousands of dollars in not buying a mistake!

Another client found a two-year-old unit that was parked in Florida in an RV garage home.  Again, it was only two years old and apparently garaged its entire life, other than when traveled in.  The potential buyer ordered premier level inspection on the unit including fluid analysis on the engine, transmission, and the generator.

The seller was not pleased that an inspection was being performed on his pristine unit, even though he wanted to get it sold.  He questioned about why is the buyer inspecting this beautiful unit!  There was nothing wrong with it, according to the seller!

On the day of the inspection, a leak was noted underneath in the bin area under the kitchen.  It was dark in the garage, so the unit was moved out into the driveway where more light was available to check the chassis and undercarriage visually.

Now, the onboard water pump was left on during this moving process.  Once the RV was started up and pulled out into the driveway, water started gushing out of the storage bay under the kitchen.  It was quickly observed and the water pump was shut off!

Now, what if the inspection was never ordered and the RV was purchased and somewhere down the road, during a trip, that happened?

The client was still interested in purchasing this particular RV but only after the leak between the interior flooring and the storage bays was fixed!  The estimated cost of the repairs was in the thousands of dollars due to the tile flooring in the RV.

These are just a few of the kinds of things we see when RV buyers order a pre-purchase inspection.

Are you looking to purchase a used RV?  Do you want me to help you so that you don’t wind up buying a money pit, or even worse, an RV that you did not want?

You can contact us, and we will coach you through the process!  Also, check out this page on our website!

Best wishes as you look for your home on wheels!

Lowering the Average RV Park Fees

When it comes to budgeting for the full time and part time RV lifestyle, applying methods that lower the average RV park fees can add up the savings over the course of a year!

rv park fees

Pam and I use multiple methods to cut our average RV park fees, and we would like to share some of those with you.  These savings come by searching out RV parks that offer online discounts, using camping clubs, and by boondocking at various locations to save on RV park fees.

$20 Average RV Park Fees for Us!

We spent the first three months of 2016 in Florida.  Now, anyone who has spent any time in an RV in Florida, in the winter, knows that RV site fees can be expensive.  Why?  Supply and demand!  Everyone wants to come here to escape the cold in the north.

That means that finding an RV site for a three month period can be nearly impossible if you want to be south of Tampa.  When you call an RV park for a February stay, you may get laughed at!  Some of you may have experienced this yourself.  In fact, Pam has been on the other end of the office phone in several RV parks and had to tell potential RV park visitors the bad news!

So how did we just average $20 per night staying in Florida RV parks in the busiest months of the year?

The first thing is we don’t stay in the same place for months on end.  We have in the past, and depending on the park, the nightly rate can wind up averaging more than twenty dollars a night by the time you pay taxes and electric usage!

Since we are so mobile, and it requires little effort to move about, we find that Florida RV parks always keep transient sites available for folks like us. And you know the good thing?  They offer deals for those RV spaces!

Since January, most of the places we have stayed offered a $99 a week rate.  You can stay for one week and come back the next month and use the discount again.  One park told us if we came in the last week of the month, we could stay two weeks at the $99 per week rate.

How did we find these parks you ask?  We started the year off at the Tampa RV Supershow.  We find that many of the Florida campground owners attend the show as vendors, and they offer specials to get transient visitors to their parks.  Pam collected all kinds of information on these places and then researched them online to see if they would suit our needs.  Then we use rvparkreviews.com to get the real story on RV Parks and campgrounds.

Now, because I have a monthly engagement at Lazydays to teach an RV inspector class, I do have to be mobile.  When we spend a week there, the nightly rate is close to fifty dollars a night!  So how do we knock that down to bring our average RV park fees to the twenty dollars range?  We boondock!  This is the act of parking in approved areas that do not provide RV services: water, sewer, or electric hookups.

rv park fees

There are great free places to stay!  You just have to research and find them!

What we found worked great this past three months is that after leaving Lazydays, and we had three weeks before having to return to the next class, we boondocked a total of seven days.  We then spent the other two weeks in RV parks that were offering winter deals!

We also use our Passport America discount club card to get fifty percent off nightly RV park fees.  Most of the RV parks in Florida that offer these deals are limited in the months of January, February, and March!  Deal hunting requires a lot of research at the Passport America website.   You have to find what days of the week RV parks are offering discounts and what the black-out dates are.

Some will not even offer the Passport America discount during the Florida winter season!  But others will offer unlimited stays using the fifty percent discount.

We stayed at one of these RV parks in February.  They offered an RV site for $17.50 per night.   It was a nice park, old, but nice.  I think the main reason for offering the discount in February is that the park is located right next to railroad tracks, and a double line of them.  All day long, and in the early and late hours, trains come through.

We knew this was the case because we read reviews about the RV park and that some people could not tolerate the train traffic.  What we did was to ask for a spot in the corner of the park furthest from the train tracks.  The owner was able to accommodate our request.  We stayed for a week, and the train noise was not too bad!

Being able to save money on your average RV park fees, if that kind of thing matters to you, all boils down to being flexible.  If you don’t care too much about your exact location, and you are willing to move about, there is money to be saved and nice places to visit while doing so!

If you want to check in below and leave a comment, please feel free to share your experiences!

Happy winter camping in Florida!

 

This post is powered by Grammarly

 

Passport America, Save 50% on Campsites

RV Newbie Tips – Lindsey’s Bark Report

Baroo!  Welcome to all my furry and non-furry followers.  Lindsey here with my latest Bark Report.  

This time, I am going to Bark at you all about RV Newbie Tips.  Mom and Dad get lots of questions from people who have never had an RV, and I want to help them out because they are so busy trying to help fellow RVers!

rv newbie tips

Everyone seems to make the same mistakes even when warned by veterans.  Dad says sometimes it’s just a learn by doing, but other times you can avoid some expensive mistakes if you take heed of a few of these tips. 

RV Newbie Tips

The first thing that is super important is to know you can’t drive your RV like a car.  You have to remember that it is a really big thing that is not a sports car.  It takes longer to speed up, longer to stop, you have to take corners slower and sometimes wider, and watch the potholes and railroad tracks.  

Dad has been surprised by some railroad crossings. I thought I was going to lose my choppers from the tooth-jarring experience.  Scared me barkless with the sudden rattling of everything inside.

Hey, watch the driveway aprons when entering parking lots.  Some of them can be quite abrupt.  It is best to try to take it at an angle to avoid scraping (technical term, bottoming out) the hitch or rear of your RV.  It can bend the hitch pin if too severe or damage the undercarriage.

I need to remind you to be kind and not to cut off someone on the road either.  It’s just not nice.  Gives RVers a bad rap.  Not only that but you could cause an accident if you cut them off too close.  You’re in an RV for the adventure.  

Slow down and take the time to check out the scenery.  To be a nice RVer, when traveling on single lane roads, if you can, pull over somewhere to let traffic pass.  The locals will think better of you.

The next thing is your stuff.  Just because you have lots of storage places doesn’t mean you can fill everything up to max. By manufacture specs, they tell you how much weight you can carry.  Don’t exceed it.  It can cause tire failure among other things. (See Dad’s cool articles on tire safety.)  Been there, done that, not good.  

Your RV is not your sticks and bricks.  You just can’t take everything with you, be it to live full time or even on vacation in your RV.  Pack only what you need for the vacation.  Your entire wardrobe or kitchen doesn’t need to come with you on vacation.

I love Dad’s favorite saying. He calls it an “RVR,” Repair Vehicle Regularly. BOL!  If you drive it, it’s going to need repair.  Even if you just let it sit somewhere, it will require fixing at some point.   Mom says it’s like a mini earthquake rolling down the road.  

We had things in our Fifth Wheel that just disappeared after one trip, never to be found again.  Towables seem to get more of that action going on back there than a motorized.  At least with a drive one you can listen to it or see it as it happens.

Next, on the hit parade, I want to bark at is cleaning.  You may think that you are uber clean, but I’m here to tell you it’s not enough.  No matter how clean you think it is, your RV will still require constant cleaning.  A clean RV equals less chance of those disgusting, nasty bugs to find their way in.  

Plus, remember you are constantly going in and out in all different places (sand, grass, leaves, water) which will come in on your feet.  Mom is constantly sanitizing the kitchen and floor for any bits of food or crumbs that I happen to miss on the floor.  She even wipes my puppy paws every time I come in.  Gees!

Big DON’T is dumping food down your sinks.  It all ends up in your tank which can cause a whole bunch of problems, foremost messing up tank sensors.  It’s hard enough to get them to read accurately without dumping grease and food down there.  Go easy on the toilet paper.  Count to 10 every time you flush and use septic safe brands.  

TP likes to stick to the walls of the black tank or clog it.  You could get a nice poo pile in your black tank.  Dad adds this new green stuff that got our black tank sensors working again!  Check out Dad’s article about a great flush out your black tank!

Mom loves paper towels.  She wipes everything down before washing dishes. And easy does it on the dish soap.  You waste a lot of water if you have to constantly rinse the sink out to get the “bubble bath” down the drain.  Clue. If it bubbles back into the other sink before going down, too much.  If Boondocking, all that rinsing is water from your fresh tank.

Next, I want to bark at you about is noise.  (Hey, Dad, I get it!  He says I bark all the time. Corgi on duty!)  Keep it at a reasonable level.  RV walls are thin. If you can hear people outside, they can hear you inside. 

Which brings up another point.  Don’t arrive late.  Those big old noisy diesel engines with their beep, beep, beep back up sound does not make for a good neighbor.  Plus it’s harder for you to get situated in your site without incident.  And you don’t want an incident, especially after dark. 

Do you all realize that RVs have something called a Power Booster button? This needs to be on to receive over the air channels.  Remember to also choose TV ANT (or Cable) on the box. Scan your TVs at each campground -option typically found on your remote menu button.  

Dad loves the Jack antenna they are now using on RVs.  It has lights that tell you where the best signal is for your antenna before you scan.  We had replaced our batwing one with one of these bad boys when we had our other RV.  GRRRR-ate! 

Before I bark off, make sure you are level on your site for your RV Refrigerator.  If the gunk (that’s a technical term) in the coils can’t flow, it can cause overheating and major problems, if not now, down the road. (Get it, down the road?! I do crack me up sometimes.)

rv newbie tips

So on that note, time to catch my daily snap.  As always, any questions, or if I’ve missed anything, Bark at me below.  Until next time,

Lindsey out. zzz zzz

 

 

 

 

 

Full-Time RV Living: The Importance of RV Tire Maintenance, Part 3

The Importance of RV Tire Maintenance!

 

In parts one and two of the importance of RV tire maintenance, I discussed air pressure based on actual RV loading, regular visual inspections of your RV tires, tire pressure monitor systems, what to do with RV tires that are stored or sit static for months during full time RV living or storage, DOT codes on tires, and a discussion on when to replace RV tires.

rv tire maintenance

In part three of this article, I will address tire dressings, possible causes of abnormal tire wear and selecting replacement tires for your RV.

Applying RV Tire Dressings

There are many opinions about what to apply and what not to when it comes to tire dressings!  Most people seem to like to have their RV tires shine.  Sure, it looks good but most of the products people apply, including RV dealerships, only appear to attract dust and dirt.

I have done lots of research on this topic!  I had Michelin XRV tires on my Freightliner medium-duty truck.  I checked with Michelin, and they sold a product that was water-based and contained no petroleum distillates or alcohol.  These seem to be the big offending ingredients in tire dressing products!

rv tire maintenance

The product Michelin used to put their name on was 3-in-1 Tire Shine.  I bought a few bottles, and it did a good job of keeping the tires black, but not shiny!  It was a water-based UV protector.  For some reason, they stopped making it.

When I needed more of that product and found out that Michelin no longer sold it, I did get a tire dealer to tell me that 303 Aerospace protectant was a close formulation to the Tire Shine.

I am a believer of applying something to tires to aid in the UV protection.  I used the Michelin Tire Shine and then the 303 Protectant on my Michelin XRV tires for six years. Those tires had no sidewall checking and looked as good as the day I bought them when I traded the truck.  They could probably have been used for a few more years according to the Michelin tire specialists.

When my current Michelin and Chinese trailer tires start to get that brownish color to them, I apply the 303 Protectant, and it brings back the black color to the sidewalls. They do not have a shiny finish to them, just a deep black color!  And, it does last for a while.  I usually clean and apply this product to my tires once a month.  We do move our RV frequently, so that helps out as well.

Abnormal Tire Wear

RV tires, if maintained with the correct tire pressure for the measured load, should normally wear with even tread wear.  Of course, tire rotation, if recommended by the RV manufacturer can also help to assure even wear.

If abnormalities start to show up in your RV tires wear pattern it might be necessary to check with the motorhome chassis manufacturer for alignment specs that could assist a certified tire dealership in correcting possible issues.

According to Michelin, a feathered wear pattern on the front tires typical indicates misalignment (toe-in or toe-out)  Sometimes a radial tire will not have this wear pattern unless the toe condition is severe. Instead of the feathered edge wear, the tire will be worn on the inside or outside shoulder, which could be confused with camber wear.

rv tire maintenance

On a three-axle RV, a skewed rear axle and tag could cause feathered edge wear on one shoulder of one front tire and feathered edge on the opposite shoulder of the other front tire. To correctly diagnose a tire wear condition, the motorhome should have the alignment checked on all wheel positions.

Michelin also refers to camber wear, also known as edge wear, which wear shows up on the inside or outside shoulders of the tread. Wear on the inside edge of both tires may be due to negative camber or toe-out, a misalignment. If only one tire shows edge wear, check for worn kingpin bushings, bent or worn steering components, or excessive positive camber.  For solid beam axles, excessive camber can result from axle overload.

rv tire maintenance

Michelin publishes that if correct pressure and proper alignment are both continually maintained, tire rotation may never be needed.  However, in other cases, tire rotation may be needed to help even out wear patterns caused by alignment, underinflation, or free-rolling wear problems.

Selecting Replacement RV Tires

The most important decision an RV owner can make is the replacement of its tires when they are beyond their useful life.  The replacement tire decision can be because of the tires age or that the tread is worn off.  Remember that I stated earlier that the National Transportation and Safety Board recently stated that tires that are six years old should be replaced.

Of course, it is best to consult a certified tire specialist when it comes to RV tires!

The best way to replace RV tires is to match them with what the RV came with.  The original tires were matched with the RV for load rating, tire diameter, speed rating and the width of the tire.  A major consideration for dual axles is the tire width.  If an incorrect tire is chosen, the dual spacing could cause the tires to kiss during travel.  This can weaken the tire sidewall over time.

Also, choosing a tire with a higher load rating and increased tire pressure might sound like a good idea!  But, is the rim the tire will be mounted on able to handle the increased pressure?  It is best to consult a professional when making changes to the original tires that the RV was designed to be driven with.

In conclusion, please don’t neglect your RV’s tires!  A little regular maintenance and checking of tire pressure before travel can assure that you will not be delayed reaching your destination due to tire a related issue!

Here’s wishing you trouble-free RV travels now that you are armed with some tire safety knowledge!

 

 

This post is powered by Grammarly

Inspecting a Used RV – Lindsey’s Bark Report

Baroo! Hello, my human and furry followers.  Lindsey here with my Bark Report. Today I want to bark at you about inspecting a used RV.  I got to go with mom and dad on an inspection. A real NRVIA, third party unbiased inspection.  Ha! And Dad thinks I don’t listen!  WRONG!  And I’m here to tell you all about it first paw.

20160229_094622

Dude, it was so Corgi cool to watch mom and dad at work.  I lost a whole day’s worth of sleep trying to see all that they were doing.  It was at this huge place that sells all kinds of sizes and shapes of RVs.  We got a special place to work in, one of those covered garage spaces.  It was noisy for my big ears but so exciting!  I kept going from window to window to try to see what was going on outside.

20160307_080324

Let me tell you; my dad could be a superhero.  He was like Spiderman moving all around it.  The RV was all shiny and silver, like a bullet.   He examined every inch of that thing.  He moved the ladder so many times I lost count on my puppy paws.  (I only have four toes on my front paws because my dew claws were removed when I was a baby.  Ouch!  You try losing a thumb.

20160307_081859Dad tested for all kinds of things.  He tested to make sure the new owners won’t get shocked when they touch the door or anything on the RV.  He checked the big rubber round things that let the RV move down the road; He checked the big cloth covering thing over the door to be sure it worked, and even inside every hidey-hole on the outside.

20160307_083156

He checked all the white sealant stuff on the roof around the things sticking out of the roof, or where seams come together for places where water could get inside.  Believe me; you don’t want that.  We had that once, and I’m here to tell you I don’t like unexpected showers at three in the morning.

20160307_105311

Then Dad checked that the battery things worked and all the electrical stuff was not burned or damaged and working as it should be.  He even got to play with the poo valves.  I always wondered when Mom and Dad pull on them, does it make the poo flow faster?  

Meanwhile, Mom was inside checking all the stuff in there; cabinets, beds, windows, lights, fans, toilets, sinks, those sensor things on the ceiling, the walls, floors, and ceilings for soft spots or damage.  She even tested the stove and refrigerator.  I was sure we were going to have lunch.  Drat.  No such luck. She just kept going, like the Energizer Bunny.

20160307_120139

After Dad was done outside, he went inside to check on that stinky gas stuff in those tanks used in RVs.  He wanted to make sure that it wasn’t leaking.  That would be really bad.  Mom told me once that if it leaks, it could make people sick or even blow up the RV!  That could really ruin your day!

20160307_115557

Through my vantage point, I saw him sticking these probe things in the ceiling vents like we have in ours that blow cool air.  He told me later he was checking to be sure they were working so the new owners would stay cool in summer.  Good idea! 

The people that asked Dad to check out this RV are new RVers.  They never had one before and wanted to make sure that this one would be a good one for them.  Not good just because the salesman told them so.  As Dad says, he wants them to have a good experience and know exactly what they are getting by not buying a money pit.  Wow! That is so cool!  I am so proud of Mom and Dad to be able to help people like them out.

I wuv my Mom and Dad!  Time to catch some ZZZ’s.

Until next time,

Lindsey out…..

 

Small RV Living Full Time Update

We have people ask Pam and I, “why would you want to live in such a small RV?  Are you crazy?”

aspect_digital_bro_2013_x.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Reader DC 2016-03-13 16.09.38

So, I thought it was time for a small RV living full time update!  Since we just celebrated our first year in our second full time RV living RV, and in our eighth year of enjoying the lifestyle, I want to share some thoughts on what it is like to live each day in one hundred and sixty square feet.

As I mentioned earlier, since trading our monster 5th wheel and medium duty truck for something smaller, we have traveled in our class C RV almost eight thousand miles and lived in it for three hundred and eighty days.

We lived and traveled in our 5th wheel for over seven years.  We enjoyed the comfort and residential amenities of the 5th wheel, but when it came to moving it, that was sometimes not as much of an enjoyable experience.  It was basically like driving a semi-truck!

When it came time to adopt a more mobile lifestyle due to our RV inspection business, we decided that a smaller motorized RV would suit us better.  It may sound strange to say, but we felt that our 5th wheel was just too big and that we did not need all that room, except to store our stuff.  So, we just got rid of the stuff and went for small RV living!

Small RV Living Full Time

Let’s see if I can give you an idea of what a day in a small RV is like!

Like most RV’s, we have a kitchen, a dinette, two front chairs that spin around to service the main living area, a small bathroom with sink, toilet and shower, and a bedroom with a queen bed.  Basically, everything you need to be comfortable no matter where you are!

The RV has two slide-out units that add space in the bedroom and living area, but even when retracted the unit is still comfortable.  We don’t always extend them when boondocking at Walmarts.  We don’t want to appear like we are staying long-term!

A Typical Day Spent in the RV

If Pam and I are not traveling to do an RV Inspection or teaching a class, we typically spend the day inside working inside the RV.  In addition to growing our RV Inspection business, I also administrate this full time RV living website. As it continues to grow it does take work in responding to people’s questions, monitoring the pages and posts on the site, and writing additional content.  I enjoy hearing from others looking to adopt the lifestyle and helping out as I have time!

A typical day starts out with Pam getting out of bed first and taking care of Lindsey, our authoring Corgi, and getting the coffee made.  I stay out of the way and check the morning communications via my smartphone.  I find this works best, so we are not competing for the same space.

Once Lindsey goes out for her morning constitutional, I move from the bedroom to the main living area to do what I need to do.   After the morning green drink and some bathroom activities, I head for the coffee pot and then to the laptop to start my day of work.  Now, not every day is a full work day.  If so there would be no reason to live in an RV!  The fun of the lifestyle is to move about and enjoy the sites of many different locations.

My desk is the dinette area.  This area is also where we eat and where we sit and watch TV.  The TV is mounted on the curbside kitchen wall.  It does pivot out so we can sit in the front chairs and watch from there, but we seem to prefer the dinette area.  Lindsey has adopted the drivers chair as hers.

aspect_digital_bro_2013_x.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Reader DC 2016-03-13 16.08.49

When the street-side slideout is extended, there is plenty of room for Pam and me to navigate around each other.  We very rarely feel like we are in each others way!  With the slides retracted for travel and boondocking, that can be a bit more of a challenge.

We find the bathroom is plenty adequate for us.  The shower could be a little bit larger, but for a thirty-foot RV, it is what you get.  At first, we felt the bathroom sink was small, but we have had no problem with its use.  Our black and gray tanks are thirty-four and thirty-one gallons respectively.

054053052

The black tank can last us a week or so, but the gray tank requires dumping every other day or so depending on showering, etc.  We can easily boondock for two or three days if we are conservative on the fresh water usage of the forty gallon tank.

Meals are not a problem!  We can cook most anything we want and have the space to handle the prep work.  We are not making elaborate meals. We enjoy salads, chicken and vegetable meals, and skillet dinners, etc.  Dinners could be the most challenging in this type of RV, but our simple meals pose no problem!  With the large micro/convection oven, and the 3-burner gas cooktop, cooking is easy!

aspect_digital_bro_2013_x.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Reader DC 2016-03-13 16.10.22

Our seating arrangements consist of the driver and co-pilot chairs and the dinette seating.  I miss the euro chair that I had in the 5th wheel, but then I don’t miss some of the other things I had to deal with in the 5th wheel that I don’t with this RV!  If I desire to recline somewhere, I have pillows at the dinette, and I lie across the bench seating and can rest my feet on a folding table if I want to.

aspect_digital_bro_2013_x.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Reader DC 2016-03-13 16.11.00

The bedroom has plenty of storage for our clothes, and the bed is large enough to work for us.  Lindsay makes her way to the bed each evening to keep us safe – attack Corgi on duty!  With those ears, she hears everything. Sometimes she hears too much!!

aspect_digital_bro_2013_x.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Reader DC 2016-03-13 16.17.05

So, working at the dinette area, perhaps an afternoon walk, meals, evening TV viewing while doing a little more computer work, and that’s the day!  The commute from the bedroom to the dinette is pretty rough to take some days!  LOL  Even on the days we are working outside the RV, we take it with us as our mobile office.  That’s the beauty of this size RV!

Could you possibly see yourself enjoying small RV living?  That really depends on the lifestyle you are used to.  Pam and I migrated from a thirty-eight hundred square foot house to a twelve hundred square foot home to a four hundred square foot RV to what we have now.

For us, it was a progression.  Could we have jumped from the large house to our current RV?  Probably not!  Everyone’s journey will be different, but yes you can enjoy full time RV living in a small RV!  It just takes planning and the research to know what you are getting into before buying one.

If you think you want to try it, rent one.  Small RV’s are easy to rent!  This would be an excellent way to test it out!

If you are enjoying full time RV living, or you have more questions about this subject, please feel free to comment below!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

This post is powered by Grammarly

Selecting an RV for Full Time RV Living!

One of the most popular posts on my website is the one that talks about the best 5th wheel RV for you.  That proves to me that selecting an RV to buy is a difficult choice, especially if the person making the choice has never traveled in an RV before!

selecting an rv

There are many determinations to make when selecting an RV to purchase! That decision can be entirely different if the RV is being used for full time RV living or it is just for occasional travel.  But, in either case, there is not a more comfortable way to travel!  When on the road in an RV you have everything you need!  Where ever you are, you are at home because everything you need is with you!

What I want to address in this writing is to give you things to consider when starting your research for an RV you may be considering buying.  

It amazes me that 1.3 million Americans live in an RV and are enjoying full-time RV living!  The question is, did most of these folks make the right choice when they made their first RV purchase?

My research has led me to answer no to that question!  Many people we have met in our eight years on the road have shared how many RV’s they have had since they started the lifestyle.  Most people have traded their RV every one to two years.  

They also admit that they have made impulsive purchases.  They were attracted to mundane features that had no real significance for what they really needed for their RVing lifestyle!  They bought in the moment instead of thinking the RV purchase through!

RV dealerships prey on emotions to get you to buy at the moment! Statements like, “Oh look how lovely this fireplace will be on a chilly night!  You can enjoy watching your flat screen TV and have a fire too!”  What they don’t really know is how you are going to use the RV and what your actual needs may be!  

There are some dealerships that will take the time to learn your needs and match them with the appropriate RV.  But, when you first start looking you may not know exactly what you will need in an RV purchase.

Selecting an RV!

What should you be looking for?  These could be some things to consider:

  • What amount of engine power will you need?  
  • What class of RV will work best?
  • Will my choice be easy to drive?  
  • Does paint quality matter to you?  
  • What floorplan will work best?  
  • What about features and technology?  
  • Will you have enough storage space?  
  • Can you carry everything you want with you?  
  • What is cargo carrying capacity?  
  • Should I buy a new or used RV?
  • Will you need to tow a car or a trailer?  How does that affect your RV chassis choice?
  • If purchasing a towable RV, how much truck will you need to safely pull the RV?

So, those items I listed above are just a few of the considerations you need to make when selecting an RV to purchase.  But first, it really does not matter what you may think you want if you can’t afford it, right?  

So the first thing is to set a realistic budget. Will you pay cash for your RV or will you be financing a significant portion of the purchase? You must decide so when you go shopping on the internet, or at an RV dealership, you are working within your budget.

selecting an rv

Once you have that number, keep it to yourself!  A salesman’s first question is “what is your budget?”  There are many ways they can make the numbers work!  Payments can be spread out over twenty years.  

But will you still have that RV in twenty years?  If you trade it in after just a few years you will be upside down: owe more than it’s worth. Choose the class of RV that you are considering and share that with them.

For example, when the salesperson asks, “what budget have you set for your RV purchase,” respond with something like, “we are looking for a class A gas powered RV in the thirty-six-foot range.”  

It will be best if you choose a class of RV before going to the dealership. This will be part of your pre-visit research.  Don’t buy on the first visit!  Go home and evaluate what you saw.  Take lots of pictures!

If after looking at the RV of your choice you decide that it may not work for you then you have spared yourself from making a mistake!  Just re-examine your priorities and try again.

RV’s are a depreciating asset.  They are not even an asset!  Once you drive it off the lot, especially if it is brand new, if you turn around and come back a week later, it is now a used RV.  

That is why it is so important to buy right, the first time, and you can do this by spending a lot of time reading, visiting dealerships, and talking to others who are already on the road.

I want to address some of the items to consider when purchasing an RV that I listed earlier by telling our story and process of how we were able to buy and keep our first RV for almost seven years!

The best thing Pam and I did was to rent RV’s for seven years before deciding to get into the full-time RV lifestyle!  We were at the point that a vacation in an RV was far better than other options we had done previously! Once we were out on the road, we learned so much about what we would like in an RV of our own and what we would not.

Once we finally decided to start looking for the class of RV we had decided on, I researched my choice vigorously!  I set a budget and decided a used RV that was in the two to the three-year-old category would suit us best.  

My determination was mostly based on an RV manufacturer that I thought had great quality.  We also based our choice on one that we had rented from this particular RV manufacturer and the feedback of other owners.

I found the one I wanted, and it was only a couple of hundred miles away, so we went to look at it, and with our purchasing budget in mind.  

It was just what we were looking for but about twenty-five thousand dollars more than I wanted to spend for it.  So we thought perhaps we should go a few years older, but the same make and model, if we could find it.

As chance would have it, a few weeks later the dealership was having a close-out sale and the price of the RV we looked at had dropped twenty-five thousand dollars.  The RV price was now right where we wanted it: two years old, it had hardly been used, looked like new, but it had a bad odor inside.  

It was not a mold issue, but a black tank odor.  It turned out they had never dumped the black tank after receiving it as a trade-in.  Once the tank was emptied and the RV interior was cleaned, the odor was no more!

We closed the deal and purchased our “new to us” 2006 Newmar Kountry Aire 5th wheel!  We now had our full-time RV living home, and we were delighted!  

It was in our budget, it had all the space we required in the kitchen, it had plenty of storage below, it could carry the weight of the items we planned to put in it, the full body paint was stunning, and it appeared it had been well cared for.  As it turns out, we should have had a certified RV inspection done on the RV as I missed a few things that cost me money later on!

The point here is that because we spent a lot of time researching the RV lifestyle, we traveled thirty-five thousand miles in rented RV’s before buying one, spent the time deciding what would work best for us, talked to other RVers about their experiences, and did not rush into a purchase, we had that RV for almost seven years and it worked out perfectly for us!

selecting an rv

 

And, because we purchased both the truck and the 5th wheel at below market value, we did okay when it came time to trade the RV in!  

Why did we trade the RV in you ask?  Well, our needs changed in a way that we could not have anticipated when we started the full-time RV lifestyle. And that’s okay!  But, since the RV was approaching the ten-year mark, which for us was a good time to trade, and we needed a different class of RV due to our business, we started the process all over again!

But, since the RV was approaching the ten-year mark, which for us was a good time to trade, and we needed a different class of RV due to our business, we started the process all over again!

What Class of RV will Work Best for You?

There are so many things to consider when thinking about purchasing your RV!  The first main issue, other than price, is to decide what class of RV will work best for you?  Will that be a motorized RV or a towable RV?  If you choose a motorized RV, will that be a gas engine or a diesel engine?  

Gas powered RV’s are great if you are not going to be moving around that much and staying in places for months on end.  However, they certainly don’t have the carrying capacity of their diesel counterparts.  Carrying capacity can be a significant issue for full-time RVers!  Also, the larger gas powered class A RV’s don’t drive as well as one that is on a diesel powered chassis with airbags that improve handling and ride.

But with that improved handling and ride comes a significant increase in cost! Depending on the make and manufacturer you can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the price tag if choosing a new RV.

As far as fuel consumption, they are about the same as far as gallons consumed, per mile driven.  You are going to get seven to ten miles per gallon, at best!  I have people tell me they are getting seventeen miles per gallon pulling their forty foot 5th wheel with their one-ton dually truck. Horse pucky!

Listen, this is just my opinion, and it is my website, so I can say what I like. This advice is based on years of experience!  If fuel costs are a big deal in your RVing lifestyle, then RVing may not be for you, at least for an RV that you are going to move a lot.  If it is something that you will only bring south for the winter, perhaps a park model would be a better fit!  Overall they are cheaper, you don’t have the stresses involved in driving them, and park models require much less maintenance than an RV!

If fuel costs are a big deal in your RVing lifestyle, then RVing may not be for you, at least for an RV that you are going to move a lot.  If it is something that you will only bring south for the winter, perhaps a park model would be a better fit!  Overall they are cheaper, you don’t have the stresses involved in driving them, and park models require much less maintenance than an RV!

If selecting an RV as a choice to get out of a house and it will not be moved very much, indeed a towable unit is a better choice than a motorized one. If at some point you need it moved you can hire an RV moving company to come and relocate it for you. That will probably be cheaper than owning a truck that will never pull the RV regularly.

Carry Capacity When Selecting an RV

What is carry capacity and how can you find this information in an RV? There will be a data plate in the RV, either in the front, on a door, or listed inside a cabinet door.  That label will tell you what the RV can carry. Depending on the class of RV we are talking about here, that figure will include the weight of occupants, fresh water in the tank, and items brought onboard the RV.

Take a look at this yellow label describing the carrying capacity of a thirty-four-foot class C diesel puller RV.

selecting an rv

This label states that for this RV the combination of the occupants, fresh water and cargo should not exceed 1,233 pounds.  That is not much carrying capacity!  It would be incredibly easy to overload this vehicle to the point of being unsafe!  

This would not be a good choice for a full time RVer who wants to carry all their possessions with them!  Even with a cargo trailer, it would be tough! A five hundred pound tongue weight on the hitch pulling a five thousand pound GVWR trailer would knock that carrying capacity down to a little over eight hundred pounds.

Now, add two adults at three to four hundred pounds total and you barely have the carrying capacity for anything else.

Does this change in a class A diesel RV?  Sure!  Some can carry five thousand pounds or more!  Even some of the larger class A gas RV’s have a carrying capacity of three to four thousand pounds.

The reason for going into such detail on this topic is because we know so many RVers who travel in an overloaded situation.  When doing so, that puts a strain on all the mechanical components of the RV, as well as the tires that may not be designed to carry the additional weight.  What can that lead to?  Perhaps a tire blowout during travel. That is not something you want to experience if you can avoid it!

So, when selecting an RV that you want to purchase you can now see that there is so much more than deciding one day to buy one and then go to a dealership to look.  That is the best way to get confused and probably get pushed into the wrong purchase! The same is true at RV shows!  Yes, there are deals to be had, but only if you know exactly what you want after having done lots of research!

That is the best way to get confused and probably get pushed into the wrong purchase! The same is true at RV shows!  Yes, there are deals to be had, but only if you know exactly what you want after having done lots of research!

Please be a smart RV buyer and do your homework!  And if it is just impossible for you to know what kind of RV that will work best for you, rent one, or borrow a friend or family members, and try it out.  If you have to rent an RV, and it won’t be cheap, it will be the best money you will have spent!  It sure was for Pam and me!

Best of luck on your future RV purchase!  When you do finally decide and buy your home on wheels, and it is a used RV, please visit our Used Purchase RV page on Facebook and share your experience with us and others!  This Facebook Group has been set up to help buyers of used RV’s to find places where they can have good buying experiences.

Please leave a comment below if we can be of assistance to you in this process!

 

Happy RV Shopping!!
Howard and Pam

This post is powered by Grammarly

Natural Home Remedies Controlling Pest Insects Bugs – Lindseys Bark Report

Barooooo!  Guess who?  It’s me Lindsey back with another new Bark Report.  This time, I want to bark at you all about an icky subject, natural home remedies controlling pest insects bugs in and around your RV. (Sorry no significant others will be covered in this report.)

For me, they provide a good, quick protein snack.  Catching a fly in the air is a fun game.  Snap, snap, snap.  Who’s faster?  Another favorite of mine is rolling on the crawly kind to see if it can survive a corgi back scratch.  Neither are a favorite of Mom, so I will have to give you her words of wisdom keeping our moving house pest free.

First off I got to say, if you find one of them stink bugs, by all means don’t squish it in the house.  Mom grabs it with something with a paper towel and puts it outside or in a sealed jar.  You can suck them up with a vacuum but be sure to dump it immediately. Warning, if you squish one, it’s a nasty smell for humans. It’s the smell that keeps on giving.  Phew! I rolled on one in PA and got a long soapy bath and lots of a Perfect Coat coconut freshening spray.  In my mind, the bug smelled better.  

Use a spray of 2 cups water to 10 drops mint oil to keep those bugs away!  Mild dish soapy water kills them. Garlic repels them. ( Not just for vampires!)  Mix 2 cups water and four tsp garlic powder.  The little stinkers come in through vents or small holes.  I sometimes get lucky and find them when Mom brings in the slide rooms. Try rubbing your door, windows and vent screens with a strong smelling dryer sheet daily until the problem is fixed. 

Next one to bark about is ants.  You know those teenie, weenie, tiny little things that build mounds and make it look like the earth is moving?  Well, a cool way is to sprinkle grits (yes you heard me right. The stuff all good Southerners eat for breakfast.) around all the ant mounds. They take it back to the impress their queen, eat it and POOF! Exploding ants!  It expands when they eat it.  The industrious ones that survive will move the colony but you just keep sprinkling, and they continue until all gone.

Sprinkle garlic between any decking or bricks to keep them off your patio.  You don’t want to step on those guys cuz they get mad and bite.

Oh, I did forget to mention if you get ants inside your moving house, bay leaves help discourage them. Rabbit trail. We had someone time because the mints were left on a window ledge.  The teeny tiny little buggers came right in between the slide-out room like a small army invasion with a trail right into that little tin.  Mom put some whole bay leaves around the seals and ledge where they were coming in.  Got rid of our tin of ant covered mints too. (Cucumber peel works too,)  You can use in cabinets or tuck around slide room rubber seals.  It will last about a month.  They get crusty and dry when it’s time to change them. 

Yo, check it out. Put a line of cayenne, or spray soapy water around entrance points. Ants won’t cross it.  I guess they don’t want to be clean and don’t like spicy food.  Go figure!

Okay, so all you Harry Potter fans remember Ron Weasley and his fear of spiders? Dude, he just needed a mixture of peppermint oil and water.  Spray it around inside and it keeps the spiders out. Just a drop or two and some water in a small spray bottle. Spray around slides, crevices or wherever the little creepy, crawlies comes in. It makes your RV smell good too.  Remember to spray where their food source is too.  Outside lights attract flies; thus, Spidey shows up. 

Mud Daubers, those weird looking waspy things with long legs that like to hang around all your vent areas of your RV.  Prevention is best on these bad boys. Good news is they eat spiders.  Remove the webs and spiders. Buh-bye.  Don’t be cheap. Spend the money and get the dauber screens to put on your outside refrigerator, water heater and furnace vents.  If they get in there, you can find a whole nest, and that’s not good. It can impact on your appliance operations. 

Now we come to a really nasty bug, roaches.  For you northerners, there are two kinds. One is called a German cockroach, and the other is called a palmetto bug.  (Palmetto bug is a cockroach on steroids.)  They like food and wet areas. Rule number one, clean and clean often and then clean again.  Get rid of garbage daily and seal up all food. They don’t like bay leaves, garlic or cucumber slices. Put it in areas where they like to hang out, high places above refrigerator or cabinets.  

The best way to keep roaches out is don’t let them in. Duh! If you have lots of pine straw around, roaches like to live in it. It’s common to see in Florida because it helps kill weeds. It’s toxic to kids and furkids, but boric acid, also known commercially as Borax laundry detergent will keep them out.  You can sprinkle around your site outside, or above cabinets, slides, refrigerator inside. They’re stupid like ants and take it back to the nest to eat. Clean but dead roaches.

So a few other things roaches don’t like.  Catnip.  If you’re handy, make little pouches of catnip and put around your RV where you may find them.  Your cat could be euphoric if it gets into these! Barooo!  Sometimes I just crack me up! Or if you want to forgo that beer, soak 1 or 2 pieces of bread in a coffee can soaked in beer.  They no like.

Or there is my favorite, death by dish soap.  You have to be quick but spray that bugger with dish soap.  Kills them dead.

You know those annoying buzzers that bite you called mosquitoes? Well, they do not like lavender or citronella.  Rub some on and it will help keep them off you.  A concoction that Paul Harvey says works is to buy a big blue bottle of cheap mouthwash and mix it with 3 cups Epsom Salts and three stale, cheap beer until dissolved.  Spray around your site. It will last about 80 days. Mosquitoes and bugs hate it. Of course, I know a lot of humans who hate stale beer and cheap mouthwash too. Also, avoid the scented shampoos, laundry detergent, and fabric softener.  Those little buzzers like scents as well as lights. 

Got moths?  They are a fun game to try to catch.   Mom found that dried lemon peel is a natural deterrent for them.  You can put some in a cheesecloth and toss or hang in your closet. Aromatic cedar oil(juniper) soaked on a cloth works too.

We need to talk flies.  Boy, do they set me to buzzing by dive bombing my head and landing on me when I’m trying to catch some ZZZs.  How rude!  If they buzz you too, try putting crushed mint or eucalyptus oil on an absorbent cloth around the moving house. It helps deter them.  We never leave my food or any people food open, but if you do,  an open container of sweet basil and clover nearby will help discourage them. 

Lastly, I hear you asking about mice. Hmm, I’m not a cat, but Mom did say that a couple drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and placed where ever mice may enter will deter them. ( Is it my imagination or is peppermint a major pest deterrent?)  Food for thought for another day. One of Dad’s students even said he heard putting moth balls in your bays or engine area will keep them out.

20160229_094622

“Get that camera out if my face! I am trying to take a nap on Mom and Dad’s bed!”

Okay, I’m done.  Time to check out the inside of my eyelids.  If you want to bark at me below, please do. Until next time,

Lindsey out…..

 

This post is powered by Grammarly