Nov 25

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”

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“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.

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!!

Aug 09

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.

Aug 07

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!

 

Jul 30

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!

Jun 20

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!

May 04

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!

Feb 15

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!

Jan 15

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 <===

Dec 22

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 . . .

 

Dec 19

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

Sep 26

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!

Aug 21

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

Jul 06

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 . . . . .

Jun 18

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!

May 27

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 gorgeroyal 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!

Apr 28

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!

Apr 05

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!

Jan 11

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.

Dec 18

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!

 

Nov 29

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?

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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!

Nov 01

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

Oct 26

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!!

Oct 18

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!!

Aug 14

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!

Aug 08

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!

Jul 31

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)

Jun 28

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!

 

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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!!

Jun 21

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!

May 20

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 problemsrv 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 problemsrv slide out problemsrv 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.

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rv slide out problemsrv slide out problemsrv 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 

May 16

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

Apr 20

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!

Apr 13

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!

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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.

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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!

 

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Passport America, Save 50% on Campsites

Apr 10

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!

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 04

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!

 

 

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Mar 15

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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…..

 

Mar 14

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?”

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!!

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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!

 

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Mar 01

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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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Feb 29

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.

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“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…..

 

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Feb 15

Winter 2016 Update

Since our Fall Update, Pam and I have been back in Florida.  We spent time in the panhandle of Florida from mid-November to early January 2016.  Pam and I enjoy the Destin area of Florida because of the beautiful white sand beaches and gorgeous sunsets!  It was a warm Thanksgiving and early December!

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In early January, we headed to the Tampa area to spend a week at Lazydays in Seffner, FL.  We were teaching an NRVIA 5-Day Learn by Doing Advanced RV inspector training class.  We had six eager students who were perfecting their RV inspection skills!

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This year we decided not to stay in any one place for very long as we have done in past years during the winter season. When visiting Florida in the winter, in an RV while enjoying full-time RV living lifestyle, it can be difficult to find an RV spot in February!  It is much easier to do so if you are willing to move around a bit.  And, there are deals to be had!  Some of our camping club memberships give us discounts even during the winter in Florida.  That is awesome!!

Once we left Lazydays, we headed to the Tampa RV Supershow.  This event is held every year at the Tampa Fairgrounds facility that is located near I-4 and I-75.  This year had a mixture of warms days and some cooler, and we had several days of rain during the event.  The weather had an effect on the visitor numbers as they did not break last year’s attendance record, but they only missed it by a few hundred attendees.

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Pam and I enjoyed visiting with vendors and manufacturers to learn about their new products for 2016!  There certainly are some creative innovations being used in RV’s coming off the line.  We saw some 5th wheel RV manufacturers that are using some creative thinking by putting the kitchens up front, raised living rooms in the rear with storage bays underneath, TV’s behind mirrors in bedrooms, and large slide-in-slide units.

And of course, who can resist looking at the multi-million dollar units on display!  Some are set up to view from the outside only!  You can’t go inside unless you make an appointment, have a credit check run on you, prove your net worth, and give up your first born!  LOL

While everyone else was checking out the interiors of the more expensive units, I was outside checking out all the storage bays with all the equipment installed that controls plumbing, heating, electronics, electrical functions, etc.  I look at RV’s differently than most!  I try to determine how you get to things if service is needed and how things work?  As an RV inspector/trainer, I am always evaluating what the RV manufacturers are doing!

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While looking at some of the class A gas toy hauler units, I was intrigued by something I have never seen in a factory installed appliance.  I have seen RV owners install window AC units in their RV’s, but now one particular manufacturer has come up with a way to do that to eliminate the added height of a rooftop AC unit.

They took a small window type AC unit and installed it in a cabinet.  They placed an oversized vent on the exterior wall of the RV.  To vent the heat, they used a rooftop refrigerator vent that you would typically see in a Dometic or Norcold installation.  To make this work the small AC unit was mounted near the interior ceiling.  I was not able to test its operation, but I was intrigued by the ingenuity!

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While at the show we were able to stay in the vendor camping area.  After a long day of walking around the Fairgrounds, it was nice not to have to deal with the rush hour traffic while trying to depart from the show.  Staying right at the Fairgrounds was very convenient and enjoyable!

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Since leaving the Tampa RV Supershow, we have been staying north of the Tampa area and visiting RV parks that were offering deals at the show.  So far so good!  We have been able to get an RV spot in campgrounds that were offering specials.  Sometimes you get a decent place, other times you don’t!

Last week we were parked in a campground RV site right at the entrance gate and the mail delivery area.  Use your imagination as to our thoughts there.  However, for nine nights the average cost was $15.83!  So, we could not complain too much I guess!  It is winter in Florida, and the snowbirds are here!

The following week we were in another RV park, and we were located right up front near a busy two-lane state road.  The office told us that this was all they had.  For the price paid, I guess we can’t complain here either!  We were able to get a week’s stay for $99.

So, we left that park and headed to Walmart for some shopping and decided to stay the night.  While there we decided on our next location.  We found another RV park in the area offering a $99 for a week special.  Awesome!!

We are now in a quiet little campground that is located out of the city busyness.  It is an older park with an eclectic mix of older RV’s and park models, but again, for the price it is just fine!

From here we are headed back to Lazydays for another Learn by Doing 5-day Advanced Inspector Training class.  We will be there till the end of February.

Where will we be after that?  Right now we don’t know!  But that is the fun of full time RV living!  It does not matter.  If we can’t find a spot, there is always a Walmart parking lot we can hang out at for a few days.  Some of the Walmarts north of the Tampa area are pretty nice!

Are you out traveling in your RV this winter, or not?  Share what you are up to in the comment area below!

Happy Travels!
Howard and Pam

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Feb 09

RVing in Florida in Winter

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Baroo!  Hello, my furry and non-furry followers. Lindsey here with my Bark Report.  I’m here to bark at you about RVing in Florida in the Winter.  Mom’s computer machine quit, so my puppy paws had to hold back on my topic.  Since we’ve been RVing for the past 53 dog years (that’s seven plus human years), I thought this would be a good topic, especially since we spend most of our time in Florida.

Tip #1:  Dude, check out the RV shows.  Deals to be had!  Mom collected them at the Tampa RV Supershow like they were giving away money.  Many exclude the busy months of January, February and March but lots don’t.  They just want to get you to stay at their park.  But you have to be flexible.  Be an RVer.  My motto, if you don’t want to move, get a dog house!

Tip #2:  Long term rates are the best IF you can find them.  Once someone comes, they book year after year as fast as they can.  And the parks like that so they give them preferential treatment for doing that.   It’s like Network Marketing.  They tell their friends, who tell their friends, who tell their friends.  Seems that’s the one way to get a long term spot. So make a friend. BOL!

Tip #3: RV Parks always have something called Transient sites.  That’s not “homeless” transient but short term sites.  What that means is if you are flexible you can find a week or two. Move and move often. The park we are in right now just happened to have a cancelation AND had a week or two-week internet special. 

Tip #4:  Join a club like FMCA, Escapees, Passport America, Thousand Trails, Good Sam.  Can you say Discounts?  Most will do at least 10% off and may have some restrictions on how long or when you can stay. We use Passport America, so we get 50% off stays.  That spells more bones for me!!!

Tip #5: State, County and City parks.  If you are over 65, they give you 50% off.  They have to keep some transient sites open for up to 14 days.   Too bad they don’t count dog years.  I would surely qualify for that discount. 

Tip #6:  Check out northern Florida.  Their busy season is in the summer.  You can find some excellent off-season rates and less traffic.    Even close to or on the beach.  Yea yea I know.  You’re telling me it’s too cold.  Compared to what?  Where you live?  At least, you won’t be shoveling snow if you get my drift.  (Get it? Snow? drift?.  Sometimes I just crack me up!)

Tip #7:  Fill ‘er up before you cross the state line.  Gas is cheaper in neighboring states.  Dad says they have lower taxes.  There’s a site online you can check out gas prices.  It’s called gasbuddy.com. 

Tip #8:  Ever think about Workamping? You ask, what is workamping?  You exchange hours worked for a campsite.  If you want to be in Florida in the winter, think about it. You can save a ton of money doing a seasonal job for a campsite.  Some even pay for extra hours worked.  Volunteer as a camp host at an Army Corp of Engineer or State Park.  Most offer a site for minimum hours worked.

Tip #9:  Look for smaller, family owned campgrounds that are farther inland.  Mom says the price goes up per mile the closer you get to the beach.  

So, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.  Did I miss anything? Questions? If so, Bark at me below, and I’ll get back to you.  Time for my puppy “snap”.(Short nap)

Lindsey out.

 

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Jan 30

Full-Time RV Living: The Importance of RV Tire Maintenance, Part 2

In part one of this article I talked about the importance of setting the correct cold tire pressure based on the loaded weight of an RV.  I also discussed inspecting the RV’s tires before each trip and when is the best time to replace those tires.

In part two of this article, I would like to address tire pressure monitoring systems, what to do with RV tires that are stored or sit static for months during full time RV living, DOT codes on tires, and a little more discussion on when to replace RV tires.

Tire Pressure Monitor Systems

More and more RV’s and cars now come with tire pressure monitor systems installed. They are mounted inside the rim where the tire valve stem is located.  These sensors feed current tire pressure readings to an inside source where the vehicle driver can monitor these values.  Not only do they give current tire pressure readings but some also give internal temperature readings.

These devices allow the driver to know when preset values increase above a percentage of what is normal.  The sensors will also indicate a loss of pressure whether sudden or slow; that might create a situation where the change in pressure could create a serious issue while traveling.

Pam and I have used these devices for years and have been alerted to serious issues that allowed us to pull off the road before significant damage was done to the RV! When pulling a trailer, a 5th wheel RV, or when towing a car or trailer behind a motorized RV, these devices are especially important because sometimes you can’t tell when a problem may be occurring!

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I travel with added piece of mind during both day and night travel with a tire pressure monitor system installed!  In the dark, while traveling with our big fifth wheel, with dual tandems, and the big Freightliner truck, I would not even feel the loss of one if it’s eight tires.  The truck would not care!  It would just keep on trucking along!  Have you ever had a semi-truck pass you on the highway and you noticed one of its tires is shredded or missing?  They don’t realize it either.

While traveling I-75 in Florida one hot August day, with the outside temperature recording 97 degrees, we had a catastrophic failure of one of our tires on the rear axle of the street side outside tire.  Now, in this case, we heard it because it sounded like a shotgun!  Before the blowout, the tire pressure indicators did show a normal increase in tire pressure as expected for the hot day we were traveling.

The sensors immediately set off an alarm to which we responded to by pulling off the highway.  When the noise was first heard we did not know what it was, but when the tire pressure monitor system alarm sounded, I knew a tire had failed.  Because we were notified very quickly, I was able to get off the road and minimize the damage to the RV, which luckily there was very little.  That was because I did not continue to drive on a damaged tire that would have continued to deteriorate even further, unravel and beat up the underside of the RV.

While holding some seminars at Lazydays RV Rally Park last year, I was able to overhear another seminar being held by an RV manufacturer talking about the cost a rear tire failure can have on a class A RV.  He stated that the average cost to repair the damage by a tire that fails at highway speeds averages about fifty-two thousand dollars.  Wow!!

If you don’t currently have this technology in use on your RV, how can an externally installed tire pressure monitoring system help you?  It can by allowing you to address slow increases or decreases in tire pressure, out of range temperature readings of the tires, and even the sudden loss of tire pressure if the driver is unable to sense the change.

If your RV does not have this sort of system installed as a factory option, it is well worth the investment to have them placed on every tire valve stem involved in your RV setup. They simply screw onto the threads where the valve cap is located.  If a class A RV has six tires and pulls a car behind, it can be equipped with ten sensors for the RV and the tow vehicle.  The same can be said for trucks and towable units.

Anyone who travels in an RV should have tire pressure monitors installed!  Prices start at a few hundred dollars and go up from there depending on the unit you choose and the number of sensors you require.  In the past few years, the systems have improved even more!  I like that they now offer lighter weight sensors and that you can change the sensor batteries yourself instead of sealed units that you have to send back to the manufacturer to replace.

RV Tires That Sit For Months Without Being Moved

RV tires that sit for long periods of time have more of a challenge than those that are driven more often.  Such a case might be when an RV is used only a few weeks out of the year and stored the rest, or for a full time RVer, who lives in the RV but does not move it much because they stay in one area.

What RV owners may not know is that tires age in a different manner when they are not driven.  They actually may age faster.  Without the tire being able to rotate, heat up, and the entire tire allowed to flex under load, the tire is not given the chance for the protective agents in the tire to be able to do their job.

If an RV is being stored, more thought needs to be given to the needs of the tires.  The recommendations from the major tire manufacturers are to store the RV in a cool, dry and weather protected unit.  The best place to set the RV tires is on a smooth non-petroleum based surface with a barrier between the tire and its parking surface.

Most people forget to think about reducing the load in the RV while it is placed in storage.  For those that are living full time in their RV, they may be able to use the leveling system to not only level the RV but to take some of the load off their tires.

What are some other things an RV owner can do to protect their tires, whether for a full-timer or not?  It is best to keep the RV tires clean by using a mild soap and water.  Also, if they are going to be exposed to sunlight and ultraviolet rays, keep them covered.  If possible, it is also a good idea to keep them out of a high ozone area.  I will discuss the application of tire dressings in part three of this series!

And of course, the tires should always be inflated to the recommended pressure indicated by the RV manufacturer!  But, please keep in mind the best thing you can do for your tires is to use them!  

The Expected Life of an RV Tire

The various materials and rubber compounds that make up an RV tire are there to be sure the tire functions as it should.  How long the tire will last certainly depends on many factors.  These can be factors of how the tire is used during its life, how it is stored and maintained, and the weather conditions the tire has endured.

How can you know how old your tires are and if they should just be replaced?   Can the Department of Transportation code indicate that they are past their useful life?  The DOT code placed on all tires is there to help you know the date that the tire was manufactured.  It is stamped on one side of the tire.  You have a fifty percent chance of being able to spot it on your tires.  Some RV manufacturers like to mount the tires, so the DOT codes are facing inward to protect them from being scuffed off when tires are scrubbed against curbs and other roadway hazards.

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This four digit date of birth code for late model tires tells you the week and year a tire was made.  If the date code shows 0304, that means the tire was made in the third week of 2004.  How is this information helpful to you?

As of late, the major tire manufacturers and the National Transportation and Safety Board have stated that tires should be replaced after six years.  Michelin states that tires that are ten years old are recommended for replacement, and that includes spare tires as well!  I have seen recent updates that after five years from the DOT code the tires be checked by a certified tire specialist each year after that five-year mark.

Certainly it is better to air on the side of caution than to try and save money by not replacing the tires on an RV when age is in question.  Of course, if the tires start to show age-related cracks and gouges at any age, replacement should be considered. Cracks in the tire sidewalls that are between 1/32″ and 2/32″ should be examined by a tire specialist at a tire dealer.

As Michelin once stated, “so much is riding on your tires!”  Why would you want to take a chance!  When it comes to the stresses that an RV places on its tires, it is imperative not to take their maintenance seriously! 

If the recommended age limit has been reached, or they appear to be deteriorating beyond normal, replace them for the safety of all involved – not only for those traveling with the RV but for the other drivers on the road who may be put in harms way when an RV tire fails!

Stay tuned for part three of this article where I will address rv tire maintenance, possible causes of abnormal tire wear and selecting replacement tires for your RV.  Until then Pam and I wish you blessed travels in your RV!  We hope you are lucky enough to be out on the road this time of year!

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Jan 21

Full-Time RV Living: The Importance of RV Tire Maintenance, Part 1

For any RVer, proper tire maintenance is imperative.  But, for the RVer enjoying the full time RV living lifestyle, regular RV tire maintenance is, even more, critical.

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Some people who live full time in their RV’s tend to move them even less than those that don’t.  They may park in areas where less consideration is given as to the surface on which those tires are parked.  When tires are not used regularly, and no thought is given to their care due to lack of knowledge, those tires can deteriorate quickly thereby shortening their life. Poor tire maintenance habits can lead to a life safety issue when traveling in the RV!

So What Do You Need to Know?

While traveling, your RV is riding on the air in your tires.  If the tire fails because it is unable to contain that air, problems will occur!  So, that being said, tire inflation is a major issue in being sure that tire treads wear properly, and the overall performance of the tire is maximized.

Tires that are under-inflated can reduce traction, increase fuel consumption, reduce the load carrying capacity of the RV, create premature tread wear, and cause permanent damage to the structural integrity of the tire.  Just a few simple procedures at the start of each trip, and once a month, can help you to get the most from your RV’s tires.

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RV tires have a cold pressure value located on the sidewall of the tire that show its maximum inflation pressure.  In other words, the pressure of the tire when it has not been driven on, and that has not been sitting out in the sunlight.  A hot tire can read five to fifteen psi higher than a cold tire. Checking inflation pressure when a tire is warm will lead to under-inflated tires!

A good time to check RV tire pressure is at least once a month either when the RV has been sitting in static full time RV living mode or because the RV is in storage.  RV Tires should also be checked each morning before road trips.  Checking air pressure on a regular basis will help to spot any slow leaks that might create an issue while on a long road trip.  Inflate the RV’s tires to the recommended pressure listed by the RV manufacturer.  Those numbers should be on a label inside the RV.

The inflation pressure suggested by the RV manufacturer may be the maximum cold pressure of the tire, or it may be a lesser value.  It depends on the load that is expected for each tire.

When beginning an RV trip, I always check my tire’s pressure early in the morning the day of travel.  I do that each day we are on the road.  I never check them in the evening because they will be warm, and that would give me an incorrect cold pressure reading.  I travel with an air compressor, so I am always able to keep my tires at their proper pressure.  I also use an air dryer on my compressor so that I am not adding moisture to the inside of the tires.

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A few more things about tire pressure: be sure not to exceed your RV’s gross vehicle weight, don’t overload one side of the RV past the axle’s weight ratings even though the gross vehicle weight may be okay, be sure to use a good quality tire gauge, be sure the inner and outer tire pressure on duals is the same, adjust RV tire pressure on all tires to match the tire that is carrying the most load, and match all the tires on the same axle with the same inflation pressure.

One thing you won’t want to do with your RV tires is to reduce tire pressure to create a smoother ride.  A reduction in the required pressure could damage the tire creating a possible blow out due to overheating, as well as difficulties with the RV’s handling capabilities.  For every psi a tire is underinflated, that tire can lose twenty to thirty pounds of carrying capacity.  That can put significant stress on the tire sidewalls!

Inspect your RV tires!

Performing a visual check on your RV’s tires, on a regular basis, is critical as well!  Checking to see that no items are lodged in the tread of the tire is a good thing to look for before each travel day.  If something is found, do not drive on the tire.  It is best to have a mobile service come to you if you can’t bring the tire to a service center.

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Here are some other items you can check for: check every tire for sidewall cracking, avoid putting tire dressings on that will accelerate the aging process, look for unevenly wearing tires, and replace tires when the tread has reached the tread depth indicators.  They are the little triangles located between the tread grooves on the sidewall of the tire.  Addressing these issues could save you from a tire-related breakdown when traveling in your RV.

RV tires have different considerations than automobile tires do.  Therefore, they are made with materials that best allow them to function for the purpose for which they are designed for.  The materials in these tires change over time.

How that happens depends on factors related to weather, how they are stored, and how they are used.  The load at which they are subjected to, the speed at which they are driven, the pressure the tires are inflated to, and how they are maintained all play a vital role in the overall life of an RV tire.

The question I am often asked is when should I replace my RV tires?  The answer I give is first to tell me how you have taken care of them and how have you driven on them.  Recently major manufacturers came out and supported that tires that are six years old would be recommended for replacement.  When it comes to RV tires, and those that are older than five years by the DOT date stamped on the tire, they should be checked by a certified tire specialist once a year for road worthiness.

What about those products that can be applied to the tire for additional UV protection?  Is that something that should or should not be used?  Stay tuned!  I’ll address that and other issues in part two of this article.

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Dec 24

Fall 2015 Update

After a long summer on the road, we are back in Florida for the winter season.  Pam and I left Florida last June with the intent of visiting/traveling through seventeen states.  Our purpose for the summer travel was to attend RV shows and teach advanced RV inspector classes in the northeast states.

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Our plans worked out perfectly, and we were able to accomplish everything we had planned.  Since starting the full time RV living lifestyle back in 2008, we have spent a good portion of our time in Florida as we have aging parents that we like to be available for if they need us.

In June, we visited the panhandle before leaving the state.  We spent a week at Carrabelle Beach RV Resort as we had never been to that area before.  The small beach across from the RV park is not like the beaches of Destin, but it was still nice.  We did venture out to St. George Island and found those beaches closer to what we like.

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The next area we headed to visit was with friends in North Carolina, north of the Raliegh area.  We boondocked at our friends small ranch that is located out of town in the country.  It was nice to awake to the sounds of nearby livestock and the horses playing nearby.  It is so enjoyable to be able to visit friends and family as we travel but not burden them with taking care of us, and Lindsey.  Where ever we go we have everything we need and are always comfortable in our home on wheels.

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Once leaving North Carolina, we headed to Indiana for the month of June and July.  The purpose of being there was to teach two advanced RV inspector classes.  We stayed at the KOA in Middlebury Indiana.  We enjoyed our stay there, and the staff was most accommodating allowing us to use their facility to hold our two weeks of classes.

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We were so glad to be up north over the summer months, and not in Florida!  The weather was beautiful and stayed mostly in the seventies and low eighties all summer long.  We even had days where the highs were only in the sixties.  It was like being back in the mountains of Colorado!

From there we ventured into Illinois on our way to Wisconsin to visit family in the Oshkosh area.  Pam’s brother lives in a small town, on a lake, and he has a property that he allowed us to parked the RV.  He was able to supply us with both water and 30 amp electric service.  By using their shower facilities, and bathroom when needed, we were able to stretch our tanks for a week.

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Once we left that location, our next stop was up in the upper peninsula of Michigan around Mackinaw Island.  We wanted to visit this area again to do some biking.  There are miles of both paved and unpaved bike trails.  We enjoyed biking from the KOA in Mackinaw City into town to check out the sites.

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You can take a ferry over to Mackinaw Island, with your bike, and ride the bike trails that are on the island.  Since cars are not allowed it is a great place to enjoy a ride without having to share the roads with vehicles, just horse-drawn buggies that run around town.

From there we traveled towards western Pennsylvania to the Mercer KOA.  We had another RV inspector training class scheduled for early August.  Once again the nice folks within the KOA system allowed us to use their clubhouse facility to have our five-day class.  We only spent a week around the Mercer area but enjoyed our stay and the small town atmosphere of Mercer, PA.

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From there we traveled to Ohio to check out a Thousand Trails RV park that we had some good reviews.  Since we received a two free week offer to try out their system of RV parks, we decided that this would be a good time to take advantage of the offer.  We had some free time before we needed to move on.

We stayed at Lake Kenisee RV Campground.  It is located out of town from Jefferson, Ohio.  It was in a country type location, and the campground was adequate for our needs.  We did spend two weeks at this location using the free offer and were thankful for free camping.  It sure helped keep our average nightly park fees at a reasonable rate.  Through our summer travels, we managed to stay right around that $20 for our nightly park fees.

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At that point, we had three weeks before we needed to be in Manheim, Pennsylvania for the Hershey PA RV Show, the RV Tech Course, and to teach another RV inspector class.  Since we had never been to Niagara Falls before and wanted to write an article for Passport America’s Multi-Briefs, we traveled to that area.  I wrote an article titled ten free things to do in Niagara Falls.  It was a lot of fun visiting the area, taking great photos, and creating an article that would help others enjoy the area too!

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We stayed in several locations while we were there.  We enjoyed boondocking at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. They allow RVers to stay in their east parking lot.  We found them on freecampgrounds.com.  From that location, it was a short ten-minute walk to get to Niagara Falls State Park.  We spent a few nights at the Casino and enjoyed many walks to the falls to enjoy the sites.

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We also walked across the Rainbow Bridge into Canada.  With a passport and fifty cents, it is an easy round trip.  It is very easy to do.  The views of the Falls from the Canadian side are spectacular!  From the casino location to the Canadian Falls was a two and a half mile walk.  There were many things to see and do along the way.

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From there we spent a little time in a nearby park in Gas Port, NY.  They were a Passport America park and offered a $16 nightly rate plus a minimal electrical usage charge.  We stayed there for four nights,

We enjoyed Niagara Falls so much, and because we found we needed more information for our article, we decided to return to the Niagara Falls location and stay for three more nights.  We once again ventured into Canada by walking across the bridge.  We wanted to check out more free things to do while in the area.

Our business associations have allowed us to make some new Canadian associates.  One of them was located about an hour and a half from our location.  They wanted to meet with us and discuss some business over a pizza.  What a great time!  Enjoying the Falls, sharing time with friends, and enjoying New York style pizza.  Life is good!!

From there we needed to start heading towards Manheim, Pennsylvania.  Over the Labor Day weekend we did not feel like spending $80 a night for an RV spot, so we boondocked in the Cabella’s Parking lot in Hamburg, PA.  They have parking for RV’s, a dump station and non-potable water if needed.  All you need to do is let them know at the customer service desk that you are staying for the night.  When we did, they told us, “enjoy your stay!”  Great customer service in that store.

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It is a great location to hang out and check out all the retail locations and eateries.  The Cabela’s store in Hamburg is huge.  It is basically like a Home Depot, but for those that love to shoot and kill things!  LOL  If you are an out-doors kind of person, this is the place for you!

From there we moved a short distance to Manheim, PA.  We stayed a month in the area while attending the Hershey PA RV show.  We were working in the Workamper News and NRVIA vendor booths.  We also helped out with the RV Tech Course class and then had a group of students for the NRVIA advanced RV inspector training class.

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That was a pretty busy month for us!  We met lots of folks during these events and made some new friends.

The Hershey PA RV Show is advertised as the largest RV show in the country.  After having attended a few of these shows, I would have to say they make that claim based on the number of RV’s that are at the show.  There are plenty of RV manufacturers that bring their new models to show to the attending public.

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From Pennsylvania, we traveled to Heber Springs, Arkansas for another month of events: the RV Tech Course, Workamper Rendezvous, the NRVIA national conference, and an NRVIA Learn by Doing class that I taught.  It was another busy but enjoyable month!

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While parked in a small RV Park in Heber Springs, our trailer that we tow behind was hit by what we are sure was a drunk driver.  We were parked on our RV site and out with friends.  A neighbor two spaces down drove through our site and into our trailer, just missing the RV.  He tore the axle off its welds and totaled the trailer.  Since the RV was hooked to the trailer, it was also moved a few inches.  Fortunately, there were witnesses, no damage was done to the RV, and we were able to file a claim on the drivers’ insurance.

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However, there was no match to our trailer within 500 miles of our location.  So, we had the manufacturer build us a replacement and deliver it to us.  It cost us out of pocket dollars, but we had to have the trailer to move on.  The bummer was I had to spend a day modifying it to the way the original trailer was so we could get back on the road.  We left the other behind for the salvage yard.  The thing is the trailer was only nine months old.  Oh well, life on the road!

Come to find out, once we got the new trailer and compared the two, we discovered the reason we were not supposed to leave Arkansas with it.  It was not built properly and probably would have caused us some problems later on.  So, we trusted all along that there was a reason for our delay in departing the state, and once the new trailer showed up we understood the reason for our trailer dilemma!  God is good!!

So, once we hit the road, we were headed back to Florida for an NRVIA class in December.  We just finished up with that group of students, and we are just hanging out in the panhandle of Florida before heading to the Tampa area for an early January 2016 NRVIA class.

It has been a fun summer/fall with us logging almost 7,000 miles traveling to the northeast and back.  Our newer RV that we purchased in February of 2015 has worked beautifully for us.  It proves that you can full time in a smaller RV if you are organized and have the experience of previous travels to guide you in making the right decisions.

Pam and I wish you all a happy and blessed New Year!  Perhaps we’ll see you on the road soon!

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Dec 08

Fur-ther Adventures of an RVing Corgi Dog

Barooo!! Lindsey here to update Y’all on my fur-ther RVing adventures. We are now back in the sunshine state. Yea! I got to get some sand in my paws again. (No, not on the beach. Not cool here in Walton County. It’s illegal. No fur-babies on the beach.)

I got to tell you we had quite the adventure in Heber Springs, AR. Besides all the activity of Workamper Rendezvous and Dad’s class, our trailer got hit!  (Did I mention I was traumatized?!)  Mom and Dad were gone and some toothless drunk guy, HIT OUR TRAILER, parked in the campground!  I was so scared I almost wet my “skirt”.  Hello! And it’s a dry County no less. And I don’t mean no rain if you get what I’m saying here.  

Dad said he totaled it because he hit it so hard.  Bent the axle, whatever an axle is. It even moved our moving house a bit. Mom said if he had been a few inches closer he would have hit our sliding room too. I had to have a couple of extra Scooby Snacks to get over that. So listen and learn.  Just because they say it’s dry doesn’t mean dry, if ya get my drift. Plenty of stills in them thar hills. (I was wondering if Jed and Granny were selling him hooch? Hmmm. For medicinal purposes only I’m sure.)  

We stayed at a couple of Walmarts on the way, which Mom loves to camp when it’s free. When we left this place called Jackson, we hit a bump that sent our new trailer airborne.  I think I hit the roof of my crate on that one. We were trying to stay ahead of some scary storms that were stalking us. We hunkered down in a small place mom found on Passport America in AL until the storm passed.  It got pretty exciting with all the rain, but we were all snug as a corgi-bug in a rug.

full time rving with dogs

Now I’ve been warming my stub again here in Florida.  We are back at this campground Mom and Dad used to work at.  I get to meet up with my fur-buds Charlie and Mo for the RV Tech Course, and of course, we’re here for Dad’s class. I got to check out some new pee-mail where Maya and I used to pee all the time. That was when Maya was still with us.  She went over the Rainbow Bridge 2 years ago.  WOL! (Whimpering out loud.) I got to sit on her picnic table she sat on her before starting her journey without us. Even the sun looked like it was crying for her.

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When we first got here, we got to stay closer to the water but had to move after Turkey Day.  It was neat listening to the waves, digging in the sand and chasing some seabirds. Those stupid birds are so full of themselves thinking every human is take-out.  Oh, and I got to say Hi to the resident turtles. They are still in the big pond.  Wow! They lead a sheltered life. (Get it? BOL!  I crack me up sometimes.)  

Dude! Check out my new spot in the moving house.  It’s like a corgi carnival ride. Whenever Mom brings in our sliding room, I get a ride.  Nothing too scary.  I will get another ride on it when we leave here in January to do Dad’s next training class at Lazy Days in Tampa.

Hear that strange noise?.  Oh, wait.  That’s my tummy telling me it’s time to eat.  Oh Mommy, why isn’t Stella and Chewy in my bowl?  

Got to go. Happy Trails and Tails, if you have one.

Lindsey out.

 

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Dec 04

RV Dehumidifier – Eva Dry Dehumidifier

Bathroom Wall Stains Due to Excess Humidity

One of the biggest invisible problems that come with living in an RV full time is moisture in the air!  Pam and I measure our interior and outdoor humidity levels, and we have discovered that we can not live without an RV dehumidifier!  And since we live in a small RV we use an Eva-Dry Dehumidifier.

When humidity levels are high, nothing dries!  When things do not dry the chances for mold to start to form increases.

This past summer we were traveling in the northeast.  It was a cold, rainy summer, and humidity levels were high.  We were not able to run the air conditioning very much because it was so cool most days.  Our closet area is pretty tightly packed, and it is located on a slide out of its own.  Because of the tight-packed closet and the cool exterior walls, moisture formed inside of the closet.  So much so that at times the interior walls were wet.

When it is hot and humid, the AC unit can help remove that moisture from the air.  But, when it is cool out, or it is winter time in the south, there must be another way to get the moisture out of the air!

When moist air condenses on interior walls of the RV and seeps between joints, it can cause severe damage to an RV’s structural integrity.  Because of regular showering and cooking in the RV it is possible to get rampant mold fungus to grow without even realizing that this is occurring.  That plus living in humid climates makes this situation one of the most damaging conditions to an RV!

Even the ventilation systems that are installed in RV’s are not able to combat the unique circulation issues RV’s have. With all the small nooks and cranny’s that exist to maximize storage space, these areas create particularly difficult challenges when it comes to moisture problems.  Air movement is just not able to get to these areas.  A more aggressive method is needed to control moisture buildup in these areas!

When humidity levels are at fifty-five percent or more, airborne allergens such as mold spores, bacteria, and dust mites thrive and multiply very quickly.  To keep mold and mildew at bay in an RV, humidity levels must be kept below fifty percent.  If that can be done, most of these issues can be kept at bay!

It can take only fourteen to sixteen hours of humidity levels above fifty-five percent to allow mold to start to form.  As an RV inspector, I would have to say the majority of the RV’s I step into that are at least a few years old have some issue with mold.  You can smell it when you walk inside!

As I mentioned earlier, when an RV’s air conditioner is running it is helping to remove excess moisture from the air. But what about the times it is not being used: during seasonal changes and times when it is cooler outside while traveling from state to state or climate to climate, during the evening hours, or any location in the United States other than the warmer southern states?

 

How About Using an RV Dehumidifier?

What type of options are available given the small space we are talking about.  Most dehumidifiers that can be purchased at a home improvement store or online are big, expensive, noisy and put out a lot of heat due to the onboard compressor.  We tried using a freestanding compressor style unit in our previous RV, and the main issues we had were the amount of space it took up due to the need for air flow, the amount of heat it produced, and it made so much noise that we could not stand it!

The chemical dehumidifier options sold in bucket containers that are designed to be placed in drawers and closets can be dangerous.  If they get knocked over the product inside can be dangerous as it is toxic and corrosive.  Handling this material requires care!  These type of solutions are also a regular expense as they cannot be reused and must be replaced.

 

What’s the Best Type of RV Dehumidifier for an RV?

The best dehumidifier system for an RV will be:

  • Small and fully contained.
  • Spill-proof.
  • Non-toxic and non-corrosive.
  • Renewable, reducing both waste and expense.

 

We Love Our Eva-Dry Dehumidifier!

Since Pam and I have a smaller RV that we enjoy living the full time RV lifestyle in, we use the Eva-Dry 2200 Electric Dehumidifier.  Its ability to remove excess moisture in the air for 2,200 cubic feet of space works perfectly for our RV.  There is a larger model that works in areas of 4,000 cubic feet, but this was not needed for our class C RV.  It would be more suitable for a larger Class A RV.

RV dehumidifier

We use a wireless remote sensor and an indoor sensor with readout to measure humidity levels both inside and outside the RV.  Whenever we are unable to use our roof air conditioner unit, we use an Eva-Dry 2200 dehumidifier to help keep humidity levels down.  The only part of the country we have traveled to where we have not had a need for such a device was in the mountainous regions of the west and the desert areas of the southwest.

Fact: if you are not running your air conditioner unit in your RV, then you need to do something else to manage moisture levels in the air.  You need to measure those levels and have a method to lower humidity in your RV, or you may create several problems.  The two most important would be the health risk caused by the effects of high humidity in the RV and the damage that the humidity can cause to the RV!

eva-dry dehumidifier

Fall 2018 Update: 

Since we changed our full time RV living home back in July of 2018 to a larger unit, we needed to make a change of dehumidifier units.  As good as the Eva Dry was it is not powerful enough for our new RV, Missy Tiffy, a Tiffin Allegro Open Road Class A RV. 

So, after much research into an appropriate unit for a thirty-eight foot RV, it was decided that the Delonghi DDX45E unit would meet our needs based on previous experience with dehumidifiers.  I found a good website that helped with our research.  It laid out all the types that would be appropriate for an RV.  After spending time with all the options the Delonghi was the best choice for us!

rv dehumidifier

Delonghi dehumidifiers are well made by current standards and manufactured in Italy.  They are more expensive than others because they are made in Italy and not in China.  The unit runs at about 52 decibels on regular fan mode.  For the range of the models in the Delonghi lineup, the DDX45E is determined to be the best value. 

We have been using the unit for a few weeks and find it to be very adequate.  We had some cold temperatures in the thirties prior to receiving the unit and we had moisture-soaked windows that took most of the day to go away, even with wiping them with a towel several times.  There was just too much moisture in the inside air.

Last night we were around freezing, and with the Delonghi in use, we were dry as a bone this morning.  It removes more moisture from the air than I have seen in any dehumidifier that we have owned so far.  I had looked at the Delonghi’s back in 2012 when we had our big 5th wheel but purchased a Frigidaire unit because of the lower price.  The DDX45E is quieter and more efficient in removing moisture than the Frigidaire, and certainly more so than the Eva Dry.  But that is expected as it uses a different technology. 

 

So, keep your RV dry by purchasing a dehumidifier!  Happy RVing!!

 

 

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Nov 28

RV Inspection Business – RV home Inspection Courses Online

Why You Should Consider Starting an RV Inspection Business

 

Now, more than ever, RV buyers are looking for ways to be sure the RV they are purchasing is worth the money, and it is safe to travel in.  Up until recently, there was never an organized way to get this kind of assistance. But now there is a growing national force of RV inspectors helping people achieve this goal of peace of mind when purchasing an RV!

 

In addition to improving buyer confidence, sellers are also looking for ways to verify the claims they make about their RV.  This is especially true at RV dealerships.  This is where the purchase process can be made so much easier for the person who knows little about RV’s but desires to own one.

 

That is why RV inspectors are in demand!  RVDA dealerships around the country are looking for RV inspectors to do certified NRVIA inspections on their fleet.  This is called a certified pre-owned program.

 

Imagine going to an RV dealership and seeing a sticker on the window that states the vehicle is a Certified Pre-owned RV.  Also, imagine being able to ask for the RV inspection report.  Do you think that would be of interest to a potential RV buyer?

 

What is an RV inspection?  Why is it something that is needed?

rv inspection business

Back in the 1970’s the home inspection industry was launched.  Now, you can’t buy a house without one!  Right now the RV inspection industry is where the home inspection industry was back in the 70’s!  This means that those coming on board into the NRVIA are at the forefront of a new and emerging industry.

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An RV inspection is like a home inspection, but for an RV!

The NRVIA, the National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association, is the organization responsible for the certifications and credibility in this new industry.  Those desiring to offer these home inspections on an RV can begin their journey at the NRVIA website.  This new and exciting industry is helping RV buyers avoid buying a money pit!  Is an RV inspection business something that may be of interest to you?

RV Home Inspection Courses Online

Starting an RV inspection business is not as complicated as it may seem! Those folks who desire to own a small business, and run it out of their RV or home, can easily begin the process online.

 

Through the NRVIA website, anyone can start to learn the skills necessary to begin their RV inspection business.  Home inspection courses have been offered this way for years.  Now, with the power of the internet and today’s technology, online RV home inspection courses are easy to access!  You can work at your pace!  By engaging the easy to understand online courses, you can learn what is needed to be successful in this new industry!  

 

So what is it that you need to know to be a successful RV inspector?

  • Willing to learn how to run a small business
  • Operate that business using the NRVIA Code of Ethics
  • Understand and apply the NRVIA Standards of Practice
  • Understand RV electrical systems
  • Understand the five major systems of an RV
  • Ability to test the major appliances in an RV for function and safety
  • Learn methods and procedures used to investigate an RV

 

All these topics and more are explained in the online modules that are on the NRVIA website.  Each one walks through the information that is required to understand the topics presented.  Comprehension tests are offered after each module to verify comprehension of the material.  If any information presented is unclear, it is easy to review it again to be sure all topics are covered and understood.

 

If this is something that is of interest to you, please visit the RV Inspector website, or email me at howard@yourfulltimervliving.com and I will be happy to share more with you!

 

 
Howard Jaros
NRVIA Certified Inspector/Trainer

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Nov 23

Full Time RV Living: Making Money While Enjoying the Lifestyle!

Pam and I get into many discussions with potential full-time time RVers about the cost of living the full-time RV lifestyle. One question that always comes up is how can these costs be subsidized so one can enjoy being a full-time RVer?  Are there ways to live the full-time RV lifestyle and make a living while doing so?  That would be a big Yes!

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Spending time at a family member’s lake house

I will offer some suggestions of things we have tried.  Some of these we are still doing in order to continue to enjoy something that we love to do: travel from spot to spot, enjoy new places, never stay longer than a month in one spot, and be able to deduct expenses because of our activities.

Now, by the time you have made it this far into reading this blog you are probably screaming, “tell me more!  Of course, I would like to know how to fund my travels and possibly be able to write them off on my taxes!”

Now, I have to say that I can neither confirm nor deny what I am going to say here about tax benefits as I am not a tax expert.  I can only relay my experiences based on information that has been adopted by me and recommended by my CPA / Lawyer.

 

Work Camping

To many looking at the full-time RV lifestyle, the concept of work camping is still a new one.  Basically, anyone who lives in an RV and works, they are considered work campers.  Now that can be working for someone else or for someone who runs a business out of their RV.

There are some tax advantages to working for someone else and living in your RV depending on the job situation, but there are even better opportunities when you have a business and operate that business from your home on wheels.  More on that later.

The best way to find these work camping jobs is to find a service that puts you in touch with employers who are looking for folks just like you.  Pam and I have used Workamper News to secure jobs in places we have wanted to visit and work.  We have responded to employers postings for job opportunities using this source.  Employers have also contacted us because of our resume was listed with the Workamper News online system.

We have been using this service since 2010.  We have worked in RV parks around the country and found them because of this type of service.  And again, these were places we wanted to visit.  We have spent time in areas of interest to us and made money while we were there.  Some of these opportunities were just to work for our RV spot a few hours a week and others were full time jobs that paid an hourly wage in addition to supplying us an RV site.

Now, most of these work camper opportunities will not create a full time income, but they will help subsidize those who want to travel and have some of the costs covered.

That also brings up another point.  You don’t want to come into the full-time RV lifestyle with huge payments on a new RV!  Not unless you can afford the payment because it is being paid by investments that are funding your lifestyle.  RV’s depreciate rapidly and one must consider this when purchasing one.  

This is where a trusted tax advisor and CPA can help evaluate your situation and best guide you.  It is even better if you can find one that understands the full-time RV lifestyle!

 

Starting An Online Business

Do you have your own website?  If not, you should!  Let me share why.

There are many companies that offer to pay people to put affiliate links on their websites for products they use and recommend.  Given the power of today’s internet and the global reach of Google search engine results, it is possible to run a worldwide business from the comfort of your RV.

I started a few websites a number of years ago.  I have continued to learn and develop them and they have started to create a consistent income.

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Lindsey also shares her opinions on our website

Basically, this is how this works.  You use products and services that you enjoy.  You apply to those companies and ask for an affiliate link that you can place on your website. As you write articles about these items you can place links that visitors to your website pages click on.  Once they visit that company’s website and buy because of your advice, you receive a commission for the effort.

Over time, these small commission payments can add up to a nice little income.  It can be one that funds your travels.  It is something you can do anywhere you are located and at any time.  If you are a night mole this is a great way to be productive while staying up late!

 

Starting an RV Inspection Business

There is a rising need for RVers who understand them and are willing to help people who are buying used RV’s in making a good purchasing decision!

used rv inspection

There are folks who are traveling the country in their RV’s and doing RV inspections in areas where they want to visit.  They have also been traveling to areas where they are needed.  These are people who have started a limited liability corporation or an S corporation and have contracted with companies who desire their expertise.

This is an awesome business model for someone who enjoys, or wants to start enjoying, the full-time RV lifestyle!  Not only can they do something they enjoy but they can help others enjoy it too!  There are also many tax advantages to this type of arrangement as operating an inspection business that requires traveling to different locations can help fund that travel.

 

Summary

These are just a few options that you can consider if you want to fund your full-time RV living lifestyle!  We are very familiar with all of these and would be delighted to talk to you about any ways in which we can help you! Please feel free to leave a comment below and I will get back to you.

 

Blessings, Howard & Pam

 

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Nov 17

An RVing Corgi Answer- How Does RV Water System Work!

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Baroooo! Lindsey checking in with my Bark Report. Boy, my bad.  Mom says I just haven’t been barking enough the last couple weeks. (Insert dirty look from dad.) But I am here to bark at you this week  to answer inquiring minds asking, how does RV Water System work.

I promised Dad I would do better for y’all. I am now using something called Grammarly to run in the background of everything I type.  It helps me write better. That includes any e-barkmails, my Bark Report or any thing I use on the computer. I had to tuck my tail between my legs (Oh wait!  I don’t have one!) and have this help me out. Sometimes I’m not too good with spelling and grammar. This should make it easier to read.  But I am still a work in progress.

rv fresh water tank

This week I want to bark at you about the water systems in our moving house and let you know, yes they do work. It’s soo cool we can use them 2 different ways. When in a campground we use the stuff called city water. Dad hooks up that white hose from the faucet outside, and check this out, right onto the side of our moving house. Wow. First time I saw that I thought we might need Noah to build us an ark. High tide coming in! But all is good. Just a tip, be sure to use a drinking water hose, not a garden hose. 

So when we don’t have that hose running to our house, we use water from a big tank right under our bed. It holds all the water for us to use wherever we go. (Otherwise, we’d need this REALLY long hose if you get my drift.) This tank is right under our bed which I like to call our “water bed”. Sometimes you can even hear it sloshing when we’re driving. Just like the ocean. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.

When we want water, all Mom or Dad do is push a switch and turn on the faucet. Ta Da! You hear this BRRRRR…..BRRRRR….BRRRR.  Presto. Water! Dad told me it’s called a water pump. It creates the pressure to push the water from our “water bed” to the sink, toilet or shower. How neat is that?! It burps and we have water.

If we kept using the pump, we wouldn’t have a “water bed” anymore.  Then Dad needs to fill it. He hooks up that white hose outside to our house and flips a different switch. If you have super big ears you can hear the water filling under our bed. Humans can’t hear as good, so there is this pipe underneath our house that will sound like a waterfall if it gets too full. Look out! High tide! 

Next we have this other tank called a gray tank. We used to have 2 of them bad boys in our other moving home. One was called a gray tank and one was called a galley tank. The galley guy caught our kitchen and shower water. I sent a lot of my doggy smell down that one whenever Mom gave me a bath. In that moving house, the gray tank caught Mom’s laundry water. We only have one in our house now so all shower and sink water goes in it. If they get too full, they can back up inside.

Now we come to the smelly tank humans call the black tank. That’s where all the icky toilet stuff goes down. (Not mine, mind you. Mom did show me this really cool video of a pup that learned to use a human toilet. Oops! Rabbit Trail. I’ll just stick to my outside potty thank you very much.) If you want to look really smart, remember, black before gray and you’ll be okay. You’ll be the hit of the campground.

Speaking of emptying those tanks, your moving home should have these little sensor things on them.  They tell your humans the level of the stuff in your tank.It’s a panel on the wall with lights.  When they read F, time to go pull those handles outside that Dad calls Gate Valves.  Then it’s Stand back, she’s gonna flow! I sometimes sit on that scrunchy hose going into the ground for Dad to be sure it doesn’t come off.  We don’t want a fecal indiscretion.  It’s just not neighborly. 

Dude, seriously.  I want you to know I have not been slacking off the past couple weeks Working here! Helped out at Workamper Rendevous, NRVI Convention and then Dad had a class to teach all right here in beautiful Heber Springs, AR. It was way kool.  With a capital K! 

But as with all good things, it must come to an end. Soon we will be like geese and head farther south.  Do stay tuned for more fun stuff next time.  If you are lying awake at night and can’t catch some good zzzz’s, feel free bark at me below.  I love hearing from y’all. 

Until next time,

Lindsey out……

Nov 07

Thousand Trails RV Parks – Our Experiences

Pam and I have visited a number of Thousand Trails RV Parks and stayed at a few. We have discovered a few things about their systems and parks that we would like to pass along to you!

Now I will start out by saying that we are not ones to stay in an area for more than one month!  We do not look for places to go for three to six months at a time.  That is not part of the full time RV lifestyle that agrees with running our business out of our RV.

thousand trails rv parks

One of the Thousand Trails RV Parks that we stayed at recently was in Ohio. It is called Kenisee Lake RV Resort & Campground.  It has been the only one of the Thousand Trails RV Parks that we would recommend so far.

thousand trails rv parksHowever, like others we have stayed at, the wi-fi was non-existent and the reception on our Verizon jetpack was very weak.  The reason being is that a lot of these Thousand Trails locations are out of town in areas where cell service is limited, at least in the northeast anyway!

Like other Thousand Trail RV Parks, there is a reservation system but you don’t get a particular site reserved for you.  Once you arrive and check in you have to drive around and find a site that will work for you.  We have been through this process several times recently, and each time it has been a big downer for staying at Thousand Trails campgrounds!

The reservations operators tell you to get there early so you can get a good spot.  If you show up later in the day, during peak times, good luck!!

We bought our current RV at Lazydays in Seffner, Florida.  With the purchase came 14 days of free camping with the Encore / Thousand Trails Resorts system.  We have stayed at these kinds of RV parks before because we are members of the Passport America discount camping club and some of these RV parks are listed in that system as well.

Through the Passport America discount camping club, you can get an RV campsite for $15 to $20 a night in some Thousand Trails parks.  If you are not camping during the busy season you can take advantage of this discount program.

During this past summer, we wanted to spend a few nights in a Thousand Trails park in North Carolina.  We called the 800 number and made a reservation, and when we got to the park were told to drive around, find a campsite, and come back to finalize the paperwork once parked.  Okay, we had 14 free nights so we thought we would check it out.

We drove all around that campground and there was not one site that would work for our RV.  After spending twenty minutes driving around, we decided to move on.

At that point, we figured we would not get to use our fourteen free nights because there were no Thousand Trails locations near where we were traveling.

Pam, being the bargain shopper she is, found the Jefferson, Ohio location mentioned earlier and it was not too far out of our way.  We used our two free weeks there as they had availability, even though we were staying during the late August summer season.

The staff was cordial and the park worked well for us.  We arrived mid week when there were a lot of RV sites to choose from.  We found one where we could get a weak signal on our Verison jet pack.  Lake Kenisee is a huge place and we found lots of opportunities to take long walks.

So, for us, the jury is still out on the whole Thousand Trails campground network.  I can say we would not want to commit to a long-term relationship with them due to the way they have designed their reservation system.

I would prefer to stick with the Passport America discount camping system because you choose the park you want and there are no commitments, paying up front fees, etc.

We will keep you posted on our experiences with this subject as we continue to try to use Thousand Trails if they are convenient in our travels.  Please feel free to share in the comment ares your experiences that you have had with them so others can benefit.

 

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Nov 01

Full Time RV Living: Buying a 5th Wheel or a Motorized RV!

For those starting out full time RV living, there is a very important decision that has to be made.  That is choosing a 5th wheel RV or a motorized one! I know this to be true as I observe the amount of traffic to my full time RV living website article that discusses the best 5th wheel for full time RV living.

 

Now that does not mean you can’t full-time in a travel trailer, because we have friends that do, but the majority seem to face the decision of buying either a 5th wheel RV or a motorized one.

full time rv living

The First RV Trip in a Rental

Pam and I have traveled over one hundred thousand miles in RV’s.  We started renting RV’s in 2001.  Once we decided on what we wanted, based on our rental experiences, we purchased our full time RV home in 2008.

full time rv living

5th Wheel and Tow Vehicle

We have rented class A gas and diesel RV’s, we have rented and owned class A and class C gas RV’s, and we owned a large 5th wheel RV for six and a half years.  We logged many miles on that 5th wheel RV.  

 

So, I feel comfortable being able to share my opinion with you on the pluses and minuses of both. Now, this is my disclaimer: I realize everyone has their own opinion, wants, and needs.  Mine is based on our experiences and our changing needs.

full time rv living

Our Class C RV from 2-2015 to 7-2018

Back in 2015, Pam I and were heading to Arkansas for a month’s worth of business meetings, the NRVIA National Conference, and to teach an advanced RV Inspector training class.  Pam drove the class C motorized RV for a good portion of that trip.

 

I sat in the co-pilot seat with my laptop and got some work done while Pam kept us moving towards our destination.

 

So, given that fact, here is a major advantage of a motorized RV.  While you are traveling, you have instant access to what you need: the refrigerator, the toilet, the TV, all while rolling down the road.  Basically, you always have access to anything you need while you are on the move.

 

If you get stopped on the highway for hours due to an emergency you can fire up the generator and be comfortable.  You have all the comforts of home without having to get out of the vehicle.

 

We have even switched drivers in heavy traffic so the driver could make a potty stop.  We did similar things in our fifth wheel, it was just not as convenient.  Since we are on the move all the time, we enjoy the convenience of the motorized RV!  It’s easy to park, easy to setup, and easy to move.

 

We had the fifth wheel setup and departure routine pretty well orchestrated, but it was never as easy as it is with our current motorized RV!  We had been in about twenty different locations that summer.  Comparing that much moving around based on living in our previous 5th wheel and our current motorized RV, we would have to say we find our current RV much more favorable for the full-time RV lifestyle that we are currently enjoying.

 

We have been in situations while traveling in class A and class C RV’s that involved boondocking in Walmart parking lots, Casinos, and Cracker Barrels. After being parked for a few hours, there were times we got concerned about our safety.  Because we were able to just turn on the motor and not have to get out of a trailer to get rolling, we were kept safe and able to get away from the danger.

 

Now, motorized RV’s tend to be more expensive relative to a comparable 5th wheel RV!  We have good friends who have a Redwood 5th Wheel RV. They are beautiful inside and offer many amenities that are only found in motorized RV’s that are in the quarter million dollar range, and up.

 

Also, for folks that plan on having a full time RV lifestyle that does not involve lots of moving around, or only moving a couple of times a year, the 5th wheel RV might fit that need better.  They are like living in a small one bedroom condo.

 

Our forty foot 5th Wheel RV was very roomy inside.  Our three favorite features of the RV were that it had a spacious kitchen that allowed us to prepare meals as we would in our “sticks and bricks” home.  It also had a large shower and an apartment size washer and dryer.

 

When towing a 5th wheel RV I found I always had to plan ahead and be sure my route was able to accommodate the length and height of my RV.  It was important to be sure my route did not include bridges with low clearance, narrow roads, and tight areas where I might get into trouble.  It’s thirteen and a half foot height had to be considered!  I especially had to pay attention to the RV parks that I wanted to stay to be sure I would be able to navigate their premises.

 

Now, I have driven forty-foot class A diesel RV’s that I got in trouble with, but not as much as in my 5th wheel RV!  I could always get the class A RV into an RV site, but backing the sixty-foot 5th wheel (truck and trailer) could be a bit more of a challenge.  I have observed other 5th wheel RV owners struggle getting settled into their RV sites.  We have watched 5th wheel owners damage their new RV’s because they had no idea how to handle the trailering aspect of owning that type of vehicle.

 

This really seems to be the big challenge and difference between a 5th wheel RV and a motorized one.  The less you know about trailering and backing a long trailer, the more stress you will have when it comes to moving it from place to place.  The wheels of the trailer do not follow the same track as the truck!

 

We always suggest to new RV owners that renting an RV before moving forward and purchasing one is a good idea.  That is how we started and we found the experience helped us choose wisely based on our needs at that time.  Motorized RV’s are easy to rent.  You can also rent towable RV’s.  You may have to go to an independent dealership to get set up, but you can rent anything you want to try if you do some research.

 

Your needs and wants in a full-time RV home will be different than ours. The idea here is to investigate different people’s opinions on this subject, rent what you can and weigh that information against how it is that you will use the RV type that you choose.  

 

The goal is to purchase your full time RV home and get it right the first time – no regrets!  And how do you do that?  Keep researching till the time is right and you can make an educated decision on your purchase.

 

If you buy your RV new or used, be sure to hire a third party independent inspector to assist you!  Don’t wind up buying a money pit or something that will spend months at the dealership getting warranty issues fixed when you could have known about those issues up front.

 

Pam and I wish you all the best as you work towards becoming full time RVers!

 

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Oct 12

Learning RV Electrical Systems from a Corgi’s Perspective

 

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Barooo! That’s Corgi-ese for Hello from Lindsey with my Weekly Bark Report. I want to bark at about Learning RV Electrical Systems. I’m really really excited cuz I got to go to a neato RV Main-ten-ence Course that The Texas RV Professor teaches all over the country. (You think he’d get me a big ole cowboy hat? I think I’d look mitey sty-lish. I may be Welsh but I could pull it off.)

Acorse just gotta let ya know, I’m probably gonna bark about this for awhile cuz Mr. Cooper has soooo much to teach about our movin’ home and I got really excited learnin’ all this stuff. Just makes me want to wag a tail over it, IF I had one.

But alotta the stuff was over my head, and as a low rider like me, that’s not too hard to do. If ya know what I mean. BOL! (bark out loud)  And Mom helped me out puttin’ it in a way I can know, so you can know too. K-I-S-S she calls it. Hmmm….

Lessee, I think I want to start with some a the harderd stuff.  Somethin’ called the electrical systems in our movin’ house. Wow, dudes, did you know there are 3 different ways that make our house work?! I thought mom and dad just flipped a switch and it all worked.

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Here I am checking out the 120 & 12-volt panel

I found out when we want to use stuff like the TV, mom wants coffee, dinner in the microwavey thing, roof air on to keep me cool, that it won’t work unless that big plug outside is put into that steel pole.  Kinda like you guys have in your stick built house ‘cept you don’t need to plug in outside to gets your stuff to work.

It’s called 120 volt system. Lotsa campers call it Shore Power. The Professor said it’s called that cuz it runs 120 volts of electricalcity thru the wires. That kinda stuff needs the 120 volts in order to run. This is the stuff the electrical company will charge ya for so they can make money.

RV Battery Issues

Then there’s something called the Chassis System. It has thingys called battrees that run that system. Dad calls it SLI (Starter, Lites, Ignition) System. Ours has these thingys, one under the hood and two others by my entry door. They could also be in a bin like on those big buses.

When we had our towing home, Dad used the battree thingys from our truck to run this stuff.  So so when dad puts the key in, it makes our house start up, turns on the lites so Mom and Dad can drive in the dark and it makes that click, click, click sound when we turn a corner.

Which brings me to the 3rd system. This one is called the Coach System or House battrees. Some of your moving homes may have 4, some may have only 1. Whatever you have it has to total 12 volts or stuff like the RV frigerators, potty fans, lites on walls and cee-ling, and furnace won’t work.  Then you get cold, can’t see, and your food can get smelly.  Eeeew!  

Mr. Cooper said the piggy bank needs to be full and all hooked together to make enough juice to use that stuff in your RV.  Made perfect scents to me. (Get it? Smelly food? Ha! Sometimes I crack myself up!)

Phew! Barkin’ about all this electricalcity stuff can make my doggy brain get fried. Bark, do I hear you ask, is that 120 or 12 volt brain fry and what’s the difference?  Stay tuned. Subject for another time. Right now I need a good “snap” (a short nap). 

Lindsey out.. 

PS – You can leave a comment, or ask a question, and I will bark back at you!

Oct 10

Is Full Time RV Living For You?

Is Full Time RV Living For You?

Full time RV living is a dream for many and a mystery for some.  People wonder if full time life on the road, in their RV, is for them.  Others see the lifestyle being lived by others and decide to start searching out a possible full time RV living home without really considering what it may be like.

Pam and I just attended the largest RV show in the country.  This was the Hershey Pennsylvania RV Show that took place September 16th through the 20th.  Pam and I were there to support the NRVIA, RV Inspection Connection, and Workamper News. We had the opportunity to meet many people who were there looking for their first RV and wanting to retire soon so they could begin their full time RV living lifestyle.

full time rv living

There were others there who have RV’s but they wanted to upgrade for the same reason.  It appeared these people want to embrace this style of living but really don’t know what to expect.  They had lots of questions for Pam and I as we had chances to visit with them while manning a vendor booth.

Let me step back a little and review how Pam and I started this journey. We started RVing back in 2002.  For five years, we rented everything we could. We tried Class A RV’s that had both gasoline and diesel engines.  We rented class C gas engine RV’s, and we spoke to others about their experiences with fifth wheel RV’s while we were staying at RV parks.

In those five years on the road, we put on thirty-five thousand miles and took trips that lasted anywhere from two and a half to five weeks.  At that time, we lived in the mountains of Colorado and loved living there.  When we went away on vacations we always enjoyed coming back home because we felt we lived in paradise.

But, along came RV travel.  Once we started to enjoy being out on the road in a home on wheels, our thirty-eight hundred square foot home in ski country USA did not seem so desirable anymore.  Neither did the amount of work it took as far as upkeep.

full time rv living

After our first trip out in the RV in 2002, after we had returned home I said to Pam, let’s sell the house and get an RV and live in it full time!  She was not in such a hurry to do that given we had just spent nine months building it ourselves and we had spent years planning for it.

You see, our dream even before marriage was to live on the road.  We had no idea how to accomplish that goal.  We are both nomadic and the lifestyle appeared it would suit us perfectly.

So we kept on renting RV’s till 2008 and at that point finally decided to make a change. Late that year we finally decided to purchase our full time RV living home.

Now, when we went out on these RV trips in rented RV’s, we brought along with us the things we like to do.  We are outdoor folks so biking and hiking were something we liked to do at home.  We found we could easily enjoy these activities while traveling in the RV.  It was easy to put a bike rack on the back of the RV and take our bikes along.  We have enjoyed many bike rides in different locations across the country.

Since we love being outdoors, the RV lifestyle fit us perfectly.  After all, you don’t want to spend all your time in your RV!  The RV should be a way for you to take the activities you enjoy doing at home and expand upon that. You want to be able to enjoy those things while adding the additional benefit of being on the road in an RV.

When considering full time RV living I would like you to consider this.  Be sure you are able to bring those things you have enjoyed doing in the past into your new lifestyle.  You want to be able to take those things and perhaps enjoy them in a different way while being able to travel where you want in your RV home.

Now to some this may seem obvious.  To others, it may seem mundane! But I mention this here because we have seen many of our RVing friends wind up leaving the full time RV living lifestyle because they were too unhappy.  They felt like they had left too many things behind; the grandchildren, the tool shop, the craft room, other family members at home, more living and storage space, daily mail delivery, consistent television reception, a full size washer and dryer, etc.

When considering full time RV living you have to be able to enjoy the things you did in the past while living in your RV home.  Or, you have to find new things to replace those old things before you make that leap and sell everything.  Either way, be sure to spend time thinking about these things before jumping in and possibly making a big mistake!

Pam and I considered it carefully before we sold all our “stuff” and hit the road.  Fortunately we had many miles of experience in RV’s, we had found we could do many things we enjoyed in new and better ways, and we were able to go from a large home down to only hundreds of square feet with ease.  So, the question is, is full time RV living for you?

We hope those of you considering joining us on the road have been helped by just a few things we have shared here!  Making a big lifestyle change is something to not take lightly and we want to help you do that with eyes wide open!

 

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Sep 22

Camping Etiquette – Lindsey the Corgi’s Bark Report

camping etiquette

Barooo! It’s me Lindsey with my latest Bark Report.  This time, I want to bark at you about Camping Etiquette.  

As a fulltime camping pupster, I’ve seen alot of campers that maybe just don’t know what is considered polite and what isn’t.  And since Mom and Dad are always barkin’ at me to be a considerate camper, I’d like to share some of that with y’all.

First off never, never poo on someone else’s site.  If you just gotta go really bad, make sure you stay close to the road and your pet parents pick it up and throw it out.  The poop fairy doesn’t visit RV Parks and magically make your poo disappear.  Nasty! And you won’t make a friend if someone steps in your little gift in the dark.

camping etiquette

Tell your parents that there is a really cool thing that goes on your leash.  I think it’s called poopy Bags on Board.  That way it’s easy for them to take care of minor (or sometimes major?) indiscretions.  I like t’call it the No-excuse, On the Go Go, Doo Doo Delivery, Don’t Leave Home Without Them, Oopsie Poosie Pick Ups.  Catchy, huh? 

Oh hey, to all you leg lifters, squirtin’ on tires is so redneck.  Unless your name is Bubba J,  use a tree or squat like a girl.  Service dogs do.  Dad threatened my cousin Leinie he’d cut off his ….. if he used his tires for his personal pee-mail service. (You fill in the blank.)  Leinie is purdy smart for a labra-dork do he didn’t dare if he knew what was good for him.

Mom’s always telling me don’t cut through occupied sites.  Dude! Rude!  Give them their space.  I mean seriously, you could interrupt their meal, trip over their yard adornments, scare the cat, get bit by their dog, trip over their hoses and cords (possibly unplugging them, creating a human poo incident or power outage). And it’s jest not neigh-bor-ly.

And then if you are like me, we have to warn off intruders. It’s our job according to the doggie manual ya know. Makes for cranky neighbors listening to us talk all the time.  You are campin’, enjoy it and get read some new pee mail on your walk-about. Jest take your humans on a tour and walk around.  If it’s that urgent, drop your drawers in the road like I have to sometimes.  Campgrounds aren’t that big that you need to do cut thru’s.  

Oh yo, and speaking of noise, another thing in campgrounds is they have this thing called quiet time. The walls in our moving houses are thin.  If you can hear someone or something outside, chances are they can hear you inside.  Enuff with the Top Gun music after 10 already.  I like to catch some zzz’s without feeling the floor and walls vibrating.  

Tell your humans to try not to arrive at the campground in the wee hours of the morning. There is nothing like the sound of your pet parents shouting at each other and then the beep beep beep of one of those really big noisy buses trying to back into a spot.  Indoor voices if you do arrive late. 

Next on the list is parking in your own spot.  You didn’t pay for 2 spots so don’t park on 2.  How would you like to arrive after a long day of drivin’ only to find the site you are s’pose to have has a car on it?  If the office is closed for the day, your neighbors aren’t there to move their car, it’s dark, you’re tired, now what? Doesn’t make for happy campers.   Curt-a-see please!  

The office can help you out if you can’t fit all your stuff on your spot. They are nice that way. That’s why they work there. Some of our humans can get cranky after drivin’ our big moving houses so jest think of them.   

And lastly I want to bark at you about is going really fast thru the park. The nice campground owners are just trying to keep everybody safe and have fun. Imagine, you come out for a nice walk, or you are in the middle of copping a squat and suddenly this car comes around a corner at mach one and almost runs you over.  

Or the little people that come out suddenly and scare me.  I always tell Mom it’s good I’m not a car or I could have runned them over.  When it’s really busy in RV parks it’s sometimes hard to see around every moving home on wheels. A lot of them are really really big.  If they run you over that will ruin everybody’s day.

So the theme of this report is if everyone is well behaved we can all have a good time when we go RVing. Be safe and Happy Tails (even though I don’t have one).

 

Until next time,
Lindsey out….. 

Sep 16

Free Things to do at Niagara Falls

Ten Free Things to do at Niagara Falls

 

When coming to Niagara Falls in an RV, and you are cost conscious, there are great things to do that do not cost anything at all!  That is what makes this such an amazing destination for those that do not need to spend money to have a good time!  There are so many free things to do at Niagara Falls, it really took Pam and I by surprise.

We went for a weekend visit to Niagara Falls State Park while recently in western New York.  We had such a great time in the two days we were there we returned the next weekend to do it again.  We were unable to see and do it all the first visit as there were so many great things to do that don’t cost a cent!

free things to do at niagara falls

RV Boondocking at Seneca Niagara Casino and Resort

RV Parks around the Niagara Falls area are not in close proximity to the Falls, and parking can be a problem when it is really busy.  We visited Niagara Falls State Park in late August. We figured it might not be as busy as some of the U.S. public schools were already back in session.  What we had not counted on were all the foreign tourists that were visiting too!  No problem, though!  We just had to be a little more creative with our picture taking in some areas of the park.

Anyway, given the fifty to eighty dollar a night RV park rates, we decided to research some free options in the area using some websites that we utilize as we travel the country.  We found Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino. Their information states the following regarding RV’s parking at their facility.

Parking for oversized vehicles, including RV’s, is available on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis in the huge parking lot on the east side of the property (Use ‘Falls Street’ entrance for your convenience). The Native American casino allows vehicles to park on the east side of the lot, by the fence, even though the lot surface area is not marked for oversized vehicles. Utility hookups are not available. The Casino is located about a mile from the entrance of Niagara Falls State Park.

It only took us about ten minutes to walk to Niagara Falls State Park from the casino parking lot.  It is almost a straight shot west to reach the park entrance.  Once you walk around to the front of the Casino you are on Falls Street which takes you directly there.

We stayed a total of five nights between our two visits and found it to be a perfect place to boondock!  We were able to use our leveling jacks, put our slides out and use our generator as needed.  As long as you have enough onboard storage for your water usage, you can enjoy a few days in this area without having to pay RV park fees!

free things to do at niagara falls

Information Plaques Located Around the Falls

The second of the free things to do at Niagara Falls is to walk around, enjoy the sights and sounds of the Falls, and learn the history of the Falls.  There are numerous plaques spread around the grounds that describe different areas of interest.  Some are historical and others state current facts.  

One fact that I found amazing was that in just one second, seventy-five thousand gallons of water spill over the American Falls!  We enjoyed walking miles around Niagara Falls State Park enjoying all the different views of both the American Falls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.  All that water cascading down makes for spectacular sights and sounds!

free things to do at niagara falls

In Season, Niagara Falls Shines Brightly at Night!

The third free thing you can do while at Niagara Falls is to see the Falls at night!  Every night after sunset the Falls are lit in a rainbow of colors.  It is just spectacular!  It was so enjoyable and relaxing to just sit, watch and listen to the sounds of the rushing water! There are many ways to catch this event photographically.  Even pictures taken with my Samsung smartphone, at its lowest resolution setting for web use, captured the sites quite well during the night viewings.

free things to do at niagara falls

In Season: Free Fireworks Show Friday and Sunday Nights!

The fourth free thing you can do at Niagara Falls State Park is to see the free fireworks show that occurs Friday and Sunday nights during the summer months.  Now, this is not a really long fireworks display.  I figured the display lasted about five minutes or so. The fireworks shot from the river bed light up the Falls in a unique and spectacular way!

free things to do at niagara falls

Lots to See on the Canadian Side of the Falls!

The fifth thing you can do that does not cost you anything unless of course, you choose to shop, is walk across the Rainbow Bridge into Canada.  If you have the proper documentation it is a very easy thing to do.  The walk across the bridge only takes a few minutes and there are more great views of both the American and Canadian falls.

Once you get through customs you are right near all the sights and sounds of southern Ontario.  While we were there we saw beautiful gardens, water fountain displays, listened to free entertainment while enjoying the views of the falls.  We enjoyed walking around checking out all the shops and arcades that are in abundance in the area.

We had such a good time just walking around, we made the journey into Canada twice during our stay.  We figured the walk from the parking lot of the casino to the Horseshoe Falls in Canada was about two and a half miles. It was really quite easy and with a comfortable pair of walking shoes, it is really no problem.  With all the places to stop and enjoy the sites, it is really easy to take a break, if you need one.

free things to do at niagara falls

Pedestrian and Bike Paths Abound at Niagara State Park!

Biking around the Niagara Falls area and the park is a great activity that does not cost you anything if you bring your own bicycle.  If you don’t have one as there are rentals available, but then it is no longer a free activity.  If it is really crowded it can be more difficult to bike around within Niagara State Park because the foreign tourists do not seem to understand sticking to the right when either walking or biking.

If you visit during a busy time of year you can bike along Robert Moses Parkway to avoid the crowds.  One side of the street is an unused road that they have closed off for pedestrian traffic.  You can bike for miles.  This is not a scenic as being right around Niagara State Park, but if you want a good ride, this is certainly an option.

free things to do at niagara falls

Your Fur-Kid will Love a Walk Around Niagara Falls!

The seventh of the free things to do at Niagara Falls is to take your dog for a walk in the park.  They can enjoy themselves as much as we humans! Lindsey had a great time being photogenic when we placed here on a pillar right by the Falls.  After we took this photo we actually had a small crowd that had gathered while we were taking the numerous shots it required to get this one.  She was very distracted by all the attention!

free things to do at niagara falls

Plenty of Open Space for a Picnic!

The eighth free thing you can do is to have a picnic at Niagara Falls State Park.  There is plenty of open space to lay out a blanket, bring some food and enjoy a meal and the sights.  If you just want to pick something up on Falls Street before you get to the park, there are several options to choose from.

We found Mario’s NY Style pizza!  We really enjoyed the selection they had and the quality of their pizza.  It has been a while since this native New Yorker had a good slice of New York style pizza!

free things to do at niagara falls

Old Falls Street Fun!

When strolling up and down Falls Street you can enjoy the activities: games and music. There is an outside area right near the Econo Lodge that had large size game boards of chess and checkers.  There were also ping pong tables and large Jenga blocks to play with.  There was even a huge chalkboard where you can express your lifetime wishes to the world.

Lindsey decided she wanted to play chess, but none of the other fur-kids wanted to take her on.  So, we just let her sit there and look cute for a while.  She did get others to take her picture too!

free things to do at niagara falls

Awesome Photo Opportunities Abound!

The tenth of the free things to do at Niagara Falls is to take pictures while enjoying the area.  There are so many great places to stop and enjoy the Falls while capturing their splendor from so many different angles and distances.  There are numerous walkways where you can get up close and personal with the Falls.

If you enjoy getting wet, depending on which way the wind is blowing, you can partake of the mist created by the huge amounts of water cascading down.  This also creates some great photographic opportunities.  As I stated earlier, I was using my Samsung smartphone to capture the pictures I have displayed here.  It did a fine job of capturing day and night shots while being very portable and easy to keep dry when that was necessary!

If you have a chance to bring your RV to the Niagara Falls area, be sure to enjoy some of these free activities!  It is a great opportunity to relax, unwind and enjoy the beauty that is Niagara Falls!

Pam, Lindsey and I wish you blessed travels as you enjoy this great country of ours!! Let us know how your RV travels are going if you make it to this great location!

passport america campgrounds

 

 

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Sep 09

Cabela’s RV Park – Our Recent Adventure!

While trying to avoid the high RV park prices of a holiday weekend, Pam and I decided to boondock for three days at the unofficial Cabela’s RV park.  

As we travel about enjoying the full time RV lifestyle we try to average about twenty dollars per night for our camping fees.  We do that by occasionally seeking refuge in an approved parking lot site.

We also use camping club memberships when we are not on a monthly or weekly rate.

There are the usual places to stay like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Camping World and rest areas, but we recently discovered that Cabela’s serves the RVing public too. So we checked out the Cabela’s RV park in Hamburg, PA.

cabela's rv park

Now I have not spent much time at a Cabela’s store before, but we have family that like to hunt and they speak highly of their offerings.

I have read other comments about Cabela’s that state that the store is like a Home Depot for people who like to kill things.  I did find that comment very amusing but know it is somewhat controversial as many people are passionate about hunting and fishing.  I have never had that propensity, but I did enjoy visiting one of their stores!

cabela's rv park

We were in Pennsylvania near the town of Hershey and we needed a three-night stay at a place that would not cost us the usual RV park fees.  We used freecampgrounds.com and found that the Cabela’s in Hamburg, PA would allow RV’s to park and stay at no charge.

They have a row in their parking lot that will handle many RV’s and it is marked accordingly on the east side of the parking lot.  They have access to non-potable water for aiding in reducing fresh water usage for sewer needs, and they also have a dump station available if needed.  That is why I have given this location the name of Cabela’s RV park!

cabela's rv park

We showed up on a Friday afternoon of the Labor Day weekend.  There were plenty of spaces to park.  We chose to be close to the dump station so we could easily get some non-potable water, in a bucket, to use to aid in flushing the toilet.  This allowed us to extend our fresh water for other uses!

The information on freecampgrounds.com asks that once you have parked your RV that you check in at customer service and let them know you are out in the RV area and are spending the night.  We asked about spending three nights and they were most gracious in allowing us to do so!  The women at the counter even offered the code to the dump station to avoid the five dollar charge for dumping our tanks.

We can’t say enough good things about how nice the service personnel were at Cabela’s, and how helpful they were.  They even offered best wishes for us to enjoy our stay!  I was very impressed with their customer service.  I was very appreciative that they allowed us to stay for the weekend!

We really enjoyed their store and will visit other locations around the country as we have the ability to do so when in areas they are located!

This particular store in Hamburg, PA had many activities other than just shopping. They had a large cafeteria inside on the second floor, they had many animal displays with educational information included, an electronic shooting gallery, an aquarium, hunting gear, fishing equipment, clothing, footwear, guns and ammo, and other related items.

You can spend a good portion of the day at this store, if not the whole day. It depends on your level of interest in these things.  We observed many other RV’s pulling in and spending the day visiting this store.

Some folks took advantage of the dog and horse area to leave their pets in an outdoor environment instead of in a hot car while they went shopping. Cabela’s even provides locks for the penned areas if you don’t have your own.

cabela's rv park

There are also other services available nearby if needed: Walmart, fuel stations, and many eateries if you want to avoid cooking in the RV.  Most of these can be seen from the Cabela’s parking lot.  That is how close they are. We walked over to Walmart for a few incidentals.

So, if you are in the Hamburg Pennsylvania area and need a spot to rest for the evening, free of RV space fees, check out Cabela’s RV park.  This is a very nice option as long as your RV is set up to comfortably allow you to boondock in a situation like this.

If you do, please be respectful of the area and the other RVers that may be there. Don’t look like you are moving in for the long haul with awnings out, chairs, area mats, and grills.  That is what ruined it for RVers with Walmart when they started to offer this benefit.  Keep it low key and clean up after yourself.

Do that and Cabela’s will continue to offer RVers the opportunity to avoid RV park fees while traveling!

 

Blessings,

Howard, Pam, and Lindsey

 

Sep 07

Passport America Campgrounds – Passport America Reviews

When looking for discount camping for full time RV living, there are several options to choose from. One of the options that Pam and I chose early on was to stay at Passport America Campgrounds.  We checked out a lot of the Passport America reviews and decided that fifty percent savings for an RV site was certainly worth the cost of the yearly forty-four dollar membership.

But, how could we be sure that the testimonials being given were not just advertorial but actual Passport America reviews?

After doing a little research, we found some RV park review sites where we were quickly able to determine what these Passport America campgrounds were really like.  Were they just run down old parks that were Passport America Campgrounds who joined the ranks so they could get more business?  Or, were they nice parks offering a special price on their nightly rates, during their slower times, and they wanted to offer a good deal to RVers like us.

passport america campgrounds

For us, we have found a mixture or both!  We have stayed in some very nice parks that were Passport America campgrounds and we got a great deal with our Passport America membership.  We have also stayed at other parks that got acceptable reviews, but for us, they were pretty run down, and, they nickel and dimed us with nominal charges for things like having an AC unit.

Personal Passport America Campgrounds Experience

We recently stayed at a Passport America Campgrounds park located in Gasport, NY.  It truly was out in the middle of nowhere, but we needed a spot for four nights and that was relatively close to Niagara Falls.  We were boondocking at Seneca Niagara Casino and Resort, right near the Falls, but after three nights we needed to be attached to services.

passport america campgrounds

So, we drove the thirty-six miles to Gasport, NY to stay at Niagara Hartland RV Park.  The listed rate on the Passport America Campgrounds website was sixteen dollars a night, plus electric.  We looked for some Passport America reviews on the campground at rvparkreviews.com and they got favorable reviews from the few postings we saw on that website.

We wound up with a nice RV site at Niagara Hartland campground.  The RV park was quiet, except for the chickens that roamed the property and were the morning alarm clock, the early morning alarm clock!

passport america campgrounds

For less than eighteen dollars a night we stayed for four nights.  The accommodations were acceptable to us.  Yes, there were lots of seasonal units staying there, and some older units, but they were separated from the transient sites and they did not bother us.  The manager of the park was most accommodating and we would recommend this park to others.

After that, we ventured a little further south and chose another one of the Passport America campgrounds.  This one was in Bath, NY. This park listed on the Passport America website that their nightly rate was sixteen dollars. When we arrived they said the rate was wrong and that it was actually eighteen dollars a night, and not for a full hookup site. Their website information was a little more vague on what type of RV site the Passport America campgrounds discount covered.

This campground was old, had lots of seasonal residents with old trailers and RV’s, and it had very little transient RV traffic.  We felt a little out of place. The campground served its purpose for us, but we would probably not return if we were in that area again.  There were very few Passport America reviews for this campground so we just had to take a chance.  Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t!

Overall I find the Passport America campgrounds meet our needs as long as we do our research ahead of time: check online for Passport America reviews of the campgrounds we want to visit, be sure their days of discounting match up with our travel plans, and we call ahead to verify that the information that is listed on the Passport America campgrounds website is correct.

passport america reviews

Happy travels as you enjoy the RV lifestyle, and hopefully the full time RV lifestyle!  Please feel free to leave a comment below if we can assist you with this topic!

 

Blessings,

Howard, Pam and Lindsey

 

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Aug 28

Crossing Border Into Canada – Taking the Rainbow Bridge to Canada

Are you thinking of crossing border into Canada?  Are you going to be near the Niagara Falls area and thinking about taking the Rainbow Bridge to Canada?  Yes, there is a Rainbow bridge you can walk, bike or drive across to get into their country.  We were hoping to see our beloved pets on the other side but no luck there!  LOL

Crossing Border Into Canada

As a Rver, issues like border crossings become really important if you are considering crossing the border with your RV home.  It can be much more complicated than just driving across in a car.  We had heard it is much easier to get into Canada than it is coming back into the United States.

This post is about our story and experience with taking the Rainbow Bridge to Canada.  But first a little background.

We wanted to take our full time RV living home to the Niagara Falls area for a visit to this place that we had never been to before.  It looks so pretty in all the pictures so we wanted to visit while we were in that area of the country. We visited in late summer.  It appeared that most of the American families were not there, but there were sure a lot of foreign tourists!  We ran into a lot of Indians: the kind that says, “thank you for calling customer support!” LOL (A Jeff Dunham and Peanut joke)

We did want to park our RV close to Niagara Falls.  We researched campgrounds in the area and found most that were within 10 miles or so were $50 – $80 per night.  In our full time RV living travels, unless we are holding an RV inspection class, we try to keep our nightly park fees at an average of about $20 per night.  We do this by using multiple sources including Passport America, Good Sams Camping Club, and freecampgrounds.com.

Crossing Border Into Canada

We found a casino that is just about a mile from Niagara Falls State Park, depending on where in the park you want to go.  They allow RVers to park in their east parking lot as long as you park along the east side of the lot by the fence.  There are no utility hookups provided.  This is a boondocking option only.  The location is called Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino.  The parking lot entrance is right off Falls Rd.  It is easy to get any size RV to this location.

Crossing Border Into Canada

If you decide to take advantage of their kindness, be sure to visit the casino and patronize them in some way.  Oh, and this facility is owned by Native Americans: the ones that go Hiya Hiya, Hiya Hiya!  LOL (Again, more Jeff Dunham!)

We found this to be an excellent location as it was located close to the Falls. In the two days we stayed at the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino, we walked to Niagara Falls six times.  It took us less than 15 minutes to do so! It is almost a straight shot west to Niagara Falls State Park.  

In addition to food choices at the Casino, there are also great eating opportunities along the way to the Falls.  We found Mario’s NY Style Pizza. After a day of walking around, and into Canada, we were hungry!  Their pizza was awesome, and they had many varieties to choose from.

Crossing Border into Canada

For this website post, I would like to focus on the easiest way to cross the border, and that is walking across the Rainbow Bridge to Canada.  For a United States citizen with a current passport, all you need to do is enter the border patrol facility from the west side bridge access point, go through the one-way turnstile and you are off to Canada.  

The views from the bridge are spectacular.  You can place one foot in the US and the other in Canada as there is a plaque that marks the dividing line between the countries.  We also observed that at the time we crossed the bridge the high volume of vehicles that were waiting to enter the United States.

rainbow bridge to canada

rainbow bridge to canada

rainbow bridge to canada

Once across the bridge, you are directed to an office where a Canadian border patrol officer will check your passport for entry into Canada.  If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must carry proof of citizenship such as a passport, birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, a U.S. Permanent Resident Card, or a Certificate of Indian Status along with photo identification. If you are a U.S. permanent resident, ensure you carry proof of your status such as a U.S. Permanent Resident Card.

This was all pretty painless.  We were through that part of the crossing in just a few minutes.  There was only one other family ahead of us at the time.  I would never expect it to be that busy when walking the Rainbow Bridge to Canada as most people would probably prefer to drive.  

The only thing the border agent asked us was where we were from in the US and why we were visiting that day?  That was it!  We were now on Canadian soil.

rainbow bridge to canada

So, if you are in the Niagara Falls area on the US side, why would one want to venture across the Rainbow Bridge to Canada?  The Falls are beautiful and the views from Niagara State Park are certainly amazing, but the Falls are truly spectacular from the Canadian side.  The Horseshoe Falls cannot be truly appreciated unless you see them while in Canada.

rainbow bridge to canada

Now, you can take the Maid of the Mist boat tour and truly experience Niagara Falls, and get really wet too!  We watched many folks waiting in long lines to get their tickets and a plastic bag to cover themselves once in the midst of all the mist from the Falls.  

We also noted how wet they were when they got off the boat!  The plastic bag appeared to have failed many! On a hot day that would be awesome, but it was a rather cool day when we were there.

rainbow bridge to canada

rainbow bridge to canada

The mist from the Horseshoe Falls almost makes it appear like it is raining. The day we were there the wind was blowing the mist over the main walkway which is along Niagara Parkway.  There are plenty of opportunities to get a little wet while visiting Niagara Falls!  But it is so worth it to see views like these!

rainbow bridge to canada

Crossing back the United States via the Rainbow Bridge was just as easy as it was to cross into Canada.  It was a good thing we had some American currency with us as we needed fifty cents each to get back onto the bridge. They had a coin changer so we could get some quarters.

crossing border into canada

Once through the turnstile, we walked back across the Rainbow Bridge.  We beat all the vehicle traffic sitting in line trying and enter the United States. Once in the Border Patrol office, we only had to wait for one couple ahead of us.  We were asked if we had anything to declare, showed our passports and we were permitted back on American soil.  Simple as that.  Do be sure to remove your hat and sunglasses, if wearing them, before speaking to an agent.

rainbow bridge to canada

Well, there it is!  Walking across the Rainbow Bridge to Canada and crossing the border into Canada is as easy as that!  I would highly recommend the experience in order to view Niagara Falls from both countries.  It was truly a treat for Pam and me!  The round trip by foot was about five miles.  It did not seem like it though!  It was an easy walk with lots of places to stop and hang out.

We may do it again soon but the next time we may try biking across to Canada.  There is a little bit more involved in that process as you cannot use the pedestrian walkway.  We will share that experience when we have completed that adventure.

Please leave a comment about your border crossing experiences if you have visited Niagara Falls in your RV.

 

Happy RV Travels,

Howard, Pam, and Lindsey

Aug 26

Boondocking with Dogs at Niagara Falls

 

boondocking with dogs

Hello my furry 4 legged and human followers. Lindsey here checkin’ in again with my Weekly Bark Report. This week I want to bark at you about Boondocking with Dogs at Niagara Falls. (I think a better name would be Boon-Dogging.  Whatcha all think? Or am I barkin’ up the wrong tree? Ha! Get it? I kill me sometimes.)

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Dad caught me getting a snack before writing my bark report! I love Stella and Chewy!!

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Yummy!!

This venture was the bestest yet! We stayed at somethin’ called a Caaa-Seen-O. Mom said the name of it was Seneca Niagara. (She has to help with the big words.)  It was this really big lot behind a huge-mong-us building with lots and lots and lots of lights all over it at night. And some great pee-mail for this low-rider to check out too.

boondocking with dogs

So at this Niagara place, Mom and Dad took me there one day to check it out.  Whoa! That’s alotta water dude!  And it is movin’ really fast.  I bet even a Greyhound couldn’t catch it. I think someone musta forgot to turn off the water. That’d be one really wet house if we did that in ours.

boondocking with dogs But you know I was sooo kool sitting there at the water that all the humans around were watchin’ while I did my thing. Other people I don’t even know wanted to take my picture. Go figure. Dad called me a crowd magnet. I didn’t like being so close to all that water.  It was kinda scary but I had to pretend to be brave cuz everyone was watchin’ me. Just acted like I was chillin’ and catchin’ some rays.

boondocking with dogs

Yo, and on our way back to the Caaa-Seen-O I got to play chest.  We found some sidewalk games at a place called Old Falls Street.  Dad was gonna teach me but then some nice lady asked to take my picture to put on their website.

boondocking with dogs

 

How kool is that?!  All over the world humans will see me!  Fame is tough y’all but somebody’s gotta do it. (Okay, Mom just got in my face for that. Saz I don’t need a big head. A bubble butt is all we can handle in our house.)

There was this huge checkers board too, but I didn’t want to play that.  It didn’t look as fun as the chest game.  And after chest we got to kool off at a street Found-tin.  It was right by a hawnted house. I didn’t get to go in that house.  Too scary.

boondocking with dogs

 

Oh, oh and then I gotta tell ya about the day Mom and Dad went acrost the border.  I don’t know what that means, but Dad said I couldn’t go cuz I didn’t have my traveling papers.  Huh? I grew out of potty papers when I was a pupster.  That’s okay cuz I got a really good nap while they wuz gone.

boondocking with dogs

 

They walked acrost this Rainbow Bridge. I asked if they saw Maya over there cuz she went over a Rainbow Bridge last year.  No, no Maya. I’m sad about that. Then he tells me Mom almost did come back cuz she didn’t have any money to crost the bridge.  Barooo!!  He’z such funny guy. Gotta luv my Dad. I know he would’t leave Mom there.   I can’t help him drive cuz my legs are too short.  Best I could do is be co-pilot.

boondocking with dogs

Mom and Dad leave these stuffed things in the seats so I can’t write on the windows with my nose! Bummer!!

I got to see lots of purty pitures of that place Dad called Can-A-Da.  Maybe I coulda found some new furry friends from over there, ya know, eh?  (I’m trying to learn a new language. Any Can-A-Dee-An furry friends out there to help me out?)

I sure hope Mom and Dad do some more Boon-dogging at maybe some other really neato place. Stay tuned for our next adventure and feel free to bark at me below. I’ll check back with ya after my nap.

Lindsey out….

 

Aug 26

RV Safety Tips – Consider Weighing Your RV!

Traveling in an RV is one of the greatest ways to get out and visit great places.  No matter where you are you always have your home with you!  For full time RVers, this is especially true!  However, one thing I have observed in our seven years of full time RV living is that some people tend to forget about safety.  I would like to suggest a few RV safety tips that may help the seasoned, as well as the occasional RV traveler.

Consider Weighing Your RV!

The first, and most important one I think is to know how much your RV weighs!  If you have no idea what your fully loaded RV is carrying you should consider weighing your RV!   The biggest argument I hear against taking the time to get this done is, “I still have more storage space so I must be okay!”  That may be true, but it does not always work that way.

consider weighing your rv

If you were to take a completely empty RV, look at the data plate that specifies the gross vehicle weight rating and subtract the weight of your empty RV, you would have your carrying capacity of the vehicle.  Now depending on the class of RV you have there are several other factors to consider.  But for this discussion lets keep it simple.

From there you would have to know how much water you want to carry and calculate that weight and add it to the vehicle’s empty weight.  Then, you would have to weigh each individual item going into the RV and stop loading any more items when you reach the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating. But, how can you know that you have the vehicle loaded evenly?

What if you have not exceeded the RV’s gross vehicle weight rating but have more weight on one side of the RV than on the other?  This condition might be overloading the tires and axles on one side and possibly create a situation where a tire failure could occur.  Damage may also occur to the axles themselves if this condition continues for extended periods of travel.

When Pam and I bought another RV earlier this year I put weighing the RV on the top of the list of things I wanted to accomplish.  Given it is a class C RV, and that we are pulling a cargo trailer with all our stuff, I knew that this RV would be easy to overload.  Even in our 5th wheel we had to watch the carrying capacity very closely.  All the appliances and three slides were on the street side of the RV and only one slide with very little weight in it was on the curb side.  So, we had to put the heavier items on that side of the RV to balance out the carrying capacity of the RV.

Once we loaded our new RV we made it a point to find a service that could weigh our RV.  These types of services can be found at RV Owner’s group rallies and RV shows.  Now this is not like taking your RV to a Pilot / Flying J truck scale.  That only tells you the total weight of a vehicle.  What you need to know is how much weight is on each axle, and more important than that, each tire so that overloading can be avoided.

consider weighing your rv

We started this weighing process by filling out a form that asked questions about the RV, axle ratings, tire type and weight ratings of those tires.  Once the RV was weighed at each tire, and including our trailer, a report was generated to determine where we were at with our loaded RV.

consider weighing your rv

consider weighing your rv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We found out that our vehicle was slightly overweight on the rear axle and slightly underweight in the front axle.  This included the weight of our trailer on the hitch of the RV.  Also, the trailer was slightly underweight and the cargo weighted evenly on each side of the trailer.  So, our major concern was the rear axle of the RV under its current load.  But, according to the folks that weighed the RV, as long as we keep the tires at the correct cold pressure values and don’t exceed 65mph, we are well within acceptable limits.

Given that Pam and I are never in a hurry when we travel, and maintain our speed between 60 – 65mph, we are good to go.  I will also add that as we continue to live the full time RV lifestyle we will continue to get rid of things we don’t use.  That will help us to continue to lighten the load!

I would like to comment on one more RV safety tip.  Please be sure that when you are traveling in your RV that you have your propane system turned off!  In the event that something should happen on the road: a tire blowout, hitting a road alligator (road debris), or some other unforeseen circumstance, you don’t want to have your energized propane system create a catastrophic event when the system is damaged during travel!

Most people travel with their propane tanks on in order to keep their propane refrigerator cold.  The truth is that if you do not open the refrigerator during travel it will remain at acceptable temperature levels.  

If you have a motorized unit you can use your generator and switch over to electric cooling to keep it cool.  If you don’t have that option you can put a small block of ice in the fridge to help with cooling.  Pam and I have used both methods successfully in order to travel safely when it comes to avoiding the use of propane to run the refrigerator.

I hope both these RV safety tips will help you to continue to enjoy safe RV travel!  

 

Happy Travels!!

Howard, Pam and Lindsey

Aug 19

Full Time RV Living Update

Greetings from our RV!

full time rv living

Parked at Lake Kenisee – Thousand Trails in Jefferson Ohio

Pam, Lindsey and I are currently in Jefferson, Ohio spending some time at a Thousand Trails RV park and enjoying full time RV living!  It’s hard to believe we started doing this back in 2008 and it has already been that long ago.  Time sure goes by fast!

full time rv living

The first RV Trip with a rental unit!

full time rv living

We had so much fun we thought we’d try a bigger RV!

full time rv living

A Class C Rental Unit in Vegas!

full time rv living

We were able to rent a nice diesel pusher!

full time rv living

A Class A gas rental RV in our driveway in the mountains of Colorado -this is what would fit in the driveway!

full time rv living

Back to the beach in Destin!

2008 – Finally, our first full time RV living home!

There have been lots of experiences and lots of learning too!  When we think of how green we were back in 2002, when we took out our first RV, we just have to laugh at all the silly things we did early on because we did not know what living in an RV would be like, or even how to use it:

  • Thinking the air conditioner should run just because it’s plugged into shore power. What?  It needs 12 volts too?  You mean there is a battery switch that has to be turned on?  Huh?? (an RV tech course solved those kind of issues!)
  • How come the TV had reception yesterday and not today?  You mean that little button has to be pushed in one way for cable and another for the over-the-air channels?   There’s a thing called an antenna booster?
  • Not realizing a sewer hose donut was not a strong enough seal to keep the sewer hose from flying out of the sewer pipe when pulling the black tank valve – a true RV movie moment!  Yes, there was a fecal incident outside our poo palace, our kaka castle, our dodo dwelling, our fart fort, well you get the idea!  LOL
  • Burying the rear axle of a 38′ diesel pusher in a drainage ditch while trying to enter an RV parks narrow entrance in the dark because we did not do enough research before trying to get to the campground.
  • Having a Suburban water heater and not realizing that it has an anode rod and that it needs to be removed/replaced, and the water heater flushed regularly, or some bad things happen to the tank!
  • Using the black tank rinsing system to fill the tank after dumping in order to flush the tank with fresh water but forgetting to pull the gate valve when it got full of water because someone got distracted and started talking to other campers.  That’s something you do once and never do again!
  • Traveling with the RV’s propane system energized and almost losing the RV due to a freakish incident inside the RV that caused the cook top stove to turn on full blast and burn up the cook top cover.  Had we decided not to stop and check the 5th wheel it would have been a goner!
  • Spending hours on the side of the road on a very warm day with a blown tire because we were overloaded and never figured that just because we have the room in the RV does not mean we can carry everything we want.
  • Tearing up a street side rear cargo door backing in an RV site.  I thought Pam was being attacked by a bee, but the dance she was doing in my rear view mirror was to tell me to stop because I was running over the water spigot that was painted brown and just blended into the scenery I was seeing in the mirror.  We have learned to communicate better over the years!

Okay, I could go on but you get the idea!  When one starts the full time RV living lifestyle with little previous knowledge, these things can happen. Fortunately for us we did most of these bonehead type things on rented vehicles.  A few more happened in our own RV but we have minimized that due to talking with others about avoiding such things, and researching, so we can learn all we can about our home on wheels!

This year we have been traveling much more than we have in the past six years.  We stopped work camping at RV parks and are traveling for our business helping to build up the NRVIA RV inspector workforce on the east coast of the United States.  We have been in a different location every few weeks and it has been a blast!

We have discovered that associations we made over the past seven years have helped us to secure reasonable RV park campsites even given traveling in the summer months in the northeast.  Several of our favorites are the KOA value card, the Passport America camping pass, and the Good Sams card.  We have also recently discovered freecampgrounds.com for one or two-night stop overs.  We find this a great way to make a quick stop in an area for little to no cost.  We have also been able to park in friends and families yards which has been wonderful!!

There are a few other things that are really important when enjoying full time RV living!  Be able to get your snail mail and ordering items online that you just can’t get in the areas you may be visiting.

We use Passport America’s mail forwarding service and have been since 2010.  It works well!  As long as we are in a spot for a week or so we can get our mail shipped to us by first class postage for just a few dollars.  We are only required to do this about once a month.  We get most of our important mail electronically, but there are still a few things that need to go to a physical address.

We like to eat as healthfully as we can and in some places we have been the past few months we were not able to get the items that we have enjoyed in other places.  Thank goodness for Amazon, and more importantly Amazon Prime membership!  For $99 a year we get free two-day shipping to whatever location we are at.  It’s awesome!!

We enjoy a pancake mix that is better than most called Pamela’s Baking & Pancake mix.  I was having a craving for some pancakes and we ran out. We could not find the mix in our current location so I ordered it through Amazon on Saturday and I had it on Monday early afternoon.  How cool is that!!  Guess what we had for breakfast the next day?

If it is not available through Amazon Prime, which is rare, I can usually find what I want elsewhere and order it.  The only problem is getting it fast enough so that it arrives before I leave for another destination.  And, sometimes these other websites back order items I have ordered and I don’t get what I need.  So, lately I have just been loyal to Amazon as free two-day shipping gets the job done!

So, in a few days we are off to the Niagara Falls area for a few nights of free camping, and not sure where we will go after that.  We will be in Hershey, PA for a month of September during the Hershey PA RV show, one of the largest in the country, and then teaching an advanced RV inspector class in early October.

From there we are off to Heber Springs, AR to spend time with the awesome folks from Workamper News and the NRVIA.

We are truly blessed to be able to live the life we dreamt of even before Pam and I were married.  Back in the 1980’s we were looking at RV’s and imagining a lifestyle that would encompass being able to travel and enjoy full time RV living.  We had no idea how that would happen.  But, here we are 30 years later and we could not have imagined when we started seven years ago how it would have manifested itself in this way!  RV life is awesome!!

Please leave a comment if we can be of assistance to you as you are considering, or perhaps just starting to enjoy full time RV living!

Blessings,

Howard and Pam

passport america campgrounds
Camping World

Aug 17

Lindsey Lovin’ Small RV Living

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Hello my furry and human followers.  Lindsey here lovin’ Small RV Living with my Weekly Bark Report.  Mom and Dad call our small home on wheels a Winnie-Bagel Aspect. Not sure why.  I know what a bagel is but I thought Winnie was a bear.  A poo bear to be exact.  Hmm.  He must be pretty smelly if he’s made out of poo.  From my point of view our Winnie doesn’t smell so who can figure out humans?

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So this week I get to tell you all about small RV living.  (I like to call it our small RoVer.  Kinda cute, huh? Get it, Dog, Rover?  Sometimes I crack myself up.  Baroooo!) At first I had to really get used to Mom and Dad crowding me in bed but I trained them good enuff.  If I push just right I can push mom right off the bed.  That let’s her know who’s the boss of this RV!

Dad takes a little more leg action to push him. There’s a really neato place to help me get up on the bed.  Our other RV didn’t have that.  I have to be first to get dibs on the bed.  If I’m really good I can even get the tv thingy and change channels for them.  I sometimes like to sleep on it just in case the need arises.

Another great thing about small RV living is that we spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying the different places we stop at.  I love that because I always have lots of p-mail to answer!  Also, I get lots of Mom and Dad time. I keep close just in case they need me!

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My favoritist thing about our Winne is I get to sits between the seats when we are moving down the road.  Right there by Mom and Dad makin’ sure they are doing everything just right with their hands on that wheel thing. How cool is that?!  

AND playing ring when we are moving is the bestest game every.  They throw it and I bring it back!  Adds a new level to the game.  Just need to tell y’all to be careful to not hit the bed if they round a corner or start up real quick. Stops can send me slidin’ on the floor.  Don’t like that much. I fell down the door steps once or twice and it’s scary.  

With this RV I can look out the door all the time.  Dad thinks he’s so smart putting something on the seat when they are gone but I know if I lay just right I get a clear view out the door window.  All that action going on out there that I missed in that big old Box we used to have.  

Yo, and check out the kitchen. It is so handy for me to be ready for clean up when Mom drops something chopping or hang under the table waiting for my humans to miss their mouth and drop it.  I think this small home was made for all us dogs.  I bet someone with a really cool name like Jack Russell Coachman, Jake-o Von Dash Hund, Chi Chi Huahua Thor (has identity issues) or even Winnie Beagle, Like ours! made these boxes.  Is this heaven?   

There’s this one really big storage place outside in the back.  Mom says Got-He could have left a body in there.  Don’t know this Got-He guy but I know it’s really big back there. Of course all MY stuff goes inside.  My bedroom is always close by just in case I get tired and need a nap or need to be on duty watchin’ the door when mom and dad are gone.  

All toys present and accounted for as well as leash and winnie-the poo bags right at the door for those social activities.  Gotta have your priorities.  Just so cozy for this full-time RVing pup.  What more could a dog ask for?  Toys, sleep, walks, dinner and a movie all close at hand.  I’m so glad Mom and Dad got this for me!  Barooo!

Lindsey Out!  Leave a comment for me if you would like a more personal response back instead of the usual p-mail!

  

 

 

Jul 31

Glamping with Dogs RV Style

glamping with dogs

Hello again to all my furry followers. For this week’s Bark Report  I want to talk to y’all about somethin’ I jus learned about called Glamping with Dogs, RV style. I was thinkin’ pretty hard what I could bark at you about this week and suddenly it came to me.  I been pickin’ up sniffs and pees-ess about this everywhere.   For those of you that don’t know what glampin’ is, it’s a way kool way to go kampin’.  Glamour-us Kamping. Baroo! For this RV kampin’ corgi it’s the only way to go. All about goin’ in style. First class.

glamping with dogsSo your trusty pup reporter is here to tell you about some kool glampin’ we did this past week  It was right on a lake. (Lake means water, which I for one avoid as much as possible. I am not a Labra-dork after all.)  I jest like to sit and look at it from dry dock thank you very much. The view was great.

glamping with dogs

This kamp was in someplace called  ‘Sconsin.  I think that’s the place. It wasn’t really a big kamp cuz it was just us and the locals but lots of really neato stuff to do!  They had this really really big bed and breakfast house.  It had a s’more-gus-bord on the floor at all times of the day, lots of beds to lay on, a neato hot tub room to catch some rays, kitchen open all day, lots of ball games and rooms galore to explore.  And it was all-inclusive, if you know what I mean.

glamping with dogs

 

And there is a private spa by the lake.  One of the locals invited me in. Gees dude!  The water’s freezin’ and he’s layin’ in it.  He was such a dork-boy.  Hot good, cold brrr!   He sez he knows a good place to go roll in the weeds if I was interested. Sorry, but your fish cologne was a bit overpowering for even me.  Plus I’m already interested in someone else.

glamping with dogsA course stayin’ at a lake must involve at least one water trip. One day we went to this meetin’ place on the river.  It was really crowded with lots of boats and humans and music and even some other dogs.   All the humans seemed to know each other. I think it mighta been some sorta party.  All were jest standin’ and splashin’ in the water.  I refused to get out cuz I didn’t have my life jacket (and it was wet).  Plus I only know how to dog paddle and it was deep for me.

glamping with dogs

Yo, yo like check me out!  One day I sneaked the keys to take Dad’s 2 wheel thingy to go out for a spin when they left.  What to my doggy dismay would happen, handles too far for my paws to stand on.  Drat the cat!  It woulda been so kool with the wind in my ears.  Mom said maybe someday we can get a sidecar jest for me.  And of course, I would have to have some Doggles.  Call me kool, jest don’t call me late for dinner.

glamping with dogs

Every nite we had live entertainment too.  My new friend Leinie was called the sleep singer cuz he did his best singin’ in his sleep.  Purdy good but didn’t know the words too well.  Dude! It was the Beatles!  No wonder he wasn’t gettin’ many Scoobie Snacks in his tip jar. Poor guy.  And he’s gonna be a dad again next month.

Well Mom is a tappin’ her foot at me with that look. I think I’ll just look at the funny palm tree that was growing here and think about my next bark report.

glamping with dogs

Until next time, 

Lindsey out

Mom Here!  Please be sure to let your fur-kids share their thoughts with Lindsey!  I’ll be sure to give her get time to respond.

 

Jul 31

RV Battery Issues – Understanding Your RV’s Electrical Systems

When it comes to enjoying all your RV has to offer, you also need to be aware of problems that can occur.  And some of these can make for a terrible RVing day!  RV Battery issues are something that falls into this category.  With a little basic understanding, you will find that you can maintain the health of your RV’s 12-volt DC system and remain a happy camper!

 

In traveling the country in our RV, and speaking with many folks about their RV problems, we find a common theme. It appears to be a lack of understanding of how an RV’s electrical system works.  And, the RV battery is a big part of the electrical systems in an RV!

RV Battery Issues

 

How Many Electrical Systems Does an RV Have?

 

Your RV has three electrical systems!  First, you have a 120 volt AC (alternating current) electrical system known as your shore power.  This electrical system becomes active when you either plug your RV into a fifty, thirty, or a twenty amp power source.  This electrical system will control the power needs of your major appliances and allow for charging of one or more battery systems.  And, on some RV’s you can create this electrical power source from an external or onboard generator.  Please be aware of the amperage requirements of your RV when choosing a shore power source!

 

The second RV electrical system in an RV is the chassis 12-volt DC (direct current) system provided by an auto battery.  This system controls your tail lights, marker lights, brake lights, electric wheel brakes, engine starter motor and dash accessories.  It does not matter whether the RV is a towable or a motorized unit, it still has this electrical system.  It just may not be attached to the RV all the time!

 

The third and most important electrical system in the RV is the 12-volt DC RV house batteries.  They are located onboard the RV.  This system is powered by either a 6 or 12-volt DC deep cycle battery combination.  They are hooked together in either a parallel or series combination to create a strong 12-volt DC source.

 

Now here is where the confusion sometimes occurs!  Most things inside your RV will not work without a properly functioning 12-volt DC house battery system.  And this is where RV battery issues can occur because of a lack of understanding of how this system works, and its interaction with the 120-volt AC system.  Stick with me here!  I may be able to save you from a potential problem!

 

For your 12-volt DC house battery system to function, you need good batteries as well as a way to charge them.  That is where your RV’s power converter is used.  When plugged into shore power this device is converting 120-volt AC power into 12-volt DC power.  I think of the converter as the main 12-volt DC power system along with the house batteries, and that these batteries function as your backup, or the piggy bank if you will.  If the piggy bank is nearing empty, then the power converter will have a hard time keeping up with the demand when many 12-volt DC systems are being used. This situation may lead to systems not working properly!

RV Battery Issues

 

When disconnected from shore power you can run your 12-volt lights, your water pump, your gas furnace, and even some electrical devices if you have an inverter.  This device takes your 12-volt DC power and converts it to 120-volts of AC power.  But during use, the piggy bank will empty quickly without being recharged by the power converter.

 

You need both a properly functioning set of batteries and a working power converter!  Do you know where your power converter is?  Do you need to to be sure it is doing its job?  Not necessarily!

 

Do you need to know where the house batteries are located?  Yes! One of the main causes of RV battery issues is the lack of a proper maintenance schedule for them.  They may require water to be occasionally added for the chemical reaction to continue to occur in creating DC voltage.  If water is not checked and added on a regular basis, the RV’s house batteries will deteriorate and not allow many of the needed systems to function in the RV!

 

Have you ever been inside your RV when the 120-volt AC power went out?  Perhaps you had your 12-volt lights on and noticed just as the 120-volt power went out the lights also dimmed.  This could be an indication of either a power converter problem or weakened batteries due to age or neglect.

RV Battery Issues

 

Without a properly working 12 volt DC house battery power source the RV interior lights will not work, the water pump will not function, the appliance control boards will not have the power they need to allow the gas/electric refrigerator to work, the air conditioning units will not function, the furnace will not provide heat, and the slide outs and leveling systems will not function. Even if the RV is plugged into a 120-volt AC source, those items will not work if there is a problem with the RV’s 12-volt DC house battery system.  Do you know where all your 12-volt fuses are located?

 

Pam and I have been traveling the country in an RV for fifteen years and have enjoyed full time RV living for eight of those years.  We have learned a lot of things the hard way, and some things by the mistakes of others.  As we travel and talk to other RVers, we find this topic is quite difficult sometimes to grasp.  It is even difficult to thoroughly cover it here in about one thousand words!  I will have more on this topic in future articles.

 

Avoiding RV Battery Issues!

 

What can you do now to keep your 12-volt lights on and appliances operating?  Please, check your batteries regularly!  Be sure they are at the proper water level.  Some of these batteries are hard to get at but take the time to check them and fill them as needed with distilled water.  Also, clean any corrosion you see developing on the battery terminals.  This will add extra resistance to the system that you do not want to have!

 

If you know how to use a voltage meter you can check the house battery voltage with your RV disconnected from the AC electrical source.  Compare that to a battery voltage reading with the power back on and the power converter operating.  This test can reveal a lot of information about the health of your RV’s 12-volt DC house battery system!  I will discuss this topic further in a future article.

 

In summary, to avoid RV battery issues, be sure to check them on a regular basis!  If you use your RV all the time, make it part of a regular maintenance program.  Check them once a month.  If you notice maintenance is needed more frequently, do so.  If you only use your RV occasionally then you must be sure your RV batteries remain charged, the battery water levels are adequate, and that they free of corrosion. That way, when you are ready to hit the road, so is your RV!

 

Do you want to know more about how your RV works?  Do you want to be able to fix eighty percent of the problems in an RV that are easy to access and easy to fix?

Please click here for more information.  You can learn most of the things you need to know at your own pace in the comfort of your RV Home. 

 

Thank you!!

Jul 20

Corgi Dogs and RVs United

Hello my four legged and two legged followers. Lindsey here with my Weekly Bark Report to report on how Corgi Dogs and RVs united at the Middlebury KOA.  As promised I’m here to give you first paw account on Corgi-Palooza that Mz Hope hosted. You are hearin’ it straight from the corgi’s mouth as this reporter was front and center.

GroupShot

I’m a little behind my barkline cuz Mom and Dad were busy last week with Dad’s class and wouldn’t let me use the computer.  Kinda bites but I’m here to tell all about it now. As they say here in Amish country, you are gettin’ it straight from the horseys mouth. Mom says I’m just a pup reporter but I do want to someday update y’all on other doggy events.  This was just getting my paws wet.

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All our parents came in RVs with their furry kids. In my opinion, I feel we must have a comfy ride going to these things.  Mom and Dad always sez they likes to travel in style, and be comfort-able. Duh! Well so do we.  It’s all about the ride you know.  How would it look if us dogs showed up in something beneath our stature.  (For corgis that can be tuff since we are short by most dog standards.) I do have to let my humans drive my home because my legs just don’t reach those pedal thingys on the floor. There’s my short stature again. Sorry, rabbit trail.

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Back to the Palooza. We had this really kool place by the pond where we could all FRAP together. (That’s corgi-eze for Frequent Random Acts of Play.)  Some of the boyz don’t play too good. Over a stupid ball.  Geez, grow up.  There was a whole package of ballz and they all wanted the same one.  Us girls played cheerleader on the sidelines.  Kiah even had on her KOA yellow cheerleader outfit.

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The baby that came really liked the ice pool.  She thought she was queen of the hill until one of the boyz wanted to dig in it.  Not for this corgi.  I spent enuff time in our big house in the mountains.  Had my share of doing my bizness in that cold suff and freezin’ my puppy paws with ice kookies stuck between my toes.  Brrrr!  Makes me want to crawl under a blanket just thinking about it.  Oops. Rabbit trail again.

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Mr Kool Koi had his own kissing booth.  Ms Hope said if you wanted a Koi Kiss she would give to somethin’ called KOA Kare Kamps.  I guess it’s for sick small humans.  I just stealed kisses from him whenever I saw him. I think his real name is Koi Bond.  He kisses real good.

KissingKoi

BAROOO!  Yo, yo, check me out!  Do I look hot or what?! These outfits were compliments of Kiah’s Kloset. I looked so Kool in my prom dress that a couple a boys came and had their taken picture with me.

20150711_14235620150711_143130 20150711_14341520150711_143356 20150711_14345220150711_142910After we got to try on stuff there was THE parade.  Strut our stuff for all the non-pet parents to see what they are missing. And after the parade one of the pet parents treated us all to a frozen cookie!  Yummy!  I’m drooling just thinkin’ about it.  Mom said she was her hero.  She has 6 dogs in her pack.  (Hmm, from this reporters ‘spective, I think in MY house one more in my pack would be just fine. Can’t spread the love that thin, unless we get a bigger moving house.)

20150711_16221520150711_162248Anyway, I want y’all to sniff in your pet parents ears to take you to fun stuff like this. Maybe get on doggy FaceBook.  Start your own Dash-Hound Dazes, Pit-Picnics, Westie-Festies, Beagle Beach Day, Poodle-Pride, Scotty-Sunday, Terrier-Tuesday, whatever.  I could come up with all kinds a neat ideas.  We need to stand united on this and let our RVing pet parents know that dogs and RVs work really good together, and how easy it is to take us to neato stuff!. I had such fun that I can’t wait to go cover another doggy event. 

Bark at me below to let this pup-reporter know what’s on the pee-mail circuit out there in your campgrounds.

‘Nuff said.  Happy Tails!

Lindsey out.

 

Jul 07

July 4 Pets Peeved

My Weekly Bark Report this time is for the Scare Me To Death Day, or better known as July 4 Pets Peeved (Do I need to mention that I really do not look forward to this day every year? Makes me really Peeved. How about y’all?)  Mom and Dad call it a July 4 Cell-e-bray-shun and I do my best to shun it.  All that noise!  How can human ears stand it?  For this dog’s ears it could be half as loud and still be too loud.  Bang, bang, boom.  BAROOO!   Oh the joys of having big ears.

july 4 pets

So, my furry followers, I hope the rest of you have found a really good hidey hole for that day.  Among my personal favorites is under the bed as far as I can.  It’s hard to get under a bed in our RV. I’d go under the covers if Mom would let me up on the bed.  She has this dumb fear I’ll jump off and hurt myself. Grow up Mom!

july 4 pets

I know when something is up when Mom puts on my Thunder Shirt.  It’s either those stupid exploding stars or a rumbling sky.  Does she think, I’m stoopid to not know somethin’s up?  I wasn’t whelped yesterday ya know.  Gees La-Wheez!  She says it hugs me.  Okay, I’ll buy that.  Kinda feels more like a nice body wrap to trim my girlish figure.  (Does this shirt make my butt look big?)

july 4 pets

So yo, check out the parade.  All the little peeplez  followed behind Mz Hope’s car.  Kinda looked like a mini sled dog pack.  And note WHO is leading the pack?  Yep, 4 legged and furry.  You go my furry friends!  Dogs rule, mini people drool.  (I stole that line. My bad.)  Mz Hope did let me drive her nifty little car with my friends after the parade.  Or at least I pretended I was driving.  I can’t reach the pedals to really drive. You know that, right?

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july 4 pets

Then I got to meet a new friend.  Her mom calls her a conversation peez. (??)  I don’t know what that means. Talking and peeing?   I hope it’s not an insult cuz she’s kinda cute.  Maybe cuz she’s not a true blood?  I don’t care.  She told me you just tolerate the little peeplez cuz they usually are good for a quick snack.  Food can be found all over their face and hands.  Sounds good to me! She should know, she lives here in this park.

july 4 petsSometimes when I pretend being askared I get these neat little bone treats that Mom says will make me sleepy and be less skared.  Sleepy, my skinny bubble butt.  I hear everything, and I mean EVERYTHING!  Even in a woofing, leg moving, nose twitching sleep.  I don’t know what these little bone treats are s’pose to be but they are mighty tasty. If she’s happy, then my job today is finished.

Well, that’s about all I have to Bark about in this week’s report. Remember to always stay close to your pet parents especially when the big Boom Booms happen. Lots of parents forget us when they are looking up at all those noisy falling stars. Fortunately, my parents just watch it on TV. I love my mom and dad! I think I’ll give them a big puppy kiss for taking care of me so good

Until next time, Lindsey out.

PS – I managed to get under the covers anyway . . . . . . ha ha Baroooo!! . . . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!

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Jun 29

RV Black Water Tank Problems – RV Black Tank Cleaning Wand

As a full time RVer, we deal with a lot of crap on a year-round basis!  And I am not talking about life situations here.  I am referring to fecal matter.  If you use your RV a lot, RV black water tank problems will arise!  There are easy methods to use to “clear things up”, but simple RV black water tank maintenance using water and an RV black tank cleaning wand will avoid any unexpected issues!

Avoiding RV Black Water Tank Problems

There are a few easy things you can do on a regular basis to keep things flowing and to also keep your tank sensors showing the correct tank levels. These might seem very basic, but I talk to a lot of RVers who do not do these things and problems they have because of it.  So here are just a few ideas.  We will cover the basics first.

  1. Use lots of water when flushing!  I know this is hard to do when you are boon docking, but I fill the bowl with water for each flush of a number two event.  LOL!  For just liquids only, not as much.  You want to be sure you have enough liquids in the tank to dissolve the solids and allow them to completely flush out when emptying the RV black water tank.
  2. Never leave the RV black water tank gate valve open!!  Empty the tank when needed and keep the gate valve closed till it is full again!!  If you are traveling a lot, when the tank is half full add water to fill the tank and then dump.  After all, water is weight and carrying around hundreds of extra pounds of liquids should be avoided on certain classes of RV’s! This is my just my opinion, but it is one that is based on years of RV travel.
  3. Use septic safe toilet paper!  You want to be sure you are using TP that will dissolve easily in water.  You can perform a simple test on your own to see if your choice of TP dissolves completely.  Take a piece of the TP and put it in a glass of water and let it sit.  It should dissolve. If not, don’t use that brand.  Pam and I buy single-ply septic safe TP and that seems to work fine.  If you really need to have super plush soft and scented TP then I might suggest you not throw it in the RV black water tank but into a sealed waste basket.rv black water tank
  4. Only empty the RV black water tank when it is full!  As mentioned earlier, when emptying the tank when it is not full it can lead to problems.  You will not get a good flush out unless you have a lot of liquid in the tank.  While using your RV black water tank, depending on how often you need to dump it, solids will settle to the bottom of the tank.  If it sits there in liquid for a week, the only way to be sure to get the stuff to flow out it is to have a lot of water pushing it out the RV black water tank pipe at the bottom of the tank.rv black water tank
  5. Be careful what chemicals you throw in the RV black water tank!!  I just recently was told a story by an RV full timing friend of mine.  I will share it here to make a point about this one.  She was told that the little dishwasher packets that they sell these days work great in the RV black water tank.  So, she put a few in before hitting the road thinking that as she drove they would help clean and sanitize the tank.  She left the RV for a week while on a trip and returned to it and added one of the normal RV tank treatment packets to the tank thinking that she had forgotten to before the last move.  She went to bed and woke up the next morning in a brain fog and a little disoriented.  The two original packets mixed with the new one and created a chemical reaction that could have killed her had she not left a few windows open.  I mostly use just water because we use our septic system every day.  If I really feel the need I add a few ounces of Rid-X.  This is specifically designed to break down waste in septic tanks.rv black water tank
  6. Use a tank rinser to keep your black tank from developing excessive amounts of residual solids.  As I mentioned earlier, even in the best conditions not all stuff inside the RV black water tank is flushed out. One thing you can do is fill the tank with fresh water and dump the tank again.  That can help to remove the leftover solids.  Some RV manufacturers install tank flushers inside the black water tank.  Using that system after every dump can help to keep the tank clean.  Just don’t use your fresh water hose to attached to it!  I witness an RVer do this the other day – yuk!!  What happens if you get some back flow?
  7. Use a flexible swivel stick to completely clean your RV black water tank. I had not used one of these before until we got our newer RV.  Given it is a motorized RV and it sits lower to the ground, we don’t get the same evacuation flow that we got with the 5th wheel.  We also keep getting tank level readings of 1/3 even after dumping the tank.  So, I purchased a Camco flexible swivel stick to help push the remaining crap out of the tank.  This works great!  It sprays a high-pressure stream of water around the entire tank and gets rid of the leftover solids.  I know it works because when I shine a flashlight down the toilet, into the black tank, and I can see the difference from before and after I use it.  Before use, brown stuff, after use, I can see the bottom of the black tank!  And the tank gauges also reports empty after use.

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Given that most RV black water tanks are not a straight shot from the toilet bowl into the tank, the Camco flexible swivel stick is the best choice to be sure to get the job done right!

rv black water tank

Regardless of the method you use based on the list above, certainly taking into account all seven ideas mentioned above will keep things flowing smoothly out of your RV black water tank. These steps will also help to prevent a situation that would not allow you to use one of the most needed items inside your RV!

Please feel free to share your crappy stories.  This is truly one of the joys of RVing and we must have a laugh or two about the things that do happen!

Happy Crappy Free Travels!!

Jun 25

RV Camping Dogs

BAROOOO!  Hello again from Lindsey on the Road.  I wuf being a part of the RVCDA, or better known as the RV Camping Dogs of America.  (I just made that up but you can use it.) So for this Weekly Bark Report I want to say I’m soooooo excited to see my fur-friends again here in Middlebury. Don’tcha just love that name? Middle-Bury.  I’m finding all kinds of things to bury here, as Mom frownz……

Since last I wrote we left Nor Car-o-line-a and stopped one night at a rest area.  I guess that’s why we rested over night.  Good name! Next stop on the hit parade of camping was at a Ground in Indy-ana, which mom called Fair, to meet some friends. All I can say is all ground is good to me so I don’t know why she called it fair. Humans.

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It was really boring there.  Nothing much for a FRAPping Corgi such as myself to do. I saw alot of camping dogs there that I tried to meet.  They were kinda stuck up. Must have been some sort of camp for RVs cuz they all looked the same, a big box with wheels like we used to have. I guess we didn’t blend.

We got to meet a new fur-kid named Charlie. He was called a Shhhhh-now-Zer. He told me he gets to go to work with his pet parents at someplace called Workamper News when he’s not a camping dog. Talk about a lucky dog..  Hey Von Charlie! You are cute but not my type.  I prefer the foxy looking dudes like Koi (pictured above).  He duz a sploot that sends my nub a-waggin’.  I sure wish I had a tail like he does. Then I could help around the RV dusting floorz.

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Speaking of Koi, he, Kiah and Kimball are my palz that live at the campground we are now at. Mom lets me follow them on human Facebook. Their page is called Camping Corgi FRAPping. And check out one of the cool playground signs!

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Mz Hope and Mr Nick do a neat-o thing they call Corgi-Palooza in July.  My palz are the campground mascots so I’m really excited to be invited. Mom and dad finally got with the program and brung me here. It’s gonna be sooo much fun to show off to all the RV camping dog SOBz”(Some Other Breedz”. I heard that from Charliez dad.) Stay tuned for an upcoming Bark Report on this event as this camping corgi will be front and center. You go K, K and K! I’m there with y’all for Palooza!  

Side bar my furry followers.  Let your pet parents know that this Friday is take your dog to work day!  I like subtle hints like climbing onto dad’s computer case, sitting on his shoes, chest press in bed and blocking the door are among my personal favorites. The door blocking has produced the best results since I’m a lean, mean corgi machine and can be picked up easily by dad. I’m really not mean just feisty. But it sounded good, yes?

IMG_20150623_120136You know I do have one minor complaint to make.  Don’t tell Dad.  He keeps telling me to move out of his way when I’m under the table holding the rug down. Helloooo!  Does he not know the rules here?  Just because we have a moving house doesn’t mean my personal space doesn’t count.  Corgi Rules baby.  After all, who’s the top dog here? Besides that you just never know when someone is going to come along and steal that rug.

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Here’s me trying to get on the computer but Dad hid it from me.  Ha, I found it when he was gone, so take that Dad!  You can’t hide things away in this RV cuz I’ll find them!  I am super snooper Corgi!!

As many of you may not know I have been an only fur-baby since my sister went away last year. She wuz a really cool camping corgi. My hero.  I miss her cuz she waz always really brave and helped me guard the RV when mom and dad waz gone.  She’d watch and tell me when to be on guard and when to just chill.  We talked corgi-eze when we didn’t want mom and dad to know what we were talking about.  I don’t know where Maya went so suddenly.  Mom sez she’s camping over the Rainbow Bridge now.  I like rainbows but I’m kinda a-feared of bridges. I wonder what kind of RV she’z camping in? 

Well, it’s that time again to say buh-bye.  I feel a nap coming on.

Lindsey out.  zzzzz

Hey, Lindsey’s mom here. Now that she is sleeping I just want to say that if any of her furry followers out there want to join the RVCDA, please comment below.  I may encourage her to set up a group, as long as it doesn’t go to her head.  

Happy Tails y’all.

Jun 14

RV Home Inspector Classes

If you are looking to become a Home Inspector, why not consider a less competitive market and become an RV Home Inspector.  Through the NRVIA, RV Home Inspector Classes are offered around the country.  This new industry is emerging just as the home inspection industry did back in the 1970’s.

As a full time RVer I spend a fair bit of time around Florida.  Did you know there are over 22,000 home inspectors in the state?  Wow!  Now, there are over 19 million residents in Florida and no home can be sold these days without a home inspection being part of the process.  Why would you not want an unbiased third party opinion of a home’s condition before parting with hundreds of thousands of dollars?

What is a home inspection?  A home inspection is a documented, professional opinion of a home based on a visual evaluation and operational testing of the home’s systems and components to determine their current condition.

home inspector classes

What does a home inspector do all day?  A typical home inspector spends his or her day inspecting homes for buyers, writing reports, speaking with prospective clients and marketing to consumers and real estate agents.

The inspector looks at the building exterior, including the garage.  He or she explains the findings to the client, describing the building’s condition and any improvements recommended.  The inspection continues inside the home and includes the basement or crawlspace if applicable, the living spaces, systems, and any accessible attic or roof spaces.  Inspectors frequently offer tips for operating and maintaining the home during the inspection process.

The inspection report is delivered quickly to the client, often within 24 hours, because the real estate transaction may hang in the balance. The client often pays the inspection fee onsite, and it is not unusual for the client to say something like, “That is the best money that I have ever spent!”

home inspector classes

What kind of folks become home inspectors?

  • People who don’t like being tied to a desk all day.
  • People who have the desire to run a small business.
  • Is interested in construction and how things work.
  • Has a technical mind and likes to figure things out.
  • Is organized and clear-thinking.
  • Enjoys meeting and helping people.
  • And most importantly is willing to learn and take initiative!

This information comes from the American Society of Home Inspectors. They are one the organizations responsible for setting the standards for those wanting to operate a home inspection business.

Just like ASHI helps people to become home inspectors, the NRVIA, the National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association, works to set the standards of a strong code of ethics and standards of practice so that those desiring to operate an RV home inspection business can get started.

Why did I spend so much time talking about the home inspection process? Because the parallels between the two industries are so closely tied that each item mentioned above is pretty much what an RV home inspector does, and what personality traits make the best inspectors!

Before a person spends tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars on an RV, or a home on wheels, the same analysis should occur as in a home inspection! The exterior should be visually evaluated for structural integrity, motorized units should have fluid tests to evaluate engine, transmission and generator components, every system should be tested for correct and safe operation, and once the three to six hour evaluation is completed, a detailed report with photos can be presented to the buyer for their consideration.

RV Home Inspector Classes

Why is being an RV inspector better than being a home inspector?  The main reason would be that we are at the start of this new and exciting national industry.  The NRVIA is where the home inspection industry was back in the 1970’s.  There is a lot of opportunities to create a growing and successful business as an RV inspector!

There are over ten million RV’s on the road today.  If every RV that is bought and sold was required to have an RV inspection performed before it could hit the road, there would be a need for around nine thousand inspectors in the United States.  Right now, we only have a small percentage of the RV inspectors needed to handle the growing demand.

How can you become involved?  Well, if you have the same qualities as those required to be a home inspector, you can take RV home inspector classes right on the NRVIA website.  There are hours of video training that can help get you up to speed in order to gain the knowledge necessary to start an RV home inspection business.

home inspector classes

Try the 30-day Free Trial to see the depth of training offered in the video modules!

Don’t have a lot of experience with RV’s?  There are live class options available to help you gain more experience with these homes on wheels. Leave a comment below and I will get you more information on that!

Pam and I travel the United States holding advanced RV inspector classes.  You can find us in the south during Fall and Winter months and up north during the Summer months.  Please email me at howard@yourfulltimervliving.com for a more detailed schedule of our classes.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information about the process of becoming an RV inspector!

Howard Jaros
NRVIA Certified Inspector/Trainer

Jun 14

On The Road Again, from a Corgi’s Perspective

Bark Bark, Woof Bark.  Translation: On the Road Again from Lindsey and my Weekly Bark Report.  Mom and Dad says Willie Nelson is our theme song, whatever that means. It’s been tough this past week. They’ve been doing too much playing and not paying enough attention to me. This road thing is supposed to include me.  Otherwise how can I bark about it to all my followers.

full time rv livingWe left that Palm-etto place last week to get some beach time.  Not enough as far as this Corgi is concerned.  Fur-kids are allowed on this beach. Cool! Waves scare me, but then most everything does.  I didn’t get to go too much cuz Mom said it was too hot for my little fur feet.  And it was.  I don’t know what a heat dex is but mom said it was 107. Hard to even go leave a pee-mail. Cedar chips work great when you got to go. Cooler than rocks. Plus you can use them as a chewy toy.

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We were at a place called Carrabelle Beach.  I did get to sit outside in my favorite place, Mom’s chair.  (She wishes.) I let her share a small portion of it just because.

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You know, Corgi rules are what’s mine is mine and what yours is mine, at leat 9/10 of the time. Nobody at this place had those golf car thingies. I love riding in them.  Other places we’ve been to all the people have them and give out handouts for cuteness. (Note, a cute look and some begging always works for humans to fork over treats.) 

Okay so now we pack up and get “On the Road Again, Just can’t wait to get on the Road Again”.  Off to a place in coaster Georgia.  Dad says was our first stop on our way to where his classes will be.  It was a really cool place although I never saw any coasters.  Lots of nice grass to leave pee mail.

rv living with dogsMeanwhile Mom gets this brilliant idea that she needs to get the sand out of my feet and fur from the beach. Sure and I end up getting a bath.  Gees! I wish she would stay off all those Corgi Groups on Dogfacebook.  She’s always getting all these dumb ideas.  This time it was Dr. Bonner’s Peppermint and Hemp Soap.  

She seems to think that it’ll keep bugs off me. Let’s talk bugs shall we. Baths, that’s what really bugs me.  She thinks this stuff smells good but to the discriminating Corgi nose, it just stinks. I prefer my own Corgi-esk smell.   I think it does just fine repelling bugs.  

So here we are now in a new place called Nor Caroline-a.  I think there’s a song out there about this place isn’t there? Where are the palm trees? More different trees here.  We were s’pose to have one of Dad’s classes here but it got cancelled so we’re just going to visit some of their friends. They have a farm.  What’s a farm?  Dad says I smell like a farm animal sometimes. I guess it must be a good place.

full time rv livingI can’t wait to see where we go next.  I’m getting a state by state Shed Monster brush wherever we go. Leaving my trail of fur in every state. Just think, my fur will be famous everywhere!! Birds will flock to where we are just so they can make a nest with my fur. Dogs will come to smell my pee-mail.  

Maybe I should do inner-net posting on Dogfacebook like Dad did with his group on humanfacebook. He called it Used RV Purchase Experiences. I could call mine Used Corgi Fur Experiences. Hmmm.  I wonder if any others have thought of that?  Is it just me or am I on to something really big? Maybe start a group on Birdbeakbook.  

This is making me really tired thinking about it.  I think I’m missing out on my daily zzzz’s.  Been up for a couple hours already.  YAWN!!    

Stayed tuned for my next Weekly Bark Report with my new venture On the Road Again.

Lindsey out.

 

Lindsey’s Mom here!  Please feel free to allow your fur-kids to correspond with Lindsey if you like.  You can leave comments below and we will let Lindsey get back to them.

  

 

 

Jun 11

A Beach Day

Pam and I took an afternoon and decided to go visit the beach while we were passing through Brunswick, GA,  We had just left the beach in Carrabelle, FL as we are starting our journey out of Florida for the summer and fall.  We stayed at Carabelle Beach RV Resort.  It was right across the street from a white sand beach, the kind that you find in the Pan Handle of Florida.  We spent a week there and enjoyed visiting St. George Island.

The site we stayed on was unusual in that you pull in and back out.

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While passing through Brunswick, GA we decided to stay at Coastal GA RV park.  It is relatively new, perhaps a few years old and we chose it because we wanted a place that was roomy and designed for larger rigs.  Even though we are now in the 29 foot Winnebago Aspect, when we add the cargo trailer we are 45 feet in length.  It is nice not to have to unhook the trailer in order to fit on a site!

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We are posting reviews on rvparkreviews.com for places that we are visiting, so if you want to read what we posted about the parks we mention, you can visit that website.  I use rvparkreviews.com all the time to make a good choice while traveling the country.

While staying at Coastal GA RV Resort for two nights, we decided to visit St. Simon Island. It is part of the Golden Isles that also includes Jekyll Island and Sea Island.  It was a 20-mile scooter ride from the RV park.  It was very scenic and included a drive over a very unique suspension bridge – the Sidney Lanier Bridge.

sidney_lanier_bridge

Once on St. Simon Island we worked our way to the eastern most part to find a really cool east coast Florida type beach: very long and flat sand like you would find at Daytona beach.  We parked the scooter fairly close to the beach entrance and took a nice long walk.

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There were lots of people enjoying the sun and surf as the summer season appears to be in full swing.  There were lots of good photo opportunities.

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We would recommend a visit to this unique island for a nice getaway.  There are other campgrounds in the area.  We stayed at the campground on Jekyll Island years ago but found it to be much more rustic than we like.  There are plenty of reviews about that park online.

We left Brunswick, GA we headed north along I-95 and have made our way to North Carolina for a week or so.  We are visiting dear friends that live around the Raleigh area. We met them at our first RV inspector training class back in February of 2014.  They have a nice piece of property and a 30 amp plug, so we are spending the weekend with them catching up!

Great friendships are made while enjoying the full time RV living lifestyle!

Check back again as we are posting weekly!!

 

Blessings,

Howard and Pam