- Our 22 foot trailer suited us perfectly; much smaller and it would have been tough to live in for 4 months…..much larger and it would have been difficult to maneuver into some of the spots we wanted to explore or camp.
- The trailer had no slideouts…..which made it easier to use on the street or camp in areas where we didn’t want to draw attention to ourselves. In addition we used the trailer frequently while on the road as a tag along rest stop for rest, food and…..you know. A retracted slide out would have made using the trailer on the fly difficult.
- The consistent use of a pre-underway checklist paid big dividends.
- The laptop with a 12 Volt to 120Volt Converter and a Broadband Air Card allowed internet connectivity most everywhere we traveled…..even while driving down the road. It really helped in researching what was ahead and where there might be camping opportunities.
- Have lots of quarters on hand for laundry day.
- The added a second trailer battery and A-B switch which extended our dry camping limit to 7 days.
- We purchased a Honda 2000 Watt generator which further extended our dry camping limit to 14 days. Now limited by holding tanks capacity.
- A small battery powered LED camp lantern works great for interior illumination and helped prolong trailer battery life during dry camping situations.
- Using an old fashioned stainless steel percolator for coffee worked great….and it made great coffee!
- The one item we brought and used only once….was a television, which surprised us both.
- A small ceramic heater and a small electric fan were useful when we couldn’t or didn’t want to run the trailers heater or air conditioner.
- If you suffer from allergies, consuming locally gathered honey will help you become tolerant to the allergens in that area.
- Two 25 foot potable water hoses will allow connection most any where.
- A 25 foot garden hose can serve to drain grey water into a suitable receptacle and can also be used to wash the truck and trailer when needed.
- Two 25 foot 20 amp extension cords proved handy when dooryard surfing to allow electrical connection to any convenient garage outlet.
- A plastic water pail with a plastic grocery bag in it worked great as an in truck trash can….in addition the pail can be used when washing the rig.
- Each one of us having a cell phone helped stay in contact when we went our separate ways….in addition the phones worked well as communication devices between driver and spotter in backing situations.
- Limit clothing to about 10 days worth. If more is needed a Goodwill store is assuredly located in the next town.
- If keeping a travel journal a spiral bound notebook is great to keep in the truck for making notes as you travel along. The notes can then be used later to create the journal on the laptop.
- Stock some canned goods so you will always have something to eat if your re-supply opportunities are not convenient.
- We bought an inexpensive battery powered clock/inside temperature/outside temperature gadget and found it useful.
- The one seemingly useless gadget that turned out to be very useful was a truck-trailer alignment guide for un-assisted hitching up.
- Cetaphil, waterless shampoo and baby wipes kept things pleasant when showering was not possible.
- If traveling the back roads…..never let the gas tank drop below 1/4 full.
- Carry a tire inflator that will run off 12 volts…..check truck and trailer tire inflation frequently.
- Rotate you trailer tires every 5,000 miles or so to even out wear.
- Have wheel drums removed, brakes inspected and bearings repacked every 12,000 miles.
- Carry a hydraulic bottle jack and lug wrench to facilitate changing the flat tires.
- Always trust the GPS. Unless your traveling companion contradicts the GPS’s instructions….then pay attention to the human; even if she may be wrong.
- About once a week take a “down day”. Stay in one place and basically just veg out.
- Always use a water pressure reducing valve when connecting to an unknown water tap.
- Four wheel chocks come in handy to stabilize the fore and aft movement of the trailer when disconnected from the truck.
- A set of leveling blocks are handy but most trailer leveling can be accomplished with the tongue jack and the four corner scissors jacks.
- Avoid staying at Interstate travel plaza’s that service both directions of the Interstate from the same facility….they are sure to be crowded and noisy.
- Only stay at Wal*Marts that are open 24 hours and provide parking lot security.
- Flying “J” Truck Stops are RV friendly with overnight parking areas and dump stations.
- If staying at a roadside rest area and there is not a suitability level spot, park the rig so that the head of the bed is on the incline. Also parking in the last spot with the door facing away from the buildings affords the most privacy.
- After traveling down a particularly rough road, water in the drain’s “P Trap” is likely to have siphoned down into the holding tanks allowing gasses to come up into the trailer. Pull over and pour a few cups of water down all drains to reseal them.
- Go with the flow…..you’ll have much more fun and discover more interesting locations and people.
Web sites we found useful:
Spend any amount of time researching information about RVing and you’re bound to run into some common RV myths and misconceptions. For new RV owners, or those interested in pursuing an RV lifestyle, this can be problematic. These myths often lead people to make decisions based on information that simply isn’t accurate.
To sort it all out and separate myth from fact, here are six widely-believed RV myths regarding the RV lifestyle and the truth behind them.
RV Myth #1: The one best type of RV.
Some people wouldn’t dream of traveling in anything other than a fully outfitted motorhome with 4 slides, a washer/dryer combo, and a bedroom the size of a small apartment. While others turn up their noses at any RV that takes up more than a regular size parking space.
Truth: The best RV is the one that fits your needs.
There is no single RV type that qualifies as “the best”. RV choice is personal and depends on factors such as family size, where and how often you plan to use it, whether you already have a truck for towing, how confident you feel making repairs, and many more considerations. If you’re in the market for an RV, don’t simply go out and buy a fifth wheel because your uncle said it was the best. Instead, talk to people with different types of RVs or maybe even rent a few to try them out. In the end, the best type of RV will be the one that you use.
RV Myth #2: RV travel is only for older, retired people.
There was once a time when the typical RVer was a retired couple spending their golden years traveling around the country. This couple most certainly does exist – spend any time at an RV park in Florida or Arizona and you will meet lots of them — but they are far from the only type of RVer.
Truth: RVs are suitable for people and families of all ages.
These days, most campgrounds contain a mix of families, retired couples, solo travelers, and an increasing number of younger working age people. People of all ages are turning to RVs for travel and full-time living. There is no age threshold you must cross to call yourself an RVer!
RV Myth #3: RVing is expensive – or cheap.
The most common RV myth is about how much it costs to RV. Depending on who you are talking to, the prevailing view is that it’s either really expensive or really cheap. Which side of the coin your conviction lies on is directly related to the decisions you make regarding travel style and RV choice.
Truth: Buying and traveling in an RV is as expensive or as cheap as you make it.
One of the best things about RV travel is how versatile it is. Unlike airfare, hotels, and rental cars, the range of cost associated with RVing is vast. Can RVing be expensive? Of course, if you make it expensive. You can buy a fancy new RV with a big price tag, drive a lot which means spending tons on gas, and stay at expensive resort style RV parks. On the flip side, if you want to save some bucks, you can buy a modest used RV that needs some TLC, limit your driving time, and seek out less expensive camping options or even places to stay for free on public land. Most RVers fall somewhere in between these two extremes.
RV Myth #4: Taking an RV trip means driving all the time.
The logic goes that an RV is a vehicle, therefore, RV travel must involve a lot of driving. And sometimes it does. A road trip from one side of the country to another is going to necessitate a bit of time behind the wheel. Of course, how much time you spend on the road is all about how you plan your trip.
Truth: RV travel allows you to slow down and enjoy the journey.
Taking a road trip in a car and taking a road trip in an RV are two very different experiences. Car travel usually means putting in as many miles as possible in an effort to get where you’re going. RV travel can be similar, but it really doesn’t have to be. In fact, any RVer will tell you that the most enjoyable way to travel is at a slow pace. When you bring along a place to sleep and prepare meals, there really is no need to rush from destination to destination.
RV Myth #5: RVs must always stay in crowded RV parks.
Of all the RV myths, this one turns potential RVers off the most. We’ve all seen the photos of parking lot style RV parks where the rigs are lined up in tight rows and your picnic table is practically on top of the neighbor’s sewer hose. Crowded RV parks do exist. In fact, there are a lot of them along highways and in more populated areas.
Truth: RVs have a wide variety of camping choices, including some options that are nothing like crowded RV parks.
Guess what? Just because you’re traveling in an RV doesn’t mean you have to park in a crowded RV park. There are an amazing variety of campgrounds out there that offer so much more. State parks, national parks, national forests, Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds, and many county-run parks are all great places to camp if you want a bit more nature and a bit less asphalt in your RVing experience. RVs can even camp off the grid. The southwest is full of free land where RVs can and do spend weeks at a time camping in complete solitude. RV parks have a purpose, but the idea that RVs are limited to this type of park is definitely a myth!
RV Myth #6: RVing is NOT the same as camping.
This one usually goes along with sentiments like, If you don’t have a fire, cook outside, get dirty, sleep on the ground, or end the weekend smelling like a pile of old laundry, then you’re not really camping.
Truth: Camping and RVing are as similar as they are different.
There seems to be some scorn out there among “purist” campers who look down on those who travel in RVs. I guess there’s something about sharing a campground with folks who brought along a comfy bed and a bathroom with running water that makes them grumpy.
The thing is that most RVers are rarely concerned about how they are living up to the title of “camper”. People choose RVs for all different reasons. Some have physical limitations that rule out tent camping, some like the convenience of an RV, while others simply find it’s easier to take the whole family on a trip in an RV versus a tent. None of these people set out to dilute the sentiment behind camping.
In fact, the dictionary defines camping as, “the activity of spending a vacation living in a camp, tent, or camper”. There’s nothing in there about having to rough it without running water, sleep on the cold ground, or cook your food on a stick over the fire. In the end, whether eat your food off a stick or with a fork, sleep in a hammock or on a real mattress, watch TV in your RV or the stars at night, the act of setting up a temporary place to call home in nature is considered camping, plain and simple.
Do You Have What It Takes to Be an RVer?
By Alyssa Padgett
Not everyone is cut out to be an RVer. These are six qualities I think you need to have to enjoy RVing.
To most people who don’t RV, there’s a certain stigma associated with RVers. You either must be retired with nothing to do, or so poor that you live in a trailer just to survive.
I suppose the third option is that you’re a hippie or a bum driving around in search of yourself.
In my husband’s hometown in Texas, residents recently petitioned to get an RV park off I-10 closed because it was too close to a school. They worried it would attract those types of people.
Since joining the RV community last year, I rolled my eyes at the residents who see RVers as trashy or likely criminals. After staying in RV parks across 48 states, I know for certain that most RVers are nothing like that.
In fact, RVers are some of the nicest people who I’ve had the chance to meet.
It takes a special kind of person to be an RVer. You must be a cut above most of humanity, showing exemplary compassion and inner-strength.
Here are six qualities I think you need to have to be an RVer:
1.) You aren’t attached to objects.
Four days after my wedding, I started full-time RVing. All my wedding presents are tucked away in a closet in my parent’s house, unused.
But as an RVer, you know that you don’t need a KitchenAid mixer and a dozen shiny pots and pans. You only pack the essentials. Anything else is clutter!
You should be able to simplify, getting rid of what you don’t need and freeing up your cabinet space to fit all the cool souvenirs you’ll find while traveling. When we first hit the road, we created a “One-Month Rule.”
If we hadn’t used something in the first month after we bought it, we packed it in a box and shipped it home.
2.) You’re not high-maintenance.
To be an RVer, you must be pretty low maintenance. You’re okay with hand washing all your dishes instead of using a dishwasher. Carrying your clothes to the laundry center at the RV park is fine with you. That’s just part of RV life!
You also don’t mind sweeping or vacuuming the dirt and mud that finds its way inside your rig. And we don’t always need to stay at fancy RV resorts—national parks are just fine with us! We’re here for the adventure of travel, not the luxury of it all.
3.) You love America.
This might sound funny but let me explain. You must see the good and the beauty of the world if you plan on RVing. Have you ever met those people who always find something wrong with everything?
“The sun is too bright. It’s too windy. This would be beautiful if…” Those people aren’t cut out for RVing.
RVers may complain about unlevel sites, but our glass is always half full (probably with beer). We don’t complain about America. We can’t wait to keep exploring the country! We love the world around us for its freedom and beauty.
4.) You keep your cool.
Picture this: You’re following the directions from a GPS unit to your destination.
Your rig is cruising along the road with your car towing behind. Suddenly, you’re in a construction zone, the road narrows, the street you’re supposed to turn on is closed, you’re lost, and you’ve got no other choice than to make a U-turn. (If you’ve RVed for any amount of time, you can picture this vividly as it’s probably happened to you at least once before!)
My cousins once missed a turn (using a real map, not a GPS) and found themselves on a small mountain road in Colorado with snow banks on either side. They had to unhook their Honda CR-V and U-turn their 26-foot Super C on this snowy mountain road and retrace their tracks down the hill.
If you’re prone to stress or have ever been called a “hot-head,” RVing isn’t for you. As an RVer, you’ve got to be able to keep your cool in these situations.
When your dump hose breaks – when it rains, and your RV gets stuck in the mud – a good RVer must be level headed.
5.) You want to help others.
“We have a problem,” my husband said walking back inside the RV.
After dry camping in Grand Teton National Park for four days, he was dumping our tank. “Our hose just snapped in half. We have another one, but I have no idea how to switch them out, and we don’t have cell phone service to find out how.”
Fortunately, a couple in a small class B was dumping their tank at the station in front of us. They came to our rescue!
For the next twenty minutes, Kelly showed my husband how to change out the hose.
As we’ve encountered troubles in our travels, we’ve never worried because there’s always a fellow RVer around to help. Whether it’s something simple like backing up your RV or something as complex as burping your fridge, RVers are always willing to help one another.
6.) You’re friendly.
I’ve met some grumpy RV park owners, but rarely do you meet a mean RVer.
Most RVers are friendly, and eager to meet new people on the road. If you’re not friendly or don’t want to spend your evening chatting with your neighbor about your rig, then you’re not cut out for RVing.
RVers love hanging out with strangers and making new friends.
So, how do you rank? Are you cut out for RVing?
1. Leaking Black Tank – There’s no easy way to say this, it’s not a simple DIY fix. If your black tank is leaking call a professional.
2. Encroachment– Walking on other people’s sites is a No-No. There is already not enough space, and to occupy someone else’s is just selfish.
3. Freeing The Beasty– Walking dogs off leash. This may be shocking to pet lovers, but the whole world isn’t dog friendly.
4. Bass up to 10– Noise levels should be kept at respectable volumes, RV walls are very thin.
5. Pet doo- Clean up after your pets. It’s your choice to have them, and your responsibility clean up their doo.
6. Trash. Yeah, it actually has to be said, sadly. Trash left out, no matter how innocent, invites creatures to your area.
8. Toys– If you have children, please keep their toys corralled on your site. No one wants to wake up in the morning and trip on toys, or worse step on a lego. Yeah… not cool.
7. Bathing Pets– I don’t care how tiny and adorable your Yorkiepooshnookems is. Don’t Bathe them in an RV Parks shower or facilities unless they have a dog wash station! Some might see this as a brilliant opportunity to nt have to deal with the mess in their RV. In reality, they usually end up doing the doo in the shower with yooooou. Gross.
10. Parking– Don’t occupy your neighbors spot. If your site has your door facing your neighbors door in close proximity, ask if you can have a different site. It’s super awkward to have to see someone you barely know everytime you open the door. Try to give, and keep, your privacy. Some people don’t RV to party.
11. Hanging Laundry– Hanging a wet towel in the sun is one thing. But thongs, bras, and more private clothing items do not need to be the main attraction of the park. You can hang them in the privacy of your RV. I know some don’t want to pay for dryers or buy a dryer. If you choose that route, maybe keep it in a not visible area?
12. Drive slowly. I mean you should listen to those 5 or 10 mph signs. RV Parks don’t always have big streets. If you hit someone’s child, dog, spouse, etc… let’s just say you have changed lives forever, and in a pretty terrible way. Even a pet owner is not going to forget the deed.
14. Allergies– HIPA basically guarantees I have no clue what you are deadly allergic to. It requires conversation. We keep our pets on short leashes and keep them to ourselves. In a emergency situation, this is where pet owners get a bad rep. I don’t want you to die, and I don’t want my pets to die… If you are seriously that allergic please speak up, kindly. Also, pet owners who are sheltering their pets in an emergency, keep your pets to yourself for everyone else’s sake. Multiple pets in a shelter for a tornado or hurricane etc, is not social play time. Pets go through the emergency too, and Fido can become Kujo very quickly.
15. Judging– Don’t be so quick. If someone is usually a great neighbor and all the sudden they are running their generator every night, take a minute to see if they need help. On the same token, don’t avoid seeking help for a week and continue to run your generator all night. Being cheap shouldn’t wreck your neighbors sleep.
16. Mooching- Using fellow campers private grills, chairs, hoses, or any other items without having some kind of permission is just violating. Don’t be that guy. Our drinking water hose is not for your shoes to get cleaned off with. If you would like to borrow something just ask. Most RVers we have met are so incredibly nice, I hope that never gets spoiled!
17. Distraction– When someone is hitching up to leave or coming in, this is absolutely not the time to be social. Distractions can lead to their process being disturbed, which can lead to very expensive or serious accidents. Things break easily enough on RVs. Try to say good-byes or hellos when they are not doing something so safety concerning.
I’m sure there are many more we will learn from the more informed RVers! If you have any input please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Just please don’t knock on our door.