EXPECTATIONS - REALITY - RESPONSIBILITY
E.R.R. is a good guide for your RVing experiences...
Your buying an RV and you have a dream come true... if you're a reasonable purchaser.
EXPECTATIONS of what the RV can do. You've talked to the salesman and he's told you the wonderful things that can be done with an RV. Some deliveries actually include a walk-thru of the unit and a description of some of the basics... Your new unit will mystically get you from your hum-drum world to the wonderful world of RV camping.
Before you buy the RV, research what you want of the RV, including what you are going to use it for and how often, what your comfort needs are, and of course the budget thing. You should purchase the unit that meets YOUR needs... not the needs of the salesman. Attend the local RV show, go to several dealers, look over their products, and if you're Internet oriented you can certainly join the newsgroups and shop on the Internet. Go out to a campout with a friend if possible. If nothing else go visit a campout with a friend, even if you can't stay overnight. Get a handle on what is out there for your pleasure. Know your resources!
The function of the RV generally fits the same functions as any motorized vehicle. It gets you from point A to point B. The RV motorhome is either gas powered or diesel powered. You'll find arguments for either engine type 'til you are sick of them. The RV trailer can be either a traditional trailer style or a 5th wheel. Again, there are arguments for all kinds, many times based on a users needs. Frame manufacturer, tire size, length, height, accessories... all figure into what you are purchasing. RV appliances generally do what the same appliance does at home, or they are supposed to. You must remember that you are purchasing a mobile unit and the appliances in many cases are not as robust as the appliances you have at home because of size and power resources. Get something that your tow vehicle can handle safely!
REALITY can sometimes be a harsh teacher if you are not prepared for it. Your expectations of what your RV can do for you must be in touch with reality. You many times have the same basic facilities that you have at home yet they must be used in moderation.
Is your tow vehicle going to handle the RV you have purchased? Is your car/van equipped for trailer towing with the proper hitch and heavy duty cooling, etc. Is your truck big enough to handle the rig that you have purchased? Will the motorhome you are getting be something that you can handle and will it fit where you want to park it or drive it. Some states have width and length limits! Be aware of them. Do you have a vehicle to tow behind the motorhome for transportation when you get to your destination?
Once at your destination...
Water supplies can be tight if you're not connected to a source and even then if you are in a remote area the campground may have to truck in their water and responsible use is a must. Holding tanks have definite limits and you must be aware of the level in the tanks and empty them if needed. Is there a dump facility available? Are you hooked to sewer? You'll have to physically dump the holding tanks... do you know how to do this?
You should be aware that you have an LPG (gas for cooking/heating) level to monitor. Do you have sufficient LPG for your heating/cooking needs? How about a fire extinguisher readily available for safety?
Electricity must be monitored to insure proper levels. An electrical monitor is a must. Electricity that is not up to the proper voltage can quickly damage your A/C, appliances, and electronics. Check it! I like the Good Governor because it is digital and gives voltage, frequency, and polarity. Generators are a wonderful source for power... they are limited in most cases. Be aware of capacity. Running two A/C units, watching TV and running the microwave all at one time won't cut it in many cases. Trailers may or may not have a generator... most don't. You'll have to have an electrical hookup... be aware of the capacity of your hookup in all cases.
Remember that cooking with a smaller oven in the RV may take longer. Two or three burners on the stove may limit you. What can you take in your freezer/refrigerator? Plan to shop more often, and buy smaller portions. Kitchen utensils and conveniences may be in short supply in an RV.
RESPONSIBILITY - You must be responsible for numerous things while RVing... not the least of which is driving your rig. Be sure that you are a capable, responsible driver. Maintain the rig in a safe manner so that you and your passengers can have a safe trip. Know how to check you rig out before you even leave on your trip. Know the warning signs of a problem with the rig so that you can catch it quickly. Know where to get help if you need it while traveling.
Once you get to the site you must be able to set up your rig in a safe manner. Park, level, and setup are all important. Be responsible to the needs of others around you. Be aware of such safety issues as campfires. Don't dump you holding tanks unless you are in an approved facility or hooked to a sewer system. Use only what you need and don't wash your vehicle with the camps water supply. Cut wood in the park only if it is specifically approved. (Most times it is not.) Firewood is usually available. Hook up to community water supplies only long enough to fill your tank. Don't leave it hooked up like I've seen some do. Hooking a hose up to your site supply in hot weather can also mean an expanded water hose with the heat and possibly a break or leak. Hook up long enough to get your supply filled and then turn off the site supply. Remember to use a water regulator. Don't run the A/C full tilt when you're gone. If you must leave it on turn it to a temperature that is more of a maintenance level (85o) that will keep the humidity out but not strain the system and use excess electricity for nothing. I personally turn off things like hot water heaters and water pumps when I'm gone so there are no accidents. Hot water will heat up again quickly and I've found that it will stay hot for hours without being on. The water pump is a simple switch. What I'm saying here is to eliminate the potential for accidents while you're away... minimize your exposure.
And of course when you leave the site you will want to hook up your rig in a responsible manner, use safety as a guideline. Check that such things as utility hookups are properly stored, antennas and other rooftop items are properly folded and stored. Awnings up and locked in place along with the steps folded back in.
Pick up your trash! Clean up your site! Leave it cleaner than when you arrived if possible. I dislike smokers and I dislike even more coming to a campsite where some idiot thought that he should throw all of his butts on the ground and not pick them up. Leaving trash at a campsite is ridiculous. There are usually dumpsters or trash cans place strategically around a campground. Use them.
Roy & Carol
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