RV Ramblings …
Here are some random experiences we have had.
1. Just because a campground or RV park says they have WIFI or Cable TV doesn’t mean it works. The vast majority of these facilities are operated by folks who are for the most part not IT savvy. Indeed, they are charming, God fearing, patriotic people who have probably been left behind by urban society. Don’t get me wrong – these are my kind of people! They have just taken a road that did not require much technology or business management skills. I have to learn to be patient or drive into town and find a Starbucks.
2. We may have left behind the stress of maintaining the stick and brick house, but we have acquired a new stress – maintain a motorhome. Not a nice subject but our toilet went south last week. RV and marine toilets operate differently from the water closets in stick and brick residences. They rely more on mechanics than hydraulics.
RV toilets are great at saving water but when the moving parts wear out, you can’t call a local plumber and you can’t go to HHHHome Depot and get parts or a new one. I was very fortunate in that I got a hold of a good RV tech on the phone, explained my toilet’s symptoms and received some good advice and made the decision to toss the old one and install a new one. I had to drive an hour and a half round trip to an RV dealer who had one. Having performed this task in the stick and brick house, installing one in the motorhome was not too different. I had the old one out and the new one installed in just a half hour.
3. We can make hot water two ways in a motorhome – with LP gas or 110V electric; the RV hot water heaters are made so as to have this versatility. If one goes out you can still take a hot shower or so you would think. Two days before breaking camp this last time the ability to make hot water using 110 volts of electricity began to act up and become unreliable so we flipped the switch to LP gas. Nothing happened. I checked everything I could think of, Googled it, and went to my favorite RV forum and still could not figure it out. We need hot water to wash dishes, laundry and ourselves and because we were breaking camp, could not schedule an RV tech to come check it out.
We left the Poconos and headed to the Catskills over some roads that are beat up badly by winter in Pennsylvania and New York – rough roads to say the least. But when we pulled into our new camp sight, Joanie, with hope, turned on the hot water LP switch. She saw the correct light come on and yelled out the window to me to look at the hot water heater. Sure enough, we were making hot water with LP. One of those bumps must have corrected the stuck micro switch that allowed us to once again enjoy the comfort of hot water.
Blessings can come in the form of bumps in the road, too.
4. The big versions of houses on wheels really require two people to maneuver them. Although there are a number of people who solo. Soloing in a big RV just means you have to get out and look a lot more often when trying to get through a narrow passage or back into a campsite. The extra eyes makes a stressful situation a lot easier. Joanie drives her side of Phaeth, always watching for drivers who, for whatever reason, can’t see a 36 ft. long, 13 ft. high, 32,000 lb. motorhome. Joanie also has become astute in interpreting Randi (the Rand McNally GPS) and getting us to our destination without detours. Joanie is invaluable as a navigator.
The other day while backing into a site, Joanie was outside in the back of the motorhome using hand signals to guide me. These hand signals are usually easy for me to interpret in the side mirrors and back-up camera and everything was going normally when all of a sudden I viewed a very rapid set of signals I had never seen before. I hit the brakes. Joanie said she was all of the sudden attacked by a swarm of gnats. We both had a good laugh.