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Better Safe Than Sorry copyright janet groene
Since the days of pirates, hijackers, highwaymen and rustlers all forms of travel have had hazards This isn’t about identity theft or the pitfalls involved in buying or selling an RV. It's about avoiding some of the unique scams that crooks are trying on RV travelers. * If you are stranded and have to call for roadside service, don’t let the tow truck have your RV until you verify it’s the right one. There are reports that some towing services are “poaching” others’ customers. They monitor the radio, hear the call and move in before the legitimate service can get there. They then take the RV to their own shop. They may not be stealing your RV, just pre-empting a competing tow service.
* Distressed campground neighbors. A family in the campground gets a message from “home” that a loved one has died. Almost always it’s a family that appear to be down on their luck. Usually they are in a travel trailer, not a motorhome. The kids are cute and the parents are earnest. Fellow campers, being decent folks, want to help. The distraught family reveal that they need to fly “home” for the funeral but don’t have the cash right now. However, they are willing to leave their travel trailer behind as security for a loan. Everyone chips in. The family packs up and leaves in their tow car or truck with a nice wad of cash. Of course the family and the money are gone for good and the trailer they left behind is stripped inside and worthless. It may also be stolen, rented or mortgaged to the rooftop. The good Samaritans are out of luck.
* Do you plan to live in your RV full-time? Read the manufacturer warranty. Many now state that guarantees are invalid if the unit is used as a full-time home.
* If you’re full-timing, keep it to yourself and for heaven’s sake, don’t put up cute signs that say things like, “The Millers, Home is Where You Park It.” Thieves know that full-timers have more valuables on board than vacationers. They can steal your goods, your identity, even your life and take off in the RV with your complete home, driver’s license, money, clothes and a pantry full of food.
* Even if you aren’t a full-timer you’re asking for trouble by using a sign or window sticker announcing that you’re Susie Camper. A knock on the door late at night by a frantic neighbor calling your name could be a stranger with skulduggery in mind.
* Children that are too friendly, curious or asking for help. Some roving groups of scam artists use their children and even babies in their charade. One of my friends was wearing a wallet around her neck, tucked well into her clothing, when she began talking to a woman with a cute baby. Did she want to hold the baby? Of course! Later she realized that when she gave back the bundle of joy, her wallet went with it.
* The reservations merry-go-round. It’s always comforting to know there is a campsite waiting for you at the end of the day. Reservations are increasingly popular and, in many cases, essential. Rules vary. Be sure you know the penalty if you show up late or not at all. You may lose your deposit if you cancel within any time limit from a day to a week. And there may be a cancellation fee even if you cancel in time. It isn't a scam. It's just business. Don't let it catch you by surprise.
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When Your RV Needs a Makeover Did you get a great buy on a used RV to make over for your own use or a profitable flip? Do you want to make your present motorhome brighter and more trendy? Is your camper looking tired and out of date? This isn’t about a quick coat of paint or a wax job. Let’s talk about a tear-down, rip-roaring re-make.
What a difference when this re-do went to all white
* This handsome loveseat was designed specifically for RV use. It's compact and has a built-in console.
* When adding motion furniture, know its dimensions in all positions.
* If possible, drive the RV to a specialist in RV renovations. If the original manufacturer offers extreme makeovers, that’s the best place to go . Workers there are familiar with your brand’s original materials, structure, plumbing, wiring and so on.
* Companies that specialize in RV remodeling and custom work include RVDecor.com in Yuma, Arizona, Lazydays.com in five locations around the nation, MichiganCityRepair.com in Michigan and ProCustomInc.com in Elkhart Lake, Indiana. Use your browser to find many more.
When change flooring be aware of clearance for doors and slides
* When replacing floor coverings, be aware of thickness including padding or underlayment. You must still be able to open doors and close slides. If you’re replacing carpeting with a hard surface such as tile, consider weight. Tile, hardwood and some other materials add unwanted weight.
* When it comes to windows, work with an RV curtain professional who knows how to measure odd-size windows and secure curtains top and bottom so they won’t wear out from the swaying underway. A specialist knows how to line draperies to protect against UV and temperature extremes, and how to get a perfect fit that closes securely for privacy.
* This handsome, affordable, light colored laminate planking is peel-and-stick for easy DIY installation.
* Allow extra time if your makeover involves plumbing, wiring or structural work. Adding an icemaker may mean installing new pipes. Replacing a shower stall with a Jacuzzi tub may mean new electrics and perhaps stronger support under the floor.
Adding a tub adds weight. When the tub is full, can the floor handle it?
* When the RV is stripped down to its bare guts this is the time to add a central vacuum system, in-floor heating, a bigger generator or solar system, a new computer desk, the latest security system and new tankage. The better you juggle all these sub-contractors, the sooner life can return to normal.
One compact unit washes, then dries
*Some RV women prefer to add a combinationwasher-dryer. They are compact, efficient and wonderfully convenient, but heavy. Plan for installation that Installation involves a drain, electrical and both hot and cold water plumbing. This model does not require venting but some do.
* Where possible add insulation and sound proofing. They’re inexpensive and almost weightless while adding to heating/cooling efficiency and noise control.. Replace single- or double-glazed windows with triple glazing. Shop for windows with the best heat-transfer ratings and install them with a first class caulk job.
* Before starting a DIY re-do, find a safe, clean storage space for all the stuff you’ll be removing from the RV. It may pay to rent a storage locker.
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Several books have been published about using a SAK. The latest is 101 Uses for the Swiss Army Knife. Order yours here.
Great gift for Mother's Day
Every Woman's Best Knife For Her RV Life
Today’s RV woman may be rugged and outdoorsy or a city traveler who loves museums and antique shops. Either way she is stylish, smart, tough, independent and aware of the challenges of RV life. A new book, Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Camping & Outdoor Survival Guide: 101 Tips, Tricks & Uses (Fox Chapel Publishing) is sub-titlted How to Sharpen Your Skills and Handle Emergency Situations with Just Your Pocket Knife.
Since our days as Scouts or Campfire Girls we’ve all known the iconic Swiss Army Knife or SAK as a multi-purpose necessity for the backpack, purse, glove compartment, toolbox, grub box. It comes in many brands, versions, price ranges and knock-offs. Cheaper versions may be too small or too flimsy. Larger versions may try to be too many tools at once, making them heavy and clumsy.
Find the right compromise. Better still, get a large one for the toolbox and a smaller one that’s always with you.
* The corkscrew feature is a must for wine bottles and it also opens coconut eyes. Drain off the coconut water, then smash the nut with a hammer or rock until it cracks open. In a survival situation use the corkscrew to “tap” a tree for sap. Try it to lift a candle stub out of a candlestick.
* Use the pointy awl or corkscrew to work out stubborn knots. The sharp point of the corkscrew is also good for gouging out, say, a dried-out o-ring in the RV water hose or the old powder cake in a compact.
* The can opener is slow but sure. When other can openers fail, or the corned beef or ham can loses its key, this primitive can opener is a life saver.
* Put a pretty pattern on peanut butter cookies with the Phillips head screwdriver. Arrange cookies on baking sheet and flatten with flat bottom of a glass dipped in coarse sugar. Then use sugar-dipped screwdriver point to punch three pointy holes in the dough.
* Knives that have a magnifying glass are a lifesaver if you have to remove a fish hook from flesh or trim a ragged cuticle.
* Use the large blade to whittle twigs to start a fire. Use the small blade for hobbies such as carving a bar of soap into a bunny or doggie shape for the kids.
* Use the screwdriver feature to pry (such as paint can lid), chop block ice, hull strawberries, and dig out dried mud or debris out of a golf club or the soles of your shoes.
* Buy a model that comes with a key ring. You can wear it on a belt, carabiner or neckpiece and also attach other items, such as a small flashlight, to the ring.
*I use the small scissors for snipping tasks such as cutting plastic price tags off clothing and slitting open plastic packages.
* Use the awl blade to punch holes in a plastic or paper cup to make a sieve. Punch holes in a foil pan to make a grill pan for cut-up vegetables.
* Cut a lemon or lime in half. > Jam the widest blade or closed scissors into the center. Twist to ream out juice.
Every day see Janet Groene's Trip Tease, tidbits about places to go, things to do, upcomng events near and far, sooner and later, here and there. https://janetgroene.blogspot.com
When we RV travel with a pet it isn't like hopping into the car with the dog. It's important to have as much expert advice as possible so I was delighted to get these tips from Steffi Trott, a professional dog trainer at spiritdogtraining.com in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors so she’s well acquainted with ways to keep a pet safe not just at home but on the go.
My Gypsy is a Belgian sheep dog mix that loves the RV. However, my last dog, a dog rescued from a “slob” hunter, was afraid of the RV until I took Steffi’s advice and accustomed him to it slowly with lots of love, praise and reassurance. He’d been abused, so it was an easy guess that the former owner had a camper.
Steffi Trott and Friend
Here are Steffi’s tips:
1. Get The Pet Used To The RV Don’t wait to introduce your pet to the RV until you actually have a big outing planned. Consider that as every new environment, it may take your pet a while to get used to the RV and feel comfortable and safe on it.
Food is a great motivator for making your dog or cat like RV-ing. : Take your pet onto the RV and feed him some of his very favorite treats. Do not stay too long and make it short and sweet. This experience will make your pet want to have more! The next time you approach the RV your dog or cat will already remember what happened the last time and look forward to getting on board.
2. Make Sure Your Pet Is Safe The last thing you want is that your pet ends up taking an unplanned spill in a quick stop or fast cornering. Dogs should wear a seat belt underway and a life jacket when on or near water. Many choices are on the market, make sure to pick the correct size for your dog.
Get the right pet sea belt in the right size
3. Lock Up Food In the crowded environment of an RV, make extra sure that you lock up all food that is toxic to your dog. A bag of grapes put on the counter can quickly lead to an emergency trip to the vet if your dog gets hold of it! Be sure to know what foods are not safe for your dog (https://www.spiritdogtraining.com/training/basic/can-my-dog-eat/) and be extra vigilant to keep them out of reach.
4. Have Clear Rules Ideally your pet should not run wildly around inside the RV for everyone's safety. Of course they need to have their exercise as well! Make it easy for your pet to understand when it is time to rest and when it is time to play by always initiating playtime with a certain phrase, e.g. "Let's play together!" as well as telling him "We're all done" when you finish. That way your pet will know when to expect activity and when to settle.
5. Potty Breaks While cats can use a litterbox in an RV, your dog needs potty breaks outside. You can make this a fast and effective activity by teaching him a phrase, such as "Go Potty". Say it every time you see your dog “use the bathroom”, and soon you will be able to make him go as soon as you tell him his potty command.
6. Keep Benadryl Handy? Some pets experience motion-sickness when first getting introduced to RV-in. In a car they usually have a clear view of the road. In an RV they can get disoriented when they have only a side window. Check with your vet, Steffi says. In many cases you can give your dog or cat OTC Benadryl that will instantly make them feel better! Signs of motion-sickness are not limited to vomiting. They can also include panting, drooling, shaking and restlessness. Watch out for these signs and help your pet conquer his discomfort.
How much food is enough for an RV trip? Janet Groene's Survival Food Handbook is a complete guide to handling food plans and prep in an RV and at home-- with or without an oven or electricity, when the refrigeration goes off, when you're totally reliant on pantry-stowed foods and much more. Best of all, recipes in the book are made with familiar, affordable supermarket staples. No high-priced "survival" rations are required.
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Ned tp Know: Caring for RV Appliances
All your life you’ve lived with common household appliances: a toaster, microwave, curling iron, entertainment electronics ad inf. There are two major differences now that you have an RV. 1. Your RV moves. Appliances are subject to motion, vibration and G forces. Vital parts could jiggle loose. Electric cords could fray and short out. Damage could be caused to the appliance from inside, such as pots careening around inside the oven or from outside, such as something being thrown against the TV screen in a panic stop.
Any RV appliance must be so well secured that it can’t come loose and bash you in the back of the head in a panic stop.
2. You might be using the wrong electrical power. Some of your appliances probably work on 12 volts and some on household power. Some hair dryers operate on 110 or 220/ volts, others on 12/110 volts. You rely on your RV to deliver the right juice. That means knowing that campground power is adequate and is hooked up right. It means keeping “house” batteries charged. If you have an inverter, know its operation and limits. Don’t overload the “shore” power system provided by the campground hookup. Most campgrounds now offer a choice of 30- or 50-amp service. Know how much amperage your RV requires.
When campground power is on the skimpy side, as it may be in older campsites , you’ll see lights dim and hear the compressor labor when a high-voltage appliance, such as an air conditioner, starts up. The cause could be that your extension cord is too short or too thin for the service, or perhaps there just aren’t enough amps at the campsite. One solution is to juggle your juice by waiting for the microwave to finish before starting the air conditioner. In any case, over-stressing a starting motor can damage it.
Before reaching out for help, go through troubleshooting steps listed in your owner’s manual. Pay special attention to whether electricity is getting to the appliance. The problem could be in your own switches or wiring, the campsite hookup, or in your inverter.
My friend who is in the clock repair business tells me that half her “repairs” consist of simply reversing the batteries, which the customer had put in wrong. Make sure the appliance is plugged in, the RV is plugged in, batteries are in right, your “house” batteries are putting out, and a circuit breaker has not been tripped.
Before going to a repair shop, also note any cross-branding information found in the manual or on the appliance itself. It’s possible that your RV Pal microwave, for example, was actually made by a big, international company and was renamed for the RV market even though it’s exactly the same as the Homeowner Pal microwave. It’s often crucial that you know who made the appliance, and when it was made.
If you no longer have the owner’s manual go online. The manual and parts list may be available online for free or a fee.
Unless it’s a small, household appliance that you can take to a repair shop, the next step is to bring your RV to a gas or electric expert who can trace the trouble to its source, which could be in the appliance itself or somewhere in the RV’s plumping or wiring.
Lastly, don’t throw away any appliance before finding out first if it’s still under guarantee. If you don’t know for sure, find the serial number. Then contact the company’s customer service department. They may be able to tell you what warranties are still in place.
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When It’s Time To Say Goodbye To Your RV
When you have one RV too many, the best deal is usually to trade it in on a new one or sell it outright. However there’s another choice. Donate it to a charity. You’ll get a tax receipt but, even if you don’t qualify for tax deduction, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing it’s a good cause.
Best of all, many charities that accept vehicles will pick up the unwanted rig, even if it requires a flatbed truck to haul it away. If the RV is so far gone that even charities won't take it, it may be of interest to a salvage yard.
Some yards specialize in selling old RV components, which are in demand by people who restore vintage RVs. Before you pay to have it taken away, look into ways it might be removed at no cost and possibly even a small profit.
You’ve heard the ads on radio and TV about the the good things that this or that charity will do with the money received from your donated vehicle. Start with a search locally for charities that accept RV donations. You can also do a computer search for Donate+RV or Donate+Car. Dozens of names will pop up. Some are worthy. Some are not
Many charities that accept cars also accept motorhomes, travel trailers and other recreation vehicles. Make a list of those that do. Then check to see if the charity is actually registered with the IRS for accepting such donations. They should be a 501 (c)(3) charity. (Even so, your deduction may be declined or the value disputed by the IRS.)
Then dig deeper to learn where the money actually goes. Even at some of the best-known charities, huge chunks of money are siphoned off by high salaries, fund raising, travel expenses for staff, advertising and other hijinks. Sadly, only about a third of Americans bother to investigate. . Consumer Reports rates charities at https://www.consumerreports.org/charities/best-charities-for-your-donations/
Look further so you know if funds are used in a meaningful and effective way. What cancer research, where? What children or animals are helped? Where, how and by whom? Some charities actually support causes that may be contrary to your personal beliefs.
Still interested? Here is what you need to do. Know your RV’s year, make, model, approximate mileage and its condition inside and out. Pictures help. You will need either a title or registration and bill of sale for your RV. If you no longer have a title, some charities will work with you to get a replacement title. If your RV is an orphan you can also try to connect online with an owners’ group by brand name. They can tell you where to look for the VIN.
If you’re counting on a tax deduction, it’s best to have the RV appraised by a licensed professional. You can't go by asking prices on ebay or “blue book” values and neither will the IRS.
You’ll have to transfer your title with your name in the seller section exactly as it appears on the face of the title. Be sure to get a tax-deductible receipt from the charity so that you can claim your deduction. It's very important to remove your license plates before the RV is picked up.
Bottom line: (1) Don’t be too quick to give your RV away. Older RV’s are coming back into vogue and are commanding good prices from people who restore them. You may be able to sell it outright. (2) In choosing a charity, learn what percentage of cash income goes to the charity’s stated goal, e.g. curing cancer, rescuing pets, scholarships, etc. after overhead is paid. Consumer Reports rates charities at https://www.consumerreports.org/charities/best-charities-for-your-donations/
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let's Go Camping
Boardwalks, Beer and Boots at Meeteese
More Than Yellowstone: See Old West History in Cody, Wyoming
The museums in and around Cody, Wyoming are treasure chests of western art and history. Some of the best finds are in places you least expect.
To get started, order this excellent atlas and backroads guidebook to Wyoming.
Here’s how, where and when:
See tribal artistry at the Plains Indian Museum, one of five Buffalo Bill Center of the West museums. See artistic creations by Plains peoples such as eagle feather bonnets, bear claw necklaces, buffalo hide tipis and tipi furnishings, shields, cradles, peace medals and moccasins.
Historic firearms at the Cody Firearms Museum and Dug Up Gun Museum. Trace the history of firearms, in the U.S. and around thye world. The Dug Up Gun Museum shows firearms that have been dug up from farms, valleys and battlefields around the world.
America’s concentration camps under Franklin D. Roosevelt are remembered at Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center. See poignant exhibits showing how Japanese people, some of them U.S. citizens, were kept in an internment camp during WWII, Given short notice to leave their homes and businesses, 14,000 Japanese were sent to this camp with no more than they could carry.
Buffalo Bill Dam has a visitor center where you can see exhibits showing how the dam filled the need for a reliable water source to the Bighorn Basin long before its time.
The eye-popping Cherrywood bar at the Irma Hotel. Dates to 1902. “Buffalo Bill” Cody built the Irma Hotel and named it after his youngest daughter. The elaborately carved bar was presented to Buffalo Bill by England’s Queen Victoria, who was charmed by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show when it played in in London.
The famous sculpture “Buffalo Bill - The Scout” by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney is displayed at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Hemingway’s signature in the guest register at the Chamberlin Inn. The room in which Hemingway stayed is available to overnight guests.
Indian Trade Musket at the Cody Firearms Experience. See an Indian Trade Musket at the Cody Firearms Experience, which visitors have a chance to shoot the guns that won the west.
Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge, Pahaska Teepee is just outside the East entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Cody stayed here with hunting pals including Theodore Roosevelt and the Prince of Monaco. Stop here for the restaurant and gift shop before entering the park.
Old Trail Town/Museum of the Old West is a group of 26 authentic frontier buildings including one used by Butch Cassidy and the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. One of the town’s many grave sites belongs to Jeremiah “Liver Eating” Johnston, portrayed by actor Robert Redford in the 1972 film.
Buffalo Bill Cody Center for History and the Arts
See the teller’s cage at Meeteetse Bank Museum. Butch Cassidy pledged not to rob the Meeteetse Bank so he and his friends would have a safe place to stash their loot. s and explorers who brought the remote region to the world’s attention.
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TEN TRAPS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO RV CAMPING
Once it was easy to stop at a convenient campground when and where I decided to stop for the night. Only in high season might I call a day or two ahead for reservations. Those days are gone. Some campgrounds are booked solid months in advance. Crowding is just one of the problems facing today’s RV travelers. Costs, not just rates, are up. RV’s are bigger. Freebies are harder to find. Guidebooks are out of date and you can't trust websites and Facebook either for last minute intel. There is no substitute for a phone call or email direct to the campground manager.
DIFFERENT CAMPER? Campgrounds are catching up with the slide-out craze but not all are ready yet for campers that have slides on both sides or slides on one side, awning enclosure on the other. If your camper is longer or wider than your last one, last year’s site may not be a good fit.
CLOSINGS GALORE Camping in RV’s is big business and getting bigger. Many older campgrounds are closing partially or completely for major renovations, sometimes for an entire season. Customers want better facilities and more hookups. "Park Open" may mean day use only or campground restrooms and all other facilities may be closed. Check ahead.
RATE HIKES. Like the airlines, campground operators are slowly catching on to little extras such as a hefty fee for a change or cancellation of your reservation. (It’s $25 at one site). “Wi-Fi available” is code for “at extra charge”. You may pay extra for a poolside campsite, more than two or four in your family, holiday weekends or weekends in general, more than one pet, 50 amp service versus 30 camp and so on.
FIRE RULES can change daily depending on conditions.
FIRE WOOD may not be allowed to be brought in. This protects forests from foreign insects and diseases that come in with campers. You may be required to buy fire wood at the campground.
PHONE RECEPTION These days, cell phone coverage is so good, most of us forget that there are still areas of the United States and Canada that have no or limited phone reception. If you're going to a wilderness or thinly populated region, it's always wise to ask, "Will I have phone coverage there for (name your provider, e.g. Verizon, T-Mobile, ATandT.)? If not, is there a land line pay phone you can use?
OPENING DATES for a new camping resort or older campgrounds after a major renovation are sometimes too optimistic. I’ve attended openings where the campground was open but not ready for prime time. Resorts often have "soft" or staggered openings starting with rock bottom basics. Call the campground directly to make sure all facilities are as promised. If they admit that some major features aren’t ready, such as the golf course, tennis courts or spa, ask if reduced rates apply.
GETTING THERE may not be the way you planned. If the campground is in a wilderness area, ask to see if all routes are open. Roads could be closed for snow, floods, fire, rock slides.
QUIET HOURS may not be long enough or quiet enough for the wilderness experience you had in mind. If a site has no electric hookups and a generator is allowed, you listen to noise and breathe exhaust. And may heaven protect us from those campers who prefer boom boxes to bird song.
LIMITED STAY. Some reservations require a minimum stay of two or three nights. Some memberships limited stays to only a few nights and most government campgrounds limit stays to two weeks or less.
Save space. Add wall clocks anywhere in the RV, even on a door, using your own art work, wood work, photo, ceramics or child's drawing and this tiny, inexpensive battery-op clock works.
If you’re serious about going full-timing, start with my bookLiving Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition but don’t stop there. Look at full-timing it from many angles and many different personal experiences. Ours was a small RV and shoestring budget. We were in our 30's and were building a career in travel writing.
Others who write books on full-timing have a large nest egg, or a large motorhome with mortgage, or are retired, or are raising kids on the go, or have different goals, incomes, challenges, preferences. Read ‘em all.
Blog copyright janet groene. Thanks for donating $5 once a year in support of this blog. Use your PayPal account to pay to janetgroene at yahoo.com
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Buying A Retro RV? 7 Hidden Traps to Avoid
The hunt is on all over the world for vintage travel trailers that have been forgotten for years in farm fields, old garages, sheds and barns. Many buyers simply want to flip them for a quick sale. Others want to restore them for use as on-site campers. Listen up if you belong to the third group. That’s buyers who find a great buy on an old travel trailer and want to spiff it up for today's active, on-the-go camping. And that means a highway-safe home on wheels.
COSMETICS aren’t easy to fix if former owners have slapped on layer after layer of paint, or put new laminate over a rotten floor. It can be a huge job to undo these cover-ups before you can do real cosmetic repairs.
LEAKS. Dry rot, or wood rot, is a living fungus that travels and destroys, often behind the scenes. Worse still, water leaks that feed the fungus may be almost impossible to find. A tiny leak under a window seal may channel water down an exterior wall to a structural member and across to the other side before it exits. Along the way it can destroy an entire inner wall. One woman bought a travel trailer, hitched it up, pulled away, and only the hitch came with her. It pulled right out of the rotted frame. When wood rot is found, dig it out until you come to sound wood, which may be many feet away from the telltale spot. The source of the leak must also be found and fixed. One owner found a small break in the sealant around the rooftop air conditioner. Water entered the RV roof, traveled the length of the roof, then downward and around corners to come out in a rear tire well. Large areas of the RV inner structure were now hollow.
TERMITES. We’ve all heard about this hapless buyer. Her travel trailer’s inner walls and outer skin looked good. Then the kitchen cupboards fell down because termites had eaten the wooden uprights between the two walls.
WIRING in an old trailer is probably frayed and brittle. It needs to be replaced from stem to stern with new and heavier duty wiring and more outlets for today’s needs. You need proper grounding and exterior lights as required for highway use. Have the work done by an electrician who knows RVs and both 12-volt and 110-volt systems. An RV electrical specialist also knows that RV’s move, flex, vibrate. Wires need proper routing, shielding from chafe, securing. This is also the time to do proper installations for a generator, inverter, solar panels and cables.
PLUMBING, usually plastic, may be brittle or worse. If it wasn’t properly winterized over the years, there could be cracks. Tanks, traps and pipes could be filthy with stagnant water and stubborn growths. Sealants dry out and crack. Joints twist and flex with road motion. Some or all plumbing may need to be replaced
PROPANE plumbing is also subject to leaks, which can be deadly. Some early RV’s had gas lights as well as a gas furnace, stove and refrigerator. Remove, re-route, replace propane lines and assure that the entire system including the tanks is up to code.
CHASSIS. Metals rust and are subject to metal fatigue and galvanic corrosion. Tires weaken with age and sun damage, even if it doesn’t show in the tread. Bolts vibrate and loosen. Welds break. If you’ll be taking an older RV on the road, have an expert check it out where the rubber meets the road. That’s literally the BOTTOM LINE.
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Janet Groene full-timed for 10 years
What If You Wanted An RV To be Your Only Home? The freedom of full-time travel without leaving “home” is a dream for many women. Now that there are so many ways to make a living on the go, it’s a very possible dream too. Can you afford it? Do the math.
Living Expenses That Will Remain the Same ♯ Banking, brokerage, other financial services ♯ Cell phone, ISP, domain ♯ Child support, eldercare or alimony, if any ♯ Debt service (credit cards, car payment, student loans) ♯ Dues, church, charity ♯ Entertainment (movies, books, music downloads, concert tickets) ♯ Groceries, restaurants ♯ Gifts ♯ Health including insurance, co-pays, dental and eye care, vitamins, birth control, memberships (gym, Weight Watchers) ♯ Non-food supermarket purchases (paper goods, cleaning products) ♯ Personal care (toiletries, cosmetics, hair salon, bling) ♯ Pet care, feeding ♯ Retirement fund contributions, life insurance ♯ Soft goods (wardrobe, shoes, household linens) ♯ Sports and hobbies (lift tickets, greens fees, court time) ♯ Subscriptions, publications ♯ Other?
Home sweet home
My Gypsy is a bigger expense than I expected
Expenses That Will Likely Change or Cease
♯ Bus fare, commuting, uniforms, other costs related to your present life ♯ Rent or mortgage, homeowner association fees ♯ Utilities, home maintenance, yard care ♯ Other?
New Expenses in the RV Life (Some are a guess, some can be researched in advance)
♯ Any vehicle in addition to the RV itself (car, boat, tow car or truck, utility trailer) ♯ Campsites (probably more than you think, especially the first year) ♯ Payments/mortgage on the RV ♯ Furnishing a new RV (a one-time expense) plus regular additions to a reserve fund for replacements (some will be needed sooner than you think) ♯ Fuel, oil, propane ♯ Insurances specific to this new life ♯ Mail forwarding service ♯ Medical insurance ♯ RV payments, maintenance, repairs, license ♯ Satellite TV and radio, Internet, VPN ♯ Storage unit, safety deposit box
By putting these items in black and white you have the big picture. Can you make it happen? It may be more possible than you think.
Be sure to get the latest edition of Janet's book Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, for ways to make a living on the go.