At home things sometimes break and you just pop down to the hardware store, buy the appropriate replacement part and install it. For me that often enough means two trips but generally it fixes whatever needs fixing within a day or so. On the boat I have to figure out what is wrong then either hope I have a fix on board or, often, wait until we are in a port with a chandlery and hope they have something for the cure. I have spent lots of time devising work around temporary fixes. In the motorhome I look for a mechanic with the proper knowledge, or if it is a simple matter I can find what I need at an RV store (like Camping World) or Auto Zone, etc. The thing is, if I don’t do the work it can get insanely expensive. Recently I had the oil changed and while doing the close out for the bill the guy tried to sell me on things I can either do myself or that do not need to be done for quite some time. It would have taken the bill from about $65 to $865!
When we had a problem with the ABS light coming on just west of San Antonio I stopped and referred to the manual. It said that we could continue driving the coach but to have it checked out as soon as possible. In San Antonio the leads that I got led me to no one willing or able to diagnose, much less fix, the problem. The RV park would not let the one company that had the skill onto the property because they did not have high enough liability limits on their insurance policy. Oh well, on to Corpus Christi.
Corpus Christi was where we found a shop and had a sensor replaced AND the shop doing the work plugged us into power so that we could stay there for the few days while they ordered the part and did the “R & R” to put us back on the road. They did not even add to the cost of the repair for the electricity we used… which was not inconsequential since we had used our electric space heater to keep up with the cold conditions.
|The crisscross plan.|
Over all, the places we have stopped have had propane deliverable to us in our space once or twice a week. There are some parks where they want to control and profit from propane so they do not let the propane trucks into the park. Since, for us, it means unhooking everything and driving to the delivery site then back to the space or waiting until we are about to leave (since we almost never remember when we arrive). In some places we have been for longer periods it has been fairly cold so we are in need of propane in the middle of the stay. It presents a problem when we go to the office and they say, “Oh, the truck just came and won’t be back for a week!”
|Short sewer, straight back for electric, water on the other side!!|
This brings me to the hook up thing. When we arrive somewhere it takes about ½ an hour to get everything connected and positioned. A little longer if we are putting out the awning(s). We connect the sewer, water, cable and electricity as a basic set up then deploy the stabilizing hydraulic feet after we extend the pop-outs for the bedroom and living room. If we are staying for more than a few days I also take the bikes off the “Toad” and move the rack to the back of the RV. We have all this down to a science. When we started with the travel trailer it seemed to take nearly an hour to do all this. In part it was because it was all manual labor. Now we have assists to speed the process but it is not perfect.
|No sewer available|
The variable is that the RV parks are not uniform in their set up. The wide variations sometimes stop me in my tracks altogether. If it is possible we just do a minimal hook up and look for a new park to go to the next or following day.
There is no pretty way to do the hook ups either. I carry multiple ways to do everything within reason to accommodate the set ups I find. Is it a 15, 30 or 50 amp hook up? Got it handled with adapters. Is the cable plug the right kind? I have adapters. No cable? I raise the antenna and we now have two digital TV’s to use the air signal. Is the sewer connection closer or farther away? The sewer hose breaks down into sections to allow for differences. Is there too much or not enough water pressure? Well, I can’t do much much about too little (we have a large water tank on board so can switch to that if necessary) but we have some pressure reducing connections to handle that part of the hook up if it is too much. It is not always perfect but we have done fairly well these last few months.
Another thing we have figured out is that many states, counties and occasionally cities maintain superb RV parks. Some of them are just a way to use their large facilities like fair grounds or convention centers when they are not in use. Sacramento, California had a great if basic set up like that. It was centrally located and made it easy to get around town. One we used a couple of years ago was in King County, California. It had great spaces and there was a tractor museum on site. In Galveston, Texas we went out southeast from town and there were a number of parks. In Florida we are, as I write this, in a county park that is about as perfect as it gets.
One item missing from many places are dog walks and such. But that’s for another story.