One Mistake After Another
There’s a learning curve to RVing, as in most things. For full-time RVers the learning curve can be steep. Your rig is your primary dwelling. Once damaged you’re out a home and a vehicle until it’s fixed or replaced.
Because of this, we tend to publish cautionary tales – things we notice that could save you money and heartache. Please don’t confuse this with being critical or poking fun. Rest assured, we’ve made our fair share of mistakes along the way that probably left others shaking their heads too.
No Water in the RV?
The other day while outside, I noticed a neighbor a couple sites away from us disconnecting their fresh water hose from the spigot. They were without water and couldn’t figure out why. I bring this point up for situational awareness. The empty site immediately next to them was having a leak repaired.
Tip: If your campground’s water supply connection has two opposing faucets, turn on the other one to check for water before assuming that the problem is on your end.
Full-Time RVers: Don’t Skip the Walk-Around
Once I called their attention to the reason for their lack of water, they shared that they were the “most unlucky RVers ever” and “had made every mistake in the book.” They went on to say, “Once, we pulled out of our site and forgot to disconnect the utilities. That was an expensive and embarrassing moment.”
Tip: One last walk-around of your rig and tow vehicle before you drive off is critically important, especially for full-time RVers. It’s way too easy to be in a hurry or get sidetracked and forget to do something important because you’ve done it so many times before. Be intentional with your departure, create a routine, then follow it every time!
Trust Your Surge Protector
A couple evenings later, I found this same couple disconnecting their power cord. Their power kept going off on a rather warm day when everyone was running their air conditioners. They assumed it was their surge protector and I stopped them just before they plugged their power cord directly into the outlet.
Instead, I encouraged them to plug the surge protector back in to see what would show up on its digital display screen. It turns out the power was fine, good voltage on both legs, and correctly wired. Yes, you can tell ALL of that from the surge protector screen.
Tip: Always trust what your surge protector is telling you. It will save you from yourself. An issue on the supply side without that surge protection, can and does fry the electronics in an RV – a very expensive oops.
With the power cord once connected properly to the coach, a noise from within the power bay told me the problem wasn’t with the surge protector. It continued to show no fluctuations or interruptions. But the noise was typical of a power transfer switch problem inside the electrical bay. “Yeah, we’ve had problems with that before” they said. “We probably should have it replaced.”
Further conversation with this couple revealed other self-inflicted painful experiences because they didn’t know what they were doing or didn’t listen to advice. “One day we’ll learn this stuff,” they said. From their expressions and body language, it was clear they were frustrated and not really enjoying RVing because of it.
Their departure from the park was painful to watch. In this park there’s one way in and out. Trees and other objects allow backing in and pulling out from only one direction. What should have been an easy pull out by reversing their route turned into a back and forth dance. And it put them within inches of damaging their own rig and another across the street.
Tip: Think through the departure process before execution.
Make Sure You’re Communicating
At another park earlier in our full-time journey, we witnessed a coach being backed in by the husband while the wife was frantically trying to get his attention. He backed right over the water supply spigot, knocking out water for our whole section.
Tip: Use walkie-talkies, cell phones, or good old-fashioned hand signals (our preference). Through teamwork get the rig backed in safely.
This same gentleman repeated the process about a month later, paying no attention to his spotter and knocking out the water once again.
“One day we’ll learn this stuff” is only true if you pay attention and learn from your past mistakes. Making the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results – well, that’s never going to end well.