Advice Is Cheap

Relaxing, scenic camping by the lake at Thousand Trails Sturbridge

Many of us follow a variety of RVing forums, Facebook groups and pages to learn more about the RVing lifestyle, others’ experiences and a way to properly do something to avoid mistakes, disasters and unexpected expenses. While there’s a lot of good advice being shared, there’s plenty of not-so-good advice too. You, and you alone, have to decide whether that advice is good or bad, and hopefully you decide wisely.

We share our experiences here and on Facebook, as well as what we have gleaned from others of all levels of RVing experience…from newbie to old dawgs. Even those old dawgs can learn something new if they just pay attention. It’s when you stop listening, watching and learning that you find yourself befalling a bad experience.

For example, the other day I posted this on one of the many RV related Facebook pages

Prior to departing any CG or RVP walk or drive without your RV your departure route so you’re confident you know where you are going and not setting yourself up for difficulties. Plan ahead and avoid bad/difficult situations…such as finding yourself at an intersection where you can’t make the turn, no place to turn around or having obstacles that could damage your rig.

I could probably also post something similar about when you arrive at a new, unfamiliar campground or RV park. Just the other evening a new arrival was cruising the campground in their sizeable class A motor home, with car in tow, looking for a site. They repeatedly passed by ours, and after the second or third pass you start to take notice and ask…Why are they doing it the hard way?  Just as I mentioned in the Facebook post quoted above, when you’re driving around in a large profile vehicle, especially in a park you’re unfamiliar with, you increase your chances of putting yourself into a situation that can turn against you. Why didn’t they just unhook the car and use it to cruise around looking for the ideal site?

That’s what we typically do if there is a pick your own site policy. We drive around in the car to find the best suitable site, as well as  the shortest, easiest and safest route to the site. We usually then park the car in the site to claim it as ours and walk back to the motor home. The exercise is good, helps get our circulation going and clears the mind before starting the chores of getting our rig spotted and setup.

If you’re uncomfortable with finding your site, ask the staff to help. Some will provide escort from the check in location to the site, some won’t. Why? Well, from what we have learned from those who don’t, it’s more of a policy to prevent them from being held liable should you hit something, such as a low hanging branch or wire. Regardless, if someone is leading you in, escorting you to your assigned or selected site, it is still YOUR responsibility to remain vigilant and observant while driving in…looking for objects, obstructions and situations that could cause you to damage property or your own rig. DO NOT get completely focused on following the person driving the cart! It’s way too easy to allow our attention turn to where we are going, not where we are at the moment. Maintain SITUATIONAL AWARENESS at all times. Not just in the campground or park…but on the road. How many times have you scraped something with your rig (or seen someone else do it)? Gas station island barrier? Gate/sign post?

Advice is cheap, but it can also be costly if you ask the wrong question, source it from the wrong place or fail to follow good advice. There is no dumb question, but before asking someone else for the answer look at the resources you already should have in your possession. Hopefully you have your rig’s owner’s manuals…you’ve bookmarked the websites for the manufacturer of your rig, as well as for its appliances, equipment and accessories, so you can get the facts from the source directly. Download or print any documents that will be of use to you should you have questions in the future.

If you are buying or own a new RV, it should have come with the owner’s and operator’s manuals for everything, all the details about its construction and equipment. If you’re buying a used rig, be sure to request, as part of the deal, all of the original manuals or copies. Any dealership worth their salt should be able to provide them in some form…paper or electronic. If you don’t have them, GET THEM! Go online to find the resource pages that you can bookmark, or download the information and print it out so you have it handy at all times.

Knowledge is security. The more you know about your RV the more secure you’ll feel.

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Gerald Voigt

Gerald's interests are wide and varied. His work career started in the United States Air Force and since then has worked in logistics management, retail & service management as well as manufacturing. He's an author, photographer, pilot, radio show host and marketing consultant who enjoys RVing which allows him greater freedom to explore, meet new acquaintances and serve his clients.