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Old 09-11-2012, 04:57 PM   #1
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Newbies common mistakes

Hello Everyone,
I am new to the RV community and I would first like to thank everyone for the information I have gleaned from this forum. It has been extremely helpful so far and I am sure I will learn a lot more in the future.

I had been entertaining the idea of taking extended RV trips for many years. Most of the places I want to go and the things I want to do and see are generally away from civilization. My wife (I see DW a lot and think it means dear wife but I am not completely sure) and I will be taking at least a year off of work and probably more beginning next spring. We are in the process of making the list of potential destinations and I am reading all I can on everything.

I had been planning on going the Class C route until I read numerous recommendations to consider a Class A. When we broadened our scope to include both classes we found that there was often a lot more content without spending a lot more money. In the end we went with a new Georgetown 335. It has a floorplan we really like and for the money we are spending it seems like a pretty complete package.

My plan is to start out with a few short trips close to home to get acclimated and work out any bugs in both us and the motorhome.

So here is the question; what are the typical dumb things a newbie will do or forget to do that I should be aware of. I want to avoid being the campground entertainment for the first
few trips.

Thanks,
Barry
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:15 PM   #2
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Hello and welcome;I can't say that there are things that you can forget if it means tangible things. however if you forget to put your slide in, or your tv antenna, or your awning, or you water and electric cord that could be embarrasing. I have a junk tool box which contains all kinds of small items such as a small tube of silicone,string,assortment of screws and nails,tape,wire etc.because you will be surprised how handy the little items can be. You might be able to help somebody else. A pail, sponge, small ladder you might want to clean a bit. A lot of items you will accumulate over period of time. Hope this helps. I am sure you can think of a lot more items.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:27 PM   #3
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OK, I will 'fess up. The first time we actually moved our coach out of the driveway we just took it to the local Starbucks where we have coffee every morning with a group of friends.

The Monaco has a switch which moves the generator out so that it can be serviced. I didn't realize that and evidently pressed the correct switch to make it happen. The generator cannot be seen in the extended position from the driver's seat, so I drove about 5 miles that way thinking that everyone was admiring our handsome coach, not realizing that the front of our rig looked like the garbage trucks that pick up dumpsters.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:00 PM   #4
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Start making checklists. They can be money savers.

Set up your coach in your driveway, then strike camp, making note of every procedure you do.

Also make a checklist for hooking up your toad.

Most importantly, use the checklists each and every time, and refine them as time goes by.

There are so many things that have to be done, and so many little Murphys and distractions. A simple mistake can cost serious money to fix.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:16 PM   #5
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I'm known for thinking out of the box, and I'm sure you will get a lot of great ideas here, so here is my input. For us, probably the greatest item to keep marital harmony was a set of two way radios, one with a switch activated microphone. Our RV was a rear diesel pusher and the voice activated radios would always be keyed because of the engine noise. So we learned a switch activated radio was best for us. There is nothing worse than to see someone backing up their rig with the seat partner out back yelling so loud the entire campground can hear.

"Turn right....I said turn right...no not that way the other way...no no to far turn back to my right...stop stop you just ran over the electrical thingey box and there sparks coming out ....I said Stop...can't you hear stop". Usually this is followed by 4 letter words that do nothing promote cuddling in bed afterwords!

Its almost as much fun as watching some people launch a boat for the first time!

With the two way radio everything is quiet except for your end of the radio. This also allows you to ask your spotter questions. My dear wife, DW, and I had an agreement that if I couldn't see her in the backup monitor or the side mirrors I would just stop and wait for her to reappear. Nothing worse to ruin your day than to drive over your spotter when she tripped over the curb stop and is laying under the wheels!

My daddy always said to "Remember, to have fun and look at all of your good and bad experiences as an adventure in life."
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigd9 View Post
I'm known for thinking out of the box, and I'm sure you will get a lot of great ideas here, so here is my input. For us, probably the greatest item to keep marital harmony was a set of two way radios, one with a switch activated microphone. Our RV was a rear diesel pusher and the voice activated radios would always be keyed because of the engine noise. So we learned a switch activated radio was best for us. There is nothing worse than to see someone backing up their rig with the seat partner out back yelling so loud the entire campground can hear.

"Turn right....I said turn right...no not that way the other way...no no to far turn back to my right...stop stop you just ran over the electrical thingey box and there sparks coming out ....I said Stop...can't you hear stop". Usually this is followed by 4 letter words that do nothing promote cuddling in bed afterwords!

Its almost as much fun as watching some people launch a boat for the first time!

With the two way radio everything is quiet except for your end of the radio. This also allows you to ask your spotter questions. My dear wife, DW, and I had an agreement that if I couldn't see her in the backup monitor or the side mirrors I would just stop and wait for her to reappear. Nothing worse to ruin your day than to drive over your spotter when she tripped over the curb stop and is laying under the wheels!

My daddy always said to "Remember, to have fun and look at all of your good and bad experiences as an adventure in life."
Good friends of mine use the same technology on their 36' sailboat. Rather than the person at the helm yelling at the person on the bow, they are able to speak in quiet terms. Unfortunately this deprives surrounding boaters of much entertainment.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:45 PM   #7
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Dumb things, leave the ant. up, turn to sharp and take the side out,back into something, it maybe easier to watch the movie RV with Robin Williams.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:55 PM   #8
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Check list's are great,,, but I always make one final walk around before the rv moves an inch, just to make sure everything is unhooked, stored away, and storage compartments are shut and locked...
A spotter with radio is a great idea,,, but if you are EVER in doubt, stop, get out and look. I don't remember how many times I had a good citizen say its ok for me to back up (when I drove a freight truck in the city) , but when I stopped and got out to look, there was a low wire, tree branch, etc that they had not seen.. Better safe than sorry..
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:39 PM   #9
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I have an RVCheck list app for my IPad. It is customizable to add or delete things. I have several checklists on it including; Arriving, Departing, Winterizing, etc. Of course you can do the same thing on paper, this just makes it easier and consistent.

I agree with Monkey on the walk-around. I look at everything to make sure it is ready to go down the highway. Then I have my DW pull it down the road for the first few feet while I verify everything is rolling fine and I am not dragging anything, running over the wheel chocks, snagging tree limbs, etc. I pay close attention to the toad too to make sure the tow bar is properly locked, steering wheel turns, e-brake isn't on, lights work, etc. The two way radio works well for that too!

And after all of that, perhaps the only embarrassing moment as you pull out of a campsite will be when your DW drives off with you running behind the coach, shouting into the radio loud enough for everyone in the campground to hear!

Enjoy the lifestyle!
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:50 PM   #10
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Honestly, the best advice I can give you is to not be in a hurry! I have a routine for everything I do...whether its hooking up the toad, breaking down camp whatever. The only times I have ever had problems were the times that I got in a hurry and missed a step. The worst one is forgetting to put the Jeep into neutral before I try and tow it. Ugh......you can move it but not very far!!

Slow down and just enjoy the trip!!
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:54 PM   #11
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All the above...

Word of advise... Don't sweat the little things. DW or you will forget to pack something you had planned for the trip and the stress level will start to climb. When this happens get a couple of adult beverages and remind each other, it is a vacation and nothing is so dramatic that it can ruin your fun. Sit back and relax!
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:38 PM   #12
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I would have never even thought to look for a RVchecklist ipad app. Sure enough there are a few to choose from.

I won't be in a hurry as that is the whole point of it. I am usually pretty cautious and I will check everything at least twice. It is time to slow down a bit and relax.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:48 PM   #13
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A couple of hours spent with a commercial driving instructor was very valuable to me. Learned a lot about air brakes and proper lane usage in a large vehicle.
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:04 PM   #14
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One thing I haven't seen mentioned is to have and use a "donut" when you dump your tanks. I was very curtly informed by a neighbor while in Arizona that they are required by law in that state, so you might check to see if they are required where you happen to be. Since I now have one I use it out of simple courtesy reguardless if required or not.
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