Wednesday, April 23, 2014

RV woman

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I am trying to learn everything about our RV just in case my husband keels over one day and I have to get this monster (RV) home. I seldom drive, never dump the holding tanks and never fill with water. Those are the things I have been practicing. The problem is there are always men standing around telling me what I am doing wrong before I even get a chance to figure things out on my own. If I hear “righty tighty, lefty loosey” one more time, I’m going to give someone a “dirty swirly.” Am I being too thin-skinned? I just want some space to make my own mistakes and learn from experience.
--RV woman in Willcox

Dear RV:
Good for you. I think everyone on board should know everything about the ship. If the Captain falls overboard, the First Mate can still get the ship back to port. I’m thinking most people that give advice, whether asked for or not, mean well. You will have to make your own judgment calls on where your advice is coming from and how it’s delivered. But I agree with the learning from experience. These are mostly simple chores but repetitive practice makes perfect. Various dump stations, water facilities and road conditions call for different approaches to the same procedures. It is important to experience them all. Working as a husband/wife team is very important -- especially when backing into a site. Remember, the helpful person that might come over to help back you in has nothing invested. If someone was trying to tell me how to dump my rig, I would just step aside and ask them to show me. The “dirty swirly” sounds like a bad idea. I’m sure you could be charged with some kind of brown collar crime.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

RV tax

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We are about to spend ten times more on a new motorhome than our first house cost forty years ago. It makes me a little uneasy to spend this kind of money on a vehicle that will be traveling down the road depreciating. It has always been my husband’s dream. It sounds appealing to me so I am throwing caution to the wind and sailing away with him. However, he is trying to penny pinch on taxes using what I would call borderline legal schemes and dishonest practices. He has been looking into setting up a Montana LLC. We live in Ohio. He says it would cost us about twelve hundred dollars and save us thousands. Then he talked to a friend that never renews his license plates. The theory is: pay the fine instead of the tax. I have been very supportive of this new lifestyle but my husband is upset because I won’t go along with the tax cheating. Am I being too closed minded? Are others doing this? Is it legal?
--Honest Abby in Akron

Dear Abby:
Yes, others are doing this. Many are very nervous now because various states have caught on to the practice and are now pursuing these folks for back taxes and penalties. As for the plate renewal I would think that would catch up to you very quickly in this age of computer data. I would assume law enforcement could run your plate for various reasons on the fly in any state and know immediately that you are running on expired plates. If you are heading out on a grand adventure, spending big bucks for a new home on wheels, and looking forward to a relaxing lifestyle, do you really want to be looking over your shoulder all the time wondering if someone is after you? You have to pay to play. My suggestion would be to follow the rules and travel worry free. If, however, you sell your property in Ohio and change your residency to a state with little or no sales tax, you can enjoy that savings without fear of prosecution. Many people who are full-timers use services available in states like South Dakota to establish residency, mail forwarding service, and taxes. Taxes are a necessary evil. I was an accountant in the Marine Corps, so if you want to know where your taxes go, just ask me. If you want to use Military accounting practices to save money, just start at the bottom line with what you want back and work up.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

RV sound waves

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I know people have complained about this in the past, but it irks me to no end when I have to listen to another camper’s music. There should be a “No Tolerance” rule. I just spent two days feeling my rig vibrate from a deep bass, rap-crap song, over and over. The host said it was perfectly legal during the hours they were listening. Sound is so invasive. If people want to listen to whatever music turns them on, let them stay home in the privacy of their home. Why should I be exposed to it? Am I just an old curmudgeon getting ornery in my old age? In some campgrounds I wish I had already gone deaf. In this case it wouldn’t have helped - I could feel it!
--Vibrating in Valencia

Dear Vibs:
I don’t think this is an age issue, but it is an age old complaint. You will run into all kinds of people and campground management variations while on the road. I would have to say, the majority have some pretty decent control over what goes on in a campground setting. That being said, when you reach a destination you are looking forward to and find yourself in the vicinity of a boom box, it can be frustrating. I agree that sounds are invasive and need to be controlled. Most campgrounds have set hours for generators and loud noise of any kind. That however does not solve the problem of those seeking some quiet and solitude during daylight hours. Focusing on music I would agree with more volume control. I have witnessed people trying to outblast each other. You are not going to change management attitude often. I always vote with my feet (wheels). I have even asked for a refund in the past to leave early. To some, camping with Bob Seger belting Horizontal Bop is relaxing. If they are within the rules and regulations of the campground, don’t look for the host to give you much satisfaction, relocate and chalk it off as bad timing. You might say you are just skipping the beat.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink