Tuesday, June 30, 2015

RV community

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I want to start living on the road for extended periods of time but my wife is afraid she will give up community. She likes our social life and is afraid she will not know anyone if we are moving all the time.

We spend the winter in three different RV parks and have many friends. I am trying to convince her we will meet people in a travel mode, but she says it won't be the same.

Can you shed some light on this subject, so we can expand our horizons?
--Community Centered in Carbondale

Dear CCC:
Community comes in all forms. It sounds like you two are very outgoing, so finding friends will be no problem whatever you decide to do. Community does not have to be local, such as an RV park or home and city.

As you are out doing things you enjoy, you will meet people who like the same things. You can connect with these same people year after year. With all the social media available today it is so easy to keep in touch with people you meet on the road.

You will make life-long friends while doing something as simple as a ranger walk. Every time you move to a different location you will end up with new neighbors. You will have ample opportunity to meet like-minded people whatever mode of travel you choose.

My advice is to expand your base and raise your peak. The world is your oyster and you will find it full of pearls if you open yourself to meeting new friends as you travel.

The only downside could turn out to be your wife not wanting to ever come home again.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

RV singing telegram

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I love living in our small, secure, warm and dry space. Sometimes I feel like we live in a space capsule. We find these incredible places to park. The weather can turn sour, yet we are still warm and happy in our 5th wheel home.

This might sound petty, but it is driving me nuts. My problem is noise pollution. It doesn't bother my husband, but I can't take it any longer.

Because of our small square footage, I can't escape the annoying sound coming from our water heater. It is a high pitch, constant squeal. My husband insists it is normal because the water heater still works fine. But I never heard this before. It only does it when we have electric hook-ups.

Am I being too fussy? Is this something I should try to block from my mind? Is it a sign that something is about to happen? Should I sing in a high pitch to my husband to demonstrate how annoying I find it?
--Sounding Board in Bozeman

Dear Boze:
Singing to your husband will just complicate a very simple situation. It should never come down to solving annoyance with annoyance. What you have is a failing heat element. It could be solved by flushing the tank and cleaning the element, but if you are going to the trouble of pulling the element, you might just as well replace it for twenty bucks.

It really doesn't make any more noise than when you are heating with gas, but I agree the pitch could drive you nuts.

I would explain to your husband that he will be dealing with the problem sooner or later. There is no time like the present. Your husband is in hot water right now, but the singing telegram you are getting is a sign you will soon be changing your tune to the "Sound of Silence." I can't remember all the lyrics, but it goes something like this, "Hello darkness, my old friend, there's no hot water once again..."

It is a good idea to flush the tank at least once a year. If you have a tank that is not aluminum you might want to consider adding an anode rod to help prevent future buildup on the heating element.

--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

RV go si'

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I know it is only June, but I am in a heated discussion with my wife about where we are headed this coming winter. We have tried all the supposedly warm southern destinations in the U.S. and are often holed up in the motorhome because it is too cold outside.

The problem is, I want to go as far down the Baja Peninsula as possible and spend the winter where I am guaranteed warmth. My wife watches too much news and thinks everyone that goes to Mexico is in grave danger. I am not ignorant of the facts, I just know that a lot of RVer's go into Mexico every winter and seem to have no problem.

Am I asking too much? Do you think I would be putting my wife under too much pressure?
--Baja in a Bounder from Boise

Dear Bounder:
Before you go, I think you should both be comfortable with it. Having your wife spend the winter out of her comfort zone would defeat the whole purpose of living the RV dream.

It will take some studying on your part. You'll want to make sure you know the rules and regulations of entering and traveling into Mexico. Carry the right insurance, have your passports, and take no weapons. That is just the beginning of what you should be aware of. My suggestion would be for you to read and study the many up-to-date forums and blogs of RVer's who do this every winter. I would share this information, good and bad, with your wife as you progress.

Knowing that thousands of others are doing the same thing might make her begin to feel more comfortable about the adventure. Many people who RV to Mexico will tell you they have never had a problem. This might very well be true. However, if you read the U.S. Embassy Report online, you will find it's not true for everyone that travels there.

You might want to find others to caravan with. Safety in numbers can be a much less stressful way to travel into Mexico. Most people find services very accommodating in Mexico, some say more accommodating than many of the snowbird areas of the U.S.

The bottom line: There is a lot of insanity in the beautiful areas just south of our borders. Caution is advised, but with the right preparations you are most likely not to have any problems. Traveling close to the border in the U.S. can have its own dangers, but you will find a heavy law enforcement presence and the insurance that they are there to help you.

It's not like the old western films in Mexico where the good guys wear the white hats and the bad guys wear the black hats.

It's a personal choice. My only suggestion is that you are both comfortable with the decision before going.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink