Thursday, January 28, 2010
I am a single women just new to traveling in a small Class B motorhome. It is not as easy as I had envisioned after reading Trailer Life and Motorhome magazines for years. Two of my biggest problems are small mechanical malfunctions and social isolation. I’m not mechanical, so even precautionary maintenance is a challenge for me and becoming expensive. The other thing I have noticed is just how friendly everyone is in a campground setting. A same state license plate can almost make you related. However, being single still seems to make me more of an outsider just as it did before I started traveling. The majority of fellow campers I meet are couples and they seem to bond more easily. Any suggestions on how I can maintain my rig and my campground relationships would be greatly appreciated. --Lonely in Lauderdale
It’s the oldest relationship symptom in RV psychiatry. Professionally we call it the 5th Wheel Syndrome. You are subconsciously visualizing yourself as a fifth wheel in a historically couple oriented society. Your new lifestyle is the perfect setting to practice the art of parking your 5th wheel disorder. You have to stop thinking of yourself as a 5th wheel and start thinking of yourself as a pop-up camper. You need to pop-up in the middle of friendly campground gatherings and introduce yourself confidently.
Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself. If you are not comfortable, you can move to another campground tomorrow and never see these bozos again if it doesn’t work out. The other advantage of campground relationships is variety. Relationship roulette is winning friends of like minded thinking and interests -- it’s a numbers game. It has less to do with couples vs. singles and more to do with who you are and how you present yourself.
You will find people camped near you from all walks of life and social background. If your neighbor in the space left of you is anti-social, don’t worry, to the right of you will be an extrovert. You will run into people that see your license plate and strike up a conversation because they went through your state once. Even though it was on a train at night during a WWII troop movement, they find a connection. In 10 minutes you will know their whole life story and that they could die at any minute from one of several ongoing conditions they are being treated for. If none of these suggestions work out for you, there is the chance that the guy I answered two blogs back is looking for a co-pilot. His wife just caught a bus home.
As for your mechanical ineptitude, you must also be pro-active in your RV education or rich. Finding a competent RV mechanic while traveling is another form of roulette. In most cases, you pay $100 per hour and you have to leave your rig for a week to have your thermostat readjusted. You are sillier than a corn borer in a peach if you own an RV and do not take the time to learn the basics of the various systems. For under twenty bucks you can find a good RV manual that will walk you through most problems. The volume I have found helpful is Trailer Life’s RV Repair & Maintenance Manual by Bob Livingston If you can’t figure something out, you may want to combine you social and mechanical short comings and pop-up in some conversation and ask for mechanical help. Many a satisfying relationship has sprouted from a leaky sink. Happy Trails to you.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I have an ongoing (no pun intended) problem with my husband. We live full time in a 28 ft. 5th wheel and have been traveling year-round since our retirement. We seem to function quite well in our small but comfortable space. The problem occurs every morning at about 7 a.m. My husband is not only very regular but consistent in his smelling up the whole rig. I have tried sprays and deodorants but nothing so far counteracts the barrage of stink he creates. I love to travel, and I love our lifestyle living in our Recreational Vehicle, but I dread every morning when nature calls my husband’s name. Any help you can spray my way would be greatly appreciated.
--Down in the Dumps in Deming
Dear Down in the Dumps:
Let’s turn the tables on the way you are feeling and turn this into a healthy activity not only for your husband but you also. First of all, your husband’s regularity is healthy and most likely because you have him eating a proper diet. Don’t fall to your temptation to change that diet and constipate the poor guy. Instead, turn your lemon scented air into lemonade. According to the newest data prepared by the U.S. Surgeon General the healthiest lifestyle includes not only low stress (RV Lifestyle) but the simple art of walking. Taking a short walk once a day will add, on average, seventeen years to a healthier life. If you were to schedule this activity at 7 a.m. every morning you would be killing two birds with one stone. About the time your husband is ready to flush, you will be flush, invigorated and greeting a beautiful sunrise. Traveling usually anchors you in beautiful places to walk and hike. Another suggestion, if walking isn’t your cup of tea, would be to tell your husband to take a hike. That’s right, send him to the campground comfort station. That will make him twice as healthy and get him moving even faster in the morning. Don’t expect him back too soon. That is where all the other women in the campground have sent their husbands. They get to lying to each other and you never know when their going to quit. Traveling usually means you are following mild weather. That should give you every opportunity to get out in the morning and fill your lungs with fresh air. Just for your husband’s safety you might want to consider turning all pilot lights off when you leave.
As an added note, you may want to check into Thetford Corporation’s newest RV toilet. High end motor coaches now come standard with a high tech BioFuel Flush System. It is a composting system that is also a waste regenerator. Accumulated waste is then blended into the diesel mixture through a series of baffled carburetors. They are proving to increase mileage by up to 3%, and eliminate (no pun intended) waste disposal. They are a great advancement in recreational vehicle design, but they create the same problem you have for those traveling behind them praying for a passing lane.
Good Luck. --Dr. R.V. Shrink
Monday, January 25, 2010
When we bought our RV my wife and I decided we had to act as a team. Since our rig is so big I needed a copilot. My wife can read a map about as well as Columbus and that causes many arguments. I bought a GPS to solve the problem and now I find myself arguing with both my wife and the woman in the GPS. My wife also has a problem reading the leveling bubble. After the last bubble battle my copilot is threatening to take a bus home. What should I do? --Cockpit Problems in Las Cruces
Get to the bus station quick, you don’t want to miss it. You can then find the group “Loners on Wheels” and join up. Many people think the “Loners on Wheels” are single and widowed individuals that want to travel the RV Lifestyle and meet others with similar interests. You will find most of them are semi-widowed just like you. Like you they couldn’t get along in the cockpit and one or the other caught a bus home. You will find a sympathetic ear and a lot of good information on how to pilot solo. Consider a rear view camera and self-leveling jack system for starters. I would suggest you keep the GPS you have. It will give you someone to argue with and someone to blame when you are wrong. You will have to learn to enjoy solitude and Solitaire and learn to do the many things your spouse used to handle. If you find your spouse handled most everything, and did all the cooking, you might consider developing a taste for crow.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink