Thursday, January 27, 2011

Positive Attitude on Negative RV Rodent Problem

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My wife and I have a 30 ft. motorhome worth over a hundred grand. We are not using it this winter and I have it stored in the yard in a canvas portable garage. I have a problem with rodents moving in and spending the winter exploring and chewing wire coatings. I want to bait heavily with Decon but my wife is totally against it. She has put mint tea leaves around and some questionable high frequency sound machine that is supposed to drive them away. She feels that the mice will be eaten by our resident raptors and the poison will be transmitted to them. I still find signs of mice and want to bait for them. This has caused several heated arguments. Can you bring some common sense to this issue before I need a full time electrician to rewire my rig.
--Positively Negative in New Hampshire

Dear + -
I think I can make you both happy campers. This is a common problem and can become expensive and frustrating very quickly next time you go to use your rig and find a mouse nest in your converter or on your engine block. Rodents are attracted to the coating on the many miles of wire that travel through a rig, creating electrical shorts. If that is not enough reason, they just plain like to chew stuff. What you need to do is stop arguing and put that energy into a quick and easy recycling craft project. Get a couple 5 gallon plastic buckets, a few recycled soup cans and a length of wire. Punch a hole in the bottom center of the cans. Duct tape two together at the opened end. String the wire through the holes and twist it off on both sides of the bucket top. Fill the bucket with RV antifreeze. Spread some peanut butter on the soup cans and strategically place your new mouse trap in and/or around your rig. You can place a stick up to the bucket to make it easy for any rodents that desire a little peanut butter. They will step out on the cans which will quickly spin them off into the water/antifreeze solution and quickly drown. This is much more humane than poison, much quicker and continues to work all season. Your wife can still continue with her system. If it does work there will be no casualties. If it doesn’t you have a guaranteed backup line of defense.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Needy RV Neighbors

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have been full-time RVing for about seven years. We have met many wonderful people. However, occasionally we meet a stalker. It is usually a single person, perhaps lonely. The latest example happened in the Everglades National Park at Flamingo Campground. I called him “Ears.” My husband could not step foot out of our motorhome before this fellow camper was Johnny on the spot. He had to be sitting at his trailer window watching for my husband to exit. It was almost funny if not so annoying. My husband was very patient and spent time letting this guy shadow him and talk his ear off, but finally we moved to another campground ahead of schedule because it became too annoying. Should we have stayed and explained to this person that we needed less contact? It was very awkward. We kept looking in the rearview mirror as we headed north to see if we were being tailed.
--An Earful in Florida

Dear Earful:
The answer would depend on how flexible you are. I applaud your husband’s patience. Some people are lonely and need a listening post. However, there must be some limitations. If the person is rude, irritating, nosey or inconsiderate in some way, I would have no problem setting them straight. First with some subtle hints, and if that didn’t work, being more direct. Sometimes you do not have the convenience of moving. Perhaps you have paid in advance for a long term space. Each instance would be a judgement call on the annoying scale of one to ten. I think you will agree in your seven years of living the RV lifestyle, the majority of the people you connect with are a joy not a hassle. A huge part of this lifestyle is meeting interesting people from all walks of life. That is not to say that you have to spark with every camping neighbor you meet. This is no different that any other relationship problem you encounter in life. Make good judgements and watch your rearview mirror.

--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

##RVT798

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Old story for young in RV parks

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We are not your average couple. We are in our late 20’s and traveling full-time. We are not rich. We are working our way around the country. We live in a vintage 28 ft. Avion. We didn’t want to wait until retirement to do this. We have no children yet and decided to travel for a year. Five years later we are still at it. Our problem is age bias. We find, especially in the popular winter destinations, many of the parks are 55 and older parks. They don’t come right out and say it, but we can never seem to find a spot in a park near where we find a job because we are too young. Once we talk a park into letting us stay, they love us. Last winter my husband, who is quite mechanically inclined, ended up fixing dozen of problems people had with their rigs. We go to all the potlucks and pitch in when we are not working. We are quiet and tidy. How can we convince park managers of this without flashing an AARP card?
--The Young and the Restless in Apache Jct.

Dear Restless:
You are not the problem, but it sounds like you are the solution. You are unfortunately being categorized into a slot you obviously do not belong. In defense of the park management, they are trying to create a harmonious group of winter residents that all fit a specific slot. I am sure you understand that a majority of people your age might not be on the same schedule as those retired. Park management can have problems with anyone who drives through the gate, but you come with a big question mark that screams the possibility of loud music, parties, work schedules and various interests that might put you out of step with the rest of the group. I think you seem to be representing yourself as capable and flexible enough to fit in. I think you should challenge the situation head on. Answer all the questions the park management is not asking you when you first make your pitch. Put their mind at rest. Have an agreement up front as to behaviors expected. If possible give references of parks you have already spent winters in. Then write and tell me where you are staying. I have a few cockpit problems with my rig I would like your husband to fix.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

##RVT797

Friday, January 7, 2011

Full-Timing in an RV with cats

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We are thinking about buying a large Class A motorhome. My husband and I want to travel full-time for a few years. We have been planning this for some time. We read a lot of RV magazines and blogs and I see that many full-timers have pets. My husband doesn’t think that is a good idea. We have two cats and they are my babies. I don’t plan to travel without them and he doesn’t plan to travel with them. We are at a roadblock before we even get on the road. Can you offer any constructive advice to convince him that I am right? They are indoor cats and would never have to leave the motorhome. The units we have looked at so far have huge storage bays that are accessible from inside the coach. One would be perfect for food litter and bedding. Please help me.
Catastrophe in Columbus

Dear Columbus:
There is no sense in having a cat fight before you even take the brake off. Traveling pets are as common as a cold. I would estimate that at least 50 percent of the people I meet on the road have a pet traveling with them. This rig is going to be your “home” on the road, and there is no place like home for a cat or dog that gives you company. I can vouch for the no hassle addition of having two cats travel with you. My wife and I have done it for years. One likes to help navigate from the front window and the other makes a beeline for the storage bay (cat cave) if I so much as look at the driver’s seat. I have to admit that they will escape on occasion. We have always found them and persuaded them to rejoin us. Actually, you will meet a lot of wonderful people while looking for a missing cat in a campground. I would suggest you have your husband read some of the articles you have found pertaining to traveling cats. It is truly not like trying to give a cat a bath. You will find them to have an adventuresome spirit. You don’t have to walk them at dark-thirty, they bury their own land mines and you can leave them “home alone” for a couple days. They are very responsible and know how to take care of themselves. All cats, big and small, sleep on average, eighteen hours a day. They don’t bark, and best of all you can take them into any park because you don’t even have to declare them.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

##RVT796