Monday, March 28, 2011

Campground Quiet Time "NOT"

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have been RVing for a long time but recently we had an event that was a new experience for us. I thought we had seen it all, but I was wrong. We were in Silver River State Park in Florida and about ten o’clock at night a group showed up to claim the site next to us. They were camping in a horse trailer with a loud diesel truck as a tow vehicle. Without exaggeration it took them over an hour to back it into a wide, straight site, with little to hit except bushes. For awhile I thought it must be the Candid Camera crew trying to get a stir out of us. It was all I could do to keep my husband from going out and parking it for them. They were yelling, “Whoa, stop, hold it, go forward, back to the left, you’re crooked” and before they were done a few other choice words. I thought it was humorous after awhile but my husband could hardly stand it. I told him it was all part of the camping experience and that on occasion we would have to deal with stupid people who are clueless when it comes to common sense and quiet manners. He thinks he needs to give classes to those who haven’t figured it out on their own yet. I think that can be dangerous in this day and age. Can you throw in your two cents.
--Coiled Spring in Silver Springs


Dear Coiled:
You have to think of those occasions as experiences. You now have a great story to tell around the campfire when you are with fellow campers. Trust me, you have yet to see it all. If you let every inconsiderate camper annoy you to the point of distraction you will take years off your camping life. Campground life is not a utopian existence, but in my opinion it is close. You will experience a good, even wonderful outcome 95% of the time. You can improve those odds as you travel more and learn which camping areas offer less chance of having a close neighbor. Just be thankful you don’t own real estate next to people like the ones you experienced at Silver River. You can always move to another campsite when things become unmanageable. Some folks have no clue how to back up a rig, but a quiet campground in the dark is no time to learn. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, you never know what they might have been through before they made it to your quiet little oasis that night. Patience is a virtue.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Friday, March 18, 2011

RV Mother-in-Law Apartment

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have had a large motorhome for many years. I always thought that after I retired, my wife and I would travel several months during the year. Now that I have retired and have all my ducks in a row, my wife refuses to go because her 83 year old mother would be left alone. My mother-in-law is healthy and active but my wife is afraid she would feel abandoned if we were gone that long. Can you give me some suggestions on how to convince my wife we need to have a life too? I love my mother-in-law but I don’t want to miss traveling in our golden years because she might need us occasionally. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Mommy-in-Law’s Boy in Bowling Green

Dear Mommy’s Boy:
If you really love your mother-in-law, take her along. There is a large percentage of boomers who have parents to care for. I think that is an honorable responsibility in most cases. If you have a large motorhome and everyone gets along, why not travel with mom if she is willing. It’s like a mother-in-law apartment on wheels. I have seen this work out wonderfully in many traveling relationships. It sometimes takes awhile to work out all the scheduling bugs between a couple and a parent all living in a small space, but it is very feasible. With cell phones, email and even Skype, on today’s portable computers, it is easy to stay in touch with loved ones while traveling. Those devices do not replace spending quality time with an aging parent. Another plus could be having a live in referee. I know one couple, both with Type A personalities, that seem to argue all the time. Once her mother joined them on the road it mellowed them both out, added a third voice to the conversation, and they often used her for the tie breaking vote involving important decisions. This third wheel relationship is not going to work for everyone. Don’t make any rash moves until you consider all the negatives that could positively drive you to drink. Good Luck
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Friday, March 11, 2011

RV Mobile Connection Conflicts

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My wife and I are finding we rely more and more on our computer internet connection while traveling. We use it for directions, campground reservations, fuel prices, weather forecasting, hiking info, banking, emailing and the list goes on. The problem recently is we both want to be on at the same time. She says I look over her shoulder like a hawk waiting to snag a field mouse. I think we should have set hours that each of us claim as our time to surf the net. She says that is too restrictive. What would you suggest? I’m tired of feeling guilty about using this great resource when she also wants to be on line. Thanks in Advance.
--Webel Rouser in Washington State

Dear Webel:
How much is it worth for you to solve your problem? All you need is a wireless router to plug your Air Card into and you and your wife can both be on at the same time if you have two devices that will access the internet. I get many questions about computer sharing so let me give you some examples of what others do to solve the problem. If you only have one laptop you will need a second device. You might consider a smaller notebook, used laptop, IPAD, IPOD, IPHONE or any number of choices available. If you have a cell phone service provider, they will be offering a data package. With Verizon, for example, you pay about $60/mo. for 5G of data. They also offer a WiFi device for sharing the connection. If you already have an air card you can buy a wireless router that the card plugs into from companies like Cradlepoint. Remember, when you are both on at the same time you will be eating up data at twice the rate. I don’t want you to solve one argument just to create another over your next cellular bill. Another frustration RVer’s experience is weak connections. You can solve some of that with a product like Wilson Electronic signal booster kits. They do help. All this technology costs money, but it will pay for itself quickly if you find cheaper camping, fuel and better directions. It’s all part of fine tuning your RV travel lifestyle. Many changes are just over the horizon and a computer and internet connection are becoming more important every year. So stop fighting over the computer and work together at beefing up your online capabilities.
The only problem with all this easy access connectivity is your relatives always know where to find you.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Friday, March 4, 2011

RV Road Rage

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I have an ongoing problem with road rage. He sits right next to me in the motorhome and swears a blue streak at the outside world as we drive down the road. If we are in rural areas he seems like a perfectly normal, compassionate human being. When we get into heavy traffic congestion, construction zones or have to turn around because of a missed turn, he goes nutso! I think he needs a course in anger management, but he tells me he is working on a home remedy to “just say no” to spells of frustration and the rage that follows. Can you help us? Is this a normal RV symptom? I see rigs much larger than our Class “C” with a “toad.” I can’t hear into the cockpit of those rigs. Maybe everyone is raging on down the road. Let me know what you think and what I should do to combat my husband’s road hostilities.
--Blue Streak in Biloxi

Dear B S:
I think this is more common than many people like to admit. You don’t hear this often in campground conversation, but you can bet it is more common than people let you believe. Many drivers are capable but not comfortable towing a large rig. I know a retired tour bus driver that spent his career driving 40 ft. Tour buses into New York City and Boston but couldn’t get used to pulling a 30 ft. Fifth wheel. I met another woman who couldn’t stand to listen to her husband swear and talk to other drivers that irritated him. She bought him a sound device that made various weapon sounds. He would use his machine gun or rocket launcher sounds to vent his frustrations. It is no different from trying to kick a smoking habit. You have to want to quit and work hard at keeping your wits about you. Another thought would be to have your husband pull off to the side of the road immediately and do some deep breathing, yoga relaxation poses and make various mediative sounds to connect his RV spirit to the primordial OM sounds resonating throughout the universe. Relaxing and building mental capacity for patience is the key. Rage can ruin a trip, cause unhealthy stress, become a safety issue and ruin a traveling relationship. You may want to do some of the driving when you see your husband going off the deep end. That will be his signal that he is going too far. It may help him put his actions into perspective and mellow him out a bit.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink