Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Getting pickled in your RV

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My husband is sick in the head. Nothing too serious. The pickle jar fell out of the cupboard and beaned him good. We stopped for lunch at a rest area in North Dakota after driving through a long construction zone. Things must have been rattled around pretty good. I opened the cupboard door and before I could yell “incoming” he was sprawled on the floor holding his head, practicing vocabulary I rarely hear. Now he thinks we need netting on all of our cupboard openings. We have been on the road for three years and this has never happened before. I don’t want to deal with netting every time I need a can of beans. He is being very insistent that he design some safety measure. Do you think it was the pickles? Will he eventually get over this obsession? The lump on his head has disappeared but I see him staring at the cupboards all the time and his little gears are turning. I know he is going to do something stupid, like build a hockey goal around all of our storage areas. Help me please.
--Pickled in Park Rapids

Dear Pickled:
We’ve all been pickled before. It wears off after a short time. As you know, UFO’s (Unidentified Falling Objects), are not a constant problem. My suggestion would be to work with your husband on this problem so you can control his creative side. Suggest that you rearrange goods so that heavy items, such as pickles, are not stored directly above the dinette. In this cupboard you may want to place paper products like napkins. If he does not buy into this relocation process there are products already on the market that create the very barriers he's trying to design. Some look like hockey goals and others act like cupboard fencing. These devices are not normally needed. Storage of items takes some thought and experimental experience. Noise is another issue RVer’s in motorhomes deal with while rolling down the road. Storing food, dishes and pots and pans takes some organization and planning to keep the decibel level within a reasonable range. Many people find themselves going to lighter weight products like plastic wine glasses and composite plates. Light, unbreakable items do less damage if they happen to fall out of the cupboards. They are also less likely to cause a concussion or long-term engineering programs. If you find a number of divots in the dinette's formica table top, you are probably a candidate for storage rearrangement school.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

RV sink stink

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We are first time buyers of a new Class A motorhome. On one of our first trips we met up with friends and family for a weekend camping trip. It turned out to be four nights of boon-docking. On the way home we had a horrendous smell in the motorhome. My wife was giving me the stink-eye and I thought it was her. After playing the blame game we finally did some investigation and discovered it was sink stink. We never smelled it while camping, but as soon as we started down the road it was as if someone threw a stink bomb into our new rig. We were conservative with our water use, but I think my wife took too many showers. We are hoping that grey and black water odors are not going to be an ongoing problem for us. Is this something we should stress about or is it just part of the learning curve we are experiencing?
--Smellbound in Springfield

Dear Smellbound: 
Not to worry. You will discover many little idiosyncrasies as you learn to trim the sails. This one is easy. Dump the holding tanks when they get full. Your new home on wheels has been plumbed with sink traps just like your home. Once the tanks fill, the gray water will find its way past the traps and begin to smell. Usually it will back up into the shower stall first. Holding tank deodorizers will help distinguish occasional odors that escape while flushing or dumping. I would suggest you always use black water treatments and occasionally treat your grey water tank also. There are shelves full of stuff and they all work great. After four days of boon-docking you may want to consider personal hygiene products also. It’s not always the sink drain.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Thursday, August 15, 2013

RV Comings and Goings

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My wife is conflicted. We spend 6-9 months a year living and traveling in our RV. Before we leave my wife is always dragging her feet. She is very involved socially at home and hates to leave. Once we are on the road she goes through withdrawals for awhile then slides comfortably into our RV lifestyle. After several months on the road she dreads going back home and getting so involved again. I try to keep her on the road as long as possible, but I never know if she is coming or going. Is this normal behavior? --DiscomBobulated in Duluth

Dear Bob:
It sounds perfectly normal to me. Sometimes when people have the freedom to do whatever they like, they can’t decide what they really want. It’s like a kid in a candy store. As wonderful as RV travel is, the tug of home can be very strong for many reasons. Friends and family, home maintenance, grandkids, social functions, tax preparation, the list of reasons to go back to port varies. It sounds like you have the best of both worlds. You're lucky your wife makes the transition even though it is not as smooth as yours. Some couples do not survive the RV lifestyle because one or both cannot make the transition at all. As romantic as the open road sounds, some people find they are too insecure to enjoy it. Some folks just can’t find happiness in being uprooted, have no sense of adventure or cannot convince themselves to give up their social calendar back home. You two sound like you are adjusting just fine. Keep on truckin’.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Thursday, August 8, 2013

RV Soap Opera

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I think you need to schedule campground office hours. We just spent a night in Rocky Mountain National Park next to a couple in a large tent. Their campfire circle was directly out our motorhome bedroom window. They spent a few hours around the campfire discussing their relationship loud enough so that we could not help hearing the whole sordid mess very clearly. It was a warm night so they had to know everyone around them had their RV windows open. I think they needed a confessional more than a couch. Things escalated into yelling. We were not going to pull out and move at midnight, but we were hoping we weren't going to end up in the middle of a domestic violence scene. I tell my husband we should stay in private campgrounds where the management might be on top of this drama before it gets out of hand. He says the parks have law enforcement, but I have never seen them ask a noisy group of people to quiet down. Do you think I am over-reacting to an uncommon event? I do use ear plugs but they don't block out the loud voices or noises. Maybe we have just been in the wrong places at the wrong time in our short stint on the road so far. --Soap Opera in the Rockies

Dear Soap: I think your campfire confession couple is rare indeed. It is not uncommon to find a campsite neighbor that is annoying, but often it is just rude people making too much noise. I have recently commented on the musical types and those with automotive alarm systems. Domestic disputes are less common and could become violent. They are also often alcohol fueled. I would advise staying completely out of those situations. Moving would not be out of the question if the scene started looking ugly. Campground hosts have the ability to contact law enforcement as would private campground management. It is not a perfect world and those things do not always happen in government or private campgrounds. You have to gauge your comfort level and make your own decisions to relocate or stand your ground. I can guarantee that these annoyances will be a small percentage of the campground experiences you will have in your travels. Most campgrounds will be filled with wonderful people, many of which will become lifelong friends.
 --Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink