Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I love to stop at thrift shops and antique stores when we travel. The problem is my husband always has some reason not to stop. Usually it is because he doesn’t see adequate parking for our motorhome and tow car, too much traffic, or not enough time to look over the parking situation before we pull in.
I seldom drive so I can’t argue those facts. I am wondering if it is just my husband, or do other RV drivers have the same problem parking spontaneously when they see a place they would like to stop along the way.
I don’t want to miss half of America just because of parking restrictions for our size. This has caused several arguments already. Please give me some advice.
--Denied Access in Arizona
There are some trade-offs for having a large, luxurious home on wheels. Many stores, attractions and even fuel stops have limited space for parking or pull-throughs. Depending on your size, spontaneity can often go out the window.
You do not want to be indecisive when making a turn into an area you are not familiar with. If you are not sure what you are doing, you can be sure the traffic behind you has no clue.
In your case, my suggestion would be to look for the nearest suitable parking area you can find, drop your tow vehicle from the Mother Ship, and go back to businesses that look too tight to maneuver into blindly.
Many people learn this lesson the hard way. I, like many people, would be guilty as charged. I can recall several times having to unhook the toad and work my way out of a tight situation.
I once had a guy in the Florida Keys yelling at me. He was upset because he had just lost a bet. He had bet his friend fifty dollars that I would never get turned around and out of the parking lot.
Those pulling a 5th wheel or trailer do not have the luxury of unhooking.
You can’t always plan ahead. I understand that many interesting stops just appear unannounced. That is one of the great things about RV travel. That said, you still need to be realistic as to your capabilities, skills, options and nerves, when making a split-second decision to sail into uncharted waters.
My wife and I just watched a couple completely destroy a brand new fifth-wheel. They pulled into a narrow, state park campground loop. Instead of stopping and assessing the situation, they panicked. Before we could get to them they tore up both sides of the rig, ripped the ladder off, and dented the storage doors under the front hitch.
You might want to drive more often. It will give you a fresh perspective on how your husband is thinking. It will also give you some confidence and skills you might one day need if something were to happen to him.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink