Wednesday, April 15, 2015

RV stop in the name of love before you "brake" my heart

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

Dear Denied:
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


MrTommy said...

After 20+ years pulling triple trailers OTR I learned to NEVER pull into any place I wasn't absolutely sure I could get out of, especially at night. Even exit ramps when I wanted to take a quick power nap. I've brought all that experience over into our retired RV lifestyle - and so far, so good.

Gene and Jean said...

This is just another argument for having a Class-B motorhome. They live like bigger rigs and park pretty much like cars.

Anonymous said...

During the first several years of RV'ing we owned two travel trailers, We had a number of experiences negotiating turns during fuel stops, backing, and getting into, and out of, some very tight campsites, resulting in multiple dents and scrapes, etc. We also have been down some roads where we wondered all the way whether we going to be able to turn around at some point. We finally bought a truck camper. We love it. My wife remarked that she doesn't even miss the inside space that we had with the trailers. We can go virtually anywhere, and backing has ceased to be an issue. We even have a slide-out. John T. and Terri

Unknown said...

I have had the same "discussion" with my wife many times.
One of the times she "won" we hit the end of a culvert and did thousands of dollars damage to the rig.

Linda said...

Learn to drive your rig and then insist he let you drive. You'll get a new perspective. I second the point of finding a spot and going back with your toad. We have spent the night in many towns because once we stopped for one I interesting spot we often found more. Of course Bering retired means never having to be anywhere at any given time. When we had a 5th wheel we never had a place we couldn't get out of.

Anonymous said...

Husband is right, wife is VERY wrong.

Anonymous said...

Husband is right. I'm the wife and do a lot of the driving, from Big Class A and 5th wheel to what we have now, a 24 ft View. If you want the big rig, you sacrifice spontaneity. I suggest you drive for a couple of reasons. All women SHOULD be capable of driving your rig. In an emergency, that isn't the first time you should be behind the wheel. Next, it will stop this sort of unreasonable expectation. Drive and you will see..... no last minute pulling over. We eventually went to our smaller rig without a toad when we had enough of the highways and wanted to wander the back roads and pull over when we wish. Can't have it both ways. I will repeat.. Ladies, learn to drive your rigs, give your men a rest break every once in a while.

Anonymous said...

A good many accidents happen while backing up. It may be good practise to think like a school bus driver in which "Backing up isn't an option" Now figure out how you are going to maneuver in and out "without" backing up.

George said...

It also helps if you "slow down and smell the roses". Dropping even 5 miles per hour gives you a much better chance of assessing whether it's safe to stop. Don't go so slow as to snarl traffic but my goodness you're "on holidays". Now I'm retired I say I'm on two six month shifts with no days off. My Ford dually with 37 ft 5th wheel can go anywhere a commercial semi can go so I let that be my judge. As a side note to MR TOMMY, I agree and don't like driving at night because everything is not visible. If you don't know what "everything" means you better think about flying next time.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I pull a medium size 5ht wheel and also very much enjoy stopping at the drop of a hat to see something, but most of the time it is too late to pull in or we see as we drive by there isn't room. We have never been in a town in over 40 years that you couldn't go around the block or two to get back closer to the attraction we wanted to see, we sometimes when not in a town continue on a few miles to the first safe place to turn around, after all what's a couple extra miles! When we get closer we just park on a side street and walk the rest of the way. I understand that everyone is not able to walk as we do but if you can do so. Don

Anonymous said...

agree with the others...The driver makes the decision, No antique trinket is worth having an accident. We drive a 1ton truck pulling at 37 ft 5th wheel and if Mr says I can't pull in there, I dont argue.......