Wednesday, July 29, 2015

RV forecasting

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I need scheduling help. My wife is refusing to camp in certain areas. With all the drought in the West the news is full of fires and floods. I told her the TV broke because one more night of news and we will have to start camping at fire stations across America for her to feel safe and know help is close by. Just when I thought I had her convinced she was overreacting, our Glacier National Park campground reservation was canceled for Lake St. Mary Campground. Fire was threatening the area and we were not allowed in.

I tried to explain to her that we live on wheels and can move at the drop of a hat if things looked sketchy wherever we camp. Now my every suggestion is suspect. It is driving me nuts. Should I buy a fire truck and convert it into an RV? It would already have a large fresh water holding tank. Do you think that would make her feel safer?
--Disaster Dave in Deer Lodge

Dear Dave in Deer Lodge:
There is nothing wrong with preparedness. Worry and stress are another issue. I heard that “there is nothing to fear but fear itself.” Traveling to avoid everything you see on the news will limit you to a padded cell.

I can see how your wife works herself into a frenzy. I was watching Nightly News last week when I saw a 5th wheel float down a road in Wickenburg, Arizona.

Keeping your head in the sand will not solve any problems. Information is key to safety. I would suggest you camp where you want but have a backup plan. Know your escape routes, incoming weather events, fire conditions and terrain.

Words from a sage much wiser than myself fit here perfectly. Forrest Gump sums it up with two of his famous quotes: “Stupid is as stupid does.” (This would be good advice for people who put themselves in harm's way, ignoring the conditions.) Also, “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'" (This would be to emphasize the fact that you have to be prepared for anything.)

There are five other campgrounds in Glacier still open. One is a reservation campground and the others are first come, first serve. Think of a change in plans as an adventure. You may discover something new and enjoyable because your original plans were altered by conditions out of your control.
When you think about it, you only have a few conditions to worry about -- wind, heavy rain, hail, tornado, fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, blizzard, sand storm and maybe a dust devil or two.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


Tink said...

I have to disagree with your idea that 'you can leave at the drop of a hat'. It's not true.
Last year we were parked in Oregon's Molalla, beautiful forest and rivers area, when further down the road a fire was caused by guys at a shooting range. You will not be the first to know, unless you are attached to the police scanner. By the time we saw the smoke and the camp host tentative informed us that there was a fire coming our way it's was too late to leave. Fire trucks rolled in and began to collect propane bottles and remove them from the RV's and trailers of people not at their homes on wheels but spending the day elsewhere.( this could be you also)
We were at Ours because we just arrived the day before and we're still setting things up and getting comfortable.
By now we could almost hear the fire, at least we could smell it. The tick fog was setting in and the fire fighters from different area decided to use our RV park as a good base camp. We were discussing what to do, other people were being rounded up to be evacuated. We were told to pack a bag, take pets and be ready for evacuation. Because we were not totally settled my husband decided to use his communication skills to convince the commander he could be ready to leave with the RV in 20 min tops.
After a lot of discussion back and forth, all roads were closed by now, he was allowed to drive the RV out as only person in the park. Others were evacuated. We were lucky that we had not settled in yet.
The fire spread and spread and RV people have been at the evacuation place for almost 10 days.
Even though we were only just a couple of hours close to the fire we still had a lot of fall-out damage. Those little specs that look like paper that comes falling out of the sky as very hot and stick to your coating, plus the indoor air quality was horrible. We had smoke damage. Our insurance took care of that, she had to be treated inside and out and strangely enough that took them almost 4 months. Not happy!
So as you see, once you are caught in a fire it's not up to you if you can leave or not. If the fire fighters think it's too dangerous you will have to leave but without your RV. A fire spreads so fast that there is no time to pack up, disconnect and leave.

Th RV park was lucky. I have photos were the flames can be seen sky high and very close to the park but because the fire fighters too the park as a base camp they did everything they could to keep the flames away from the propane thanks who were all stacked up with names on them together. The Park was spared, everything else around it was burned. It took them well over 3 months to get it under control. Which was sooner than they expected. The first guess was 6 months.
It was a life changing event for me and it gave me major respect for firefighters who were so organized and so very much compassionate to everyone human or animal. And all this because some guys wanted to practice shooting and hit something metal that sparked a flame.

MrTommy said...

This is a scary tale for sure, but I think it's the exception rather than the rule. A lot depends on where you are camped (forest, desert, lakefront, etc.). It also depends on just how much stuff you set out when you are "set up".

We boondock 90% of the time so our complete setup includes chairs, foldup table, and maybe bbq. Landing gear down and unhooked from the trailer. Dish on tripod. If we're in a fully hooked up campground, now we're plugged in, water hooked up (maybe) and sewer connected. Plus all the other stuff mentioned above. Boondocking offers the quickest flight, but we may not KNOW where all the roads go, so it's still a crap shoot. "You pays your money, and you takes your chances" no matter where you go.

Laura C. said...

Wow, you two are a little ray of sunshine! His poor guy will never get to camp again if he listens to you, or if his wife does.
We've been doing serious RV travel for 15 years and have never been in danger. We watch the news, look at the weather and plan accordingly. Just because you set off for Glacier doesn't mean you have to go there. Montana is a huge gorgeous state with lots of things to see and places to go...find one or two or twelve. Go to Glacier next year when the conditions are better. Phillipsburg area is cute. Take a trip up to Hungry Horse dam and find a forest to camp in. Take the Lolo Hwy. over to Lewiston and Clarkston, following Lewis and Clark. Take heart, the country is big and it's easy to avoid problems. Happy travels.

Roy said...

Now you're making sense. We have friends who plan their entire winter.They will sit for 2 weeks in the cold and wind and rain because that's what they decided 6months ago.

MrTommy said...

We have literally pulled out of our driveway making the decision to go right or left - right then and there! Not always, obviously, but twice. We just wanted to "get out of Dodge" and it didn't matter where we went.

travelinggramma63 said...

We have been full timing for 4 years and the name of the game with this lifestyle is flexibility......You may plan one thing and a breakdown, bad weather or injury or illness can change your plans pretty quickly. My DH has always been more flexible than I, so this is something I have had to learn.