Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Soon to be new RV owner

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We are close to making a buying decision on a new motorhome. We have studied them to death. It's a very expensive step, and I want to make sure we do it right the first time.

I have read your comments about making sure the thing fits our needs, and that we both agree on the floor plan and options. Before we make the jump, can you give us anymore input?

We are extremely nervous. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
--Anxious buyer in Boston

Dear Anxious:
Besides the usual concerns about finding the right unit for the way you want to travel I suggest spending some time studying the manufacturer and the dealer.

These will be people you will be entering into a relationship with. There are things you want to discover ahead of time such as how you will be treated after the sale, quality reputation, service record, organization, and parts availability.

By talking to as many other RV owners as possible you learn quickly if the dealer follows through on new owner concerns, if the factory stands behind their product and how timely they are in correcting issues you might have.

Most new units are going to have some issues, so you want to be sure whoever you end up working with is going to have your best interest in mind.

Having service work done at the factory, parts availability and customer service will become very important in the future.

You might want to call your potential manufacturer's service contact before making a buying decision and see how you are treated with a few questions.

I think once you have done your homework and feel comfortable about craftsmanship and business reputation, pulling the trigger will be much easier and less stressful.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

RV stovetop on the fritz

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
Thank you for the reminder that we should have our alarms tested periodically. After reading your column we tested all of ours and had problems with two of them.

Two months later we were glad we did the testing. It wasn't something normal like a failed gas fitting. Our stovetop burner "went on the Fritz" just as we went to bed one night. I smelled gas before the alarm sounded. I jumped out of bed and started investigating just as the buzzer went berserk. In the kitchen I could hear the gas hissing from the stove.

I knew exactly what happened immediately. The stove didn't go on the Fritz, Fritz went on the stove.

Yes, our cat Fritz got a wild hair up his hind end and was running around the motorhome. He does that on occasion. His gets that wild look in his eyes and runs from end to end of the motorhome as if he is chasing something, or something is chasing him.

From what I can figure, he ran across the couch, jumped up on the stove, and as he dove from the stovetop his back leg must have pushed in on the knob and twisted it at the same time.

A freak accident for sure, but one that could have been a cat-astrophe had we not smelled the gas or the alarm was not functioning.
--Thank you in Zion

Dear Zion:
Glad to hear a happy ending to what could have been a totally different ending to this story.

Yes, it is often the unexpected that can cause serious problems. You can't prepare for every situation, but having working sensor alarms are your first line of defense.

Everyone should check these devices on a regular basis.

You might want to cover your knobs or block Fritz's path to the stove in case he decides to make a habit out of stove Free BASE jumping.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

RV "Nagivation"

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My husband and I get along just fine while traveling, until he panics. When he becomes lost or confused as to which way we should turn, it suddenly becomes my fault. He thinks I should have read his mind, known he was going to become confused, and ​ be able to​ give him instant directional help. ​

One day I lost it and​ threw the Rand McNally at him. I know that ​probably wasn't a good idea, but he was impatient and rude. When I do try to help him, he says I’m nagging, I’m wrong, I’m directionally challenged or I couldn’t find my seatbelt with both hands.

Do I need to put up with this abuse? How can we turn our directional relationship into a bit more of a civil conversation?
--You Turn in Yuma

Dear Yuma:
It takes a village to direct an RV. There is a general rule that few people seem to follow in directional relationships. I don’t think it is widely known outside of RV academia. It is called the “Nagivation Theory.” Everyone in the vehicle has the right and duty to be involved in “Nagivation.” Holding on to the steering wheel does not give one passenger sway over all the others.

In your case, you should both be involved in deciding your route and in navigating it. The old saying, “two heads are better than one” fits perfectly here. ​It should take much less "Na​giv​at​ion"​ these days if you implement the use of all the tools available for navigation. Instead of using just a map book, familiarize your route using map apps, GPS, and even google earth.

If your husband is a nervous driver, pay close attention when you are coming to decision points and work together to alleviate his anxiety by feeding him information that is helpful before he goes ballistic. Knowing where you are going is also a safety issue. You don’t want to be making sudden lane changes, quick turns and ducking map missiles.

When coming into a congested area it is better to pull over when convenient and do a bit of studying together so you are both on the same map page. Doing a bit of homework will eliminate a lot of “Nagivation​​”​ and make you less of a "Nagivator"
 --Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink