Posts Tagged ‘RVlife’

It’s not always bad news…

Reason #43- Television

Mine was the first generation that has been entirely entertained at home by television shows, albeit they were black-and-white when I was a kid.  Before that, perhaps unbelievably so, families would pull up chairs to the living room radio and listen to their favorite episodes of Ozzie and Harriet, Abbott and Costello, Burns and Allen, Jack Benny, Life of Riley, The Lone Ranger, or one of hundreds broadcast in the ‘40s and ‘50s.  Many of those were the first television series as well, since they already had an audience and sponsors.  Soon, though, the vision part of television added a new dimension to entertainment and shows began rolling out for that medium.

I wasn’t planning on making this a history lesson, but I thought I was reminisce for a moment.  I vividly remember kid shows growing up, like Rin Tin Tin, Roy Rogers, Flipper, the aforementioned Lone Ranger, Superman, Sky King, The Rifleman, Kukla Fran and Ollie, Sherri Lewis, and a myriad of cartoons (like Johnny Quest, Bugs Bunny, Huckleberry Hound and Mighty Mouse).  As I got older, on came Star Trek, Batman, I Dream of Jeanie, Lost in Space, Andy Griffith, Bewitched, Hogan’s Heroes, Gilligan’s Island, I Spy and so many more.  There were many genres created for broadcast, with westerns, sci-fi, variety, police and medical dramas, horror, morning and daytime, news, game shows, sports and sitcoms, short for “situation comedies.”

On the road full-time, we have an even better appreciation for a good TV series.  Nighttime in the wilderness or in a remote campground has limited entertainment opportunities.  There are only so many times you want to sit around a campfire, and we’re often too removed from any nightlife for it to be an option.  With the advent of the mobile satellite dish and streaming services, we have just about all the TV we want.  We have a nightly ritual of streaming old series, like How I Met Your Mother, Frasier, and In Plain Sight, one episode per evening for two or three shows.  It took several months to complete all 13 seasons of Frasier, one show per night.

Besides its entertainment value, television can be educational and cultural, providing insights into people and places you have never experienced.  We still get our national and local news via the TV [this may be changing].  Being part of a fanbase can be fun and give you something to talk about to friends, family and new acquaintances.  There is no better way to be a sports fan than watching your favorite team on the tube, and, better yet, inviting all your friends and family over to share the experience.  TV shows can also help you feel less lonely, allowing you to involve yourself in the characters’ relationships.  Watching DIY, cooking and outdoors shows can inspire you to try new things or pick up a new hobby.

Watching TV is also an excellent bonding opportunity for you and your life partner or close friend.  It can be a significant shared experience or just a nice enjoyable time, either being beneficial to your relationship.  If you sit together while watching, you can have intimate moments and touch, and even with a scary scene, provide valuable physical and emotional support.

You have probably heard the old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine.”  Television comedies can improve your health and mental state in this way and studies have found that people feel more energetic after watching nature shows on TV.  It has been reported that watching TV can reduce stress and your cortisol levels, high levels of which can cause weight gain, higher bad cholesterol and depression


Last, it is among the least expensive forms of entertainment, as long as you monitor all of your monthly subscribed service fees.  You can easily have more television than you can watch for less than $100 per month.

Whether you are a home body, an avid camper or a full-time RVer, television is a huge safety net against boredom and stagnation of your imagination, and can provide a wonderful source of happiness.  Just remember, when it stops being enjoyable, there is an on-off switch.


The final word in the subject comes from American actor Melissa Rauch, who said, “TV was my life, growing up. I ran home from school to watch television, and even did my homework with the TV on – my mom had a rule that as long as my grades didn’t fall, I was allowed to. So it was my dream to work in television.

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It’s not always bad news…

Reason #42- Camping and Glamping

My parents never took me camping, not that Los Angeles has ever been a camper’s nirvana.  They did, though, support my joining the local Boy Scouts troop, the leaders of which took the members camping a few times a year.  We visited the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests, the Mojave Desert and other areas around Southern California.  I vividly remember hiking to one of the peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains and shivering in the cold because I had failed to anticipate and pack for 30-degree temps at nearly 8,000 feet.

Even so, I loved camping and enjoyed it as often as I could over the years.  When my oldest daughter was less than a year old, we camped in the Yosemite National Forest, and she was no worse for wear from the experience.  I think all of my kids enjoyed the experiences we had after moving to Washington State.  Camping and fishing were two of our primary activities every summer.

The kids grew up and I moved to Western New York, and camping was less available, so for years it was a forgotten habit.  It wasn’t until my wife and I moved to Las Vegas and realized we both had the itch to travel and see America that my vagabond nature returned.  However, this time it would be glamping, not just camping.  “Glamping,” or “glamor camping,” is the term some people give to camping in RVs rather than tents.  As you get older, tent-camping becomes much less desirable.

Campouts are not just for families any more — we actually camp full-time.  One of the popular aspects of camping is the huge variety of types and styles available to the average person.  Even tents have improved to the point where they may not even be recognizable as such.  Canvas cabins are as spacious as wooden ones.  Hard-side pull-trailers and traditional tent trailers have been combined into “hybrid” camping trailers.  Fifth wheel trailers can range from small 20-foot rigs to huge 45-foot toy haulers and you can utilize from one to five or more slide-outs for even more space.  Several have side and/or rear raised decks.  

Then there are the myriad of types of motorhomes, from a regular van conversion, rated a class B, to a larger and more sophisticated class B+, to the traditional class C motorhome on a larger chassis and truck cab with the usual overhang for a bed or storage, to a bus style class A.  The lines between the styles and classes are being blurred more each season.  Glamping just doesn’t get any better, or more expensive.

No discussion about styles of camping would be complete without defining the types of camping.  It is estimated that there are over 15,000 RV resorts, parks and campgrounds in the U.S., and they range from rustic forest or state campgrounds without or with limited hookups, to more traditional parks with or without full hookups, to neighborhoods of park model or manufactured homes that allow RVs, full-service RV resorts with amenities that never end.  If you want to rough it, you can boondock or dry camp, which is basically picking a spot in a forest or meadow, on the plains or in the desert, and making camp without any services or amenities except what you brought for yourself.  Fortunately, most RVs are completely self-contained, sporting water and waste tanks and a generator or solar system for power, so a week or less is totally possible to enjoy in this manner.

Communing with nature is never better than when you experience it while camping.  Usually, the location you choose will provide plenty of fresh air, and often hiking or biking is readily available relatively close by.  So, the health benefits are all around you, including a reduction of stress and a happier mood.  That feeling of glee you get when you take your first breath of air in a campground isn’t all in your mind — it’s due to a release of serotonin from breathing in the extra oxygen produced by trees and in the forest.  When you are out in direct sunlight, you’re receiving an abundance of vitamin D, which allows your body to better absorb calcium and phosphorous.  Even mild activity usually equates to a good night’s sleep, and the natural surroundings may allow or even suggest some soothing meditation.

RVers and other campers are ordinarily a social bunch, so it is easy to make new and long-lasting friendships.  This is true whether you camp over a weekend, over a season or full-time.  Not only did we make lifelong friends while camping in Colorado, but developed a surprising number of friends and acquaintances we met after hitting the road a few short years ago.

There are many ways that camping or glamping can provide happiness in your life.  It did that for us in such abundance that it is now our daily way of life.


I’ll close the subject with a quote from a British politician, Margaret Beckett, who experienced glamping:  “Some people think that going on a caravan holiday is a slightly more upscale version of camping. Let me assure you, it is much better than that. You know that you will have your creature comforts wherever you are. I never have to pack light, and I can put the kettle on in any location.

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It’s not always bad news…

Reason #39- Redecoration

Decorating and redecorating have been passions of mine for decades.  One of the most exciting things about moving into a new house (or new to us) is the prospect of a clean slate and letting my creative juices flow.  We’ve lived in almost a dozen apartments, townhouses and houses since we’ve been together, and each one needed décor.

It’s not just the end result that is satisfying, it’s also the process leading up to it.  I’ve never had formal training in home décor or interior design.  It’s something that seems to come naturally to me, somewhat like my photography.

Moving into our fifth wheel full-time was a real adventure in home décor, having to juggle space and comfort and create a living space.  That’s quite different from using an RV for weekends.  Unlike a house, remodeling an RV can be exceedingly difficult, with extra-small spaces exaggerating the features and colors.  Non-standard construction and materials can make any project seem daunting or impossible.

Some see redecorating as a personal project to design and implement, some as a relief from a boring or stale existence.  There are those who see it as a tedious task that might be slightly more than a necessity.  Others see decorating as a totally creative endeavor.  No matter the purpose, beautiful outcomes can be exceedingly rewarding.  It is well-known that functioning in beautiful spaces can boost our mood and reduce stress, so improving your atmosphere will likely improve your morale.

Similar to the “new car smell” when you first bring home a new auto, redecorating can give a room or house a new look, often refreshing a worn, dingy space you had more than gotten used to.  That new look can also be a springboard for inspiration in all your creative ventures.  If a room is decorated in an interesting way, you are more likely to spend hours in it, comfortably examining all of its features and appreciating the eye of the decorator.  It might feel like you have modernized as well, as dated decor can often become boring and “so yesterday.”  Remodeling can also make extra room or a construct a more exciting use for a space.  Change can be good, but enhancing the use of a room can be priceless.

 It doesn’t take an expensive construction project either — even repainting can significantly affect the look of the space.  Anyone who has seen their home space become cluttered will appreciate a cleaning out and refurbishing of the space.  Purging can be a difficult but emotionally rewarding task.

Last but not least, a competent redecoration of your home will increase its value, both monetarily and in desirability.  Whether you work on the project yourself, hire professionals or help an experienced crew, the result is sure to benefit you and your life in many ways.


To complete this discussion, I’ll quote American businessman Gary Hamel, who said, “As human beings, we are the only organisms that create for the sheer stupid pleasure of doing so. Whether it’s laying out a garden, composing a new tune on the piano, writing a bit of poetry, manipulating a digital photo, redecorating a room, or inventing a new chili recipe – we are happiest when we are creating.

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It’s not always bad news…

Reason #36-Ingenuity

Ingenuity is defined by Dictionary.com as “the quality of being cleverly inventive or resourceful.”  My own take is that proof of ingenuity can be seen in a solution to a problem or inconvenience that is not obvious to very many people.  Think MacGyver, but scaled back.

As many an RVer will convey, problem solving without ready-to-use, off-the-shelf solutions is an integral part of the lifestyle.  Those that can’t do it need to have lots of time and cash. 

Here is an example:  When we decided to upgrade our portable generator, the new unit wouldn’t fit in the old storage spot.  There was no room in the back of the pickup, since I had two large toolboxes installed in its bed, nor would it fit in any basement compartment in the fifth wheel.  It was going to take a unique solution, one not readily apparent at first look.

I realized that there would be room on the rear bumper if I could find a way to attach a cabinet or shelf back there.  Also, I had had the fifth wheel’s original flimsy rear bumper replaced with a sturdy steel square pipe welded to the frame after experiencing problems with it, so weight on the bumper shouldn’t have been an issue.  We had previously had a dual bicycle rack clamped to the bumper when we had heavy electric bikes, and, when we sold the bikes, I kept the racks.  When clamped tightly on the bumper, several people could stand on it without it sagging, so I guessed a wooden shelf would be stable.

I bought and cut 2-inch by 8-inch lumber and several lag bolts, washers and nuts, and, after applying several coats of waterproofing, attached the boards on the bike racks.  I countersunk the tops of the bolts so they would not impede anything I placed on it.  Once satisfied of weight-bearing success, I removed the back of a painted steel office cabinet and screwed it down on the shelf so as to not block the license plate. 

I had purchased a generator that would fit side-to-side through the locking cabinet doors, and secured it onto the cabinet floor and some boards I placed inside it just for that purpose. The doors close and lock, and though it wouldn’t totally prevent someone from stealing it, it makes it difficult enough.  With the rear of the cabinet completely removed, there is plenty of air circulation for the generator as well.  The starting cord is easily available on the side and behind the cabinet, and the gas tank can be reached with a funnel just behind the top of the cabinet.

For good measure, I secured my 50-amp cord spooler down on the shelf, and now I have my pet fence sections strapped back there as well for easy access (instead of in my basement compartment).

I feel pretty good about my solution, which is just one example of a setup that took ingenuity and a bit of carpentry skill.  Like I said, difficulties and clever answers are just a part of life on the road.

Nadyne was equally ingenious on the inside of the rig.  One problem we were having was with setup and tear-down between stays — in other words, before and after travel days.  As all frequent travelers know, anything on a counter top in the rig tends to shift, vibrate and move while on the highway.  It is very time consuming to secure all of these items for travel, strapping some down, placing some on the sofa or bed, and just all-around stuffing wherever they would fit snugly.  It is even more time-consuming to set everything back up for use.

Museum gel works fine on smaller items like wine bottles and knick-knacks, but not so much on small appliances like our ice maker, coffee maker, air fryer, or other kitchen necessities such as silverware and plate caddies.  She searched high and low for a solution with the common marketplaces apparently no help.

She remembered how sticky some rubber mats were and wondered if they would hold larger items.  She bought a roll of rubber matting and cut some pieces just big enough for the aforementioned appliances and caddies to sit on.  We left them in place on the counters on our next travel day, stopping occasionally to check for movement (or damage), and were pleasantly surprised how well things had stayed put on the mats.  She found some rubberized cooking sheets that were less expensive but had the same gripping power.  We stocked up, then started snipping and using them for other pieces of equipment around the rig, such as our laptops, adding machine, printer, alarm clock and even some electronics for the TV in the bedroom.  Since doing that, we never lost a single item off of any cabinet, desk or counter due to the road vibration and sway, even on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that was rough enough to break our rig’s springs.

I would imagine if you ask any full-time RVer, they can regale you with wonderful stories of their own ingenuity.  Aw, shucks…


I’ll finish this discussion with a thought from American author Shelby Steele, who said, “We are a nation with a powerful investment in the idea of our own fundamental innocence. Our can-do optimism and ingenuity are based on the faith that we are a decent, open and generous people. This is our identity.

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Over several years, with our long-term plans to travel full-time underway, my wife and I read blogs and watched YouTube videos, almost ad nauseum, regarding downsizing to an RV. Sell, store or give everything away, they said. It will be hard, they said. We believed them.

Then, excitingly, it was upon us. We sold our 1,700 sq. ft. house and started downsizing in earnest to move into 340 sq. ft. It WAS hard, and it didn’t happen overnight. We took the necessary and difficult steps — selling, storing and giving away stuff — over months, and we still had to store much more than we had hoped. By “D-Day,” as in “Departure Day,” we had to be out.

While they mention the emotional pain of minimizing your possessions, what the bloggers and YouTubers don’t really tell you is that some of the pain is about the pure loss of value. Thousands of dollars’ worth of things we bought because we needed them, or wanted them, was left behind. We obviously didn’t have room for everything, so, intellectually, it made sense. However, years later, we still feel the loss of monetary value from starting our day-to-day nomadic life, especially when most of the significant downsizing happened over a relatively short period of time. Even small, unsellable items can bear a cost. If we paid $30 each for a hundred of these, they would have cost us $3,000 accumulatively.

Let’s say I want to buy a new TV or notebook and give away my old one, even if it works fine, or a wine rack is in the way and we decide to sell it to free up space. Those individual decisions are easy to live with. But, in the span of a month, we dealt away or carted to storage our living room and bedroom furniture, our guest room furniture, the dining room set, two wine racks, two big-screen TV’s, most of the house’s décor, half of my tools, three-quarters of our wardrobes, and even a car. Everything we had stored for a rainy day was gone.

​Even a few of these items can be difficult to think about, but our belongings were literally $20,000 less valuable than they were a month before leaving for the road, money we spent right out of our checkbook (we paid off all our material debt long before, thank goodness). The cash we gained in selling furniture, etc., was a pittance compared to their original values.

And then there is the emotional pain that the bloggers and Youtubers do tell you about. You can prepare for it, but it was a far more difficult experience than we expected. It was your stuff, sometimes for decades, and soon it would be left behind, perhaps never to be seen again. For most people, emotional attachments don’t dissolve easily.

Just as with anything we have to deal with in life, we tried to focus on the positive and look forward to many years of long-awaited travel. We have been able to visit friends and family we haven’t seen in years, or ever, and we finally were able to experience different parts of the country for more than a long weekend at a time. For most people, emotional attachments don’t dissolve easily. Indeed, on our journey, I’ve taken tens of thousands of photographs, and we have experienced 32 National Parks and 40 states.

​It took over ten years for the choice of living on the road to come to fruition. I just wish we had known how divesting most of our possessions would make us feel. In the four years since we began our journey, we have continued to downsize, with experience providing the impetus to do so. When we started, we didn’t really know what we didn’t know. As time went on, it became obvious that, even with all the stuff we left behind, we were still overstocked. The first three years, we returned to Denver each summer to off-load more items and clothing to our storage unit, then moved the all that stuff to our permanent winter base in Texas. That has eased the conflict of what to take on our travels and what to leave behind, but, if we’re not careful, we will have to go through the process again. Our space is not unlimited.

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You may be aware that we purchased an RV site at an Escapees Co-Op in Texas in order winter in place. But, why winter in one place?

You may have read my article, My Top 9 Trepidations of Full-Time RVing, in which I describe several anxieties upon moving to and setting up in an RV park. Some of these trepidations are the availability and status of full hookup sites, cell and Internet access, parking and setup difficulties, weather on the road, satellite reception, road hazards, pet friendliness, and others. Consider the fact that we commonly change campgrounds every two weeks or so, meaning that I experience these emotions more than two dozen times a year.

But, it’s more than these apprehensions. Driving takes a toll, especially as we get older, and fuel is a big expense when you are constantly on the move. The cold of winter leaves little of the country available for visiting in anything other than frigid climates. The usual RV snowbird regions, i.e. Florida, Texas, Arizona and Southern California, are rife with more large rigs than small, leaving space, convenience, solitude and privacy all wanting.

Even with RVillage, a virtual RV community with over 500,000 members nationwide, telling us which other members are camping in a specific park we arrive to, RVers in a park are often strangers, even more so during the pandemic. RVers are people, meaning that they include all types of personalities, social acumen and political persuasions, and not everyone is open to meeting newcomers.

I guess I’m saying that we miss friends and social circles in which to gather to share moments, stories and laughs. A two-week stay in an RV resort may afford us an acquaintance or two, but the process of our getting to know each other typically starts from scratch each time. Sure, there are stories from the RV lifestyle all RVers can relate to, such as many of the anecdotes I share in my book, “RV Life Happens,” but there are only so many black tank tales or RV park complaints you can regale. By spending four of five months in one community, we can begin building some real, longer-term relationships.

One quick mention: We have made several valuable personal connections in RVillage and on the road, and some will become lifelong friendships. We don’t diminish this possibility and always leave ourselves open to making new friends wherever we go.

Then there is the convenience of staying in a place long enough to see doctors and dentists, and to get RV repairs or make sure maintenance is performed. Although we had been returning to Denver each year for a couple of weeks to get medical and dental treatment, two weeks isn’t always long enough. After our first year on the road, I had to forgo one medical appointment when they couldn’t make space within our travel window in Colorado. RV upgrades and repairs can be especially difficult when moving around the country, with parts and materials taking longer to arrive than we are camping in any particular area.

One of the reasons we decided not to spend considerable time in any one park when we started this adventure is that we both had many, many items on our must-visit list and we were anxious to experience them all. We circumnavigated the country three times in our first three years and will embark on another grand circle as soon as the pandemic lets up, perhaps checking Yellowstone and Nova Scotia off our destinations lists. We have camped in 36 states and driven in 44, with more in our future itineraries.

Now that we have seen so much of the country, we can afford to take time to relax in a single community for the winter. The Escapees Co-Ops make this affordable but some have waiting lists with hundreds of names on them. The sites have space and hookups for an RV of nearly any size and for one or more sheds or casitas. Fortunately, in our Texas choice, we started at #42 on the waiting list and, in less than two years, we will were awarded a property last spring. We quickly moved our stored stuff from Denver to the new site and moved in, just in time for a tornado and major hail storm, but that’s another story.

Lastly, it would has been nice this year during the pandemic to have had a permanent spot to hunker down in rather than having to worry about whether any or all of the RV parks we had booked would decline our reservations when we arrived. During national emergencies, it’s comforting to have a home base to go to.

So, why Texas? Several reasons:

  • No state income tax
  • Milder and longer winter and spring seasons than most winter locales
  • Friends and relatives living in Texas
  • Availability of affordable sites
  • Driving distance from Mexico (for drugs and medical treatment)
  • Driving distance to the Gulf (for recreation)
  • Lots of DQ’s (Nadyne’s favorite) and several In ‘n’ Outs (Jack’s favorite)

All told, we have many reasons for being stationary in the winter, but that doesn’t mean we plan to give up traveling the country. We’ll still have eight months a year to continue our adventures.

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Contrary to the title, this post is really more about our lifestyle than travel. We spend, on average, two weeks in each campground or resort we stay, meaning that about twice a month we have a travel day, moving our house to the next stop, sometimes taking three of four days to arrive, boondocking at Walmarts or Cracker Barrels on those nights in between destinations.

Often during these commutes, I have anxieties about our next stay. Here are some things I think about, in no particular order.

  1. Availability and status of full hookup site
    We belong to Thousand Trails so that we don’t have out-of-pocket resort fees to worry about, but most of them are first-come, first-served, for full hookups, meaning that we may or may not find sewer or 50 amp electric hookups. This is important because without sewer, we can’t shower more than once or use our toilet more than one week during our stay. It takes a couple hours to set up or break down camp, so even if there is a dump station on-site, it takes much time and hassle to make use of it.

    A couple of years ago, we called ahead to confirm that we could easily get a full-hookup site with at least some cell signal for Internet, and they assured us that was the case. When we arrived, however, neither was available. We ended up passing up the resort and paying out of pocket for a private campground.

    Often water pressure is an issue as well. For that reason, we always keep our fresh water tank full in case there is little or no water from the park spigot, which sometimes happens mid-stay.
  1. Availability of cell coverage and Internet
    Speaking of confirming Internet availability, both Nadyne and I work on the road, Nadyne remotely doing insurance agency accounting and me writing and marketing. Both of us require Internet and Nadyne must be able to speak to clients across the country, so early on we purchased a cell booster to give us a stronger cell signal and more reliable Internet, along with utilizing cell coverage from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Among the three service providers, we almost always have something we can use, but every once in a while, we don’t. This was the case in the resort I mentioned earlier, where we only found two bars of coverage in one parking lot on one end of the park, and no signal from any campsite. You can’t boost zero signal, so this was unacceptable and we had to move to another campground.
  1. Parking difficulties
    We haven’t had a massive RV: a 31′ fifth wheel until this year and now a 36′. Still, backing into some spaces requires time, energy and nerves of steel.

Only once have I not been able to, eventually, get parked, but occasionally, because of narrow sites, trees at the corners of the site entrance, narrow paths between rows of sites and/or close proximity to immovable park models, parking can be harrowing. In the case of the Palm Springs RV Resort, all four were problems. Add the situation where a truck or toad is partially blocking your path whose owner can’t be found, or the off-level nature of a site, there is a lot to dread about parking, even if we’ve been to a resort before.

  1. Weather on the road
    We are mobile and can move our fifth wheel when we know severe weather or flooding is imminent, but it’s not always foreseeable. Since we are usually traveling hundreds of miles in any particular leg of a trip, forecasting isn’t often reliable. My biggest concern is wind, which can greatly affect gas mileage at best and cause an accident at worst, not to mention risking expensive hail damage. We were extremely fortunate to not have any serious weather issues during our first three years on the road, but the fourth included a major hail storm, destroying our rig and severely damaging our pickup. This is now something we actively worry about.

  2. Satellite access
    We are often in rural campgrounds without cable or over-the-air TV coverage so we invested in a Tailgater satellite dish and Dish TV service, along with a DVR. This has worked out great except that satellite dishes and trees don’t play well together. The dish needs fairly unfettered access to the southern sky and the farther north you go, the more towards the true horizon it needs to see. In one park, in which we are often parked beneath and among trees, I tried about fifteen locations around the rig until I found a spot in which the dish could see one of the three satellites it normally uses. The only reason I was successful to that extent was because we were in Southern Texas, where the dish is pointed in a fairly vertical direction in the sky. If we had been in Ohio, where it would point farther down for the signal, we wouldn’t have had any satellite TV at all.

  3. Road hazards and clearances
    We were in downtown Binghamton, NY, having no worries about our height and underpass clearance, since we utilize three different resources (including a trucker’s guide) to check our route for low clearance bridges, etc., without any cautions. However, I turned left to enter an underpass and found myself face-to-face with a bright yellow sign warning of a 10′ 11″ bridge height. Our rig is over 13′ tall, so that would have left a mark. Nadyne had to get out and stop traffic so that I could back out of the underpass entrance and turn around. We now have a brilliant yellow vest for her to wear in case that happens again.

    I mentioned that we use three resources to check for clearance and my in-dash navigation system utilizes an app on my phone via Bluetooth to check for traffic and hazards, but no resource is foolproof, as we have learned the hard way. East of the Mississippi, especially in New England, there are far more of these low bridges than out west, but really it’s a nationwide concern.

    The road age and condition is itself a major concern, from coast to coast. The last time we were on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the long duration of significant bumps actually broke one of the springs on the fifth wheel. Any rough road is bad for an RV’s interior and joints. Prolonged travel on such highways can be like riding out a continuous earthquake, but even a single big bump can rearrange our contents.

​7. Breakdowns and blowouts
Logging over 20,000 miles per year means that the odds are against us. Eventually we will have a major breakdown or tire blowout on the road. To help mitigate this we installed a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System), which has twice saved us a major tire issue twice since we starting using it.

The first time a tire went flat after picking up a screw while traveling 60 mph, allowing us to pull over before a blowout ensued, and the other a slow leak developed in a brand new tire on a dirt and gravel road and we were able to get it repaired before a serious issue occurred. In both cases a disaster may have resulted and I worry about that happening again, even with a commitment to the technology. Our new rig has a new TPMS system that connects to our smartphones via Bluetooth, and, thankfully, it seems to accurately and quickly discern and communicate the air pressure details.

  1. Being pet friendly and having unfortunate park rules
    We have seen some overly aggressive park rules against pets and other uses of a campsite. We installed a doggie door flap in our rig’s screen door. By setting up a small fence around our steps and giving our dogs both shaded and sunny areas on a mat, we leave some dirt or grass uncovered so they can come and go and potty as needed. We never leave them in the pen without us being home and are always diligent about their barking while outside. Despite this, some parks forbid outdoor pens and even having pets on leashes without the owner’s full participation and attention. While I understand the purpose of such an edict, it makes our lives difficult, as does restricting clothes lines under our awning, restricting noise at 7 pm, a 3-mph speed limit and other rules that some bad apples have forced parks to include in their codes.

  2. Access to grocery shopping and gas stations
    Having a refrigerator only half or one-third the size of a house fridge means having to shop for groceries more often, at least once per week. Staying in the boonies doesn’t make this an easy chore and we often camp up to 50 miles from the nearest Walmart. Small local supermarkets (with “super” being a bit facetious) almost always have a miniscule stock and higher prices compared to a big chain store. Sometimes a rural market has fresh, locally-grown or raised food or delicious baked items, but usually it’s just missing several items we’re looking for. Not having gas stations nearby can also be an issue and requires a more thoughtful plan to stay filled up.

We don’t experience these difficulties often, but enough to cause us trepidation, No matter how much advance research we do, some things just cannot be known until you are present, and that is a cause for concern every time we begin our travel day. I’m sure we’re not the only ones.

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