Friday, November 14, 2014

New to RVing Advice

From the mailbag:

Dear Miss Mermaid,
   I am thinking about going RVing fulltime on a small budget. What advice can you suggest?


Dear Daydreamer,

Let's see, I am probably the last person you want advice from. But since most folks ignore all advice thrown their way, I will toss in my two cents anyhow.

First there are two choices in a camping rig, buy used or buy new.

If you want to travel, then buy used. If you don't want to travel, then buy new.

If you buy used, be sure the very next thing you buy is a big bucket. A five gallon bucket works best, but in some cases you will need a much bigger bucket or a smaller bucket, but I mostly get by on a 5 gallon bucket.

If you buy new, then take your rig camping at a nearby park for a week. Now go back to the dealer and camp on their lot for about 18 months. This is how long it will take to get the warranty repairs done and then those repairs corrected. This will save you a bundle in fuel costs.

If you buy used, then start traveling. The difference between buying new and used will cover the cost of your bucket(s) and your fuel costs for years.

Happy Trails,
Dear Miss Mermaid

Dear Miss Mermaid,

   I am thinking about buying used. But what's that bucket for?


Dear Bewildered,

Below is just a token few uses I've had for my bucket in the first year of traveling. You may use your bucket more or less depending on conditions.

If you bought used rather than new, then you should have a bucketful of cash leftover. This will prove very handy. If you are frugal and don't spend much, then you may need to splurge on a 2nd bucket, since the 1st one is full of cash. (I emptied my bucket quickly, so I didn't need a 2nd one.)

When parts fly off your old rig as you traverse the highways, you can stop, go fetch the parts and carry them back to the RV in your bucket. In most cases, you can live without the parts, but it's always handy to pick up the pieces when you can and traffic allows.

When the plumbing breaks, you can fill your bucket with water for washing dishes and bathing your body.

When the fuel gauge proves broken, you can use the bucket to lug fuel back to your rig.

When a tree branch scratches up the side of the RV (possibly through driver error) you can invert the bucket, then stand on top of it to polish out the scratches from the tree branches.

If you forget to tighten up the awing before driving and it flies open and rips while going down the highway, you can pull over, stand on the inverted bucket and finish hacking off the rest of the awning with a dull knife. Once done, you can stuff the ruined awning inside the bucket.

The bucket is great for hauling out the garbage. Much better than plain old garbage bags. That way, you can drop off your garbage then dumpster dive to find useful things (like food and camping gear) then haul it back to your RV in the bucket.

When the roof starts leaking (and they all do eventually) you can use the bucket to catch the leaks inside.

When the black tank that holds your toilet water decides to give way (possibly due to rusty strapping no longer holding it in place) you won't be able to use your toilet anymore, but you can use your trusty old bucket for emergencies, then empty it at the dump station provided at most campgrounds. (Wash bucket between uses in case you need it for something else.)

When the furnace malfunctions, no worries, you can use your bucket to fetch and gather firewood for the camp site.

After you build your fire, invert the bucket and use it as a stool to sit on while poking the fire.

When the refrigerator breaks, just use your bucket as a cooler or to haul ice back to your dead refrigerator.

If you're on the east coast when a family emergency on the west coast requires your presence, you can save a bundle on fuel by packing your belongings in the bucket, then hitchhiking out west and back. If you're having trouble getting rides, and you're tired of standing up,  then dump out your stuff and sit on the overturned bucket.

If you shop at bargain grocery stores, they no longer provide grocery bags. Use your bucket to pack your groceries in then carry back to the RV.

I am sure there are hundreds more uses for your bucket, but I've just listed the ones I used the first year on the road.

Happy Trails,
Dear Miss Mermaid

I take pictures of everywhere my rig spends the night.
Usually I camp on dirt, sand, mud and grass, but
I couldn't resist the thrill of a pull-through paved site.
A Big Wheel RV Park
St Marys, Georgia

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  1. in the first place you are vastly overqualified. most of your "fellow advicers" have 2 weeks or less experience at rving. some none at all.

    your right they won't listen. i have to qualify that, mostly that men won't listen. women listen when they call us. with men you need to agree with their answer. it helps if it simply and cheap. it doesn't have to work, just be cheap and simple. cheap and simple are never out of order.

    as for 5 gallon buckets on used, how about on the new ones? hell most of the parts have already gone south on the old ones. should lighten the load, help with fuel economy.

    also i see hoses on your mh. i take that to mean no 5 gallon tonight. i could be wrong.

    most 5 gal buckets are 4 gal +. paint buckets, if they are selling 5 us gallons. not some metric number so they can cheat you on paint. i'd laugh but ain't funny. actually it is. i can think in metric also.

    ice cream ice cream ice cream raz

  2. Although we're experienced liveaboards we recently used ours neccessarily. The transmission shop has a water faucet out front. We weren't out front. Haul water from out front and pour into tiny funnel to fill tanks. Repeat several times daily.


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