Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mistaken Again

When I first bought my motorhome, I was under a lot of silly impressions. But as time goes on, I've learned a lot from my mistakes.

Um... maybe.

Was it mistakes or misinformation or I am I just slow to catch up with the way this country changes policies, laws, rules, regulations, customs and technology so rapidly, it leaves me breathless, mistaken and confused?

More on that another day...

If it's true one is supposed to learn from one's mistakes then I should be a Mensa genius by now!

Yepper, I make loads of mistakes. Just ask anyone that loves me or hates me or ask any stranger. All will quickly point out my numerous errors and mistakes.

Back to RVing and mistakes.

I thought I would happily careen around in my little old motorhome, breezing into campgrounds securing a spot for a few nights or weeks or months. You know, footloose and fancy free. I more or less did this the first year in my motorhome, but I had to rethink this strategy in order to comply with a very efficient budget. Otherwise too much time is wasted on the phone and internet, trying to find a spot to go to that has availability that has a price I can pay. Finding folks that even answer their business phones can be a huge problem these days.

RV parks and campground pricing is all over the place, there is no norm. If you want economical bargains, then plan ahead.

To find these,  many times I need prearranged prepaid reservations. Some of these have to be reserved and prepaid in full a year in advance or else I won't be able to breeze in and secure a campsite at all.

My motorhome was built for two seasons (warm and warmer) but not the other two seasons; blazing hot and freezing cold.

So guess what... the other RV-ers are often looking for that same beautiful temperate weather, so they and their RV can survive. There are times I forget to preplan and prearrange and prereserve and prepay. This has sometimes lead to chaos as I flail around trying to find a camping spot. Then when emergencies are thrown in, the schedule and the budget can start to crumble. Chaos turns to pandemonium. Just ask me about this past summer...

My little old motorhome is designed to be self-contained for super short term boondocking in temperate weather. I have occasionally done that. Anything else and it becomes problematic for me personally. Not going to go into that now, I know there are plenty of healthy folks in more lavish rigs that are able to boondock long term without access to any utilities at all. It's just not for me at this point and time given my own personal circumstance.

In my younger days, I lived in the Caribbean on a sailboat at numerous anchorages, not at marinas. I caught rain water to fill my tanks and used a tiny old solar panel for meager electrical requirements. It was fun! I had a blast, I was living the dream and much of the time I was blissfully enjoying remission, working and playing and living an alternative lifestyle. I had no heat or air conditioning. I relied on the trade winds to cool me off when hot or the occasional use of a 12 volt fan. When it was cold (well cold to me!) I used a blanket and heavier clothing. Of course I don't think I ever had to endure anything below 60F degrees on that sailboat, so that was a huge plus. I rationed my water carefully and designed my own rain catcher to top up my tanks. I am glad I did that when I could! Who knows what life offers up next, I couldn't do that lifestyle now, but never say never, it might happen again.

Well, back to here and now, living in America, careening around camping in my wheel estate.

RV parks and campground have a huge variety of reservation policies. There is no standard norm. Some penalize a customer heavily if any changes are made to a reservation, others are a bit more lenient and hospitable. Some have extra fees and penalties involved for daring to alter a reservation.

Now I know, read the fine print, don't  be fooled, don't assume because one park or campground does it this way, that the next one will be the same. It won't. It rarely ever is the same. Even worse, some interpret their policies in creative manners that don't seem to agree with the way it is written. More chaos.

This summer I survived blazing hot by being parked under a canopy of trees with the AC running full tilt boogie. I also used my outside shower faucet to hose down my face throughout the day. I could liberally spray cold water across my sweaty face without worrying about the mess. Of course the water in the "solar heated" water hose from the camp spigot to the outside shower faucet was often blazing hot, so I had to water a tree with the solar water until it cooled enough to cool my face. I could swab a wet rag on my face inside, but spraying that lush cold water across my face wasn't feasible inside without making a big wet mess. Besides, I wanted to keep the humidity at bay inside.

But freezing weather won't work for living in my motorhome without very expensive modifications. It can be stored if it is "winterized" which means filling the plumbing and holding tanks with anti-freeze.

Matter of fact, my first winter in my motorhome was near Greenville, South Carolina, about half way between Atlanta and Charlotte. It was a nightmare! First off, my plumbing was already winterized when I bought the motorhome in December, so I was forced to leave it that way. We had snow and ice quite a few times in Greenville that winter.

I took this picture from my bedroom window in my motorhome
January 2010 in Greenville, South Carolina.

That particular December, January, February and March, I was very sick, very cold and living without plumbing in the motorhome. I could barely walk and that provided more problems. Finally after 4 months, the end of March, I was well enough to drive away, pointing my compass south in search of thawing out my body and my wheel estate. It took me all day to make it to a campground near Savannah, Georgia. It was warm enough for me to finally flush out the plumbing and holding tanks, for the first time ever, use my indoor plumbing in my cruising cottage.

It was heaven on earth to have a working toilet and running water.

I felt like I had arrived into the 21st century.

Yes, some of the expensive motorhomes are built for their plumbing to withstand freezing temperatures, but mine is not and converting it to that would be cost prohibitive.

This old rig wasn't built for the cold... and neither is my motorhome. 



  1. I'm almost 72 and know from experience that the past takes on a hue many times making what was hard to get through appear like the best time of my life. The past is past and maybe that's why we feel like it was somehow superior to the present. I dare say that if I live into my 90's as my mother did, this present time will seems like the best. Believe me this is not what I would call the best time of my life. But,that's how I see it today. Who knows 10 years from now. Stay safe. Stay positive. Martha Petru

  2. Good thoughts and experience for some of the new dreamers out there. I hope you will find a peaceful, inexpensive, dock for the winter ahead. It can get cold anywhere for a short time.

  3. We live in a little cottage on the Red River in Oklahoma. It doesn't have central air and can get quite cold. We've had some success with the oil filled radiant heater. We don't leave them unattended though they are considered quite safe. As we stay home a lot, they work for us. The trick is to get the oil heated up and just leave them on 24/7 during the cold spell. They don't use much electricity because the oil is hot and it takes just a little to keep it hot. It takes a while for them to warm up, but when they do they are quite nice and don't dry the air out. I keep one behind my chair at the computer and it helps. I would think one oil heater would make a major difference for your little RV. Also, it is safe for Harley and they are cheap.

  4. LOVE the comments, thank yoU!

    Thanks for the encouragement! I know today is the best of my life. But some days I forget that. Thanks for the reminder.

    Cost of camping has gone up dramatically in the few shorts years I've been RVing. Amazing! It doesn't take much for me to get cold, I keep a trench coat around for emergencies and I have some light winter clothing, but I can pile it all on at once.

    My little old RV has so little room. I had an oil radiator the first winter. It was always in the way. I think it might have been malfunctioning and I didn't realize it at the time because the RV was c-c-c-cold all the time.


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