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Kirk W

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Posts posted by Kirk W

  1. 1 hour ago, chirakawa said:

    However, if you want to do some serious soul searching on the subject, just ask yourself this simple question.  Would I still be here doing this work for no pay even if I had to pay fair market value for the accommodations, benefits, and amenities I am receiving for free?  If the work you're doing is important enough to you that your answer is "yes", then you are definitely a volunteer.

    My best answer is yes, as we do still volunteer when at home, driving about 35 miles each way, 1 or 2 times each month to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, but in all honesty I probably would have done less of it when fulltime if we had not received the free sites. With our budget we couldn't have afforded to do so but would likely have looked for a paid position at least part of the year. 

  2. 13 hours ago, Big5er said:

    I'm not sure I agree with that. I live at a place of business, in my trailer. The owner already owns the land,  so it costs him nothing to let me stay on a small piece. He also pays my electricity. He once told me that my RV was a drop in the bucket compared to the costs of heating and cooling his building, lighting that building during the day and the parking lot at night. So what I am getting has more value to me than it does to him. Now does the time (work) he is receiving from me compensate him in the reverse? Of course since he is getting services for something that basically costs him nothing. It's not about "location" as much as he is receiving (basically) free services and in return giving me a free place to live. 

    A great deal of the answer to this is also dependent upon who you are a working with. There is a very fine line between volunteer with benefits and barter income. A "for profit" business is a little different from something like a national wildlife refuge or historic site where they build RV sites specifically to attract RV owners to do volunteer work there and do not rent them or offer them to the public. In the example, each party believes that they gain more value than they are giving up which could be considered barter. With the wildlife refuge there would be no RV pad expense at all if not to attract the volunteers. The argument in either case can be made that this is no different than it is to give your working time & skills to an employer in return for a paycheck. We have done many RV volunteer positions, as recently as 2018, where we did receive an RV site and some amenities in return for our services to a public agency. I like to believe that we were volunteers because we gave more value than what we received and because we did enjoyed what we did there and that was the attraction. Barter versus volunteer with benefits is a very complicated issue and has long been debated on RV forums. I prefer to think of myself as a volunteer and I never reported barter income, but the only way to be sure would be to go to court over it, which I don't believe has ever happened. I did read of a case with a commercial RV park where the IRS ruled against both the RV park and the RVers on the basis that the park had paid employees living off-site who did the same type of work as the RV workers but that was more than 10 years ago. 

    The IRS has discussion about what constitutes barter for tax purposes in Topic No. 420 Bartering Income and also in  Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Imcome. Like most things with the IRS, this isn't easy reading. I suspect that we are all pretty safe because the amounts of tax that would be involved are so small that it isn't likely to get IRS attention. 

  3. 2 hours ago, solo318 said:

    Basically we are all arguing with half the facts. No one knows the number of RVs being sold to new customers vs existing customers. They have not published how long on average the RV is kept. They have not determined anything other than there is a downturn in new rv sales.

    It would make for interesting reading to know what share of new RV sales go to first time owners. It would also be intersting to know some facts about the sale of used RVs as well, but I doubt that anyone tracks that information. The articles listed were based on information about new units shipped from the factories to the dealers and it is assumed that those numbers are representitive of the new sales the dealers make, which does seem logical. Tracking who the dealers are selling to would be more difficult to compile as it would depend on dealer information and how accurately they collect it. In the times that we bought from an RV dealer, I can't remember ever being asked if we were first time buyers or not and only 2 of the 6 purchases involved RV trade-in's to indicate that we were not first time buyers. 

    It would also be very interesting to know how long the average RV buyer keeps each  RV but I doubt that information has ever been tracked.  I believe that we keep ours longer than is typical as we kept ours an average of 8.3 years with the shortest being 2 years (a used one) and the longest 14 years. We were just recently talking about the fact that we believe that we see more RVs that are more than 10 years old in use today than in our early years of RVing, but that is based only one a belief and no real data. 

  4. 21 hours ago, $ Spot said:

    Let's say Kirk needs to buy four shirts. Walmart has some for $7 each & Duluth Trading has some for $30 each. Which of these two stores will you shop?

    Actually, Barb is correct since I can't recall ever buying a shirt in either of those stores. It would also depend to some degree what I intend to use the shirts for as to where I'd shop and what I would pay. That same thing is true for me when it comes to shopping for an RV. Neither of the stores that you mention seem to be failing as they each market to a different group of buyers. When we bought an RV to live in fulltime we shopped a higher price group than we did when we were downsizing and returning to seasonal travel. My point is that nobody can supply a quality product and make a profit by selling at the same price as the cheapest competitors. There are veary valid reasons for the Newmar Dutch Star or the Tiffin Journey being priced higher than Thor's Palazzo or Fleetwood's Bounder. In your example of buying a shirt, for the man who wears a dress shirt every day to his job at the bank or law firm, buying the cheaper shirt is not the best value for his money, but for the guy who only wears a dress shirt to church on Sunday and occasionally for a night out, his Walmart shirt will serve very well. That same principle applies to buying an RV. For the weekend & vacation user a low priced RV will serve very well but if you live fulltime in one you spend more nights in 1 year in than does the weekender in 10 years so the best value for his money is very different from the fulltimer. 

  5. 13 hours ago, Macodiva said:

    I've roadside assistance & towing so a spare is not vital yet as i'm not planning on being anywhere way out there just yet.

    We have owned RVs for many years and I only remember having used the spare tire 2 times and those were both on trailers that we took far off the beaten path. Each class A that we owned(9 years & 14 years) had a spare and neither one was ever out of the tire rack while we owned them. We now have downsized to a travel trailer that we have now owned for 7 years and taken many miles, with spare tire still unused. A spare tire will age out and become unsafe to use after 10 years or so, even if it is never on the ground and replacing them is expensive. When you have road service you are very unlikely to change the tire yourself so they are mostly an unnecessary expense. 

    On 8/17/2019 at 6:42 PM, Macodiva said:

    I'm thinking of trying Big Bear. It's only a couple of hours away from me.

    My wife (Pam) grew up in Redlands and her family had a cabin in Big Bear back in the 60's & 70's. In fact, we spent our wedding night in that cabin! 😊 She still has family in that part of CA but only goes back to visit. Her sister used to life in Running Springs. 

  6. 11 hours ago, agesilaus said:

    Unfortunately we are back in North Florida after 8960 miles where the whole state can't even make a good sized hill.

    The highest point in Florida is found in the Florida Uplands that run along the northern edge of the panhandle. Just south of the Alabama border, west of Paxton, Britton Hill is 345 feet above sea level and is the lowest state high point in the nation.

  7. Welcome to the Escapee forums! We will do our best tohelp you.

    It sounds like your battery voltage is low. Do you have a volt meter that you can check it with? Are you connected to 120V shore power at present? If so the converter should be supplying 12V power so that would indicate some other problem. A bad battery could cause low voltage and a defective converter could also.

    The red light is probably some sort of warning but I'd need more information about that to know anything specific. If you could post a picture of the red light it might help.

  8. 11 hours ago, $ Spot said:

    From what I read on forums folks are seeking used RVs with the thought that new ones are junk.

    Interesting view. If that is true, who is buying the new RVs, since sales has been up through 2018? I have owned RVs since 1972 and have followed the industry closely for a long time and really don't see that much difference today. RVs have become far more complex and much larger over the years so there is far more in them to have potential problems. One of the major issues in quality comes from the fact that the typical buyer shops mostly based on superficial appearance & price with little interest in paying more to get quality. The history of the RV industry over the past 40 years that I have followed it, is littered with failed RV builders who tried to maintain high quality standards but could not successfully sell against the lower piced RVs of much less quality. The reason the RV industry does not spend the money required to have good quality control in their factories is that doing so would price them too much higher than the products from others who don't do that and the typical buyer would not buy from them. If you take a look at companies like Marathon, Newell, & Prevost, all of them are thriving because they sell to people who are willing to pay whatever it costs to get the best. 

    Most of us in the RV community talk about quality in the industry but continue to buy based mostly on price. 

  9. 9 hours ago, lg61820 said:

    I can only tell you what I found towing a 19' travel trailer with a 2011 Tahoe LT.  The trailer was the tail wagging the dog. 

    Proper towing configuration is a much more complex issue than most realize. While it is important to consider the weight ratings for the tow vehicle and the trailer and to have a proper hitch that is adjusted properly, very often the relationship of the wheelbase of the tow vehicle as compared to the trailer is overlooked. We towed a 19' travel trailer with a Kia Borrego but the trailer weighs only 4k# and the Borrego has a tow capacity of 5k#.  I would not have wanted to tow at the 5k max. even though technically one could. When using an equalizer hitch the adjustment of the tension bars plays a major roll in proper towing. With a lite weight trailer such as ours, an anti-sway device is also of critical importantce. We have since aquired a Dodge/Cummins, 2500, 4 door truck that we tow with and with it and the same 4k trailer the configurations are much less critical because the truck weighs more than the trailer and it has a wheelbase that is as long as the trailer. Even though the trailer has little impact on the larger truck, I still use anti-sway to keep the trailer where is belongs in a crosswind. 

  10. 9 hours ago, Alice said:

    Tried.  Have too be fully on,  not just on auto. 

    I don't believe that he means the auto position of the light switch but most also have a position for running lights only as well as for headlights (and running lights). I usually tow with the running lights on even in daylight hours. With the tongue jack, if it doesn't run due to a dead battery, leave your tow vehicle running but close to the tongue and connect the power cable from it to the trailer and the electric jack should work.

  11. 7 minutes ago, richfaa said:

    I never thought of Pop ups as a luxury RV,

    For most people, any RV is a luxury item as it is easily done without. When an RV happens to be at the low end of the price structure it simply meas that it costs less but it remains a luxury item. From Market Business News:


    Luxuries or luxury goods or services, are things that are not essential, but which we believe make life more pleasant.

    Luxuries have a high elasticity of demand – they are more sensitive to changes in the economic environment than other products and services. When their prices or people’s incomes change, demand for luxuries moves up or down to a greater degree.


  12. 3 hours ago, SnowGypsy said:

    I wouldn't pay too much attention to The Wall Street Journal on this. 

    Wondering who you do consider knowledgable on the subject? As one who has read the "Journal" frequently for many years, the people who they publish have a pretty good track record. In addition, she quotes a few people who are very well known in economics and she does not predict any massive decline in the economy but does point out some early warning signs. There have always been some manufacturers who cut corners to make more money and others who build quality products and that will likely always be true. What is there that has not seen major price increases over the past 10 years or longer? Check out what car and truck prices have done over that same period. If you Google the economy slowing you will get a long list of articles that make similar predictions based on completely different signs. Most predict a slowing but not a recession, which is true of this article as well. Some of the articles come from highly respected sources.

  13. Welcome to the Escapee forums. We are here to help so don't hesitate to ask as may questions as you like. 

    On your selected trailer, if you want to stay under 7000# this isn't the one for you as it looks to be 7,500# when loaded by doing the math.



    Hitch Weight: 728 lb.
    UVW 5574 lb.
    CCC 1926 lb.
    Exterior Length: 28' 11"
    Exterior Height: 10' 9"
    Exterior Width: 96"
    Fresh Water: 49 gal.
    Gray Water: 33 gal.
    Black Water 33 gal.
    Awning Size: 16'

    If you add the UVW and the CCC you get 7,500# and that may not include everything since they don't choose to say what the gross weight is. How well this RV will serve you is partially determined by how you intend to use it, which you haven't shared with us. If you are thinking of fulltime living in it, this may not be your best choice. Most ultra-lite weight RVs are not well insulated in the effort to save weight. When using the RV year around you will probably at least occasionally experience temperatures below freezing at least in the nights so it is important that the water lines all be protected from the cold and that the underbelly be covered and insulated for fulltime use. Most ultra-lite trailers are not that way, so be sure to check these things if you plan any use in cold weather. We have wintered in most of the southern states and I believe that the only place we spent a winter and had no night temperatures below freezing would be south FL.

    You might find it very educational and helpful if you join the RV Consumer Group to get the information that they share with new members. All of this is based on the Coachman/Freedom Express website so a used one may be somewhat different. I would never reccommend a purchase from a private citizen or a used RV from a dealer if they refuse to allow you to have it professionally inspected before purchase. Why would either one refuse unless they know that it will not pass inspection?

  14. 3 hours ago, rollindowntheroad said:

    It would probably take me a while to really find out.

    It might give you some feel for what the life is like and for what to look for in an RV to buy. You would experience the same space issues and park conditions that will be yours when you do buy. Renting isn't criticaly needed but can be helpful, and it is also expensive. Anything that helps to select the best RV type to fit you is a good thing as trading RVs later is also expensive. There are so many different ways to live your life in an RV that it is difficult to say exactly what you will do once you actually begin to travel. Even if you have something in mind now, that could easily change once you are actually on the road.

  15. 8 hours ago, Acelead said:

    P.S. I was told by the woman at the Drivers License station that the TEXAS address for Escapees does NOT put the "PMB" on the license (its not legally required).  It seems this entire issue can be avoided if South Dakota didn't require the "PMB" on the license.

    Unless changed very recently, the TX DMV does list licenses from Escapee mail services here as PMB. Both my wife and I had that on our licenses for the entire 12 years that it was our domicile address. What is different here is that the TX legslature has made addresses like the Escapees legal for all purposes in TX.

  16. 10 hours ago, rollindowntheroad said:

    When I retire I would like to full time in "something".  I thought that getting something now to try would be a better option than waiting until I retire, buying something to live in and then discover that I don't like it.  This way if I don't like RV'ing I could sell this and make different plans when I retire.

    That is sound thinking. You might want to consider a rental for a short trip before you buy one, if you have doubts. 

  17. 9 hours ago, Alice said:

    Pre-cooling a fridge and freezer with jugs of frozen water really helps –

    I always start the refrigerator the night before we pack up to travel.

    9 hours ago, Alice said:

    Run lots of water through that hose – even brand new – before you hook it to the trailer!  (Thankfully, I did this as black nasty gunk came through.)

    The black stuff probably came from a new, carbon water filter. They suggest flushing them for 3 to 5 minutes before each use. A new water hose will both smell and taste when you first connect it but only needs flushed for a few gallons of water. 

    9 hours ago, Alice said:

    Even on the best, heavy stoneware pan, turn the biscuits half-way through cooking or eat black-bottomed biscuits.

    RV ovens do not have enough mass to heat evenly but if you put either an unglazed tile or pizza stone into it that will cover nearly the entire bottom of the oven will make it heat much more evenly. 

    Thanks for sharing the list! It is important to remember that the main reason some of us know many RV answers is that we have made more mistakes than you have. But I like to think of them not so much as mistakes, but as learning experiences!  😁

    One day we should share a list of things that RV folks either have done, or will do at some future date. 

  18. 2 hours ago, rollindowntheroad said:

    Dry weight of this TT is 4,750 lbs.

    Dry weight isn't what you need to consider, as you will only tow it that way one time, bringing it home after you buy it. The weight to consider is the gross weight or GVWR. That is the most you can safely carry in it and that is what you will be looking at once it is loaded. Dry weight means noting in any tank, not even the water heater and no personal belongings or food. You may be surprised by how much weight is added just by putting in your clothing and food, a little water in the potable water tank and a few personal items. Most ouf us carry between 500 & 1000# per person.

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