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Bill&Anneli

Advice for newbies from a couple of newbies....

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I went into motorhoming with no experience whatsoever, but learned a lot along the way.  There are lots of things we have all learned from experience, for example here are some things I learned:

  • You CAN pump the water tank dry, but once you do it and have to flush, you will always remember to leave some water in your tank before you go to sleep or get on the road.  Not being able to flush certain solids is not a pleasant experience, if you know what I mean!!  An emergency gallon jug of water is also a good idea.
  • I turn my water pump off at night because the sound of it occasionally cycling irritates me.
  • And it is a good idea to turn everything off before plugging into a campsite so you don't have a surge of power.  And check that the previous person has turned the switch to OFF before you plug in.  Just easier on systems.
  • All chocolate goes in the refrigerator, or it will make a lovely puddle.  And all prescription drugs should go in a cooler without ice, to protect them from hot weather.  I learned that from a pharmacist in Wisconsin a long time ago.
  • ALWAYS put your awning in before you go to sleep and when you leave your RV for more than a few minutes.  I learned that the hard way when I had to get up and dressed at 2:00 am a couple of times.  I have also seen a lot of damaged awnings when campers left their campsites and a sudden wind came up. 
  • And DON'T put your slides in without checking to make sure everything is out of the way.  I learned that a couple of months ago when I got lazy and left the bathroom door open when I put the slides in.  Crunched the door and cost me $350 to have repaired.  Could not close door for a couple of weeks while waiting to get it fixed.  (Even we long-timers get sloppy sometimes, but it costs to get sloppy.)
  • Carry a full supply of mousetraps and big sprays.  A day will come when armies of little ants will come marching through your motorhome and a mouse will take up residence in your food drawer.  This is not a possibility--it is a certainty.
  • And, finally, if you back into a big tree, try to do it when not a lot of people are watching.
  • And don't be afraid to ask your camping neighbors a lot of dumb questions.  Fellow campers have saved me a lot of grief along the way. And as someone posted, they may not have the same unit as you do, but many of their systems are the same.  And campers are usually very willing to help newbies. 

Good luck and have fun!

Edited by Solo18

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8 hours ago, Solo18 said:

And don't be afraid to ask your camping neighbors a lot of dumb questions.  Fellow campers have saved me a lot of grief along the way. And as someone posted, they may not have the same unit as you do, but many of their systems are the same.  And campers usually very willing to help newbies. 

There are only 2 types of question that makes one look foolish. Those that you have and fail to ask, and the ones that you ask but fail to heed the answers. 

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6 hours ago, Kirk W said:

There are only 2 types of question that makes one look foolish. Those that you have and fail to ask, and the ones that you ask but fail to heed the answers. 

I have a third one. The ones you refuse to ask because you think you know the answer.

Linda (Who bought the wrong first rig because I thought we had researched it to death.)

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You guys are awesome, love reading all the comments. As for us, we made it in one piece (both of us, the Ventana and and the Jeep) all the way "home" to Oregon. It was a long and crazy drive from Tampa Florida. 

We hit all kinds of weather, learned that we are a huge target for 40 mph wind gusts, and thanks to Bill's very expert driving skills we were fine- althoug we did see a couple of 5th wheels as well as a class A lying on the side on the interstate, knowing that could have been us was scary.

We also learned that when there are no Semi-trucks on the road - GET OFF THE ROAD!! and hunker down somewhere safe - in our case that was lightning and incredible wind with rain like we have never seen (and we are from Oregon). The entire motorhome was rocking when parked in the storm.

And all of you are right, now a month into this adventure the stresslevel is down, learning curve is still steep, but does not feel as overwhelming and we are having more fun.

We are currently parked at the Newmar dealer/service center in our home town to take care of some warranty items - thankfully nothing really big.

Oh, also we had to come over the pass in un-expected snow (yes it very rarey snows here in September so we thought we would be fine) so Bill took someone's advice and turned off the engine break, and used the breaks for all 5,000 ft of decent off the mountain. BAD idea- the breaks were smoking and very Stinky, I could still smell the break stink in the bedroom when we went to sleep that night even after washing sheets, opening all the windows etc etc. 

So, yes, we are still learning :-) And we are learning that most mistakes you can learn from, and they are not fatal. And we have found the Newmar Ventana face book group who has been incredibly helpful as many of our questions/issues also apply to them and most have the same or similar equipment/appliances etc.

 

Thanks again for being so encouraging, we are really looking forward to RV boot camp in Livingston, and now we have some stories of our own to share and a MILLION new questions - LOL.

Best !😀

Bill&Anneli 

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Everything always works out. Sometimes a bit lumpy but things will smooth out. You will learn so much more by having some experience in Rving when you go to Boot Camp.

Since you are from Oregon I will assume you know how to drive down grades. I wouldn't expect you to smell brakes. You might have them check out just to be sure all is OK.

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5 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

If you were smoking,  you didn’t down shift enough!  Get the brake lining checked.  Was there packed snow?  

You may also have been using the brakes wrong as you should brake hard enough to slow sharply to 10 mph or more below your comfortable speed, then stay off of the brakes to let it slowly increase in speed and brake again. But you didn't downshift far enough for the speed you wanted to maintain. 

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I know there are people who say never to use the exhaust brake in rain, etc., but that isn't true.  Disengage the cruise control and SLOW down and down shift, let the exhaust brake help keep you keep the speed down.   As Kirk said, let speed come up, brake and lower by 10-15 mph, then let brakes cool and the speed slowly climb.  If you have down shifted far enough, you shouldn't have a problem.   

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5 minutes ago, Barbaraok said:

If you have down shifted far enough, you shouldn't have a problem.   

As a footnote, even if you drive a gas coach and don't have an exhaust brake, the technique is the same. 

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We've had this motor home for six years now, and have been full-timing in it for five years. I still learn new things about it. If you haven't done so already, join your brand's owners forum. There are people there who have the exact same coach as you do, and they have already had the issue you are worrying about at the moment. They can tell you what to do, or at least what not to do.

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Hello all!

Just as an update, we arrived at Rainbow's end in Livingston November 1, wihtout major incidents. We have learned that driving on weekdays is better - we had a problem with some sort of coolant sensor and Freightliner is not open on Sundays.

We found this out along I-5 in southern Oregon on a lovely 70 degree sunny October Sunday afternoon... Freightliner said dis-connect your town and go  buy some coolant (becuase you should not add it while your engine is hot - so no driving the motorhome).

We pulled into a rest stop, as Bill took off in the Jeep - I got a little stool out, sat outside the motorhome at the rest stop, enjoying the fall sun, and started reading the Freightliner manual. BOY - it has a LOT of good info in it!!! So advice to newbies: -it is good to read all those manuals - even though it is so overwhelming at first - try to read a little every here and then. Like when you have 2.5 hours to kill while your husband goes to fetch OAT on a Sunday afternoon...

As I sat there I felt lucky that it was not puring down rain, or freezing, or 100 degrees and humid, and that I had googled that Oregon allows 14 hour stays at rest stops. Somewhere deep down I felt like I became an RVer that day - managing to enjoy myself while stranded at a rest stop..... My prior self would probably have been crying.... But I found myself smiling, knowing we would be ok.

I was very touched by the many RVers who pulled into that rest stop and got out of their rigs and asked me if I was OK and needed any help. Thank you to all of you who do that !!!!

Another thing we learned: when you have an un-expected stop (like sitting at Freightliner in Phoenix for several hours) - and they have everything ready for you at 4 pm. YOU DON'T HAVE TO leave.... be smart - wait til tomorrow - or at least til rush-hour is over. It is not fun, or safe, to drive your rig thru downtown any big city in rush hour - that stress we brougt on ourselves. We could have stayed at Fregithliner til the following morning...BUT we felt rushed to get to our destinatation.... DON'T RUSH yourselves....

AND - DRUMROLL!!!! - we graduated Bootcamp on Sunday - some of the info we had already learned (the hard way)- and we learned a lot of new stuff, and got a lot of good advice. Not sure that you need to run out and buy all those gadgets - RVers sure love all their gadgets !

And get your RV and vehicle weighed..... it's a safety issue.

In hindsight, we did it the hard way - the day we picked up this beautiful, complicated coach was the first day we lived in it full time - with no prior RV experience. But we are catching up - so, last advice- to those of you still thinking about going full time: do it anyway that suits you - you will be ok - and even if you don' take all the good advice given to you (like rent before you buy, start simple and work your way up etc etc) - you will be ok, its just a matter of how resilient you are. And  make sure you have a little buffer in your budget when starting out - there are a lot of up-front expenses that evens out over time and a lot of things to buy- the first couple of months are EXPENSIVE.

I think we're in this for the long haul  :-) Happy travels, see you out there !

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11 hours ago, Bill&Anneli said:

Not sure that you need to run out and buy all those gadgets - RVers sure love all their gadgets !

I wouldn't be in any rush to get most of them, but there are a few that pay off for most people. I think that most of us carry along more things that we never use than there are things that we should have brought  and didn't. The total weight of our loaded RV actually dropped by more than 300# in our first 2 years on the road. 

It is great hearing that your experiences are improving. Your learning curve is bound to be steeper when you have no prior RV experience, but you clearly are adapting  and gaining the right perspective of things. My grandfather used to say that if you never experience any bad times you will never fully enjoy the good times. 

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Bill & Annelli

You drove out of the Freightliner place in Phoenix at 4:00 pm?  😱.  Congratulations on making it!    We always stay  overnight in Tonopah when coming into Mesa from Palm Springs because we won't drive I-10 after 2:00 pm - especially now with all of the construction.    Yes, you will find that most of the places that will work on a big RV will have space for you to spend the night.    

As you have found, that budget goes out the window the first six months.   It just takes time and it does get better.   Bootcamp is great and while you don't need all of the gadgets,  you will figure out which ones will be helpful to you.  

You've already learned on big lesson - travel on Monday or Tuesday.   Not only are facilities open should you need them, but you can also enjoy the park you are in after the weekends leave on Sunday, I love Sunday afternoons.   We get the coach all set up to leave the next morning at a leisurely pace so that in the morning it is an unplug power/water, start engines, put jack pads away, and off we go.

 

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3 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

You've already learned on big lesson - travel on Monday or Tuesday.   Not only are facilities open should you need them...

Unless it's a Monday holiday. Some places close for those.

Linda Sand

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4 hours ago, sandsys said:

Unless it's a Monday holiday. Some places close for those.

Linda Sand

Yes, when Monday is a holiday we stay put, in order again to have the  quiet afternoon and have businesses open when we are traveling.

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