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RVOU without Boot Camp or prior knowledge?


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Hello.  In three weeks I'll be moving into my RV to live full-time - but I've never seen it, nor have I ever owned or operated an RV before - or even taken a class.

It started in December, when I decided I prefer mobility to being tied to one place.  I spent several days researching the different categories and features of RVs, then several more days researching all the models sold in America that meet my criteria until I found the one that most appealed to me (2019 Outback 240URS - a 28' travel trailer) and purchased a used one from a dealer in another state.

It's currently stored in Houston, near Escapees - which I just joined.  (Both RV Club and Mail Forwarding service.)

Now, once I get there, I'd like to focus exclusively on how to properly operate and maintain the trailer before going anywhere or settling in to the area.  The Boot Camp seems like a great method, but the next one in Houston isn't until November.

My question:  Does it make sense to jump straight into the RV Online University courses, or do they assume knowledge from the Boot Camp?  And can online learning be sufficient, or do I need some in-person coaching, and if so - where do I get it?

PS - Attached is the photo I've been using as my desktop wallpaper since January.  :)

 

trailer-day (copy).jpg

Edited by odigity
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You don't say what year your RV is but I suggest that you start by viewing this walk-around video if you have not previously seen it.  Do you know if the RV has all of the documentation for appliances and such that it came with? If it does, reading those would be a good thing. I think that you probably also would be wise to have the RV parked in a place that has full facilities so that you can get by at first by using the campground facilities until you know how to do what is needed. Do you know if the propane bottles for full? Will there be anyone in the park to help you get connected to utilities? 

If you spend some time on Youtube, there are a lot of videos that explain how to use the different appliances. I suggest that you start there and that you take notes. Because I started to travel by RV many years before there was an Online University I have no real knowledge of what it will do for you, but because I do know several of the people who were involved in the creation of that program, I do believe that it would be a good idea to take advantage of it, once you get your start with the things available free. Most RV parks will have people in them who will be happy to help you once you get started, if you ask for help. 

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Since you will be starting from Houston you could easily go to Rainbow's End where friendly neighbors are likely to be willing to help with any questions you have as you learn. Manuals and classes can teach you a lot but there's nothing like hands on help if you get stuck. And doing Smart Weigh while there is something I found very helpful when it came to load distribution.

Linda

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I took my brand-new motorhome to a nearby full-hookup state park for a four-day weekend.  (Had never really operated or even driven one until I bought this.)  I had tons of boxes of kitchen and bedroom stuff to unpack.  I pulled into my spot and went out to hook up.  Apparently because everything was new and in boxes, it took the lady in the next rig about three minutes to identify me as a new owner, so she yelled across that her husband would help if I needed anything. 

I got everything hooked up and flushed the winterizing out, then just before dark, I turned on the valve to fill the hot water tank.  It took about two minutes to have three guys knocking on my door about the water running down the side of my rig.  I could not find my flashlights, so they went out, took the cover off, and put a plug in that had been left out!! 

The Escapees campgrounds would be most helpful, but I have found that almost anyone in a campground would be glad to help you out if you ask. 

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Like others, we suggest you plan to park it for a few weeks or so to help you get use to it and be around others that can help answer questions. 

We basically self taught ourselves but we started from tent camping and moved up in size over the years. Probably the most scariest thing is dumping the tanks so you do not look like Robin Williams in the movie RV (which is probably good to watch to know what not to do!)

Understanding weights and how to locate items for safe traveling down the road is also good and having the unit weight allow with your tow vehicle will help you understand that.  Good luck and safe travels! Don't be afraid to ask for help.

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It looks like a nice rig!

The RVOU does not require any initial level of RV knowledge.  A basic understanding of tools is helpful.  Make sure the dealer spends some time showing you how the systems work and video that information with your camera.  Practice with your camera first, if necessary.

Welcome to the adventure.

Wayne & Jinx
2017 F-350 diesel, dually
2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

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59 minutes ago, Jinx & Wayne said:

Make sure the dealer spends some time showing you how the systems work and video that information with your camera.

 

20 hours ago, odigity said:

In three weeks I'll be moving into my RV to live full-time - but I've never seen it, nor have I ever owned or operated an RV before - or even taken a class.

 in January I purchased a 2019 Outback 240URS (28' travel trailer) from a dealership in Florida and had it shipped to a storage unit in Houston, where I'm planning to unite it with it for the first time on June 1.  (I'm in Las Vegas until my lease ends May 31.)

As I read his posts in the forums, there is no dealer involved at this point. I sure do hope that the RV proves to be what he has been told that it is. At 2 years old it should be in good shape with everything working, but he needs help to get started. 

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Well, welcome to the fulltime lifestyle. You are in for a big surprise in that you will eventually not even know what time of day it is or even what day of the week it is. The best thing is you wont even care. We lived FT for around 10 years but health reasons required us to buy another home without wheels. We're both in our 70's and still cannot part with our RV. Just returned from a 2 week trip a couple hundred miles away. It's in the blood and the hitch itch needs to be scratched. Good luck and best wishes.  

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6 hours ago, Kirk W said:

 

As I read his posts in the forums, there is no dealer involved at this point. 

Sure there is; it's just called a seller instead. Hopefully, the seller will provide a complete tour of the rig and its systems.

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2 hours ago, sandsys said:

Sure there is; it's just called a seller instead.

Have you been reading his posts? He bought it from a dealer in Florida, site unseen, then had it shipped to a storage facility in Houston, TX where he plans to pick it up. 

 

Edited by Kirk W
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7 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Have you been reading his posts? He bought it from a dealer in Florida, site unseen, then had it shipped to a storage facility in Houston, TX where he plans to pick it up. 

Oh, yeah. I remember that now. 😬

Linda

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Posted (edited)

Sorry for the delayed response.

On 5/11/2021 at 9:46 AM, Kirk W said:

...I suggest that you start by viewing this walk-around video if you have not previously seen it.  Do you know if the RV has all of the documentation for appliances and such that it came with? If it does, reading those would be a good thing. I think that you probably also would be wise to have the RV parked in a place that has full facilities so that you can get by at first by using the campground facilities until you know how to do what is needed. Do you know if the propane bottles for full? Will there be anyone in the park to help you get connected to utilities? 

If you spend some time on Youtube, there are a lot of videos that explain how to use the different appliances. I suggest that you start there and that you take notes. Because I started to travel by RV many years before there was an Online University I have no real knowledge of what it will do for you, but because I do know several of the people who were involved in the creation of that program, I do believe that it would be a good idea to take advantage of it, once you get your start with the things available free. Most RV parks will have people in them who will be happy to help you once you get started, if you ask for help. 

Video:  Thanks, though I've already seen that one.  I watched all the videos on YouTube about the 240URS when I was buying since I couldn't get to see one in person.  :)

Documentation:  Don't know, and won't know until I get there in three weeks.  The manufacturer (Keystone) has a 100pg manual online that they update every year, but it's a generic manual for all Keystone models - hundreds of models across dozens of lines, of which the Outback is merely one.  So it's of very limited use.  I called them and spoke to a person to ask if there's any manuals for my specific model, and was shocked to learn there isn't.  I consider that a mark against Keystone.  They still made my favorite floorplan in the country, and I don't regret my purchase - but no manual is unacceptable.

Propane:  Don't know, won't know until I get there.  But it's my least concern.  Filling a propane tank is literally the one thing us city boys actually have done before, thanks to grilling.  :)

On 5/11/2021 at 10:46 AM, sandsys said:

Since you will be starting from Houston you could easily go to Rainbow's End where friendly neighbors are likely to be willing to help with any questions you have as you learn. Manuals and classes can teach you a lot but there's nothing like hands on help if you get stuck. And doing Smart Weigh while there is something I found very helpful when it came to load distribution.

That's what I was hoping - until I learned about their policy of requiring you to own your own tow vehicle.  I started another thread entirely about that: 

On 5/11/2021 at 2:38 PM, Solo18 said:

I took my brand-new motorhome to a nearby full-hookup state park for a four-day weekend.  (Had never really operated or even driven one until I bought this.)  I had tons of boxes of kitchen and bedroom stuff to unpack.  I pulled into my spot and went out to hook up.  Apparently because everything was new and in boxes, it took the lady in the next rig about three minutes to identify me as a new owner, so she yelled across that her husband would help if I needed anything. 

I got everything hooked up and flushed the winterizing out, then just before dark, I turned on the valve to fill the hot water tank.  It took about two minutes to have three guys knocking on my door about the water running down the side of my rig.  I could not find my flashlights, so they went out, took the cover off, and put a plug in that had been left out!! 

The Escapees campgrounds would be most helpful, but I have found that almost anyone in a campground would be glad to help you out if you ask. 

That's basically what I'm hoping.  First I need to find an RV park that will have me, then I need to figure out how to tow it from the storage unit to the park, and then I can finally focus on hooking up / operating the RV itself - which is when I'm hoping friendly neighbors and staff will pinch in when I get stuck.  Combined with patience, online research, and probably buying tools and parts.

On 5/11/2021 at 2:57 PM, Star Dreamer said:

Like others, we suggest you plan to park it for a few weeks or so to help you get use to it and be around others that can help answer questions. 

We basically self taught ourselves but we started from tent camping and moved up in size over the years. Probably the most scariest thing is dumping the tanks so you do not look like Robin Williams in the movie RV (which is probably good to watch to know what not to do!)

Understanding weights and how to locate items for safe traveling down the road is also good and having the unit weight allow with your tow vehicle will help you understand that.  Good luck and safe travels! Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Yes - towing and anything to do with septic are the two most intimidating aspects to me right now, in my ignorance.

On 5/12/2021 at 3:59 AM, Jinx & Wayne said:

It looks like a nice rig!

The RVOU does not require any initial level of RV knowledge.  A basic understanding of tools is helpful.  Make sure the dealer spends some time showing you how the systems work and video that information with your camera.  Practice with your camera first, if necessary.

Welcome to the adventure.

Wayne & Jinx
2017 F-350 diesel, dually
2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

Unfortunately, the dealer's in another state - and not particularly competent.  I'm still having to hand-hold/yell at them through the registration process, which we began together in January and is still not close to done.  (They sent docs to NV, failing to realize a physical inspection is required, and now NV is sending it back, and we're gonna try again in Livingston, TX, home of Escapees.)

Re: RVOU - Thanks for the tip.  In that case, I might sign up for and rush through those online courses after I get there and see the trailer.

I think that covers everything...

Edited by odigity
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1 hour ago, odigity said:

towing and anything to do with septic are the two most intimidating aspects to me right now, in my ignorance.

Septic turned out to be a lot less worrisome once I actually watched someone dump their tanks. It's much easier than you'd think. As simple as hooking up a garden hose to water your lawn except you don't want anything spread about. :)

Linda

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I would STRONGLY suggest a driving and RV instructor. There is one that I am familiar with is the RV Driving School. The school has both driving instruction and the RV knowledge instruction.

You don't need to have your HOME rendered unlivable because you didn't know.

Good luck 

Bill

 

 

 

 

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My wife and I bought an RV.  It sat in our driveway for months while we downsized, sold the house and I retired.  When all the plans were done, we got in it and drove off as full timers for the next couple of years.  We had no issues.  YouTube can help with virtually any issue or repair and what is needed for full time RV living.  

This is not rocket science.  If you are jumping into full time, then the biggest issues are about getting a mailing address, reestablishing residency in that State, changing insurances and transitioning as much as possible away from any snail mail to electronic.  A couple of hours of Google searching should clarify the choices and procedures.

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5 hours ago, JimK said:

When all the plans were done, we got in it and drove off as full timers for the next couple of years. 

We are not all that way. While we had years of RV experience, I have known others who had pretty much the same experience as you, but I have also know people who had some really bad experiences, either from nerves or from difficulty adjusting to and traveling with the RV. As easy as this all seems to JimK, myself, and many others here, we should never make lite of those who do not find these things as easy as we. Different people come from very different backgrounds and experiences and we are here to help everyone. I used to have a neighbor who told of a horrible struggle with the learning curve when he got his first RV, but because it was his dream to travel as a fulltimer, he kept at it, listened to those with more experience and at a lot of antiacid tablets, but by the time he had been on the road for 3 years he could have given lessons to most of us. I think that because the learning was more difficult, he must have learned it better as he eventually became a tailgunner in a series of caravans to Alaska, Mexico,and all around the country. They stayed on the road for just over 16 years and by the time we met it was hard to believe that he had ever been through many of the stories that he told. 

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On 5/13/2021 at 12:26 PM, odigity said:

The manufacturer (Keystone) has a 100pg manual online that they update every year, but it's a generic manual for all Keystone models - hundreds of models across dozens of lines, of which the Outback is merely one.  So it's of very limited use.  I called them and spoke to a person to ask if there's any manuals for my specific model, and was shocked to learn there isn't.  I consider that a mark against Keystone. 

 

 

 

I took a look at the Keystone manual.  I think it is excellent and covers all of the basic operation, upkeep and maintenance issues thoroughly.  You don't need a more specific manual just read the manual and ignore any items that do not pertain to your model.  You should be able to read the manual in a couple of hours and have a good idea of what needs to be done and how to do it and there is a summary to make it easy.

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