Did you know that spark plugs can eject out of an engine? Neither did I until today. I am currently writing this story in the waiting room of a truck repair shop in Dickson Tennessee. Waiting to see if the RV can be fixed after that very thing has happened to me. This is not the average day for rvers, but this is something that does happen and may even happen often. Just like regular life, things are unpredictable and you must be flexible and ready for anything. This is a story of discovery and the new relationship that I have with my new house on wheels. I am the proud owner of a 2002 Holiday Rambler Admiral named Ruby. She is older but she has grown on me and we are two peas in a pod.
History of Rving
People have been rving and traveling for many years. The first RV was made in 1910 and it brought together automobiles and the great outdoors. They started out with only a few compartments and a container to hold water. Airstream is one of the most popular and one of the oldest brands of RV. The RV community is large and there are many Facebook groups and websites that have information and meetups for all its users. The problem is not that there is not information but there is not much diversity among Rvers. Things have gotten a lot better due to more diverse groups that cater to the African American RVer and many of the resources have helped me immensely.
There are several reasons why I decided to move into an RV full time. The biggest reason is that I do not like paying rent. I felt like all the money that I have spent making the apartment complex rich could help me gain some type of ownership. Being an RV owner gives me the freedom to own something but not being tied down with a mortgage or rent and utilities. The next reason is an adventure, when I was a little girl I really enjoyed camping and being out in nature I always wanted to live in an RV but thought that I would have the opportunity to do so but now I made my childhood dream come true. The third reason is freedom, I am able to travel all over the country and go to places I always wanted to visit.
There are 3 main categories of RV Class A, B, and C
Class A- is your standard class, think of tour buses
- Very large can be up to 20- 45 ft
- Can sleep 8-10
- They can be diesel or gas
- Luxury and easy to use
- Not very fuel-efficient
- Bulky and harder to maneuver
- Needs someone to help maneuver and back out of tight spaces
- More difficult to drive
Class B- Smaller RV class
- Easy to maneuver
- More agile
- Fuel efficient
- Great for the outdoors
- Not as spacious
- Not good if you plan on spending your trip inside or there is in climate weather
- Easy to drive
- More fuel-efficient
- Less expensive
- Better gas mileage
- Not as luxurious
- Not as much space
Then you also have you RV trailers
- Pop up/ foldable
- Travel Trailers
- Toy Haulers
- Fifth-wheel trailers
Glossary- Here are some terms that will be useful when navigating the RV world.
Shore power- when you can plug your RV into an AC electrical grid. The available power you can draw on is measured in amps.
Gray Tank- Holds liquid waste
Black Tank- Holds solid waste and collects water used to flush the toilet and toilet paper
Slide Out- A mechanism that opens and closes different rooms in the RV. Usually, it opens the bedroom and the living room/ kitchen area.
Generator- Your RVs energy center. Powers your whole RV it is very important and without it you are nothing
Propane tank- This is important so you can have continuous hot water throughout the RV
30 Amp- A plug that has three prongs – a 120-volt hot wire, a neutral wire, and a ground wire – and is generally used on RVs with lower load requirements.
50 Amp- A lug that has four prongs- two 120-volt hot wires, a neutral wire, and ground wire- that supply two separate 50 amp, 120 volt feeds.
City Water- The RV city water inlet on the outside of the RV makes it possible to hook up to an outside source, such as a campground or residential faucet using a hose, and have pressurized water running on the inside.
Boondocking- Dry camping without shore power
Tips and Tricks
- Get emergency roadside assistance do not argue, just do it, you will thank me later
- Things are going to break or need to be replaced this is a part of the lifestyle the sooner you accept it the sooner you can fix it and move on
- Water is life without it you cannot do much. Always keep extra water in your bathroom. Keep a couple of 5-6-gallon jugs of fresh drinkable water somewhere in your coach
- Make sure all cracks are sealed with weatherproofing cocking. Leaks can be disastrous for RV’s. The key is always to stay dry.
- Beware of potholes, they can and will destroy your undercarriage
- Make sure that your tires are filled at the proper psi. Tires that are too full or over the factory psi will be too rigid. When they hit a pothole, your tire will explode, and this can cause a lot of damage and ruin the bottom of your RV
- No glass! RV’s are not great places to keep glass they shake way too much, and they can break. Not safe do not do it
- If you are moving into an RV from a house or apartment, take at all of your stuff get rid of half of it then only keep a quarter of that There will still be a lot of stuff. Space is very limited in there so use it wisely and only keep things that you cannot live without
- Baby wipes are your best friend (that is all I am going to say)
- Invest in solar power chargers and a portable generator. Power is a premium and you cannot always rely on shore power to charge your phone or keep things powered very important if you are boondocking
Things that you should know that nobody tells you about owning an RV
- If you want continuous water turn on your propane tank at least 30 minutes before so you will not have ice cold water for your shower.
- You cannot and I repeat cannot take a luxurious 20-minute shower with the water running continuously. You will run out of water and there is nothing worse than being covered in soap and the water runs out. Trust me I know this from experience. Turn off the water when you are soaping up then turn it back on to rinse. Also, time management is key 10 minutes is the perfect length of time to get everything clean.
- Sometimes the generator will not fire up in every climate do not rely on it and keep a backup generator on hand.
- It is a good idea to buy a used RV so if you do mess something up while learning it will not be a 100,000-dollar mistake. Also, if possible, buy a used RV from the original owner. This becomes rarer the older the RV is, but it is possible and that is how I lucked out and found Ruby. The right RV will find you just spend your time doing your research.
- Last but not least because there is no indoor plumbing you will be responsible for flushing your own tanks. Yes, it is gross but it is a necessary evil and once you do it a couple of times it becomes second nature.
Resources to help you get started
Camping world is a great resource go to the site and blog here
RVshare.com is also a great resource as well
Having an RV is a rewarding experience, it can be hard work and requires maintenance but the freedom that it provides is priceless. More people should take the leap and purchase an RV. Even if they do decide to only take it out on weekends, it’s worth it. It is a great way to bring your family together to discover the great outdoors. I am proud of my decision and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I love my RV and I am excited to go on more adventures in the future. See you on the open road!