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AAL787 01-26-2020 01:38 PM

My Top 10 Newbie Mistakes and Lessons
 
Newbies to veterans please feel free to expand on these items or add to this!

1. Understand your maneuvering abilities and turning radius – It's easy to get stuck or bonk something so be careful where you're going. If you're a little lost never assume the road you're turning down (to turn around, re-orient, etc.) has an outlet/exit let alone an easy one. This is especially pertinent if you're towing a vehicle.

2. Learn the basics of hookups and stowage. The importance of leveling the RV at a campsite, necessary chords, cables, hoses, filters, waste management, battery usage/consumption, etc. Practice hooking up and unhooking. If you have a companion try to incorporate a system that benefits efficiency and safety.

3. Find, create and employ checklists. There are many and they can save your bacon. Edit and embellish the lists as necessary to accommodate your specific setup.

4. Plan space efficiency and realize this incorporates a degree of minimalism especially in smaller RV's. From bins for cabinets to the number of forks in the drawer more stuff is more weight and there's less room for it. Take what you need and leave what you won't use. There's a learning curve here...

5. Find and install apps that assist you.

Examples -

I saved $100's of dollars using GasBuddy. By understanding my RV's range I could extend a trip segment (or turn in early) simply by knowing gas prices ahead. In some cases the price was nearly $1.00/ gallon difference.

Rest area apps helped me plan for fatigue or sustenance during the trip.

Campground / Overnight apps - Don't assume campgrounds or any overnight parking are available so plan ahead. SoCal is a great example. Walmart parking prohibited everywhere and campgrounds are scarce and often booked 6 months in advance. Street parking prohibited in all of San Diego counted and the police (by their own admission) write numerous parking citations every night.

6. Use this forum, YouTube and useful websites to educate yourself. Take the time to learn what your rig can and can't do, what can be modified or upgraded, and plan each project taking into account your own specific necessity. Know your limits of install. One person's "easy install" is another person's "nightmare".

My examples -

Towed (TOAD) vehicle. I happen to own a Jeep Wrangler – yay. Quoted cost and install of all necessary items - $5074. Sooo – installed the baseplate myself but allowed the lighting/electric to be done professionally. Got and RVi3 instead of integral brake hookup. Bought the stuff on Amazon as a kit (way cheaper than dealer price). My total cost ended up being about $3000. The lesson – know your talents/limits and pick your battles accordingly.

A steering stabilizer. My first trip was 2200 miles. Dealership in FL to the west coast. It wasn't white knuckle but it was quite a shakedown run. Actually great fun. I plan to install the Safe-T-Plus myself.

Solar install – I'm still learning but still assessing my present and future needs.

The newbie lesson here is be careful of both underkill and overkill.

7. Learn basic etiquette. Many folks camp for peace so be aware of noise levels from generators and music to drunk friends. Campfire placement, camp setup and encroachment, cleanup etc. A lot of this is common sense but a general awareness is of benefit to everyone.

8. Create a driving interior set up that works. Driving - from cup holders, to iPads, to brake monitor displays, to efficient use of power outlets the more effortless your scan of your cockpit area the safer your experience on the road. Plan the driving space to minimize distraction and maximize visibility of assistance tools.

9. Be attentive to the sounds, issues, and nuances of your rig. A small problem today can be a huge problem tomorrow. Make a list and either address them yourself or get the work done either under warranty or by a repair facility.

10. Don't be afraid to ask. Whether it's this forum or the folks camping next to you I've noticed the conversations I've had as a newbie have already not only increased my infantile knowledge but have stoked my motivation to learn more. This is a shared passion and folks are typically friendly and happy to share their knowledge and experience.

EgV 02-12-2020 06:30 PM

Check list
 
I missed this before. Great lust and reminder.
#1 on the list is sooooo important. 7 minutes into owning my 24’ Freedom Elite i ran into the gas ⛽️ bumper. Thank goodness for insurance but I learned turning radius REAL fast.

I’m going to print this out.

EgV

tlapera 02-12-2020 06:39 PM

Excellent and useful! Thanks! Safe travels!!

Bob Denman 02-12-2020 07:48 PM

VERY nice list! :thumb:
I have one bit of advice that I'd like to add to it:
Don't forget that it's supposed to be fun! :D
Don't let yourself get tangled up in all of the details, and forget to remember why you're doing this.

MJC62 02-12-2020 09:06 PM

2nd on the Fun.
I will also add slow down and enjoy the journey. That’s a huge part of the motorhome experience. It has always boggled my mind the people blowing through a National Park or down a scenic highway at a bazillion mph. It may be cliche but stop often and smell the roses.

Lt Keefer 02-12-2020 09:13 PM

Only one thing on my RV list of rules and that is take it easy. Taking it easy gives me time to have fun. Fun is the reason we have a motor home.

tlapera 02-12-2020 09:16 PM

I couldn't agree more .... I still work, so the rig is our fun mobile ... no hurries, no worries!! Thanks everyone!

AAL787 02-14-2020 01:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Denman (Post 222963)
VERY nice list! :thumb:
I have one bit of advice that I'd like to add to it:
Don't forget that it's supposed to be fun! :D
Don't let yourself get tangled up in all of the details, and forget to remember why you're doing this.

Wise words my friend. I absolutely agree!

AAL787 02-14-2020 01:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EgV (Post 222936)
I missed this before. Great lust and reminder.
#1 on the list is sooooo important. 7 minutes into owning my 24’ Freedom Elite i ran into the gas ⛽️ bumper. Thank goodness for insurance but I learned turning radius REAL fast.

I’m going to print this out.

EgV

I went from total newbie to living in my new rig 14-20 days per month so I feel like I'm constantly learning something new (a lot of it basic). Please add anything you think of or learn along the way.

AAL787 02-16-2020 03:24 PM

I should add to #1 - Aside from horizontal dimension remember to look above the coach. Also think vertically because she's 11' tall! That's anything from branches at the campsite to the street sign I almost nailed in Encinitas, CA the other day while parking street side...

Newf026 02-16-2020 05:48 PM

I would also add - never ever be afraid or embarrassed to simply stop the rig, get out and assess the situation. Sometimes all of the mirrors and cameras in the world won't stop you from doing something stupid. If in doubt - get out!

AAL787 02-16-2020 09:53 PM

Hallelujah to that. Stopping in a safe place is also a good way to re-calibrate for a moment or two especially in a stressful situation. I've noticed stepping out and having a walk around the rig creates a reset and assures the safety of the vehicle.

tlapera 02-18-2020 03:26 PM

...I find check lists are SO necessary ... close the slide, close the vents, gather up the power cord, yada yada yada!! You can't remember it all!! Thanks everyone!☺

TurnerFam 02-18-2020 03:54 PM

agree totally with all of your informative comments - 'new' owners are sometimes overwhelmed by the very purchase of a new 'rig', especially when it comes to 'driving' or 'towing' it, and then having to maneuver in unfamiliar fuel stations, and many times even RV Parks and Campgrounds themselves - they are not created the same : )

Highway driving is mostly easy, but most of us can struggle or be under pressure to enter and exit fuel stations. My advice is to always take things SLOW, don't let other drivers or the environment 'make' you do things quicker than you know you should. Making hard turns, entering fuel station lanes, dealing with other vehicles, and making your exit can bring about feeling that make you think you have to 'hurry', but don't - be intently SLOW in your movement. It's amazing how much better you feel after a slow and safe maneuver, versus the 'hurried' ones that you feel as though you 'barely' made without incident. IF you ever are not exactly and totally sure, GET OUT AND LOOK - walk around your rig, view all of the obstacles, then proceed with caution, but with safe intent.


also, and yes, GAS BUDDY is probably the single most important and money saving app that I've ever used, in over 100,000 miles of travel, as it has literally saved me THOUSANDS of dollars in fuel cost, and provides excellent information about the fuel station, and directions to it, and integration with Google Maps so that I can 'see' what to expect when I arrive!

Great!

Cakeman 02-20-2020 02:01 AM

I will add...... know your surrounding again. Have a spotter….. I have had a pop-up campers, pull behinds, a Class A, then a Class C (4x4) and now back to a Class A. Apparently I forgot it’s over 12 feet tall and the eve of my house isn’t. Yes, my wife wasn’t around and I though I could back up close enough without her. The rear camera points down (not up!), totally forgot about the gutter and corner of house. Lets just say $4000 is a nice price to pay to never forget that the gutter is there. Plus…free of charge.. all the comments/jokes my wife of 31 years now gets to make. Trust me I’ve done some stupid stuff…. But this one I believe is in the lead. So I thought I was experienced. I guess I am not. The point of my ramble is to check and check again, then have some one check for you if your not sure. By the way it will be in the shop for about 2 weeks getting the fiberglass repaired, panted and a new ladder installed.

tlapera 02-25-2020 09:01 PM

To those of you with the Vegas 24 - when my radio plays (or I pipe Pandora thru it), it stops when I flip on the turn signal!! Anyone else have this issue? It's annoying!

AAL787 03-12-2020 10:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tlapera (Post 224563)
To those of you with the Vegas 24 - when my radio plays (or I pipe Pandora thru it), it stops when I flip on the turn signal!! Anyone else have this issue? It's annoying!

Mine does the same thing. I interject my own singing during the pause.

HarleypsychRN 03-13-2020 11:06 PM

My first year owning a rig last year. My biggest mistake....running out of Propane but wondering why the heater didn't work (at the finger lakes region in the fall)...lol.

Read, watch youtube, talk to people and repeat.


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