10 Things I learned in Our New RV

Well it’s been a while since I last posted, but believe me it’s been a busy couple of months. We picked up our brand new RV back in March and have spent the weeks since hopping around from campground to campground and resort to resort trying to work the kinks out. Not only that, but also to orient ourselves to our new and much smaller surroundings. It’s amazing what you can do without, but also what things you must have. Anyway, I thought it was time to post a quick list of 10 things I/we have learned in our RV on our maiden voyages.

1. When you think you have it all figured out you don’t – This is pretty much straight forward.  After pouring over all the manuals and guides that are supplied with the RV, I thought we had a good handle on things. Turns out things don’t always work the way they do under perfect conditions in your driveway at home. There is no substitute for real life. So take the time necessary to get well versed in everything before venturing too far away. Ask lots of questions of other RV’ers as you meet them along the way.  Their knowledge is a great resource.

20170408_1219272.  The convenience (or not) of free WiFi – “Free WiFi” as well as “WiFi available” seem to be fairly loose terms and definitely open to interpretation.  The term “free” is accurate and appreciated by all. After all who doesn’t like something for nothing?! The trouble is, and what they don’t tell you, is you may only be able to get the WiFi in front of the office or some other obscure area other than in your RV when you are trying to log onto Netflix. Available WiFi has the same pitfalls and it may mean you are logging in and checking emails while sitting in the laundry room. laundry-1

3.  Navigation Systems – This one always makes me laugh because I think more often than not our Navi systems are meant to get us lost, take us down roads we don’t want to go, or nag us into pulling over and giving up for the day. The Navi system in our new RV is not what you would call “user friendly”. Once we finally get the coordinates entered into her memory she constantly tells me what to do and when I don’t listen (sometimes I don’t hear too), then she wants me to make a “legal” U-turn when safe to do so. A safe U-turn, with a 25 foot RV, while driving down the open highway?  I could drive for an hour before I arrived at a truly “safe” place to U-turn. Sometimes I find myself arguing with her and finding I need to justify my actions.  If I was married to my Navi system it would definitely be divorce city.  Remember, there is no substitute for a beautiful wing-“woman” sitting in the chair beside you as you travel down the highway. Take what Miss Navi says with a grain of salt and move on.

4.  Camping Mats and Skylights – The addition of a great outdoor camping mat not only provides a great look and feel to your outdoor space but they also are nice to walk on with your bare feet. Built in sky lights in your RV roof provide great sun light into the RV which is especially nice on those early morning travel days.  20170510_184924I have learned the hard way that this is not the only function they serve. It seems that from the air both provide great targets for flying bombers of the bird variety. 20170528_180132It wouldn’t be so bad if they only dropped their turd bombs on the glass, but they also complete bombing runs on our outdoor mat – of course usually right after I have just laid it down on the ground or swept it. Make a note – bucket for washing needed and a stiff brush.

5.  Hot showers – The vast majority of RV resorts and campgrounds provide showers for your use and in some of them they are free of charge.  The ones that charge (usually a dollar) will take quarters or “loonies” in Canada and will last 5 to 8 minutes. The part you can usually count on is once you have deposited the money in the slot and the water has started it will take you the next 3 to 4 minutes just to regulate the temperature.  Next you get shampoo on your head and soap on your body just in time for the money/time to run out.  Now you will find yourself blindly feeling around trying to get a loonie or 4 quarters into the machine hoping you don’t electrocute yourself.  Moral of the story is wash fast.

6.  Drinking and Cooking – Now this hasn’t actually happened to us and we hope it doesn’t, but definitely could have. StoveThis warning comes from some friends we met at an LTV (Leisure Travel Vans) rally a few weeks ago.  They had finished a nice dinner (and wine of course) and didn’t realize they had left one of the propane stove burners on really low (almost invisible to the naked eye).  They closed the glass lid that covers the stove and went outside.  At some point they went back into the RV to find the glass had heated to the point that it shattered. This is the type of lesson that should never occur more than once, that’s for sure. P.S. – things like this are not covered on warranty.

7.  Sewer hookups vs Sani Dumps – This is kind of a silly one but I will chalk it up to being a newbie RV’er and not always thinking before doing.  When we have been booking campgrounds we always try to get full hook-ups (electrical, water, sewer, etc.). We like the convenience of having water and power during our stay.  We choose not to hook-up our sewer lines and only use the holding tanks during our stay. Again, I blame this on being a newbie as well as comfort level with the whole black water tank idea.  Anyway, the funny part of this is that the first time we took the RV to a campground, even though we had a sewer line right beside the RV, we drove to a separate sani- dump station after we packed up and left the campground. DUH! Why would anybody do that…..lol. Lesson learned.

8.  Pre-delivery Inspections – This one is for the new RV owners.  Once you get your RV home check it, check it, check it….and then once more. Case in point. We bought ours brand new and not only did it go through a pre-shipping inspection at the factory it also went through a full pre-delivery inspection to make sure everything was in working order.  We took possession of ours in March and in our first 4 or 5 short trips we never had any real warm weather.  But then we spent a week in Osoyoos in southern British Columbia and the temperatures rose to around +34 degrees Celsius. We go to turn on our bright and shiny new air conditioner and it failed.  It functioned well and blew lots of air, just not cold. After operating it for a while, the temperature actually went up in the RV.  So even though you may not need it at the time, try all or your appliances, furnaces, water heaters, etc. “before” you go out on your first trip. Thankfully our RV Dealer and the manufacturer have been fantastic about addressing everything that has needed attention.

9.  Micro Wave and Convection Ovens – Our RV has a combination microwave and convection oven.  This is a great convenience to have on the road because it allows you to bake and roast things or just simply use the microwave function to warm things up.  Where you get yourself into trouble is when you try to do both one after another.  On one particular occasion we had just baked some chicken breasts on convection in the oven and had just removed them.  We also had something to warm up in a Tupperware dish so we put it in the oven and turned on the microwave function not realizing the oven was still very hot inside.  Not only did we warm up the item, but we also managed to permanently change the shape of the Tupperware dish!  Moral of the story is to use the microwave first!

10.  Batten Down the Hatches – You usually spend a lot of time getting the inside of your RV ready to go before your first trip.  5161956You put everything into the cupboards, storage areas, cabinets, and most importantly the fridge.  As a new RV owner what you’re not thinking about is when you make everything just right at home in your driveway, you aren’t moving, or turning, or going over a speed bump in a parking lot.  So as you start your engine, put on your new Ray Bans, turn on some Jimmy Buffett music and smile over at the love of your life, take one more second and ask yourself did we batten down the hatches?  If not, the first crash you hear will like be everything falling over in the fridge followed next by every spice jar and can in the pantry cupboard. Every time you put something into storage, think of how it may launch itself into the stratosphere as you pull out of your driveway and onto the big open highway?


Just Over One Year

It  seems to have taken just over one year after my official retirement date for me to feel like it actually happened. For the past year, it has felt somewhat surreal. I still looked forward to “weekends” (as if some “freedom” was attached to them). I still laid awake at night on Sunday nights, thinking about Monday morning and all the things I had to get done during the week. I thought about things that needed to be addressed at my former work organization and whether “someone” was taking care of that. I wondered what retired life should really look like and what I needed to do to make it so.

RV Pic 2 Pentiction April 2017

So today I am in the 24 foot motor home that my guy and I dreamed we would one day hop in and enjoy on many road trip adventures. We are parked on the shore of a beautiful BC lake, enjoying the sights and quiet time together. It is a Thursday, not a weekend. I finally realize that now I look forward to every day and that the week can be my weekend too (when it’s not so busy with everyone else vying for the same thing on their days off). If I am laying awake at night thinking about what I have to do, it is by choice and that there is something intriguing (and likely adventuresome) that is driving my mind to focus on it. I have accepted that I did a great job of leaving skilled and qualified people in my place to deal with all the things needed at my former work organization. It is still surreal, but more importantly, I realize that I am actually living what retired life “should look like” …and that is great.

“Retirement, a time to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, where you want to do it, and how you want to do it”.  Catherine Pulsifer


Is there a Doctor in the house?

No, I didn’t say Dr. House…..I said, “is there a doctor in the house?”  We don’t always realize it but listening to our doctor needs to happen just as much when you aren’t sick as when you are.  Often some of the best advice we can get happens when we are not feeling sick at all but are looking for ways to improve our overall health and lower our risk of contracting a major illness. Recently I came across an article in a magazine with an interview with Dr. David Katz who is an internationally renowned specialist in chronic disease prevention and weight management.

In the article Dr. Katz offers us all 5 easy ways we can outsmart illness.  He says that what we do with our arms, feet and fork can cut our risk for chronic disease by up to an amazing 80 percent!  What follows are his 5 top recommendations:

  •  MOVE YOUR FEET (LOTS!) You should get at least 20 minutes of exercise and no fewer than 5 times per week. You need to not only make the commitment to do it but also keep it.  I try to keep as active as possible at least 5 times per week right now and sometimes 6 times.  I keep one “down” day to just take things easy and at a slower pace.  My routine “right now” consists of a fast/aerobic-paced walk of at least 10 kilometers each day.  Now that the snow and ice are gone I will once again substitute some of these walks with running. I don’t look at these outings as a chore, but more as something I choose to do and enjoy.
  •  CHOOSE FOODS THAT LOVE YOU BACK You should never have to sacrifice great food (good tasting) for great health.  Look for strategies where they can live in harmony.  Low fat and high flavour is our motto at home and has become part of our lifestyle.  That’s not to say that we don’t cheat once in a while, but we believe everything in moderation. Always keep lots of fresh vegetables and fruit around and if there are “not so healthy” things that constantly tempt you, then try just not picking them up. Often the “out of sight out of mind” trick works best.
  •  TRAIN YOURSELF TO SLEEP MORE SOUNDLY Since I retired, this one has become easier for me but I still fall into some past bad habits.  Dr. Katz recommends at least eight hours of sleep each night as well as sticking to a consistent schedule. I am always surprised at how easy it is to wake up at the same time each day without the aid of an alarm clock because I stick to a routine schedule and this supports Dr. Katz’s recommendations. He goes on to say we should avoid taking afternoon naps as they are likely to end up interfering with our sleep later on that night and so any possible benefit is lost. Since I have been blogging I was in the habit of looking at articles online each night on blogging and thinking about things I wanted to try or how I could fix on my page. The trouble is that I took these thoughts with me as I tried to fall asleep and ended up tossing and turning all night. So recently I have gone back to my old routine of simply reading a book before turning out the light and this has completely stopped the late night restlessness.
  •  DE-STRESS WITH A QUICK “THOUGHT MAKEOVER” Dr. Katz states that research has shown people who report high levels of stress are more likely to eat more and exercise less which is not great when it comes to disease prevention. He recommends finding your “optimal tension-taming technique.” This could come in the form of meditation/visualization and even just old-fashioned exercise. I find how my mind treats stressful situations can make it better or worse.  Staying positive and reframing things in a positive light definitely helps me lower the stress meter and get though it.
  •  REACH OUT AND HUG SOMEONE No not your boss or some stranger walking down the street….that could turn out a bit weird. But Dr. Katz mentions the natural human need to feel close to others. Creating connections with others around us might be an even more important defense against stress than exercise. No matter how crazy our days get, my fiancé and I always make time for a cup of coffee together followed by our 10K walk, a run or a trip to the gym. In the old days we took care of all the other things life threw at us and then “if” there was time we got our workouts in. Now we take care of this critical element of our everyday lifestyle first, and then the rest of the day’s activities.

So based on my experience, my recommendation to you this week is to try and incorporate some or all of these strategies into your life. Your health and well-being are important to you and your families.