I’m back with more questions from blog readers about RVing, what’s happening in our lives since we hung up the keys, and all kinds of other things. While I try to answer all questions individually, I also share some here.
Q. Why did you stop using your bus conversion? I couldn’t find a reference to when you hung up your keys, as you put it, or why?
A. We replaced the bus conversion with a Winnebago diesel pusher in 2010 because it had a million miles on it and needed a major overhaul of the engine and transmission. For not much more than that would have cost, we bought the Winnebago and traveled and lived in it for close to seven more years. After almost 18 years of fulltime RVing, we hung up the keys almost two years ago when we decided we wanted to take a different path in life. We loved our time on the road, but we were both ready for a change.
Q. There was a time when there were a lot of RV surplus and salvage places around Elkhart, Indiana, but these days it looks like they are all gone. Can you recommend any sources for used or surplus RV parts?
A. Depending on what you are looking for, I would recommend you try Bontrager’s RV Surplus in White Pigeon, Michigan, a short drive from Elkhart, or Colaw RV Salvage in Carthage, Missouri.
Q. I’m 72 and wondering if it’s “too late” for me, as much as the idea of having a skoolie appeals to me (and 4 dogs).
A. If you are physically capable, don’t let age stop you from following your dream. We know many, many RVers older than you who are out there loving the lifestyle.
Q. I seem to remember you’ve recommended tires need to be replaced after 6 years. Son-in-law says 12 year old tires with only 16,000 miles on them are still good because tread is good and vehicle always stored in garage. I couldn’t remember your recommendations. Have you got an answer for me to give him?
A. I don’t care how new they look, I would not drive anywhere on those tires. I would not even accept tires that had been sitting in a warehouse for 12 years. I’ve seen too many accidents caused by blowouts on tires that looked fine. Seven years is the max on RV tires.
Q. I love the picture of the rug Miss Terry made that you had in your blog recently, but it doesn’t seem like she’s weaving as much as she used to when you were in the RV. She makes such beautiful shawls and scarves and things like that and I really hope she doesn’t give it up. Is that the case?
A. If it came down to it and she had to choose, I think Terry would rather give up me than her looms. Don’t worry, she is still a very active weaver. There has been a long learning curve to get used to her big Glimakra looms, which has slowed down her production. But I promise you, you’ll be seeing more of her work in the future.
Q. My husband passed away last year and I am no longer able to travel due to health issues. In early 2009 we purchased a membership in a campground in Pennsylvania and were told that whenever we wanted out of it, all we had to do was transfer the membership into somebody else’s name, or we could cancel the membership and pay a small fee. Nobody wants the membership, even if I try to give it away, because they want a $2,500 transfer fee, and when I inquired about canceling the membership their “small fee” is also $2,500! My husband’s illness took all of our money and all I have is $872 a month in Social Security coming in. I don’t have $2,500 to give them and I can’t afford the $750 a year annual dues, which were due September 1st. I told them that and asked if there were some way they could work with me, but they say it’s a lifetime membership and I have to continue to pay the dues for life or else. Now they are calling me two and three times a day demanding payment and asking for my bank account information and saying they will garnishee my Social Security check. They have added on another $250 as a late fee on the dues. I’m 81 years old and don’t know what to do. Please, do you have any suggestions?
A. I’m sorry for your loss, and sorry that you are being hassled in such a way. I wouldn’t pay those bandits another penny if I were in your situation. My advice to you is to tell them to go pound sand. Contact your local Legal Aid organization, they should be able to give you some advice for free. But whatever you do, Do NOT give them any of your banking information. In fact, don’t even answer the phone or talk to them when they call.
Q. After five years of RVing fulltime in a fifth wheel, we upgraded to a used 38 foot diesel pusher and love it! However, I have a question I hope you can answer, since I get conflicting information in different RV forums online. Is it safe to use our Jake brake on wet roads when it’s raining? Some people say yes and some people say no.
A. It’s always been my understanding that you should not use a Jake brake or exhaust brake on wet roads to avoid the possibility of a skid or loss of control when the brake activates.
Q. So, it’s been about two years now since you hung up the keys. Any regrets? Do you wish you hadn’t done that? Or do you wish you had done it sooner?
A. We loved our time on the road and we have no regrets for the years we spent as fulltime RVers. At the same time, we are very happy in this new lifestyle and have no regrets that we made that decision, either. When the time came to get off the road, we both knew it.
Q. I know your RVing days are over, but have you ever considered doing another rally for all of your former subscribers and current blog readers? Maybe you could do it at Elkhart Campground and you and Terry could stay in one of their cabins during the rally?
A. We really enjoyed holding our rallies, but they were a tremendous amount of work. And while we miss getting together with all of our friends, we don’t miss the heavy workload. So, no, I don’t see that happening.
Q. We have received two solicitations from a company wanting us to list our motorhome with them as a rental unit when we are not using it. They tell us we could easily offset our monthly payment by doing so and that they have a long list of customers waiting to rent RVs. Any thoughts on this, Nick?
A. There is no way I would ever loan or rent my RV to anybody. This isn’t like someone renting a car and driving away in it. They are oversized vehicles that need a certain skill set to drive them safely and have very complex systems that somebody off the street may not understand how to use. Besides the possibility of having your rig returned to you damaged, I’m pretty sure your insurance company will not approve of you renting it out to somebody else. And if you have a loan on it, your bank may not be too thrilled, either.
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.
To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Don’t take yourself too seriously, no one else does.