I know it’s only been a couple of weeks since my last Q&A column, but I’ve been getting a lot of questions from readers that I thought might be of interest to some of you as well, so here we go.
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. We know many, many RVers older than you who are out there loving the lifestyle. Go for it. Just be aware some RV parks will not accept school bus conversions, and it may be challenge to get insurance on it.
Q. A couple of guys have told me about some kind of computer chip or something I can put in my 350 hp Cummins ISC diesel engine to give it more power. Do you know anything about that or where I can get one of those chips?
A. I have heard about chips like this for quite some time but don’t have any personal experience with them. However, my feeling is that the engineers who designed that engine know a heck of a lot more about things than I do, so I’m not going to second-guess them.
Q. I was pulled over by the police in New Jersey when I wasn’t doing anything and minding my own business. The cop told me the reason he stopped me is because of the many pro-gun bumper stickers on my car, which I was towing behind our motorhome (both registered in Texas). He asked if I had any guns with me and I told him no, then he asked if he could come inside the RV and check. Again, I told him no. I think he was going to insist on it or call for backup or something, but then he got an emergency call about an accident and left, after warning us again not to bring guns to New Jersey. Was that a legal traffic stop? Could he search my motorhome without my permission? I always heard my home is my castle. Does that not apply to RVs if you are a fulltimer?
A. Was it a legal traffic stop? I’m not on an attorney, so I won’t try to answer that here. I guess an argument could be made that your bumper stickers gave him probable cause to believe you were transporting guns that are illegal in New Jersey. Again, if those bumper stickers were construed as probable cause, it might allow him to search, even if you don’t grant permission. These are things that would have to be tested in court, I would assume. However, this is exactly why I don’t have any bumper stickers about guns or anything else on my car. Why invite trouble? Not to mention the fact that those bumper stickers are an open invitation to somebody to break into your car or motorhome, thinking they can find a gun or two to steal. I believe every gun owning RVer should have a copy of the 2018 Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States, which is available on Amazon. The way laws constantly change, it may not be the perfect guide to gun laws nationwide, but it’s a pretty good resource.
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 our MCI bus conversion with a diesel pusher in 2010 because the bus 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 our Winnebago Ultimate Advantage diesel pusher. After almost 18 years of fulltime RVing, we hung up the keys 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. We have heard a lot about working as gate guards at well drilling sites in places like Texas and Oklahoma. I’ve done some Internet searching but a lot of information is confusing. Can you tell me where we might be able to read about what it’s like to be a gate guard, what’s required to get a job like that, and such?
A. Yes I can. Our friends Greg and Jan White spent a lot of time gate guarding and they have a wealth of information about being a gate guard on their blog at this link.
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. 7 years is the max on RV tires.
Q. Not RV related, but you said your next Big Lake book will be Big Lake Wedding. Is that going to be the end of the series? I sure hope not because I have fallen in love with everybody in Big Lake. Well, everybody except the mayor. He’s a twit.
A. Not to worry, I have so many ideas for stories about Big Lake that I’ll never live long enough to write them all. But I’ll get a few more done before I go toes up.
Q. We really like the area around the Space Coast in Florida and have spent some time there. We came close to buying an RV lot in Mission, Texas but decided before we do that we should see if there’s any place around there where you can purchase your own RV lot. Somebody told us about a place called The Great Outdoors in Titusville, but I’ve heard mixed reviews. Some people say it’s very expensive and rather snooty, while other people really like it. Can you give us any feedback on it or any other place in that area we might want to look at?
A. Our dear friends Pete and Connie Bradish have a lot at The Great Outdoors in Titusville and we stayed on it a couple of times. It’s a huge place with every kind of amenity you could ever want, from a golf course to shops to more activities than you could ever find time for. RV lots there are not cheap, but I think they are comparable to many other places like that. Another option is Willow Lakes RV Resort, a couple of miles north of Titusville in Mims, right on US Highway One. We have never stayed there, but we’ve driven through it many times. In parts of it the roads and sites are rather tight and a large RV would have problems. But there are other sections with plenty of room for any size rig.
Be sure to enter this week’s Free Drawing, because we’ve got a great prize this week. Jim O’Briant has donated a one year subscription to www.OvernightRVParking.com. This is a great resource for RVers, listing well over 13,000 free places where you can park overnight. It’s a $24.95 value and it could be yours free if you’re our lucky winner. 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 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 – If every day is a gift, today would be socks.