Who would have ever thought we would be using that kind of title? Not me. Maybe I should introduce myself and tell you who I am exactly. Remember the campingcrazybuzz postings last year about the camping trip disaster? That was us!
Crazily enough—we’re back at it. Why? Good question. Although this year in particular camping should be high on your list of things to do. Why you ask? Social distancing. Something we never even dreamed of when we purchased our first travel trailer last year.
But this is 2020–unprecedented has become a term that is overused at this point. But, I digress.
Why should glamping be high on your list this year? First of all—glamping is low contact— everything is self contained within your own camper. Need to take a shower? No problem. Need to stop while traveling to use the bathroom? Guess what? It travels with you. Eating out at restaurants? Why would we do that when we have our own indoor/outdoor kitchen? I think you get the point.
COVID-19 has now taken over our lives and the way we live so glamping has now become a particularly popular way to vacation. (Side note: I use the term glamping to refer to people to camp using a travel trailer, 5th wheel or motor home—anything but tent camping).
So here we are. Summer 2020. After our disaster last year you may be wondering why we would ever consider purchasing another camper. To be honest I wondered too. My husband said we had to redeem ourselves this year —so here we are. Armed with our Ford F-250 and our 2019 Elkridge Lite 361 5th wheel.
We started our journey last week so as the week goes on I’ll update accordingly. Suffice it to say—glamping with my family is something that is unforgettable! I’ll also clue you in about our experience going from a travel trailer to a 5th wheel! Stay tuned!
This weekend we traveled to Conyers, Ga hoping to live stream this event. Somewhat of a disaster to start. First and foremost, internet service was awful. Evidently while Verizon is easily accessible everywhere else in this country, we were not able to live stream and go online. We talked to attendees about our website and when they would try and access the internet to visit our site to subscribe, they were unable to. It just wasn’t Verizon customers either, many with other providers were complaining as well.
Friday was a complete rain out and too cold to traipse around and look at RVs. I felt bad for the vendors thinking they wouldn’t sell a thing this weekend. However, what a surprise. The next two days were chilly but tolerable. The sun was out and all I saw was shiny new RVs everywhere, and on Sunday all we saw was SOLD. All sizes and types being purchased by all different ages of people. Many families with animals and kids, seniors, young couples and individuals… get this…many with the hopes of living full-time and traveling in their new purchase. Yes!!!! Camper Crazy people just like me.
Lots of people!!! All ages from babies to seniors were roaming in and out of the RVs, signing up for the driving class from Camping World and attending the seminars from an RVSEF instructor.
RVSEF provides training for wannabe RVers or those seeking more education concerning RV safety and assisting people learn how to operate their RVs. We attended two of the seminars and found them to be informative. To learn more visit their website to find out more about online training and their conferences. Visit https://rvsafety.com/
The highlight of the weekend was my husband actually driving a motor-home!!! Never thought I would see that happen. Camping World offered show attendees the chance to drive a small Class A with an instructor. The nicest part was it was just that! No high pressure sales person saying, “BUY TODAY AND SAVE BIG.” Plus my husband didn’t crash so that was a big plus as well!
We stumbled into a nice Entegra Qwest Class C and there were many families that fell in love with it too. Currently I am trying to talk my husband into just buying a travel trailer and using it with our current truck until we retire. That way he can become accustomed to the RV lifestyle and will be happy to live full time in one after we retire. We looked at three different trailers that could be possibilities from the lowest cost spectrum up to the Lance 2985 Roadster to the more expensive Airstream Flying Cloud. If nothing else you gotta love that name!
Watch our video to see how Mark expertly learns how to maneuver the motor-home with great tips from the instructor and how he is slowly becoming Camper Crazy too! Check out our video on the 2020 Airstream Flying Cloud, Entegra Qwest and the Lance 2985 Roadster while we check them out at the Great American RV Show in Conyers, Georgia.
As always, thank you for reading, subscribing and commenting on our blog and youtube channel! We appreciate your support.
Living full-time in an RV after selling your home can present some challenges. These are challenges that will take some strategy and good planning.
Personally we have lived for over 20 years in Florida and will maintain our residency and domicile, IF…I mean when we pursue my “Camper Crazy” dream of living full-time in an RV and traveling. We have already started planning so the day I retire, we can fill up the tank and go!
Some full-time travelers will purchase an RV lot much like Debi and Joe in our previous blog, however, we are not sure we will go that route. We know for certain that our home base will be Florida in some form. Some travelers will use a family member’s residency in the state they want to consider their permanent residence. There are those that live in states with taxes that highly impact retirees. In that case, they may look for residency in a state, like Florida, which will have less impact and seek to change their domicile.
We really had no idea what we should do once we start traveling full-time. Then we thought about missionaries, doctors without boarders, traveling nurses, cruisers and those in the military. What do they do? How do they handle being away for long periods of time, and what do they do about the items mentioned in the title? First, what do they do about their mail?
One way of handling the mail is to use a mail forwarding service. There are several that you can find online, however, many may be drawn to Good Sam’s mail service. Many full-time campers already have a membership with Good Sam, so they will get a discounted price to use their service.
Basically you will get a physical Florida address that you can use for more than your mail. That address could be the beginning of setting up your residency. It may be able to help you obtain or maintain a driver’s license, get your auto/RV tags and insurance, and setting up bank accounts. You can view the details at https://www.goodsammailservice.com/faq
Domicile in and of itself is basically your home or where you intend to return. From our research simply owning a home and spending most of your time in a state is not enough to prove domicile. Where you consider your permanent home and where your important activities take place is what can help you establish your domicile. This is especially important if you want to establish a new domicile.
While you can own more than one home or residence, you can only have one domicile. If it isn’t clearly apparent which is your domicile, then you must take the right measures to establish your new domicile and give up the old. This is important due to legal issues that could arise. For instance after your death, if your survivors have to file probate court proceedings, it must be done in the state of your domicile at time of death.
One of the most important factors is your intent. No one can read our minds or hearts, but they can see the evidence. Where do we maintain our memberships? Where are the financial institutions that we deal with? Where are you registered to vote? What address is on a driver’s license and passport? What address is used for filing taxes? All of these things can be evidence that we are domiciled in a specific state. Additionally, a person can file a Declaration of Domicile.
For anyone considering selling their home and living full-time and traveling in their RV, planning is necessary. It means making some serious decisions so you effectively identify your intent of domicile and residency. Our research has merely skimmed the surface of the topic, so take the necessary steps to learn about a state’s domicile and residency requirements, and if necessary, contact a local attorney to fully understand the law.
Once you get to the point where you can have the freedom of travel, you may want to have everything in place so nothing slows you down on the road of a Camper Crazy life!
A few weeks ago I received a text from a family friend and it said “you may want to read this“. I immediately went to the website and started briefly scanning the article. Then a wave of nausea hit me like a tidal wave. A panic attack…could it be? My immediate reaction was to quickly turn off my computer and hide it under the bed. There is no way my husband could see this. It would support every negative feeling he has about my Camper Crazy dream. He will say, “see, everything I have been telling you is confirmed in this article” and with a quick chuckle finish with a “I always knew you were crazy.”
A few days later peeking under the bed, I stared at the laptop and wondered if I was emotionally strong enough to confront the dreaded list. With sweaty palms and a racing heart, I summoned the courage to reopen that link and start reading. To be honest, I could not read it all at once. It took me a couple days to finish it. It was like trying to choke down a plate of broccoli, brussel sprouts and sauerkraut accompanied with a glass of buttermilk. I could not like it!
Should I just give up on my dream based on this article? At first, I was almost convinced that I should. The article was based on interviews of people that decided to live my dream and their valuable personal experiences, which remarks did not coincide with my dream.
Then my more rational side kicked in a couple of my brain cells. I decided that I would take one item at a time and analyze how it applied to us and how we could overcome. I started with what I felt would be the easier items to confront first.
I had to skip down to Slide 8 before I found a comfortable area to start. Not that dealing with your own waste is easy! However, in our previous article “To poop or not to poop” we confronted that topic with experienced campers. I feel like my husband will be more than capable of taking care of that part of the mess. He is an electrician by trade. That is close to a plumber, right?
Slide 9 discusses how small the living quarters are and how it can create issues between traveling companions. That seemed plausible. We have been married 45 years and there are times I would just like to have the house to myself for an afternoon and have a “Calgon” moment. Is that enough to not follow my dream?
I sent a message to my friend Debbie. She and her husband sold their home and living full-time in an RV for over a year. When I asked her if she thought spending all her time with Joe caused issues, she laughed. Her reply was: “When you retire with your spouse what difference is there between hanging together all the time at your house or on the road in a camper? Either way you are together, so why not spend the time enjoying journeys?” Boom! Good Answer. Two down, eleven to go.
Slide 10 deals with the challenge of driving an RV. It is one of the things that sort of scares me. Not that my husband is a bad driver. But, lets face it, when one retires and ages, you look forward to losing your hearing and your eyesight. Uggg!!! It is always easier to drive when you can see where you are going. One of the things we learned from Dan & Mary Ellen, (the owners of the Pleasure-way) is careful planning helps. They plan their trip each day so they are only driving six hours a day. They can start after rush hour and arrive at their next campsite in late afternoon. A great plan!
I realize it is best if I learn to drive whatever camper we purchase in case of emergency or when my husband just doesn’t feel like driving. However, if we purchase a fifth-wheel or a travel trailer, I have zero experience. A Class C is not as scary to consider since I have driven the largest U haul trucks packed with furniture across the country.
Shanna and Brent ended up getting a fifth wheel to replace their totaled trailer. (refer to “Griswold’s in the making” article). Today she drove through Fancy Gap, VA on I-77. She said it is much easier towing a fifth-wheel than the previous Grey Wolf trailer.
Driving through Fancy Gap in a car scares me, so I am pretty impressed that she drove the F-250 with the new Elkridge. I was even more impressed that Brent wasn’t on his knees praying the whole time she was driving since the F-250 is his pride and joy.
Lynette and Mark from one of our previous posts drive a Dodge dual wheel pickup with a Jayco fifth-wheel. She tells me not to worry, it is easy. So I guess, if nothing else, I have Shanna and Lynnette to give me driving lessons if we buy a fifth-wheel.
Slide 11 discusses problematic overnight parking but gives suggestions on some apps you can utilize to find overnight parking. Easy enough we can do that. Note to self: download apps. 4 down!!! My blood pressure is now normal!
Slide 13 made me sigh. I am not a hoarder exactly, but very sentimental and like to keep things, that in all honesty.. I don’t need. However, I feel that someone close to me may appreciate the fact that I kept something that they may appreciate in the future. My husband on the other hand loves tools and wire, and nuts and bolts. We have made great strides in reducing the stuff we have over the past year. It is just stuff that will rust and deteriorate over time. For those things like old photos and letters and cards that are so dear to my heart, I am hoping my children will help me scan and maintain electronically and maybe keep some of the originals. Renting a storage unit is an option but costs extra money. We can’t forget that once we retire we are on a fixed income. A difficult obstacle for the emotional side but we can overcome!
Slide 14 deals with the fact that it is not easy to pull up your roots and leave friends and family. There is absolutely no way I can go for several months and not see my kids and granddaughters. We would both go insane. Another tip I learned from the glampers Dan and Mary, is when they owned their Class A is to invite others to join you along the way. Often they would have their kids, grand-kids and other family members and friends fly to a city on their journey. They pick them up at the airport and they travel together in the RV for a week or so and then drop them off at another airport to fly home. That way they continue their travels but share their journey with the ones they love. That can work for us as well.
Slides 2-6 &12 is what stresses me out. Those items started the heart palpitations and doubting my sanity. According to the article, RVs can be expensive, can cost a lot to repair, they depreciate, get bad gas mileage, can cost a lot to update if you buy used, and insurance can be a pain (see our blog on things you need to know about RV insurance).
While at face value those are accurate statements, what about the flip side? If you sell your home and purchase a condo to retire in, you may have huge assessments that come along as the association implements upgrades. Or like many that retire in Florida, they purchase mobile homes in 55+ communities. What happens when the AC goes out or the hot water tank breaks? Those repairs are not cheap either. Plus the lot rental can be increased every year. Stick and brick home renovations are expensive as well. In either case, if you live in an RV or a regular condo or stick and brick home – any type house repairs are going to be needed and will be expensive unless you know someone that can make the repairs for you.
I have a sister that lives in Ohio, in the same home she and her husband purchased back in the early 1960’s. If she only used her fuel oil for heating and not her wood-burner too, her heating bills in the winter would be astronomical. She would probably be better off driving a gas guzzling RV to Arizona to spend the winter. So saying that RVs are expensive may be true, but one would have to consider the alternative costs of whatever other living arrangements you make in retirement.
After reading the whole article I reached back out to our friends Debbie and Joe. Debbie made the point that after selling their home they purchased an RV lot where they spend the winters. However, after raising a family in a “bricks and sticks” home, they were happy to buy an RV even though they realized the RV would depreciate. Debbie said, “who cares? the experience is worth it”. Just look at this picture, you can see how the RV life suits them.
Slide 7 deals with something we basically have little control over, Health Care. It makes sense that when you travel continuously it could be a hassle. While doctors may be everywhere, we prefer our regular doctors. That can be a real challenge.
My husband had major back surgery a few years ago. If by chance he has a similar issue while traveling that requires additional surgery, there is no way we will want some random doctor performing the surgery. Not knowing how the whole Medicare thing works is also a little nerve-wracking but we have some time to figure that part out.
For employed people that have the option of participating in an employee sponsored HSA (health savings account), it may be something to take full advantage of, especially if planning on a “Camper Crazy” lifestyle after retiring. We realize we must have something set aside to help pay for costs not covered by insurance.
While there are downsides to retiring in an RV, there are also upsides. The 13 reasons mentioned above are things that we feel can be minimized with knowledge and planning.
Unfortunately, we should have actually started planning for this lifestyle even sooner. However, my husband’s hesitancy is actually a good thing because it offsets my crazy “jump right in and do it” personality. With planning and the right strategy… hopefully… we will NEVER regret living full-time in an RV in retirement. That is, if my husband can be persuaded to be Camper Crazy too!
The video above gives just a small glimpse of this amazing Disney RV resort
Trying to convince a man that living full-time in an RV after retiring will be exciting and fun has been a challenge. The challenge is REAL, especially when this person does not enjoy vacations, hates cruising, refuses to fly and has little interest in hobbies. So, slowly through the course of the past few years I have dragged him to RV shows and RV showrooms, and he finally consented to earnestly try and consider the idea. Together we watch youtube videos and read blogs about RV life and are now sharing our thoughts and information through Camper Crazy Buzz.
However, he is still not totally convinced. I decided to try another tactic. I would introduce him to an over the top style of camping that may seal the deal. You see, this guy who hates anything to do with fun and vacationing (with the exception of going to see the trees change colors in the fall)… he has a specific weakness for the Wonderful World of Disney.
In the mid 90’s we moved to Orlando and he enjoyed watching the fireworks from our living room window at night. He loved walking through what was known then as Downtown Disney, and even enjoyed occasionally going to the parks. Something about the place…get this….makes him happy! He has even suggested that after retiring we should just move back to Orlando.
My plan… take him to Fort Wilderness. However, my plan backfired. We had been busy for many days helping family pack up to move. We were tired and I wanted to take a break, but he refused. He said he could not do anything related to my “camper crazy” dream and suggested I take our eight year old granddaughter on a “camper crazy” adventure.
I think he imagined that at eight years old she would be really bored looking at RVs and that would burst my camper crazy bubble. Our granddaughters are the center of our world and the main reason he is even considering that maybe, just maybe he will buy an RV. He has said that it “may be fun to take the girls on road trips in an RV”.
He just did not realize what I had planned. Surprise!!! Our granddaughter had a phenomenal time. We met up with some family staying at Fort Wilderness. Although, I had only planned on staying a few hours and look around and visit the pool, we stayed the night, thanks to a flat tire. My granddaughter experienced her first night in a “two-story camper”. “What is that?” you ask. It is what my granddaughter called the fifth-wheel camper we stayed in.
Of course, like anything Disney, Fort Wilderness is beautiful and designed in a charming, fairy tale frontier style. You can almost imagine walking the grounds, as you round the bend, you will run into the Seven Dwarfs or Winnie the Pooh and his gang. Needless to say, it is not your run-of-the-mill campground.
Fully equipped campsites can accommodate anything from tents to large Class A motor-homes. Finding your spot is easy since the sites are setup in loops. There is plenty of room between each site and designed in a way that features the beauty of Florida’s great outdoors and without feeling like your privacy is jeopardized. Your basic hookups are available at most sites along with cable TV, a picnic table and a grill.
Woof Woof! Many of our family members and friends that camp like to take their dogs with them. Many of the sites at Fort Wilderness are pet friendly with the exception of those camping in a tent or a popup style camper. As expected, there will be an additional charge to bring your pet, currently posted as $5 per night, but many find it well worth the added expense. Well behaved pets can be taken on the pet walking trails as long as they are on a lead, or they can play off leash at the Waggin Trail’s dog park. What if you want to spend the day at one of the parks and don’t want to leave Fido in the camper all day? Disney has an answer for that. Day and overnight care is available at the Best Friend’s Kennel Care.
With a resort boasting 750 acres of lush wilderness, you may want to explore the resort by renting a golf cart at the reception outpost. It is a great way to get the kids back to the RV after their hard day splashing around in the pool, canoeing, or galloping along the happy trails on horseback. If you are not up to riding the trails, catch a wagon ride or take a carriage ride. Don’t fret there are plenty of fun-filled activities for adults and children. Even though the horse and pony rides, wagon ride, carriage ride all comes with an additional cost, you may find that this is the best vacation you have taken in a long time.
Evenings offer activities such as gobbling up roasted marshmallows at the “campfire sing-along”, having fun watching a Disney film at the outside theater, enjoying dinner and a show at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, or finding delight in the beautiful boat parade with all your favorite Disney characters, and then ending the day with breathtaking fireworks.
So now you are like, “I wanna go there but I don’t even own an RV” 😦 sad face, pout, tears in your eyes!!! Never fear…Disney wants you to feel like you are a happy camper too. SHHHH, do not tell my husband but there are log-cabins nestled within this wilderness with a private patio and a modern kitchen. But don’t worry, you don’t have to wash those dishes, housekeeping will do it for you. I know what you are thinking, ‘who wants to go to the grocery store on the way to a resort cabin?” No worries, pre-order your groceries long before you arrive. Make your list and then email, fax or snail mail to Disney. How great is that?
As you probably realize, the cost for campsites and cabin rentals within Fort Wilderness will not be your typical campground cost. But then again, this is not your typical campground. In fact, my little great-niece said it was the best vacation she has ever been on. When her dad asked, “better than when you were kissed by the dolphin, and you shook the hand of the sea lion and fed the sharks?” With a big smile she answered with a resounding, “yes”.
All I can say is, the visit to Fort Wilderness heightened my “camper craziness” and made my granddaughter a little “camper crazy” too. Hopefully my fairy tale dream will come true and our family will be camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness very soon.
RV insurance is offered by many of the names we recognize, such as Progressive, Farmers, Allstate & Geico. It is also offered through partner companies associated with AARP and Good Sams. Depending on the type of RV you own, there are various options to choose from. Different circumstances require different needs regarding insurance and the cost will be based on your specific needs. Living in an RV full-time is much different than only using an RV for vacation travel a few times a year, so of course full-time RV coverage is somewhat similar to insurance you would purchase for a primary home insurance policy.
A popular option is that of full replacement insurance coverage. Most people may think that they will get the amount needed to purchase a comparable new RV if theirs has been stolen or totaled, especially if it is brand new and the damage is not the result of negligence. You may think you would not have to come out of pocket at all except for the deductible, if for instance it was totaled by weather damage within a month or two of purchase. However, that may not the case, at least with Shanna and Brent, the couple that traveled with their new Grey Wolf travel trailer this summer shortly after purchasing their 2019 RV.
If you remember from previous blogs, they suffered hail & wind damage that ripped off the awning, damaged the roof and air conditioner, and completely damaged the whole side of the camper siding. After the damage we asked if they were concerned about replacing the RV and what it would cost them, and their reply was, “we have replacement insurance, we are all set.”
They purchased the insurance through an agency associated with Good Sam, a premier company that has the largest RV club membership. They offer everything from discounts on RV accessories, roadside assistance, RV loans and more. Their website boasts providing and servicing the insurance needs of RV owners for over 50 years. They state that their goal is 100% customer satisfaction. Unfortunately at least for Shanna and Brent, they are not 100% satisfied.
Is that the fault of those selling the Good Sam insurance, the Camping World salesperson, or the buyers not reading their policy carefully? If you go to Good Sam’s website and read their reviews, it seems like they are “God’s gift to the camper”. So, I went to Consumeraffairs.com where they have a comparison of a few RV insurance companies. There is also a link provided to an expert review and it references the following Good Sam list of statements. Notice the first bullet point which states:
Full replacement: Customize your RV coverage by adding full replacement cost coverage. This way you will receive a comparable new RV if yours is stolen or too damaged to repair.
Okay, so easy to understand why Brent and Shanna would believe they would get the equivalent amount of money from the insurance company to put towards a new RV with no issues and no extra out of pocket expenses. Like anything “insurance”, it isn’t always clear cut. For example, yesterday they picked up a new 5th wheel RV, and although they returned from vacation in July with their damaged camper, it is now almost mid-September and they still have not finalized everything with the insurance company. Their complaint is that the insurance company is almost impossible to get in contact with.
When they purchased their 2019 camper in late spring, they paid a fair price and put down a substantial down payment. Then they added extended warranty but then Camper World hit them with an ugly high dealer fee that was all rolled into the financing. When returning with the damaged RV and finding out that it was totaled, they decided it may be better if they upgraded to a 5th wheel with different siding that may hold up better in harsh weather. They anticipated getting the full value of what they purchased minus the deductible of course. But this is where it gets ugly.
When they returned from vacation with the damaged camper, the 2020 models are now for sale and the 2019 models of their RV are selling for substantially less than what they purchased the camper for. In fact, the insurance company found the same RV selling in Ohio for $6,000 less than what they purchased their RV for just a few months ago. So, at this point it looks like that is going to be the cost basis the insurance may use for the replacement price, which could leave them upside down. This is one of the ugly reasons this may potentially cost them an arm and a leg (seriously did you see the pics of Brent’s leg in the previous blog) to replace their unit
Assuming they simply replaced their 2019 Grey Wolf with another 2019 Grey Wolf, they think they would come out a little more whole. However, although they worked out a fabulous deal on the new 5th Wheel, which by the way they also purchased at Camper World and this time not paying an astronomical dealer fee, since the 2019 Grey Wolf is now highly discounted at dealers across the nation, it ends up being a disadvantage in this situation.
Although only owning the trailer for less than six months, the bottom line is that with replacement insurance, you only get back what your camper is worth at the time of the loss. The only silver lining to this story is that they did purchase GAP insurance which hopefully will help close the gap between what they are paid by the insurance company and what they owe on their original loan.
However, GAP does not cover the down payment they paid or the cost of the extended warranty, even though the insurance customer service rep did assure them that GAP would cover the down payment. Where is that is that in the fine print? Make sure you read that is Shanna’s advice.
But, will they ever hear back from the insurance company? You know that ugly little saying, “timing is everything” and it certainly applies to the world of RV insurance.
My husband was very hesitant about staying the night in an RV and was shocked when I told him the plans I made. He looked at me with huge eyes and his eyebrows raised into what would be a hairline (if he had one), and then grunted when he found out where we would be sleeping that night. With a quick growl he asked, “WHY? I am perfectly happy at the hotel”.
He decided that he would at least try to have an open mind about staying in an RV, put his feet up and made the best of the experience. We definitely liked using the dinette seat as a chaise lounge. After having major back surgery a couple years ago, he was not convinced that he would fair well sleeping on a dinette bed.
My husband was unsure about sleeping on a bed that would be converted from the dinette without a thick mattress. However, he quickly worked to create our evening haven. Watch as Dana shares tips with Mark on how to quickly convert a dinette to a sleeping area on our YouTube video channel Camper Crazy Buzz. Learn how to keep the cushions from slipping when you roll over at night and many more tips about storage in a View, especially if someone uses a CPAP machine.
The dinette area is very large and is able to sit 4 people easily. Each end has an extension that can be used as a chaise lounge or you could easily bring in an additional table to extend the dining area. The thing that caught my eye was how easily Dana’s husband can work utilizing the dining area. He had plenty of space to spread out with paper, pen, computer and phone, and can even put his feet up while his wife drives as he “kills himself” conducting business.
I was thinking that this may be a great RV for a working couple that travels, especially if they are on the computer a lot. With the increase of Millennial’s living full-time and working in RVs, this could potentially be an RV they would consider purchasing.
As we interviewed Dana in our round table discussions on our YouTube channel (Crazy Camper Buzz), she exuded pure joy when answering questions about her View. She is more than ecstatic that she and her husband are the proud owners of a new Winnebago View. Dana’s husband was happy to pose with her in this pic, however, he asked that I conceal his identity so his coworkers don’t get jealous of all his travels while “working”.
They were the perfect hosts in allowing us to stay overnight with them so my husband could get the whole RV experience and also shared some useful tips.
Their View is able to sleep up to six people comfortably since they have the berth above the cab. The owner’s sleeping area is a corner bed and has a curved bottom side which I thought may be uncomfortable. Dana assured us that while she sleeps against the wall, her husband’s feet do not hang over, although that not be the case for anyone well over six feet tall. The bed has separate adjustable headrests, so if one person wants to sit up to watch TV or read a book, the other person can lay flat. I think this is a great feature, and for some reason is not included in any videos that I watched about this style View.
This Class C RV has lots of STORAGE, STORAGE AND STORAGE. We especially liked all the storage surrounding the corner bed, as well as the privacy curtain and blackout shades. Dana made good choices in what she would need to outfit her rig and how to utilize her storage to its best capacity, which we will discuss in a future youtube video. To see all the specifications and different floor-plans available, you can visit Winnebago.com for details and watch the walk-through video by the manufacturer.
Like Dana, I enjoy a rich, bold glass of red wine in the evenings and was curious as to how she travels with her wine glasses. While I have every desire to retire and “be gone” like Anna Kendrick in the “cups” song, I have no desire to drink wine out of plastic. I was very shocked to see that Dana’s elegant, thin rimmed, tall wine glasses sat on the shelf above her cooking area. She opened the cupboard door and there were 4 glasses sitting perfectly, undamaged and without any restraints. I was very curious and shocked because lets face it, traveling down the road and swerving and hitting pot holes would surely shift items in cupboards, drawers and storage areas.
Her tip was simple, use Gorilla type shelf liner in the cupboards and your glasses will stay put as long as you don’t drive like Danica Patrick. The shelf liner can be cut into small pieces and placed in between plates and bowls to keep them from sliding and chipping, or under pots and pans to keep from shifting.
It is also a handy tool for making the dinette into the bed which my husband used when making up our bed and is in the video on our YouTube channel.
All in all this is a great RV. It is not an RV that we would select for our lifestyle but has some great features that we like. The outside gray color is attractive and we liked the interior colors. This is not “grandpa’s camper”.
We had several people inside visiting while Dana talked about the RV features and we were not overly crowded. The air conditioner was not overly loud and seemed a lot more quiet than other RVs we have been in.
Most of all, it was an excellent choice for my husband to try out for his first night in an RV. We were comfortable and had a great night’s sleep.
Thanks to the owners for allowing us to have a glass of Wine with a View.
“this is going to be a crappy, stinking blog”. We just hope you continue reading and visit our newest video as we research the dirty part of owning an RV. It is a topic that needs to be discussed and thought about when contemplating purchasing an RV.
Listening to videos about campers or visiting RV sales showrooms, you hear terms like, “black water”, “gray water”, “dump tanks” and may see toilet paper designed for RV use. Seriously, do you really need to buy a specialty toilet paper like this one sold on Amazon? There are youtube videos with people testing toilet paper to see which dissolves best. They are usually long, boring videos, so we decided to talk with people that own campers and ask their opinion.
You may hear your camping friends talk about “toilet bombs”, but they are not Camper Crazy toilet terrorists, they are just sanitation sensitive. For us future RV owners, these may not be familiar terms. However, if we watched that movie “RV”, we probably all remember the dumping scene. Thus the question, “to poop or not to poop”.
If you remember our blog and videos featuring BJ & Shanna’s family, they started out their trip with strict orders to their kids not to poop in the RV. They had to use the comfort station at the RV parks. They didn’t want to deal with all that cleanup work. By the end of their trip, they were all using the throne for their dirty work.
When talking to other campers, some have decided it is not worth all the hard work and strictly use the RV park facilities they camp in. However, that is a bit difficult if you eat a lot of high fiber foods or if it is bad weather and you have to run to the park facilities.
But, why is this important? Well, for one thing we spend a lot of time using the toilet! There are studies that have been conducted that show people spend from 1.5 – 3 hours on the toilet each week. So, if you are living full-time in an RV, in one year, you may spend almost one full week on the toilet. So, we figure, not only should the bathroom area be the right size, but the toilet should be comfortable and we better know how to keep that toilet cleaned out properly.
So, what is black water and gray water? Below your beautiful RV are holding tanks that hold the non-pretty elements of your RV. Underneath will be your “black tank” that holds the waste from your toilet. You will also have a “gray tank” that holds the waste water from your shower and sinks. If your holding tanks are not properly cleaned, they will generate a smell that will make you think that skunks have taken your RV hostage.
All of the RVs we have looked at have a foot flush on the toilet. You step on it and it dispenses water into the bowl and opens the valve in the bowl to dump the toilet waste into your black tank. Following are tips that we will try to utilize, if we figure out what type RV to purchase:
Tip #1 – Make sure you have some water in the bottom of the toilet bowl before you use it.
Tip #2 – Some recommend that if you have your fan on while using the toilet, shut-off the fan when you flush. That process will eliminate the fan from pulling up the stinky odors from the black tank when the valve opens. Others say that if you clean out your tank properly and often, this is unnecessary.
Tip #3 – Make sure your toilet bowl is empty of all water once you start traveling, otherwise you will have to clean up a sloshy mess, especially if the driver of your RV drives like my husband.
Tip #4 – You can use your shower sprayer with hot water to spray out the toilet bowl before you dump the tank and the steam will also help breakup any solids that may be starting to harden.
Tip #5 – Dump your black tank and THEN dump your gray tank to flush out the hose.
Tip #6 – Make your own toilet bombs. You can find instructions online to get the recipe and the campers we interviewed used slightly different recipes but all happy with the results. One of the campers we interviewed simply uses a few scoops of Borax and large squirts of Dawn dish-washing liquid and flushes it down into the black tank.
Tip 7 – You may want to try Poo Pourri…
Some recommend after you dump and clean your tank to add water to the tank to help solids from sticking to the sides and bottom of the tank. Other campers say this is unnecessary if you dump often and clean properly and use toilet bombs. After you dump your tank, you should always clean it out manually or with a Saniflush if your RV comes equipped with it.
There is no way we will only use campsite comfort station facilities to do our business. So, our goal is to make sure we know all the correct procedures in emptying the tanks, keeping them clean and using the proper chemicals that will keep the tanks in good shape and eliminate stinky odors.
If any of our readers have other suggestions that have worked for them, please leave a comment to help educate us and others that are Camper Crazy Confused also! And if you are camper crazy confused, leave a question and we will try and find an answer.
As always we recommend you watch our video on this sensitive subject matter. Simply login to YouTube and search for Camper Crazy Buzz. Don’t forget to subscribe and like!
If your RV does not have a lock on the bathroom door, you may want to install a seat belt on your toilet. You never know when you will fall off the pot and fly out the door(s)! Learn more & get the BUZZ in our videos and remember, “safety first”!
What does a used Jayco 5th Wheel, a brand new Winnebago View C class and a Pleasureway B+ class have in common? Look closely, can you tell?
In our quest to figure out which type of RV we should consider for our future travels (if and when my husband decides it should be in our future), we decided to take a road trip. Traveling to just outside of Memphis, we met up with our experienced Glamping Sr. couple, the Mid-lifers in their new Winnebago and their friends that have camped for years from Arkansas, with their pickup and 5th Wheel Jayco camper.
On our way, we stopped at Gander RV Sales in Alabama. We have been to many RV showrooms over the past couple years just “kicking tires”, but now we need to get all the BUZZ! Time to really educate ourselves, but there is a lot to learn when you know little about the Camper Crazy World.
So to persuade my husband that this is a life he would enjoy, I take him into the accessory store. Anyone that knows my husband can tell you that if it has a knob or a plug or a switch… he has to turn it, plug it in or switch it. He just can’t help himself. My plan…there has to be generators right? We will make our way there. We will eventually make it to the campers, but one step at a time.
Oh boy, the bait seems to be working. He is enthralled with all the gadgets and the chair even has some kind of knobs and switches! Wow, they have more generators than one of the electrical supply houses he likes to frequent. This store is great! It is clean and spacious and has a great supply of camping gear, parts and accessories.
That is not all, they also have a nice selection of RV trailers and we look at several with our sales rep, Danny. He hasn’t been selling RVs for very long but is quite informative. Since my husband is a free lance electrical estimator, it is important that we have access to WiFi and we know not all parks have great WiFi, so we ask Danny about options. He shows us an LTE WiFi Router by Furrion. “Stay Online while exploring the world offline”, seems to be their motto. We need to explore this option further and if you are interested too, check out their website https://furrion.com/collections/routers/products/router
We see several campers that could potentially work for us, but feel more CONFUSED and overwhelmed with the amount of stuff we don’t know about the Camper Crazy world. So we get back on the road to hopefully find some answers. I am also very excited because I have a special surprise for Mark. I made arrangements for us to stay one night in the Winnebago View with the Mid-Lifers at the RV Park! Not so sure how he will react, but I am hoping that he will love it.
Oh, I almost forgot, what does a Jayco 5th Wheel, a Pleasureway and a Winnebago have in common? Owners that are all HAPPY CAMPERS and love think their RV is best…..for them at least. They are happy to share their likes & dislikes of their campers and discuss how to choose your RV and much more.
Since you are now introduced to BJ & Shanna’s family and have seen pics of what seems to be the start of a perfect road trip with their new RV, it is time to see their Griswold moments. As novice campers, they are learning the “RV ravages of the road”, and have learned sadly what can happen in a split second.
Day 3 started with the first damage to their new travel trailer. As BJ said, “I could have waited a little longer to have the camper damaged.” Excited for the day’s travels, he leaned the level up against the trailer and started to hook up the truck to the trailer. As he lowered it onto the hitch the level crunched the side. A loud squeaking sound and uggg….the first damage. Thank goodness no major damage…yet.
A little disappointed, but they wipe their frowns away and head on down the road. They figure “hey, that is why we purchased insurance.” RV Insurance is something we will discuss in a future blog, and I am sure BJ will be able to share all he experiences when filing his claims. Yes, I said claims because this is just the beginning.
Traveling through bad weather is always expected, however, the severe winds and rains they encountered in Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana was much more than they wanted to experience. They have hunkered down in Florida through several hurricanes, but being in a travel trailer during bad storms or pulling one down the road, that is a whole different story.
First, the extreme wind quickly blew the awning off the side of the trailer, damaging the roof and the air conditioner. The wind and rain was so severe they didn’t even realize the awning was ripped off the side. To be highly entertained, you will want to hear BJ’s & Shanna’s story in their own words, please watch…..AND SUBSCRIBE https://youtu.be/k58qtKPtAtM
As soon as possible, BJ did some of his fancy repairs to seal up the holes. It wasn’t pretty but he hoped it would keep the rain out. He was very satisfied with his hard work and ingenuity!
At this point, the roof and awning will have to be totally replaced, but at least the truck has gone unscathed…until some nice person dances into BJ’s lane, and BAM…damages the truck mirror. Thank goodness he has cameras to backup that trailer. Still, BJ will not let all this dampen his spirit, he is happy and having a great time.
Then more bad storms and hail. Really??? Now the hood of the truck and the trailer looks like they were ambushed with pellet guns.
Bad enough that they will have at least 4 deductibles for the damages to the truck and trailer, but poor BJ did not remain unscathed either. He did not escape the ravages of bad fast food and somehow he fell on the trailer stairs and they won.
Just two days from home and one of the tires on the trailer is pretty much destroyed. We met up with them and our son-in-law helped change the tire since BJ did not have a jack that would work. Although we hated to see them incur more hiccups to their trip, we were happy to share some time and get some highlights of the Griswold moments and invite you to see some of the “not so much fun” part of the trip on our youtube channel.
For all us wannabe Camper Crazy individuals, the lesson we learned is that we need to be “prepared for the unexpected”. When purchasing a new RV, most RV retailers require the new buyer to learn everything about their new RV in a class before they can take their camper home. Whether they discuss what to do when encountering damages from storms or what products to use to make temporary repairs, we are not sure. We will research and share in a future blog. At a minimum we can see a good first aid kit is a must. If purchasing an RV from an individual, a novice Camper Crazy buyer should review our future blogs for tips on what to purchase for situations like BJ and Shanna encountered. Perhaps a visit to a local RV store to inquire as to what to buy to be prepared for a first RV trip, (especially if you are planning to go in remote areas) is probably a good idea. Better safe than sorry as they say, because of course, we all want to be “Happy Campers”, just like Jax.
Their baby Jax has some special needs and the travel trailer worked out very well for Jax. He was able to get down and play on the camper floor once they parked each day, and a reason to purchase an RV. They did not want Jax crawling around on the nasty floors of hotel rooms. Carrying suitcases and baby equipment into hotels every night and day for 30 days was not something Shanna was looking forward to either.
With all the challenges to their trip, Shanna said, “I liked it much more than I thought I would,” and BJ said, “If Shanna said, ‘okay lets turn around and go back out west – I would say, ” LETS GO!!!”
Mark & I have now visited two camper sales stores close to our location and will be asking questions and posting what we learn. Planning on visiting a couple this week in Alabama and Mississippi. Will be asking lots of questions and posting info on future blogs.