About 3 weeks into this lifestyle coming from a Caribbean sailing life, it has not been all smooth sailing. We salty souls starting a new journey on wheels hailing from Miami have already began to notice the common mistakes ANY person can make being a first timer in the RV world. After talking to many others RVers about our recent mishaps almost everyone we have crossed paths with has said in one way or the other ” Oh yeah I remember that time”. So to help a fellow newbie out here are some of our very own, oh yeah I remember that time….
1. Too close for comfort.
Now that our RV is our very own mobile office on wheels, fresh off the ocean from a sailboat working online wherever we are. Staying mobile and making a living while traveling we try and make sure our home/ office is in good working condition inside and out. But as always nothing in life is ever perfect, and no matter the size there is always room for error….
The size of our RV is about 36 ft without towing the Jeep, our sailboat is 40 ft without towing our inflatable dinghy. One would think a sailboat compared to a RV would be a breeze to maneuver? Well yes and no. What we have come to realize is RV’s tend to swing out significantly from the rear. A sailboat, totally opposite and in a boat we can actually bounce off of things using our bumpers which we have used to our advantage plenty of times totally protecting our vessel from any physical damage. Thus parking/ docking close to objects particularly in the RV and particularly bushes that have hidden trunks behind them are considered a hidden “awe damn”—> One sunny tropical day in the Florida Keys. Being very familiar with the Keys by boat there are plenty of places to anchor and/ or dock. Now, being on land was a totally different story. There is not much for space or parking a huge RV but the capt as always manages to find a spot, a little too close for comfort but we fit. A wonderful brunch with friends we make our way to the RV just as we would if it was the boat, and start preparing to make headway onto another adventure. As the captain slowly made his way out of the tight area making a sharp turn to port (the left), abruptly we could hear snapping of branches… ok not too bad? But then we heard a really loud snap! No bumpers to bounce off of and save us in this case. No water or wind to glide us off this collision course. Unable to reverse we had to complete the exit in order to see what all the noise was about. Two hidden tree trunks and a thick branch side swiped the rear end of the RV as we made the sharp turn out to avoid a pole to starboard. As the rear of the RV swung out the damage was complete. Bending the rear compartment door and leaving some pretty darn good scratches on the right side of our land vessel…. This was not in anyway like leaving the dock in a boat. The stern of the RV is something to totally take into considerations now. After seeing the damage we had to take this mishap as a lesson learned and funny thing is now were noticing other RV’s that have their very own special mark in similiar areas lol Now we try not to make any sharp turns or pull in too close to objects, especially bushes! Lesson 1 learned the hard way Aaarrgh.
2. Did you put down the… Antenna honey?
Having a mast that stands about 54 feet on top of our sailboat we are use to dealing with clearance, bridges, and things that could be a potential hazard due to our tall mast. That being said what we are not used to is having the capability and flexibility to pull the mast up and down when we want, so to us this is a permanent fixture we deal with.
The RV has a clearance of 13.5 ft. which we can get under most properly engineered bridges and if we are cautious, most of the tree branches that line the road. So 13.5 is our standard height on the RV. But when you take into consideration what sits in top of our RV, a convenient antenna that rolls up when you need to pick up local channels on the TV and rolls down when underway. Very nice and way too convenient! It adds another 2 feet in height, but this is only when when we are stopped. The capt recently attached a huge WIFI booster to it adding another 4 feet to this height. So now we have a very tall multi use antenna on top of our RV. But the really sweet thing here is we have the ability to put it up and down super easy when we are “docked”. Actually too easy and so convenient to put down it can be missed before one is leaving on another adventure. With lots of other things to think about and put away it seems this one simple thing is so easy to forget. Our new RV friends Kirk and Linda we met in Florida were trying to take preventive measures seeing we are newbies to the the RV lifestyle. Giving us lots tips but one in particular was warning us about leaving the antenna up and how to remind one to put it down. *Using a clip to attached to the steering wheel as a reminder- It should become a routine to remove the clip on the steering wheel and then clip it to the antenna lever after you have put it down, thus no clip on the steering wheel is a good thing as you drive off. If you see the clip in the wheel this is a warning the antenna is still up. Which is great reminder guys (Thank you Kirk and Linda for trying) —> After a week in the Ocala National forest in Florida it was time for us to leave this magical place and make headway again. We pack up and as usual do our own routine putting things away. As another person is early to arrive and eagerly awaiting to take our spot we try our best to hurry up and get going. As we are ready to go my husband put his hands on the steering wheel right in front him and turns on the engine and makes his way out slowly. As he turned out of the campsite I am watching from the passenger seat that we don’t side swipe any branches. With a nice clearing and the clip reminder silently rotating on the steering wheel in front of the capt. Shortly after he makes that right turn out of the area we hear a weird noise? We should have totally had the clearance? Just then we both notice the clip on the wheel and immediately knew exactly what the noise was. The antenna collided into some tree branches, completely pulling out the antenna above so easily. What it took the capt to install the WIFI antenna was mere seconds to destroy all his hard work. Another lesson learned and I can tell you that clip on the steering wheel never gets missed! Now it’s the first thing he ALWAYS does and I as the first mate never hesitate to ask. 😉
3. Slider collisions and obstructions. Double Check.
We have two sliders on the RV. One on each side. They extent out about 3 feet adding to the space inside our home. Every time we park this bus we must take into consideration to make room to pull out these sliders. Not only from the outside but the inside also! In our RV we have to make sure the driver seat is pulled forward. If not, then we could be taking out some of our nice wood trimming, which we have done twice so far and repaired just the same. Thankfully we have not collided with an outside object, we are pretty adamant about this part. It’s always good to make sure you have enough room to pull them out first before making an attempt. If in doubt… double check!
On the subject of mistakes. Ok so this has happened quite a few times in few different locations while we were camping —> It started with a loud thump on the window. At first maybe I thought it was branch falling from a tree above? Or possibly a little kid bounced a ball off the RV by accident perhaps? Then the third time I heard the noise I had a new suspicion but could not bring myself to accept the possibility of it happening. Until the day I actually seen a bird fly right into the side of the window, immediately flying away only leaving a few feathers floating in the wind as evidence….Wow a freakn bird! When I told my husband he kind of laughed and though I was crazy, till the day came when he seen it for himself he was just as stunned! So now this question is …. has this happen to anyone else??? Or are we the only people that have birds mistakenly slam into our RV front window?!? CrAzY!
So there you have our very own mishaps. So far not so bad… but not so good either. With each lesson learned we are coming to find out these 3 things are very common ones to make. Which among the many others these by far were the ones that stuck out the most for us and hopefully you don’t make the same ones. As we continue down the road keeping all of this behind us, we look forward to continuing on our path with only good intentions of reaching family and friends we have not seen in such a long time. With every new adventure bringing unexpected learning experiences, we are sure learning fast and still making headway!!! 😀
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