Thinking About RVing?

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"Thinking About an ‘RV’...?"

by Bob (Ram) Muessig


     "What do I ask the dealer?" Before you ask the dealer anything, there are a few questions that you should ask yourself. "What will I use it for (full-time or otherwise)? Will I be living in it for long periods of time? How big an RV do I need (want)? How many axles? In what kind of climate will I be staying? RV parks or ‘boondocking’?" These are just some of the questions you must answer. Undoubtedly, you will discover many more along the way toward your final decision. Examine these questions and get some answers to better prepare yourself for confronting the dealer or the person from whom you’re planning to make your purchase.

     I’m going to ask the FIRST question, however. Do you want to "drive your RV" or "tow it"? Your answer will tell you what type of RV to buy - motorcoach (including pickup-mounted campers) or trailer, whether fifth-wheel trailer or travel-trailer (Yes, there IS a difference).  Individual preference depends on many things - cost, size, and how the advantages of one type over the other are perceived, just to mention a few. I chose to buy a fifth-wheel trailer and based my decision on hundreds of thousands of miles of familiarity with towing trailers.

     Next question, please... "What will I use it for?" If you plan on spending a weekend at the lake once in a while or a few days at that quaint little campground near the sea, you might not want to tie up several hundred thousand on some sophisticated, high-end RV. For short, weekend camping or fishing trips, a smaller, much less expensive unit would be more appropriate, but it all still comes down to one simple fact - It’s YOUR choice.

     "Will I be living in it for long periods of time?" Now you may wish to consider owning the larger, more luxurious and comfortable rig, whether motorcoach or trailer. Alice and I live year-round in a thirty-six foot fifth-wheel trailer which has ALL the amenities - washer, dryer, dishwasher, ceiling fan, two color TVs, etc. You see, MY idea of "roughing it" is having a black-and-white TV with NO remote!

     "How big? How many axles?" These are very good questions, and there are things you must be aware of BEFORE you make your choice. You’re not about to tow an 18,000 pound trailer with a 1/4 ton Itchibushi pickup. Then again, buying a 10-wheel Freight-shaker with 800 horsepower to pull a pop-up camp trailer doesn’t make any sense, either. If you’re "trailering", the size of your tow vehicle will limit how large a trailer you may pull, or, the weight and length of your trailer will determine the size tow vehicle you need.

     "OK, well, what about climate?" Let me say that if you spend all your time in the hot, hot deserts, you will need air conditioning. Another item to figure in, at this point, is adequate insulation, and tinted storm windows (to keep the heat out), and awnings large enough to permit you to sit outside without getting scorched. For c-c-cold climates, make sure you have a good heating system, adequate insulation, and storm windows (to keep the heat IN), and heated holding tanks. If they freeze up, you’ve got trouble.

     "I’m going to stay in RV parks." No problemo. In the valley around Phoenix, the majority of RV parks will have the services you need including, at no extra cost, bunnies to dine on your potted plants, and birds of various kinds which, I swear, are trained to wake you at 4:30 in the morning after a tough day of sunning yourself by the pool. In other areas of the country, the services may be basically the same, just the critters are different.

     You may choose to "get away" from everything and everyone. If you do, you will find that such services as water, sewers, garbage pickup, and electricity just are not available. So be sure to have a generator of adequate size to power your RV and holding capacities large enough to serve your needs. Whatever you do, DON’T empty your holding tanks anywhere except a "dump station". You’ll be subject to arrest and fines if you do. Being IN bars is one thing...being BEHIND them is something else.

     Regardless, just be sure to do some research and investigate all your alternatives, so that you’ll be able to make an intelligent choice when it comes to selecting your new RV. And protect your investment by getting something that will LAST!

See ya’ down the road...

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