Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 23 2009 Post

In This Post:

What's New With Us: Finding Replacement Parts
Itchy Wheels

Article: Meeting Other Campers


Going to Alaska next year? Read the article "Alaska! The Ultimate RV Adventure" and check out our DVD "RVing Alaska: What to Expect, How to Prepare" and our E-book "RVing Alaska, Insights and Observations"


Merry Christmas Everybody! Have A Happy and Healthy New Year!

What's New With Us

Finding replacement parts for older RVs can be a challenge; especially if the RV manufacturer has gone out of business. During our recent trip to New England, for example, it took the better part of a day for a truck repair facility to locate two ride-height control valves for our 1998 motorhome. The original valves were steel, the replacements are plastic but, so far, after 6,000 miles, they are doing the job.

Our motorhome’s cabinet-mounted microwave/convection oven died after ten years service. It was 20 inches wide and 19 inches deep. Finding a replacement microwave/convection oven that was small enough to fit into the cabinet opening and that had a cabinet mounting kit available was a real time-consuming adventure. I finally found one online. I installed it yesterday. It looks and works great.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when the roof vent fan in our bathroom stopped working. A screw hole in the plastic cover that holds the motor in place had cracked open and the motor was hanging from a couple of wires. I just knew that a replacement part for a ten year old vent fan would not be available. A new vent fan would cost $200 to $300 plus the bother of removing the old fan and installing a new one. I called the Fantastic Vent technical support department, described my problem and asked if they had a replacement part. The technician could not have been more helpful. “That should not have happened” he said, “I’ll send you a new, improved part that should do the job”. It arrived a few days later. Not only does Fantastic Vent build great products (built in America by American workers) they support their customers and stand behind their products. Check out their website:

We have a bad case of itchy wheels. And we have only been home for seven weeks. After Christmas we will cure the problem by firing up our motorhome and heading into the snow-free areas of Arizona. We will visit friends and generally bum around for a few weeks.

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Meeting Other Campers

Dear Joe and Vicki: We have just bought our first RV and are looking forward to camping in comfort. We enjoy meeting new people but don’t wish to intrude on their privacy. How does one go about meeting other RVers

Joe: I think you will find you have to work at not meeting them. Most RVers and campers are pretty gregarious. To meet RVers, Vicki and I recommend that you take two walks around the campground every day. The first walk should take place after most of the travelers have arrived but well before nightfall. You will be able to look at the various types of rigs that are on the road and inspect the ingenious outside camping gear and gadgets that RVers can come up with.

This walk also provides an opportunity to meet new people. Just observe the body language of the campers who are outside. Some will be sitting way to the rear of their campsite with their backs to the road. These folks are not particularly interested in socializing at the moment. Other campers will be sitting under their awning. They’ll be facing the road, hats on the back of their head and have a drink in their hand. Their dog will be wagging his tail. These folks are ready! A real giveaway is the guy who is sitting so close to the road he has to pull back his feet every time an RV passes by.

A sure fire conversation starter is “Hello.” Works every time. Follow that with an admiring word about their rig, dog or hat and you have just made a new friend. The most common questions in a campground are “Where are you from?” “Where are you going?” and “Where have you been?” Nobody cares what you do. It really isn’t all that important.

The second walk of each day should be taken after dark. RVers have a tendency to leave their blinds open for an hour or so after dinner. Now you have the opportunity to see how they have decorated the interior of their rig and to see if they have the good sense to drink your brand of bourbon. Both of these subjects make excellent conversation starters when you see them outside the next day.

Vicki: Many campgrounds and RV parks create opportunities for their guests to socialize. They conduct campfires with singing, story telling and other forms of entertainment. We’ve also seen quilting bees, exercise classes and craft fairs offered at RV parks and campgrounds.

The campground laundry room is one of my favorite places to meet RVers. If you are waiting for your clothes to wash or dry, you might as well start talking to the others who are waiting for their clothes.

This is an excellent way to find out what’s down the road. We have gotten some of our best camping and traveling information from people we’ve met in campground laundry rooms. There is a fifty-fifty chance that the people you are talking with have just come from the direction you are heading. They can tell you about road and traffic conditions, campgrounds, tourist attractions and good places to eat.

Speaking of places to eat. You will discover that a number of campgrounds offer morning coffee, doughnuts, breakfasts, barbecues and dinners right on their grounds. We have observed that many KOA campgrounds are offering their guests the opportunity to buy their morning or evening meal without the bother of leaving the campground. What better place to socialize with fellow campers than over a meal?

Start with “Hello.” You will discover that RVers are the nicest bunch of people in the world.

Enjoy The Journey!

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