Thursday, October 28, 2010

Best Dogs For RVing

Dear Joe and Vicki: We travel in our RV for two to three months at a time. Our last dog just happened to love RVing as much as we do. It's time to get another and I was wondering what size or type dog might be best for RVing.

Joe: There must be an unwritten rule that states the size of the dog should be inversely proportionate to the size of the RV. Next time you are in a campground, see if the St. Bernard doesn't belong to the owner of the van camper. And notice the size of the dog sitting in the pocket of the person that just got out of the 40-foot fifth-wheeler. Go figure!

It only make sense for RVers to consider the size of the dog that will share their traveling home. A pet, its bed, food and water bowls, leash, scooper, toys, grooming equipment, food and other paraphernalia is going to take up a certain amount of precious space.

An RVing dog is going to spend the majority of its time inside. It is going to have to sleep, eat and just "hang out" somewhere. So, yes, size of the dog is an important consideration. But don't let size be the only factor. There are some high-energy breeds of small dogs whose activity level takes up considerably more space than their larger more laid-back cousins. An animal's energy level is also going to dictate the amount of daily exercise it will require. And you know who is going to be on the other end of that leash.

Vicki: While you are walking that dog, how is it going to react when approached by strange dogs, people and children? Some breeds simply do not do well here. Pay attention to the temperament and especially the reputation of the breed of dog you choose. Rotweilers and Pit Bulls, deservedly or not, are specifically prohibited from some otherwise pet-friendly RV parks.

Some breeds have a reputation for being sweet and lovable as long as you are present. When you leave without them, they become the dogs from Hades. They bark incessantly, tear up the furniture and forget all the pleasant hours you spent house breaking them.

Joe: Speaking of hot places, how will the dog tolerate temperature extremes? Many short haired varieties really suffer in cold weather. What reaction will they have to going into strange places? We once had a dog that refused to go potty anywhere but her own back yard. One time she held back for a week before we finally broke down and returned home. I thought her eyes would never uncross. Do they train easily? Golden Retrievers can't please you fast enough. Dachshunds believe that it is you who needs training. (We've had both.)

And then there are dogs with a constant puddle under their jaws, oily hair, bad breath, body odor, and who shed enough hair to stuff a pillow.

Vicki: The point is, some breeds of dogs will do better in an RVing environment than others. Research the different breeds at the library or on the internet ( is a good start). Be sure you choose a dog that will enjoy RVing as much as you do.

Joe and Vicki Kieva are the authors of a number of how-to books and e-books about RVs, RVers and RVing.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Emergency Notification Card

Joe: Do you have an “Emergency Notification Card” in your wallet? It probably provides the name, home address and home phone number of your spouse. But, what if both of you are injured together? Is there an alternative person to notify? What if you are on an RV trip and one of you is injured while away from the RV while the other is waiting in the campground? How will the non-injured person get notified?

Create your own “Emergency Notification Card”. One that provides:

Spouse’s name,
Spouse’s home, work and cell-phone numbers.
Names and phone numbers of one or two adult children or relatives.
Name and phone number of your primary physician.
A brief description of any serious medical conditions you may have.
A list of the medications you are taking.
A list of any medications to which you are allergic.
Location of your Living Will (Advanced Health Care Directive).

This Emergency Notification Card should provide emergency-response and medical personnel with the information they need to give you emergency aid without doing further harm. They will also be able to notify your loved ones of your situation.

You can make your own Emergency Notification Card. Cut 3/4 of an inch off the end of a 3”x 5” index card. Fold it in half. You now have a 3”x 2 1/8” folded card that will easily fit into the card-holder section of your wallet. Write “Emergency Notification” in red ink on the portion of the card that is visible when the wallet is opened. You can type or print a lot of information on the four “pages” of this card

Vicki: Some RVers like to carry an additional card or paper with the name and location of the campground where they are staying, the description and license number of their RV, and information about pets that may be inside the RV. Carrying this additional information makes sense if you are staying in the same campground for a period of time. Keeping it updated on a daily basis while traveling, however, could get real tedious.

In this case, it might be easier to just have a card with your name, description and license number of your RV, and information about any pets that may be inside. You could clip it to the campground’s brochure and place it on the center console of your transportation vehicle when you temporarily leave the campground. Keep the card in your glove box when you don’t need it.

You should also carry your medical insurance card in your wallet. Be sure to ask your insurer if you are covered and what procedures you should follow if you need medical care while traveling.

A Living Will tells medical personnel and others your wishes regarding the use of life-prolonging procedures. Be sure to inform the individuals listed on your Emergency Notification Card of the existence and location of your Living Will. You could also note its location on your Emergency Notification Card. We keep ours in a fire- resistant safe in our RV.

The stress of a crisis may prevent you from remembering the license plate number(s) of your vehicles and the phone numbers of close friends, family members and even your work phone number. You might want to list them on a separate card for your own reference.

It is a good idea to inventory the contents of your wallet occasionally. Be sure your emergency notification information is up to date. Make a photocopy of important cards and papers. Know what is in your wallet ... just in case.

From the book “Personal Security Tips For RVers”

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Camping at RV Shows

Dear Joe and Vicki: My husband and I recently attended an RV show being held at a county fairground. We noticed a number of RVs that appeared to be camped in one section of the parking lot. Who were these people? We have a dinner riding on your answer.

Vicki: You may both be the winner of the dinner bet. The RVs you saw may have belonged to members of an RV club. RV show promoters frequently encourage RV clubs to attend their show and camp in the parking lot. Show promoters recognize that present RV owners are more likely to buy an RV than a non-RVer. The clubs make the most of what may be a free or low-cost camping opportunity to conduct a fun-filled rally. During the next show, walk over, introduce yourselves, find out who they are and what they are doing. You may be invited to join them.

Joe: The RVs may also have belonged to some of the show’s exhibitors and vendors. A good number of the folks who set up a display or sales booth at an RV show are RVers. They are among the thousands of RVers who have found a way to make money on the road.

Typically, the vendors arrive the day before the show opens. Their display materials and/or sales merchandise will be unloaded from a travel trailer’s tow vehicle, an equipment trailer being pulled by a motorhome or, in some cases, the storage bays of a motorhome. The balance of the day is spent setting up their booth or display. The vendors live in their RVs right there at the RV show.

The vendors hope to make enough money during the show to cover their travel and living expenses, pay for the rent on their booth space, recoup their investment in merchandise and, with a little luck, make a profit.

They know their fortunes depend upon the professional skills of the show promoter, the mood of the crowd, the whim of the weather and their own ability to attract and convince customers to buy.

While a few vendors are casual sellers of merchandise, most are serious business people. They know which shows and promoters are likely to bring them the greatest return on their investment. Many work a circuit of shows and rallies that keep their down-time to a minimum. And don’t be surprised to see a vendor pass your credit card through a card reader connected to a cellular phone. This is the twentieth century and they are very much a part of it.

At the end of the last day of the show the vendors break down their displays and store them in their vehicles. Some may even head down the road that evening. They have another show ahead of them.

Talk to a show vendor during a quiet moment. He may give you some insight into his lifestyle. You might even find yourself the owner of a gadget you never knew you needed.

(From the book "Extended RV Travel" - Making Money On The Road)

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