Some good RV tips and practices:
Put moth balls near the propane lines of the water heater and refrigerator. This will deter spiders.
This year prior to storage I took a box of Bounce dryer sheets and placed individual sheets in locations that I thought would make ideal "winter homes" for the rodents. I have been told many times that this is the way to eliminating these pesty buggers.
When we get ready to leave the campground in the morning and our tank is empty we fill it about 2/3 full of water and drop in a couple bags of ice. The ice will beat the nastys off the sides as you travel. Then be sure to dump it as soon as you stop that evening.
Bernhart says measure the height of your rig. You WILL get into situations where a building canopy is too low for you to fit...also remember when parking at a curb that the top of the vehicle may be hanging over the curb due to slope of the street...this can be very dangerous if you tag a light pole or tree too close to the street. Train tressels are particularly onerous. Some are no more than 12 feet high.
Get a pair of small hand-held Family Radio Service(FRS) radios to communicate with each other during parking/backing of the RV, or get on the same page with hand signals. I suggest the FRS radio method as most reliable.
Use checklists. No matter how many times you move your RV, you can forget to do something, like closing roof vents and retracting TV antennas. I've had it happen, so print one out and carry it with you.
Bernhart says always conduct a "walk around" of your RV before you depart, including a look underneath. I've come close to leaving things, and running over things.
Some advice on surge protection:
Have you ever been to a campground and you had electrical issues… brownouts, blackouts, blown fuses? We have experienced all of these issues, and after it happens it makes you wonder if it affected your rv electrical system in any way. The delicate electronics for your furnace, refrigerator, and hot water heater can easily be damaged! Air conditioner units, microwave ovens, TVs, DVD players, and 12 volt converters can also be damaged by voltage that is too high or too low! Any voltage less than 102 volts or greater than 132 volts is unsafe for your appliances / equipment in your rv.
There is a local campground that we spent lots of weekends camping there due to some of our family members having a seasonal site that had terrible electric. You could blow a fuse just by using your toaster! The campground had several owners and every time an owner was new there was the promise “to fix the problem”. Our family members no longer have a seasonal site at that campground and the electric problem still is not fixed. Unfortunately, this problem still exists in older campgrounds.
A surge protector can protect against voltage spikes that can cause severe damage to your valuable electronic devices in your rv, but beware, do your homework before you make a purchase! Surge protectors come in 30 and 50 amps, so first select the correct amperage for your rv. Next check out how the surge protector works. Some are simply a surge protector like the type that you would use for your computer. Others detect not only a surge of electric but also wiring faults and high and low voltage. Some will only work until you receive a surge of electricity, and then need to be replaced. Some will restart themselves after a surge but they are also more expensive. Some are designed to be hardwired to your rv and others are designed to plug directly into your site’s electric box.
There are many choices and many manufacturers for a surge protector for your specific need to give you peace of mind for anywhere you spend the night.
Here's an excellent article I found by Chuck Woodbury on Camping.about.com on the FAQ's of RV ownership and travel:
It makes sense. The baby boomers are turning 50 and a slab of uneven, rocky soil isn't as forgiving as it once was. Many campers today are looking for something a little more comfy.
A motorhome, travel trailer, or other RV is like a small cabin on wheels -- usually complete with stove, oven, refrigerator shower, toilet, beds, heater and 12-volt electrical power.
Smaller units may not have bathrooms or hot water. Some rigs, though, have lounge areas, air conditioners, bathtubs, microwave ovens, built-in color televisions and generators for extra power.
When asked why they like the RV lifestyle, RVers cite the convenience of cooking their own meals, sleeping in their own bed and taking a hot shower at any place, any time, even in a remote campground. They also mention that with an RV they are always packed and ready-to-go.
Compared to automobile travel, where motorists eat at restaurants and sleep in motels, vacationing in a RV is economical. Gasoline and campsites are the major expense. Food costs the same as at home because you cook your own meals. Overnight accommodations are reasonable -- usually from about $8 to $25 a night. A surprising number of public campgrounds are still free.
There is, of course, an initial investment. Motorhomes, the most expensive RVs, sell from $25,000 to $250,000 with most between $35,000 and $80,000. Low-priced units are usually not as well constructed as the high-priced models, although it may not be apparent from outward appearances.
The over $80,000 units are favored by "full-timers," mostly retired couples who live in their rigs much or all of the year. Less expensive motorhomes -- $25,000 to $50,000 -- are best suited for part-time RVers. These units may not have wet bars, trash compactors or built-in televisions, but they're ideal for weekend camping trips and summer vacations.
Among the least expensive motorhomes are those built on the chassis of small trucks. The advantage of these micro-minis, besides price tags often under $25,000, is their gas mileage -- typically around 15 miles per gallon. The disadvantage is that space is often limited, and the units may be underpowered.
Truck and van campers are more compact than motorhomes, but offer many of the same features at a lower price. Travel trailers, tent trailers, and fifth wheelers (trailers with a raised forward section) have no engines and are therefore less expensive to purchase than motorhomes. They may, however, require a special tow vehicle, which can be costly if a would-be RVer doesn't already own one.
A good idea for many first-time RVers, or buyers on a budget, is to start with a used unit. Second-hand trailers are often available for less than $10,000; used motorhomes sell from $10,000 and up. But be careful when buying a previously owned rig: get a lemon and you'll likely spend a wad getting it into shape.
For those who have never camped in a recreational vehicle but are thinking of buying one, it's wise to rent one first to see if they're suited to the RV lifestyle. Renting is a good idea, too, for those with less than a few weeks a year to camp. Motorhomes rent for about $400 to $1,000 a week depending on location, model of rig and time of year. Trailers are considerably cheaper.
To find a local rental dealer, consult your telephone directory under "Recreational Vehicles -- Renting and Leasing."
Before buying your first recreational vehicle, learn all you can
about the different types on the market. Talk to people who own RVs and
ask them what they like and dislike about their rigs.
Be sure, too, to attend RV shows that are held periodically in large cities. These shows are a great place for would-be RVers who are convinced they want a rig, but still need help deciding which type of vehicle best suits their needs and budget.
For most RVers, a recreational vehicle is the second biggest purchase of a lifetime next to a home. And, like buying a home, it pays to shop around carefully before making a choice
People who decide they don't want their RV any more have a hard time selling it. Forget about getting a good offer for it from your local RV dealer. Like car dealers who "claim" they are giving you "top dollar", RV dealers give you far less for your used RV than it's worth. Car dealers give you $3000-$4000 less than market value. One salesman told us the RV dealer they worked for gave desperate RV sellers $30,000 to $40,000 less than they were worth. They really take advantage of desperate people. You'll always get much more money for your used recreational vehicle by selling it yourself. You should get the N.A.D.A. Consumer Recreational Vehicle Appraisal Guide to help you determine how much an RV is worth. Use this whether you are buying or selling an RV. Many used car concepts apply to RVs as well.
Thank you for visiting the Bruce Bernhart RV Websites!
Check out the other Bruce Bernhart RV Websites and Blogs:
Also, be sure to check out the Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites: