Jun 112014

I guess when you’ve been fulltiming for as many years as we have and you publish an RV newspaper and blog, people seem to think that you’re some kind of expert. We all know better, but it doesn’t stop people from asking me questions. I try to answer them to the best of my ability, and if I don’t know and can’t find the answer, I tell them so. But apparently there are some folks who don’t really care what they tell people, as long as they say something.

This is evidenced by the same stories I hear over and over and the same questions that are repeated on almost a weekly basis. Sometimes these “RV myths” are no more than urban legends that started years ago and never completely die, but I truly believe some are spread by people in the RV industry for their own selfish reasons. With most of them, just a little bit of common sense will make you realize they are false.

The Gas Thief – I can’t remember when I first heard the tale of an RV owner who went outside one morning to find a garden hose sticking out of his black water tank and a pool of vomit. As the story goes, some miscreant thought he was stealing gas and siphoned the black tank instead. While we’d all like to see karma coming around and biting some jerk like that in the butt, it’s not true. I’ve been around every kind of RV ever made over the years and I have never seen one with a cap or outside access to siphon the waste tanks.

Ten Year Rule – Another one that I hear about over and over is the Ten Year Rule, and I have heard this myself from an RV salesman. According to the story, RV parks have a rule not to allow any RV over ten years old. Yes, there are a few parks nationwide that have a ten year rule, but they are few and far between. Here is a blog post I wrote about this a while back.

Vandalism At WalMart – Recently I’ve heard three or four stories about RVers who spent the night at WalMart only to wake up the next morning to find tires slashed and graffiti sprayed on their RV, and a note under their windshield wiper that says “Next time don’t be a cheapskate!” and signed “Local RV park owner.” I have no doubt that there have been occasional incidents of vandalism at rest areas, truck stops and WalMarts, but I seriously doubt any RV park owner is responsible, and if so, what are the chances they’d take the time to leave such a note? I think a very few RV park owners might spread a rumor like that, but usually if they want to stop RVers from stopping at WalMart they go to the city council and try to get a rule passed to ban the practice.

RV at WalMart

Rest Area Attacks – Never stay in a rest area overnight. Roving gangs of drug fiends are just waiting to prey on you! They will climb up on the roof, pry open your fan vent cover, spray pepper spray inside to force you out, and then rob you. That’s nonsense. First of all “drug fiends” don’t run around in gangs and they aren’t energetic or smart enough to go to all that work when they can steal a bike or TV or something right there in town to sell or trade for their next high. We have spent the night at rest areas from coast to coast and never had a problem with drug fiends or anyone else.

Becoming A Drug Mule – Apparently it’s not just the “drug fiends” you have to watch out for. Another popular story is about how drug dealers will stash their product in your storage bays or on the roof or wherever while you are looking the other way, and you drive off not knowing you have just become a drug smuggler. Whenever I hear this one, I always ask how they know where you are headed so they can retrieve the drugs when you get there. Is their network so big that they have contacts all over the country? And how do they know when you arrive wherever you are going?

Fuel Island Mishap – This is one that makes the rounds every so often. An RVer stops at a Flying J fuel island and is distracted by a phone call or whatever and fills his tank with the water hose used to flush down spills. Is anybody really that dumb? I know of a couple of instances where people pumped gas in to a diesel or the other way around, but if you can’t tell the difference between a water hose laying on the ground and a fuel hose attached to a pump, you’re probably better off staying home.

Cruise Control – I think I heard this the first time about an hour after the first car came out with cruise control. Back then a driver supposedly put the car on cruise control and took a nap or read a newspaper. These days it’s an RVer pushing the cruise control button and then walking to the back of the rig to make a sandwich or go to the bathroom.

More Fuel Island Dangers – There was a self-styled “security expert” doing seminars at RV rallies a while back who claimed that while you were filling your tank at truck stop fuel islands, criminals would slip inside your motorhome and hide until you got back on the road and then would walk up behind you and shoot you in the back of the head. He never could explain why they did this, or how they survived the crash after the RV went off the road with a dead driver behind the wheel.

Residential Appliances – Just yesterday in the comments section of this blog a reader insisted that you can’t put a residential refrigerator in an RV. The fact that a lot of RVs now come with residential refrigerators right from the factory didn’t sway his opinion. Yes, you can put residential appliances in an RV. In our MCI bus conversion, we had a residential refrigerator, stove, washing machine and dryer. One “expert” insisted that we could not have a house style refrigerator in our bus and every time we crossed paths at an RV rally he reminded us it would not work. As much as five years after we installed it he was telling us it was only a matter of time before it failed.

kitchen cabinets microwave

Deadly Dishes – We don’t hear this one very often any more since newer technology has pretty much replaced them, but we still see a tripod mounted two-way satellite dish occasionally. Back in the day, the folks who sold the much more expensive roof mounted automatic dishes were spreading all kinds of nonsense. Among the rumors and lies floating around that we have heard ourselves is that the dishes put out high degrees of RF energy that could be lethal, and that a person had walked past an RV where a tripod dish was being used and it “blew an ink pen he had in his shirt pocket clear through his heart.” Another popular rumor we heard over and over again was that the dishes were illegal and that government agents were cruising through RV parks looking for tripod dishes to confiscate, and the owners of said dishes to arrest and to confiscate their RVs. We were also told that if a user did not aim the dish properly it could do anything from disrupt other satellite communications to “knock communications satellites and aircraft out of the sky.” My response to this is that if the dishes had that capability, every teenage kid and home-grown terrorist would be out in his backyard right now zapping things out of the heavens.

direcway dish 2

Since this is Wednesday, it’s time for another Free Drawing. This week’s prize is courtesy of John and Kathy Huggins of Living the RV Dream podcast; an autographed copy of So, You Want to be a Workamper? If you’ve even considered working on the road, you need to read this book. It’s filled with valuable information every workamper needs to know. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.


Thought For The Day – I see no good reason to act my age.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  13 Responses to “10 Myths About The RV Lifestyle”

  1. I wish new RVers would listen better when you advise them why not to buy a paticular brand of RV. Two people I know personnaly just made that mistake buying new RVs. They both came back and told me “I should of listened to you” There is a lot to learn as an RVer so it is best to listen. Anyone with 10 or more yrs of experience can fill you in quite well. I learn new things regularly and I have been Full Time for twenty years and wouldn’t change this life style for anything.

  2. I have to admit I have heard and believed the one about siphoning from a black tank Nick. I even told people about it. But you are right, how would he stick a hose in there? Duh!

  3. I would never sleep overnight in a rest area. thats what Rv parks are for.

  4. So many of these things all you have to do is stop and think for a minute and you can see their nonsense. But your right people still believe them and spread them.

  5. Nick I’ve been in the RV business since 1978 and we’ve fulltimed for 8 years. I thought I had heard them all. But you just taught me some new ones. I guess I just “think” I’m an expert. Thanks Larry

  6. Another myth is that people with these big fine rigs know how to drive them or more importantly back them up and park them. 🙂

  7. Thanks Nike, for posting, I have a friends who expressing there opinions about these myths and I just shrug my shoulders and say well this lifestyle isn’t for you. LOL!!!

    PS: twice a year for newbies to send to their families and friends to help put them at ease.

  8. Well Mister Nick
    It’s no myths
    here I am driving to 1000 trails campground in my my 35 year old MH down the interstate with my garden hose running from my black tank to my gas tank note here u need to add on some gray stuff to help keep the knock down otherwise it runs to rich see !,now im On cruise control sittng in my favorite recliner with all my home appliances onboard and one home coffee maker percolating a way as i type this that I have used all this time with no mishap now u see i stop at a lot of roadside rest stops to give the home boys time to tag my MH it helps sponsor and advertise there home affiliates,, yes it,s a IRS right off to
    stopped at mister walmarts home store last night and had 3 drug lords stash stuff all over my roof last night and gave me 6 bucks to get a pick-a-chicken and had some left over to get a gatorade now when i went inside the druggies realign my satellite dish with a new type of laser aimed to zap the no parking signs at walmart and to fool the aircraft speed traps seems to work cuz non have landed yet
    Now as for flyJ pilot and loves I don’t trust Tham fuel islands,, cuz they take this secret card thing and I think there spy’s looking to rip RVers off O and don,t drink the truck stop water, I think it might be some kind of radioactive
    Seems I sprayed some on the back of my MH last week And all the truckers were blowing there horns at me when I was in the left lane they must have spotted the radioactivity coming from my behind
    of my MH
    So u see theres no MYTH

  9. Love the blog! Some of those are just down right silly! LOL!
    I guess I really do need to visit the eye doctor like my husband keeps telling me…
    I can’t find the “Free Drawing Link”. I would love to have that book!
    Any help is appreciated.

  10. Pretty silly some of these myths. I’ve heard most before but some are new as well. We’ve never had a problem at a Walmart or Cracker Barrell. We steer clear of rest areas.

  11. Deborah, just click the words Free Drawing or Free Drawing Link in the contest announcement above.

  12. Good list…There’s also the myth that you’ll be accosted by drug smugglers & illegal immigrants if you ever park anywhere close to the border in Arizona. We get asked that one all the time LOL.


  13. Some of those sound like the stories kids would say when they were trying to scare each other out in the boonies!

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