It’s been a while since I’ve run a blog featuring some of the questions I receive and my answers to them. While I try to answer all questions individually, from time to time I find some that are worth sharing here.
Q. I am going to be 70 in July and my wife turned 68 last September. We would love to get an RV and spend some time traveling to escape the cold winters here in Wisconsin, but our kids keep telling us we are way too old for that kind of nonsense. We are both in good physical condition, we have all of our mental faculties, and we have wanted to do this for many years. I read your blog every day, Nick, so be honest. Do you think we are too old to become snowbirds?
A. Absolutely not! We know many, many fulltime RVers and RV snowbirds in their 70s and even 80s. You said you are both healthy physically and mentally, and you say this is something you have wanted to do for many years. So my question to you is, if not now, when?
Q. Have you ever heard of an insurance company denying a claim because the tow vehicle was somewhat overweight for the payload rating? I tow a 22’ trailer with two 3500 lb. axles. Normal scale weight is just under 5000 lb. on axles and 500-600 lbs. on tongue with weight distributing hitch. The truck I want, with options, comes in at 1600 lb. payload on the door sticker. Forums say that better tires, and shocks plus a sway bar increase payload. But the sticker rating is still 1600 lbs. I can probably move things around to get down to 1700 lbs. with empty tanks. Am I risking a claim denial for being slightly above capacity?
A. If there is a way an insurance company can find to avoid paying a claim, they will find it. Years ago I had a lady friend of mine who worked for the Arizona Attorney General’s office, specializing in insurance company wrongdoing. They are ruthless in avoiding paying anything they don’t have to. In your case, they might look at the posted GVWR of the vehicle and trailer, and if you are a pound over, they would have cause to blame you for negligence and deny any claim.
Q. We are spending our first winter as RV snowbirds in Florida, and my son insists that I call him every night, so he knows we are okay. I keep telling him he doesn’t do that when we are at home. When we are there, we may not hear from him for a week or more at a time. I keep telling him it’s not like we are off in the Amazon jungle or something. What do I do about an overprotective son who means well but gets all upset if I don’t call him every evening at 7 o’clock on the dot?
A. My first thought is to start demanding he call you every day so you know that he is okay. Try to assure him that you are in a nice RV park surrounded by nice people, and that you and your husband are happy and content where you are. And let him know that’s if something bad does happen while you are in Florida, heaven forbid, there’s nothing he could do about it. Just like he couldn’t do anything about it if something happened when you’re at home in your sticks and bricks house.
Q. Our miniature horse Andy is a part of our family and we want to take him with us when we begin fulltiming. He is only 32 inches high, not as big as a Great Dane. But in calling around, I find that almost no RV parks will allow a horse, even a very small one. I think this is unfair. He’s just as precious to us as somebody else’s dog or cat would be to them. Can they really turn us away if we show up at an RV park with Andy with us?
A. A business cannot discriminate against you because of your race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, but they can certainly set a limit on what kind of pets they allow. Many RV parks will not allow dogs over a certain weight, or certain breeds, due to insurance regulations. I doubt you will find many campgrounds that will welcome your pet horse, no matter how small he is.
Q. My husband and I have an argument every time we have to back our travel trailer into a campsite. It seems like he ignores my signals and does what he wants to do anyway, so I want to just get some of those orange plastic traffic cones and set them around the site and let him do his thing. What do you think? Would this be okay?
A. No, it would not be okay. I know many solo fulltimers who do back into sites by themselves all the time, but it’s always better to err on the side of safety. You really should be out there guiding him back. A traffic cone won’t tell him if a dog or a child wanders in back of the RV while he’s backing in. It won’t warn him of a low hanging tree branch. These simple hand signals, which I used as a part of my seminars at RV rallies across the country, will make things a lot easier and safer for everybody. https://gypsyjournalrv.com/2015/09/dont-give-me-the-finger/
Q. We are new to this and learning as we go. My husband seems to think we are in some kind of endurance competition and insists on being on the road early in the morning and driving nonstop until late in the evening. Then he wants to do the same thing again the next day, and the next. To be honest, it’s wearing me out. Is this what life is like for other RVers, too?
A. No, that’s not the RV lifestyle, but it is very common for new RV errors to rush from border to border and coast-to-coast trying to see everything all at once. In the process, they don’t see anything. But given that, your husband seems to be taking it to the extreme. Folks who have been out on the road for a while and are successful in the RV life usually do 250 to 350 miles a day, and often settle in someplace for a few days or weeks at a time before moving on to the next location. Let your husband know that this is not fun for you and it’s time to slow down.
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) 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 – Happiness is a direction, not a place.