Land Cruising
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Here's some lessons we've learned as we have travelled on the road with Clemmie. Hope you find them useful. Stay tuned for more.

Do Don't
  • Use the Delorme Atlas and Gazeteers for each state. As well as giving you detailed road information, they list campgrounds, unique natural features, attractions, canoe routes, fishing holes, etc. They're well worth the price (about $20 each) and easy to find.
  • Turn off the propane valve on long road trips. It's a real hazard to have it on if you get in an accident, or go through a tunnel or restricted area.
  • Torque the lugnuts on all of the wheels after they've been rotated at 50-100 miles. They could come loose if you don't.
  • Hit all your tires with a hammer before each road trip and get familiar with the sound. They should all sound the same. Your inner rear tire (if you have doubles) can go flat and you'll never know it until the outer one fails.
  • Go to truck tire shops to get your tires rotated, balanced, and the alignment checked. RV and engine service shops may not have the necessary expertise, and your RV's tires are your most important equipment.
  • Look for county, town, and regional public parks to camp in. They're often real jewels. Follow road signs, Delorme, and word of mouth to find them.
  • Call state parks ahead of time to determine if you'll need a reservation, especially on weekends or in the summer.
  • Follow the maintenance schedule you get for the engine, chassis, and RV body. For fulltimers, your home can take a beating and it needs plenty of TLC.
  • Join the Good Sam Club. The monthly Highways member magazine has a lot of useful information in it. [Also, after a year the insurance carrier we had through RV America quit providing RV coverage, and during that year we had no end of communication problems with them. We switched to Good Sam (GMAC) and got great service at an excellent price. We haven't had any claims yet, so can't speak to claims service.]
  • At campgrounds be sure to ask for senior discounts--assuming you meet the age criteria.
  • Develop some hobbies you can do in your rolling home.
  • Visit places you'd never have otherwise thought to go.
  • Be adventurous, expand your horizons. Remember, the worst that can happen is that you break down by the side of the road in your very own home.
  • Step out and enjoy different cultures and environments.
  • Rely only on state pages in an atlas, or even AAA or state highway maps, to pick your route. You'll miss a lot without more detail.
  • Go too many days on the road without taking a break. We've found that we can do up to five to seven days travelling along with only 1-2 nights in the same place, then we need to stop, regroup, and have time "being at home" in one place for 4-7 days.
  • Stay too long in one place. It's a beautiful world out there, and there's a lot of it.
  • Make reservations if you don't have to. You never know how plans will change, and some state systems charge just for making the reservation.
  • Fail to make reservations at Florida state parks if you're planning to stay in them in the winter months (December - February.) They're excellent and fill up with "snow birds."
  • Plug your computer into the 12-volt socket that runs off the engine battery and leave it there for a week. (We flattened our battery doing this once.)
  • When you shop for an RV, don't get one that has slideouts. They give an illusion of space but are nothing but a maintenance headache.
  • Forget to check ahead of time to see if state parks for the state you're in add an admission fee on top of the campground fee. [Michigan is a prime example -- $8/day, or $29 for the year.]
  • Avoid campgrounds just because they have no hookups. Some of these are gorgeous.
  • Miss Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) and National/State Forest campgrounds -- they're often among the prettiest and are usually relatively inexpensive.
  • Run your heater in cold weather without plenty of ventilation. Too much moisture inside will eventually ruin your RV.
  • Buy cheap tires.
  • Neglect to cover the sunny-side tirewalls to protect them from UV deterioration if you leave your RV parked for a long time.

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Bill Dillon (KG4QFM)
and
Pat Watt (KG4QFQ)
This page was last modified on August 9, 2009

Home | Site Map | Cruising | Logs | Seminar | Writing | Growing Old | Photos | Nuggets | Contact