Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Life on the Road (doesn't have to be a bumpy ride)

RV'ing Made Easy

From their ten years of traveling together, Lynne and Dana Massie, of Medical Lake, Washington, wrote and published, “RV'ing Made Easy,” a humorous – and practical – guidebook explaining the ins and outs of operating and driving a home on wheels.
Think you know everything there is about owning a motorhome?
So did Lynne Massie and her daughter Dana when they bought an a 30-foot Suncrest RV to travel around the country to dog shows, fairs, and festivals selling hand-crafted dog silhouettes. Lynne had camped three times in her life and Dana had driven nothing bigger than a compact car. Still, they figured what could be the big deal?
“We figured it was just a house on wheels,” remarks Lynne.
In 2000, they struck out on their first 1,600-mile journey from Olympia to Denver, Colorado – having only practiced their driving skills on the short trip from the dealer to home. Horn honking, whooping at the top of their lungs, and waving to friends, neighbors, and anyone else who happened to pass by, they confidently pulled out of their driveway and hit the road. It wasn't until they merged onto the I-5 freeway that they realized just how big the RV was compared to other vehicles.
“Dana was driving and I was hanging out the passenger window going, ‘You’re too far right! You’re too far left!’” Lynne says.
Three hours later they pull into an RV park in the town of Kalama. They had gone a total of 75 miles; a trip that should have taken no more than about an hour. But the fun had only just begun. As they tried to set themselves up in the RV park, it took no time at all to realize they were in a little over their heads. One of them had the water hose in hand and the other the electrical cord. They stared at the boxes next to their space and at the giant machine on wheels and were absolutely clueless about how to connect the two.
The next day, Dana was in the middle of a shower, covered with soap when the water flow stopped. Lynne checked the hose connection and made sure the pump was on. Nothing was wrong. Everything seemed okay, yet, obviously something was wrong with the RV. So Lynne called the dealer while Dana stood dripping wet. The first question he asked was, “Is the switch labeled ‘pump’ on or off?” Wanting to show off her knowledge, Lynne said, “Of course it is on.”
And therein was the problem. Who would have thought when you wanted water, and you are connected to an outside source of water, the water pump should be off?
The duo quickly realized they had MANY lessons to learn. And they were not alone. As they talked with other RV owners, they heard many stories of the mistakes they too had learned the hard way - and some of those lessons were a very costly education.
“We were completely clueless. We had no idea that RV’ing was a whole world of its own,” Lynne says. “We had gone through the owner’s manual page by page, but it’s mostly mechanical; nowhere does it talk about the ‘usability’ of the RV.”
Out of their experiences, came “RV’ing Made Easy,” a 260-page easy to read guidebook filled with stories of their adventures and handy tips from lessons learned.
Things like operating the generator while you’re traveling in order to run the roof air conditioner. That would have come in handy on their trip through sweltering Las Vegas one summer.
“There we were in our swim suits, driving down the interstate, just dripping with sweat,” Dana recalls.
And don’t forget the duct tape. Better than a wrench or a screwdriver, a roll of silver duct tape comes in handy for instant repairs such as when your fenders fall off – like they did on Lynne and Dana’s trip to Denver one winter when the glue that hold them on failed because of the cold.
“It’s the number one essential,” Lynne says. “Don’t leave home without it.”
Whether you own a tent trailer, travel trailer or 40-foot diesel pusher worth half a million dollars, you can never be too sure about your rig.  Covering everything from electrical power and backing up to storage and dealing with winter weather, “RV'ing Made Easy” will help you get the most enjoyment out of your home on wheels.
“There’s always something you’re going to experience and learn,” Dana says. “As soon as you think you’ve got it all figured out, it will wake you up with one more thing to learn.”

“RV'ing Made Easy” can be purchased online at www.rvingmadeeasy.com for $29.95 (plus shipping). You can follow the Massie's continuing adventures at www.facebook.com/RVingMadeEasyToday.

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