January, 2003

Total subscribers this issue 8177! Last issue 8063!

Welcome to our new 114 Subscribers!

Inside this issue:

- Floor Plans ... by Les Doll
- RVer helps New RVer ... by John Harrelson
- Helpful tips shared by neighbours ... by Peggi McDonald
- The NEW Rverscorner bulletin board!
- RV Glossary - terms and phrases used by RV'ers (con't)

Joke of the Day:
Classified Ad Section:
About the RVer's Corner Newsletter:

What Floor Plan do I need? by Les Doll

The floor plan that you choose will depend greatly on your
finances and planned usage of the RV.

Occasional weekend use with only two people would require a
far different floor plan than a family of five on a
cross-country trip!

Choosing the Floor Plan that’s right for you! The layout of
choice is one that varies from person to person. Everyone
has differing preferences and that is the reason for the
multitude of floor plans available in RVs.

There are four main areas in an RV, the sleeping area, the
kitchen, the bathroom, and the living area.

In smaller RV's such as Camper vans and truck campers (slide
ins), these areas are combined to make maximum use of the
available space. Sofas convert to sleeping accommodations,
kitchen sinks are also the wash-up areas and some even have
fold-away shower enclosures that make use of the aisle
walkway when needed. Obviously these compact units are not
the answer for everyone but they make the small space into
adequate living quarters for weekend and occasional use by
one or two people. This "cosiness" has advantages in that
the small RV is very manoeuvrable, fuel efficient and can be
used as a second vehicle, in the case of camper vans and
small motor homes.

The larger the RV, the most space is available for
amenities. Conversely, these larger units cost more to
purchase, maintain, and transport. These are trade-offs that
must be considered when shopping for an RV.

Front kitchens, rear kitchens, side kitchens ... what works
the best?

Well, that depends on circumstances. Does the cook need
uninterrupted access, without many little feet running
through to the bathroom? A kitchen at one end of the RV is
the obvious choice. This floor plan dictates that the bath
be located on the side of the RV, which limits the size of
the bathroom area. However, this location is more convenient
for quick in and out trips to the "loo".

Side kitchens floor plans allow the bath, bedroom or living
room to be located at the rear of the RV.

The floor plan is a matter of choice. It’s configuration
depends on the available space, of course, but personal
preference and special needs come into play. Consider the
use and activity your family will be engaged in. The floor
plan that suits two people on an extended cross-country trip
may well be most inconvenient for a family of five at the
lake for a weekend.

It is advisable to sit in a prospective RV and imagine what
life would be like with that floor plan on a rainy day, or a
day at the beach, or after a long days travel. Think
carefully about what your particular needs are and look for
the best layout that will accommodate those needs.

Editors note:

The RVers Corner is a place where people interested in RV's meet
and share experiences. The following is an example of this spirit
that I wish to share with all of you.

A new prospective RVer writes ...

I'm looking to buy a travel trailer.

Any advice for a old widow? I'm giving up the "stuff ", and
just a tad scared. I'm not traveling (not yet) and will park in
a camp ground for retired people.

Any advice will be appreciated.

Thanks, Betty.

And an answer is provided by John Harrelson ...

Hello Betty,

Think seriously about a 5th wheel trailer and not a travel trailer.
It's roomier, easier to pull down the road and a heck of a lot
easier to park.

And why an old folks trailer park ? Hell's bells !! I'm 61 this
year and I hate being around "old people", all they do is sit
around and wait to die.. The park I live in has a pretty good
mixture. Most of the folks here are full timers and are permanent
residents of this park. I myself have been here over three years.

My park does not have all that "get together" stuff. The park has
no planned activities, no recreation hall, no swimming pool and no
store with over priced things that you don't really need anyway.
What it does have is a nice quite park where if you want to be left
alone, everyone respects your wishes. On the other hand, if you are
an outgoing person and want to be with people, all you have to do
is walk around the park and meet folks that are also out and about.

Think of becoming a full time RV'er as going swimming ......

TEST THE WATER FIRST ... that is, try to either borrow or rent
an RV trailer from a friend. Tell them what you are thinking of doing.
Park it in a local RV park for ninety days. Especially do this
during the winter months.
Being "cooped up" in a small trailer with a 13" TV and no phone
is far different from a three bedroom house or apartment with a
large color TV with cable programs and a telephone to call your
family and friends.

HAVE A LIFE JACKET ..... Have someone, family or good
friends, or a nest egg in the bank to help you get back to safety
if you find out the water is too deep and you don't want to go
swimming after all.

USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM .... If possible, find a friend to live
with you during that ninety days. Being divorced or widowed after
many years of having a companion is doubly tough and a friend will
give you a sounding board. I've been there, done that...

LEARN TO SWIM ... Don't let anyone tell you that a single woman
all alone can't do this or that ......
The only way to find out if you can swim is to get in the water and try......

LOCAL SWIMMING HOLE ... It seems that a lot of people think
that just because a person lives in an RV that they should be out
traveling all the time. HORSE FEATHERS !!

There are more people living in RV's that do not travel than there
are those who are constantly going someplace. I am one of them.

I have been all over the world when I was in the military and all
over America many times when I was in my wild and crazy 40's ....
Now I am content to stay in one place. I still live in my
5th wheel and take my adventures in small doses via my
pickup truck ... fishing, camping and exploring strange and
exotic places that are close by.
(jeeeze..you want to see strange and exotic ... just go to the
local mall ..... green hair ..... pierced tongues ... fat women
in spandex ..... fat men sucking in their guts when a pretty girl
walks by... )

Something to remember is that most of the full timers living in
an RV ( 365 days per year ) are retired and live on a pension
that's less than $ 1000.00 a month. They can't afford to travel
all over the country in fancy motor homes that cost hundreds of
thousands of dollars. But they like the feeling of being free and
knowing that they can up and leave whenever they want too
without worrying about having someone to watch over their
home and mow the grass or water the flowers.

The RV life is all about .... Freedom ... independence ...
adventure ... and even a little fear of the unknown..

AND ABOVE ALL .... don't play the helpless female asking
the big brave man to help a poor defenceless woman because
she doesn't know anything about this stuff !! That may work
on a man's male ego, but it won't work on his wife .... and a
woman living the fulltime RV lifestyle, is the one who will
help you the most. She was there ...... when the tire went flat,
out in the middle of nowhere ..... when the furnace quit in the
middle of the night on a weekend and the repair shops were
closed, or when the awning had to be rolled up because of the
high wind that came up unexpectedly while her husband was
gone fishing.

I knew a woman a long time ago who had an unusual way of
dealing with her anger and frustration when something happened
that she really didn't need to happen at that point in her life.

She would take one of her husbands cigars and go out on the
back porch and smoke it.. Her husband told me that the first
time he saw her doing this, he went out and asked her what was
wrong and she looked at him with that cigar clenched in her
teeth and said "LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE" .... He
quickly retreated to the safety of the living room and the
newspaper. After that, anytime he smelled cigar smoke, he
would quietly sneak away to a safe place... they were married
for over fifty years and both lived to be in their eighties.
The moral ... a woman can handle any problem that a man can ...
they just do it a little different .

Remember the old Chinese proverb ... "A trip of a thousand miles
starts with a single step "

Good luck and best wishes,

John Harrelson

Editors note:

The next article was published some time ago in one of the very first
RV'ers Corner Newsletters and was contributed by my very good friend,
Peggi McDonald. Peggi has consented to update and revise the article
for this issue. Many thanks, Peggi!

Helpful tips shared by neighbours. by Peggi McDonald

When we began searching for an RV the only fact we knew for
sure was we wanted a motorhome. In reality neither John nor
I had any idea of what an RV was or how many models were on
the market. From the day we saw a motorhome heading down the
road, we wanted a house on wheels that looked like a bus. We
planned to live fulltime in a home on wheels when we quit
working even though we knew very little about that process
too. After much discussion and a three-year search, our
dream machine finally became a reality one year before
retirement. Although the dealer’s pre-purchase introduction
explained the ins and outs of our two-year old pre-loved
model. As most of you know that little amount of info is
never enough. Only our own ingenuity and the valuable input
of other RVers helped us understand the intricacies of the
RV life. Because we had no manuals at sale time, John made a
location diagram of all operating toggles, valves, switches
and handles so we would at least have some idea of what was

Our maiden voyage was a major fiasco. We did
everything wrong but had a fantastic time; on the positive
side it was a great learning exercise. Our level site that
weekend had water and electric hook-ups only, no sewer.
Guess what, during two Saturday morning showers we
overfilled the grey water tank to the point where the shower
wouldn’t drain. No one told us there was a water saver on
the shower handle. I’m aware it isn't a good environment
practice to release grey (shower) water on the ground, but
since it was almost fresh tap water, I felt there was no
harm. With John's diagram in hand, I ventured outside to
open the valve. You guessed it, the sketch was upside down
and I pulled the black (toilet) tank valve instead of the
grey; thankfully that tank was almost empty.

Quickly I cleaned my mess with the water hose -
when the manager saw me he was most unhappy. Lesson one,
grey water doesn’t belong on the ground, especially without
the park approval...lesson two, make sure all notes and
research papers are right side up. There's a good part to
this story, the next day European RVers in their rental unit
asked us to show them how to dump their tanks. We felt
important; now as ‘experts’ we were sharing our new found
info with others.

That first weekend, we slowly began to understand the art of
living and travelling in an RV. We had so much to learn but
we were hooked; every trip became a more memorable
experience than the last--even with our numerous,
sometimes-costly mistakes. Half way through that first
summer we found a friendly park 20 minutes from work – very
convenient to set-up camp and commute. The key to our
transformation from inexperience to writing about the RV
lifestyle was mainly because of kind assistance of seasoned
RVing neighbours from Florida who took us under their wing
to explain many intricate details of the RV life. We now
share the same information with others new to RVing so all
RVers are as contented with this life on wheels as we are.

Some of the numerous hints helpful neighbours offered to us
Newbies included…

Before plugging-in electrical we should routinely
check wiring with a three-way tester with lights available
from hardware and RV supply stores. Reverse polarity or ‘no
ground’ hook-ups can cause appliance failure and shocks.
This doesn't happen often, but once is once too many.

Because hook-up distances differ at each park, you
will need an extra 25’ electrical extension. It should be a
10-gauge 30-amp cord instead of the orange 14-gauge variety
used to run the lawnmower. That type of extension will not
handle the load of RV appliances such as air conditioners
etc; our neighbours in Arizona discovered first hand how
easy a fire could result.

Having a variety of adapters on board that connect
electrical from 50 amps to 30 and 30 amps to 15 amps are
also a necessity. If your RV is a pop-up you may need the
reverse from 15-30 amps.

Never tightly curl the excess cord either; as this
too generates heat build up.

Bacteria will grow in green garden style water-hoses
if they are exposed to the hot sun. Do not drink water from
this hose. Specially designed insulated drinking water hoses
from RV stores prevent such problems. You will also need a
25-foot water hose extension as well.

Connecting the water-hose to your RV is easier if you
use a quick disconnect designed to connect the garden hoses
at your home. Add the small end to your unit and the large
end to your hose - ‘click’ and you’re connected without
‘fighting’ with the water-pump pliers.

Park water can reach exceptionally high pressure
without notice - adding a water pressure regulator at the
tap end (not the RV end) of the hose prevents damaging the
RV plumbing – the regulator keeps pressure at 45 PSI’s.

When connected to campsite sewer, it's OK to leave
the gray (sink and shower) valve open. However the black
should always stay closed or liquids will drain away while
solids collect.

The night before you plan to move, close the gray
valve and enjoy your showers. When you dump the next morning
drain the black first, followed by the shower water from the
gray tank. It will rinse the system. By the way tanks do not
need a thorough rinsing each time you dump. Plus black tanks
drain more effectively when half or 3/4 full...volume alone
makes for a cleaner flush.

Regular use of RV toilet tank chemicals will assure
tanks empty trouble free. Bacteria/Enzyme products
effectively break down waste while chemicals such as
Formaldehyde destroy the good bacteria in septic tanks.

Be cautious about using home brews, ingredients such
as bleach, ammonia etc. can be harmful to RV plumbing.

An extra 20-foot sewer hose plus connectors to join
two hoses together are other must-have necessities.

Never use petroleum-based products such as WD-40 or
Vaseline on sticky drain valves; it makes rubber type
accessories swell before they slowly deteriorate. On the
other hand, silicone sprays or special toilet drain valve
chemicals available from RV stores will safely lubricate
these handles for easy operation.

One very windy day we needed help to roll the awning.
These RVers shared why we should lower one end for rain run
off. They explained how to use tie-down straps and
anti-flappers adapters; although on windy days all awnings
are better rolled up. Deductible for damages is high.

We learned it was easy to clean your awning by
coating both top and bottom with a water/mild soap solutions
and roll it up for five minutes. Extend it, wipe with a
brush and rinse---the awning sparkles. Repeat for very dirty

If you need to use boards to level your unit and you
have dual wheels, always add a board to the ‘foot’ of both
tires, otherwise if you only put them on the outside tire it
will stress your axle(s).

Whether parking your unit, settling into a site
or putting a coat of polish on your RV, your neighbours will
love to help and share their invaluable tips. The above list
plus many more made our RV experience easier and more
enjoyable, we learned them over an extended period and they
could continue ad-infinitum. Listen to what they have to
share, it is always easier to digest in small doses. By the
way never be shy accepting or asking any RVer for help. We
love passing on all the ideas we’ve learned; maybe some will
even save you money. Till next time. See you down the road.

Peggi and John are RV Lifestyle Consultants and Web Hosts of
http://www.rvliving.net. Peggi is the author of Spirit of
the Open Road and e-books RV Living: Facts, Tips, Hints and
More Vol 1 and 2. See http://www.rverscorner.com/spirit.html
for details.

RV Glossary - terms and phrases used by RV'ers (continued)

DINETTE - booth-like dining area. Table usually drops to
convert unit into a bed at night.

DSI IGNITION - direct spark ignition - this term refers to
the method of igniting the main burner on a propane fired
appliance. The burner is lit with an electric spark and the
flame is monitored by an electronic circuit board. This
ignition system is used in refrigerators, furnaces and water
heaters. There is now a version of stove tops that light the
burners with a DSI ignition.

DUCTED AC is air conditioning supplied through a ducting
system in the ceiling. This supplies cooling air at various
vents located throughout the RV.

DUCTED HEAT is warm air from the furnace supplied to various
locations in the RV through a ducting system located in the
floor. (similar to house heating systems)

DUAL ELECTRICAL SYSTEM - RV equipped with lights, appliances
which operate on 12-volt battery power when self-contained,
and with a converter, on 110 AC current when in campgrounds
or with an onboard generator.

DUALLY - A pickup truck, or light-duty tow vehicle, with
four tires on one rear axle.


Joke(s) of the Day:

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it

It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.

If all is not lost, where is it?




SPIRIT OF THE OPEN ROAD by Peggi McDonald is a 'must have'
for all RVers, both novice and experienced travelers.
Although written from a Canadian point of view it is 95%
generic and a valuable guide to RVers from all countries.
For complete details -



Les Doll - RV Technician My advice is free and worth only
what you gain from it!