Did RVers buy “too much” motorhome?

12

Dear RV Shrink:
I think we bought too much motorhome. It makes my husband nervous to drive. He’s always saying, “I just want to park this sucker.”

We are now headed south for the winter and he will only drive on interstate highways, stay in commercial campgrounds with pull-thru sites and use truck-stop-sized gas stations.

Today was our most stressful yet. We pulled into a Flying J and pulled up to a gas bay that had another truck in it. My husband thought it was leaving because it was not fueling. Once he pulled up tight behind it we noticed there was no driver. We were blocking traffic and could not back up because of our toad.

We were getting the stink eye from dozens of people for several minutes until a woman finally came out of the store embracing a month’s worth of junk food. She had left her vehicle at the pump while she went shopping, yet everyone was annoyed with us.

I think we should lose about ten feet of living space, but my husband says we will take a bath on downsizing.

Are we stuck? I wanted to see America, but not at 65 mph rocketing along some super slab. Help!
SuperSized in Santa Fe

Dear SuperSized:
I have no idea what size your motorhome is, but obviously it’s too large for your driving comfort. I agree that you would most likely take a bath downsizing, but there are other options.

I would start with investing in some driver’s training. Yes, there is such a thing. Many people bite off more than they can chew when choosing a big rig, adding a toad and other toys. They are so big and powerful that I have seen people take out electric and water facilities while leaving a campsite and not even realize it.

Becoming comfortable with your home on wheels is essential to happy travels. Be aware that size will limit you at times as to where you can camp, drive, park and fuel.

You describe one of my pet peeves with your story of pulling into the gas station. You will always have to deal with people who are not courteous. It doesn’t matter what size RV you have. That said, the bigger the rig, the more planning involved in making your approach to a campsite, fuel pump, dump station, etc.

Don’t wait too long to look into driving lessons or downsizing. I have witnessed people destroying their whole RV making one swing through a campground they never should have attempted. That route can often lead to more of a loss than a bad trade. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.

##RVT768 ##RVDT1248

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Darrel
8 months ago

Park the RV in a campground, take the tow car to explore in a 100 mile radius.

Rory R
8 months ago

I have done the opposite of the current trend. I “upsized to a 45′ DP. I love the room and comfort and I’m in no hurry to get anywhere. I take my time on the Interstates driving no faster than 70 mph. I often take SR’s just for the scenery and to get away from drivers who are in a hurry. Out west we stay @ commercial RV parks, LTVA’s (Ca & Az). and we have SP passes for NM and Tx. I think the advice given re: taking driving lessons is key and correct. If you have never had experience with driving a large truck or rig of any type, OJT can be expensive, when you have to have repairs done caused by those “little” fender benders. I started fairly small (21′ class C), but with each replacement I went a little larger and I don’t regret it. Somehow I have managed to go everywhere I want to visit. I take my rig to a place that’s close, and then jump in my toad and visit, come home at the end of the day and relax.

Drew
8 months ago

Dear Supersized,

The shrink’s advice about a driving class is good. We also have a larger rig but I’m at ease driving it almost anywhere. We do however enjoy the Interstates and big commercial campgrounds as well as huge Love’s travel centers. We love all the things that those feature. If I were you I’d adjust to your rv- there is really no alternative to size for comfort and convenience.

Elisa
8 months ago

Good advice from the Shrink today!

Sally Gilbert
8 months ago

Escapee club members can do driver training at their “Bootcamps” for a reasonable fee. The first Escapade gathering this year is in Las Vegas and I am sure they will be running a Bootcamp then. Google “escapees” and I’m sure a ton of links will pop up. Membership is less than $50/year, and it’s an awesome organization for RVers, they do so much advocacy for all of us.
Good luck on the driving! We initially took our first rig to a huge empty parking lot to practice turning, backing up into “parking spots” to help me understand where the turning point should be when directing my hubby into a campsite, etc
We also use arm /hand signals similar to the folks who direct aircraft into their bays so my hubby clearly knows what I’m directing him to do. Practicing helps keep things calm and clear! Even having been on the road for a number of years we find ourselves in tight spots at times, and tensions run high. Deep breaths!

Vickie
3 years ago

Maybe she should also learn to drive. That would give her an appreciation for what it takes to drive the behemoth. Not sure where they travel, but secondary or state roads might be a good compromise–slower speed through America while on usually well paved roads. We’ve also found it helpful to sometimes detach the toad before entering the RV park.

S. M.
3 years ago

Downsize and consider any loss an investment in happiness. I suggest renting 1 or 2 different smaller rigs for a weekend and trying them out. We downsized to a Roadtrek because we want to travel back roads and see out of the way places. Life is great and we can park anywhere.

Ellen
3 years ago

We downsized and are MUCH happier traveling. We didn’t take a bath in a trade — kept the bigger rig but parked it in a long-lease site. Now it’s like staying in the Ritz when we stay in the “older” rig.

The question is whether you want to enjoy your travels or not. If you don’t, keep the big rig (definitely take lessons). If you do, call any money you lose in a trade an investment and go on with your life. Depending on what you choose as a smaller rig (smaller doesn’t necessarily mean less expensive), you might not take the loss you think. Good luck!

Tommy Molnar
3 years ago

It has always scared me to think that some people spend their lives commuting to work in a VW Bug, then retire and buy a 40′ motorhome. ‘Real men’ don’t need driving lessons . . . .

Bob p
8 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

When I started driving truck there was a young lady in our class in her early 20s who had never driven anything bigger than her Saturn, 3 weeks later she was handling that tractor and trailer like the rest of us picking up and delivering freight across the country. Not everyone is blessed with God given talent like you must be to make a statement like that.

Tommy Molnar
8 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

Actually, Bob, looking back the three years ago that I made that comment at the end, I’m surprised MYSELF that I did. Kinda dumb, I’d say. The beginning comment though, I still stand by. I was a trucker too, for just over 30 years. I took to it like a fish to water and absolutely LOVED it. I did local, OTR, construction, all manner of driving. I guess I WOULD say I was blessed with talent, if I may.

Alpenliter
8 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

You are also blessed that you can admit you were once “kinda dumb”. Not many people own up to that!