Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to RVing from RVtravel.com. The information we present here every Monday through Friday is for brand-new RVers – those in the market to buy their first RV and those who just purchased theirs. If you are an experienced RVer, this material may be too basic for you.
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Monday, November 2, 2020
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DID YOU MISS reading this morning’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter? Good stuff there.
How do I plug my RV into the power pedestal?
First, you will have three choices of plugs, 20 amp (looks like your wall outlet at home), 30 amp and 50 amp. Few RVers can get by with 20 amps: It’s not enough power to run much more than lights, a TV and a few other low-energy appliances. Most of the RVs on the market today are wired for 30-amp and 50-amp service. You can tell by the plug. Be sure to turn the breaker switch off before plugging in or unplugging your RV. Once plugged in, flip the switch.
My RV is rated for 50 amps. Can I plug it into a 30-amp hookup at a campground?
Yes, you can. Get a quality dog-bone adapter (see below) from a respected company such as Camco. The one you want has a 30-amp male connector on one end and a 50-amp female connector on the other. But realize that while a 50-amp outlet can provide a total of 12,000 watts of power, a 30-amp outlet can only provide 3,600 watts of power maximum. So you won’t be able to run everything at once in your RV without tripping a circuit breaker at the pedestal.
What‘s a dogbone adapter?
It’s an electrical adapter with a pair of power connectors separated by a foot-or-so-long piece of heavy black wire. They allow you to connect a 50-amp shore power cord from your RV to a 30- or even 15-amp electrical outlet, or visa versa. They sort of look like a cartoon version of a bone that a dog carries in his mouth, hence the name “dogbone.
For articles from RV electricity expert Mike Sokol explaining everything you need to know about power pedestals, appliances in your RV, dogbone adapters, etc., click here.
Two recently published guides to free campgrounds
Discover thousands of designated camping areas in the West and in America’s Heartland – real places – not big box store parking lots. Included are areas managed by various agencies — federal, state, local, etc. Learn more about the West edition or Heartland edition.
A case for RV driving school
Being skilled at driving (and backing) your RV not only makes you safer, but it can add a lot of joy to your RVing experience. When you’re backing into a campsite with half a dozen people watching you and you haven’t backed your rig since last year (or even if it was only last month), you’re probably not going to get it right the first time – maybe not even on the fifth try. This situation takes some joy out of your RVing experience.
The best way to learn to drive your rig is to take a course with a certified instructor and let him or her teach you in your own RV … Or get some cardboard boxes and go to a Walmart parking lot early on a Sunday morning when it’s almost empty and practice turning, backing, etc. It’s not as good as taking a course, but you can learn a lot this way. And if you run over a cardboard box, it’s no big deal.
Remember, reading a book and practicing is not the same as actually taking an RV driving course. Even if you get the book, still make plans to take a driving course as soon as you can. I’m an instrument rated pilot with over 2,000 hours of flying time, but I haven’t flown much in several years. I remember reading an article in one of the flying magazines that said that doctors had the highest accident rate of any group of pilots. The reasons the article gave were that doctors didn’t take enough time to do an adequate preflight check of the plane or the weather, they didn’t fly enough to stay proficient, and they were overconfident. In other words, they had more confidence in their ability to fly than was justified.
Make sure this doesn’t describe you when you’re driving or towing your RV. In addition to the safety factor, imagine pulling into a campground and backing your rig (motorhome, fifth-wheel, or camper) perfectly into your camping space the first time – even with everyone watching. That in itself makes the cost of the driving course worthwhile. From RVing: Less Hassle—More Joy: Secrets of Having More Fun with Your RV—Even on a Limited Budget Available on amazon.com.
We welcome your Quick Tips. Submit them here. Thanks!
Today’s RV review…
In today’s column, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the new Glacier Ice House A164TH. This is one unique RV! If you want to take your RV ice fishing, now you can. Learn more.
For previous RV reviews, click here.
“If you could tell someone new to RVing just one thing, what would it be?”
From the editors: We asked our readers this question recently. Here is one response:
“If the unit you are looking at has over-the-cab space, check to be sure it has proper water drainage and is caulked. If the interior structure has been weakened by water damage, which is not visible from the outside, it causes rot & invites termites. Thus a sagging upper bed or total collapse as you’re bouncing down a road.” —Linda Kreimeyer
Make sure to have this Fire Extinguishing Aerosol in your RV
The First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Aerosol Spray is easier to use and discharges 4 times longer than traditional fire extinguishers. With an aerosol nozzle and portable size, it’s suited for the kitchen, car, garage, boat or RV. The formula wipes away with a damp cloth & is biodegradable. Learn more or order.
Random RV Thought
On a hot summer day, a campsite with a good shade tree is a wonderful thing. On a crisp, cold but sunny winter day, a campsite without a tree is a wonderful thing.
“What’s the best modification you’ve made to your RV?”
From the editors: We asked our readers this question. Here is one response:
“Took down all valances and cornice boards. Replaced with curtains. What a change to the looks and homeliness. Also painted the bathroom white and put in a tile backsplash. Re-covered the headboard with black vinyl to go with the new curtains.” —Mel
• If you buy a defective RV and are unable to get it fixed or its warranty honored, here is where to turn for help.
• If you need an RV Lemon Law Lawyer, Ron Burdge is your man.
Read previous issues of Beginner’s Guide to RVing newsletters here.
RV Travel staff
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Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editors: Emily Woodbury, Diane McGovern.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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