If you’ve been RVing for a while, you’re probably like me—used to surprises! On our first trip out, the “trailer disconnect” warning light came on. Talk about panic! We pulled our 42-foot fifth-wheel as far off the road as we dared. Yes, it was still connected to our truck, but the connection was loose. I hadn’t pushed the electric plug completely into the truck’s outlet. Each time we’d hit a bump, the connection would jiggle itself a little bit further out of the plug, causing the warning light to come on. Now I make sure the electrical cord is tightly engaged—before we take off.
On that same first trip, we were surprised when, upon opening up the slides, we found seven assorted screws scattered over the RV interior floors. Some were in the bathroom. Some screws were in the bedroom. A few were in the galley area. After an extensive (and panicked) search for possible places of origin, we finally gave up. We still have those screws, plus a few more in a plastic bag. It’s a good reminder when I open the tool drawer, that sometimes surprises happen—mysterious RV surprises that cannot be explained.
Electrical panel surprises
And then there’s the surprise when lifting that metal electrical panel that houses 30 or 50 amps of power. We’ve been surprised by toads hiding under that flap several times during our travels. We’ve discovered many wasp’s nests there over the years, too. And ants that have extended their colony into the cozy electric panel box, as well. The worst was finding a snake, all coiled up in a corner of the warm box. He wasn’t dangerous. I only yelped because I wasn’t expecting to find him there!
Most RV surprises are short-lived and non-consequential. You can laugh about them soon after they occur. But then there are the other kind. Like the time we pulled into a campground to find that they’d somehow overbooked, and there wasn’t a place for us to park. Or the time when the site we’d reserved was too small to accommodate our RV. (We kept the slides in for our short, overnight stay.)
We’ve learned valuable lessons from our RV surprises. Book ahead but check a couple of days before you plan to arrive at your campground. Confirm your reservation and make sure everything’s all set before you pull in. And always let the campground know if you’re going to arrive late.
Not all RV surprises are bad ones, though. We’ve had great surprises throughout our RV journeys, too. Like the surprise in meeting folks whose brix-n-stix home was only a short drive from our own home. (We’re still good friends, but may never have met if not camping at the same time in the same park.)
Another good surprise is the helpful nature of many RVers we’ve met along the way. Most everyone is willing to help you if you ask. When our RV fridge stopped working, fellow campers lent us their coolers so that we could preserve our food.
Other campers have recommended excellent service shops and RV supply stores when we’ve needed parts or service. Others have actually helped us fix our RV problems—for free! Because that’s just how most camping folks are: kind and helpful.
We’ve happily discovered many, many RV gadgets that we purchased for ourselves once we saw how they worked. We’ve learned new games (like pickleball and canasta) and we’ve even taken up new hobbies because fellow RVers passionately shared with us information about their favorite pastimes.
Learning from surprises
Whenever you embark on a new adventure, there will undoubtedly be surprises—both good and bad. But as I look back on all of our adventures, I’d have to say that every surprise was ultimately good—in the long run. We have so many memories! We’ve learned all along the way as each surprise taught us something. And, in my opinion, our RV education was much more fun than simply reading an instruction book or travel magazine.
How about you? Have you had surprises while RVing? Let’s hear about them—both good and bad. Join me over in my forum to chat.