Wednesday, November 29, 2023


The readers write: Back up your RV & keep off the grass


Edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris

Forest River leans on its dealers

Our story Forest River’s new policy: Good news or an idiot’s tale? discussed the mega-RV builder’s new policy to apparently demand more from its dealers when fixing “under warranty” RV repair issues. Plenty of nerves were struck. Here are a few reactions:

Marcel Ethier relates an experience: “Sometimes it IS the dealer’s fault. I had our rig in for warranty work and it stayed there for 90 days — fortunately I didn’t need it at the time. Out of 13 items, three were repaired. Dealer stated they did not get parts from Forest River. I contacted FR and they stated they had no record of the dealer contacting them for warranty work or parts required. FR contacted the company and my rig went back to the dealer.  Three days later all warranty work was done. I do not trust dealers anymore.”

Alex has advice for those buying new RVs. “Totally agree the industry could build better products and dealers provide better support. Until that happens, be prepared to undertake your own troubleshooting, fixing and maintaining. It’s not that hard and kudos to FR employees who visit websites, offer information and guidance to frustrated customers (note: their participation is voluntary and they provide disclaimers that their responses are not in an official capacity).

“Much unhappiness among RVers reminds me of the guy who bought a new 30 foot yacht and ran it aground on the first outing. After rescue by the Coast Guard, he just shook his head and said ‘I just don’t understand. The map was blue where we were going.’ Many-first time RVers build their expectations upon automobile experience. Whichever way the FR experiment goes, the customer must share responsibility for safe and proper operation of RV systems. If one isn’t prepared to view RVing as a hobby and learning experience, it’d be better to drive cars and stay in motels.”

And “Alpenliter” suggests where the industry may have gone wrong. “Years ago I toured the Western RV plant, maker of Alpenlite products. The thing that sold me was the last person on the assembly line had a checklist and gummed color dots. Several hours later the unit would be reinserted back into the assembly line to rectify the problems [identified] before being sent out to the dealers. Years later, the dealers took over that function, and shortly afterward WRV folded. While other factors came into play, the lack of quality control at the factory is always telling.”

Finally, Brent relates a positive experience with Forest River products. “We bought our FR two-and-a-half years ago, then started reading through the horror stories of frames coming apart and all sorts of scary stuff. We e-mailed our seller (a private party) with a few questions and discovered that they had no issues with anything, and neither have we since then. I did most of the bigger maintenance items like tires, springs, and roof resealing that would seem to be expected on a now 10-year-old 5th wheel; but it has been a great rig. Now there is that curious concept of using a hammer on hidden inside walls to bring in wiring and water lines. LOL”

Backing in the RV – without killing each other

Our regular dose of RV mental health from the RV Shrink took on the dicey subject of a couple trying to back the RV into a camping spot in “Motorhome brake dancing — parking the RV.” Several readers had “prescriptions” of their own.

Lisa Adcox was one of many who had this suggestion: “We use driver’s side, passenger side instead it right and left. Helps a lot. Plus, walkie-talkies are a lifesaver.”

Tech did score high on the “helpers” list. Gene Bjerke shares, “Instead of walkie-talkies we use our cell phones. She (the guider) calls me (the driver). I have my phone mounted on the dash and on speaker. She can talk normally and I can hear fine.”

And Wolfe added the statement: “A $20 WiFi pan-tilt camera is a lifesaver, especially if parking alone. People are shocked when a crewcab backs a 35′ trailer in one shot.” 

Give technology its due, but Brenda thinks you can do better looking a bit like a go-go dancer. “I’m one of those people who right and left doesn’t come quickly. So I am the one who gives ‘directions’ when backing in our motorhome. Instead of saying left or right, I give directions by using my hand and twirling the way my husband needs to turn the wheels. People have watched us and most of the time I don’t really say much of anything. Twirling my hand and a few stop signs and we’re in our spot. Anyone need a pair of walkie talkies? Lol”

Bob’s suggestion avoids walkie-talkies, as well. “Tell your wife to watch you in the mirror. If she can see you, you can see her. When you cannot see her, stop and do not move, nor say anything. She will check to see why you aren’t moving.”

Finally, two others had to touch on the comedy, or is it irony, of the matter. Bill: “Couples giving and receiving back-up directions is always interesting to watch.” And Robbie: “Men give directions differently than women. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.” Now, if we could just get the planets to align!

Keep off the grass?

Our story about a new Oregon RV park that caters to marijuana smokers sent up a few smoke signals of its own – with lively discourse close behind.

John simply observed, “Probably safer than folks running around with a skin full of beer.”

Others were a bit more clear on their view. We’ve had to shorten Bob’s view, but here’s a part of it: “When are people going to get a clue? This lifestyle of freedom existing beneath our feet, comes from the desire to live a freer and less complicated lifestyle! Most older users are responsible enough to be mindful of their surroundings. We don’t use it around the grandkids. We don’t walk into the park office blazing away and talk about our cable not working. It’s time to get off the bandwagon of thinking like the government wants you to think! We are Americans! We pull together, and realize that we each and all have a right to pursue interests which don’t affect others.”

Others expressed a viewpoint of concern. Robin pointed out, “Will be fired if test positive to drugs including marijuana in our jobs and in department of defense and military service. Even if marijuana is legal in the state… This is the same reason we avoid concerts. This would end years of service, affects retirement and family relationships… forever.”

Al & Sharon questioned those who might take exception to “pot-friendly” parks. “To those who answered NO they wouldn’t stay in an RV Park which allowed Marijuana to be used:— So you won’t stay at ANY RV Park in the following states: COLORADO, OREGON and WASHINGTON… and other states as the laws are changed.”

Which leads to another “can of worms” question: If recreational marijuana smoking is allowed in a given state, do park owners have the right to make a rule telling users NOT to light up? Not every RV park allows dogs. Just sayin’.

Part editors, part referees, and always happy to hear your comments. —R&T


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Lee (@guest_8153)
6 years ago

A couple thoughts for you:
Everyone wants fewer taxes and smaller government. This results in little to no revenue to build national, state and local campgrounds and to maintain the existing ones. We seem to have moved away from viewing (and funding) campgrounds as a public benefit.
You are as free to smoke dope (and tobacco) and skip rope as ever, Maybe even more so in some places, just do so in your rig so that those of us who don’t want to share don’t have to.
Do campgrounds have a right to an Marijuana use on their property? As long as Marijuana use remains illegal Federally, yes, and they are right to do so to protect their property and stay out of jail. Before you fire off that “yabut” response, curb your moral outrage long enough to ask your friendly neighborhood local banker why they don’t open accounts for anyone in the legal cannabis industry.

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