Thursday, November 30, 2023


The readers write – catching us off guard

Edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris

Our every-two-week synopsis of reader responses. 

Brutal full-time truths

A piece on full-time RVing from Melissa Dohmen, one of our newest contributors, drew quite a response. Here are just a few of the feedback letters:

Says Robbie, “We’re into our 12th year of full timing, and have to agree with everything you said . . . very eloquent truth!”

As to deciding where to go and what to see, Dave Albright observes, “I find that talking with the locals, just talking, whenever and wherever you stop will open up opportunities and places you would have missed without it. Always stay open to new things and don’t always worry about a ‘schedule’ and you can then relax and be truly happy!”

Paulette has her own method: “When we travel we love to look for the brown signs. And pull off and check out these places. We have found some of the most incredible places. A town that had a great museum that happened to be closed the Monday we pulled into their parking lot. A gentleman pulled up next to us in a car who happened to be a volunteer at the museum and let us in and gave us a private tour and then took us around the town to point out all the wonderful places in the town. Leave yourself open and you never know what might happen!”

Ellen adds, “For me it isn’t an either-or thing: I can’t ignore the freebie tourist guides and brochures — I read everything. I make lists of places that sound interesting. And what we’ve discovered is that the best things we’ve found are those that happened along the way: the ‘planned’ destination is just a starting point. We head out with one thing in mind, open to everything else, and know adventure awaits.”

Finally, Tommy Molnar adds from his own experience, “Perfect! I hate setting itineraries with schedules and destinations (though sometimes it just can’t be avoided, especially if you’re traveling with some other folks that MUST do this). We’ve been winging it for 20 years now and still love it. I must add, though, that we live out West (Nevada) and ‘winging it’ works out much better here than much of the Midwest and East.”

Rent your rig?

We asked readers if they had views on renting out their RVs to others to recoup some of the expense of owning. Here’s part of the reaction.

Popeye said, “We own a 2007 42-foot Monaco Dynasty. It takes a lot of know-how to operate this class of RV safely and without screwing something up. After 95,000 plus miles we still make mistakes that cost $$$. A $1,000 per day would not be enough money to let a want-a-be RVer go off down the road with my RV.”

EmRoy seemed to have similar thinking: “The motorhome is a complex item with many moving parts. My fears are that it can be damaged, via the innocence of a novice, with the repairs costing many dollars. So I am going to suggest that the person that desires to rent the motorhome go to an agency who rents the RV as a business.”

Charles comes from a different side of thought: “I took delivery of my Roadtrek in May this year and have rented it out, through an online rental site, five times. I’ve earned several thousand dollars. As was pointed out in your article, if you are going to loan or rent your RV to others, you do need to be ready to accept the notion that other folks have lived in your space. That has been okay for us. But you also need to accept that RV renters are just about like everyone else – they are not always smart or reliable.

“We’ve experienced damage in two of the rentals so far. The first renter broke the plastic control panel cover on the refrigerator and acted surprised when I pointed it out. The second time my renters returned the vehicle with the propane and CO alarms removed. He said he did that because they kept going off. Turned out that he hit a tree stump, disconnecting the generator exhaust. Security deposits covered everything. If you are going to rent successfully, you need to view this for what it is – a business transaction – and you need to leave your emotions aside.”

Perhaps G. Lee put it the most succinctly: “When thinking about renting out your motor home, think of the movie ‘RV’ with the late, GREAT, Robin Williams.”

Ice cubes in your gray water tank?

Kassy on

In what must have been one’s finest moments of self-deprecation, one of our resident experts, Bob Difley, responded to a concern one reader raised. What to do if beach sand gets into the gray water tank, via showering off after a run on the beach. Here’s one of Bob’s suggestions from the original article:

“Every few months or at the end of beach season dump about two buckets full of water and a bag of ice cubes in the gray tank and let it slosh around in your tank while you drive to the next campground or dump station. The ice cubes will break up the more solid components of your tank and will then melt to be easily dumped at the next dump station. This will also help break up other solids that enter your gray tank from the kitchen sink.”

This caused a few questions among some of our readers’ minds. One of the first to ask was Steve Morrison. “Through which opening in the grey water tank does Bob suggest we toss the bucket of ice cubes?”

It didn’t take long for others to chime in. Here’s Larry: “My thought exactly. There is a youtube video on this ice cube cure for the black tank that exposes it to be a myth.”

Tommy Molnar, too: “My question as well, as soon as I read this. Where is the ‘big’ opening to the grey tank?”

Rest assured, Bob Difley has the answer you’ve all been waiting for. “To access the gray tank for adding the ice cubes, you first have to tilt your RV on its side with the dump valve facing up. Then dump the ice cubes in thru the dump opening. Lower the RV back on its wheels after closing the valve and drive off.

“Thanks to Steve, Larry, and Tommy for catching my embarrassing faux-pas. The ice cube trick was one I had never used since I never had the need, but it sounded like a good idea – for the black tank. Obviously, I had a senior ‘oops’ moment in not thinking it through for the gray tank. But it is great to see that we have such alert readers.” [Proofreader, Diane, hereby also takes blame for not questioning this.]


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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Nokogranny (@guest_11901)
6 years ago

How do you suggest tipping the vehicle?

Liz Wharton (@guest_11844)
6 years ago

We cracked up last week and just loved the ways we came up with getting a bag o’ice into the grey tank. Here’s our best: climb up the ladder to the roof and plunk the cubes into the top vent as fast as you can so they don’t melt on the way down!

Sillies! That’s what beach showers, Campground showers and the outside handheld “shower” are for!

Ron Lane (@guest_11794)
6 years ago

Bob still didn’t address the youtube demo station that shows the ice cube thing is a myth and is just a waste of ice.

Ron Lane

Doug Roberts (@guest_11793)
6 years ago

Tip the RV? A 45 degree angle might be okay, but at 46 degrees you could look like that photo from the Washington State Police!

Tommy Molnar (@guest_11754)
6 years ago

Great answer Bob! I never thought of tipping the RV. Ya learn something every day . . .

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