One of the most important things in life is perspective. I’m not sure how many of you will remember examples of one point, or two point perspective from school but I’m often reminded of them when I’m making photographs. But a tableside conversation this morning about nothing-to-do-with-pictures put me in mind of perspective and I’d like to share those thoughts this morning.
It’s good to step outside your own circle of life from time to time to realize that what any one person is experiencing may not be the most horrible thing in the world. To Wit: RV repairs.
Because we planned on three months here in the little town of Reddick and the campground called Ocala North we knew we could count on 90 days to explore, relax, and get a few jobs done on the coach. Ninety days is a reasonably long time.
Because I try to avoid getting jumping-up-and-down mad about things I scheduled our three or four repairs out over that period of time so that we’d be sure to get them all done. As a result I was talking about repairs and RV dealerships and such for quite a few days over the last 2 1/2 months — which gives entirely the wrong idea of full-timing in an RV. And just because I talk about what’s happening at the moment it’s not an indication that I’m upset about it. Many of these things are nothing more than a time-line of events; not good, nor bad — merely reportage.
If I compare our frustrations with contractors who do household repairs I honestly think we have been extremely fortunate for all 4 1/2 years of our full timing. We have not had to deal with people who did lousy or exorbitantly priced repairs. Yes, there have been little glitches. But there are little glitches in life and there’s no way to prevent/avoid/stop them. But, by and large, we have never been inconvenienced by having to stay in place for a long time waiting on parts. We have only once or twice had to cancel reservations or plans because of RV repairs problems — and those we managed quite nicely.
When I think back on stories Kathryn told us about their sub-contractors (during their home remodel) I know for a fact that we never had anything like the agonies they went through; and I thank my lucky stars. Most of our problems with dealerships I venture to say are because we were new to an area and not familiar with what repair choices we had, or how reputable any of the dealership/shop choices might have been. We’ve managed to hunt and peck around until we found dealers who did a good job for us (as to the repair) even if their communication skills weren’t the best. After all, I would rather have dealt with a company that didn’t explain things well but who did the repair excellently — than to have the situation reversed and be forced to seek another dealer to do the repair correctly.
I wonder how many other RV’ers have found that the biggest problem with RV repairs is not so much the finding of good dealers, or the time it takes to get the repairs completed — but that the ‘problem’ exists in the way things seem to break down when we have a full schedule ahead of us?
When we don’t have reservations, or when we don’t have a volunteer gig to arrive at on a certain day — then the breakdowns, or repairs, aren’t nearly as annoying as if we had all the time in the world to get wherever we might be going. If I look out the office window I can see RV’s from the 2010’s, the 2000’s, the 1990’s, and the 1980’s. That’s a span of some 40 years and I’m willing to bet that not all of the RV’s in sight are equally maintained, or even maintained at all; for that thing we do when something BREAKS is not called maintenance. That’s called repairs. Last winter we were regaled with stories from couples who’d driven South in an old Pace Arrow who barely got a days drive under their belts before breaking down — again and again and again. There were a lot of things wrong with that RV and the only things they fixed where the ones that completely stopped working. If that’s the case — then sure, you’re going to have repair problems.
Our trip to Florida gave us a month to drive 1400 miles. 1400 miles could easily be done in 3 days, maybe even 2 1/2 days if we had to. A month gave us time to see things on the way, enjoy life, and take care of whatever might arise along the way. Our return to Milwaukee is a little shorter — we’ve got three weeks to make the trip. Yeah — there have been times when we’ve pushed to get places. The Oregon Coast to Wisconsin in 5 days was a tight trip. But that’s not our norm.
We don’t exercise arbitrary limits on ourselves. We say we like to stop for 2 nights at least if we are going to pull into a campground. But when we can we’ll stay for 2 weeks. We will do the occasional Walmart parking lot overnight — but we don’t like doing that. Still, if we are going to put on anything over 350 miles in a day it makes more sense to us to take our time during the day, then pull into Wally World, have a quick supper, go to sleep, and be on the road in the morning with minimal set-up and tear-down.
Our Rand McNally GPS does have a database of RV dealerships and repair stations. We have Good Sam resources and most of the time you can get a data signal along the highway so we have access to information for needs that might arise. Still and all — we’d rather not use them.
Planning maintenance is important. Your ownership documents will tell you the maintenance intervals for the various systems you need to maintain. Some maintenance matters can be done on an annual/semi-annual basis — for which we plan when we’re in Milwaukee or Oregon where we know we have good repair choices.
If you take care of your RV — most of the time it will take care of you. Thanks for stopping by, and let’s talk again tomorrow.