Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's nice to hear from you!

I received an email from Dave in Annapolis, MD tonight. I love getting email from fellow RVers. Keep 'em coming and I'll do my best to answer your questions...intelligently!

Here's what Dave had to say:

"Future fellow RV'er"

Barb,

I've just finished reading your blog and listening to your "blogtalkradio" shows. I really found it interesting and well written. Like your other "fans", I wish you would write/podcast more often. I'm in Annapolis, MD and I'm getting ready to head out in my RV. I plan on heading out around the first of the year. I'm thinking I will do some local area camping in order to shake out any problems and make sure I have everything that I'll need. After that, I don't really have any plans on where or how long I'll be out on the road. I'm also into riding my motorcycle and need to figure out how to take it with me. One problem I have is deciding which bike to take. I have a full size Harley Ultra Classic and a Kawasaki KLR 650 (dual sport). I like the dolly that you have. According to the manufacturer's website though, my Harley would be too heavy. My KLR would work. That may be the best bike to take since I also love to go exploring dirt roads/off-road etc. The other option is to set up my pickup truck as my toad and have a lift installed in the bed to lift either bike into it.

In any case, I don't want to make this first email too long. One question I have is, how do people treat you as a single person traveling by RV? I think you have a lot of guts to travel like you do as a single female. I really admire that. As a guy, I really don't worry about my safety. I'm just thinking that I may get some of those looks or questions at the campgrounds :) On the other hand, maybe some of the "old ladies" (I'm 46) will take pity on me and invite me for a home-cooked meal once in a while!

Thanks for any info or advice you may have,

Dave
Annapolis, MD

Here's my reply:

Hi Dave!

Thanks for checking out my blog and radio show. I'm happy you've found the info I've shared to be helpful. So, how did you find me out there on the big wide web?

I think you have a really good short term plan as far as doing your shake down close to home. There are many RV resources at your disposal there near Annapolis who can come to your rescue if need be...let's hope you never have to call in the cavalry! I suggest you become a member of Good Sam if you haven't already and definitely purchase their roadside assistance program. It's helped me out in a couple of tough pinches and been worth every penny I paid for it.

I take it you've invested in a diesel RV if your toad will be a pick up truck. That's an interesting idea for taking either bike along with you...be sure you're within your tow rating. I've seen many diesel pushers towing pick ups. I love my dolly, but the tongue is too short and I've managed to jack-knife it and ding the back of my coach. I've called the guy who built my dolly and suggested he design his product with a longer tongue so this won't be an issue.

I'd like to recommend a great place for RV parts and installation: http://www.northernvirginiarecreationalvehicles.com/ that's Restless Wheels in Manassas, VA. I've done quite a bit of business with them and always had stellar results. I do not recommend Reines just off of RT. 66. If you were to take a trip to Manassas in your rig for installation of towing devices or any other fun stuff, stay at Bull Run Regional Park which is only about a 10 minute drive from Restless Wheels. Bull Run is a fantastic place to go for a shake down! They have large rig spaces and the park is gorgeous. Be sure to say hi to park manager Jill for me if you should head that way.

As for your question...well, people always ask me if I'm solo and are pretty surprised when I say yes. So far, so good! I haven't as of yet had any problems as a single RVer. Of course like anything in life, you have to use common sense and go with your gut. If something looks like trouble, smells like trouble or even has a hint of trouble...it's trouble! The nice thing about having a house with wheels is that if I'm not comfortable somewhere, I can always pack up and roll on down the highway.

"Those looks or questions" are the best part of flying solo...so amusing! There are many single RVers out here on the road. I run into a lot of "us". Workamper.com is a good place to network with RVers single and coupled. Check out the links on my blog for other great resources. I've made a ton of RV friends and I make sure to get their email addresses so I can keep in touch with everyone. The chances of me running into most of the folks I've met (again) are slim as we're all over the place, but I've made enduring friendships and email keeps them going. I love writing to my friends and sending them pictures and I enjoy hearing about their adventures too!

I suggest you invest in a Verizon wireless air card. You'll be amazed at all the places where you can get a signal. IMHO Verizon truly has the best network. I also have a portable Wilson Trucker Cell Antenna and extra cable which I mount on my ladder and it boosts my signal. As a matter of fact, I'm able to email you right now because I'm using my wireless card and my booster antenna. You can get an antenna and cable at any truck stop. You'll need an adapter cord specifically for your particular model of wireless card (available from Verizon) which plugs into your laptop or desktop via USB. I don't like to rely on WiFi as it's very unreliable at most RV parks and the signal can be interrupted by wind, clouds, fog or any type of atmospheric condition. Also, as more people hop on to use the WiFi the bandwidth deteriorates and service slows to a crawl. With my wireless card I can get on the web whenever I want to and get reliable service at a decent load speed. For more info go to http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/index.html

In addition to email, I also use Skype for staying in touch with my friends. Skype to Skype computer calls and video chats are FREE! Yahoo Messenger also has voice and video chat with picture and file sharing capabilities and it too is FREE when chatting with another Yahoo Messenger buddy.

And as we all know…FREE is GOOD! ;-)

So, nope...I doubt you'll have any big problems. Just watch your cornering with your toad (use those mirrors) and be very aware of your surroundings at all times...go slow, don't ever be in a rush. Take this tried and true advice and you'll be one very happy camper as you head out and grab on to your very own custom made, make it up as you go along adventure. It's all a process and you'll learn something new every day...that's the fun of it! Not everyone is cut out for this RV life, but for those of us who embrace the lifestyle, we're the lucky ones. A day of RVing sure beats a day at the office...every time! (Unless your office is in your RV.)

Keep the rubber side down and the sunny side up...and blessings on your journey!

All my best,
Barb :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Barb,

This seems to be your last entry. Are you ok and are you still RVing?