RVing isn’t Always Magical, Especially if You’re a Newbie

Categories Our Ramblin RV
RV newbie problems on our "test trip".

As a RV newbie, we began this season with a short trip, close to home, for a little rest and relaxation.  I thought it would be nice to meet up with my brother and his wife in Leavenworth, WA, just a short drive away, to just hang out, and at the same time, we could make sure everything on our Leisure Unity was properly working before we head out for a longer trip in June.

Since I still consider myself an RV newbie, the slightest inconvenience can set off panic attacks. Our story begins as we pull into the RV Park, and since they weren’t completely booked, they give us a choice of sites.  Of course, we would love to park right next to the river, with a couple of nice shade trees. Happy Camper!

Things Really do Happen in Threes

We were all set up in our nice spot next to the river.  It was time to just sit in our lawn chairs and enjoy the view. Just as I get comfortable, my husband informs me that we don’t have any hot water! What?  Remember, the panic I mentioned? I checked, and the hot water heater is on, all systems have the go light.  We keep turning water on and off, and still no hot water!  My brother and his wife decide to come to our site, and join us for a bit.  While we are talking and enjoying a brew, I mention our hot water issue.  He explains that if the motor home was winterized (using air to blow out lines) that we should let the hot water faucets trickle for awhile.  I guess we needed to bleed the lines to remove all the air.  So I  turned all of them on to a trickle and let them run.  I trust his advice, as he has been doing the motor home thing for many years, and has a 34 foot motor home.   My  RV newbie status was causing me to worry, fearful of a cold shower, or no shower at all.  About 20 minutes later, guess what? We had hot, hot water. Ah, calmness returns.

Sitting by the Icicle River, which was running very high and fast, was beautiful, and so mesmerizing.  The fresh air flooded my lungs with energy, yet the sound of the flowing river lulled me into a state of peacefulness.  As my brother, and his wife headed back to their campsite, which was located up on the hill, overlooking the river, we decided to get settled in our motor home, fix a bite to eat, and watch some TV with our satellite.  At least, that was the plan.  No signal! I guess it’s an early-to-bed night.

The next day, I headed to the RV park office to request a site that would pick up the satellite.  My husband likes to have TV, since he has limited mobility.  The park couldn’t guarantee we would get a signal in any of the sites, since we were in the mountains, after all.  They said our best shot would be up on the hill, where my brother was parked, which is usually reserved for larger rigs.  We are only 25 feet, but since they weren’t booked, they offered the site site next to his, and we accepted.

We packed up and headed up the hill, with hopes of satellite signal!  Once again, we were all hooked up, and ready for some fun.  Our hot water running, but still no signal, even though my brother’s was working.  We pulled the rig forward, backward, etc. but no luck.  As a last resort, we called Dish support and 30 minutes later, we had TV!  We were making progress, and panic once again subsided.  My brother said it is quite common to call support, as you move around to different locations while traveling.  Good to know! As RV newbie, I can use all the help I can get!

It was time for a nice walk to explore the area, and exercise the dogs, so my sister in law and I headed out with our dogs in tow, chatting as we took in the peaceful surroundings. That night we enjoyed the view of the river, our favorite beverages, and some delicious barbecued spare ribs.  There was no shortage of good conversation, and lots of laughs!

An Unexpected Trip to Kallispell

The next day, the weather was a little cooler, and quite windy.  My husband was watching some TV, while I was doing some clean up.  Since the morning was a bit chilly, we had a little electric heater running, which is usually fine, but he decided to turn it up, and “oops!” –  power outage.  I realized the heater must have blown something, so I began to troubleshoot, pulling out user manuals, like a newbie. Ha ha!  I checked circuit breakers, and fuses, but nothing seemed out of place.  Checked shore power connection, and it was fine.  But we only had partial power to certain areas in the coach.  This was confusing us, so it was time to walk over to my brother’s rig, and beg for help, again.  He came over and began to check everything, same as I had done.  But he kept saying there must be another switch somewhere, but we just couldn’t locate it.  We looked everywhere for another switch, but didn’t want to tear anything apart, for fear of jeopardizing the warranty.  The electrical  receptacle that had a reset button wouldn’t reset.  He determined that everything that didn’t work (TV and kitchen area) was on same circuit, and probably runs through the inverter.  We ran extension cord to working outlet so we could watch TV.

At this point, we were frustrated, and decided we would head to Kalispell, Montana, where we bought our Ramblin RV, a 2018 Leisure Unity, and they would need to figure it out. Thankfully, it’s still under warranty.

We ended our day with a campfire, and barbecuing some burgers, while enjoying our last night with my family, and the gorgeous Icicle River!  Oh, by the way, while sitting, and watching the river, I actually spotted a bear on the other side of the river! It was very brief, as he darted across a clearing in the trees, then he was gone. I was the only one that saw it though. We ended the evening early, as the wind kept twirling the smoke in every direction.

Got up the in the morning, and started preparing to pack up, and head to Kalispell.  I called and made an appointment for Monday morning.  It was going to be an 8 hour drive.  We planned on getting within an hour or two of the dealership, then heading there in the morning.  But, our dog developed a bad case of diarrhea, and we had so many stops, we only made it to Wallace, Idaho, with still 4 hours of driving left.  As we pulled into Wallace (in the mountains) the weather began to change, with dark clouds, and wind.  We pulled into the park, got hooked up, and picked up some dinner.  All of a sudden, we were being pummeled by heavy rain, and the rig was rocking from the 40+ mile an hour winds, with crashing thunder and lightning.  Our dog, Bleu was freaked out, which didn’t help the diarrhea issue at all!!

Does the craziness ever end?

We arrive in Kalispell and head to the dealership.  They are ready and waiting for us.  They pulled the motor home into the garage to take a look, and asked us what happened.  We explained our RV newbie experience in great detail.  Within 5 minutes, the mechanic called us over to the rig, opened one of the storage bays, pointed out a switch that had tripped.  He pushed it, and everything was working again.  WHAT?! We drove 400 miles, dealt with a storm, extended our time away, all for one little switch?  That’s the good news and the bad news.

It’s also the way life can be in an RV, especially if you are an RV newbie.  Whether you are at home or in your RV, you will encounter challenges.  We love ramblin along in our RV, but we are learning that it’s not always magical.  Sometimes it’s just life, and you laugh and cry your way through it.  Bottom line is that none of our issues were serious, just inconvenient, and they ultimately didn’t spoil the fun that we had.

My name is Bonnie, and my husband and I recently purchased our first RV for our love of long drives and nature. We're learning as we go, but we'd love to swap RV travel stories, so please drop us a line or comment below. We'd love to hear from you!

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