- The RVing You’ll Do! May 4, 2017
You, way to go!
You bought an RV.
You’re off on adventures!
So much to see!
You now have a big rig.
You have it mapped out.
You can now have fun
that’s what it’s about.
You’ve bought your stuff via Amazon Prime
and YOU are the folks who are prepared for this time.
You’ll review Waze, Google, and RV Park Reviews.
And then plan your routes you’re set to cruise.
With your head full of maps and your rig full of stuff,
you’re now ready to glamp and gloat that life’s “rough”!
You! The RVing you’ll do!
Except when you can’t embark.
Because, sometimes, you need to park.
Apologies, my friend
Stuff happens to you.
or the health scares
It’s sad but it’s true.
You can bump a pole
at the gas place
And your plans will stay still
You’ll slow down your pace.
You will scold yourself
You will want to quit.
Other campers will help you
Saying “Hey, we’ve all done it”.
You’ll get the bump fixed up
With an nasty invoice
You will feel uneasy about driving
But you will have no choice.
Somehow you’ll leave
after that money and waiting
You’ll find amazing people and sites
Where campfires are awaiting!
You! The RVing you’ll do!
There are parties that are hearty!
There are great places you can go with that rig
You will go to campsites that are gorgeous
Where you won’t be too big.
Reviews! They’ll say what’s up and sites will be enormous.
They’ll be awesome, ya dig?
Except when they are yucky
Because sometimes you’re unlucky.
Sometimes the websites lie
Just to get you to buy
The reviews are kind of subjective
Each camper has their own objective.
You’ll move on to the next place
Glad you didn’t prepay.
Finding your next home base
Next time not so easy to sway.
On you’ll go – down roads,
Through the rain and sleet
And face the weather
And low bridges to meet.
Navigation will lie, of course,
as you probably know.
You’ll get turned around
RV-unfriendly routes as you go.
Get a trucker app
Drive and mind the gap
and remember that with much ground
you can always turn around.
You’re big, people will stop for you.
Take your time, breathe, and phew!
After all is said and done, will you have fun?
Yes! It’ll be second to none!
Except when a pet is under the weather
But you’re in this together.
You find a vet to help you cope
Based on their condition, they give you no hope.
One is a miracle pet, the other succumbed,
Together you hold each other up.
You join hands and paws, with feelings that are numbed.
And be happy with the time you have together, people, cats and pups.
When you go uphill
and the rig is doing everything but hurry
Know that loose wires on the transmission
Can cause quite a flurry.
Just pull off the exit
take a break, restart.
Get over that 8% grade
And know keeping calm is an art.
There are places to see, people to visit
If you don’t stop to look around once in a while you might miss it.
Ferris Bueller said that, wise guy he was.
Quick stops, long stops, everything in between.
Seeing family and friends because
They reinforce why you do this, they’re part of the scene.
Yay! Go you!
You bought an RV.
You’re off on adventures!
So much to see!
Apologies and thanks both goes to our inspiration, Dr. Seuss’ “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” explained here.
- Let’s Get Physical May 1, 2017
After over a year on the road full-time and working full-time, even after spending time outdoors, you’ll find that your body could be in a rut. Many campgrounds don’t have gyms, or they do have them but with nominal and/or non-working equipment. When it’s nice out, yay! You can bike, hike, walk, play tennis, run, all outdoors. But if you hit monsoon season, or if you’re in the Pacific Northwest where it rains often (um, every single day), or are in a place colder than you want, you want to find something to do indoors. Outdoor tennis courts run by town parks can be iffy. The last outdoor tennis courts we tried were full of cracks and weeds.
It took us a while to figure it out, which makes no sense because the solution seems SO.SIMPLE. In smaller cities and larger towns, there are always gyms that require you to join. This wouldn’t work for people who are on the road. We didn’t want to shell out bucks for a YMCA as then you are required to find and go to a YMCA. There are national gyms where locations seem pretty vast, but then you realize they expect you to travel 45 minutes just to do 30 minutes on the treadmill. Neither solution worked. But many independent gyms will offer a day pass, a trial week pass or even a monthly pass for one rate.
We opted to start doing this. We didn’t do it right the first time. We found a great gym in the Vegas area (Lifetime Fitness), went in and signed up. The consultant (Kathy) convinced us to go month-to-month with cancellation at any time. We told her our situation and explained we needed it to be flexible. She stated that there were tons of Lifetime locations through the west coast. She also stated we could put our membership on hold if we wanted. This was fine for a bit. They had amazing indoor tennis courts (the real reason we joined, as Vegas is COLD in the winter) and we enjoyed the tennis while we were there.
When it came time to put our notice in for a hold, we were promptly told that we needed to provide 30 days notice (this was never mentioned). When we researched locations, they were easily 75 miles away from where we were staying (including major cities like San Francisco were excluded). Also, to put a membership on hold there would be a fee, and it could only be put on hold for a very short time. We opted to cancel our membership outright and complain to management. Then (and only then) were we told we could have also purchased a monthly membership without all these strings. We were shocked about how badly we were misled. Lesson learned: if you want something shorter-term, ask for it and ask to see ALL the plans available, even if not initially offered.
Most recently we checked gyms in our area and we were lucky – not only did we find a join that had a weekly pass for the nominal fee of $16 each but they also had nice indoor tennis courts. Thornbeckes has three locations and the fees are ridiculously affordable. Because of the weather we’d been having, though, remembering how to play tennis was a problem.
- Campgrounds 2 April 26, 2017
So, we’ve told you our tale of our favorite campgrounds here. We loved them all for so many different reasons. Now’s the time to tell you about campgrounds that celebrate mediocrity. Remember when we told you how reviews are subjective here? Well, despite doing the research, sometimes there’s nothing you can do but experience it first-hand. Sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants no matter what the gut tells you.
Consider this to be the Razzies of GeekRV. The only thing contributing to these rating is our subjective selves. Take it or leave it. Are these the worst campgrounds ever? No, but they fell short based on expectation set by the website or reviews.
Least Pet Friendly. Columbia River RV Park, Portland OR. As pet owners, we look for parks that are pet friendly. Well, the problem with this is that park owners know that many RVers have pets so call themselves pet friendly. We didn’t learn until we checked in that this park expected you to NOT walk your dogs anywhere in the park but pick them up, trot about a quarter mile out of the park, go across a busy street and go to another park’s enclosed dog park which is basically a small dirt field. Because, you know, that’s logistically realistic. Considering they have little strips of grass (some of which floods), there’s not much they’re saving. There are signs everywhere stating people live here and to not let dogs go on the grass. People live in neighborhoods with houses, too, and as long as you clean up it’s legally something dogs can do. And they give no alternatives or designated areas inside the park, so that means the park is NOT pet-friendly! Besides that, this is a parking-lot type trailer park that claims to be Big Rig friendly as much as they claim to be pet-friendly. Emphasis on claims. Gut check: we stayed here because of location. We wanted to be close. Sometimes it is all about location but sometimes, it just isn’t.
Worst Connectivity. Southern Oregon RV Park, Central Point OR. There were many things wrong with this park but the thing that stands out the most is connectivity. They are right off of I-5 in a populated area. Jackson County, which runs this park, didn’t put in any wireless because they opted to not install it or they haven’t gotten around to it yet . That said, without wireless, the cellular service was bare minimum (one bar for AT&T and Verizon). We drove a mile down the road and service was great. They are basically in a dead zone. When it rained out, service went from one bar to nothing. And, you know, it never rains in Oregon (insert sarcasm here). Besides the connectivity, security was an issue, had a terrible reservation service, didn’t have an office and camp hosts who seemed missing in action. Gut check: if it appears to be good to be true online, it is too good to be true.
Biggest Opportunity Lost. The Rock RV Park, Rockmart, GA. What a gorgeous piece of land. What a great concept (outdoor concert venue and camping). Amazing views and peaceful (no concerts when we stayed there). That said, that’s the end of it. Loose dogs everywhere (we believe one was the owner’s dog). Most hookups are at the front of the sites so very tough access. The driveway to get to the site is all hills. Most sites had a hill as well. There are low-hanging wires at the entrance, and despite stating they were Big Rig friendly we couldn’t help but scrape these wires (you should be fine if you’re under 12 feet tall, we are 13’5″). The owner assured us he had a pull through for us. Despite having reservations, we showed up without a place to park. Their solution was to park on a big field next to another site where the resident was gone for the weekend and piggyback off of their sewer (which was backed up), electric and water. We were glad it didn’t rain as that field would’ve been tough if it turned to mud. Below is a picture of the property, though, so that’s why we call it the biggest opportunity lost. Imagine if the property was actually meant for RVs! Gut check: this was an available park on a holiday weekend when everything else was booked. The biggest upside was the beauty.
Are You Willing to Testify Under Oath? Forsyth KOA, Forsyth GA. We called the office to ensure they are Big Rig friendly. We explained our size and class. They said “Oh yes!” People lie. The “paved” roads are torn apart. The turns are not just tight but nearly impossible (doable, but not fun). We were placed on the bottom of a steep hill. We had a pull-through site that was extremely unlevel with a hurricane ditch across us. They placed us in the middle of the row which was raised and had a ditch on either side of the pad. Pulling out of that deathtrap was nerve-wracking. Less experienced drivers or someone not paying attention would’ve destroyed their rig. Gut check: The reviews stated this park wasn’t Big Rig friendly. We called to verify and they said they were. Sometimes you need to believe what you read.
You Never Actually Visited, Did You? Newport Dunes, Newport Beach CA. A certain blog rated this park as one of “16 top RV parks to stay when money is no object”. Um, yeah. We suspect the people who wrote this article never actually visited, and if they did, they’re blind. What they forgot to mention was whether the park was actually decent or not. It was the most expensive park we’d ever stayed (this is saying something) but it seemed kind of like a dump. The only thing about this park is the view. If you get a bay-side spot, you’ll have a view. That really is the only thing this place has going for it. The spots are not only extremely tight, but there’s barbed fencing on either side of your site which makes it even more tight. If you do not have a bayside site, you will not fit if you are a big rig. Many people had fires and kids playing in the street because the sites were small. The only reason we fit length-wise was because we didn’t have a tree in front of us so we jutted out in front. There were a ton of issues with water to and from the sites. They turned it off for a day (okay, that happens). It then was turned back on. The next day, they had to shut the water off again. Before all that happened, they told the site next to us to use our water since theirs wasn’t working. Gut check: we wanted to stay in Newport Beach more than we wanted to believe the mixed reviews. Believe the bad reviews.
So the mantra when trying to decide where to stay? Do your research, trust your gut. Do your research, trust your gut. Say it with us now…