When did your RV start showing signs of wear and tear? Jim and I are lucky enough to have put over 100,000 miles on Arctic Fox before things started wearing out out. But ever since last March when we dragged our jacks across the desert floor, it’s been one repair after another with our seven year-old fifth wheel and pickup truck. And what I’ve learned is that when a chain of repairs start happening to you, it’s best not to see this string of fix-its as being the result of a dark cloud following you around, but rather as the eventual price that all full-timers must pay for the nomadic freedom that we enjoy.
Full-time RVers are prone to enduring spontaneous roadside repairs and when these quick fix-its don’t work, we’re also at the mercy of unfamiliar RV shops, mechanics and FedEx. Over the last few months Jim and I have been in this positions more than once and consequently broadened our full-timing education in many ways such as:
Your RV’s manufacturer knows the best repair shops. RV shops and dealers who have established good relationships with your RV’s manufacturer are invaluable resources when you need something done right. If at all possible, call the factory to find out which shops in your area have a good reputation for getting repairs done right. We made the mistake of going with an unfamiliar shop instead of the one our dealer recommended and several weeks later, we’re still waiting for our job to be completed.
Repairs will take longer than expected. Have you felt like Rip Van Winkle while waiting for a RV shop to fix your rig? Last spring, we sure did! In early April a sudden change in weather resulted in our main RV window spontaneously shattering into a million pieces. Our insurance provider quickly assessed the situation and paid us in advance for the repair but we discovered that getting the actual job done would take far longer than we thought. Even though Jim could replace the window himself, a new one could only be ordered from a RV dealer. Through a series of service desk bungles and employees who walked off the job, it’s been over four weeks since we placed our order and the window still hasn’t arrived at the dealer’s location.
Prepare to Get Stuck in an Undesirable Location
When a mechanical problem happens without warning, you may get stuck somewhere you’d rather not be for an undetermined amount of time. For example, both our RV and truck needed repairs while we were en route to a conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. With this knowledge we were prepared to stay a week beyond the conference dates, but now that we’re over two weeks into an unexpected Sin City residency, we are doing our best to make the most of triple digit temperatures and crowded RV campgrounds. As the mercury rises our patience is wearing thin but we must try to remember that this is a small price to pay for the rest of the year when we have the ability to relocate to the most scenic locations in America.
Full-time RVing is a continuous learning experience. To stay sane and happy, always remember that stuff happens and when the situation is over and handled, you have the ability to turn the key and head to greener pastures elsewhere in America. What can be better than that?
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.