One of the great things about having a Class B RV like our Roadtrek eTrek is that it also can function as a second vehicle.
I’ve used it to run errands, drive to and from meetings and work-related activities, church and – while Jennifer is shopping – a comfortable place to chill out while in the parking lot of the mall.
I’ve also used it for what I call mini-vacations, short day trip respites of a few hours to parks, lakeshores and the like. Sometimes, I’ve put the bike rack on, drove to a big metropark near my house, done a long bike ride and then just chilled out for a few hours.
Traveling around with a refrigerator stocked with cold refreshments, some snacks and food in the pantry, a TV and DVD and , of course, a full bathroom, is sure something we can’t do in the family SUV.
Best yet, my Roadtrek eTrek gives me better fuel mileage than the SUV does.
If you’ve been thinking about using your RV as a second vehicle, here are my top seven tips to make it easy.
1- Be aware of your surroundings. Your RV is not only longer than most other vehicles, it’s taller, too. Look for low hanging limbs, utility wires, signs and the like. Don’t even think about parking garages. Yes, it can go just about anywhere. But it is not a car. I was using an alley that paralleled the main street of a downtown near my home the other day and would have taken out a whole string of overhead wires that were sagging low in the summer heat. Cars easily passed beneath them. My 10-foot high coach would have not been able to Limbo underneath them.
2- In parking lots, choose the spaces that are at the ends of the lot, with nothing behind them except maybe a curb or six inch parking barrier. I always prefer to back in. Because the rear wheels of my Sprinter chassis are set back from the actual end of the coach I can back in a long way, until the wheels hit the barrier, I only stick out a little longer than the other vehicles next to me.
3- Watch out for very steep driveways. Most Class Bs have a lot of stuff hanging off the rear. They are also longer. And thus steep driveways pose the risk of bumping or scraping your generator or hot water heater or, in the case of the eTrek, the battery holders.
4- Be considerate. I seldom park horizontally on city streets. Yes, maybe, in some spots, I really can squeeze between the lines. But for those in front or behind me, it will be very challenging for them to get out. Or me, too, for that matter, should you be hemmed in at both ends. Similarly, don’t run your generator in crowded areas where the noise can really irritate folks.
5- Watch out for potholes and broken pavement. City streets can be pretty messed up. And those streets can mess up your RV. A car can rattle over them pretty fast. A Class B RV sways and porpoises. Cabinets can pop open (don’t ask Jennifer about the stack of plates I broke on one such urban adventure). Bad roads are particularly bad for RVs when making sharp turns. Always take turns slowly at corners.
6- Lock you RV. That seems pretty obvious, I know. But thieves know motorhomes are very expensive and thus, chances are they have expensive things inside them, too. Just as you probably have a security system for your family car, get one for your RV. Don’t leave your GPS suction cupped to your windshield. If you’re charging computers, cameras or cell phones inside the RV, hide them so no one can see be peering into a window. Think the inside is invisible because of window tinting? Think again. Put your face up to the glass and put a hand over your eyebrows to block reflection. You’ll learn that you can see pretty good.
7- Be polite. You are an ambassador for roadtreking…for Class B RVing. The public is very curious about small motorhomes. It’s a very rare day that I am not asked about mine when I am in the city or a big parking lot. We gladly give tours. You don’t have to do that. But don’t be a snob, either. If you don’t want to talk about it, don’t drive it where people will naturally be attracted to it.
There you go. What would you add to the above list?