(EDITOR'S NOTE: Roadtreking Reporter Roger Brucker has a great sense of humor. In this piece, he unleashes it on those RVers whose paranoia and irrational fears make us all shake our heads. I bet you, too, know people like this!)
Our neighbors Casper Milqtoast and his wife Nellie just returned from their two week sojourn with their brand new Class B. It was their inauguration run, so we asked him how it worked and what they learned. “We learned to overcome fear,” he said. “When you pay $175,495 for a top end model with deluxe everything, naturally you worry that you have spent your entire retirement cushion. But we liked all those neat stories on Mike's blog, so we took the plunge.” He said he still doesn't know where next year's income will come from, and Social Security only stretches so far.
Nellie's immediate concern was 120 VAC outlets. She believed that electricity might leak out if they forgot to turn off the inverter, so she bought half a dozen plastic kid protection plugs. That made her feel more secure, until they pulled into a gas station and took on $124 of fuel. She insisted that Casper drive down south since it was downhill and they could coast some of the time. Casper convinced her that if he only drove 40 mph he'd experience great gas mileage. The din of honking horns behind them unnerved them (he said today's drivers are inconsiderate compared to those twenty years ago.)
After reading a horror story about how a family of ten were incinerated in their pop-up camper by a propane fire, Nellie insisted that their Class B not have propane aboard. So theirs came equipped with a bank of 24 AGM batteries, three solar panels, and a 5,400 watt inverter. “We have some hobbies – I'm into quilting and Casper's bagpipes keep his hands busy.” said Nellie. A campground owner asked them to leave the first night due to loud bagpipes.
Nellie was concerned that the RV toilet might flush up instead of down, so she insisted they not use the facilities in the coach. Instead, they stopped at gas stations, but some of those facilities were a bit sketchy. That freed space to store the bagpipes, ice maker, and the sewing machine in the bathroom. The first night in their California king bed was OK, so they decided to leave the bed set up permanently. “The third bed was handy for piling on clothes and outdoor furniture, so we left that set up, too.” Nellie explained. “I do think there wasn't enough room to sit in our Class B, and I wished for several slide-outs,” she added. “Every day we had to move our suitcases and boxes of shoes from the bed to the front seats and then move them back again,” said Casper, “We never had anyplace to sit but all those damn beds”
They worried a lot about intruders. In one RV book Casper read that a particular model of Browning 12 GA shotgun was compact and just the right size for defending one's mobile home. However, Nellie was afraid of loud noises and Casper blanched at the $732 price. “A couple of blasts of that shotgun and we'd have to get the cherry cabinets refinished,” Nellie observed. Instead they bought a can of pepper spray. Unfortunately Casper mistook it it for insect repellant one dark night.
They compromised, as all truly happy couples do, by alternately staying one night at a Holiday Inn and the next night at a Hilton. “I was afraid I'd be washing sheets and bedding. They said they showered at the motels every night, but hadn't used the Class B shower because it was crowded, and they would have to move all the stuff stored in there. And the fresh water tank might have limited capacity. “You know how wretched it is to have the shower shut off just as you get soapy!” Casper explained.
It was fresh peach season in Georgia. Roger asked if Nellie had made fresh peach cobbler (Roger's favorite) in the vehicle's kitchen. “No, Nellie doesn't know how to use a convention oven.” I told her it worked as a microwave too but she was afraid to use that. “If you spill peach juice in the microwave, you'd have to scrub it out. Who wants to clean a dirty oven while on vacation?” The only thing they made for dinner was reservations. “I hate to eat at greasy restaurants, but those are the only ones open for breakfast.”
We asked about mechanical reliability. Did the Class B hold up well? Casper said they worried about breaking down on a highway far away from their dealer. So they investigated AAA, and RV-specific services but Casper said he found a bargain breakdown road service insurance with Takum & Bustem LLC. Their insurance had relatively few exclusions. Say, if you broke down in Phoenix, AZ within ten miles of downtown they would mail you a gift certificate good for two extra months free on your next annual payment. Fortunately, their new motorhome performed splendidly on their 250-mile round trip vacation. “Other than one battery failure in the bank, necessitating a complete bank replacement, our vacation cost less costly than the round-the-world cruise we'd considered.” (Nellie was afraid their ship would be seized by pirates.)
Surprisingly, Casper said they were putting their new Class B up for sale. “We worry that we won't get anywhere near the price we paid for it. “On the other hand, when it sells, that will eliminate all our fears. Frankly, it just wasn't suitable for campers like us.”