I just spent a week at a RV rally hosted by the Escapees RV club.
The Escapees organization and this event, known as an Escapade, are top notch.
The Escapees spend a lot of time educating people about RV stuff. The Escapade is set up like a professional conference, with daily seminars in 3 general categories, safety, maintenance, and fun things to do while living the RV lifestyle. They also have a vendor area to buy anything you need for your RV. There are also opportunities for networking and entertainment.
As a new RVer, there was a downside though, by the end of the second day, I was completely overwhelmed by the information I learned about RVing, especially the safety precautions. Being a rules kind of gal, I was mortified to find out, through a seminar, that I had been driving my RV illegally in 30 states. I was unaware of a law requiring supplemental breaking systems for the tow vehicle. You would think the dealership would have clued me into that fun little $1,500.00 requirement, but noooo they just let me roll off that lot clueless. Honestly I feel that it is criminal that they do that. I was ready to leave the RV lifestyle behind convinced I made a huge mistake. I missed my truck and tent terribly. All I wanted to do is to put the tent into the jeep, and leave the RV behind in Tucson. I was all done with this RV bullcrap.
If you read nothing else, please read this public service announcement
I can not stress this enough, If you are a first time RVer or are considering the RV lifestyle, do yourself a favor and take the RV Bootcamp program offered by the Escapees RV club. This program has everything you really need to know about RVing safety and maintenance. Don’t be a goober like me. Be smart, it just may save a life, whether it be yours or someone else’s life some day.
Fortunately for me, when I was crying hysterically about my existential moments with the RV lifestyle, a kind woman sat with me and talked me down off the ledge. I decided to stay in the RV for a while longer.
Smart Weigh and Tire Safety
One of the items they spend a lot of time educating people on is tire safety. In an effort to help people be safe, they offer a service called a Smartweigh, where they check each Axel and weigh you, your camper, and tow vehicle. People I had met on the road had highly recommended I do this service. There was a $55.00 cost but I think it was worth it. Most people on the road said that all new RVers are always overweight. Hmmm the story of my life.
I thought I would cover some of the items that you should know about your tires on the RV. Poor tire maintenance is the number one reason for major RV accidents and side of the road fires.
- Tires degrade from the inside out. The Escapees recommend that everyone should change the tires after 5 years regardless of the number of miles the tires have on them.
- You should never drive your RV over 65 miles an hour regardless of the posted speed limit. It should be less than that for the big class A’s. The pressure of the weight of the RV and the speed, heat up the tires and they blow up. I saw pictures on a RV that a tire blew up on it and the whole backend of the RV was chewed through due to the rubber. The whole bathroom needed to be replaced.
- Weight distribution within the RV is very important. You want to keep the weight on the interior as even as possible. This is why it is a good idea to get a smart weigh done. I now know that the weight on the side of the RV with the refrigerator is 600 pounds heavier than the other side which meant I needed to redistribute weight away from that side of the RV.
The time had arrived for the Smartweigh
All week, I had been assessing what remained of my stuff. I deliberated over what things I could part with when I was told I was overweight. With trepidation I come to the Smart weight area at the appointed timeframe. They weighed everything and give me an assessment. They said something I have never heard before in my entire life, those three wonderful words. “You are underweight!”
Phew!!! I’ve diverted another purge. That means I can get the Hiking sweatshirt I wanted so much! Yea me!!
I highly recommend, that you consider becoming a member of this organization, especially if you are going to be a fulltime RVer. Besides the fact that it is one of the best values in the industry for the cost, which is nominal, they provide amazing services to fulltime RVers.
- I love their mail forwarding service. They provide you a real street address and gather your mail and send it to you when you request it. They can also open mail and scan and email it to you right away.
- As a single woman I was most enamored with their CARE facility/service that helps fulltime RVers when they are recuperating from a medical problem. It is no secret that fulltime RVers are primarily older retired people. There is a cost for the service, but I thought it is very reasonable for what you get. They provide a house, a place for your RV, and 3 meals a day delivered to you.
- They also have wonderful RV parks that members can stay at for a discounted rate. I have literally saved thousands of dollars because of this membership. You can buy into their parks. Some of them are just amazing. I was very impressed. I found one that I hope will be my retirement plan. I unfortunately am not old enough to be on even the waiting list just yet.
- They also provide a watchdog service for political issues effecting RVers or laws people need to know about that may impact them.
- They also have social clubs and networks
- A great magazine
- Great hugs – they give hugs at events. 🙂
If you do consider becoming an Escapees member, please tell them that Margaret Webster sent you, I get credit for it and flair for my lanyard. 🙂