LTRVD0380 Escapees and Full Time Families

Escapees and Full Time Families

Escapees and Full Time Families are the subject of this week’s show. We are in Essex Junction, VT at the 56th Escapees RV Club Escapade. Kathy and I have had a very full week here both presenting 2 seminars and manning a booth to sell our books.

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We sure appreciate all the listeners of our podcast as well as folks in our Facebook group who came up and introduced themselves. Kathy started to write the names down but she quickly got overwhelmed. Thanks to all of you who came by to meet us as well as to buy our books.

Escapees RV Club

Travis and Melanie Carr were named the President and Vice President of the Escapees RV Club http://www.escapees.com this week, succeeding his parents, Bud and Kathy Carr. We interviewed them by phone a few months back and they were gracious enough to give us some time yesterday during a lull in the action to do another interview. I think you will enjoy what they have to say now and about the future of the Escapees RV Club.

Full Time Families

Kimberly Travaglino and her husband are the principals of the Full Time Families organization. We have been chasing them all over the country for an interview and our schedules finally allowed one. Kimberly gives us a good overview of the group and some insight on how they are able to raise, home school, and care for a family of 4 young kids while traveling full time in an RV.

We hope you enjoy these interviews as much as we did doing them.

LTRVD0379 RVing North on I95

RVing North on I95

We are on the move RVing North on I95 on our way to The Escapees RV Club Escapade rally in Essex Junction, Vermont. Last week we were in southern Georgia when we did the show. This week we are in Aberdeen, Maryland, and we’ll be in Vermont on Saturday.

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So far, we have only been RVing North on I95. We did all of Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, and now most of Maryland. The best roads and coincidently the lowest gas pieces were in South Carolina. It was quite noticeable. It seems that in every state, the bridges are the very worst for bumpy ride and solid drops and rises when going on and off the bridges. The worst of all roads was I495 around Washington, DC.

Bass Lake Campground

We’ve stayed at some nice campgrounds along the way. The first night out of Georgia, we stopped at Bass Lake campground in Dillon, South Carolina. This was a nice Passport America affiliate and we got the PA rate of $18.00. Here is their website http://www.basslakecampground.net/.

Americamps RV Resort

The next night found us just north of Richmond, Virginia at the Americamps RV Resort in Ashland. We were there visiting with our good friends Bill and Kris Osborne. What fun getting together with old friends while on the road. It was a nice park with many amenities. The web address is www.americamps.com .

RVing North on I95

Aberdeen Proving Ground FamCamp

We have spent most of the last week at the Marylander Family Campground on base at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. This is a very nice small 11 site campground. There is another on base called the Shore campground with more spaces, but this one suits us just fine. We will be returning for a week on our way back from the Escapade. If you are a retired veteran, active duty military, or DOD civilian, you are eligible to use the military FamCamp system with campgrounds all across the country. Go to the US Military Campgrounds and RV Parks website at http://www.militarycampgrounds.us/ for much more information on this wonderful benefit we have for having served.

RVing North on I95

Our Rally and Our Books

We finish up with a short discussion of our upcoming rally, the Gathering at Horseshoe Cove RV Resort in Bradenton, Florida from the 11th to the 16th of October. Email ltrvdgathering@yahoo.com for more information. We also discussed our books “So, You Want to be an RVer?” and “So, You Want to be a Workamper?” that are available on Amazon as well as autographed copies available at the Store page on our website. We will honor our offer of a free Kindle file of each autographed book you order. Here is the link http://www.livingthervdream.com/Living-the-rv-dream-store.html

LTRVD0378 Amelia Island

Amelia Island

Our visit to Amelia Island, FL has been the highlight of our trip to the Escapees Escapade so far. Amelia Island is located in coastal Florida just south of the Georgia border. The island is home to Fernandina Beach, county seat of Nassau county, FL. Much of the downtown part of the city was built in the 1860’s to 1880’s with many Victorian houses. The bulk of them have been lovingly restored. Also recently restored is the Train Depot, now serving as the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council. It was our first stop to get brochures and information.

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Amelia Island
Reconstructed Railway Depot

Kings Bay Naval Base

We are staying at the King’s Bay Naval Submarine Base near St. Marys, GA. We have a really nice landscaped pull-thru campsite at the Eagle Hammock Family Campground on base. Add 50A full hookups and free Wi-Fi and Free Cable TV and you have a great deal for $19/night. You will need to be either active or retired military to use this park.

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Fort Clinch

Part of our Amelia Island visit was a trip to tour historic Fort Clinch. It was originally built as part of a line of fortifications during the Seminole war and later was occupied by first the Confederate army and then the Union army during the Civil War. It was also used during the Spanish American war and World War II. Never fully completed, it was restored by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 5 years leading up to the second world war.

Amelia Island

During our reader mail segment, an interesting point was brought up about the possibility of Slide motor gearbox bolts possibly being loose on Newmar motorhomes. It could also affect other brands. Here is the link http://www.irv2.com/forums/f103/own-a-newmar-with-electric-slide-outs-read-this-295001.html

LTRVD0377 Fixing Poor RV Quality

Fixing Poor RV Quality

Fixing Poor RV Quality is the main subject of this week’s podcast. We describe the problem and offer some solutions to it.

We also discuss our first Living the RV Dream newsletter that went out on July 1st. We received a lot of mail about it and all positive. Once I fixed some issues with the graphics, it looked really good on every platform we could find.

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4 Key Issues

We jumped right in to the quality issues with today’s RV’s from almost every manufacturer. I came up with 4 key issues although there are certainly more.

Poor Supplier Quality

One was the issue of poor supplier quality. These outside suppliers provide all the appliances used in today’s RV’s. They also provide the troublesome slide mechanisms that apparently are not tested under the vibration that our RV’s face every day, even on “smooth” roads. They also need an expert to adjust in order for them to work properly. Leveling jacks and the associated hydraulic system that goes with it are a constant source of problems. The plumbing for the hot and cold fresh water systems are rife with poorly made connectors that leak as well as just separate to let the water flood the RV.

Poor Design

The second key area we discussed was poor design. Some larger RV’s seem to have miniscule cargo carrying capacity. Many have very poor serviceability. There is little or no provision to access important things like inverters, hydraulic pumps, and other items that need to be accessed for service. Livability is a big issue with many new rigs designed by people who have never set foot in an RV, let alone had to spend a weekend in one.

Poor Worker Training

Key quality item number 3 the lack of manufacturing line worker training on today’s complex systems in our RV’s. We have visited many RV manufacturing plants, and I have seen much apparent worker apathy. There seems to be a general lack of build standards to which the worker builds to.

Management Placing Profit Over Quality

The fourth key quality item that probably should be first is management’s tendency to place profit above quality. They seem deaf to customer satisfaction or the “Voice of the Customer.” There seems to little willingness to invest in better quality practices. There also seems to be a pervasive willingness to let the delivering dealer fix the problems made by the factory. Couple that with the manufacturer’s lack of desire to pay realistic rates to their dealers for warranty service.

Dealer Issues

Dealers get their lumps as well. Many dealers seem to have a “sell it and forget it” mentality. A low ratio of RVIA certified technicians is another major issue. New techs do not get enough on the job training before they are working on customer units by themselves. Many, many sales force people are not familiar with the RV lifestyle. Couple all that with an unwillingness to do warranty work on units not sold by the dealer.

Government Issues

Finally, our government’s unwillingness to pass an RV lemon law contributes to the downward spiral referred to by Greg Gerber in his continuing series on the “RV Industry Death Spiral.”

Fixing Poor RV Quality Problems

Due to my background in manufacturing quality operations, I have some pretty good ideas on how to start to turn this issue of poor quality around. It will not come easy, quick, or cheap. For those reasons, management has a very hard time buying into adding expense for quality initiatives that take several years to bear fruit. I talk at some length, sometimes using “quality speak” to outline a plan to reverse these quality issues and improve initial customer satisfaction.

LTRVD0376 RV Controversies

RV Controversies

There are some RV controversies that seem to come up over and over again around a campfire, on Facebook, and in RV forums. We take on three of the more prevalent ones.

Auxiliary Braking Systems

The first of our RV Controversies is Why Auxiliary Braking Systems? There is always controversy when this subject comes up in a discussion. Are they really worth the more than a thousand-dollar expense?

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The answer is a resounding YES. Some states require it on all towed vehicles. Other states have requirements based on weight of the towed vehicle. What is little known is that a thorough look at a database of towing laws of the 50 states will show that an emergency Breakaway switch is required in most states. That switch is connected to an auxiliary braking system to stop the vehicle if it is disconnected from the towing vehicle.

Motorhome brakes are only rated for the weight of the motorhome, not the towed vehicle as well. That is a lot of extra weight pushing on the rig in a panic stop. Insurance claims adjusters will look very hard at non-equipped units. Let’s face it, having an auxiliary braking system is just common sense as well as peace of mind.

Next we discuss our new affiliates, Wholesale Warranties http://www.wholesalewarranties.com and TechnoRV http://www.technorv.com . We also discuss how affiliate advertising works and how we benefit from it.

Extended Warranties

The next of our RV Controversies is Extended Warranties or service plans. We try to get into the why’s of it and reasons to have this coverage. The why’s are simply the high cost of RV repairs, the shocking likelihood of RV repairs, and to prevent spikes in repair bills and overpayment due to unexperienced RV repair facilities. We go into some detail on these.

We discuss the 2 main types of RV extended warranties; the comprehensive policy and the exclusionary policy and the differences of the 2. We briefly go over a list of exclusions in an exclusionary policy.

Free Park Wi-Fi

The third of our RV Controversies is Free RV Park Wi-Fi. We start with a brief discussion of exactly what Wi-Fi is, and which devices have the strongest radios to receive and transmit Wi-Fi signals. We go into some detail about the lack of security of Wi-Fi connections and the possibility of eavesdropping on your data stream.

Two things we discuss are these warnings:
The only way to protect yourself is to pay attention to the
number one rule of Internet security – NEVER ever use
the same password twice. DON’T DO IT!

XP has reached the point where it is no longer being supported
with security updates from Microsoft, and the core security in XP
is long obsolete. At the same time, the Russian Mafia is still very
actively supporting Windows XP, and hacker tools for exploiting
XP systems are thriving.

We spend quite a bit of time explaining bandwidth and bandwidth restrictions of must RV park Wi-Fi systems. We touch on the similar problems with pay services like Tengo Internet. We explain how some of the same bandwidth restrictions can also apply to cell towers and cellular communications.

My feeling on free Wi-Fi is that you should not expect an RV Park owner to supply you with internet access for free that you pay for at home.