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It’s time for a garage sale

Several years ago, long enough to qualify as many years ago, a good friend convinced me to buy a boat.  As it turns out, we are still good friends.  He is the kind of person who you know, without question, will have your back when times get tough. But will tell you, in private, with a calming voice, that you are wrong when it’s warranted.  Iron sharpening iron. Phil is a remarkable outdoorsman, the person you want to have with you if you ever get stranded. He’s actually taught classes in boater safety, hunter safety, and self – defense. Sorry ladies, he’s married. No guys, I won’t give out his number. Over the years he’s given me advice on the local waterways sandbars to avoid or look for, blowouts to use as shortcuts, and how to stay safe on a boat. Probably the best, if not most important, advice came shortly after I first got the boat. “Don’t run out and get everything you think you need.”  It is this sage advice I pass onto new RVer’s.

Now that you’ve been binge watching shows about owning an RV and you’ve finally made your purchase – let the shopping begin!  The danger starts something like this: since it’s the two of us we should get six outdoor chairs for our friends to go camping with us. With all those chairs, we need a few tables to set our drinks on. In fact, we should probably get a folding camp picnic table to take with us. Add also, a couple of 20 x 40 mats to put down so our stuff doesn’t touch the ground.  Throw in some really cool lights to wrap around our awing, three cases of those orange leveling blocks….. heey, look at that really cool six person hammock with the metal frame!  We’re going to need that portable gazebo to put over it.  STOP!

Breathe in …. breathe out.  But why not? Let’s start with the basics.  All that is shiny is not gold – nor is it light.  Not only is there only so much storage in your RV, weight is not your friend.  Yep, the sticker says you can carry 2,000 pounds in your RV! MMM… now let’s start subtracting: thirty to sixty pounds for your propane, twenty gallons of fresh water in your holding tank for emergencies x eight pounds per gallon, the grey and or black water you were not able to dump, battery for your 12 volt system, the six pairs of jeans, socks etc. you packed for your weekend trip (x’s the number of travelers), groceries, dishes, TV’s, and oh yes – my wife went shopping.  I think you get the picture.  Over the decades we have had many guests limp into the park after suffering tire blow outs.  In some cases, doing serious damage.  Granted, not all of these were due to overloading, sometimes things just happen.  Don’t stack the deck against yourself.  Secondly, a lot of the things that look shiny now will become a pain in the rear to pack and unpack.  In my experience the thing you need is usually right behind all that stuff you really don’t want to unpack – in the rain – at night – since we’re leaving in the morning.

This doesn’t mean you can’t go shopping.  Start with the fundamentals, protect your investment. Every RV should be attached to a surge arrester. I recommend one that also checks for electrical faults.  Also a must, is a water pressure regulator.  Now, most likely your RV did not come with a sewer hose.  Don’t skimp, purchase a heavy duty hose, preferably one that can be connected to an extension hose for when you find “that park” where the sewer connection is nowhere near the other connections.  Additionally, some parks require a support system for your sewer hose.  You will also find this useful at “that park” where the park sewer connection is up hill from your RV’s connection. While were talking dirty, pick up a “garden hose” to use for flushing your Black Water tank and a drinking water hose to connect the park water to your RV.  It’s a good idea to purchase a water filter which will go between your RV and the park’s water supply.  Remember those orange leveling blocks, you’re going to need a few for leveling and to place under your stabilizers.  Most parks with concrete slabs will ask that you don’t use jacks. If the slab is level, you won’t need them, but can instead, use them as a pad under your stabilizers.

Now that we’ve got the necessities, let’s go shopping.  No, not the chairs.  On the highly recommended list: depending on your RV, a 30 amp to 50 amp or 50 amp to 30 amp electrical “pigtail” extension cord for your RV power, an extra water hose and extra gaskets for your water hose and a TV cable for those parks that provide cable TV. The temptation is to rationalize, you only need one water hose if you get a fifty footer “to reach anywhere”.  Yeah… after struggling with that big boy a few dozen times and then realizing MOST of the time you need less than fifteen feet… I’m giving you a short cut here. 

Remember – RVing should be a fun and relaxing way to explore the world we’ve been given.  Try not to over complicate it.  Now, let’s go look at those chairs!

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How It All Began

It was a dark and stormy night. Wait a minute, that’s another story.  We actually owe our beginning to the long, cold winters of Canada.  You see, Bill and Sally as they were known to others (Mom and Dad to us), grew up on opposites ends of Canada.  Their story is actually pretty interesting, but I will save that for another time.  Let’s jump to the part where after being married for  a few years and having two daughters, they came to realize they reached the point in their lives that eight months of winter with snow drifts over the roof of their house was no longer fun.  The family was packed into the station wagon, goodbyes given and the journey was begun.

Now, you’ll notice, at this point there is no mention of me.  Yes, I am what’s known as an “anchor baby” or as I like to say “the one they got right”.  Sometimes I wish they would have tossed the anchor at Daytona Beach, where they lived for several years before settling in Statesboro. But, my whole life story would be different and this blog would never be written.  Still… growing up on Daytona Beach.  I digress.  Following a few years at the beach, the family settles in Statesboro, the anchor is tossed, and my journey begins.

Originally Mom and Dad operated as Parkwood Motor Court.  Set on Highway 301, it was a popular stayover for their snowbird brethren as they made their trek to the sunny south.  The Drive-In movie theater across the street always had a line of cars waiting for the gate to open.  Business was good, life was busy.  Parkwood was a true family business.  Folks would wait in line to get into the restaurant for moms homemade French cooking. The hamburgers were probably the most popular. I love you mom, but truth be told Dad may have been a better cook.  I remember when dad and I changed the sign that displayed room rates.  Yep, the price jumped from five to seven dollars per night!

Then it happened.  Word was out that the Interstate was coming. I should say going.  The new Interstate was not going to follow 301.  Instead the new, faster, better, (yeah right) highway system would be built thirty miles to the east of Statesboro.  There was little doubt this would be dramatic, even catastrophic for the businesses and towns that had developed on 301.  Dad was a sharp cookie.  Does that even make sense?  Cookies shouldn’t be… sorry.  Back on track. It was at this point that Dad realized he needed to do something different if the family business was to survive.  Parkwood RV Park was born.

Fast forward nearly sixty years.  (Don’t worry, during the life of this blog I hope to share some of the many stories, friendships and hardships we have experienced along the way.)  The idea is to share what RVing was, is, and can be.  Uniquely from the perspective of someone who has grown up (my wife would probably interject at this point that there is little evidence to support the statement that I have actually grown up.  To which I would respond “you are older than me” and run out of the room.)  in the business and has also been blessed to have experienced the open road.  RVing is about exploring, meeting new friends and sharing stories.  I invite you to share your thoughts, questions, likes and dislikes.  I only ask that you share out of love, venting is fine but not with animosity.  As He says “love your neighbor as thyself”.  Let’s keep this a happy place.

I will see you down the road.

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Prayer Not Fear

With all of the turmoil going on in society, why not get away and go RVing?