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Before we headed out on-the-road for our winter travels, our Suburban water heater went out. A trip to the local RV store (in Florida) for a new one and a quick (okay, maybe not that quick) installation left us thinking that was the end of our water heater woes.

Imagine our surprise when we get on-the-road and had no hot water! The thermostat on the new Suburban water heater was faulty. We called the RV store where we purchased the new water heater and they told us that since it was brand-new they would contact Suburban on our behalf. Later they called us back and told us Suburban said we would have to contact them directly regarding replacement parts/costs. The RV store gave us the information and we called Suburban.

Not only did Suburban deny our new one was faulty, they even questioned whether we had a bought one! Our conversation with Suburban left us boiling – all over a $40 thermostat.

We tracked down a replacement thermostat on our own and thanks to Camping World (in Texas) we managed to repair the brand-new $600 faulty Suburban water heater we just bought! No thanks to Suburban.

So be aware if you have to replace or repair a Suburban water heater – you’re on your own because Suburban only knows how to give their customers the cold-shoulder.

Silly RVers! Always playing with their hot water heater!

May Day 2009






You might recall our May Day blow-out ( last year. On the open road and in need of RV tires is not a situation I’d wish upon anyone.

After we got settled in Virginia last summer, we decided to have all our RV tires replaced. In June we made a trip to the Camping World store in Roanoke. At the time we found a helpful staff member who went over the price, labor costs and taxes with us, as well as tire availability and appointment scheduling.

We told him we would rather wait until November when we were going to be putting serious mileage on again. He said it would be no problem for us to call ahead and we would be in-and-out in no time.

A week before we were planning on leaving Virginia, we decided to return to Camping World in Roanoke and schedule our tire appointment, as well as make a few purchases.

What a difference time makes!

What a WORLD of difference customer service makes!

Now the helpful staff were gone… no one would wait on us or several other customers.

Finally, after some grumbling, staff emerged.

When it was our turn, we learned that the company no longer made those tires. We questioned this so the staff member waved another employee over. Number 2 said he wasn’t even sure those tires were even made at all – ever!


 We pulled out our CW quote sheet printed out in June showing they indeed had the tires at that time and that we were told this was pretty common for Camping World. So after getting the attention of yet another employee, we learned that apparently their Camping World rarely had sets of tires (that matched) in stock.


Number 3 said he could go look and see what they had in stock and took off.

A fourth employee arrived and suggested we order them from a RV dealer somewhere.


So we took our money and headed out the door in search of a Goodyear dealer. We found a dealer, pulled in the parking lot, and told them what we needed and they said, “No problem”.

They said they could put them on for us when we left, however we weren’t crazy about the idea of driving our rig into downtown traffic at the start of our journey. It was decided that we would take the tires with us and they loaded them into our truck.

When we returned the campground we asked around and found a local garage that would be open early hours the morning we left. We went down and made an appointment and they said it would be no problem putting on our new tires.

That morning we didn’t even have to pull into the garage – the gentlemen did it right from the parking lot in a matter of minutes!

Our initial quote for tires at Camping World was over $1200, plus we had an additional $300 of items we were going to purchase during our trip. Camping World – the “Walmart of RVers” – lost our business that day.

If we need anything now, our first thoughts go to supporting small, local businesses. They know their stock and they know how to treat their customers. There is a World of difference in customer service at a small business.

What's wrong with this picture?

What's wrong with this picture?

Most folks who invest time and money in a RV take pride in it. They  are serious about RVing and read about proper RV set-up. They follow campground rules  and they are considerate to their fellow Campers.

Yet occasionally you find folks in a campground who don’t have a clue what they are doing and it shows!

If you look at the photo above, you should notice several things this RVer didn’t do correctly. The biggest mistake is use rocks to stabilize the fifth-wheel’s front landing gear instead of proper leveling blocks.

The next mistake is backing-in crocked to the site pad and even parking one landing gear on it. In most campgrounds, the site pad is for living area (picnic table, lawn chairs) and not for parking your RV. It is common courtesy not to park your rig (or tow vehicle) on the site pad.

Rocks don't make good leveling blocks!

Rocks don't make good leveling blocks!

The next obvious mistake is having his sewer hose lying on the ground. Many campgrounds require some sort of sewer hose support and sewer doughnut. Although is not noted as a requirement at this particular Texas campground, this fifth-wheel owner’s sewer hose can’t properly drain “up” into the ground sewer connect without using a great deal of water while flushing.

It is common mistakes such as this that require campgrounds to maintain strict rules and raise rates (to pay fines they receive for Campers who don’t comply).

If you are new to the world of RVing, then you should take some time to familiarize yourself with the proper tools and equipment as well as learn the rules and regulations.

Even if you are a regular or seasoned RVer, you may not be using the proper equipment (or using it correctly). There are many books, magazines and online sites where you can get more information. Visit your local RV dealership store or camp supply store and talk to an associate. If they don’t know,  they will help you find someone who does.

Some RV extras (such as leveling blocks) do cost additional money. Yet many items can be substituted. Instead of paying a great deal for leveling blocks, use wooden boards. Often you will find your substitutions work better and last longer. In our case, we use wooden boards that have been cut down to fit our tires and jacks. We have sanded and painted the boards black and they are less noticeable than those brightly colored leveling blocks sold at Camping World and other supply stores. Talk to your fellow RVers and get suggestions for RV extras.

Proper level blocks

Proper leveling blocks

Some campgrounds require that you sign a sheet upon arrival that lists their rules and regulations. If you break any of them, they have the right to ask you to leave, often without a refund. A few of these are extremely detailed – from asking you to pick up after your dog to not washing your rig.

We recently overnighted at a campground in Arizona where we had to sign a form in triplicate that stated we  would use a sewer support and doughnut before we were even allowed to register. The owner was tired of getting fined and decided this was the step needed to convey the message to Campers. Another park stated that pickup trucks (even as your tow vehicle) where not allowed in the park after unhooking and had to remain in the visitor parking area.  That one was a bit extreme for us and we did not stay there!

Whether you are new to RVing or a seasoned Full-Timer, it is  good to keep up on the  proper RV tools and equipment. And no matter where you are, take the time to learn the rules and regulations. By being considerate of your fellow Camper – you’ll help to make everyone a Happy Camper!


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