Edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris
Electric pedestal fears not groundless
Mike Sokol, RVtravel.com’s resident electrical safety expert, had sent a response to an RVer concerned about a missing ground on an RV park power pedestal. This energized a number of readers to write their own comments, a portion of which we present:
Tommy Molnar wondered about theft of surge suppressors. “I don’t have a surge protector but DO have one of those gizmos that you plug in and it shows how much power and how it’s wired (open neutral, open ground, etc). I always use it before I plug in our trailer. My concern with the really good surge protectors is theft. What if I bought one of these, plugged it in when we first arrived, and once the system looks good, put it away and just plug in to the pedestal?”
To which Wolfe commented on how others had “protected” theirs: “I am absolutely NOT joking, but last week I saw a shoebox-size 50A Progressive surge protector wrapped in tinfoil. When I asked the owner, he said the foil was shunted to the hot lead to prevent theft. A few weeks ago I made a (bad) joke about wiring your bicycle like this. This idiot seems to have taken it seriously. I’m wondering how he plugs/unplugs like that.”
Columnist Sokol responds to all of the above: “Wiring up anything like a bicycle or foil on a surge protector to 120 volts is very dangerous and could kill someone. And you would open yourself up to all kinds of liability issues (lawsuits) and potential prosecution (jail time). This is nothing like a fence charger which is current limited with short electrical pulses. If you’re worried about someone stealing your Surge Protector at a campground, then get an install version which mounts inside of your RV. They also have a remote panel which you can mount inside, allowing you to monitor voltage changes during the day.”
What kind of RV to buy?
Many responding to the motorhome versus trailer dilemma in an RV Shrink column brought up the ability to “get up and move around” while motoring down the highway. Here’s a sample:
Lynn Decker says, “We have a 5th wheel that my husband drives. My question to the wife [in the original story] is ‘Why is it important that you be able to get up and walk around while he drives?’ He needs to move around also. Pull into a rest area or truck stop and you can both move around. My assumption is that you are retired, so speed and time should not be an issue. We drive about two hours, pull off somewhere, use the facilities, get coffee, get a snack, or just walk around and smell the outdoors. It is good for your joints, prevents blood clots, and is just good for the soul to be outdoors.”
After thinking that moving around in a moving motorhome was fairly safe, Suzanne had an experience that caused her to rethink her position. “We were on a straight stretch of freeway, no one around, EXCEPT a driver of a passenger car who claimed she bent down to pick something up off the floor (maybe she was really using a cell phone). She looked back up and in trying to correct herself she plowed right into the side of us. It felt like a locomotive hit us! Our Sprinter motorhome left the road sailing through a field, tires hitting soft dirt causing us to roll over. Motorhome was demolished. Picture a flatbed with only the couch still attached. Cab-over gone. If I had been up for even a second when this happened I would be dead!!! I suffered little physical damage, but my husband now suffers from a brain injury and PTSD which has completely changed our lives!”
And Elaine adds, “We have had motorhomes only, three class Bs, two class Cs and one class A. I like the option to get up and get a quick bite or drink or close up something that is not latched properly. But, please let the wife know, it is not safe, does not feel safe, and I always take care of the business as quickly as possible and get back in my seatbelt. As far as using the bathroom underway: Uh uh! I don’t want to go out as the lady with her pants down in an accident.”
Our story, “Yet another report of overcrowded campgrounds,” struck a chord for many.
Patrick Granahan adds his own bit of “evidence” to the pile: “Just spent several hours doing campground research in Woodalls publications, from AAA, and the Internet in search of monthly reservable RV sites in North and South Carolina. To my surprise even large RV Parks with hundreds of sites there is ‘No Room in the Inn’ — all sites 100% booked. Owners said they would call me if any site opens up.
“The campground problem is real. I have been an RV travel trailer owner since 1983 and have never encountered anything like this before. It’s a wake-up call for the industry.”
Campground worker Debbie Wilson asks our readers to have a heart. “I am currently workamping in a campground and we continually have to turn people away because we are full. Some people understand, others become angry and take out their frustration on us. One even told me over the phone ‘Y’all never used to be full and now I can never get in there. What’s your problem?’ Well, it’s not the campground’s problem. It’s an industry wide problem. So please, people, don’t get mad at the campground because they are full. Recently in the area about 40 miles from here, a corporation was going to put in a nice expensive RV park, but when nearby residents found out about it, they went to the city council and raised a ruckus about ‘trailer trash’ and ‘unwanteds’ in their neighborhood. Result? The new campground put on hold.”