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Post Info TOPIC: New RVer Basic Training - Looking For Feedback


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New RVer Basic Training - Looking For Feedback


Linda & I are contemplating a new educational program for new RVers, and we are looking for some feedback.  It would be geared to all new RVers, not just those interested in full-timing.

Here are our initial thoughts:

  • Once a quarter, wherever we are traveling, we would hold New RVer Basic Training in an RV park
  • It would be a three-day event with arrival on Thursday, training on Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, and departure on Monday so the working folks would only have to take a couple days off.
  • It would be limited to a maximum of 10 RVs.
  • There would be no catered meals or planned entertainment, but happy hours, maybe a potluck, campfires, and free time in the evenings after training.

Our thoughts are that we would present our 3 "RVing Basics" seminars plus our "Basic RV Maintenance" seminars, take the seminar information and go out to the RVs for live recaps and demonstrations, and assist everyone in gaining a better understanding of how RVs work, safety aspects, and little things everyone can do to help maintain the RV.  We would also like to spend a little one-on-one time with each attendee in their RV to answer specific questions.

Those are our initial thoughts, but we're looking for input, feedback, and suggestions to help build an agenda.  So, we have the following questions:

1. Would something like this be of interest to you as a new RVer?

2. As a new RVer, what training would be most important to you?

3. As a new RVer, what questions and concerns do you have about the operation of your RV? 

4. As a future RVer, what knowledge do you hope to gain very quickly?

 

Thanks for taking the time to offer any feedback (even outside those questions) you may have!



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Howard-

That would be OUTSTANDING!!! As a near future RVer (hopefully Spring/Summer 2017 - anticipating in a Class A DP), we feel fairly comfortable about the "just living" parts - driving, cooking, cleaning, etc. We are apprehensive with the technical, mechanical and daily/weekly/monthly necessary maintenance items (I am NOT handy!!). Do's and don'ts about the tanks, batteries, power system and the like. What are the most common breakdowns and how to handle them. What should be done to keep the rig in top operational condition. There seems to be about a million other little things that have to happen for a successful full-time experience.

On the forum I read about folks dealing with batteries, solar, generator and other internal power systems. For those of us not in the know, that is VERY intimidating. Changing from simply plugging something in and it works to thinking about where the power is coming from, how are we making that power and how much the particular item uses is somewhat daunting. Perhaps a basic explanation with a couple examples of different systems.

Another area is etiquette. When should we not use the slides and levelers. Is it ok to boondock at an interstate rest area or even a truck stop. What do truckers think about that. How about safety. Most full-timers say that is not an issue, but growing up in Chicago, that is always in the back of my mind. Are there any emergency devises that can be carried and activated if out of cell phone range. What about leaving the rig to go on a hike or short trip to a nearby site. In an RV Park seems ok, but what about elsewhere. Speaking of cell phones, what is available as far as boosters and what are the best techniques to always be in range of a signal.

Since we are only about 6 months away from ordering the rig, what are "absolute" must haves? Of course everyone's opinion on this is different, but some sort of master list would help. I've read many times that your first rig often times just isn't right. We hope to avoid that situation and would love to take advantage of others' experiences to that end.

For those of us without rigs yet, perhaps even a one-day event would be helpful. Not only as a meet and greet with you and/or some current RVers, but also a chance for us newbies to take a look at how things work in the real world (as opposed to what the salesmen say), see demos on real-life maintenance and daily/weekly tasks. As a thank you, we could even do some of those tasks (washing the rig, emptying the tanks, etc.) to get some experience and to help out those who help us.

I love the idea of keeping it simple and keeping the attendance relatively low. That helps keep the teacher-student ratio nice and low so we can get more personalized information. Being such a newbie, I would feel much more comfortable asking what might be considered a stupid question to some with only 10 couples vs. 100.

I have to say that this forum has been INCREDIBLY helpful. The knowledge and support shown here has helped us more than I can convey. We really appreciate the work you do to moderate and maintain this site. We would not have been able to make the progress (or even to make the "go full-time" decision) that we have without it. THANK YOU!!!!

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Excellent, I like the small group idea
Hopefully a private area at a full hook up location
long weekend is a good , you might have to consider timing might be hard to make it work in the summer
if I were attending, a catered meal on Sat eve would be nice


Thanks

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Howard,

From my standpoint, even as an experienced RV'er, the idea of a one-on-one with seminar attendees in their RV would be very valuable to them.  When we got our current RV, there were so many things on it that weren't on our smaller ones that I was always questioning what I was doing or how to do something better.

Terry



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 Pencil in an event for the spring of 2019 in the Chicago area... we'll be there with our new (or new to us) rig whatever it turns out to be .smile   If not, look for us to atttend one of your rallies, I'm guessing fall 2018 or spring 2019 depending on locale you select.confuse (presuming you'll still be doing rallies then)

Hands on training is a great confidence builder in my book. As a future FTer, getting comfortable quickly with all things maintenance routine related is very important. It's probably all the things I can't think of maintenance-wise that I need to get a handle on that will be my downfall.biggrin

Brian

 

 

 



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no Mor/ryde IS, no disk brakes, no solar
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But we do have a very nice veggie garden. 



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Howard,

Think that would be a good idea. Have been a P/T RVer since 1970 so have muddled my way thru the newbie stuff. (hopefully) but when I bought my first RV and then wanted to learn how to use it could not find anything like that in the Chicago area.

Understand why some might want a catered Sat evening meal but since this is a crammed time sensitive event would suggest that it might be better to have those who are willing to cook different items for a pot luck dinners/breakfast in their own RV's and provide some oversight and help esp. on how to stow, cook and cleanup afterwards. Took me as a single guy years to get that one mastered back then thru much trial and mostly errors.

Another minor issue that "bugged" me was cleaning the darn bugs off the RV and windshield!
Firefighting 101 for an RV might also be helpful.

John

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Based upon reading through this forum and RV.net forum there are a lot of newbies every year and the number keeps growing. So yes it would be valuable. Even on a small scale at the campgrounds you visit throughout the year.

One of the RV Resorts we stay at allows RV'ers to use (for a fee) a conference room to do seminars.

My DW has attended a few:

Craft Demo- $45 included supplies to build a bear air freshener doll type thing
Spice/Cooking Demo- Free but you could buy spices and spice related utensils
Jewlery- Free and you could buy jewlery

We both attended a retirement seminar provided by an RV'er who is a financial planner. He charged $20 per couple which included a catered lunch (Subway Sandwiches, drinks and chips). He provided basic info and then offered one on one consultation for a fee.

I attended a seminar on a Brake system add on which helped an RV stop in a shorter distance. It was free but the presenter sold and installed four units after the seminar.

Fees didn't seem to stop folks from attending.

Each of these seminars had at least 10 - 20 participants

Several of them were held year after year for several years.


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Howard,
Great idea and lots of places to go with the content. Reading the inputs here just fuels the fire. As a soon to be FT RVer, we would be very interested in many different issues, many that would take years to learn on our own.... but experienced folks could make it easier for us newbes with something like this. Keep the thought process going, it's heading in the right direction. Terry

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1) This sounds fantastic!  We'd definitely sign up, though preferably west of the Rockies somewhere.  Would you make the class a "generic" suitable to all RV types?  I would think it would be more useful to the average newbie if the class focused on issues related to his or her specific type of RV.  (Wouldn't do us much could to sit through a four hour presentation on hooking up your fifth wheel to the truck or some such  topic!) confuseMaybe consider one general session applicable to all RV'rs surrounded bysome shorter breakout sessions that were RV type specific??

2) As much as we can learn about routine maintenance.  I'd love a class on solar, though I may end up having that added to the coach before we can get to one of your classes. 

3) We're picking up  our RV in Salt Lake next week and driving her home to Oregon.  I've studied both the coach and chassis manuals and still have a lot of questions about how all the various systems work.  I think a lot of it will make more sense when I'm able to see first hand what I'm reading about - but I'm sure there will still be systems that don't make sense from reading the manual.  

4) Understanding the electrical and hydraulic systems.  (All that electrical stuff still sounds like Greek to me!)  Also weight issues.  

We like John U's  potluck idea - (I'd love to BBQ some salmon for the gang!!)  Being able to meet and network with other relative newbies would be great. 

 

Keep us posted!

 

Jim and Deb

 



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Not a newbie by any means Howard but I sure remember how we felt when hubby first picked up our huge fifth wheel in 1999 and had to white knuckle drive it a couple hours to home, and that first April weekend we anchored ourselves at Tunnel Mountain in Banff, with just electrical hook up to try and learn nothing but how everything worked. Salesman was on speed dial (LOL).

Even to this day, hubby and I are not naturally hands on with the electrics, mechanics, solar etc and would willingly attend a "KISS" principled seminar covering some of these and whatever other tips we would no doubt gain along the way on various issues one encounters as an RV owner. Even with Mobile internet charges being so high, tips on setting things up to reduce bandwidth usage comes to mind also, especially for extended or FTers.

For many first time RV owners, the whole "house on wheels" concept can feel quite intimidating so I think it's a wonderful idea, and if within a few hours of our travels/location, would definitely attend one ourselves. Just being amongst fellow folks of similar interests, that in itself can be a priceless experience and opportunity to gain life time friendships moving forwards. So YES, great idea and that it'll be available every quarter.

For sure informal gatherings around a fire pit, happy hours/pot lucks are a wonderful idea also, and for some based on personality/interest level, this might be the most valuable thing of all :)

FWIW, these were a handful of our concerns as newbies when we started, based on your subject Q's:

1. Would something like this be of interest to you as a new RVer? ABSOLUTELY!

2. As a new RVer, what training would be most important to you? EVERYTHING: from weights, driving, hitching, towing, turning radius', city hook ups, bypass, winterizing, securing during transit, stocking your RV, space saving tips & multiple use items etc. Must have on board kits "just in case to keep you out of trouble".

3. As a new RVer, what questions and concerns do you have about the operation of your RV? Maintenance and monitoring in it's simplest form to prolong systems, batteries, jacks, and overall RV life from exterior coatings, bug/rain repellants windscreens/caps, to fluids/filters/nuts/bolts/screws etc etc. Sizes and quality recommendations for hoses, brushes, sewer pipes, and how to easily monitor and maintain your solar system to it's best efficiency.

4. As a future RVer, what knowledge do you hope to gain very quickly? Safety first and foremost for hitching, towing, setting up, connections and pre-departure double checks to avoid a catastrophe. Maintaining the cusp of the workings to keep on trucking, and the most favourite of all planning and plotting for all the trips.

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Thanks so much for the feedback so far.  Keep it coming!

A lot of what I'm seeing are things we cover in our Educational Rallies over five to six days.  This 3-day training will have to be a bit more focused.  :)

For those that don't know our "RVing" Basics seminars are:

  • Driving, Parking, Towing, Hitching/Unhitching (Motorhomes and Towables) 
  • Hooking Up Utilities (including accessory recommendations), Dumping Tanks, RV Systems Overview
  • Safety & Checklists (including RV weight management and tire safety)

Our Basic Maintenance seminars cover batteries, appliances, generators, plumbing system, propane system, safety items, and exterior.

We anticipate 5 - 6 hours of seminar work and the rest of the time being spent at or in the RVs.  We will require information about each RV in advance so we have a chance to brush up on all types, makes, and models ahead of time.

Your feedback will determine how we might modify the content of the seminars and practical training.

 

 



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Great idea!
I wish we had attended something like this when we started (parttime) RVing five years ago.
Our main fields of struggling and learning by doing (trial and error) were:
- hitch/unhitch, back up
- batteries and electrical systems
- tank management

Well you've got that covered. With what I know today I would add a lesson about most popular RV accessories (there is a thread about that in the forum). I think we spent roughly 2000$ on all kinds of accessories (not upgrades like solar or so). Most of the money was well spent and makes our RV live so much easier and more comfortable thanks to people like you and other seasoned RVers on the forum sharing their experiences.

Keeping the group small and planning some 1:1 time will make those trainings even more effective.
Again, great idea. Can't wait to read the first journal entries how it went (sometimes in the future).

Bernd

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We Attended the 2015 educational rally in Tennessee, it was perfect to answer the questions Janette and I had about fulltiming and prepared us for the adventure we started in the summer following the rally. The basic training would have been very helpful, we had never stayed a night in an RV until we purchased in May of last year we purchased used and the learning began. We knew what to look for because of the rally but it would have been so much better to have been able to attend a seminar like you are planning.

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The one-on-one is key here, IMHO. With every rig being so different, having an experienced person point out the features to a newbie on their own rig would be invaluable...to not only the rig's owner, but the nine other newbies looking over your shoulder.

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YES, YES, YES!!!  We hope to hit the road either late this year or early next year (most likely next year cry) and Julie and Ray said everything I was thinking!!



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Howard,
Having attended the rally last year in TN, we know how valuable your sessions can be, so yes, yes! Though we have been camping for years, we are still very much in the learning mode now that we have our fifth wheel. For those of us not mechanically inclined anything on our systems, tires, slides, etc would be very beneficial. We will be signing up, definitely!

Thanks!
Candy

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I'll admit I am very naive about this whole RVing deal and we have not even started yet! When I look at your RVing Basic Classes it would seem to me they would be very appropriate as soon as possible after starting out with a new RV, especially with the idea of having one on one time in one's own RV.

We plan to take possession of our first ever 5th wheel in June of this year in Pennsylvania. Everything on your RVing Basic Classes is of great interest to me as soon as possible after we get ownership. Whether it is your training we benefit from or our own lessons learned, it seems to me this needs to happen within the first month of use.

So, schedule one soon in the Pennsylvania area and we will be there!

As an aside, we have signed up for the RV driving school, but have to drive 100 miles to get to it...uh-oh...



-- Edited by Dave and Denise on Wednesday 27th of April 2016 12:22:32 PM

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We are not newbies to RVing, however, something like your class would have been invaluable for us, especially as we jumped right into Full Timing in our 40 ft DP (used) that came with all sorts of issues. Luckily for us, we were pretty close to our dealer for the first year and to give him his due, he was an excellent go-to for the none-DIY-mechanically minded hubby. But, if a class like you are thinking about was available, it would have saved us a lot of headaches and possibly $$$$'s.

We are just about to start again with a brand new 5er and BAT (big ass truck) we feel a little more confident this time around, especially as Jay just finished the NRVIA course last month and he is feeling better about the workings and maintenance of an RV now. We wish you all the best in getting this idea going and would be very happy to pass the info along on the RV facebook groups we belong too, there are a lot of folks on some of those groups that would definitely benefit from it.

Huggs Kim x

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Howard and Linda,

This idea is excellent! I would sign up for it today! We are really enjoying the Spring Rally this week, meeting wonderful people and learning so much important info, but a 1/1 time with you all or small group setting geared to just getting used to living in an RV and operating it, would be invaluable....just to get our cable, satellite, oven pilot light (thanks Kim and Paul...thanks to them I at least know where to light it...now I just need to practice standing upside down on my head for a while before I can light it...lol) and water heaters turned on properly and functional would mean so much. We've only had our 2010 Montana 5r less than 2 months and this is our second trip out and I have to admit, we are just a little overwhelmed getting it all together. With zero experience in truck driving or camping, we can use all the help we can get! Our experience when we purchased was about a one hour walk through telling us what all the buttons were for and no hands on anything. Now we don't really know if there is no hot water because it's broken or is it operator error??? Ed is a great handy man and I know we'll get it all worked out but this course would be so helpful. We want to spend a lot of time in our RV in the next year and perhaps be close to full time in the near future so bring on the newbie RV seminar.

Patrice (Red)

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