If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I enjoy the idea that motor homing is a metaphor for life.
It is day four of a new year. How is this year going to be? That is certainly one question I don’t have the answer to. I am sure that many people would like to know what the future holds even if that knowledge is only about the next twelve months.
When I was a kid I remember that there were a number of celebrity prognosticators that would make all kinds of predictions about the future. They predicted who would win the World Series, or who would win some national election or there would be an earthquake in Los Angeles that wipes out half the city. My dad used to say they would shotgun their so called prophesies. In other words make enough of them and maybe one or two might just happen.
In my later years I would hear all kinds of people, including preachers and televangelists, predict that the world was about to end and that there would be all kinds of signs including famine, wars and an earthquake that would wipe out half of Los Angeles, foretelling and warning us of that coming event.
The year 2000 was supposed to cause all kinds of terrible things to happen. Planes were going to fall out of the sky, the stock market would crash. For me the worst event was a lot of voice mail and phone systems crashing because they suffered from the dreaded Y2K bug. The best thing was I made quite a bit of money fixing those systems. I wrote my own program to do just that and made a lot of friends because I repaired the systems instead of replacing them.
Now it is 2012 and people are once again looking for some kind of sign to tell them about our future or the lack thereof. According to the long gone Mayans the world is supposed to end at the end of this year. Will it be with a bang or a whimper? It seems to me that if the human sacrificing Mayans were so good at seeing into the future they would have done whatever it took to insure their own. They would have seen the signs so to speak. It there were any to see that is.
I prefer not to worry about the end of the world. I do believe that there are signs of trouble on the horizon that we should pay attention to but I also think each day has enough trouble of its own.
I believe that there are signs that we should pay attention to that will help us in our day to day lives, on and off the road, from getting into trouble.
Let me simplify it for you.
How many signs are there in your coach, signs that warn you of potential trouble if you don’t pay attention? Start looking and you may be surprised at just how many there are.
Inside over the door of my coach was a sign that said something to the effect “make sure steps are extended before exiting.” I can’t remember the exact words and Diane peeled the sign off the wall. I asked her about that and she said “no one is going to read it when they need to cause it is posted in the wrong spot. Besides if you don’t see the steps after you open the door don’t step out of the coach!”
That is logical but we know someone, actually it was the person who bought our Bounder, who didn’t notice the steps were not deployed after opening the door. Her two dogs jumped out of the coach before she could get them leashed (she opened the door thinking the screen would stay closed) and she went charging out after them only to fall on her face, bite through her lower lip and knock out two front teeth. Ouch!
Next to the driver’s seat, posted to the wall above the seat belt anchor, is a little sign that says “Move cab seat forward before activating slide out.”
Which should be easier to spot? Is it a little white note or a big captain’s chair that is too far back?
The answer is; sometimes neither. I watched a tall salesman at an RV dealership forget to move the driver’s seat forward after he parked a coach and before he extended the main slide out. The chair was pushed off its pedestal with a loud crunch. I was surprised that the slide out didn’t stop as soon as it hit the chair. But I was also surprised when the main slide out in our coach removed the door to the cabinet housing the washer-dryer.
Behind the curtains next to the drivers seat is a warning not to apply the parking brake while the vehicle is in motion. It also says something about the result being major damage and death or injury. No big deal.
The third sign posted in the same spot reminds me not to press the accelerator while starting the engine. The sign says to turn the key only.
I am not sure about that one. Is it there to help me not flood the engine? Or is it there to prevent me from plowing my coach through my one car garage?
I suspect the first but the second might happen if I ignore the sign.
There are more. Under my kitchen sink is a sign with lots of warnings about using propane. What to do if you smell it. There is also a list of things that could happen if you ignore this warning. The list includes explosions, fire, injury and possibly death.
Two death warnings posted in the same coach!
Inside the bathroom medicine cabinet door is a note about exceeding the GCWR of the coach and/or its towing capacity. What is the GCWR? It is the Gross Combined Weight rating which is made up of the CCC (carrying crappy cargo) and the weight of water in the tanks, passengers, fuel etc. It doesn’t say what happens if you exceed this GCWR (which you are supposed to consult your owner’s manual to find out how much that is) but if the results were listed I think they would include exploding tires, damage, injury and possible death!
Makes you want to leave your coach in the driveway and hope the parking brake holds.
There are many signs posted on the outside of my coach.
On the fuel intake flap there is a sign that says “Unleaded Gasoline Only”.
This sign takes on a special significance with my coach. I have a rear gas chassis. The fuel intake door is under the driver’s window….the same place you would find it if the coach were a diesel pusher. On more than one occasion I have been asked if I am using the correct fuel pump. It is one of my favorite questions. I know what kind of fuel goes in my coach but I sure want to avoid someone else making a big mistake. I can’t remember if a diesel fuel pump nozzle will not fit into a gas tank intake or if a gas nozzle will not fit into a diesel tank intake, and I don’t want to find out the hard way.
On the gas flap is another sign. This one says to extinguish all appliances and igniters in the coach or something to that effect. Along with that is a warning that failure to comply could lead to….you guessed it….grave personal injury and or death!
Next to the fuel warnings are warnings posted on the door to the compartment holding the propane tank. This sign is rather large and its message is posted in multiple languages. It repeats the same warning as the fuel warning label including the part about injury and death.
Let us move farther down the coach. Inside of the wet bay we find all kinds of info posted about.
There is a picture of a sink. Under that there is a neon yellow stick on label that reads “Warning! Clean with Windex only!”
Thank goodness that failure to comply doesn’t result in serious injury. I hope not anyway.
Why this warning isn’t posted in the head over the sink is a mystery to me.
Up in the right hand corner of the bay there is a warning that says “Potable Water Only! Sanitize, flush and drain (consult owner’s manual) before using this tank!” Failure to comply (oh my goodness, not again!) could lead to serious illness or possible death!”
I think the odds are beginning to favor death here.
The last warning is posted next to a picture of a toilet. It reads “The sewer value must be open when using this inlet!” Now I know that the inlet posted in this warning isn’t the toilet itself, which is technically an inlet. No, the inlet is the flush valve. The sewer valve should indeed be open when back flushing or something very unpleasant might come out of the toilet.
If my wife happened to be in the room housing said toilet and it did misfire due to my non compliance to posted warnings, the result for me or to me could be serious injury or possible death.
I have only forgotten to open the valve once when flushing the tank. I was told of my mistake while washing the roof of the coach. I flew down the ladder in fear of becoming a player in a live scene from the movie RV.
This brings me to my next to last warning. There is a sign attached to the roof of my coach under the ladder handles that reads, and I paraphrase “Maximum weight capacity 150 lbs when vehicle is moving.”
Every time I read this sign the thought pops into my head that it must not be safe for me to hang on to this ladder, waving to passing cars, as the coach is flying down the road because I weigh 175 pounds!
Of course we all know that lots of things are tied to roof ladders. Step ladders, bicycles, kayaks, mother in laws. Don’t exceed the 175 pounds. It isn’t printed on the label but if your kayak and your bicycle and your ladder flew off the back of the coach, I suspect it could lead to…forget it. Not going to say it … I am starting to scare myself.
The last sign posted on the side of my coach is on the basement door located beneath the furnace. It reads “Caution…Do not allow door to remain open when furnace is running.”
What does that mean? Don’t allow the door to remain open? I think it should read: “don’t allow the door to remain all the way open.” Locking it half way open is okay. All the way would allow the running furnace to blister the paint right off the door. That is no good. Unfortunately this half open door belongs to the basement compartment that I am in and out of the most, and so it is the door that I bang my head on the most. This is one time where complying with instructions leads to personal injury. I hope that I never hit my head so hard that it leads to possible death.
We have now learned that signs posted inside and outside of our coach are there to make our Motorhome a safer place. That will be the result as long as we read them, pay attention, and comply with what these warnings tell us.
I wish I had been able to take the Motorhome approach to raising my kids. I could have posted warnings all around their room.
“Do your homework! Failure to comply can lead to failure at school which can lead to a lifetime of pain!”
When my girls became teens and started noticing boys I could have stuck the following up on their wall:
“Caution! A moment’s physical pleasure can lead to a lifetime of pain!”
Along with that one how about:
“Listen to your Mom and Dad so that your days will be good on this earth!
Failure to comply can lead to a lifetime of pain!”
And the last sign:
"Warning! Don't insist on growing up so fast! Enjoy your childhood while you have one!
Adulthood can lead to personal injury and will lead to eventual death!"
You see I knew what the future could bring. As my kids grew older I could see the signs of trouble and would have done anything to prevent injury, physically, emotionally or any other kind, if possible.
I think that the MotorHome approach to life is not a bad idea but only as long as you don't peel those signs off the wall and then charge out the door before the steps are deployed.