Tuesday, June 12

How Not to Get Carsick in an RV

When we started off the fulltime RV life with a travel trailer, we didn't think too much about the reality or the nitty-gritty of the whole lifestyle. It was the freedom and adventure that we were after, and we figured we would learn what we needed to know as time went by. Which is precisely what we did - learned through experience, and reading a manual or an online forum once in a while. Since we were never in the trailer when it was being pulled, we were spared the discomfort that some people report in motorhomes on the move.

Now we have had the experience that you get in a moving motor home of being in a big bus that happens to be filled with your belongings, and your pets, and the contents of the kitchen cabinets, all rolling down the highway. We learned fairly quickly that Robin should not read or work on the computer while the RV was moving. We learned this because she tried it and after about an hour, she had to lie down. She had a headache and felt queasy, and it took a couple of hours for her to recover. All of which made sense - if you are prone to motion or car sickness, which she was, then certain activities should be avoided. She seemed to be OK, however, with walking around, sitting on the couch, and doing other things while we were in motion - just no reading.

At one of our stops to visit family in the mid-west, we came across an interesting thing. A niece of mine refused to get into the RV sitting at rest in their driveway. She said it made her "carsick" to walk around inside. I suppose it was the bouncing, slightly rubbery feel that the floor has since the whole thing is sitting on tires and springs. But it made me think that there might be folks out there who felt that way when they were in their RVs. We had certainly experienced the effect that high winds had on the motorhome when we were sitting out on the Illinois prairie this last winter, so we knew what the feeling was like.

While you can't stop the winds from blowing, you can manage the motion - and that's where the importance of stabilizers comes in. Naturally, before you can stabilize, you have to get level. That's the first step and the first problem. If you're just doing an overnight stay and you get your trailer, 5th wheel or motorhome close to level, you're probably OK. As long as you don't feel like you're sliding off of your bed, it'll do until morning, and you may just do without stabilizing.

But if you're in a spot for an extended stay, you'll want to take a little more care with the leveling and the stabilizing. A properly stabilized rig will get rid of that carsick feeling that comes from your weight bouncing on the tires and suspension. You should use your automatic stabilizers, of course, if you have them. And if you don't you should get some quick portable stabilizer jacks that you can set up in a jiffy once you're in place. If they're well-positioned and tight, they will keep the house from rocking, and if any of the residents are prone to RV-sickness, they'll thank you for it.

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