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Peckford: Living easy

Larry Peckford and his wife, Dianne (née LeRiche), have lived in Ottawa for the past 10 years, but keep a seasonal residence in the Codroy Valley. He has worked as a NL public servant and community volunteer. An occasional blogger, he also writes other pieces of personal interest. E-mail him at:

As the old song goes it is getting to be “summertime and the living is easy.” If you live in Newfoundland, summer may be a bit late and often has a surprise or two by way of erratic weather. Regardless, Newfoundlanders are a hardy lot and, despite the ups and downs of the weather, we are not adverse to finding a gravel pit or other remote location for a summertime getaway. And then there are the campgrounds, private or public, that offer a few creature comforts, i.e. water supply, electricity and sewage disposal etc.

One of the features of summer is the type of accommodation that is suitable for that easy living. A popular option is the recreational vehicle (RV) that may be self contained such as a motorhome or one that is pulled by a vehicle. Some owners prefer their trailer be set up more permanently in a campground. Either way, RV’s come in all shapes and sizes from the basic to the opulent motorhome. I have taken to owning a couple of RV’s over time, although I am now inclined to be more stationary rather than having it sit on my bumper and pull it around. In other words, I no longer need the stress of pulling 3000 – 5000 pounds of mobile home and all that it entails.

RV’s are big business. Most are built in the United States, with Indiana being the popular state of origin. I have read that the industry in the U.S. generates some billions of dollars and employs hundreds of thousands of workers. There are some small Canadian manufacturers but they are dwarfed by the American ones.

In my experience, RV’s can be quirky and often complicated. They are definitely not designed for year around living. The quality of their systems for daily operations need steady maintenance and TLC. For obvious reasons RV’s are built of light materials so as to make them easy to tow. The motorhome and so-called fifth wheel units, however, require heavy drivetrains and have quite the appetite for fuel. Mobility and drive-ability has its price!

Depending on where you set up the RV, you may need to use holding tanks for water and sewage. That requires dumping, as the sewage holding tanks are small with limited capacity. Dumping stations become your friend. Dumping is a necessity but is not always the most joyous of tasks. Who knew about grey water and black water? Don’t tax the electrical system as you can be in the dark soon enough. Installed appliances can be difficult to repair and expensive to replace. For trailers not connected to electricity, propane is the energy source and that needs constant vigilance.

So, how am I doing so far? The trailer sales people and trailer parks may think I am playing down an industry that earns them a living. I will admit I am often not enthused at the practicalities of trailer ownership. Nevertheless, in the park where I currently have a 30 plus foot travel trailer and a seasonal pass, I enjoy the amenities of the park and the getaway that it offers. It does not take long, though, for me to want to retreat to my permanent home and grab a long shower and set the dishwasher humming.

Maybe it’s my age and reduced tolerance for the intricacies and limitations of the RV. If you are in to it, all the more power to you. Expect the unexpected and have deep pockets to continue “living easy.”

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