As I grow older and older I am finding out that many of the life lessons my dad taught me were actually good lessons. Though as a kid, I constantly challenged my dad’s ideas and advice, it is clear the old man really knew what he was talking about. It seems like my dad says to me, “I told you so, son” a lot lately. I can remember one Christmas when I got a brand new BMX bike that I had been asking about for months. Of course it was winter in Michigan but that did not stop me from taking it for a spin! I remember how my dad kept telling me, “Son, if you want anything to last, you have to take care of it.” And so that summer, I washed that bike almost everyday. Wherever I went I was sure to use my bike lock. Even though I did not always listen to dad’s advice, this one I listened to.
So, here I am at 38 years old and instead of a brand new BMX bike, I have a pop-up camper that is little more than 6 months old now. We have made good use of this special “toy” since we bought it back in December. Like the BMX bike, I was not going to wait to spring to try out the camper. Amy and I did some winter camping and had a blast! Every time we take it out, I remember what my dad taught me about taking care of the things I have. So, I wash it every time we take it out. Sometimes I believe Amy thinks I am a little on the OCD side, which she may be right. (Editor’s note – of course I am Doug!) But if you want anything to last, you have to take care of it. In the winter it was tough to wash the camper without the use of the outdoor water hose. I had to resort to parking it in the garage and wiping it down with a bucket and sponge. I also used Lysol wipes to give it a shine. But once spring had sprung, I washed the camper in the driveway using car wash soap, the hose, sponges, and a good set of towels.
Well, a few weeks ago my curiosity got the best of me. If my pop-up is only five feet tall and only 15 feet long (including the tongue), could it fit through one of those self-car washes? Hmmm…..Well, let’s try it! Of course it fit! My only major concern was turning out of the car wash into the parking lot. A car wash is designed for, well, cars. So, I was worried I would not have enough of a turning radius to get the camper out of the parking lot. Yet, everything worked out there as well. I was also a little concerned that using the high pressure hose might cause some leaks into the camper. And yet, when I opened it up upon returning home, everything was a dry as a bone!
So, my suggestion to those with campers, especially pop-ups, listen to my dad’s advice: “If you want something to last take care of it.” Bring your camper to a self-car wash each and every time you take out your camper out for the weekend. The foaming brush will work wonders on the shine of your roof. The high pressure hose will rinse off the worst of grime. The tire cleaner will make your tires sparkle. Yes, it’s $5-7 investment but it’s worth it in the end. Some might think I’m a little over the top by washing the camper every time, but I want this pop-up to last for many, many more family outings! And when the times comes when Amy and I are ready to step up to a new travel trailer, hopefully the pop-up will have retained it’s value because we took such good care of it. “If you want something to last you have to take care of it”. Thanks for the advice dad!