Saturday, November 24, 2012

Just RVing Around

As some of you may know, we were planning on heading south for the winter to Georgia  Florida and then west to Arizona hoping to be in Alaska next spring and summer, but my work has other plans.

Work wants me on-site most of January, which is located in the DC area, which makes going south a little hard.  So if that is what I need to do, then we are debating on heading north now, while the weather is good, and bed down for the winter.  We will make a decision here soon on where we go next.

We are going to have to do something for heat other than the LP furnaces in the RV since they suck the 30lb LP gas tank dry in about one week when the temperature gets cold.

I have been doing some research on electric heaters, but if anyone reading this has a suggestion, please comment or email me at with it.

Since we were out of propane we had to break camp and drive into town to get it filled up.  I also wanted to get a new inspection sticker on the RV, so we would be good for a year and it would be in sync with the GMC Yukon, that we just had inspected also.

The problem with moving the RV is that you have to put everything up, strap down the heavy stuff, and pull in the slides whether you are moving a few feet or down the road.  

Our biggest item is the 18" dishwasher that has to be securely strapped down, so that it does not slide around and hurt someone.  Yes, we really need it too.  Well not really, but it is super nice to have and also gives us a little more counter top.
Dishwasher strapped down for moving.
Then you have to get everything that is on the counters and above your head, up and out of the way where it will ride safely and not be slung all over the place.  The bunk beds make a great place to store this stuff while traveling.
Bunks used for storage while we travel.
 You have to also make sure the slide area is clear of anything that could hamper it.  Even little Matchbox cars can play havoc and mess up the slide mechanism if they get caught.
Slide area has to be clear of any obstacles.
 You might think, that is common sense to pull the high stuff down, but you would be surprised at how easy it is to forget about it until you hear a crash while driving down the road.  

That usually happens at the worst moment also, since you are probably traversing an uneven road surface or taking a turn, which caused the items to fall in the first place.  We once forgot to strap the refrigerator doors together and a couple of curves later, the doors flung open and glass jars came flying out.  Luckily, no one was hit and none of the jars broke!
All items up high must be packed away so that they do not fall while driving down the road.

This is what your overhead (temporary) storage areas need to look like before you start to drive down the road.
Now it is safe to drive with the items put away.
You also have to remember to unhook the electric, water, sewer, and anything else such as cable, to move.  So far I have not forgotten to unhook any of the above, but I have forgotten to hook them back up, after returning.  

Once I forgot to hook the electric back up and did not notice until Misty tried to start the dryer.  Our inverters and batteries powered everything for a good five hours before we, and a friend, noticed the lights flickering some and of course the dryer not working.

If we are moving a good ways, then we have to load up the GMC Yukon with all of the bikes, eight in all, and anything else that we can not get into the RV, like the baby buggy that hooks to Misty's bike.  When the Yukon is packed, only the driver's seat is left open.

You then have to make sure you have the tow bar, safety cables, power cable, air hose for the brakes, and safety disconnect cable hooked up properly.

Do not mind the dirty RV, it has been washed since this picture was taken.
10,000 lb Blue Ox tow bar in its folded position at the rear of the RV.

Another very important thing that you have to remember to do is to strap the refrigerator closed.  We have a residential or regular home refrigerator in the RV and if you do not put the strap on the door handles, it will sling open during a turn or bump and dump the contents on the tile floor.  The results would even make a nun mutter a bad word.  I know I sure have.
Strap on refrigerator door.
Once you have all the slides in, the jacks up, and everything unhooked, you need to make sure every compartment door is securely latched.  It does not matter whether or not you locked the doors, you physically have to walk around the entire RV and pull on each one.

If a door does come open while driving down the road, not only will you start pouring your stored items out onto the highway, but there is a chance you can hit the door on the guardrail or even another vehicle.  Plus other drivers do not appreciate having to dodge items being thrown at them, unexpectedly.

It is very embarrassing to have cars beeping at you because your doors are open and sticking out, not that it has happened to us, well maybe only once or twice.  At least we have not lost anything out of the compartments due to the doors being open.
Checking all the compartment doors to make sure they are securely latched.
Probably the worse thing to unhook is the sewer line.  You never leave your sewer line open while hooked up or you will get a mound of waste in your black tank, which will clog it up sooner or later.  So you wait until the tank is at least one third of the way full so there is plenty of liquid to push the waste out.

I also run a back flush when I empty the tank so there is plenty of water to help push out the waste and clean any solids that may have built up.  So far I have not had any problems with it clogging up.

One should empty the black tank first and then the grey water tank which will flush out all the waste from the black tank.  When I unhook the sewer line, I then use the outside faucet to rinse it clean, and then roll it up, draining it into the sewer system.  I then put the hose back in the compartment, trying not to touch any of the contaminated areas.

I always have a bottle of soap and hand sanitizer in the compartment, so I can wash and clean up my hands afterwards.

I recently added a water softener and filter to help keep the iron and other minerals out of the RV's water lines since many RV parks have well water and not city water.  I keep the unit in the compartment so it is not exposed to the outside elements.
Water softener and filters in the water and sewer compartment.
Even though we have a panel that shows when the jacks are up, sometimes they stick and are really not up, so you have to physically check them by looking behind all the wheels.  

The below picture is what you want to see, which is the jack in the up position.  The base plate for the jack is in the middle of the picture to the right of the long brass looking bolt.
Rear jack in the up position.  You can see the back half of the base plate in the this picture next to the brass bolt.
Once everything is down, latched, in, stored, unhooked, and up you are ready to hit the road.  In the below picture we were just going into town to fill up with propane and so did not hook up the tow vehicle or toad.
Readied RV in travel mode minus the toad.
When driving the RV you are always going to meet someone or something that gets in the way or stops you.  While running into town we met a vehicle, which was waiting on a mobile home to come down the road.  

It was actually good that we were stopped on the side road and did not meet the mobile home on the county road, or we would of had to back up, which is never fun in an RV.
Meeting a vehicle on a single lane road.
There are many adjustments we have to make to live in the RV and moving it is no different.  It is not as easy as a car to turn but it is very easy to get it into a situation where you are stuck and can not turn it around. 

So far we have been lucky and not gotten stuck where we had to unhook the toad to back up or anything like that.  I did pull into a gas station once with the toad and blocked the pumps for others to use.  Then after filling up, we barley had enough room, inches, to pull back out onto the highway.

Depending upon what type of RV you have, the steps to prepare for moving may be different and by no means is it implied that the above steps are the only way to do it.  That is just how we do it.  We also probably spend more time packing than most, since we have six little ones to pick up after!

Until next time God bless and we hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Don, Misty, & Kids......


  1. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. We ate at Cathy and Jenny's and yes, the food was delicious. A good day with family.
    How long does it take to make all of these moving preparations? I'd hate that you have to do it for something so simple as a propane fill up but I guess that is a small price to pay for the convenience of having a home that is totally mobile.
    Where are you all now? Did you get as far as FL?

  2. Yes we did. The RV park put on a big Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, so we got our bellies full. The next day they put all the left over turkey and ham out along with bread and sandwich fixings, so we got full again with turkey.

    We are currently in Destin until we start heading north for DC. I'm hoping that maybe the requirement for me to work in DC through Jan goes away, but so far it looks like that is what I will have to do.

    Being in DC is not all that bad, but during the winter, in a RV will make life a little harder, but you have to do what you have to do. We will have to insilate it very good to help cut down on the heat loss though.

    Our original plans were to go further south to Tampa and visit Mike and Nancy, but it does not look like it is going to happen now. We may have to pospone until next year.

    The one good thing about being in DC over Christmas is being able to come in and visit the family during the holidays.