Saddle Up and Westward Ho!

Packed and ready to roll the coach on our fall adventure out West!  If you are a motorhome traveler you know the drill.  For the rest of you, let me recap how a motorhome trip is different from packing the car for a week at the beach.  Remember, you are taking a small house with all its onboard systems, so your pre-trip checklist includes:

Plumbing and sewer

You need some fresh water in the tank, but not too much, since you don’t want to haul extra weight. Once you get to a campsite with city water you can connect with a hose and run from that. A small pressure regulator is important so you protect against high water pressure damage. You have to be sure to switch to city water service, not tank fill, otherwise you will discover (as I did in Florida) water pouring out of your overflow hose under the RV about 10 minutes later.

Greywater and blackwater tanks should be empty to start. The lowest sensors in our black tank don’t seem to register, so we are going to pour a solution of borax, water and dish soap into the toilet at the start of the trip to clean them. A bag of ice down the toilet to rattle around while traveling (as recommended) didn’t really do the trick the last trip. You should keep some water in the toilet bowl to block odors (like any p-trap at home). You need your sewer hose and connectors.

Power

You have a generator, which should be in good working order, for the times when you are boondocking. Boondocking or dry camping is when you don’t have any water or electric hookups available. Also you have two sets of batteries: house and engine. Even though they connect and can help spread the charge, you want all of them charged and ready. We have a small solar panel that adds a trickle charge. Be sure you have a surge protector for your electric cord (shoreline).

LP gas tank got filled last week. With our system, you can power your fridge with shoreline electric (when you are hooked up to electric at home or camp) or run off the LP gas, or run off house batteries (or run the generator while on the move or when boondocking). I pre-chilled the fridge in the driveway before stocking it with food.

LP gas can also be used for cooking on the stovetop and oven and it is a source of power for the heater if you can’t run the generator (campgrounds often have quiet hours after 10 pm).

Hey out there, did you pack the cat food?

Hey out there, did you pack the cat food?

Hydraulics

Our motorhome has four hydraulic leveling jacks that are used in combination with jack pads and chocks to level the motorhome. The pistons need to be clean and sprayed with a dry silicone lubricant so they will completely retract when it is time to break camp.

Tires, oil, coolant, wipers, running lights

Since you are also a motor vehicle, every part of the engine and wheels needs preventive maintenance. Tire inflation pressure is important and can vary with the amount of weight you are carrying. Tires on motorhomes wear more than the mileage would indicate, (UV damage and dry rot as I learned on our Florida trip) so you need to keep an eye on their condition.

Kitchen

And of course you need all the pots, pans, dishes, utensils, grill and pantry for your camp menu.

Linens

This motel doesn’t come with maid service, so you need sheets, blankets, pillows and towels.

Planning to add more states to our camping map.

Planning to add more states to our camping map.

But now it is all packed, the tow dolly is ready for the car to be strapped on and we’ll head out. First stop will be in Alabama just northwest of Birmingham on Smith Lake for a night. Then on to Memphis for a stopover.

If you want to follow our progress, check back often or click the “follow” link.

Hey, thanks for checking in and “Happy Trails!”

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