Time to Load the RV

Our “Summer” is now upon us… finally!

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We are leaving on Friday for our first full week of vacation since May 2015, and I am more than ready, especially since the worst of the summer heat seems to now be behind us.

Since we bought our new-to-us RV back in May, our second RV, we’ve enjoyed two weekend trips and one slightly longer trip over the 4th of July, but those shorter trips are just not the same as a full week off with a weekend on either end.

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Our 4th of July trip was a great break from the summer heat.

 

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A quick weekend test trip in early June
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A quick weekend out to the canyon with friends in early August during a little break in the heat
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An epic first-time hike in one of our favorite state parks!

 

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Yes, this is a rattlesnake seen on our last trip.  They are seen often on the trails at in and around the canyon.  Great care should always be used when hiking in areas where these guys are present, including carrying a snake bite kit.

This will be a solo trip for us and the dogs, and it will also be a slightly different RV trip for us, as we will enjoy both rural camping and camping in town for a change to allow us to take advantage of some activities and dining options nearby.  We will also be able to do a bit of fact finding for possible future trips back to this area in the RV, too.

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Our “synchronized sleepers” taking a nap in the RV on a cool day at the canyon… in honor of the Olympics going on that day, of course!

Our upcoming trip will be our first longer trip in this particular RV, and it will also be our first test trip in colder weather.  We’ve really had to give some thought to suddenly going from hot summer days to cold nights near freezing and cooler days next week.  We normally don’t make a trip in cold conditions until the winter months, so our packing efforts are quite deliberate in hopes that we don’t forget something important.

The following discussion came after several recent visits with fellow RV friends who also vacation by RV regularly.  Some are new to RVing and some are not.  We all face the same challenge of code restrictions that limit the amount of time our RVs can be parked at home, only 24 hours at a time.  While we all approach our loading process in much the same way, we all vary our loading processes just a bit, too. Below, I’ve shared information on our own approach that works quite well for us.

We just vacation in our RV at this point in our lives, and our loading process for each trip varies, depending on our destination and the weather forecast.  We must do most of our loading while the RV is in covered storage, as we cannot park it at our house except for very short periods of time, due to restrictions in our area.  We are actually fine with this process, as we’ve learned to load the RV in storage pretty efficiently over time.  We’ve also found that we are able to get away faster on our trips by simply departing from the storage facility, rather than leaving from our house and fighting more traffic.

Preparing the RV and loading prior to a trip basically looks something like this for us.  Checklists definitely help expedite the process, and this list is not necessarily everything we do… just the main things.

Immediately after returning from a trip:

  • Wash all RV linens and return them to the RV right after we return from a trip.
  • Make the bed so we are ready to go if we want to make a trip with short notice.
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Our custom-built mattress is so comfy and makes traveling in the RV all the more enjoyable because “good campers need good sleep!”

Weekend prior to departure:

  • Get gasoline and/or propane for the RV and check all fluid levels. (We filled up for only $1.83 per gallon!)
  • Wash the RV, and/or clean the windshield and other windows, as needed.  (We power wash the windshield and hand wash the front of the RV when we arrive at storage at the end of a trip in the non-winter months to get the bugs off, but it still gets pretty dirty in storage at times, even though it sits in covered storage.)
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While Hubby hooks up our utilities when we first arrive at our campsite, I grab the tall step ladder and clean the front windshield.  Not only does that get the bugs off from our drive, it allows us to see better when using our sunscreens over the windshield while parked, rather than keeping the front curtains closed most of the time.

During the week prior to our trip:

  • Unload any items that we will not need for our upcoming trip from inside the RV and from the basements.  (RV weight management)
  • Load any items that we need for our trip that we’ve stored at home, except food items, including refreshing first aid items.
  • Load a few jugs of water inside for the drive because we never carry water in the RV holding tank while driving to minimize that weight.
  • Load clothes and shoes… and coats!  (We adore camping in cooler weather, especially after a hot summer.)
  • Load non-refrigerated foods and prescription meds. (We load our meds at least a day early so that we lessen the risk of forgetting them.)
  • Plug in the RV to charge the house batteries.  If storms with lightning are in the forecast, we sometimes opt to not plug in until the risk is lessened, even though we have a good surge protector on the RV.
  • Turn on the refrigerator when plugged in, giving it at least 24 hours to reach proper temps.
  • Clean kitchen and bathroom and other areas, as needed.
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The kitchen in our new-to-us RV and the custom rug I had made for the wood floor.  The rug has a padded backing to keep it from scratching the floor.

Day prior to departure:

  • Check air in the tires and add air, as needed.
  • Verify that the fridge and freezer are at proper temperatures and adjust the thermostat, as needed.  (We keep a thermometer in each section.)
  • Buy fresh produce, preferably at one of the farmer’s markets seasonally, if possible.
  • Load food and supplies for the dogs.  (We carry their food in sealed containers.)
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A few fresh veggies for our trip from a local farmer’s market. That fully ripe cantaloupe smells so good, and I can’t wait to feast on those fresh black-eyed peas with a little Tabasco sauce!  Those are yellow zucchinis, not regular yellow squash, and they are quite sweet.  I can only find them from one grower at the farmer’s market.

Day of departure:

  • Load refrigerated and freezer foods.  (I stage these items on a shelf by themselves in the fridge and freezer at home because it’s definitely not good to go off and leave food behind that I missed, especially on trips where we don’t bring the car along and/or when we are camped in very remote locations.  Been there, done that.)
  • Load small electronics and camera bag.  (We keep extra chargers in the RV.)
  • Attach the trailer to the RV, if we are taking it.
  • Leave car(s) in our covered storage as we depart in the RV.

The longer the trip, the earlier we generally start the loading process.  For our ten day trip coming up, we have actually completed most everything up to the items we take care of on the day before or day of departure, with the exception of our food.  This gives me more time this week to work planning our menu and cooking in advance for our trip, as well as writing a blog post about it all!

We no longer load any items in the RV fridge or freezer until shortly before we leave.  We have a RV neighbor who shares our set of plugs in storage that routinely does something to throw the breaker on our set of plugs, even though we’ve reported this many times to management.  Also, we just feel better loading all those items closer to departure because we take food safety seriously, especially on our RV trips.  And even though we don’t have any issues with squirrels or other animals at our storage facility, we never keep food in the RV that might attract them if we can help it.  We’ve heard horror stories about chewed wiring, etc., especially from squirrels, and that’s yet another good reason for us to load in storage.  We have many squirrels in our neighborhood and in our own tree in front.

Fortunately, we do not have a long drive from our house to the RV storage facility, so loading while in storage is a viable option for us.  If we lived further away, though, loading in storage would be more problematic and time-consuming.  We also have several good shopping options near the storage facility, if we need to pick up any items and carry them straight to the RV in storage instead of bringing them home first.

On another RV related subject, we have already made our camping reservations for….

Thanksgiving!

Yes, this is still August.

I am amazed at just how early people are now reserving their RV sites for both Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday weeks, and we were fortunate to think of making our reservation for that week before we totally missed out in securing a site reservation.  When we started traveling by RV five years ago, we had no trouble getting a site for Thanksgiving, but that’s definitely no longer the case.

Autumn is now our Summer in so many ways.  It is the time we tend to take our RV out as often as we can find a way to do so because it is the very best time of the entire year weather wise.  The weather is already cooling off and some seasonal monsoon rains are showing up once again.  Such is the case now and for the past two weeks, and we definitely have RV travel “fever” once again.

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As I’m writing this, it’s only 75 degrees in the late afternoon, and it’s been raining gently on and off for the past three days.  Everything is greening up once again after two very hot months this summer with little rain, and we are ready to take advantage of this great weather in our RV!

I’ll be away from the blog for awhile during our trip, but I hope to return with some good photos of a truly beautiful area and maybe even some helpful RV tips on traveling there.

 

Author: DK

Blogger at My Five Fs (Faith - Family - Food - Fotos - Fun) and Animal Wonder. Empty-nester that now shares life with my hubby and our two standard poodles. Enjoys camping in our RV, taking and editing photos, trying new low-carb recipes, baking pretty decorated cookies for special occasions, walking daily, spending time with family and friends when we can, playing with the dogs, and is grateful to God for every single day of this blessed life and for the opportunity to share and connect with some great people here.

9 thoughts on “Time to Load the RV”

  1. I love your ‘synchronized sleepers’!!!!😍
    After reading your lists I have deduced that you are way more organized that we! I’m sure we do all the same things but not in nearly as organized fashion!!!! 😀
    It’s kewl the way we all have our natural rhythms that we bring to everything we do. Humans can be frustrating and annoying (he says after a particularly unpleasant interchange with a non-camper in a bad mood last night) but we are also fascinating and interesting and capable of extraordinary accomplishment. I hope “you’re” camping season brings you the refreshment and unwinding you both need.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since Hubby still works full time and I have to do a lot of the advance prep and loading, I’ve decided it’s far better to have a plan on paper than try to remember everything I need to do and take. Forgot a significant amount of food on one trip and don’t plan to ever do that again! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s funny that when we’re in one place for a long while we have been known to forget part of our routine. But it’s amazing how fast it all comes back to us. 🙂

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  2. Wow that’s a lot more organized than we are. Although one thing we do is a 2nd set of clothes. So when we get back from vacation, we launder the clothes and put right back in the camper. Saves on trying to decide what to take. If the weather is cooler, we already have coats and jackets in the camper. And we don’t shop for groceries until we get to the closest grocery store near where we are going. List in hand. That way we don’t bring too much or not enough. http://www.wordpress/campingboatingshawnlee.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We do keep a few basic clothes in the RV based on the season, especially when we can go more often. We have to deal with temps that can vary a lot in every season, so we usually just load our clothes based on that forecast. In the areas we tend to visit, there are no good options for buying groceries, unfortunately. We are really out in the sticks most of the time, but if we weren’t, I would definitely consider buying more food at our destination. Early on, we decided to extend our trip when a previous commitment to return home was cancelled. Glad we had the extra food along that allowed us to do that. We were also delayed on a return trip back in July due to weather issues and were glad to have the extra food then, too. 😉

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