Thursday, October 27, 2016

RV 101 for those New to Motorhome Living

This is a list I created as my family crossed the USA in a motorhome for the first time:

Before you drive away and begin your trip, make sure you know how to do these things:

1. How to dump the gray and black water (code for waste water and sewage). Bring GLOVES!!!

2. How to run your air conditioning (when driving, when not driving, when plugged in or not)

3. How to run your generator (note its hours BEFORE you drive off, most people charge for hours used past their minimum)

4. How to work the outdoor step and lock the side door

5. How to run the TV and other media hookups

6. Is there a plug that works while you're driving?

7. How to light the pilot light of the stove and oven, safely

8. How to turn on the propane in the first place

9. How to fill up the propane tank when it's time to return the motorhome

10. Where is the nearest dump station by home (for when you return it, it must be emptied)

11. How to work the refrigerator (a cheap thermometer will help you ensure safe fridge temperatures are being met)

12. You will need special RV toilet paper, do you need to stock it before you go?

13. The pieces most likely to break on an RV (in my experience): the toilet paper holder, the table. Check them before you leave.

14. Fly papers, a flyswatter and a broom/dustpan. Make sure you have them. There are hordes of flies all over during the summer time. And flies in small RV spaces make things feel dirtier and miserable. However, I hate the standard fly papers like this:
because they look like this: 
And that's just so gross. When I visited Washington DC, a friend handed me these:

These are clear squares that you place wherever the flies congregate (on the microwave door or bathroom mirror in our RV) and it's much less intrusive or disgusting. Just passing on the love! You're welcome!
15. Ask what toilet treatments are preferred for your RV. Make sure you have some on hand. Few things are worse than driving with your black water stinking up the space....

16. If you're going cross country, you'll need to do 1-2 oil changes. Set those up in advance, the wait time for RV oil changes can be a month.
We were in Indiana when we got one and it cost us $52.12 (so you have a point of reference, granted, this was in rural Indiana).

Rick's Auto Repair & 24 hour towing
127 Manchester Ave
Wabash IN 46992

17. Know the length and height of your RV BEFORE you go. The Eastern US has lots of bridges that cap out at 9.5-10ft!! One night, a drive that should've taken 20 minutes, took 3 hours, because we kept having to find alternate routes to avoid bridges that were too short. The key word is Truck Route if you want a route with bridges of a safe height. Wish we'd have known this in advance!!

18. I downloaded a lot of different apps to help us find RV parks for the night. Truthfully, it was a waste of money. Googling "RV parks near me" and looking for a city a couple hours away from where we wanted to end up gave us the most success. After looking at their online reviews and website, I would simply call to reserve a spot. Now, don't get mad at me if this doesn't work for you! But this worked best for us, even if it went against me be-prepared-far-in-advance personality.

19. Note: Some parks limit the amount of people who can stay at their RV. You'll have to decide how to follow this for your family.

20. Things will break. Be prepared to fix things, particularly the toilet roll holder and the table that turns into a bed. Bring a screwdriver drill, FiberFix, duct tape, toothpicks, wood glue, spackling, and you'll be ready for whatever we had to overcome. :)

21. Make sure you can read your gauges for Gray Water, Black Water, Culinary Water, and Propane.

22. Know how to plug your RV into the electricity hookups

23. Know how turning on lights affect the battery when the RV is not plugged in or driving

You're going to have the BEST memories of this trip.

Best Wishes,


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