We have been on the road a little more than a month. Routine has started to set in but most days still bring something new and interesting. I thought I would try to provide some insight into what a typical day is like but more specifically what a “travel or moving day” is like.
Yesterday was a travel day after spending five nights at Lockston Path Provincial Park in the Bonivista/Trinity Region of Newfoundland. That is the longest we have stayed in one place since setting out from home. I have to say that it was nice to be grounded in one place for that long even if toured the local area each day. Anyway I digress, back to a typical travel day for us….
On this day we would be moving about 250KM to St John’s NL which should be about a three and a half hour drive not including any stops. Typically travel with an RV is somewhat slower than travelling with the family sedan.
The night before, we usually begin to prep for our departure. We stow the barbecue, the solar panel as well as anything else that we will not need before before leaving the next morning. We are not early risers so our day usually start our day at about 08:00 hours. We usually have a quick breakfast on travel days and focus our time on getting packed up and moving.
We have pretty much settled into a routine with regard to the task that need to be done prior to departure. Initially Martha takes care of prepping the inside while I focus on the outside.
Whether our preparation is being done inside or outside, the core task is the same: make sure everything is stowed away securely in the same place each time. This is especially important inside. Everything must be put away while larger objects such as chairs must be tied down. There can be an incredible amount of movement in the 5th wheel while traveling especially when driving on secondary roadways with uneven pavement and potholes. Moreover, anything stored in upper cabinets must be stored in a manner that prevents movement. In our case everyrhing stowed in high cabinets is kept in high sided trays while items like dishes are kept in racks. During our first weeks of travel when we were unaware or undisciplined we would open our trailer door after travelling to find items strewn across the floor. However the critical reason for stowing things properly is to ensure the unimpeded operation of our slide outs or room extensions.
On the outside power,water and sewer lines must be disconnected and stored. If we happen to have a site with a three way hook-up(shore power, water and sewer), the holding tanks must be emptied and possibly backwashed. We sanitize all our waste water equipment with a concentrated water and bleach solution each time before they are stored. If we are off grid the generator must be put away. Everything that is kept in our lower holds is inspected to ensure that it is in its proper place to allow for quicker retrieval at our next stop as well as secured to prevent movement. Once everything is stowed and secured inside and out, the slide outs can be retracted then the process of connecting the truck and trailer begins.
For safety reasons, we do everything in a deliberate order and routine each time. When we started we had a checklist of all of the task required before departure. You can make up your own or find one online. Everyone has their own way of doing things and this is ours. As we gain experience we make adjustments in the interest of time and safety. Please note that not every task is fully detailed here.
Our trailer requires that we level it manually as opposed to some newer models that are self leveling. Therefore our departure preparation is in the exact reverse order to our set up when we arrived. So the first task is to retract the rear stabilizers. This allows us to use the landing gear at the front of the trailer to raise or lower it so that it is at the proper height to be connected to the truck. We then ensure our 5th wheel hitch is in the open position and ready to receive the king pin from the front the trailer. Once tailgate of the truck is lowered we can begin reversing the truck for the hook up. Martha usually backs the truck up while make sure that everything is aligned and at the proper height so the hitch will engage properly.
Once the truck hitch has neen engaged with the trailer we visually inspect it and proceed with locking it to prevent any accidental disengagement of the trailer. Once everything is locked in place we can then raise the tailgate and connect the umbilical cord from the trailer to the truck to operate the trailer lights and the trailer’s electric brake system.
Now that the connection to the truck is complete, we can finish raising the landing gear and retrieve all the blocking and store it in the designated spot. The next step is to remove and move the Wheel chocks.
Anytime we move the trailer we check the tire pressure and add air if required. The tires on our trailer are filled to 80 psi which is more than double the tire pressure of the family car. It is vital that when towing proper inflation is maintained and the tire pressure is checked daily. At the same time the tires should be visually inspected, front and back, to verify there is no uneven wear, delamination or tire damage that may impact the integrity of the tire. A blow out or flat tire on a large 12,000 lbs trailer could result in the loss of control or roll-over of the entire rig. Consequently we take tire inspection very seriously.
Finally we can check that the trailer lights are fully operational and complete our final circle check. This means we make sure the bike rack is secure. All doors, windows and hatches are closed and locked. We visually inspect the entire trailer to make sure there is no damage or loose parts. Just prior to moving out we give the hitch mechanism one final visual inspection just in case. From this point forward it should be smooth sailing
It generally takes us about 3o minutes to an hour to prepare for a safe departure. Upon arriving at our destination, the set up up will take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes depending on the quality of the campsite.
We try to keep our daily drive to under 4 or 5 hours. We also avoid towing after dusk especially in a place like Newfoundland where wildlife on the road is always a hazard. So that is our typical day on the road.