Every couple of weeks or so, we pack up our worldly goods and head to a new area. Do you ever wonder what that involves? If you’re interested, here’s the basic step by step process.
Prepping for the road
- First thing: isolate cat in front section of bus. We can’t move slides unless we know where he is! He can’t hide anywhere dangerous in the front half of the bus. We bring his litter box up front so he has everything he needs.
- Prep the outside: Pack up any patio items (chairs, grill, etc) and stow in basement. Bring in awnings, if extended.
- Load bikes: Take backflip truck topper off pickup truck bed. Load both bicycles onto carriers on top of truck. Extend Load-All ramp and prep for motorcycle loading. Engage truck parking brake. Drive motorcycle up ramp into wheel chock. Secure with straps. Put motorcycle into “tow” mode. Stow ramp. Load Backflip cover and secure for travel. Release parking brake.
- Prep bus holding tanks: Fill fresh water tank (if dry camping), unhook and stow fresh water hose. Turn on water pump. Empty and flush black water tank, using separate water hose. Empty gray water tank. Rinse and stow sewer hose and fittings. Unhook and stow fresh water pressure regulator.
- Prep interior: Pack/stow any loose items. Shake out and stow throw rugs. Retract and latch “L” sofa section and kitchen drawer extension. Push in dinette table and lock it. Sweep the floor. Lock shower doors. Lock refrigerator & freezer doors. Stow satellite dish. Turn off heating/cooling systems and water heater (gas / electric). Turn captains chairs to front. Take out trash. Check that all drawers and cabinets are firmly closed and latched.
- Bring in slides: Start bus engine to air up airbags, raise leveling jacks, turn engine off. Check for obstructions, then carefully retract rear slides and front slides, keeping eyes on cat. (After the slides are in, he can go hide under the bed if he wants.)
- Final prep for moving: Unplug and stow 50 amp electrical cable and surge protector. Set generator to “auto on” mode. Walk around bus to ensure everything loaded and secure. Lock all basement doors. Verify satellite dish stowed. Plug in toad brake remote indicator at bus dash.
- Hook up toad: Start bus, warm up engine, pull out of site and drive to spot suitable for truck hookup (level, straight). Drive truck to bus, line up. Extend blue-ox tow bar arms and secure to truck. Put truck in 4 wheel down tow mode. (That’s really important!) Pull bus forward to fully extend and lock tow arms. Finish hook up: safety cables, air line, electrical line, dead man switch. Push programmed button (3) to set truck interior brake position for air brake system. Verify truck is in tow mode.
- Final walk around, hop in, and drive!
Driving to destination
- Plot route to destination on RV GPS (also usually on my iPhone as a double check).
- Depending on distance, plan ahead for suitable rest stops and/or truck stop for diesel fill up. Rule of thumb is drive no more than 300 miles in a day, and stop halfway for a break and lunch. We like to arrive at our campground by mid-afternoon.
Arrival at new destination
- Stop at office to check in. Pay fees and receive directions to campsite.
- Unhook toad: Take out of tow mode. Unhook all lines/connections and stow parts in bin. Put cover on tow bar.
- Drive motorhome to new site, maneuver into optimal position, making sure bus wheels are straight. I usually guide Jeff using hand signals, although sometimes the hand signals are creative, and possibly less than complimentary. It depend on how tight and challenging the space is! Park truck at site.
- Isolate cat to front section of bus.
- Check electric pedestal with surge protector. If operational, hook up 50 amp cable. Hook up water pressure regulator, inline water filter and freshwater hose. Turn off water pump, turn on water supply. Hook up sewer hose.
- Extend slides, keeping eyes on cat. He’s getting pretty used to all of this by now, so he’s usually chill. Deploy leveling jacks. Unplug and stow remote toad brake indicator.
- Extend L sofa and kitchen drawer extension. Turn around captains chairs. Turn on water heater and heat / AC. Lay out throw rugs. Unlock fridge and shower doors. Deploy satellite dish. Re-program main TV for local over the air digital channels.
- Choose motorcycle unloading area. Unload backflip cover, set aside. Extend LoadAll ramp. Unstrap motorcycle and carefully back down ramp, drive to site. Retract ramp and stow wheel chock. Install backflip truck bed cover. Drive truck back to site.
- Unload bicycles. Cover motorcycle and cover / secure bicycles.
- Open a bottle of wine!
As you can see, moving day is quite involved! It typically takes us two hours to pack up completely and get on the road. You can’t rush the process or risk missing something important. We are usually on the road by 9 or 10. By the time we reach our destination, check in, hook up and unload — it is a tiring all-day affair.
That is why we are finding ourselves staying longer at each destination. Doing this once or twice a month isn’t bad, doing it every few days would be entirely too much like work!