Tag Archives: Throwback Thursday Post

Throwback Thursday: Moving Days

Since we are in the process of packing up to move North, I thought it was a good time to revisit this Throwback Thursday post! The main thing that has changed since posting this a year ago, is that Pumpkin is now a bit calmer about the whole proceeding.  He still doesn’t LIKE it, and may retreat behind the TV to get out of the way, but he pops out as soon as we hit the road. And once we reach our new destination he’s totally chill. Pumpkin is an RV adventure cat now!


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!

Throwback Thursday Post: Sedona Summary

Just a year ago we were in Sedona, AZ! Enjoy this Throwback Thursday Post.

IMG_3700Sedona is an unusual, magical place. Its red rock buttes and spires emerge unexpectedly from the surrounding desert, casting a rosy glow over the landscape. I can see why the area has been viewed as sacred by peoples for many thousands of years.

We happened to arrive here during college spring break season, which made the area unexpectedly busy. The town of Sedona is divided into two sections: the original “Uptown” Sedona and the sprawling, newer West Sedona. Uptown Sedona reminds me of Gatlinburg, with its shops full of souvenirs, T-shirts and jerky.  However, Sedona offers a new age twist with a number of crystal shops and places to get psychic readings or aura photos. (As opposed to Gatlinburg’s moonshine breweries?!) Both get quite crowded during high season, and that’s what we hit. We also got hit by 15+% tax when we ate one lunch downtown! There’s a county tax, city tax and a health fee (?). Definitely a tourist town with tourist town prices. But fun to explore nonetheless.

IMG_3707The best way to see the area’s beauty is to get out on trails and hike or bike. There are a variety of trails of all levels (easy to difficult), and many of the most interesting and beautiful vantage points can be reached with just a moderate hike. One such point is devil’s bridge, a natural sandstone arch that the brave can cross. I wasn’t that brave. I clutched firm rock from a safe distance away and watched as the courageous waited in line to venture out on what appeared to be a VERY thin bridge hundreds of feet up in the air, in order to get that great Facebook photo. I am told that the bridge was wider than it looked, but I will take their word for it!

Other trails lead to the Sedona energy vortexes, four purported energy centers spaced around Sedona city.  A vortex is said to be an area of particularly strong subtle energy, that works on your body’s energy field to uplift and energize. People travel from all over the world to visit and experience these vortexes (properly, vortices, but that’s not how people say it here). We visited all four during our stay. Each vortex was placed in an area of unusual beauty. One can’t help but feel grounded and peaceful in such surroundings, out in nature, drinking in the beauty, soaking up the sunlight. And maybe, that’s the point.

IMG_3712The area is also known for the extensive network of mountain biking trails. According to Jeff, it is sweet single track through hard pack clay and slick rock. He liked that most of the trails could be done in loops (rather than out and back) and he never felt truly isolated anywhere (unlike the Big Bend area). He is so busy having fun that he is a couple of months behind in his mountain bike trail reviews!

thumbnail_IMG_3301As we found in New Mexico, ancient peoples left their marks on the landscape here in the form of cliff and hilltop dwellings and petroglyphs. Interesting historical sites in this area include Montezuma Castle (cliff dwellings), Tuzigoot historical monument (ancient hilltop village), and Palatki Heritage site (cliff dwellings and petroglyphs). All are unique, but the Palatki site’s petroglyphs were especially interesting in that they showed a continuous record of rock art spanning back more than 10,000 years. It is always fascinating to learn about the interweaving of ancient cultures. And all of the sites are covered by our National Park pass!

Our exploration of the area isn’t complete without sampling the local cuisine and wineries. The Verde Valley area (where we camped) is known as Arizona wine country with a dozen or so vineyards. We visited several, but our favorite was Alcantara Vineyards, the first and oldest in the area, with over 13,000 vines and 12 varietals. The sociable lady pouring our wine tasting also happened to be a knowledgeable mountain biker and she and Jeff launched into a discussion comparing trail systems from here to Vancouver. Their super Tuscan blend and Merlot were particularly tasty and a bottle of each now resides in our bus. Not for long, though.

Our favorite eatery was a small, family owned diner known as Pepe’s Café. It’s got all of the attributes of the best kind of diner – quick service, good food, and inexpensive. A full dinner plate of home made goodness runs about $8. We went there twice.

Our fun here was enhanced by the fact that Jeff’s brother was able to fly out and join us. Sedona is a place we’ll definitely come back to – and stay longer. Tomorrow, we pack up and head off to Las Vegas as our westward track continues!