Posted by J Tower on Friday, February 27, 2015
Moving the RV is something we've done a lot of this year. On average we've moved it for one reason or another about once per week or week-and-a-half. In other words, we've gotten pretty good at it out of necessity.
That doesn't mean it's gotten easy, though. It's still a pretty involved process, and whenever we have a "travel day" as we call them, it's quite exhausting for all of us.
Because moving has become such a major part of our routine, I thought it might be interesting for those following our travels closely to get a feel for what a moving day is like.
But first, the all-important "Rule of Moving Day":
A typical moving day will start quite early. After the departure of the summer sun and its long days, it's been even more important to leave right when the sun comes up so we don't inadvertently violate rule #2--never set up in the dark. Most of the year, that's meant leaving between 7:00 and 8:30.
Because of my work schedule, we exclusively move on weekends. When we planned out the trip, we tried to set up milestones about 4-7 hours away from each other that would take us along our 48-state route. Sometimes that meant picking a half-way point just to cut an otherwise long distance in half (I'm looking at you Texarkana). Because of having to move only on weekends,our minimum stay at any one location will be 1 week, unless we want to move on Saturday AND Sunday--and let me tell you, we don't!
Once we're all up and ready, we'll usually break into teams. The kids get themselves ready and pack their activity bags for the car, plus sometimes they help us with tasks like filling up water bottles. Brooke will often focus on the inside of the RV while I go outside.
I'll usually start by putting down the TV/Wi-Fi antenna on the roof and picking up in our room to make sure there's room for the slide to come in. Once it's clear, I'm almost ready to put in the first slide...after I get the go-ahead from Brooke. She prefers I don't close the bedroom off before she's gotten her clothes out and gotten dressed for some reason.
While I'm working at cutting her off from her clothes closet too early, Brooke will be hard at work in the kitchen getting lunches and snacks put together for us to eat in the car. This saves us money, but more importantly, time and the headache of finding a place for lunch where we can park the big rig. She'll also make sure that everything is lashed down and secure inside the RV: shower door, TV, table and chairs, and everything on the kitchen counters.
Meanwhile, I'll be outside emptying the tanks before we disconnect from the sewer. First, the black tank. This is called the black tank for the exact reason you think. It's the very dirty water. Emptying it involves unhooking our fresh water hose so it can be attached to a special "black tank flush" line. Unfortunately, the timing of this often comes right when the water bottles are being filled inside, and someone has to wait. Once the black tank is empty, the two grey tanks are next--full of our cleaner shower, sink, and washing machine water. These are done last to help clean out the sewer line of any "materials" before it's disconnected.
Right about this time, Brooke will come out to ask if she can start pulling in the main slide and the kids' bunkhouse slide. Once I've positioned myself out of the way of the slides (the slides are on the same side as the sewer connection) she will proceed.
Meanwhile, I'll be detaching the fresh water hose, picking up the rear stabilizing jacks, and removing the stabilizing tripod from under the nose of the fifth wheel. Brooke will come out to help remove the chocks and hitch up the truck. We'll pick up the blocks together and make sure we didn't miss anything before we roll. In total, the whole process to this point takes us about an hour.
Once we're ready to go, Brooke will follow me out of the park walking behind the RV to make sure we avoid any obstacles and tight corners. After trying every hand-signal system known to man--I think we even tried semaphore and Morse code--we finally landed on Brooke calling me on the cell phone. I'll put her on the speaker phone in the truck so I can be hands-free and focus on driving. It works GREAT!
Now all that's left to do is drive 4-7 "Google-maps hours" (that's 6-10 human hours going at the speed we go in the RV), stop 2-3 times for gas in potentially tight situations, and then reversing the whole process to set back up when we arrive. To be honest, I feel kind of tired just writing about it all. You can imagine how it adds up to a taxing day, and why we want to spread these days out as much as possible. But, these grueling days are what puts us in different beautiful and amazing locations every week or two, and even though we won't miss it next year, we wouldn't trade it for anything right now.