Get to Know Your RV

With little road experience, it’s especially important that RV beginners take time to learn how the motorhome works, even if it’s just a rental. If something breaks, you should be able to assess the problem, and potentially fix it. This saves time and money spent at a mechanic.

When you get to know your RV, you’re less likely to make operational errors. For example, if you don’t know how many amps your main breaker can handle, there’s a good chance you’ll blow it. This is a potentially expensive error that can be avoided by getting to know your rig.

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RV Canada
2098 Prince of Whales Drive
Ottawa, On Canada
613-226-8228
RV Canada

 

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LED Wax Pillar Candles

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I love romantic lighting, and there’s nothing like candles for that. But having an open flame isn’t great.

Sailing friends of ours introduced us to pillar shaped LED candles made of real wax, and they are delightful. We’ve had ours for five years now, and we’ve had to change the batteries just once.

They are wonderful for dim lighting in the pre-dawn hours or late at night, and they are a nice light around the rig when we watch a movie. The best part is they really look and feel like real candles, but you don’t have the risk that comes with an open flame.

RV Canada
2098 Prince of Whales Drive
Ottawa, On Canada
613-226-8228
RV Canada

 

What Is Level and How Do You Know?

Determining what constitutes “level” inside an imperfectly constructed RV is an interesting trick. We used a carpenter’s level on our kitchen floor, in several directions, and on our table, and on the bedroom floor. Of course, none agreed! But we found a good compromise and then mounted some RV levels on the outside of the rig to give us a reasonable guess when we’re setting up.

There are two different types of levels: Bubble Levels that have an air bubble that floats to the high side, and Ball Levels that have a ball that drops to the low side. Bubble levels are more responsive (the bubble moves more quickly as the RV moves). Ball levels take a few seconds to react. If you use both types, you can get confused because they move in opposite directions.

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RV Canada
2098 Prince of Whales Drive
Ottawa, On Canada
613-226-8228
RV Canada

Leveling the Trailer

There are many methods for getting a trailer level, and hydraulic leveling is a blessing that takes all the excitement out of it. For those without hydraulic leveling, we found in our early years that with two 5′ lengths of 2″x8″ board and one 5′ length of 1″x8″ board we could always find a combination that worked to get the trailer level from side to side. A 5′ board is relatively easy to drive onto and provides a solid platform for the trailer’s wheels.

We store the boards in the bed of the pickup. When using two boards, we stagger them a few inches so the trailer is driven first onto one level and then up a step to the next. We have to remember to back up when coming off stacked boards or the upper one will tip up and hit the bottom of the trailer while driving off it (think of a sailor walking the plank).

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RV Canada
2098 Prince of Whales Drive
Ottawa, On Canada
613-226-8228
RV Canada

Parking Your RV

The most basic element in RVing is learning to hitch up and unhitch, whether you are driving a car pulling a popup, a diesel truck towing a fifth wheel or a Class A motorhome towing a car. Of course, lots of people have loads of fun in their motorhomes without towing a car behind, but getting hitched up and unhitched is part and parcel of the RV lifestyle for an awful lot of us.

The most important thing for the driver and the person standing outside of the rig is to stay in eye contact with each other. This is entirely up to the person running around outside. If you can see the driver’s face in the rear view mirrors, you are golden. If you can’t, then any kind of gesture you make, including jumping up and down and waving your arms because the driver is about to drive the rig right off a cliff, will never be seen.

We use two-way radios to give us a way to talk to each other and to lessen the impact if I inadvertently end up in a position where Mark can’t see me in the rearview mirror. We use the longest distance radios we can get, to make sure the signal is decent. Right now we have 36 mile GMRS radios, which are realistically good to about 3-5 miles. We used these on our boat (a godsend when anchoring) and we’ve used them ever since we started RVing. We’ve gone through three sets so far, because the salt air ate up two pairs during our cruising years.

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RV Canada
2098 Prince of Whales Drive
Ottawa, On Canada
613-226-8228
RV Canada

RV Fun Funds

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Have a “fun fund” for those spur of the moment adventures. If you decide that today is the day you want to go for that hot air ballon ride, do it! Having money set aside for these experiences will make that transition to RV living more enjoyable and fun. We always seek out free and cheap things to do in our travels, but there are some experiences that are worth the splurge.

RV Canada
2098 Prince of Whales Drive
Ottawa, On Canada
613-226-8228
RV Canada

Your RV & Checklists

After too many items flying off the counter and drawers coming unlatched around a corner, we knew it was time to have a checklist. Just like pilots have a pre-flight checklist, it’s important to have a pre-departure checklist for your RV.

Every checklist will be different depending on the type of RV and the gear. In the Class A RV, we checked to make sure the antenna was down, the jack pads were picked up, all the cords and hoses were property stowed. The important thing is to make a comprehensive list and check it EVERY time you leave.

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RV Canada
2098 Prince of Whales Drive
Ottawa, On Canada
613-226-8228
RV Canada