Lessons Learned During Weekend RV Travel Season
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Weekend RV travel season is winding down for us again, and Axl Roads has been tucked safely away for the winter.
Now we have enough time and distance to reflect on the collective lessons we’ve learned this year – and to add them to the ones we’ve picked up in the past!
Despite COVID making our travels a little less social in 2020, we appreciated our time out of the house more than ever.
We drove, hiked, adventured, and snacked all over Pennsylvania and into Ohio, Maryland, and West Virginia.
As always, there are those experiences & situations we wish we would have handled a little better!
Which is why we wanted to tack on a few more lessons to our original post, 5 Lessons We Learned This Weekend RV Travel Season – so we’ve edited, added, and re-upped it here.
Your favorite morning beverage presents a conundrum every year, so we’ve kept it as the bonus lesson. (Every year we run into a coffee sitch. Every year.)
1. Save a little all year to fund big RV repairs.
We've had RV seasons where repairs totaled in the hundreds, and we've had those where they totaled into the thousands.
As owners of a 23-year-old rig, we always expect surprises. We set aside extra money throughout the year to tackle things that come up in the summer without warning – and you definitely should, too!
Saving $100 a month during the year specifically for these situations can fund unexpected repairs and replacements during your RV travel season!
2. Understand Your Map and Ask Questions Before You Set Out
More than once while hiking, we have found ourselves at trail breaks we didn't expect or signs that didn't correspond with what was on the map.
Fortunately we found our way out, and it always ended well.
But what could we have done? What can you do to make your day more navigable?
State park maps are fairly accurate, but the people inside the Park Office are much more on point!
Before you set out to hike for the day, stop in the Park Office or look for a Ranger and share your plans. Ask if there is anything to look out for or any recent changes to the trails you plan to cover.
Also, spend some time getting familiar with the map and orient yourself – are you near cabins? A parking lot? Are you headed towards a road? Mark the map up with stars and lines and arrows if that’s helpful.
And don’t be afraid to carry a compass! It can at least tell you which direction is north, and you can match that to the map so you have a general idea where you’re going – or should go.
3. Always take water. ALWAYS.
Twice last year we didn't have water on a hike where we wished we did - once because we didn't think we'd need it and once because we ran out sharing it with the dogs.
4. Get New Supplies, Don't Hold Over From Last Year
Have you ever tried to use toothpaste or lotion that has been in a stored RV through the winter and spring, freezing & unfreezing, over & over?
It’s not pretty. Don’t do it. Your toothpaste will taste like runny glue and your lotion will be lumpy.
When you close your RV up for the season, get the toiletries out of there. They are no friend of yours come spring!
Once the new RV travel season rolls around, stash a complete necessities kit under your sink – just in case you ever forget anything, you’ll have at least a small size to tide you over.
5. Know Your Firewood (or Pallets)
A manufacturing company near us stacks pallets outside for people to take for free- and we happily obliged. All summer long, we used our paper bags as kindling and pallets to feed the flames.
Then, someone at work asked me if that was safe to do. I shrugged, and then ran for the Google.
Turns out, most pallets are safe to burn…but some are very unsafe to burn!
Some pallets are treated with an awful chemical used as a fumigant & pesticide called methyl bromide and are labeled with an “MB” stamp. It’s toxic and can cause lung & neurological damage- yikes!
So if you plan to use pallets as firewood, check for the stamp first.
Also, buy your firewood as close to where you are camping as possible. Many states – like Pennsylvania with the spotted lanternfly – have different bugs, plant diseases, and fungi they are trying to prevent from spreading.
Buy it where you burn it is a great line from DontMoveFirewood.org. Check them out for resources about firewood, including summaries for states- like this one for Pennsylvania.
6. Research Local "Diamonds in the Rough"
Even though we visit & hike in state parks, the journey is always part of the destination.
Take the time to map out your route and research what interesting things there are along the way. Every state has their own gems – we’ve definitely seen quite a few in Pennsylvania!
7. Stock All Coffee Supplies. ALL.
So. Many. Coffee. Disasters.
First trip, year one: no coffee maker. First trip, year two: used marshmallows as sugar. First trip, year three: used milk as creamer. First trip, year four: forgot coffee cups.
It’s a sad, sad morning when you wake up in an RV with no coffee.
Or only parts of coffee.
Don’t let this happen to you!
One last tip: if you use liquid coffee creamer, SCREW THAT CAP ON TIGHT.
Coming home from a weekend hiking trip, we heard Hazel scrambling around in the back of the RV while we were driving.
We turned around to see her licking up, oh, about a pint of flavored creamer off the floor. We hadn’t put the cap back on tight enough, and it had tipped while we were driving – spilling sloooowly out of the refrigerator.
We hope you can turn our RV travel season lessons into your handy tips for next year!
Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and Happy Safe Travels!