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Old 09-11-2012, 10:52 PM   #15
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If you have the space, you might try a weekend "campin' in the driveway." Try out all the systems and get familiar with hookups, controls, etc. As you stay in the RV, you can determine what "necessities" you might have forgotten to pack. (And since you're in the driveway, no problem. ) Good luck and have fun.

Oh...and welcome to the forum.

.2012 Fleetwood Bounder 33C
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:18 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by RapTaz
One thing I haven't seen mentioned is to have and use a "donut" when you dump your tanks. I was very curtly informed by a neighbor while in Arizona that they are required by law in that state, so you might check to see if they are required where you happen to be. Since I now have one I use it out of simple courtesy reguardless if required or not.
What is a donut and how is it used?

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Old 09-12-2012, 06:46 AM   #17
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Don't forget to use your camera. Backed into the neighbors lamp post the first time we left for a trip; didn't see it in the side mirror but would have been easy to see with the camera....just saying. Also, agree with don't be in a hurry. Stop and walk around the coach especially walk around the site you're pulling into before forging ahead; took off a water spout head getting in a hurry. Also, when trying to fix something...if it doesn't move don't force it....broke a window latch that time. Good luck...there are great stories out there by people who have been doing this a looooong time and I'm sure getting in a hurry, not checking your mental list is the prime reason for these little mistakes.... Another tip, avoid sand...won't go there.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:58 AM   #18
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Welcome to the forum and congrats on the new MH. Every thing has pretty much been covered. You just have to learn a routine and make a list. Left a campground once during a trip and realized when I got to the next one some 200 miles later that the TV antennae was still up. Haven't done that since.
John, Deb; & our dog, Benji, Forever in our hearts.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:03 AM   #19
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I found this RV Checklist

and now use it as a "Pilot to Co-Pilot" style check point for departure

Trip Information


Days Before Departure
Print this checklist
Print the RV Arrival & Setup Checklist: Motor Homes
Confirm reservations at destination
Change postal mail forwarding instructions (hold or start sending to new location)
Pay RV bills for current location (ask about deposit refund)
Prepare maps and directions
Wash laundry (if facilities will not be available during trip)
Buy groceries and supplies for trip
Check propane bottle levels, fill if needed
Check generator fuel levels, fill if needed (keep in mind fuel weight)
Check two-way radio batteries (for communicating with spotter)
Check flashlight battery
Check motor home fluid levels (oil, transmission, brake, coolant, power steering)
If towing behind the motor home or carrying a hitch platform, inspect hitch to make sure it is attached securely to the motor home (nuts, bolts, welding, etc.)
Close gray tank valves to collect water for flushing sewer hose after dumping black tank
Fill fresh water tank to desired level (keep in mind water weight)
Day of Departure
Check motor home tire pressure
Check motor home wheel lug nut torque
If towing, check trailer or toad tire pressure
If towing, check trailer wheel lug nut torque
Clean motor home windows and mirrors
Pick up postal mail
Arrange breakable items in fridge to prevent breakage
Fill drinking water containers
Lower roof-mounted TV antenna
Lower roof-mounted satellite dish (TV & Internet)
Collect and store all items from outside the RV (chairs, mats, satellite dishes on tripods, grills, etc.)
Secure items inside cabinets and storage compartments
Secure items on kitchen sink and counter
Secure items on bathroom sink
Secure items in shower
Secure all other loose items
Latch shower and closet doors
Latch all cabinet doors (use heavy Velcro strips, rope, or elastic cords for doors likely to open during adverse driving conditions)
Latch refrigerator doors
Close and latch stove top and oven door
Lock tabs on external range hood vent
Secure TV's and sliding TV trays
Secure other entertainment electronics (stereo, DVD, VCR, etc.)
Secure computer and accessories (laptop, monitor, printer)
Secure all other items in and near driving compartment which may fall on or otherwise injure passengers during an emergency
Close roof vents and windows (except those left open for ventilation)
Remove decorative and other items from awnings and store (lights, bird feeders, etc.)
Stowe and secure awnings
Check slide tops for debris and water
Move items out of the slides' way inside the RV
Move in slides and lock slide mechanism, if available
Lay down and pad large items which may fall or shift (chairs, tables, cabinets, etc.)
Confirm that all sliding trays are latched and secure (external storage compartment trays, propane bottle trays, battery trays)
Empty black tanks (do this first so sewer hose gets flushed with contents of gray tanks)
Close black tank valves
Empty gray tanks
Close gray tank valves
Add treatment chemicals and a small amount of water to black tanks
If traveling with pets, make arrangements for their needs (put food, water, bed, leash, etc. into accessible area of motor home)
Disconnect cable TV and telephone line, and store cables
Disconnect electricity, and store cable and adapters
Disconnect sewer hose, and store hose and relating accessories
Disconnect water hose, and store hose and relating accessories
Confirm that refrigerator is running on 12 volt DC or is turned off (if 120 volt AC is available in the motor home, then it may stay on AC)
Turn off all other propane appliances (water heater, furnace)
Shut off all propane bottle valves (unless propane is necessary for the operation of motor home)
Discard all trash
Stowe all remaining external RV features such as hand rails, steps, decks, etc.
Secure all items carried on outside or roof of RV (chairs, bicycles, coolers, etc.)
Raise or remove all stabilizing jacks
Raise leveling jacks
Collect and store leveling blocks from under jacks
Remove wheel chocks
Confirm that all is clear under the RV (all jacks are raised or removed)
Confirm that all slides are moved in completely and check overall exterior of RV for protruding items
If RV wheels are resting on leveling blocks, move RV off blocks, collect and store blocks
If carrying items on hitch platform, load and secure (bicycles, motorcycles, etc.)
If towing, hitch trailer or toad to motor home
Close all internal doors (bathroom, bedroom, living room)
Lock all external RV doors and panels
Check motor home lights (including signal and brake lights)
If towing, check trailer or toad brakes
If towing, double check that trailer or toad is hitched securely to motor home. Confirm that all safety devices have been correctly applied.
Perform a final walk around. Look under and around RV. Confirm all jacks are up and nothing is protruding from sides or roof.
Check motor home mirrors, and adjust if necessary
Leave marker in RV slot, if returning (common markers are tables, chairs, or a vehicle)
Fuel up the motor home
If you are not certain how much your RV weighs, drive to a truck scale and confirm that all weights are within motor home ratings (see Understanding RV Weights)
This resource is available as a Word document.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:28 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by bluepill View Post
A couple of hours spent with a commercial driving instructor was very valuable to me. Learned a lot about air brakes and proper lane usage in a large vehicle.

I was always taught that the biggest or oldest vehicle has the right of way?
Good Luck, Be Safe and Above All, Don't Forget To Have Fun
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:12 AM   #21
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All good advice. Camping in the driveway to work out the process is great advice.
I'll add a few:
1) It is good to learn how to laugh and learn from your mistakes.
At the end of the day, go over any mistakes with your DW and figure out a better way for next time.
2) Pick a gas pump that you can drive away from without hitting it - you may have to wait in line a little longer.
3) Don't back up unless you know what's back there.
4) Learn how to use those mirrors - and don't hit a tree with them.
5) Be aware of your height - tree limbs poke holes in rubber roofs. Eternabond tape fixes holes (it's good to have a roll along).
6) Stop early - don't push it - be flexible in your plans. Like it was previously said - slow down and enjoy the trip. See lots of National and State Parks.
7) Watch YouTube videos to learn how to (and not to do) do things like dumping tanks. There are good videos on driving skills as well.
8) Have fun, smile, go prior to being to old or sick to go. No one lives forever.
Tom and Amy from Northern Virginia.
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Life is a DIY project, so own less and live more
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:45 AM   #22
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Always, and I do mean ALWAYS, look up when pulling into somewhere you are not familiar with, be it a service station or a campsite. A lifetime of driving an auto does not condition us to look for overhead obstacles. Walk into a campsite before backing in.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:18 AM   #23
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We just bought a class A MH after owning a 5th wheel for many years. We decided to spend a week at a campground that was 3 miles from our home in order to learn and get used to our new RV. We wanted to be in a campground setting like those we would have on the road. It's amazing how much you learn in that period of time. It also enabled us to conveniently run back and forth to get things we might need or run to the stores for overlooked items (and there were many). We figured if we ran into issues it would be better to deal with them here and now as opposed to far away in an unfamiliar environment. It worked great for us. We feel much more confident, comfortable and road ready
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:18 AM   #24
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

Great advice so far IMO.

I'll specifically emphasize 1) Don't be in a hurry... 2) Get out and look (GOAL)... 3) Develop a "walk around" routine. I usually do three: one as I disconnect, where I make sure it's ok to bring in the slides... one after I've brought in the slides to ensure everything seated properly and all bay doors are latched... and one final to make sure the toad hook up and lights are good and that there is nothing still sticking up on the roof.

As mentioned, learn what your vertical clearance is always be mindful of it. If you are wanting to get away from civilization, also be aware of your ground clearance... which isn't much on many Class A rigs.

Best of luck.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 09-12-2012, 09:25 AM   #25
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What is a donut for dumping tanks??
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:32 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Chuck13 View Post
What is a donut for dumping tanks??
I think it refers to a rubber, doughnut looking seal which can be pressed lightly into the CG sewer opening to form an air tight seal between your sewer hose and the CG sewer pipe.

I think most CGs these days have threaded openings so I prefer that more secure connection. Using the doughnut is common courtesy since our sewer hook ups are usually right near our neighbor's picnic table and it's not nice to let those sewer gases continually escape.

Not only will you find that there are often laws requiring air tight connections but in some cases they also require some form of sewer hose support to ensure that the hose drains properly rather than just being stretched along the ground.

Good luck

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 09-12-2012, 01:34 PM   #27
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Great advice so far wish I would have found this kind of advice before I drove cross country (New York to Cali) when I picked up my new to me class A.
I recommend a two way radio highly!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I use this one.. Full Duplex Wireless Headsets
Easy to use and you don't have to press a button to talk so your hands are always on the wheel.
GOAL even when you are 100% sure get out and be 110% sure!
"They see you" so go slow don't try to hurry and get out of the way. You see big rigs do this all the time, block traffic till they are lined up perfectly.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:52 PM   #28
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Good advice so far, thanks!

As far as the driving of the motorhome is concerned I will have an advantage over most folks that are just starting out. I have a current CDL and driven straight trucks and semi's as well as towed numerous trailers. Rarely, did I have help from a spotter so stopping to get out and look is second nature to me. I am pretty confident the driving and backing up part will not be overly difficult.

The concerns I have mostly deal with the stuff on which I have zero experience, all the hookups and setup as well as break down and put away. Most of these questions seemed to have been answered and the checklist app for my ipad is probably the way I will go.

Thanks again,

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