So full disclosure and as previously noted - we have no idea what we are doing. Which is sort of what is making this so much fun. We are scouring the internet to discover all the tips and tricks, all the 'things we wish we'd known before we took off in our RV' articles, and just the process of learning and sharing info with each other has been a great part of our trip preparation. A couple of observations:
- Planning the Route - We have spent a ton of time on roadtrippers.com figuring out what we think are going to be the best options, taking into consideration what we want to see (of course) and how much we want to drive each day. You can add or delete destination points on the fly and there are layers to see camp sites, points of interest, etc. We are now planning to stop at places we wouldn't have thought of without some of those layers (The Forrest Gump spot in Mexican Hat is now on the itinerary!) so huge props to the people who make the site. Pro Planning Tip: that stretch across the Texas panhandle and Oklahoma is probably going to be a marathon of driving with perhaps less to see than we would have hoped.
- Pulling an RV - This is probably one of the things we've been most anxious about. I spent summers as a teen where it was likely I'd be driving a truck and pulling a gutter machine behind on a trailer, so the actual mechanics of driving isn't that big a deal for me, but there is a lot more to it than that. For starters, just getting the tow attached to the car was a big deal - and not because it was complicated. You go to UHaul and they sort it for you. But you have to know if it's a 7-pin or a 5-pin, there are now camper braking options and we are just nervous that the car will be powerful enough to pull the camper. Because if we get out of LA on level roads just fine, but discover on the first major incline that we don't have enough power, this trip is going to get weird fast.
- Then there is the question of security - We've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how concerned we should really be about leaving the camper at a campsite while we are off exploring in the car and we've surmised that yes, we should probably be concerned. Or concerned enough to buy that piece of equipment to keep someone from easily popping it on the back of their truck and taking off with it. We are excited to become the owners of this super cool camper but it has occurred to us that it may also look super cool to people who have a questionable ethical compass.
- Leveling is a thing! - Who knew? It seems like it is probably a bigger deal for bigger campers with more complex electrics, but you do need to level and you do need a bit of gear to do that well.
- Bar menu - obviously something we need to put more time into, but I believe we need a signature drink for the trip because when you choose the optional exterior bar as part of the purchase price of your new camper, you want to plan out your festive beverages. Yes, I know this is sort of a silly add-on, but our logic went something like: looks cool, looks fun, may be marginally useful when camping, probably wicked useful when hosting tailgate parties in the driveway.
There is a lot of stuff to buy - I mean, a lot. Sure, we could probably do without that enamelware camping plate set I'm about to buy, but the surge protector that runs $350 is something we decided we didn't want to defer. Seems like there is a lot of variability in power source management at campgrounds that offer electricity and without one, we run the risk of frying the electrics. Doesn't sound good, so better get one of those too.
Because Mike is driving the car out the week before I get to LA, it means we can put a ton of stuff in the car so we are kitted out properly as we start the journey. Yay for Mike taking one for the team and driving the car out - but he is still slated to do that solo, so if you want to take a week to hang out with him in a car. For hours on end. Without really seeing a lot other than road. Give him a shout.