I’ve seen the question posed before, asking about taking an RV to California and what needs done to make it earthquake ready. I always chuckle a bit at this question. I drive around following behind my 5th wheel at 65 mph and I see it sway back and forth and bump over potholes and go over huge bumps where I can literally see the back end come up off of the suspension, not to mention sudden stops and steep grades. I always cringe a little, wondering what we will find has moved or broken this time. I am here to tell you the tales of the things that move.
Now, when we were first considering moving into an RV I expected to have to downsize and I expected to have a bit of a challenge with storage of things but I had not thought as much about storage of things while the RV was actually moving. It certainly keeps us on our toes. We will have moved the RV ten times with a certain item in a certain position with no problem whatsoever and then that eleventh time it will suddenly have moved or fallen or broken. It keeps life interesting wondering what moved this trip.
Over time we have also gotten tired of securing or arranging things before we could move the RV so as we go we keep making accommodations so that we have less to do before we take off. Ha! The very first time we moved the RV we were not even fully moved in yet and Kevin did not think that his big tool box would go anywhere because it was heavy and had locking wheels. I was surprised that the tool box made it the entire 3-hour trip without moving, but then it crashed into the back wall while we were maneuvering up a hill in the campground. Now, before we travel the toolbox is secured to the wall with a cinch strap. We used to take the TV down and put it on our bed for travel, which was really annoying if we were traveling for more than one day, because we would have to find a place to put the TV so we could sleep. Now it also has a strap to hold it in place. We also recently screwed Kevin’s second computer monitor to the underside of a shelf so we do not have to move it every time we travel. We used to have pictures sitting above our slide-out that had to be taken down. Those are all screwed to the wall now too.
Before we got the Annex, Kevin’s motorcycle would travel cinched and ratcheted down in the kids’ bedroom, but one time when we stopped for a break we checked on it and the 750 pound motorcycle was just standing free in the back room!!! I was glad it had not fallen over! One of the mirrors had broken off and some paint had been rubbed off of the front fender. It turned out that the screws holding one of the floor anchors in place had worked their way out. Kevin had to anchor the cycle to an anchor point on the other side of the room. It was not ideal but it did the trick for the rest of the trip.
How are we going to get into the back room?
Numerous times thing have happened to block the door from the main part of our RV into the back room/kids room. Early on we had a shelving unit next to the door and boxes or games occasionally fell off and landed to block the door. Once we had the ladder for the loft somewhere back there and it blocked the door. I think one time the chest freezer slid a bit from the other side and blocked the door. Most recently though we had a pack-n-play next to that door and it would always slide out making it completely impossible to open that door at all. We are thankful to also have an exterior door back there for situations like these. Right now we have the dog crate in that space though I think we have learned our lesson and just keep that door bungeed open for travel.
Ladder and blender
One time we just had a quick trip a mile or so down the road for an annual DOT inspection. We did not prepare well and did not go through our checklist because it was literally just down the road. We just threw the ladder for the loft up in the loft without paying attention to exactly how it was positioned. On the way there someone stopped very fast in front of us and Kevin had to slam on the brakes. We were fortunate to not have hit them. When we arrived at our destination the ladder was partially blocking our front door along with most of the contents of the nearest kitchen cabinet. Our blender had a large chip out of the top but is still usable. I can just imagine what kind of projectile that ladder was during the sudden stop and am glad it did not hit the TV. There is now a hook on that kitchen cabinet and we are more careful with the ladder.
Toys and Legos
Picture Legos showering down from the loft onto our couch and floor. This has happened many times. We just can’t learn. If we remember to tuck the loft curtain under the loft mattress that generally stops the problem.
Our IKEA couch likes to slide around just a bit during travel, since it is not secured to the floor. Then it is hard to open the fridge. Now we push one of our wheel chocks up under it before we travel and that generally does the trick.
One time after a particularly hilly road between San Angelo and San Antonio TX we came inside to find the cabinet with all our breakable dishes standing wide open. The plastic cups that had been in the back of the cabinet were the only things that had fallen out. We are thankful for that and the cabinet door now has a hook also.
Glass fruit bowl
My Aunt Juli has her own stained glass studio and makes some wonderful things. I have a bowl, that I love, that we use to put fruit in that sits behind our kitchen sink. For the longest time it was like the bowl was almost glued to its spot. It was hard to move so we left it there and it never did move. That is until one trip when I came inside to find it perched precariously on the edge of the counter. Ever since then it is put away wrapped in a blanket or towels for travel.
One time Pie forgot to push the fridge all the way closed. The only thing that fell out was a container of lasagna that cracked the plastic but did not make a mess. It could have been so much worse!
I saved the best for last… RV refrigerators are, well, a constant study in Tetris mastery. We play refrigerator Tetris all the time. The only thing that really doesn’t ever move is the milk. There is one place and one place only in our refrigerator for a gallon of milk to sit. The shelf above is specifically shaped to fit the milk jug just so. Even so, on one of our recent trips I didn’t think anything of it when we finished off the gallon of milk and pitched it into the trash. (Just so you know, this is where it all went wrong.) Apparently the fridge needs that milk jug. It keeps things from falling off of the upper shelf. So, on one of our stops after I had fed and changed the baby I came inside to find Bug just finishing up cleaning up the floor. He says that when he opened the fridge the container of pudding fell out and spilled a little. He said he put the container back in the fridge, but couldn’t find the lid, but not to worry because it wouldn’t spill. Well, we were in a hurry to get back on the road so I thought I would look at it later. I kept thinking about it though. Where was the lid? It had been a full big container but only a small amount had spilled? Or had he just cleaned up the full amount (this was very unlikely). I assumed from all of this that there was still some delicious pudding to be had after dinner, but when I had time to look later I found that the container was completely empty and that is why I did not have to worry about it spilling. Apparently, with the hole left by the milk jug the container of pudding was able to fall down and land in the door pocket hard enough for the lid to come off. There was pudding strewn through the bottom of the refrigerator and filling the whole bottom of the door pocket. When Bug had opened the door only the empty container had fallen out. By the time we reached our destination and were able to put out the slide and open the fridge fully the pudding was completely filling the door pocket and oozing out the bottom and getting in all of the door seals, coming out the front of the fridge and there is probably still some that made its way inside the door that I could not get out. What fun! Moral of the story? Do NOT remove the empty milk jug from the fridge while traveling!
Based on all these “learning experiences”, we have made a “Before we move the RV” checklist. The checklist includes things like hooking cabinets closed, securing various items, and of course things like checking tire pressure, greasing the hitches, and making sure the TV antenna is flat against the roof. However, this list has become a rather fluid list as we find ways to permanently secure items (and thus remove them from the list), only to find a new item that we had not previously thought about that needs added to the list. RV travel is definitely a learning experience…even after 2.5 years.