As a writer with regular columns to get out I tend to lose track of time and forget what my current month is instead of the publication month that I’m working on. Right now it’s the 24th of December 2007 and the articles on the computer are for March and April 2008. This is the time when most of us will be shaking off the last of winter and getting ready to hit the road. If you approach it like I do there are several thoughts going around in your head, like, did I drain ALL the water from the lines and did I remember to blow-out the toilet valve and sink lines? Now, I live in far, far, far, far, FAR west Texas, about 90-miles from the Texas/New Mexico border so freezing is not one of the things we worry much about, until it happens! We get perhaps 10-days a year when Ma Nature does the frozen water trick and with three RV’s parked outside it always puts a cold rock about mid-chest when I look out and see the temp down in the teens and try to remember iffen I did all the winter storage chores like I was supposed to.
The answer is to follow a check list for shutting down the RV in the fall and another checklist for getting her running in the spring. Now checklists are like all good intentions, they only work if you use them and make a date to get the work done. A couple of very good checklists are the Family Motor Coach Association winter storage guides and their spring cleaning and travel preparation guide. You will also see many good checklist ideas on the RV.net forums or over at Escapees.com where there are checklists for almost everything, speaking of which —
Have you ever noticed that when we want to set-up or get ready to move our RV’s someone always wants to come over and chat? In my case I’ve been doing the RV thing long enough to have “outgrown” the need for checklists. Ya, right ! When someone is talking to me I tend to forget where the heck I was in my processing of mental coming or going checklists. This does not only happen to me! We have a very good friend who has been a fulltimer for close to 20-years. She has been in every continental state and Canada and has written about her travels in several of her books, including several how-to books. We were breaking camp at one of the Life on Wheels conferences in Moscow, ID. and all got to talking to the point that she forgot to unplug her power cord from the mobile power boxes we use at the campus. As I remember it there were about ten of us “RV Experts” laughing, rolling on the ground howling and yelling for her to stop all at the same time while the portable powerbox bounced along behind her Sprinter!!
Another fellow I met uses clothes pins on his steering wheel. They are labeled with, water hose, power cord, chock blocks and so on. When he completes a task he removes the pin and when the steering wheel is empty the checklist is done and down the road he goes. Someone saw what he was dong and though it was such a good idea that they sent it into ten-minute tech column. Overkill? Perhaps, but it works for him and that’s the point. We operate large machines that are complex with many different systems that must operate correctly for our and others safety and comfort. Pilots don’t even think about flying without a checklist, so why would we, after all, it only takes one mistake to – –
The Old Ranger