If you are considering downsizing from a home (what we full-timers call ‘bricks & mortar’) then this guide is for you! And if you have arrived here from 33 Reasons Why Living In An RV Full Time Beats Living in a House, then thanks so much!
This post will share my experiences, and those of other full-timers on the steps that are necessary to make the transition from a house to full time RVing!
This is the 2nd article of a three-part series about living simply. The three posts include:
- Could you live in an RV Full time?
- A beginner’s guide to getting ready for full time RVing
- What Does It Mean to Live a Simple Life?
Also, the guide starts after you have decided to sell your home or sublet and have chosen your new RV home! At the end of the post I’ve listed a number of resources for you to check out to help you with those decisions.
This guide will cover:
1. Downsizing and getting rid of your stuff
2. Stocking the RV – what you need to live comfortably
3. RV Equipment
4. RV Maintenance and Roadside Assistance
5. Getting into the Full Time RVing Mindset
6. RV Tips and Tricks (downloadable checklist!)
And since there is so much information in this post you may want to save it as a PDF for later!
- Where you currently live?
- Do you have a house to sell?
- Or an apartment to sublet?
- What type of RV do you want to live in?
- A travel trailer, like an ultralight or 5th wheel?
- A motorhome – Class A, B or C
- A more fixed residence like with a destination trailer or park model where you will stay in one spot for several months per year, and then travel to the second destination (this is what we do now!)
These are the fun decisions, going to RV shows, researching on the internet, checking out the facebook groups, figuring out what it will cost!
So now you’ve made those decisions or at least narrowed them down to a few finalists. But before you put the house up for sale, or sublet your apartment or townhouse, here’s our Ultimate Guide of How To Prepare for Full Time RVing – or Full timing as the regulars call it! 🙂
Downsizing Your Stuff – It’s Time
If you live in a house chances are you have acquired lots and lots of stuff! I know, I feel your pain. For us we had an entire basement, and four bedroom home full of stuff. Oh and did I mention the loft in the garage? No? Well that too.
The decluttering and organization experts tell us that to get rid of our stuff we need a number of piles – to sort everything into.
So I created four categories:
Stuff to Sell
Stuff we just had to keep
Stuff to give away
Stuff to throw away
Each category has its own coloured post it note. How we survived all this time without post-its I have no idea. But I digress.
Sounds easy right? Well for us, this was the most painful part of the process. Let me explain.
1. Stuff to Sell:
We used a number of different ways to sell stuff – ebay, Craiglist, privately through friends and of course the tried and true Yard Sale or Tag Sale as some might call it. Deciding what to sell wasn’t the hard part. It was seeing it sell for mere pennies on the dollar. All that money we had spent on a snowblower, small trailer, shelving for the garage, overhead travel bin for the car.
So please be prepared, and be ready that this will happen to you too. We left our tag sale until late in the process – only two weeks before closing on the sale of our house. So we really had to get rid of it all. No need for a snowblower, no place to put that beautiful wicker patio set we bought for the oversized deck on our oversized house. You get the picture right?
Now lots of furniture and big ticket items just didn’t sell, so we decided to donate it to local charities. They are always so grateful, and this helps people in need so it really did take the sting out of the lost $$.
2. Stuff You Just Have to Keep
Now in this category are the treasures and mementos that you are unwilling to part with. We divided these into things we could:
- Give away now – like grandma’s rocking chair to my niece
- Put into storage for the future.
- Items you can use in the RV
The heirlooms and treasures again, that was the easy part. It was the treasures we had accumulated as a family over the years. In our case it was the art work we had collected during our travels. I could not part with it. I just couldn’t. So we had a small amount of items that store either in the storage shed in the park, or in a regular storage locker, all well wrapped so that the elements can’t hurt them.
Someday you will leave the open road, and want this stuff, and it will be there waiting for you. I figured that the low $$ per month storage was well worth the peace of mind. Usually the smallest locker you can rent is 10x10 so keep that in mind.
Kitchen items like a slow-cooker, small pressure cooker and toaster oven are great assets to any RV kitchen! Most RVs have a microwave and there are lots of awesome recipes you can make, and bake! It doesn’t have to be all BBQ!
I recommend two sets of sheets, pillowcases and blankets, so that when one needs to be washed, you have a second set. The same with towels. Everything else give away.
3. Stuff You Can Give Away
Clothing fits into this category, and usually kitchen equipment, bedding and towels. There is only so much room in an RV for everything, so you need to prioritize. You might have friends whose kids are setting up their first apartment or going to college. This section also includes dry and canned goods that you won’t be able to use that aren’t expired. Pack up the car and make a trip to your local food bank. They will receive them gratefully.
Post a note to all your friends on facebook and let them know that if it isn’t picked up by a specific time and date, it’s going to get pitched.
4. Stuff You Throw Away
I think we are collectors by nature. If you are a Costco shopper or keep a large pantry of dry and canned goods in your basement, check the expiry dates.
Chances are that great deal on salad dressing didn’t get used up. I still have 12 bottles of toilet bowl cleaner, but there ya go.
Items that are still good that you can’t fit into the RV are great items to drop off at your local food bank.
Everything else gets boxed up and taken to the landfill. You need to keep in mind how they will receive certain items, like electronics and other recyclables. We were given a coupon by our realtor for a local company that hauled everything away for you for a flat fee. We were down to the wire by that time, I think the house closed the next day, so it was a lifesaver!
The Important Details
RV Maintenance & Insurance:
This is a big one, and we thought we had it covered, but alas didn’t. If you buy a used RV, then make sure it is road ready and safe. To read about our early experience and a cautionary tale, click here.
Pay particular attention to the tires people. Often these RVs have been sitting somewhere, and those tires haven’t run on the road in a long time. Put at least $1500 in the budget for a good set of new tires. (this is approximate cost for a Fifth Wheel, tires for a motorhome will be more)
If this is your first rodeo take the time to meet with the RV dealer, or former owner. Have them take you through the basics, like how to hook up the sewer hose pipe, where the black and grey water valves are, and how to dump the holding tanks. A huge set of heavy rubber gloves is a good investment for this chore!
Most RVs (new and used) come with a stack of warranty and User guides – everything from the floor to the roof vents. Be sure to keep this in a place where you can find it at a moment’s notice. Better still, set up a three ring binder and file it all by product. This will save you so much time, and when we travelled we referred to our warranties and User Guides many many times.
Insurance and Roadside Assistance round up this section. Insurance on your RV as well as your vehicle – they are not one and the same. Choose a deductible that your budget will stand. I’m not an insurance expert by any means, but of course like your car insurance, the higher the deductible, the less you will pay in premiums.
We highly recommend Good Sam Roadside Assistance. They are the gold standard in my opinion, and helped out of some really difficult situations. Don’t skimp on this. Have it all set up before you leave.
Getting Into the right mindset
While hitting the open road, and living full time in an RV appeals to the romantics in all of us, there are definitely adjustments you need to make.
You need to be ready for a lot of togetherness. This is small space living at its finest, some call it glamping! There is no spare bedroom to get up and go to when your partner is snoring. But the sound of rain on the roof of your RV when you are all snug and cozy inside is blissful.
RV Living requires some planning too. Like laundry days, when to restock on groceries, travel time and having fun!
Be prepared for the naysayers too. Family and friends just may not understand why your leaving your jobs, selling your house and embracing the full time RV lifestyle. I’m sure our family doesn’t quite understand it yet, even 4 years later!
For some there is even a negative connotation for living in an RV or trailer. But people have their own built-in beliefs and prejudices. You can’t change that. Hopefully they will see how happy and balanced your life is and they will want to try RV living too!
Seriously, all you can do is reassure them that you haven’t lost your mind, and that you will send them photos of your travels. And with the technology we have today, you can stay in touch anytime you can find a WIFI signal.
Now you Need New Stuff
Stocking the RV:
Shopping is a good thing anytime, so as you have been getting rid of stuff, there are certain things that you just won’t have that are necessary to full time RV living. Measure your kitchen space, and closets to see what will and what won’t fit. Places like Amazon and Camping World are great resources for new stuff.
There is now a need for 1 ply toilet paper for example. That thick ultra-soft 3 ply stuff you used at home just won’t work in an RV. Oh you can use it, but the first time you have a plugged sewer hose, you’ll never use it again!
RV equipment essentials:
- Wheel chocks
- Levelling blocks
- Fifth wheel hitch and king pin stabilizer
- Torque wrench
- Tire pressure gauge
- Sewer hose pipe
- Sewer hose pipe rack to keep it off the ground
- Outdoor extensions cords
- 30 amp adapter plug (most RVs have 50 amp electrical plugs so this lets you plug in to a 30 amp service)
- Clear sewer connector
- Water hose and water filter
- Zero gravity chairs for lounging
- Propane BBQ (table top for travel)
- Several large plastic bins for underneath storage
21 RV Tips and Tricks – Your Checklist for Carefree RV Living!
You can download these printables here!
Transitioning from a house to full time RV living is a major lifestyle change. We jumped into it feet first, but we had some idea of what life would be like since we had an RV for recreation for a couple of years. You may want to do that, and get your feet wet first.
Far be it from me to dissuade your eagerness to adapt this awesome lifestyle though. I know of lots of people who just went for it and learned by doing and living. That’s ok too.
I just wanted you to have some preparation, learn from our mistakes, and hopefully save some money too!
We have absolutely no regrets, and I’m still hopeful that there is a class A motorhome in our future for us to travel in during the winter months. There’s so much to see yet before I want to settle into one place.
And I’m not looking at a motorhome that costs a bazillion dollars either. Our neighbor next door has an awesome 1994 Class A he bought for $25,000 (CAD)! Those deals are still out. So hopefully I can convince my sweetie that this will be our next big adventure….
The opportunities are endless!
I promised you some resources.
There are tons of websites that will help you answer these questions, and even more facebook groups! Here is a list to get you started.
Have you ever thought about RV living and what it would be like to live full time in an RV?
To just be able to pick up and go wherever your heart takes you?
I’ll bet you’ve seen those posts on Facebook where folks talk about selling up their homes, getting rid of the Stuff and seeking a simple life full of travel and adventures.
I know. Me too.
About 5 years ago we decided we wanted to travel in the US and Canada more and were looking at how to do that with our then three dogs*.
We wanted adventure, comfort and it needed to be affordable.
Why an RV?
As kids, my brother and sister and I had many wonderful adventures in our little travel trailer that my Dad pulled with his Ford Mercury – or something like that.
We were little vagabonds, and while I can’t imagine it was much of a vacation for my Mom, it was magical for us.
And my Dad loved to drive! Hours and hours at a time. Looking back I expect this was because he only had a couple of weeks’ vacation to fit everything in, but of course I didn’t understand that then.
I do remember the night that man landed on the moon, though. We were in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan and just setting up the trailer.
And Dad came in and with a voice full of emotion, told us. “Well, man has landed on the moon. Isn’t that something?”
This is the first article of a three-part series about Simple Living, and explores the possibilities of full time rv living, the adventures of full-time RVing, as well as a guide on how you can incorporate living simply, living happily into your life.
And we did it.
At first, we kept the bricks and mortar, bought a huge diesel-dually truck and a great 5th Wheel RV trailer. These two things sealed the deal on our great adventures for the next two years.
Now when some folks talk about RVs they often refer to motorhomes – you know where the engine and trailer are all one vehicle?
Well RV does in fact stand for ‘recreational vehicle’ so I will use the term “RV’ interchangeably and it can mean anything that
a) has wheels
b) is driven or pulled by a truck.
Our maiden voyage was trip to the South Carolinas, to visit friends, go to the US Open, vacation for two weeks, and then another two weeks on Canada’s east coast, as we headed north and then east to our beloved Prince Edward Island.
PEI will always be my ‘second home’ no matter where I roam. The tiny island’s location just can’t be beat.
I hope you get there some day. We haven’t been for three years, so I think we’ll be heading there soon.
But the big takeaway from this trip, and our first (well first for Mark) RV adventure?
We were hooked on RV living, and wondered out loud, why on earth we needed to keep slaving away to pay for a huge (but lovely) home in a subdivision that required a three hour a day commute for each of us.
We had just spent an entire month living in a 32’ RV that boasted a comfy queen sized bed, air conditioning, a microwave, flat screen TV, and a comfy sofa and recliners.
A roomy bathroom with a shower that could be cleaned in 10 minutes flat. What more did we need?
Time. To. Pack.
If this sounds romantic, well it can be. But no bones about it, life is full of challenges no matter where you live, and what you live in.
RV Living is no exception. The first time your black water tank gets plugged you’ll know what I mean!
Or you have a tire blow out in the middle of nowhere. Cue roadside assistance!
To help you decide if you think RV Living would work for you and your family, I’ve put together a list of sorts, on why I think full time RV living is superior to living in a bricks and mortar house.
33 Reasons Why Full Time RV Living Beats Living in a House Hands Down
1. Easy to clean – Instead of hauling my central vac up and down the stairs of our former 2500 square foot home, vacuuming the RV takes about 5 minutes. 10 if I dawdle.
2. The dishes are always done without a dishwasher! With small space living, you need the countertops!
3. No property taxes, huge utility bills, and home maintenance costs – Gone. When traveling, utilities like hydro and water are included in your lot fee. You can even save more if you join an RV club like Good Sam or KOA.
4. No debt – the mortgage is gone and typically your overhead is very low. We had an investment that matured, so used that to buy our 5th wheel. No monthly payments.
5. Minimalist lifestyle – you will be so surprised at how your stuff disappears!
6. Simple living – relaxed
7. You will discover a sense of community – to celebrate, to help each other out….we have more friends, people we’ve met on our travels, and closer relationships with our neighbours now than we ever did living in a subdivision.
8. Unplug – but know that technology can keep you connected while you travel. We video chat with our kids and grandkids regularly.
9. Carefree – wherever you can drive – that’s where you can go!
10. The freedom to travel. Our Full Time RV lifestyle has allowed to travel to wonderful places like Italy, Florida, Southern US, and Quebec and the Maritimes in Canada!
11. More money in the bank. RV Living means a lot less stuff. When you see that shiny object you want, you will think “where will we put this?”
12. You will learn how to be organized
13. It’s easy to work on the road and is great for freelancing – like starting a Blog!
14. Your expenses are so much less – perfect for living with a reduced income, like retirement.
15. You will be happier, and discover Hygge – the Danish of concept of being happy!
16. You learn to adapt quickly – like when you get a flat tire and have to boondock for two days while being repaired. (Read about our experience here!)
17. You will learn a whole new vocabulary like boondocking
18. You really can live a rich life on so much less. RV life is simple living at its best.
20. You become closer – to your partner, spouse or pets, and appreciate the importance of teamwork.
21. You learn to get along with the neighbors – if not, you can move!
22. RV’s are so much easier to afford, and renovate if you don’t buy brand new!
23. No commitment to the property – don’t like where you’re parked? Just move!
24. Frees up money/budget to enjoy other things – like golf, fitness memberships or take up a new hobby.
26. You learn how to make s’mores and other campfire treats
27. You no longer need a Costco membership – no storage!
28. You reconnect with Mother Nature. Nothing beats walking the dogs at night and gazing up at a full moon, that is so big and bright you can almost touch it.
30. You will have less stress and sleep like a baby
31. You become resourceful and learn how to troubleshoot maintenance issues. The importance of good black water tank maintenance, keeping the A/C filter clean, and checking the levels on your propane tanks.
32. You will have more time.
Seriously, you will! Remember that 3 hour a day commute I had? I’ll bet you have something very similar right now. I’ve used the time to reconnect to some hobbies I’ve always loved, like decorative painting, and knitting.
— It’s that wonderful sense of peace and balance that is restored to your life.
That feeling you get when you are not beavering away to keep all the balls up in the air, to pay the bills, to continue your sleep deprived life of working to pay the tax-man.
I have yet to meet one person who lives in their RV full time that isn’t happy with their decision.
We still don’t know what that will look like, be it a motorhome, or an RV park like we live in now.
We know for sure that it won’t be a house, condo, or anything that resembles home ownership.
We have neighbors that embrace RV living here in the park full time in their RV’s for 8 months of the year, and then travel to the southern states.
One couple goes to Arizona, where they work for their keep for the winter.
One man heads for Nevada with his dog and a wonderfully restored vintage motorhome!
Another husband and wife have a home in Ireland and that’s where they winter for four months.
Just two lots up are a much younger couple who also pull a 5th wheel, and travel all over the US in the winter. They are freelancers and told us they hit 44 states last winter!
You can see the possibilities are endless.
And for us?
We’ve not had one regret. People ask if I don’t miss living in a house, or my big kitchen with the granite countertops.
I really don’t. Not one bit.
We are just so much happier with our chosen lifestyle.
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I have writing it for you! We’ve had an incredible journey so far, and it’s far from over!
That’s the beauty of RV Living. There is always a new adventure just around the corner.
There’s a favorite saying of mine, that I’ve seen many times during our travels and now here throughout the park. For me it says it all..
*Canadians cannot spend more than 180 days in the US or they may be considered residents, and required to file a tax return. Equally important, depending upon the province you live in, there is a requisite number of days that you must be in Canada to maintain universal health care, and pension benefits. You can read all about that here.
How To Set Up A Baker’s Pantry.
Okay so the holidays are almost here, you have been seeing all these drool worthy recipes on social media – like facebook, pinterest, twitter, instagram and YOU ARE READY!
There is that family dinner your significant other wants you to go to and the ask is to take dessert. So what’s wrong with going to the favorite bakery and ordering up their specialty, super d’ duper pumpkin pie? Nothing at all of course, but maybe, just maybe, you could really bake a homemade pie just like this luscious lemon meringue? You can! And I’m going to help you.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to many would be bakers is the baking ingredients and equipment needed, or in most cases, the lack of it. Not many kitchens these days have the requisite pastry mats, rolling pins, baking pans, pastry cutters,…..well you get where I’m going. And ingredients like all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and certain spices. All of this is usually acquired over time. If you went to purchase it all at once, WHOA, that would really add up!
Did you know that baking soda is used in many baking recipes? Here is a cool article that shares just how many different uses baking soda has.
So I thought about what basic baking ingredients and equipment would be needed to help you get organized for Holiday Baking and to set up your Baker’s Pantry. And most importantly, how we could keep the cost to a minimum.
No matter what your circumstances are, what size of kitchen, if you live in a large home or a tiny apartment like I do (and an RV on the weekends!) being organized can turn any baking activity into an absolute delight!
It has taken me many years to learn this, but a few years ago I started to keep all of my baking supplies separate from my regular pantry and grocery items.
I have a very small jam cupboard that holds all of my spices, flavorings, sugars, flours, anything I use for baking. That means you only have one place to look to see what item is running low, and more importantly when you have your recipe out and you start to gather ingredients, everything is in its place. Cool huh? You don’t even need a jam cupboard or separate pantry, a shelf in your cupboard will do just fine, or a corner of your kitchen counter. Just so long as you keep your baker’s pantry items separate and easy to get too.
One of the best places I know of to get good quality and inexpensive pie baking equipment are the dollar stores, or big box stores. I like the dollar stores like Dollar Tree or in Canada we have Dollarama. They have a huge line of Betty Crocker Baking Equipment that is not only well made, but it looks good too!
Here is the list you really need! The Baking Essentials to help you get organized, set up your Baker’s Pantry and bake some drool worthy recipes! It includes what I feel are the basics, and also a list of ‘nice to have’ items. Ideas for your next birthday, perhaps?
Even experienced bakers will benefit from this list, perhaps as a reminder of something they have wanted to add, or something that needs replacing. I’m always on the lookout for mixing bowls and spoons. And pie servers. I never seem to have enough pie servers.
I hope this helps to get your Baking Pantry set up and that being organized will make your next baking experience that much more enjoyable. Please drop me a line in the comments below and share your experiences!
Homemade Food Gifts are a wonderful way to share the love!
Usually around the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, we often see beautifully photographed articles in my favorite magazines about food and baking gifts you can create to give to friends and family. A popular theme at kitchen showers these days is to share recipes with the Bride-to-be. There are some adorable printable recipe cards online that help you do just that. So in doing my research and wanting to create the perfect blog post for you, I decided to take this idea one step further. To actually create the perfect homemade food gift – it could be a delicious Chocolate Cake, a mouthwatering Cheesecake or a fresh batch of your favorite cookies.
There are so many events where you could share your delicious homemade food gift. Some ideas are:
- Kitchen Shower
- Holiday Gifts like Christmas
- Hostess Gift
- Pot Luck
- School or Charity Bake Sale
I’m always on the lookout for a unique way to combine my love of baking and creativity to come up with a gift that keeps on giving. By now the word is out – my passion for baking and pies means that family and friends often ask for their favorite pie – and the recipe!
Give The Gift of Pie!
I wanted to share how I wrap a pie as a homemade food gift with you! Kind of like DIY meets Baking!
What is it? Well I bake a pie, place it in a beautiful pie dish or plate, add a pie server, print out the recipe and wrap it all up in a bow – I like to use raffia, it has a homespun, but elegant look.
I usually have a fairly good inventory of pie plates and pie servers since I love to haunt antique shops and flea markets. This is helpful because often you don’t have a lot of time to put a homemade food gift together.
If you know the person receiving the gift, this part is easy, you can put together a pie plate and server fairly easily. But even if you don’t, I typically choose a combination that I really like personally. It hasn’t failed me yet!
Next comes the pie. Again, a bit of thought needs to happen here as to what type of pie you want to give. If the event is close to home, perhaps an elegant lemon meringue – or mousse.
If you need to travel a bit – why not try a delicious chocolate or pecan pie, something with a fairly stable filling, that can be warmed by your host/hostess – or popped into the freezer, so that he or she can enjoy it another day!
The final touch is the recipe.
I just love the look of these beautiful calligraphy recipe cards and I hope you do too.
They are free for you!
Just recently we published the Ultimate Guide to Rv Living, and 33 Reasons Why Full Time RV Living has become so popular, and everyone just loves those articles!
In both of these detailed and informative posts, I mention the importance of tire maintenance, and go into a bit of detail about it.
In this post I will give you more detail, and a cautionary tale about why RV Tire Maintenance is so important.
So important in fact it could save your life.
Here is our story.
In 2014, as newbie RV travellers, what we realized early on was that we didn’t know what we didn’t know. So we started to keep a log – a diary of sorts when things wouldn’t work, needed repair, heck anything at all.
Sometimes it was just going through the instruction booklets that came with the trailer – our previous owners kept it all and we are very thankful for that! Other times we searched the web and popular forums such as xxxxxxx.
But life does have its ups and downs, and sometimes, well sometimes you just have to earn your experience the hard way. You know what I mean? Well here’s what happened.
What’s the harm in buying more insurance?
When at Camping World, the sales staff told us about the special roadside assistance package that was being promoted with Good Sam, only $65.
When my husband reminded me we already had a package with a well know roadside assistance company, I said “it’s such a good deal. Besides, you can never have too much insurance.”
I would remember that statement many times over during the next few weeks.
Travelling on to Mebane, NC we stayed at the Jones Station RV Park, a delightful RV park, with wide open spaces and lots of room to run the dogs. We would spend several days here while visiting our good friends, Skip and Nancy in Mebane, and spending a day at the US Open Golf Tournament at Pinehurst, NC.
Our final leg was Myrtle Beach, SC and we stayed at the Ocean Lakes Resort, a huge resort, with campsites, cottages, condominiums. It was a bit of sensory overload for us and our three pooches, Max, Millie and Barkley. But we played lots of golf, and had fun walking the beach every night.
We were heading north and east to the Maritimes – our next journey, and had been asked by my cousin Alyson to pick up some trailer accessories at Camping World. There was a huge store very close to our campsite, so on our way out of MB, we stopped in to check it out.
And of course that’s how we ended up with Good Sam Roadside Assistance package. And a bunch of other RV stuff, but I digress.
So with sunburns, tired pooches, and a brand new roadside assistance plan from Good Sam, we headed our Fiver (RV talk for a Fifth Wheel) north and east – destination Prince Edward Island, Canada.
The trip up through the States was an experience in itself. Following our GPS, we ended up in some pretty interesting places. We were so grateful to the officer at one of the toll booths on a turnpike – the Jersey Turnpike I think?
She told us to get off the turnpike (it was costing a small fortune) to stick to lessert travelled highway and we would end up at the Maine/New Brunswick Border. And we did, several days later, enjoying the drive, but we were now anxious to get to our destination- Twin Shores RV Park near Kensington, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
We decided to make a run for it this day – still plenty of daylight left, but as we arrived near Fredericton, NB, we pulled off the road to have a real meal and relax for a couple of hours. Beside the dogs needed a good stretch too.
Relaxed, refreshed and with full bellies , we were now ready to finish the final push to PEI. But as we got ready to load up – all five of us, we stood beside the Fiver and stared down at one of the wheels – it was completely flat.
It appeared that we weren’t going anywhere anytime soon. My hubby pulled out his travel card – from the well know roadside assistance company and called the number. RV roadside assistance is a specialized service and when the person on the other end of our cell phone asked if we had a jack in our car, we knew we were in trouble.
I believe the words my husband used were “Son, you want me to jack up 15,000 lb worth of trailer by myself?” They really didn’t have a response for that and said they would call us back.
We were shocked. We immediately were connected with someone very knowledgeable about RV’s – she asked what type of unit we had, length, weight etc. and the exact location that we were sitting in.
But the very first thing she asked?
“Are you and family safe, sir?”
We assured her we were and within less than 20 minutes a Tire Repair Tow Truck arrived, jacked up the trailer and put on our spare. We were cautioned, however to get a new tire as we were now travelling without a spare and upon arrival in PEI at 4 a.m., we made arrangements to do exactly that.
I won’t go into details here about our time on the Island. PEI is glorious in the summer and if you haven’t been, you really need to go. Our time there was way too short, and as all good things must come to an end, we packed up and with a brand new tire firmly installed on the Fifth Wheel, and all wheels balanced, we turned westward and bid our Island vacation a tearful goodbye.
Well not really, but it sounds good doesn’t it? 🙂
Remember what I said about having to learn some experiences the hard way?
Relaxed, happy and looking forward to getting home, we made excellent time as we passed Moncton, New Brunswick, travelling the Trans Canada 2 and making our way west and north. W were getting near the capital Fredericton. The highway through here is in really good shape, and we were really motoring – probably doing about 120km/hour (65 mph). The dually is so powerful, you really don’t know you are pulling a Fifth Wheel.
When we stopped shortly after to fill up with diesel – I decided to give the dogs a stretch. This was an Irving station and there was a nice little picnic area. While the pups were enjoying the sights and smells of fresh grass to sniff, I looked up to see Mark waving at me frantically, so headed over to the diesel pumps.
He was pointing at the wheels. Well he was pointing to where the new wheel used to be. At some point, during the past 3 hours, the new wheel had completely shorn off the axle and we had been driving with only three wheels!
A quick call to the “RV specialist” who sold us the tire and installed it resulted in a full refund. And a confession that ‘maybe I didn’t torque the tire enough’. He also didn’t tell us to check the tire every few hundred miles to make sure the bolts were good and snug.
Good Sam to the rescue once again! They dispatched a tire repair company from Surrey – we were out in the middle of nowhere. Because the wheel was completely gone, they had to fabricate the bolts needed to fasten the new wheel to the trailer.
In fact we needed the bolts before they could even put the old spare on! Two days of boon docking at the Irving station later, we had a new wheel, a new torque wrench and were now tired, and very weary.
Again, Good Sam Roadside Assistance covered the cost of all the service calls (there were several) and we of course paid for a new wheel and tire.
Our lesson learned was the importance of having a torque wrench and checking your tires every so many miles.
Our education about the importance of RV tire care was not over however. We would experience another tire issue as we passed Quebec City – when a motorist flagged us and pointed to a right tire that now had a huge bulge!. At this point I was making lists upon lists of what we needed to do for RV tire maintenance.
Once more we went through the process of sitting stranded, while Good Sam arrived, and put on our spare tire. Exhausted beyond belief, we pulled in to the next campsite and spent a couple of days to calm down and draw breath.
So what the heck happened?
We purchased our Fifth Wheel from an RV Dealer, but it was used, about six years old. The exterior and interior were in awesome shape, but what we didn’t know was the age and wear on the RV tires that the Fiver had experienced.
So the smart thing we could have done before heading out on such a long trip, was to have the tires inspected professionally, and replacing your tires was a good idea when they were showing significant wear and age.
We learned that taking care of your RV Tires, and regular RV Tire maintenance was critical to road safety, and an enjoyable trip.
From our experience with the Tire Shop in New Brunswick, we were taught the importance of the torque wrench, and how it was critical to check tire condition and pressure as well as torque them regularly throughout the trip.
By that time we were so paranoid, we were checking at every stop!
I’ve included some links to RV Tire specialists – that will provide information about tire pressure etc. as well as Good Sam’s Roadside Assistance. Check your warranty with your dealer as well.
I would caution you though, that if you are buying a used unit, like we did, to put new tires into the budget.
As soon as we arrived home, we spent $1500 on four new tires and rims. Had we known to do this at the beginning of our trip, a lot of worry and angst would have been avoided.
So here is our Top 5 List for RV Tire Maintenance!
1. Tire Condition and Pressure
2. Checking your RV tires every time you stop
3. Keeping the tires clean
4. Replacing your tires when you buy used
5. Practice Tire Safety While Travelling
Do you have any RV travel stories to share? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!