Monday, September 7, 2015

Go RVing More Often, Here Is How

One time, a friend said, "We only have three days off, so it's not worth it to get all packed up and ready just for that."  Think of HOW MANY three day opportunities to hit the road are missed in your life if you say that every time!

Todd thinks I am SO capable. He thinks I have a knack for managing the many details that need doing in order for us to hit the road and not forget anything at home.  Well, I have a confession: It's not so much a KNACK as it is a system that's evolved over many years. I'm going to share my system with you because I want you to go RVing more.  It makes you smile, and it makes your life longer.  It's easy, you can do it too. You'll be thanking me for YEARS.

Whenever we join others on any excursion or group-camping adventure, it's a given that almost everyone needs to "run to the store" shortly after arriving, and several times throughout the trip.  Why? Usually because they forgot toilet paper, or there is no toilet chemical, or there is no soap in the bathroom... whatever. I figure, why HAVE an RV if you have to go through what TENT campers go through when they go camping?

Our Good Friends Bre and Dennis Making My Point!
Tent Campers. You know who I mean, you see these people often on Memorial Day and Labor day in the greatest concentrations if you are camping in a state camping park on those weekends.  It's their once-a-year-camping-trip (probably because it takes them a year to recover) They drive up in their SUV, open the back hatch, and "KABOOOOM!" Out flies countless Rubbermaid totes, bags, boxes, awnings, tarps, rolled up items, kids toys, dogs, pots, pans, lanterns, chairs, axes, sleeping bags, pillows, cases of water, cases of beer, volleyballs, bikes, marshmallow forks, bug spray, firewood.... you get the picture. We are always deep into our patio chairs by then, icy beer in hand, feet up, smile on face, watching the menagerie. We always think, "They will never get all of that back in that car again."

Don't get me wrong: I think it's awesome and admirable that these families go to to all this trouble, usually for their young children.  It's the ultimate display of love because WHY ELSE would they do it? Certainly not for relaxation! We are exhausted just watching them. It takes them fully a day to unpack and set up, and another to break down and pack back up, leaving about 12 hours of actual "recreating", it's like watching the Olympics! But I digress...

If you have an RV, here's rule number one: Keep it packed, ready to go. You'll GO more often! That means keep it stocked with all the goodies: dishes, pots, pans, napkins, soap, toothbrushes: EVERYTHING. When we go on a trip, we simply drop the camper in the truck and GO! We stop at the grocery store for food for the trip (yes, I have a list for that too, I'm a "list girl"). I can say without reservation, that being stocked, ready to go is the KEY reason we go SO OFTEN. We even have "camping clothes" that stay in the RV. Things like socks and underwear and a couple of sweatshirts (4 days worth: if you go longer, you use the roll of quarters you have in the junk drawer to wash a load).  And one more thing about laundry: Take either a laundry bag or a laundry basket with you. Put the dirty clothes in it. If it's less than a 4 day trip or so, you should be ok. Then, when you get home, take the basket out, wash the contents and put them right back in the same basket, clean and folded, and back in the RV ready for the next trip! On extended trips, like I said, keep a small amount of laundry soap, dryer sheets and quarters in the RV. You won't have a problem with piles of dirty clothes any more. If the basket is full, stop at a laundry mat for an hour.  And one more tip: Put the laundry soap on the dirty clothes before you go, then you don't have to haul that in with you.

You can start small: Next time you pack for a trip, leave your stuff in the RV, and get a NEW one for the house! You need a new toothbrush anyway.

We mainly use plastic forks and paper plates these days. I used to haul all the hard stuff around in quantity, and then I would spend a half an hour after every meal at the tiny RV sink, trying to get it all washed while everyone else was doing fun things outside. I finally came to my senses on that one. I also keep a few canned items inside for those days (which actually happens pretty often) when we just look at each other on an otherwise quiet weekend and say, "Hey, let's just take off!". I usually have a couple of cans of good tuna, some Tuna Helper, some soup, some pancake mix, syrup, canned beans... just something to sustain us in case we take off really late in the day and don't feel like stopping at the store till tomorrow.

Obviously most condiments like Salt and Pepper, steak seasoning, garlic salt, Tabasco, sugar, all can reside in the RV full time, unless you go an extended period between uses. Once again, the less you have to "pack" each time you go, the better.  I have all of my toiletries duplicated in the RV, lotions, makeup, hair supplies, it's all in there.  It's the only way to go.

So, what else? Ah! The LIST! My "camping list" as it's called, has evolved over the years. It is the MOTHER of all LISTS! If it's not on the list, we don't need it. I check the list religiously before we go. If my house was on fire and I only had seconds to save what I wanted, my "camping list" would be one of those things (ok, that's silly, because my list is on GOOGLE so it would survive the fire).  My list has funny things on it, like:

***Make sure there is no wet laundry in the washing machine!***
***Kitchen Garbage OUT!***

Because some things are not so nice to come home to!

A good, comprehensive list will guarantee that you will have more fun and spend less money and get in fewer arguments with your spouse. Start your list, put down, "phone charger". See? I just saved you one argument and $23 at the store. Actually, if you are doing the system to it's fullest potential, you have a permanent RV Cell Phone Charger already packed.

Actually, I have TWO lists. One is the "camping list" and the other is the "camping shopping list". I know, I am really starting to sound anal here.  But, in my defense, we NEVER forget anything at home, and we only make ONE trip to the store. That means we have MORE time to go camping in our RV and sit in our chairs and smile at the TENT PEOPLE! My camping shopping list has things on it like, "toilet chemical, dish soap, shampoo, bug spray" all of  those things that are probably in the RV but maybe we ran out of. This keeps that from happening. This list will be in my hand as we swing by the store on our way out of town.

So make your list, keep perfecting it, and get that RV packed. Don't wait till you are actually GOING somewhere. Do it now, it will make you feel happy and look forward to when you can hit the road!

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