Barb gave some good advice in her post “Getting Ready to Go: Assembling the gear.” Now lets look at things in more detail. On this trip, it was my responsibility to think -‘inside the box’- since I’d be taking care of what went inside the home we would be in for around 6 weeks. I’m going to detail the process I went though to prepare creature comforts area of the RV. If we were planning to full-time again, I would use that same process for the same reasons.
This will be a basic “How To” guide anyone can follow for their RV life.
Think of the RV as a house. In my house are the following rooms:
- Living Room
- Kitchen/Dining Room
- ‘Dressing Room’
So, that’s where we’re going to start. I thought of the RV as divided into rooms. Each room would need things in it to meet the requirements of the places we were going.
We planned to be gone for about 6 weeks and would transit some climate zones and exciting food regions. Flexibility would be key to being comfortable and prepared for what we found to do, eat and see.
I deconstructed the trip by using the map and calendar. Traveling from the warm, humid South in October to the freezing cold of the New Mexico mountains in November and back to the South in December required flexibility when loading the RV. I thought first about physical comfort and the things we would be doing in each climate zone in which we stayed.
From the South we’d need shorts and t-shirts, comfy shoes and light bedclothes. In the cold North we would want super warm blankets & bedding; jackets; shirts and pants; leggings or tights; boots or shoes and sox. Since these extremes wouldn’t do well for transitional areas, we would need layers.
Available foods would also change regionally. In the heat, we lean toward lighter food like salads and grilled foods to cook outside. In the cold, we go for soups, casseroles (that also warm up the RV while they cook) and heavier veggies like winter squash and roots. Supplies needed to reflect those preferences. Grilling in the snow is do-able but not comfortable. A lot of what we eat and how we eat has to do with the foods available locally and local specialties: like pecans and Gulf shrimp in the South. In the West we would be enjoying Hatch chilis and Tex-Mex cooking.
The areas including office, bathroom and living room supplies have things that are more consistent than the other rooms with some additions for when the weather changed. For example adding lip balm, heavier hair conditioner and body cream made the dry, cold of New Mexico more comfortable.
Check-lists are handy sometimes so, here’s an article from “RVing: A Fun Times Guide Site”. Read through to find a whole bunch of lists to help folks from the decision to buy an RV to hitting the road and staying on the way safely.
We used a list for checking out potential Trek RVs. We found it in the NWFC Trek Tracks Forum.
Since I’m not a list person, I tend to loose the list and when I have one I still end up doing things differently anyway. I needed to think my way through the process of loading our home on wheels and I didn’t use any of the lists.
Before gathering anything, I decided to cut-to-fit and use light colored nonslip, grippy shelf liner in the cupboards and drawers. It would keep things from sliding and prevent fall-outs. I put it in all of the cupboards in the RV and all drawers. I had already replaced worn out cupboard latches, so knew they would hold. To open drawers we simply lift them slightly from their nested positions – so they weren’t opening either.
Starting in the Office: Our RV doesn’t have a dedicated office, so a cupboard and drawer would be dedicated to office type items. We planned to use the dining table for a desk and could also use a lap tray (I made one from old jeans fabric filled with cotton batting and stapled to a piece of 1/4” plywood. I cut the plywood, sanded and rounded the corners, finished it with polyacrylic and glued down a rectangle of the non-slip mesh we used inside the cupboards and drawers to keep whatever was set on it from sliding).
In the dedicated-to-office upper cupboard, we put a plastic box with an integrated lid to hold chargers and surge suppressors when they weren’t being used. A fabric covered box with a flap lid, turned on it’s side faced the door and held books, small gifts for the kids and our small portable game bag (checkers, chess, backgammon, cards games and dice in a bag about 7”x10”). Barb’s important papers accordion file was in the cupboard and our handhelds (iPad and Kindle) started the journey in there. The laptop, in it’s padded bag, slid in next to the pedestal “coffee table” between the two chairs.
We hoped to get in some sketching, watercolor and perhaps work on crafts. I narrowed things down, gathered and decided to put them in the cupboard next to the office, over the dash. That cupboard held my traveling bead box and beading kit; a plastic box with watercolors, Zen Tangle pens, colored markers and little loose items fit against those boxes and several sketch books and watercolor paper pads stood upright against the wall.
Moving to the Living Room. Under the couch (a jack knife style bed) we stored the extra 2 folding dining chairs and the vacuum cleaner. The coffee table pedestal held boots and shoes – easy access near the exit door. Each of the chairs, bulky wooden chairs built by the previous owner, Dick, and their lift up seat bottoms held extra wine, walking poles, the tripod and the Red Box of the Trek manuals and a notebook of what had been done to the Trek maintenance and repair wise. The chairs make into a bed when the cushions and table top are slightly rearranged – very handy when the grandkids stay over. Dick did a good job building and finishing them – Marcia had made the seats and back support cushions & look like they were made professionally.
This post is lengthy enough. I’ll cover the rest of the ‘house’ in the next post.