5 Essential RV Checks

Driving an RV is like driving a small house around the country—down highways, through back roads, and up and over mountain passes.

Know Your Height. Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Know Your Height. Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And as more people join the RV lifestyle, it becomes increasingly important that RVers have a basic understanding of common RV accidents and how best to avoid them.

Most of the common RV accidents can be avoided by preventative maintenance, proactive attentiveness, and not overlooking the obvious. The basics are essential, yet they are the checkpoints many RVers miss.

Whether you are a newcomer to the world of RVing or someone who has seen it all, there’s a lesson to be learned from the simple stuff.

1. Remember the Basics

RVing is so much more satisfying when you really get to know your rig. When you’re thoroughly familiar with your coach, it’s easier to notice when things aren’t quite right.

Your owner’s manual should be your starting point.

To ensure you’re covering the basics, include the following essential RV checks in your daily travel routine:

2. Know Your Height

Know Your Height. Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Know Your Height. Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip.

In order to keep your RV in one piece and avoid getting hung up—literally— consider the following guidelines:

  • Pay close attention to posted clearance measurements
  • Know the height of your RV and place a sticky note on the dashboard with your exact height remembering to include the A/C

“We’ll probably fit” does not cut it—don’t take the risk

3. Conduct a Pre-Drive Safety Check

Know Your Height. Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Know Your Height. Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many accidents are caused by simple forgetfulness: leaving doors unlatched, awnings up or steps extended. Use a step-by-step checklist and conduct a final walk-around visual inspection before driving away. A pre-departure checklist should include the following:

  • Check oil, transmission, and coolant levels
  • Check tire inflation pressure and adjust as required
  • Power cord, water and sewer hoses disconnected and stowed securely
  • Ensure all signal, four-way hazard, brake, running, and fog lights are operational
  • TV antenna, satellite dish, roof vents, jacks, steps, and awnings fully retracted
  • Turn propane off at the tank
  • Tow bar and safety cables in place
  • Check under the rig for signs of fluid leaks
  • Check your surroundings for hazards before departure, e.g. weather, low branches, and obstacles sticking out of the ground
  • Final 360-degree walk-around the RV before getting in the driver’s seat and leaving for your next destination

4. Connecting to City Water Hookups 

Be certain to ALWAYS use your water regulator when hooking up to city water. And make darn sure that the water regulator is on the end of the hose that hooks to city water. The regulator should be at the water-spigot end, not the RV end, between the city water faucet and your inlet connection.

Why? Pressure is regulated into your coach through the hose. An incorrect hookup won’t protect you from pressure spikes, especially when campground water pressure exceeds 100 psi. You do not want your water hose to burst.

If you’re staying at an RV park during extended periods of freezing temperatures, remember to wrap your water hose with insulation to protect against the elements.

Check your surroundings for hazards before departure, e.g. weather, low branches, and obstacles sticking out of the ground © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Check your surroundings for hazards before departure, e.g. weather, low branches, and obstacles sticking out of the ground © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Managing Waste Water Disposal 

Black tank management is part of the RV lifestyle. Some RVers think that by leaving the valves open, everything will run out and take care of itself. Not true! Liquid will run out of the black tank when you have the valves open, but solid waste often remains creating a most disagreeable situation. You need fluids to flush out the solids. It is important to keep the black tank valve closed until you are ready to dump. Dump the contents once the black tank is 3/4 full.

Worth Pondering…

Have you put…

Step up

Antenna down

Wife in?

—sign at a Dickson, Tennessee campground

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Simple Camping Recipes & Food Ideas

New to camping or an old pro, there are plenty of things you can learn about camping.

Fuel up hearty and easy breakfast camping food recipes you're sure going to love. (Credit: campingroadtrip.com)
Fuel up hearty and easy breakfast camping food recipes you’re sure going to love. (Credit: campingroadtrip.com)

Camping is one of those experiences where you can always learn something new. Great Camping Recipes provides readers ideas on easy camping meals and how to pack food without the possibility of cross contamination.

Great Camping Recipes contains information and tips to make your camping experience great.

Take foods that are easy to prepare and pack. The common foods advised for camping are prepared meats, protein bars, dried fruits, cheese sticks, and marshmallows, according to a news release.

Always take ample drinking water with you. It’s also a good idea to pack powdered milk and a variety of drink mixes that are ready to drink or easy to prepare.

Cooking essentials like butter and oil are also advised for both hot and cold meals.

Also, be sure to pack your favorite seasonings and spices.

If cooking is not your strong suit and you want to keep camping simple, find a local military surplus store and look for MRE’s. Meals Ready to Eat includes freeze dried foods that usually require water only for preparation.

It doesn't get much better than a meal around the campfire with friends and family.  (Credit: trails.com)
It doesn’t get much better than a meal around the campfire with friends and family. (Credit: trails.com)

Cross contamination is not an issue that only affects people that cook at home. When cooking outdoors, you must use a different cutting board to cut meat than you do to cut other foods.

The usual camping foods such as hot dogs and hamburgers can get boring. Try to mix up what you eat. Look through your cookbooks to find easy recipes that are conducive to outdoor preparation.

Ensuring a great camping experience is not that difficult, but you do need to take certain steps and make sure you remember the essentials.

Make a check list of the things you need for your camping trip and check each item off once you pack it. Then, make sure you bring each bag to the car. The last thing any camper wants is to reach the destination and find out they forgot something important, like matches or the food.

Make sure that you always carry a survival kit with you, especially when you wonder away from your campsite. This kit should include water filters, a knife, compass, other first-aid tools like bandages and cold packs. This will help ensure you are properly prepared to handle the wild.

Let the tips in this article help you keep important things in mind, so that you can have an enjoyable camping experience. Keep learning about camping so you can create a memorable experience every time.

The website also offers recipes for Pita Bread Pizza, Cast Iron German Potato Salad, Campfire Stew, Ziplock Omelets, and Foil Packet Dinner. Such meals are prepared with basic ingredients and can be cooked in grills and packed in plastic containers, says the release.

Details

Great Camping Recipes

Finding easy camping recipes which taste great and you know will keep your family satisfied and nutritiously fed is essential for any camping trip. (Credit: travel-australia-online.com)
Finding easy camping recipes which taste great and you know will keep your family satisfied and nutritiously fed is essential for any camping trip. (Credit: travel-australia-online.com)

Great Camping Recipes is a website dedicated solely to providing mouth watering camping meals which campers will enjoy without the cooking hassle.

Apart from recipes, Great Camping Recipes also gives tips on how to cook outdoors and how to store food.

“The Ultimate Campfire Kitchen and Camping Guide” featuring 580 recipes to cook while out in the wild is also available for orders on the website.

Recipes found in this cookbook include Honeymoon Sourdoughs, Dutch Oven Hopi, Southern Corn Bread, Campfire Bannock, Eggs on a Raft, Hell In A Bag, Brighten-Up Hobo Breakfast, Campfire Hash, Huevos Rancheros, Kentucky Scramble, and Nacho Dip Texas Style.

Website: greatcampingrecipes.com

Worth Pondering…

Delectable chile-con-carne… composed of delicate meats minced with aromatic herbs and the poignant chile Colorado—a compound full of singular saver and a fiery zest.

—O. Henry, The Enchanted Kiss

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Never Forget Anything Again: Camping Checklist Online

Camping is a great way to get away from it all at a moment’s notice.

You can have the recreational vehicle or car packed up in no time and head for that favorite camping spot that you love. By the end of the day you can be sitting in front of the fire cooking up a smore or some other camping food favorite.

That is unless you have forgotten some essential camping item. We have all been there. “Hey, where are the matches? How can I make smores, without a fire? How can I make a fire without matches?”

If it’s not the matches it’s the portable air mattress compressor, or can opener.

That’s why you need a camping checklist—create it once and reuse it often.

The humble camping list will save you untold inconvenience while out on your camping getaway.

A free website, CampWiz allows visitors to manage upcoming camping trips by creating a camping checklist and presenting reviews of campgrounds around the country. The Web-based platform reveals hundreds of camping items organized by category, and is customizable to group items unique to each camper.

Upon log-in, visitors’ lists are saved for future camping trips. Items can be added to or removed from the last saved camping list.

Reviews of hundreds of campgrounds in the U.S. offer insight into potential camping sites before would-be campers ever pitch a tent on-site.

Campground amenities assessed include electrical hookup for RVs, camp stores, or if fire pits are offered, for example.

Campgrounds are evaluated based on available recreation including fishing and hiking, as well as other common popular activities campers look for.

CampWiz identifies tourist attractions near the campgrounds such as caves, amusement parks, museums, or other local interests.

CampWiz has experienced interest from campgrounds and other related businesses including RV campgrounds.

Camping businesses can make the interactive camping checklist tool available to their customers and get reviewed on the CampWiz website,” said Allen Dalton, CampWiz.com president.

“A growing number of campers use the Internet to find tools and services to help make their camping experience more enjoyable. Our site is helping thousands of campers—that’s very satisfying for us.”

Details

CampWiz.com

CampWiz.com was founded in 2009 by computer industry veterans, with the idea that computers can make our everyday lives easier, and people shouldn’t need to be computer wizards to take advantage of the incredible potential and power of technology to make our lives simpler.

The company is committed to providing tools to improve the camping experience for all to share.

At CampWiz you’ll learn about campgrounds around the country and all things related to tent camping, RV camping, and hiking.

Free of charge, features include customizable online camping list that can be saved and edited, shared with others, and campground reviews from around the country.

Website: campwiz.com

Worth Pondering…
Basically, each day is fresh to me. I mean that I look at the tasks set before me at the beginning of each day, and the checklist is brand new without the stresses of the overall workload.

—Steven Arnold

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Five Things You Need to Know Today: November 11

Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!

1. Honoring All Who Served

Many Americans mistakenly believe that Veterans Day is the day America sets aside to honor American military personnel who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained from combat. That’s not quite true. Memorial Day is the day set aside to honor America’s war dead.

Veterans Day, on the other hand, honors ALL American veterans, both living and dead. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for dedicated and loyal service to their country. November 11 of each year is the day that we ensure veterans know that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made in the lives to keep our country free.

Thank you veterans!

2. Selecting a Campsite Checklist

  • Is the site long enough?
  • Is the site wide enough?
  • Is the site relatively level?
  • Will I be able to extend all slides?
  • Will I be able to extend the awning?
  • Will I be able to open all bins?
  • Will I be able to obtain a satellite signal?
  • Do I want the afternoon or morning sun?
  • Where are the utilities located?
  • Where is the closest WiFi tower

3. Fan-Tastic Vent Garners Sixth Newmar Award

Imlay City, Michigan-based Fan-Tastic Vent was honored on October 27 by Newmar Corp. with the 2011 “Top Ten” Vendor Award. This was the sixth time the company has received the award, in addition to previously being named Vendor of the Year.

Commercial Manager Trey Miller, noted, “On behalf of the entire team at Fan-Tastic Vent, we are honored to once again receive this award. We feel that developing a true partnership with our customers allows us to provide an unparalleled level of service and support, while offering the highest quality products.”

Fan-Tastic Vent invented the high powered ventilator for RVs over 25 years ago.

4. The one hour rest stop walk-around

Visually inspect your tow hitch connections and check for overheated and low tires every time you stop at a rest stop or refueling location. Pranksters have been known to remove pins from the hitch. Perform a walk-around that covers these visual points:

  • Check tow bar or hitch and safety cables
  • Ensure that hitch pins or bolts are still in place
  • Check to ensure that the wiring harness is connected securely
  • Tires have normal inflation pressure
  • Look under the chassis for signs of oil or coolant leaks
  • Check storage bay doors

5. Carefree Resorts Snowbird Promotion

Scottsdale, Arizona-based Carefree RV Resorts in Florida are offering snowbirds free rent in November and December, provided they pay for January, February, and March up front.

“This offer only applies to snowbirds who haven’t stayed with us before,” Stephanie Martin, a Carefree spokeswoman, stated in a news release. The special offer does not cover taxes and electricity charges.

Carefee is offering the promotion as part of an ongoing effort to step up its competition with other RV resorts in Florida that cater to snowbirds. “We think this offer will help us entice snowbirds who haven’t stayed with us before,” Martin said.

Carefree has more than 25 RV resorts in Florida, including the Florida Keys. All properties have a wide variety of amenities including, clubhouse, swimming pool and planned activities programs.

Carefree RV Resorts offers a wide variety of RV campgrounds throughout Florida, Texas, New Jersey, California, and Massachusetts for every type of RV vacation. For more information, visit the company’s website.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Worth Pondering…

Now more than ever do I realize that I shall never be content with a sedentary life, and that I shall always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.
—Isabelle Eberhardt

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Are You Ready for the Road?

Memorial Day weekend kicks off those lazy, hazy days of summer.

State and national parks are great spots for family camping. Pictured above is campground at Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The long weekend is perfect for a camping getaway to enjoy biking, boating, fishing, golfing, hiking, paddling, photography, or bird watching.

More than 30 million people nationwide will travel more than 50 miles during Memorial Day weekend, defined as the period from Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30 says AAA, an increase of 0.2 percent.

“In 2010, Memorial Day travel experienced a gain of more than 14 percent,” AAA-Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai told the Washington Post. “Many travelers have told us they’ll compensate for higher fuel costs by cutting back in other areas of spending.”

They’ll pay more too, with gas running just a bit less than $4.00 per gallon, compared to $2.85 this time last year reports TulsaWorld. But while the high price of gas does not appear to be stopping road trip plans, travelers are looking at expenses carefully, saving where they can.

Colonial Williamsburg is a popular vacation spot. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When we think of what we need for a road trip, a common list unfolds. Food, beverages, ice, snacks, paper products, lawn chairs, and maps are all normal items we might bring along.

We’ll fill up the RV with fuel and head out on the highway to get away, even if just for the Memorial Day road trip weekend.

This year, some of those items will cost a bit more, some a bit less, and there are some new things we might want to consider bringing along.

What else to pack?

Make a list and check it twice. Using a checklist is an excellent way to make sure you have everything you need.

Useful items include:

  • Bungee cords, Velcro, tape (Duct, Gorilla, electrical, masking, Teflon)
  • Well-stocked first-aid kit including bandages, gauze, pain remedies, cold and flu medicine, allergy medication, antiseptic, and any prescription medications your family requires
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Electrical adapters, extension cord (30 amp, 10-gauge), polarity tester, digital voltmeter
  • RV water hoses (DO NOT use a garden hose) and fittings, water pressure regulator
  • Sewer hoses, toilet chemical, work gloves, disposable plastic sewer gloves
  • Flashlights, extra bulbs, fuses, and batteries (a variety of sizes for your onboard gadgets)
  • Tool box with basic tools (store on curb side) that can be used for minor vehicle repairs and get you out of a jam, e.g., screwdrivers, hammer, adjustable wrenches, pliers, baling wire, tape measure, rags.
  • Emergency items such as road flares/warning reflectors, tarp, emergency blankets
  • Fully charged cell phone and charger
  • WD-40, silicone spray, distilled water, jumper cables, heavy-duty tire pressure gauge, fold-down shovel, stepladder
  • Weather radio
  • Bottled water (individual and larger containers)
  • Navigation devices (atlases, maps, GPS, or laptop with navigation program)
  • Cooking utensils, pots, pans, dishes, cutlery, can opener, coffee maker, potholders, ziploc bags, aluminum foil, wax paper, saran wrap
  • Clean-up materials (soaps, scrubbers, rags, trash bags, dish drainer)
  • Paper products (towels, plates, toilet and facial tissue)
  • Digital camera, memory cards, rechargeable batteries, lenses, filters, tripod, camera bag, computer; plus related battery chargers
  • Binoculars
Vermont is a popular summer and autumn vacation spot. Pictured above state capitol in Montpelier.

Now you’re ready to pack away the hotdogs and marshmallows.

Have a great holiday weekend camping in your RV.

Worth Pondering…
“Where are we going, man?”

“I don’t know, but we gotta go.”

—Jack Kerouac, in On the Road

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A look at snowbirds: 15 tips

The Iceman Cometh

Whether you’re a snowbird heading south for the winter or preparing for a weekend jaunt, there’s always a concern that you forgot to pack all the essentials? How do you know that everything you’ll need is in the RV?

Arizona has much to offer the RVing Snowbird. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Are you prepared for emergencies and vehicle breakdowns? Have you taken necessary safety precautions? Is your recreational vehicle safely loaded and within all legal weight limits?

Following are the first three of 15 tips for planning your next extended road trip and to help ensure you arrive safely at your southern destination:

1. Equiping the RV

Most RVers pack and unpack their recreational vehicle numerous times throughout the year. Whether it’s preparation for a weekend jaunt, holiday-getaway, family get-together, or extended Snowbird travels, it can be a time consuming and onorous task. Equipping your RV as you would a vacation cottage can drastically cut down on appliances and supplies that must be toted back and forth. Consider equipting your RV with its own coffeemaker, toaster oven, other small appliances, pots and pans, dishes, cups and glasses, cutlery, linens, and personal toiletries.

2. Lists: lots and lots of lists and checklists

A checklist has been defined as a list of items to be noted, checked, or remembered.

It’s easy to forget to do something! Roof vents up, steps out, and TV antennas fully extended are the three items most frequently overlooked.

Image courtesy central-vt.com

Using a checklist is an excellent way to ensure that you have everything you need.

Spend considerable time putting your thoughts on paper before leaving on your extended RV journey. Make “to do” lists to cover what needs to be packed and taken care of before you hit the open road.

Make your list and check it twice.

Separate your list into areas and leave blanks for add-ins.

Checklists that we have found useful include:

  • Equipping RV
  • Room inventories (living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom)
  • Pre-travel (exterior and interior)
  • Arrival set-up (exterior and interior)
  • Preparation for travel (exterior and interior)
  • Departure list
  • Arrival list
  • Grocery list
  • Towing procedures
  • One-hour break safety inspection

3. Equipping RV checklist

Using checklists help ensure care-free days in the sun. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make several copies of the checklist and modify it with additions and deletions.

Useful items include:

  • Bungee cords, Velcro, tape (Duct, Gorilla, electrical, masking, Teflon)
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Coaxial cable (for cable TV hookup)
  • Electrical adapters, extension cord (30 amp, 10-gauge)
  • Polarity tester, digital voltmeter
  • RV water hoses (DO NOT use a garden hose) and fittings
  • Water pressure regulator
  • Sewer hoses
  • Toilet chemical
  • Work gloves
  • Disposable plastic gloves (for handling sewer hoses)
  • Extra bulbs, fuses, and batteries (a variety of sizes for your onboard gadgets)
  • Flashlights
  • Flares/warning reflectors
  • Silicone spray
  • WD-40
  • 303 Protectant
  • Exterior cleaning supplies, broom
  • Distilled water
  • Jumper cables
  • Tape measure
  • Heavy-duty tire pressure gauge
  • Fold-down shovel
  • Tool box with basic tools (store on curb side)
  • Stepladder
  • Weather radio
  • First Aid Kit, including pain remedies, cold and flu medicine, bandages, and basic First Aid booklet
  • Stationery supplies, including envelopes, stamps, paper, pens, pencils, tape, stapler, post-its
  • Calculator
  • Prescription medications
  • Bottled water (individual and/or larger containers)
  • Necessary records and travel papers including passports
  • Small fireproof safe
  • Navigation devices (atlases, maps, GPS, laptop with navigation program)
  • Cooking utensils, pots, pans, dishes, cutlery, can opener, coffee maker, potholders, ziploc bags, aluminum foil, wax paper, saran wrap
  • Clean-up materials (soaps, scrubbers, rags, trash bags, dish drainer)
  • Paper products (towels, plates, toilet and facial tissue)
  • Digital camera, camcorder, computer, printer, and related battery chargers
  • Cell phone with charger
  • Satellite dish
  • Binoculars

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

To be continued tomorrow…

Worth Pondering…
One needs only two tools in life: WD40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop.

—G. Weilacher

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A snowbird checklist: Winterizing your home, Part 2

Preparing your home for an extended absence requires thorough thought and planning.

Whether you’re new to taking extended RV trips or a veteran Snowbird, creating your own customized checklist is a great way to keep track of your seasonal preparations.

Is your home secured and winter-ready for a care-free Snowbird season? Pictured above Mount Pleasant Regional Park, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In the previous post, six tips on securing and winterizing your northern home were discussed.

Following are nine additional tips to consider when creating your own winter-ready checklist:

Medical insurance
Don’t leave home without it!

Mail
Receiving your mail in a timely manner can be a major concern for Snowbirds, full-timers, and other RVers who plan to be on the road for an extended period of time. Arrange with your local postal service to have your mail forwarded to a mailing forwarding address. We use the service provided by FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association). Other trusted and reliable mail forwarding services include Good Sam and Escapees.

Image courtesy moving.com

Newspaper
Place a temporary hold on your newspaper delivery.

Smoke alarms
Check to ensure that all smoke alarms are in working order and have fresh batteries.

Furnace
Reduce costs and save energy consumption by turning the thermostat down to 45-50 degrees F (7-10 C).

Water
Turn off the water supply at the main valve.

Water heater
Adjust the gas water heater thermostat to “pilot” or turn it off.

Upon returning home, relight the pilot if you turned it off, and gradually turn the thermostat to the appropriate setting. Don’t forget to turn the water back on before restarting the water heater.

Appliances and electronics
Unplug all electronics and electrical appliances—microwave, washer and dryer, stove, refrigerator, coffee pot, toaster oven, TVs, audio equipment, radios, and lamps.

Refrigerator

Make plans now to leave winter behind. Pictured above Florida Gulf Coast sunset. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Empty the refrigerator, turn it off, and unplug from wall receptacle. Place a fresh box of baking soda on a shelf to absorb odors and drape a towel over the doors to ensure they remain partially open.

Home security
Check outdoor security lights to ensure the motion sensors are functioning correctly. Lock windows and doors, and set the security alarm.

In conclusion

This list is a good place to start, but you may take additional steps to secure your home.

If you have additional tips that are not mentioned, please feel free to add them in the comments section.

Happy Snowbird travels!

Worth Pondering…

As Anne Murray sings in the popular song, “Snowbird”:

“Spread your tiny wings and fly away

And take the snow back with you

Where it came from on that day …

So, little snowbird, take me with you when you go

To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow…”

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A snowbird checklist: Winterizing your home

The Iceman cometh

Are you ready to flock south?

Now that the month of September has come and gone, the official Snowbird season is about to begin. Thousands of Snowbirds are preparing their recreational vehicles for travel to Ol’ Airy Zonie, Southern California, Texas, Florida, or another warm southern destination.

Flocking south for the winter? A home checklist for snowbirds

Located near Mesa and Apache Junction, Lost Dutchmen State Park is a popular Snowbird destination. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Preparing your home for an extended absence requires thorough thought and planning.

Before heading south for the season, snowbirds must take steps to secure and winterize their homes. Whether you’re new to the snowbird lifestyle or an experienced RVer, creating your own customized checklist is a great way to keep track of your seasonal preparations. Remember, it will be much easier to enjoy your winter in the sun if you have taken steps to protect your home while you are away for an extended period of time.

Consider the following tips when creating your own winter-ready checklist:

Check expiry dates
Well in advance of your departure, check expiry dates for your passport and other travel documents, driver’s license, motor vehicle registration, vehicle insurance, credit cards, and membership cards—and renew if necessary.

Home insurance

Clerbrook RV Resort in a popular Snowbird park at Clermont in Central Florida. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Check with your insurance ageny to determine how extended absences may affect coverage. Determine if your insurer requires regular walk-throughs during your absence and if so, how frequently.

Snow removal
You are escaping the snow, but your home is not. Arrange with a neighbor, relative, friend, or snow removal service to keep your sidewalks clear of the white stuff that Northerners know all too well.

Contact person
Ask a friend, neighbor, or relative to be the contact person for your home. The contact person should have access to your home. It’s important to have someone check your home on a regular basis, remove sales flyers, be available in emergency situations, and make repair appointments if necessary. Your home should look like someone is living there.

Contact information
Provide the contact person and other neighbors, relatives, and friends with pertinent information including cell phone and email address, vehicle and home insurance, security system, furnace repair, description of RV and toad or tow truck and trailer with plate numbers.

Notify neighbors

Rockport-Fulton is a popular Snowbird destination on the Texas Gulf Coast. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Inform trusted neighbors that you will be away for a specified period of time. You’ll want them to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. Ensure they have a list of contact persons, phone numbers, and email addresses.

To be continued…

Worth Pondering…

It started out a dream

A simple someday soon

But we worked hard

and made it real

This snowbird life

behind the wheel.

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