Boondocking Bumps in the Road General RV Tips

Day 1…

Day 1, Sunday, July 1, 2018. Forecast: Real Feel…106 degrees!

The week prior to July 1 the process leading up to this first travel day as “full-timers”  involved:

  • selling my “Nox” (2010 Chevy Equinox) to CarMax
  • taking “Babe” in to Koons Annapolis for an oil change and tire rotation and balance
  • sanitizing and filling our fresh water tank
  • one last major Laundry day
  • washing Old Glory and Babe in 100+ degree temps.
  • some miscellaneous last minute chores (Grocery shopping, researching overnight stops and campgrounds etc.)

The Big Day was finally here! On this very hot day we stored all hoses and cords then set up “command central” on our dashboard to include our Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS), RV GPS, and Rear Observation Camera (see pictures below.) We hooked up for our first big travel day and in spite of the miserable hot temps we were loaded up and ready to go by 11 am.

Our Daily travel plan is to go less than 200 miles each day and stop driving by 3:30 pm.  This allows us to miss rush hour, not feel pressured to get to our next destination in any hurry and possibly give us some extra time to explore as we go.  We also want to give the driver plenty of time to rest up before the next drive.

On this July 1, as we began the first leg of our journey to Green Lakes State park in New York we encountered our first couple of bumps.  The GPS thought it knew more than Mark about the surrounding area. That was easy, GPS was ignored and it managed to recalculate route in process.  We also came upon a large wooden spool in the middle of the highway as we navigated traffic leaving Maryland.  Thanks to Mark’s eagle eye we avoided a mishap and continued on. Our first destination was Cabelas and Cigars International in Hamburg, PA.  We planned to overnight “dry camp” AKA “boondock” in the Cabelas’ parking lot.  Cabelas is a very RV friendly sporting goods store and the Hamburg “flagship” location has a huge parking lot with RV spaces, a dump station and dog kennels.

On the way there we stopped by Flying J to weigh at their truck scale. One unknown we had been concerned about was our total GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating.) According to our Fifth wheel and Truck information our Total Gross Combined Weight Rating is 25,495 pounds. We did not have any clue what our weight actually was since we loaded our whole life into this rig.  There is a whole science to deciphering this information and a lot of questions to be answered first. Is our gas tank full?  Are we carrying water in the fresh water tank?  If so, how many gallons? How many passengers are in the Tow Vehicle? How much does the tow vehicle weigh by itself and how much does the trailer + tow vehicle weigh combined?

As you can see, we were 22,420 lbs – that’s about 3,000 lbs under our total max GCWR! We were amazed and a little confused but overall thrilled.  That being said, some weight redistribution may be required in the bed of the truck to adjust our “pin weight.” We still need to get the truck weighed by itself to know if our pin weight is good but it looks like we are in good shape and very relieved!

In good time, we arrived safely at Cabelas and walked in to let them know we planned to overnight in their parking lot.  They were very friendly and helpful.  It was early afternoon and HOT so we shopped around in Cabelas, Wal-Mart and Cigars International enjoying their air conditioning.

Then we began setting up our dual fuel generator so we could run the RV’s air conditioner.  We parked at the farthest corner of the lot so we could run our generator at night if necessary to cool off.  There were about 10 other RVs in the very large parking lot so we had plenty of space. We discovered after our first night of boondocking that 1 20 gallon tank of propane lasts about 1 night when you run the AC just about non-stop.

Many important lessons were learned and with our first travel day under our belts we are on our way to becoming seasoned full-time RVers.

Note to Wegmans friends: We brought a “Flat Jay” out-of-office sign along on this journey and we will be including some random pictures of him along the way- keep an eye out for him!

6 thoughts on “Day 1…”

  1. The number of details for RV travel is astounding. I’m impressed. (Also just a little jealous – but super happy for you both). May you and Flat J have safe travels to PEI! Can’t wait to read more about the adventure.

  2. There is so much to learn about RVing! It’s very interesting and informative.

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