Exciting, smiling, and carefree we drove our newly-purchased RV off the lot for its first journey. Having never owned an RV, or really ever driven one before, we were about to learn many new things about driving not only an oversize vehicle, but a home on wheels. Here are some of the things we learned in the first 48 hours of owning our RV:
You are not just driving a car anymore, you are driving a home on wheels. That being said, consider all of the appliances, cabinets, dishes, etc. that are going to be knocked around with every turn or bump you hit!
Do not be alarmed at first, strange noises are normal. Within a couple of drives you will start to be able to put a finger on what exactly these noises are and how to silence them! No matter what, your home on wheels will always be creaking and moaning with every adventure. You will become so familiar with your home on wheels that you will know exactly what each and every noise means.
Plan your route (really!)
If you have never driven a large vehicle before, you are going to be very surprised on how many road restrictions there are. Only having driven my small Subaru, I have never had any road limitations and have honestly never really put too much thought into it. IT IS MUCH DIFFERENT IN AN RV.
The biggest thing to look for is road signage. No matter how much googling or research you do beforehand, road construction and traffic is changing everyday. Obviously you will have to consider both the height and length of your vehicle while driving, but also consider tight-turns, lane sizes, big hills, rough terrain, and weight limits!
Being ignorant, I did not even know the correct weight of our rig on the first couple drives and ended up going down roads that were restricted for my weight and boy did we learn our lesson. Similarly, not taking into account dips in the roads and tight-turns we found ourselves not only bottoming-out our rig but also getting stuck…imagine the stress and arguments that followed!
Turns out many toll booth plazas have lanes specifically for oversize vehicles (check for signage!). This fact never even crossed our minds until we saw the face of the toll booth worker as we barely squeezed through a non-oversize lane (picture a deer-in-the-headlights look). Though comical now, this could have ended very badly!
How supportive people are
The best thing we learned early on was how supportive people are. The first gas station I ever pulled into was a small lot, but when I asked for help everyone got out of their cars and assisted in getting myself lined up perfectly with the pump. And when something in your RV breaks at a campground, other RV owners basically come running to the rescue with their lessons learned and RV knowledge. Everyone loves talking about their past, current, or future RV experiences and plans.
Knowing that there is a supportive RV community has made our RV lifestyle significantly less stressful.
Showers use A LOT of water
Another thing we have always taken for granted when using our apartments showers is the fact that showers use a lot of water! This knowledge can be life-changing when you are hooked up for the first time. Knowing this not only allows you to plan for how much water you will use up in your fresh water tank and hot water heater, but more importantly how quickly your grey tank will fill up.
The last thing you want to happen is have your grey tank fill up and overflow in your coach! We made this mistake once and ended up having to use buckets to empty out the over-flowed water. Be mindful of how much water you are using and check your tank levels often!
While many of these issues stemmed from our ignorance, we wanted to address them here so hopefully you can learn from our mistakes and have a safe journey! Had any beginner mishaps on your own? Comment below!
Follow @SunnySideUpTraveling for more RV lessons learned!