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A look at snowbirds: 15 tips, Part 2

October 25, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

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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?

The Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona is a popular Snowbird destination. Pictured above Organ Pipe National Monument south of Ajo. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To read Part 1 detailing the first two tips for planning your next road trip and to help ensure your safety while on the road, click here.

In this post we look at tips four to seven.

4. Pre-travel checklist

ALWAYS use a vehicle inspection and safety pre-travel checklist before you head out on the road. You should make these checks every day before traveling.

Our exterior checklist includes (the letter/s in the bracket indicates responsibility; with ‘R’ being Rex (that’s me), and ‘D’ being my co-pilot, Dania):

Check fluid levels—oil, coolant, transmission (R)

Check air-flow restriction gauge (R)

Check tire pressure (set according to actual axle load) and tread condition (R)

Check underneath motorhome or truck for sign of leaks (R)

Stow TV antenna and satellite dish (R)

Close windows, vents, and secure items (D)

Ensure that the oven and burners are in off position (D)

Turn off water pump switch (D)

Turn off refrigerator and secure doors (D)

Birding is one of the fastest growing outdoor activities. Pictured above great white egret at Corkscrew Wildlife Sanctuary near Naples in southwestern Florida. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Retract slides (D+R)

Empty gray and black tanks (R)

Disconnect and store water and sewer hoses, and electric cord (R)

Retract door step (D)

Turn off propane at tank (R)

Latch and lock all storage bay doors (R)

Start motorhome and retract leveling jacks (R)

Hook-up toad (D+R)

Set toad and lock doors (R)

Check lights (head, signal, brake, clearance) on motorhome and toad (D+R)

Pull motorhome ahead far enough to ensure that the toad has been set correctly (D+R)

Do final walk-a-bout inspection; DO NOT forget to check tow bar or hitch, safety cables, pins, wiring harness, and auxiliary brakes on toad (D)

Add to this list as necessary.

5. Rating of tow bar and hitch

Make sure that both your motorhome hitch and tow bar are rated to pull the weight of your toad. For fifth-wheelers, ensure the hitch in your truck box is rated to tow your trailer.

6. Safety Alarms

Check Smoke, LPG, and Carbon Monoxide alarms for proper operation and replace batteries as needed.

7. Know/post your height, width, and length

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

Post your exterior height, width, and total length in the motorhome or tow vehicle where it can easily be seen while driving. A major insurance claim is RVs hitting gas station overhangs, underpasses, and bridges. If you travel on roads less traveled be sure to check clearances on all overhead bridges before attempting to go under them.

Height: Measure to the highest point such as air conditioner or satellite dish

Width: Measure to the outermost points such as mirrors, awnings, or handles

Length: Measure from the front of the vehicle to the end of the towed vehicle or trailer

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

To read Part 3, click here.

To read Part 4, click here.

Worth Pondering…
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown trail before me leading wherever I choose.

—Walt Whitman

If you enjoyed this article, you might also wish to read

10 safe driving tips

10 MORE safe driving tips

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