Well, I spent some time looking at those “Do’s and Don’t On How To Ruin Your Camping Trip” in Part 1 of Opps! I Did It Again. Here I would like to touch on some common mistakes we can easily make. Need-less-to-say, these can Ruin your trip as well.
1. Forget to retract the awning, TV/Wi Fi antenna, stabiliser jacks or steps
Pretty self-explanatory I should think. However, forgetting to retract these is more common than not, especially when you are rushed. It is very important to walk-around the trailer before leaving. Believe it or not the biggest culprit is the baseball cap. The duckbill brim blinds us from noticing what’s up on the roof if we’re not intensional about the process. That’s one reason I have a “tear down list“.
Oh yes, Almost forgot about closing the roof vents before travel and that includes the stove vent. (check out our complete Tear Down To Leave Camp Post) 😀
2. Forget to disconnect hoses and electrical cable and sewer conduct
Like the awning or TV antenna, the damage caused by neglecting to remove and store these service connection before pulling out can catastrophic. This has nothing to do with wearing a ball cap. This has everything to do with the number one cardinal rule, “Walk Around The Trailer Before Leaving“. Yes, it has happened to folks who have “one nighted” and not unhitched. They just backed-in connected to the services and when to bed, got up and leave to the song! “oops, I did it again” (and I’m not talking about Britney Spears singing on the radio!). 😨
3. Not using a check list before leaving
I know, numbers 1+2 above would be covered with a “check list“. However, there is one item that people have forgotten more that anything else … can you guess? If you can’t then you use a check list or you’ve been lucky. Ok-Ok …The Number One Forgot is (drum role please) “turning off the fresh water pump be for you leave a campsite”! We call our check list the Tear Down List. I mentioned this above and if you looked at it you will notice that one specific item is BOLD with an asterisk * next to it – why you ask? – Guess! What happens is the shaking of the trailer while travelling Can turn on the Kitchen Tap (ours is a single faucet type). When this happens – well – your trailer turns into a swimming pool. Ya Ya I know. 🤒
4. Not knowing the height of you trailer for safe clearance
When we first got Blue Streak I never gave much thought to how tall the Airstream was off the ground. When we were planning a trip using the “Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas by Rand McNally” I became aware of something call “Low Bridges“. Well, dang … It was then that I realised I had no idea how tall off the ground Blue Streak was! So, before we were leaving I checked with the Airstream Specification to find out the 2004 International 25 measured 9’7″ (2.93 metres) from ground to top of the AC unit. Once we were hooked up, I got out a ladder and level to discover we had grown a couple of inches. Adding the two measurements gave me 9’8″ (2.95 metres). While this placed us well blow the average 16′ (4.9 metres) of bridges and overpasses on Hwys in Canada. So basically, anything over 3 metres is fantastic and I don’t have to stop and measure … (Good to know, right?) Since we Boondock and take side-roads, one never knows when an old train trestle or bridge might be encountered – so know the clearance requirements of your Rig and carry a tape measure.. 😏
5. Not knowing the total length of you trailer for safe clearance
Unless you tow your trailer a lot it’s easy to forget that wide turning is required. Most often accidents occur with right-hand turns, hitting sign poles or light standards, or the curb. Sean Micheal of LongLongHoneymoon calls this a “Hand To Face Plant Moment” or as others would say: “Oh Shucks” 🤬. We are so cognitive of the need to ensure a wide enough right turn we have a bumper sticker on Blue Streak to inform drivers behind us that “This Vehicle Makes Wide Right Turns“. Remembering how long your rig is (Truck + Trailer) becomes critical for driving into gas stations to avoid hitting the pumps/islands and other vehicles or passing on the Hwy. When I first measures Red Dragon (our F-150) + Blue Streak (our Airstream) I was surprised to discover our Rig was just over 50′ (15.5 metres). I have learned to use my tow mirrors and rear camera – and have gotten out to look more than once in tight areas. 🤓
6. Not securing everything in the truck bed
Pick-up trucks and open beds = trouble. YouTube has many examples of what happens when stuff is not secured in the truck bed while travelling down the Hwy at 100k (65mph). Unsecure stuff can and does become airborne, which in turn can cause a costly accident or worse, some ones death. Not only do we use the tie-downs in the bed of our Red Dragon, we also have a tonneau cover. Our motto is: “If it doesn’t fit under it doesn’t go“. 💀
7. Not my brand gas station – when you’re low on fuel
I spoke about this in Part 1 (Missed it? – Go here) BUT this is something I think worth reminding again. Running out of fuel is not fun, it’s expensive and stupidly embarrassing…. don’t ask me how I know (Hand To Face Plant). 😎