How We Roll

Boo and Laura's Motor Home Tips, Part 1

We have been on the road for a little over 7 months now and have some tips for those of you who might be thinking about trying out the mobile lifestyle…
So we were on our way to California. It had been a long day of driving, much of it involving fighting the wind in order to keep the motor home in its lane. This wasn’t helped by the constant flow of semi-trucks passing by us. They temporarily block the wind so you have to readjust during and after the pass. Anyway, we needed to get gas and took an exit that promised several gas stations. When we got to the first one, it was so crowded that it would have been difficult to maneuver to an open pump. So we tried another one. Same problem. We had seen another one when we came in so we decided to try that one on the way out. We pulled into the lot, but there was a car in the way so we waited for it to move. Suddenly, the attendant came running out, waving his arms wildly. He said, “No! You won’t fit!” Then we looked at the roof over the pumps for the first time. A sign said it was 11 feet tall. Since we are 12 ½ feet tall, we would have taken out either the roof or our air conditioner if we had continued!
I feel certain we will have more tips to offer as we go along. Stay tuned!
The storage compartment under the front of the motor home has a “thru shelf” so it’s a good place to store long items like long-handled vehicle washing brushes. The problem is that the slide-out mechanism is there also and it is hollow at one end. You shouldn’t place the handle of said brush inside the hollow part and then forget about it. Because if you do, and then move the slide-out out, the mechanism will break the handle and part of the handle will get stuck inside the channel (the hollow part) of the slide-out mechanism. Then the slide-out will not move in and out smoothly as it bumps over the trapped broken handle piece. (So the handle piece is still in the channel and we are working on ideas for how to get it out.)
5)      If you pull into a gas station that has a roof over the pumps, be sure to check the clearance before pulling in, no matter how tired you are.
4)      If you store something inside the slide-out mechanism while you are parked, be sure to remove it before you put the slide-out in.
It was our first trip in our motor home. We had to find a place to stay for the last two weeks of October since our first campground closed on October 15th. We found a state park nearby and decided to go there. We were excited to have a “practice run” of sorts, since we weren’t going very far. We had made our take-off checklist and had gone through it meticulously. At last we were ready. We started moving…way too slowly. Then Boo noticed tracks in the lawn behind us. When he went to investigate, he discovered we had left the parking brake on in the car! When we drove the car up onto the tow dolly, we had put the brake on while we secured the car to the dolly. That’s a good idea so no one gets smashed by the car rolling off the dolly, but we have to remember to take it off again!
2)      If the motor home is really hard to accelerate, check the brake.
I drove the motor home from our site to the dump station at the state park campground and it seemed very hard to accelerate, even though the path was flat and paved. But I kept going, thinking I just wasn’t used to driving the motor home. Finally, we noticed that the parking brake was on. Not really a big deal, I’m just glad we didn’t go very far before we discovered the problem. You really have to watch those pesky parking brakes! No taking off when you’re half asleep or otherwise not paying full attention.
3)      If you decide to use a locking device when your slide out is in and ready for travel, remember to remove it before extending said slide-out.
We have a metal bar that fits between the wall and the front edge of the living room slide-out. Even though the slide-out has a lock, Boo likes to use the bar to ensure that it doesn’t come out while we are driving. The problem is you can’t see the bar from the slide-out control center where the in/out toggle button lives. So naturally, I had to forget to take out the bar at least once. What happens is the slide-out mechanism tries really hard to move and if you keep pressing the button, the wall buckles as the top is anchored by the bar and the bottom moves. This is not a good thing. Fortunately, I saw the error of my ways in time and stopped pushing the button. No damage was done. Whew! Now we attach a little flag to the wall (where we can see it) before we take off to remind us to take out the bar when we stop.

So how did we come by this ground-breaking knowledge? Well...


1)      If you hear a dragging noise or see drag marks on the ground behind you, take off the parking brake on the car you are towing.