Whenever you make a big new exciting purchase, there is always some stress involved. I remember when I first got my puppy Max, I was terrified I was going to accidentally kill him (which I actually almost did when he ate a bottle of Ibuprofen, but that’s another story for another time).
Kelly and I had both been quite concerned about leaving our beautiful new baby alone and out of sight for 3.5 months in the cold harsh reality of a Michigan winter, but we had no other option. I know I had more than one dream where our RV was essentially a pile of rubble.
Our biggest worry was possible damage from freezing and melting repeatedly over the course of 3 months – cracks, leaks, etc. The RV was already winterized, meaning the tanks were filled with anti-freeze and everything was shut down and closed off, so luckily that was taken care of when we bought it. The main thing we were concerned about was that we didn’t have a chance to re-caulk the roof, and it pretty badly needed caulking. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate for us back in December when we purchased the RV – it was too cold and drizzly for caulk to stick.
When we arrived to storage, we unlocked the door and entered the RV, frantically searching for signs of damage… Good news – we got lucky! We didn’t kill it! We saw no major leaks or damage. Everything seemed to be in great shape. And then the real moment of truth – does the engine start? Spoiler alert: It does!
We were ecstatic to find out that the engine started on the first try. We high fived with such fervor and enthusiasm that both of our hands burned like hell for about 5 minutes afterwards. Now, sure it looks pretty, and by some miracle the engine starts, but driving it is another important part of the picture.
Driving the hour and a half from the storage facility to my parents’ driveway was a nerve wracking experience, because we knew that the tires pretty badly needed to be replaced and we were concerned that they were low/cracking/prone to blowouts. We crossed our fingers that we could make it back with no problems, and luckily we got it back without issue where it is happily parked in the driveway.
I will say, the actual experience of driving felt great. I feel so much more comfortable with its size and movement already, I’m really warming up to it. And Kelly too – he managed to back it into my parents’ driveway pretty easily. It’s definitely starting to feel like ours.
As far as we’re concerned, the RV is as beautiful as it was the day it rolled off the lot in 1993. Success! And now we have a few things to take care of to be truly road-ready.
1. Get new tires
Mission accomplished. On Friday we spent just under $1400 and got 8 brand new tires put on. I feel so much more confident driving with new tires. Nothing would be worse than blowing a tire in this thing. Before when driving it seemed to be pulling to the right, and now it seems to have straightened up, which is great news.
2. Load up the RV
We have all of our possessions stored in my parents’ garage and basement. We have been bringing any boxes labeled “RV” into our new home, and laughing hysterically at all the things we thought were going to fit inside. I literally had 2 boxes with only candles in them that I thought I would be bringing with me. Yeah, no. I would say about 2/3 of the things we thought we would bring we are not going to have space for, or honestly any real use for. How many different dresses do I need to bring in an RV…? Apparently Chicago-Anna thought that 10 seemed like an appropriate number. Silly Chicago-Anna. You so crazy.
3. Get an oil change and have someone look over the engine
We need to make some phone calls on Monday and find a good mechanic to check out the engine and do things like change our oil and give us a tune-up. We hope to be able to do things like this ourselves at some point when we get a bit more comfortable with working on the mechanical side of things, but since this will be our first big trip, we would prefer to have someone with more experience give us the go-ahead.
4. Buy a tow dolly
We are trying to locate a used tow dolly to buy in the area and so far haven’t seen anything that fits the bill. This is one item that we technically don’t NEED to have before we start the trip. We can always just have one person drive the RV and the other drive the car to our destination. It’s not ideal, but it would work. Depending on availability of a tow dolly, we may end up holding off a bit and trying to find one down the road. We are going to do a bit more research on this before setting off.
We are hoping to set off by the end of this upcoming week, the very beginning of April. Hoping the weather warms up a bit and keeps the snow away until we can get a bit further south.