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A Question Answered

TrackTown, USA: Dave had trustee meetings all day, so I volunteered to remain at the campsite to supervise repairs and the washing crew.

Two men showed up to wash the outside and roof of our motorhome. I was trapped inside the bus with all the windows and vents closed during the procedure. It was actually sunny in Eugene today... which can only mean rain tomorrow because it always rains after we have our RV washed.

They charge by the foot. Two hours and $110 later...

Pretty and shiny again. These guys have washed our motorhome several times before, but they were still surprised when I told them the Magna Peregrinus was six years old. Still looks new!

I received an email this afternoon from Reader Virginia. She questioned how it is possible to get ready for a several-week RV trip in one day.

The answer is mostly: Experience and Checklists.

First of all, we keep our motorhome filled with dishes, pots, pans, sheets, towels, toiletries and anything else one would use on a daily basis. The only things we bring to the bus for a trip are clothing, food, golf clubs, cameras and laptops/office things. We bring items to the bus in a cooler and plastic crates, and leave the cooler and crates in the storage garage to bring things home after the trip.

CLOTHING: This trip is complicated. Three football games. Trustee meetings (business attire for DT and cocktail attire for me). Several casual travel days and then several "city days" - San Francisco and Napa. Warm weather and cool weather clothing. Exercise clothes. Still, it took just a few minutes to gather our wardrobes. Clothing on hangers arrive to the RV on hangers. If traveling to different locals all the time, no one but your dining partner will know you are wearing the same outfit every time you go out dinner. (And... we have a washer/dryer stacked unit in our motorhome.)

FOOD: I used to bring enough food to feed a small nation on every trip. A very bad habit and one that took me years to break. Extra weight equals extra fuel use. Stop doing this! Bring the bare necessities and one or two emergency meals (pasta and a jarred sauce, for example).

Truth is, travelers are never far from a grocer in America. There is no need to overload your RV pantry. They have flour in Des Moines! Assuming our fruit isn't confiscated at the California Agriculture Inspection Station when we cross the border, we will be fine for days. Anyway, I truly enjoy shopping in a grocer or farmers market in a new town. Interesting to see regional foods and brands.

Food was the easiest thing to organize for this trip. Every night in Eugene, we have plans to dine out. Saturday I am responsible for a veggie tray at the tailgate party, which I ordered from a local supermarket. The first night on the road - Sunday - Dave and I are responsible for feeding six adults. Steaks are in the freezer and everything else needed for the dinner will be fetched from the supermarket when I pick up the veggie tray.

Spice rack is from the Tubular Spice Company

I used to store staples in adorable glass canisters from IKEA, but they do not fit in the pantry of this motorhome. However, plain old Mason jars do fit - two deep! - so now I store most pantry staples in Mason jars at home and bring the filled jars needed to the RV. (The only food items stored at all times in the RV pantry are spices and teas.) This trip, I grabbed flour, sugar, brown sugar, rice and a jar of dried pasta. (I also grabbed a two cup frozen portion of homemade tomato sauce - for an easy dinner if needed one night.) We have cooking oils, nuts and snacks.

For the fridge - juice, eggs, cheeses, fruit, bagels, cream cheese, lox and ingredients for a sandwich or two. (As our RV is stored plugged-into 30 amp shore power, we leave our fridge on - with condiments stored inside - at all times.) There is a vast selection of wine, beer and assorted booze on board.

Yes. That is a jar of duck fat. Don't judge.

This website has
a good selection of printable packing lists
you may find helpful in planning a trip in your RV.

Another tip? Always keep a cooler in your tow vehicle. Toss-in a reusable ice pack or two when you head out to explore the area without your RV. Maybe you won't finish your restaurant lunch - now you can bring it home. Maybe you will find an interesting cheese shop, fruit stand or bakery. If a cooler is in the car, you are golden. Don't forget your reusable grocery bags.

OTHER ITEMS: We fly so often now, we are both confident with packing our laptops and other electronics/chargers quickly and using little space. I keep a list of needed items in a small pouch that holds my power cord, camera battery/phone chargers, mouse (yes, I still use a mouse!), etc., so nothing is ever forgotten - even an extra battery for my stupid mouse. Go ahead and laugh, but look at my adorable mouse pad:

I also have a tote bag with me at all times, holding my latest and greatest needlepoint project.

And then there is the BLACK BOX. We always bring a small box (probably originally designed to hold DVDs or VHS tapes?) filled with the checkbook, external hard drive, deposit stamp, return address stamp, membership cards, and anything else along the business of running a household. We always keep these items in the box - home or away - so nothing gets misplaced. Nothing needs to be moved from a desk drawer to a box to the bus and nothing is forgotten - the whole box comes along. Easy. Well, easy for us. This system works for us. Your family will have different needs.

So, Virginia, the secret is planning, checklists and to not bring too much stuff. I hope this has answered your question and am pretty sure this is more than anyone everwanted to know about how we load our motorhome for a trip... but you get a lot of rambling gibberish from a girl stuck alone all day in the RV park.

Until my next update, I remain, your organized correspondent.

RV PARK: Premier RV Resort - Large RV park on I-5 (exit 199). Long pull-through sites with full hookups, 50/30 amp, bath houses, laundry, pool & hot tub (in season), fitness center, cozy fireplace lounge with TV, store, ice, newspaper delivered to your door six days per week. Freeway noise and a lot of live-ins. Premier RV Resort is conveniently located near the many RV repair/service businesses located in Coburg or Junction City. We are paying $48 per night.