“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” - Tom Stoppard
Leaving the beautiful places that we visit is a bittersweet experience. Bitter, because we usually bond with the different places that we visit in one way or another. Sweet, because we know that we are moving on to new horizons.
But there is a process that keeps us pretty busy and focused. The process varies depending upon how much stuff we’ve unpacked at that specific campsite (longer stays = more stuff), and also depending upon whether we are at a “full hookup site” – water, electric and sewer connections.
So, for those of you (any of you?) that are curious about what our departure from any particular place looks like, here it is.
- Outdoor Carpet
- Picnic Shelter
- Bike Stand
- Assorted accessories (we have a few decorations for our campsite)
- Mount bikes on car rack
- Mount kayaks on car rack
As part of our routine, we try to handle the outdoor area the night before we leave in order to save time and energy the next morning. If we see rain in the forecast the night before we leave, we try to stow things earlier that so we’re not dealing with wet chairs and such. And there’s times when we wind up stowing the morning we’re leaving, but we try to avoid that.
We also have to stow and secure our indoor stuff. This is a bit less variable than the outdoor stuff, as we tend to use the same things indoors.
Here are the indoor areas/items that we need to prepare and stow:
- Putting away kitchen and dining area items: dishes, utensils, place mats etc including some padding to minimize the rattling when rolling down the road.
- Securing appliances: coffee pot, toaster etc.
- Securing the refrigerator: make sure items won’t fly out when opened or clang around while driving.
- Securing the bar area – wine glasses (we have special padded containers), bottles etc.
- Stowing bathroom products: shower and both sinks
- Securing office area: small items, computer screen, footstool
- Securing our coffee table (ours needs to be set sideways for slides to close)
- Latching closets, bedroom door, cabinets, drawers, pantry
- Clearing areas around the slides of any obstruction
- Turning Captain’s Chairs around to face forward and tying back curtains
- Closing slides
We do some of this the night prior to leaving and some in the morning.
Some people avoid some of these steps by minimizing the amount of fragile items such as china and glasses they carry. Plastic items are a lot easier to store, and that’s certainly an option.
The last thing we do before leaving is unhooking the utilities and getting ready to drive.
- Checking the motor home engine oil and tire pressure (not every time, but very regularly)
- Unplugging and stowing electrical (if there was electrical at the site)
- Dumping black and grey tanks (at a dump station off-site if no sewer at site)
- Switching to indoor water supply and water pump (if connected to water at site)
- Disconnecting and stowing all hoses (if connected)
If done all at once, this process can take about two hours. And, like I said before, it’s a ritual for us. Hector and I have had plenty of practice by now, and we both know all of the tasks, so each one of us can take care of any and all of them. Many people use a checklist, and we created one, but I admit we don’t use it. But it’s really a team effort and it’s really important to have good communication about what’s ready what’s not ready etc.
Finally, just prior to pulling out of the campsite, we take up the leveling jacks, remove the jack pads and any leveling blocks we may have used and stow them. When the motor home pulls out, the passenger (usually me) checks the campsite to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind.
And last, but not least, is hooking up the car to the back of Island Girl. After a couple of minor “incidents” this is an area that we double-check each other on very carefully. Then I stand behind the car while Hector turns on each turn signal, the brake lights and the emergency lights to check that they all work. I also walk by the car as he drives slowly to make sure all items on the racks look secure. Then we’re off.
Of course, when we arrive at our new location, it’s back to the ritual, but in reverse.