Recently I was planning our trip from Florida to Vegas, a 2,600 mile, 3 week trek and was asked why it was going to take so long. If we were traveling in our minivan we could make this trip in just a few days but life on the road with a 43′ fifth wheel is a little different. For us to do this trip comfortable it needs to take a minimum of 19 days. If I didn’t have to work, and we wanted to travel daily, it would still take at least 8 days.
Here is a typical travel day…
8 am Tear Down
It takes on average 2 1/2 hours to get on the road from when we wake up until we pull out of an RV park. Moving day is very stressful, and though it can be done faster we find that giving ourselves this kind of time makes the day go smoother for everyone… because mom gets stressed when we are in a hurry, and then mom might yell, and then a child might cry and then the whole day could go downhill REALLY fast. (Not that this has EVER happened. 😉 ) The morning routine includes showers for 5 people, breakfast, dishes, securing all interior items, packing the garage and loading the RZR, store the ladder, emptying and flushing the black tanks, sweeping off the slides, unhooking and storing all outdoor accessorizes and hoses, hook the RV to the truck, retract landing gear, and pull out. I am sure there are a few things I am forgetting, but you get the point.
11 am On the Road (300 miles is 6 hours)
Headed down the road. Pulling a 43′ fifth wheel is a project. Our top speed is about 65 mph but we average about 50 mph. We have to be aware of low bridges, tight corners and high traffic areas. As we do not stop quickly or make u-turns, navigation is an ongoing process, checking the GPS device, truckers atlas and apps for truck stops and rest stops.
Sometimes these stops require emergency RV repairs on the side of the road.
We always fuel the truck before leaving in the morning, but on a 300 mile day we will need to stop for gas at least once, and we have learned to stop at every rest stop to take the chance to stretch our legs, walk the dog, have a snack and at about hour 3, we put the slides out and make lunch.
5 pm Setup (1 1/2 hours)
When we get to the new campsite, its not like getting to a hotel where you get your keys, take your suitcase to a room and collapse on the bed. After checking in we have to drive around the campground and find a site that will fit our big rig and then back the beast in, lining up sewer outlets and hookups, making sure there is room for the slides to come out, the back to come down and still leave room for the truck and rzr to park and then we do all of the morning tear down activities in reverse. Setting up at a new campground during daylight hours is a must as there is only 1 thing worse then setting up in the dark, and that is setting up in the dark while its raining.
This day has us eating dinner around 7 pm. In an ideal situation we would be staying put for a few weeks, but for our trip West, there will be many days when will be getting up in the morning and repeating the routine all over again.