With Matt’s injured right foot, he couldn’t really do much of anything, let alone drive or handle departure and arrival chores. For this reason, we are so glad that we decided to share all of our tasks from the get-go and ensure both of us were comfortable taking care of all that needs to be done. If I didn’t know how to hitch up, wasn’t comfortable towing the trailer or backing up into a site, we could have been stranded because of this accident. 😬
I made a point of getting comfortable driving the trailer right from the beginning. After a few months, I stopped getting so nervous and at one point in time everything just sort of clicked and it was no longer that scary. Less frequently but still part of my learning process, I also have gotten better at hitching up. We have a Pro Pride hitch, and like many weight distribution hitches, it is complicated. It requires multiple steps to the hitching up process and precision when backing up to get the hitch into the receiver. And backing up with a big ass trailer is also challenging and requires lots of practice, especially when you’re often in tight campgrounds. Anyone who has backed up with a trailer or a boat knows what I’m talking about. 😂
All this to say, there are a few pointers that I think might help couples as they embark on any long-term trips or a full-time on-the-road lifestyle.
- A checklist. Having a punchlist of items to take care of for departure and arrival has really helped. We have a shared note through Apple Notes that both of us can reference on our phones and keeps us on track. Though we don’t refer to it as frequently now (we have been doing this for a year, moving once a week on average), it is helpful, especially when you are first starting out. You don’t want to forget anything important.
- Practice, practice, practice. It makes a world of difference when taking on each task. Some of the biggies, like hitching up, driving while towing, and backing up your rig take time to get comfortable enough where you aren’t stressed out about it. It does get easier.
- Communication. There are certain things that Matt does more than I and vice versa. If we see someone doing something wrong, we speak up to ensure it’s done right the next time. Swallow your pride, learn something in the process and know that you’re helping each other to stay safe and reduce risk of injury to yourselves or your rig, both of which can be costly.
- Attention to detail. This has also been a key ingredient to our success. Double checking that you locked the doors on your rig, turned off the water heater and water pump before a move, turned off the gas (if your refrigerator can run on electric), and checked tire pressure before hitting the road have saved us from roadside emergencies. If you’re unsure, check again. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
These four pointers have really helped us successfully and safely travel all of this time, and without them we could easily have had a major emergency that could have stranded us or ended our trip. Don’t let this happen to you! 😃