Ready? Set? WAIT!

Bill & Denise Semion
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Editor’s Note: Bill and Denise Semion are members of LTV’s sponsored content team, The Leisure Explorers. Do you own a Leisure Travel Van and enjoy writing? Learn more about joining the team.

Get Ready to Leave, Without Leaving Anything Behind

What’s your biggest OOPS when you drive your RV off your campsite? Is it forgetting to lock the pantry, which flings open on your next right turn? Or leaving something behind at your campsite? How do you make your final check to be sure, absolutely sure, you are ready to go?

You’ve probably heard all the nightmares….people driving off with their awning extended (that’s an expensive fix), forgetting to bring in the slide (yes, we’ve heard of this happening once), cabinets flying open, leaving something behind, and more.

Seems like a takeoff checklist is crucial, and yes, mandatory, if you want to avoid driving off too soon. We’ve created our own procedure for takeoff, called “Airplane Check.”

And yes, we do our “Airplane Check” every time we drive Lucky Us, our 2015.5 Leisure Unity MB – whether we are leaving our campsite for the day, moving on to our next destination, or stopping for lunch. Yup, just about anytime we turn on the engine, except if we are just getting fuel or making a quick stop at a rest area, we go through our procedure. We’ve even driven a bit down the road when one of us calls “Wait! Airplane Check!” Then, we pull over to check to make sure we’ve got everything secured.

So, what’s on our mental list of “Airplane Check?” First off, we came up with this name because it reminds us of being on an airplane, watching the flight attendants run their hands down the long row of overhead bins to make sure none of them are partially open or improperly closed. Please note we do not call “Airplane Check” until we disconnected the electricity and water and think we are ready to leave.

First, inside:
1. Confirm the stabilizers/leveling jacks are up.
2. Run your hand/fingers across each cabinet to make sure every button is in/cabinets are locked.
3. Touch the pantry button to make sure it’s locked.
4. Push every drawer to make sure they are all the way in.
5. Look at all counters – anything waiting to fly off?

Run your hands along the cabinets to make sure all buttons are pushed in.
Check the pantry – or else be prepared for it to fly open!

Then, outside:
7. Walk around the entire RV and make sure every storage bin is secured.
8. Make sure the bikes are secured in the rack.
9. Look at the picnic table and the entire site to make sure you didn’t leave anything behind, including the welcome mat.

We each do this independently, taking turns walking around our rig. And yes, many times we thought we were ready to go, start to leave, and then one of us calls “Airplane Check!” and we stop, look and gaze around to make sure we are absolutely, positively, ready to go. Don’t forget to look up, down, all around. 

Did you secure every outside storage bin?

I left the best one for last, as that’s the area we sometimes fail. Yup, we think we looked at the entire site and made sure it was cleaned up. What is the one item we have left, time and time again, at various sites across the country?

It’s the elusive black welcome mat. Since we’ve already packed up our patio mat, we leave our welcome mat until we are done walking into our rig. And that’s when it gets left behind. We have probably bought five or six, heck, maybe 10 mats over the years.

We had our welcome mat here on Vancouver Island.

After we had a few “Airplane Check” fails, we started a little game. Bill would leave one thing, just one little thing, amiss on the outside of our RV. And I had to find it before we left. Sometimes it was a storage lock not twisted shut. Other times, it was an unstrapped bicycle. Yup, even with our efforts, we still make a right turn and oops, we forgot that darn pantry door lock again.  Confession time: Once we were in a hurry to leave and we took off with the cabinets above the sink open. That only happened once!

Backing Into a Campsite

It goes without saying, that we also make sure we aren’t gonna hit any trees, tables, or other objects when backing into a campsite. I always, always, always, get out and stand in the back of the site, guiding Bill into our spot. Even when it’s a flat, open site with lots of room and no trees. 

OK, now that you’ve done your due diligence, are you ready? Set? Then, GO! 

Bill & Denise Semion

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