Things I Learned On My Very First RV Trips

things-I-learned-on-my-very-first-few-trips

After driving back to LA with the new RV, I kept asking myself “what did I just do?” and started freaking out. I was excited but also panicked, how am I going to handle it and park it. I didn’t know anything about it.

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I contacted Camping World and I found out that they offer RV walk-throughs for a fee, so I scheduled one.

The guy who did the walk through showed me everything there is to know. I found out how the generator works, the bathroom, the kitchen, how to dump, what to look out for and how to plug in. 

If you don’t know anything about RVs, this was a great way to learn. It was an information overload, but now I had more confidence to go to my first weekend trip.

I still wasn’t sure if everything works on the RV, so I took it to a shop and I had to them check it out. I needed oil in the generator, change the home battery, get new tires. I also had an alarm system and keyless entry installed. I feel way safer having it.

When everything was done I booked my first trip to Bolsa Chica State Beach with full hookups.

I tried my little slow cooker to make myself dinner, I put together my bed the first time and used my new space heater to keep me warm during the night. I was a little worried about my propane heater, I didn’t want to use it until I get a good propane alarm in place. I wanted one that can work with batteries so even when I am not plugged in will work.

The next day I figured out how to use the dump site, let my gray water out. I didn’t know back then that the toilet is a separate cassette system and that needs to be emptied separately.

My second trip was in a forest setting, I visited the Ronald W Caspers park in Orange County. I had full hookups here too, so again I used my space heater for the night.

Thetford Cassette ToiletMy first longer trip took me to Oakley CA when I decided to visit my friend for the holidays. He helped me figuring out my Thetford toilet system (see video). I found out that I don’t have a black water tank, my toilet is a separate system, completely independent from the rest of the RV. I’ve read on other blogs that one of the most difficult thing is to find a dump site if you want to live in a city. Most dump sites are out of the city. Considering that small RVs have smaller tanks for waste, you would need to drive out of the city every three or four days to just empty your tank. Mine is different, it is pretty convenient. You can empty the cassette even in a normal bathroom toilet.  I tried. You have to flush a few times but it is doable.

During this longer trip I spent 9 days in a row in my Class B. I tried my RV the first time without full hookups. I’ve learned that if your home battery is dead, even your propane heater won’t work because everything needs 12 Volt to use. My RV only has an electric fridge (most RV fridges are both propane and electric), so with a dead battery it won’t work. I had to use my generators for a few hours if I wanted to make sure that my battery is charged enough to keep my fridge and my heater going all night. I also kept my battery charged by driving from location to location, down on the PCH from San Jose to LA. Then and there I decided to install solar panels to make sure that my battery is getting a charge when it is sunny out, even when I don’t use it.

I stopped in Half Moon Bay, where I was dry camping the first time. I was so worried that my thermostat won’t make it till the morning only on battery and I will freeze to death – it was the end of December after all. Everything worked out, my propane heater worked great, I stayed at some beautiful places and learned a lot about living in an RV. It was fun, it was freedom, I loved it.


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