Planning and Organizing

Being stranded has turned out to be a great opportunity to really focus on getting things organized in the coach. With limited space, how and where things get stored can make a big difference in daily life.

Clearly, a small space forces a certain level of minimalism. That said, we have everything we need. Hard pressed to highlight anything that we are missing aside from a repaired awning.

Being retired means that I have a lot more time available to help smooth out the ride, as it were. And one area that really needed some smoothing?

Our checklists.

There are a lot of things to remember when getting a coach ready to leave and getting it ready to arrive. I’m surprised that the manufacturers of motorhomes don’t publish checklists for their customers. I have some general documentation about our coach from the manufacturer but it is really, really superficial and it is generalized to the point of being irrelevant.

I have been revising our checklists for our coach and I am printing them out and placing them into a binder. I will follow the same protocol that pilots use when preparing an aircraft for takeoff and for landing. I will work through all of the checklist items. There are so many of them that I can’t remember them all and there is a tendency on my part to assume everything is okay and make haste to get on the road. Forgetting something in the process without a checklist is highly possible. For me.

Here is the departure checklist (still under development as I need to add the checklist items for getting our car ready for towing behind our coach):

One for testing air brakes:

One for arrival:


I have several other checklists. One related to getting our access point to WiFi and LTE for Internet access. Others for maintaining subsystems like our generator and heating system.

We’ll have two copies on board, one for me in the cockpit and one for Lorraine as she helps out with the circle check.

I’ve seen first hand several accidents that occurred simply because the owner of the coach was in a hurry to get going. Preventing unnecessary damage to the coach by trying to exit a site too quickly is one thing. The consequence of a critical system failure while driving could be catastrophic.

Safety first.

Otherwise we wind up in the House of Blues.

8 replies
  1. Heather Wamboldt
    Heather Wamboldt says:

    Sorry you’re having so much trouble getting away. You may want to add “retract awnings” to your checklist. Enjoy your travels!

    • Richard
      Richard says:

      So funny!! Lorraine would likely catch an extended awning as part of the circle check. What we do not want is for the awning to extend while the coach is in motion. That would be bad. That is what needs to be fixed.

      Still optimistic that we will be on our way south as planned November 1st. Just didn’t plan on being at the dealer for six weeks.

  2. Van
    Van says:

    Although aimed at the 5th wheel crowd, Love Your RV’s Oct 7th post & video titled ‘Preparing Our RV for an Extended Trip’ dovetails nicely with your checklist topic. Many of the items he mentions are exactly the same for larger coaches. Find it here:

    To fix that awning issue you guys are way more patient that I would’ve been! I’m curious why your didn’t lock the awning in place and then work in a stop at either the Girard or Newmar factory into your travel plans? Perhaps a blown engine or trany would’ve merited spending 6 weeks in a repair parking lot. Doing so for an awning is just plain ridiculous.

    • Richard
      Richard says:

      Hi Van,

      Thank you for that link. Very helpful.

      I’ll answer your question and provide you some context by way of the timeline.

      We had left the coach at the dealer back in early August to allow them the time to address a number of product recalls and technical bulletins issued by Newmar. We also had several items we wanted done on the coach including the tow bar system for our toad.

      We had planned to be here for two days as that was the original estimate for installing the baseplate on our Lincoln. We arrived on September 18th and we thought that we would be on our way by the 20th.

      The base plate installation took them much longer than expected and we were told that the car would be ready on the Friday the 21st. Unfortunately, as they brought the car down from the hoist, the area underneath the car was not clear and the oil pan was punctured. They had also done some minor cosmetic damage to the front grill.

      It then took another week before the parts for the car arrived and the repairs were completed on the car. We got the car back on September 28th.

      A few days before the 28th, we had the dealer follow up on a couple of issues as a result of their service work: the Oasis heating system was not operating properly and the awnings were not extending properly.

      They attended to those issues at different times. The Oasis heating system issue was resolved. On the 28th, the day that we were to get our car back, they took the coach in to service the awning and that is when the awning inexplicably extended while they were bringing the coach into the service bay. The awning made contact with the service building causing severe damage to the casing and to the deployment mechanism.

      Until then, we had every expectation that we would be out by September 29th. We were in limbo until October 9th as the dealer, Newmar and Girard tried to figure out what caused the unintended deployment and how to deal with the repair.

      We were finally updated on the new timeline Tuesday of this week. The parts will not arrive to Newmar until October 20th. And, from there, it will take another 4 days to arrive at the dealer. Their estimate to paint the casing and to install it on the coach is another 2 days.

      We might not see the awning arrive until October 26th which means we won’t be away until October 31st. Just in time to cross the border.

      Unfortunately, we gain nothing by crossing the border early to save 4 days or so. Newmar is in Indiana, way out of our way. And, being Canadian snowbirds, the earlier we cross, the earlier we have to return.

      Canada, in March, is still very much in winter.

      Our choice is to pick up the jacks and head out to our originally booked site — roughly 6 hours round trip — and return when the parts have arrived in two weeks. Or stay here until then.

      We had made plans with friends to meet up with them today which is why we are still here. We might head out to our originally booked site this weekend and then return for the 26th.

      We never planned on spending 6 weeks here.

    • Richard
      Richard says:

      Hi Michael!

      Well, you are right on that front. There are a few more 🙂

      Checklists for hooking up and unhooking the tow vehicle, checklists for the chassis, checklists for connecting the tech stuff (satellite, OTA, cell booster, WiFi AP and extender) and on and on. Darn contraption is pretty complicated!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *