One motorhome owner began driving away while the electric cord was still plugged into the park’s electrical pedestal. It damaged the bay door hinge and destroyed his electrical bay. At this writing, it was not determined if the park’s electrical pedestal sustained damage.
Forgetful? Perhaps. “It happens” is the famous saying from the Forrest Gump movie that morphed and remains prevalent in our lingo today. Mishaps occur. Outside of the owner’s pride, the important thing to take away from this example is no serious damage to the driver/passenger or the RV occurred. Whew!
The body shop smartly refused to touch electrical work
While the owner of this 2009 Tiffin Phaeton destroyed the electrical bay and bent the bay door hinge, after 15 hours of repair by Davidson RV in Belmont, Mississippi, this owner was back on the road. The owner initially visited a body shop, wherein the shop wisely refused to work on the electric bay, subsequently referring the owner to Davidson RV.
If I had been a fly on the wall when this occurred, I’d gamble this owner’s words were not self-fulfilling accolades. Rather, I assume harsh words were echoed by the driver and passenger. Distractions happen.
Been there and done that
While parked in Red Bay awaiting interior work two years ago, I ran across a muddy parking lot yelling and waving my arms at a motorhome driving away with their door awning still extended! When the owner stopped and opened the door, I pointed to their awning and shrugged my shoulders, saying, “It happens to all of us now and then.” The owner chided himself for forgetting that part of the mental checklist.
Pride has nothing to do with check and recheck
The more you travel, the easier it is to develop the mental checklist, the walk-around inspection and that check again habit! It only takes one faux pas before you realize we are all human and mistakes happen. Just don’t let it be catastrophic! Remember this saying from the movie:
After it’s all said and done, smile and chalk it up to experience! Now go outside and make sure everything is in and disconnected before pulling away…
Avoid an RV “power drag” with a checklist
This is why after hooking up I walk around both our truck and trailer 3 times looking from bottom to top. Rather do that in 5 minutes vs 15 hours of repairs.
I did this once. Thankfully, another camper was walking her dog as I began to leave our campsite still plugged into the power pedestal. Her frantic waving stopped us at just short of the end of our tether, so only my pride was hurt as well as having a large amount of embarrassment. Enter: departure checklists.
It happens to everybody in some form or fashion at sometime. I think a good fun survey would be to identify the most commonly left behind mistakes when moving. My vote for #1 would be the antenna is left up. The rear chalk block is a good one too.
Anyone that never made a mistake, never did anything.
A mental check list? Why not a regular paper checklist and a walk around before putting the vehicle in gear?
Ready, Set, Wait! is the title of an article Denise wrote on this.
A friend in the club belonged to forgot to unplug his cord at a county park with hookups. It pulled the pedestal out of the ground! The loud “BANG!” from the electrical arc got my attention.
We’ve done that but saw the cord in the rear view mirror in time to avoid disaster.
Both of us now walk around the rv before we get in and drive away to make sure all is put away and ready to go.
Every time we mess up becomes another item on the to do list.
We have google docs checklists, but rarely use them. Our system is that both my wife and I have duties, her inside, me outside and we double check each other. We then both do a final walk-around before leaving. Whatever works, works. Mistakes will still happen, that is just life.
At least for the shore power cord, I have a simple rule. I will plug the camper into either the AC or the 7-pin vehicle, never both. Before I plug either in, it forces me to think if I have unplugged the other. And since I always check clearance lights and trailer tail lights before we leave, if they don’t work, guess what I forgot to do?
Why are so many people so against checklists? I’ve been using them since 2009 and even after all these years I still find myself glad I have things written down. Started doing it after we left a wrench behind. We’re not getting any younger and our memories are certainly not improving with age 🙂
I used one for hitching up and unhitching, but never got around to the rest of the process. Good reminder, I should write up mine today.
One thing I have learned is you need an ‘in-the-coach’ checklist for things like closed bathroom doors, objects flying around, open windows, etc. Then an ‘outside’ checklist for stairs, antennas, plugs, etc. Plus the final walkaround, no matter how many times you’ve already been around the rig.
Ok, too many idiots using RV’s and aint got a clue. However, amazon sells these little strips you put on your steering wheel, they wrap around and each subsystem has a strip on the steering wheel. You take them off, as you put away, close, perform the step necessary to break camp and get on the road. Since many OEM’s require shore power, or Generator for slide operation, it’s almost no brainer, slides last, main engine on, walk around one last time.
I pulled away one time with the cord still plugged in , with luck no damage, just a red face me. I now check everything two or three times before I pull out, and the wife does the same inside. We both have specific things we do each time.
The electrical cord is an easy one to forget! I haven’t- yet – however, I use inside-outside checklists and a stop note on the steering wheel. Why the stop note? Because we go thru the checklists and a visual walk around, including a look underneath for any leaks – and – I leave the cord for last to keep the refrig. and perhaps AC on while we get ready to leave; and also if someone comes up to chat at the last minute or you go get the reserve. tag off the post – you forget the cord! PS: Same goes for the Tv antenna!
I did that (drove away with the power cord pluggeed into the pedestal) ONCE. Thankfully a good Samaritan walking her dog frantically waved me to a stop before I reached the end of my tether. No damage to anything other than my ego. We compiled three check lists before the trip ended. We now complete each (inside, outside, and towing) before a departure.
This is fun. The wife checks me on the outside and I check her on the inside. It works pretty well. The only thing we are prone to leaving it seems is the splitter valve I place on the faucet before connecting the hose to one of the outlets. I’ve donated a few of those over the years. I’ve also found a few of those, so I must not be alone. 😉
Don’t be “That Guy”.
Using the app Evernote I created a checkoff list with check boxes on my iPad. I divided it into categories: inside, electrical and water, tow car, etc. As I complete each item I check it off and when all items in the category are checked I check the box heading that category. I’m a solo traveler and this has worked very well for me. Too easy to forget some simple things like locking the shower door. I check my toad hookup three times and walk around the motorhome a few times checking the basement doors and making sure I haven’t left anything behind. And I try and relax and not rush to get out by a certain time.
I do the outside, she does the inside.
I dump first then put all the hoses away. Any wiring goes next. Jacks come up then front hitch.
When she’s done we hitch up then the electric cord goes in. When we think we’re done I pull up off any levelers then she goes down her side and I mine. I turn the lights on and emergency flashers to check all lights at once.
Get in adjust mirrors and pull out.
If I have to go in for something she needs I start over and make sure I did things. Many years ago not rechecking cost me 2 rear jacks. Never again.
Inspect the vehicle by taking a walk around it before you get in and go. I’ll bet the 15 hour of repair costs was an expensive lesson.
Always walk around. One early morning I did not because it was still dark in the desert. Left the satellite dish up and luckily someone noticed and honked before we blew it off the roof.
Normally, I walk around and do a visual inspection before pulling away from a site.
And my wife stands to the back of our fifth wheel and gives me the thumbs up, checking the taillights as I turn on the signals, hit the brakes and turn on all the lights. Then she watches as I pull out. As she is walking away she is looking on the ground for anything we may have dropped. Just something we have always done, even in the rain.
My wife and I, have a similar routine, only differing in that after my walk around, she does it after me to insure I haven’t missed anything, stabilizers up, all bay doors closed, all hook ups unhooked, etc. Before we leave our camp site, I get out, double check hitch hook ups and pick up any trash we might have missed. So far, no worries.