The Departure Dance

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.”
- Tom Stoppard

departures  015Leaving the beautiful places that we visit is a bittersweet experience.  Bitter, because we usually bond with the different places that we visit in one way or another.  Sweet, because we know that we are moving on to new horizons.

departures  012But there is a process that keeps us pretty busy and focused.   The process varies depending upon how much stuff we’ve unpacked at that specific campsite (longer stays = more stuff), and also depending upon whether we are at a “full hookup site” – water, electric and sewer connections.

So, for those of you (any of you?) that are curious about what our departure from any particular place looks like, here it is.

departures  009When getting ready to move on, we need to break down and stow some or all of the following items from out outdoor area:

  • Chairsdeparture  002departure  001
  • Doormat
  • Tables
  • BBQ
  • Outdoor Carpet
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Bike Stand
  • Assorted accessories (we have a few decorations for our campsite)
  • Mount bikes on car rack
  • Mount kayaks on car rack

As part of our routine, we try to handle the outdoor area the night before we leave in order to save time and energy the next morning.  If we see rain in the forecast the night before we leave, we try to stow things earlier that so we’re not dealing with wet chairs and such.  And there’s times when we wind up stowing the morning we’re leaving, but we try to avoid that.


depart  055depart  054

We also have to stow and secure our indoor stuff.  This is a bit less variable than the outdoor stuff, as we tend to use the same things indoors.

Interior with slides open

Interior with slides open

Interior with slides closed

Interior with slides closed

Slides open

Slides open

Slides closed

Slides closed

Here are the indoor areas/items that we need to prepare and stow:

  • Putting away kitchen and dining area items: dishes, utensils, place mats etc including some padding to minimize the rattling when rolling down the road.
  • Securing appliances:  coffee pot, toaster etc.
  • Securing the refrigerator: make sure items won’t fly out when opened or clang around while driving.
  • Securing the bar area – wine glasses (we have special padded containers), bottles etc.
  • Stowing bathroom products:  shower and both sinks
  • Securing office area:  small items, computer screen, footstool
  • Securing our coffee table (ours needs to be set sideways for slides to close)
  • Latching closets, bedroom door, cabinets, drawers, pantry
  • Clearing areas around the slides of any obstruction
  • Turning Captain’s Chairs around to face forward and tying back curtains
  • Closing slides

We do some of this the night prior to leaving and some in the morning.

Some people avoid some of these steps by minimizing the amount of fragile items such as china and glasses they carry.  Plastic items are a lot easier to store, and that’s certainly an option.

2012-09-13 at 08-36-022012-05-31 at 20-16-222012-05-31 at 20-11-16depart  053

The last thing we do before leaving is unhooking the utilities and getting ready to drive.

  • Checking the motor home engine oil and tire pressure (not every time, but very regularly)
  • Unplugging and stowing electrical (if there was electrical at the site)
  • Dumping black and grey tanks (at a dump station off-site if no sewer at site)
  • Switching to indoor water supply and water pump (if connected to water at site)
  • Disconnecting and stowing all hoses (if connected)

We’ve observed some folks who take care of all of the above the night before, to save more time the next morning, and there are times when we do that as well.2012-05-31 at 20-05-41

2012-05-31 at 20-04-36A key to all this running smoothly is the old adage of “a place for everything and everything in its place”.  Everything travels in almost exactly the same place every time.

If done all at once, this process can take about two hours.  And, like I said before, it’s a ritual for us.  Hector and I have had plenty of practice by now, and we both know all of the tasks, so each one of us can take care of any and all of them.  Many people use a checklist, and we created one, but I admit we don’t use it.   But it’s really a team effort and it’s really important to have good communication about what’s ready what’s not ready etc.

depart  004Finally, just prior to pulling out of the campsite, we take up the leveling jacks, remove the jack pads and any leveling blocks we may have used and stow them.   When the motor home pulls out, the passenger (usually me) checks the campsite to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind.

departures  011And last, but not least, is hooking up the car to the back of Island Girl.    After a couple of minor “incidents” this is an area that we double-check each other on very carefully.  Then I stand behind the car while Hector turns on each turn signal, the brake lights and the emergency lights to check that they all work.  I also walk by the car as he drives slowly to make sure all items on the racks look secure.  Then we’re off.

departures  013This ritual has come to represent a new beginning.  So the process is not work for us, it is the start of moving to a new place.  And there’s always some excitement about moving to a new place.

Of course, when we arrive at our new location, it’s back to the ritual, but in reverse.

~ Brenda

5 thoughts on “The Departure Dance

  1. Sounds like a routine, part of everyday life, only yours hurtles down the road at 75 miles an hour! What a great lifestyle to have chosen! Hope to catch up to you soon, somewhere down the road. BTW, I have experienced this gruntwork, the breakdown and the setup, and it is not nearly as easy as you make it sound! Personally, I would take one chair out, put one chair back, and visit lots of neighbors with nice setups! Have fun!

  2. Really enjoying your writings and following your travels. You two put Charles Kuralt in second place. Glad I stumbled back across your blog recently as i was wondering if Hector’s vision ever came true. Last we talked he was still in countdown mode at work. Remember work?. Nah, don’t. Sorry we missed you when you passed through NJ.

    • Howdy John! Great to hear from you. So glad you are following along and I really appreciate the Kuralt compliment!

      Transitioning from work has proven quite effortless :-). Even the persistent feeling that I’m skipping school somehow is beginning to subside …

      Talk soon!

  3. Happy Trails! I am loving following you around these beautiful and unique United States. We are busy getting Veronicca ready for her 18 month stint in Santiago… She leaves CO 7/14. Happy Independence Day — you are certainly living your independence!!! xo, Jean, et. al.

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