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Old 04-18-2014, 10:55 AM   #1
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Trips - Prepping the remotely sited Airstream

When I was a child, my parents had it easy -- in the run-up to a trip involving the trailer, Dad would pull it out of the back yard and up to the side of the house drive and for 72 hours the trailer had 15amp power and water and was immediately accessible for loading.

I don't have it that easy. I live on the third floor of a three story condo in the heart of the city with my Airstream at a remote site storage; with no access to power, water or sewer connections. As such I am putting together for myself a pre-mission and countdown checklist.

For loadable items things are fairly straight forward -- hardy items early, delicate later -- just as if I was cooking a stir fry for dinner. a week out I am bringing in clothes, canned kitchen items, etc.; two or three days out would be semi-perishable foodstuffs -- fruits, veggies, etc. Day of being perishables and computer/electronics normally adhered to me by bits of sticky tape.

The underlying systems preparation checklists is what I do not have readily worked out yet. I was wondering if folk could either point me to a forum listing where this has been hashed out; or to comment on the following schedule I am proposing to myself:

One week out -- on weekend

Power -- check battery health, electrolytes, clean batteries if required. Top off batteries with Genset, 3-4 hours.
Water -- Check pumps, ensure black tank holds initial water level + nutrients, fill clean water tank; chlorinate if needed.
Propane -- check propane levels; refill if required.
If Winter, check function of heat pump + furnace; comfort control systems
If spring/summer/fall -- check function of heat pump, clean and check status on fantastic fans
Tires -- manual inspection -- walls and tread; PSI pressure to stated sticker allowances verified or corrected for.
ancillary tools -- check for tools, hoses, pipes, filters, etc. as needed are in place in storage locker.
Stock clothing wardrobes, retrieve remote linens for washing; return the night before.
Hook trailer power into TV and validate lights, signals, etc. all in proper working order.
relax with a cup of tea

Three days out -- weekday evening

Turn on propane, turn on house power bank
Turn on Refrigerator (is 24 hours enough for the fridge to equalize?)
Stock refrigerator and freezer with frozen ice packs to aid in cool-down
Stock gin and wine storage
Stock pantry - dishes, cookware, canned grocery items
relax with a classic martini

Two days out --

Stock Fruits and Veggies
Stock entertainment items -- games, DVDs, etc. Check function of remote CellPhone/Roku/Plex access/integration to home media cloud and trailer audio/video (more audio) systems.
relax with a glass of wine

One day out --

Stock frozen items
Do a full cleaning cycle -- surfaces, vacuum, etc.
refill gin and wine stocks depleted

Day of --

Verify genset and tools are in truck cargo bay,
hook up -- do hookup check lists and go
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:27 AM   #2
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Unless you're just looking for an excuse to go to the trailer every day on the last few days before the trip, I suspect you can combine some loads.

If you're going to put frozen cold packs in the refrigerator when you light it, it'll probably be down to temp in under 12 hours. I suspect you could combine your 3-day-out and 2-day-out trips and perform all those on 2-days-out. When the weather is temperate I generally bring the trailer home from storage on my lunch break 1 or 2 days before depature, depending on what time I plan to leave on departure day. I'm able to park the trailer in front of the house for a couple of days without hassle. As long as I start the fridge with cold packs in the freezer it pulls down to temp well before I'm ready to load perishables. When it's 100F out and I'm loading up for a trip to cooler climes, I allow more time for that but I can cheat and start it on the 15A shore power at my storage facility.

Otherwise it looks pretty good. I'm a checklist kinda guy, and have refined and tweaked mine a bit over time. I really need 2 different sets, checklist for boondocking and checklist for hookups, it tweaks my OCD to have to strike a line through the generator and other items I need only when we're boondocking. Saner people could probably make do with one set. Oh, and by set I mean that I have the "actions" checklist (check air pressure, fill fresh water, etc.), the load-out checklist (Clothes, linens, cookware, hoses, etc.) and the food & beverage list that varies more from trip to trip. Did I mention my OCD issues?
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Prepping the remotely sited Airstream
Whew...I'm glad I can keep my trailers at home! That sounds like a LOT of work!!!

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Old 04-18-2014, 02:01 PM   #4
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Thanks

Ian

thanks for this. We recently became apt dwellers and while we have an attached garage for keeping some of the AS stuff between trips, not likely that we can pull Thumper through the gated community and block a bunch of parking spaces while we get ready to go..... so this is very helpful.

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Old 04-18-2014, 02:33 PM   #5
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Ian, We're in a similar situation...live in downtown condo, and our Interstate is in storage 20 minutes from here. We've actually talked about moving, just so FIONA can live with us!!!

We're not all that organized. We basically, call the storage caretaker a week ahead or so, and have him plug in FIONA. Then the night before, we pack our stuff and our doggie's stuff. In the morning we leave, we cram everything into our little Juke, including the dogs, and 2 bikes on the roof rack, and away we go.

We really should adopt more of a pre-trip system, like you're trying to do.
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:59 PM   #6
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Hi Ian

I find that it works out best if I leave my rig as fully stocked as possible. It's well worth it to have duplicate items. Some of these things may not be strictly necessary depending on the nature of the trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IanPoulin View Post

Power -- check battery health, electrolytes, clean batteries if required. Top off batteries with Genset, 3-4 hours.
You can eliminate this step if you stay somewhere with power the first night or, for longer trips, if you have a working charge line on your tow vehicle. Or just run the generator the first night if you really have to.

Quote:
Water -- Check pumps, ensure black tank holds initial water level + nutrients, fill clean water tank; chlorinate if needed.
Not sure how often your trips are. We don't go more than a month between except during winter. None of this should be necessary in most cases. I typically leave the freshwater tank full while in storage.

Quote:
Propane -- check propane levels; refill if required.
Just replace bottles when you use them up on the road. Unless you're running the fridge etc in storage. We typically refill a bottle once or twice a year so it's not an every-trip thing.

Quote:
If Winter, check function of heat pump + furnace; comfort control systems
If spring/summer/fall -- check function of heat pump, clean and check status on fantastic fans
I don't do all the checking.

I "turn" the trailer -- clean and restock everything -- usually a few days after returning from a trip, at which point I would clean screens if they need it.

Quote:
Tires -- manual inspection -- walls and tread; PSI pressure to stated sticker allowances verified or corrected for.
This is something that should be checked day of departure.

Quote:
ancillary tools -- check for tools, hoses, pipes, filters, etc. as needed are in place in storage locker.
Again, too much checking. Mark tools etc with colored tape or something so they don't inadvertently end up back at the stick house.

Quote:
Stock clothing wardrobes, retrieve remote linens for washing; return the night before.
Typically I do this as part of the "turn." I have designated linens for the trailer, and I keep 3 changes of clothes and a pair of shoes etc in the trailer. These I typically just rotate out from something in the house.

Quote:
Hook trailer power into TV and validate lights, signals, etc. all in proper working order.
Like the tires this should be done day of departure, always, so there's no real benefit to also doing it in advance.

Quote:
relax with a cup of tea
+1

Quote:
Three days out -- weekday evening

Turn on propane, turn on house power bank
I leave the propane on all summer.

Quote:
Turn on Refrigerator (is 24 hours enough for the fridge to equalize?)
Stock refrigerator and freezer with frozen ice packs to aid in cool-down
Typically 4-6 hours is enough, depends on the fridge though.

Quote:
Stock gin and wine storage
Again I do this at the turn, which is what I would recommend unless you anticipate a problem with burglary by indigent alcoholics (a real problem in some remote areas)

Quote:
Stock pantry - dishes, cookware, canned grocery items
Get duplicate dishes and cookware and leave them in the trailer.

I do not remove nonperishable food from the trailer except at the end of the season. Typically we stop for groceries with the trailer on the way out of town or on the first day and just put the food away right in the grocery store parking lot. It makes for much less handling.

Quote:
relax with a classic martini
+1

Quote:
Two days out --

Stock Fruits and Veggies
Stock entertainment items -- games, DVDs, etc. Check function of remote CellPhone/Roku/Plex access/integration to home media cloud and trailer audio/video (more audio) systems.
relax with a glass of wine

One day out --

Stock frozen items
Do a full cleaning cycle -- surfaces, vacuum, etc.
refill gin and wine stocks depleted

Day of --

Verify genset and tools are in truck cargo bay,
hook up -- do hookup check lists and go
Right, well, again, maybe that works for you.

For me, I typically stop at a grocery store either on the outbound or on the first day of travels, or sometimes the night before. My approach, even though we can park the trailer overnight at our house, is to minimize the amount of stuff that goes in and out of the trailer between trips. There is a balance to be struck especially for trips where there isn't much free time or no worthwhile grocery store nearby.

-=o=-

I guess summarizing my approach to things, in season, it goes like this:

When returning from a trip (or in the following days):

- remove laundry, laptop, unusual items brought for a particular trip, and leftover food that will not last until the next planned outing
- clean kitchen and bathroom, vacuum, sweep, make beds (we have two sets of linens for the airstream so we don't have to wait for laundry to be done to do this)
- restock wine and liquor
- put away clean linens as soon as they're out of the laundry. Restock clothing from clean items in the house.
- dump holding tanks if necessary (I usually do this at the last place we stay so it's only necessary to do it at home if we've been boondocking)
- refill fresh water if necessary
- restock any prescription medication that has been depleted


Prior to departure:
- Safety check (tires, security of loose items; doors, windows, vents secure; hitch safe; running and signal lights working; step, stabilizers, jack all stowed.
- Verify that fridge is running (we leave it on in storage) and load any food items we have to bring from home (garden produce, homemade jam, etc). If we will be having a meal or two before getting groceries we would load any necessary items for that also.
- My wife and kids don't leave clothes in the trailer so they have to load their stuff at this point.
- Load up the laptop and any unusual items specific to the trip

Outbound or first day:
- Stop at grocery store and get whatever is on the list plus whatever we need for meals

During trip
- we keep a list of anything we're starting to run short on so we can get it on the next grocery stop or during the "turn"

Last day of trip
- if feasible and the weather is good we dump tanks and reload fresh water at the campground


Now in your situation you can't run the fridge in storage so you would have to make some adjustments there but the same ideas can still apply otherwise.
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:36 PM   #7
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Jammer - I am 100% new to this as an adult so assume naturally I am overdoing things... I think when my friends and I started ocean liner cruising it took me four or five trips to realize one small suitcase is enough for two weeks.

Thanks for that feedback - it had never occured to me to run the fridge full time while at the RV storage lot. Given my travel schedule is likely to be four or five day weekends every other weekend, it makes perfect sense to run things that way.
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:55 PM   #8
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Is it advisable to dump the tanks at the end of each trip, even if your next trip will be within a month? We have not been doing this. What are we supposed to be doing?!
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:27 PM   #9
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Yes, I would advise dumping the tanks before storing. Then add a little water and a pack of chemical deodorizer. At least that is what we do.
We do keep our trailer at home, so we can plug it in and cool the fridge before we leave. We work more on the bring it in ready to go back out principle. Propane, battery, fresh water tank, dumped, laundry done and folded,batteries charged, tires checked. Anything broken fixed. Medicine and medical supplies are the main thing I do not want to forget. The rest of it they sell at Walmart and there is plenty of room to load from the shopping cart. Forgetting stuff is the best way to learn not to the next time.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:57 PM   #10
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Bill, I see how dumping the tanks would be great so that you start your next trip off with empty tanks. But, otherwise, is there a reason that I'd want to do this? Is there anything bad about leaving the stuff in the tanks, just sitting there for a month?

Always seems that we end up having to dump tanks the day before we come home. It's like we're not synchronized to put her back in storage with empty tanks! But, if we really should be doing it that way, we can make it happen.
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:16 PM   #11
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I'm not Bill but I'd say ABSOLUTELY dump those tanks before putting away for a week, let alone a month. Before leaving the campsite, fill the black tank full by flushing and fill they great tank full by running sinks. Then dump them, throw in your chemical of choice and a gallon or two of water before putting back in storage.
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:38 PM   #12
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For smaller trailers, buying replacement propane cylinders (20lb) works fine. Ian, we have 30lb tanks on our units, so since those aren't commonly available on replacement sites, we do have to refill. (There is a way to dump a 20 lb tank into an empty 30 lb... but let's not go there. Propane is best handled by those who are trained to do refills.)

Look around, it may be easy for you to find a place where you can fill your tanks while pulling out. U-Haul and many truck stops offer propane fill-ups. Just pull in with the trailer, and take the cover off the propane tanks, fill the empty one and re-mount. A lot simpler than carrying a tank around in your truck bed. Note: they sell all kinds of plastic propane tank stabilizers - so they won't tip over - but one of those plastic milk cartons works perfectly and is more durable.

I agree totally, buy your groceries on the way out - a good list - and straight loading from grocery cart to reefer and shelves. Loading on the way out is also a good time to notice if you have run out of something you'll need. Just go back in the store and buy it then.

Cleaning - definitely straighten up and organize the interior. If the A/S exterior is DUE for a wash, do it, otherwise I prefer to wait to arrive and damp mop it down, ditto for dusting and sweeping the interior. I used to do it at the start of a trip, then have to do it over when I arrived.

Full timing means not loading my stuff every time. But if I weren't I'd definitely have duplicate kitchen stuff - just too much hassle loading it every trip. BUT keep your traveling kitchen stuff simple and multi-function.

Paula
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:05 PM   #13
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I'm not Bill but I'd say ABSOLUTELY dump those tanks before putting away for a week, let alone a month. Before leaving the campsite, fill the black tank full by flushing and fill they great tank full by running sinks. Then dump them, throw in your chemical of choice and a gallon or two of water before putting back in storage.
I had no idea. I mean, I kind of wondered about it, but then I figured nothing was really wrong with leaving the stuff in there. If everyone thinks ya should dump before even short storage, then we'll do it.

Thank goodness I have all of you on this forum to teach me stuff!!!
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:44 AM   #14
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I think when my friends and I started ocean liner cruising it took me four or five trips to realize one small suitcase is enough for two weeks.
Suitcases might be fine for cruise liners, but not for Airstreams. I carry my clean clothes out to the Airstream in a collapsible wire-frame nylon mesh laundry hamper, put away the clean clothes in my Airstream's one-and-only closet, and then put the empty hamper on the closet floor ready to catch dirty clothes. No luggage at all (except my laptop case). And I never carry more than a week's worth of clothing; if I go for a longer trip, I'll have some quarters and Tide Pods for doing laundry away from home. And of course I already have the laundry hamper to carry the clothes to and from the laundromat.
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