HomeRV Site Setup

Drive Up

When you pull into the RV Park, you will either be assigned a spot or you may choose your own.  Each park has its own rules for this.  I like to pick my own site.  It is strange to me to hear people complain that they had to work to find a site when the gate ranger could have picked one out for them.  This seems the penultimate in lazy to me.  Of course, I dislike any person or rule that makes decisions for me that I could have made.

If you do not like a site chosen for you, find one you do like and return to the gate with your choice.  It makes no sense to live in a place that is yours only because someone else could care less.

It takes about 30 minutes to set up the park connections and stuff.  It takes about an hour to set up for a long stay.  This presumes you have a partner

Site Selection:

Parking

This is a set of rules for the RV.  5th wheels have similar considerations but not exactly the same.

The RV will have its park connections toward the rear on the driver side of the RV.  You want these to be close but not too close to each other.  10 feet is just fine.  Further than 20 feet is a problem.  Fifth wheels often need an extended sewer hose to get to the park connections.

Pull through sites are nice for people who either cannot back up or do not want to.  There are often not many of these sites.

If you have a toad, disconnect it near your new site before you start to park.  If you have a pull-through, you may not need to disconnect the toad until you are parked.

Some parks require an attendant to assist you in parking your rig.  These guys usually know exactly how to park you.  You should follow their instructions.

I suggest you get a pair of walk-a-round radios so that your partner can guide you into difficult places.  I have a rear camera and have still run into things I never saw.  Also agree on a set of hand signals before you start.

To park yourself:

Leveling

This presumes you have electric levelers.

Put your levelers down.  You will learn the process for this.  Here is a first pass:

The refrigerator is gas powered unless you have park power.  You know how a gas fridge works: it has a long tube that must be absolutely vertical for the fridge to work well. The heat must rise to the top without direct heat on the sides.   Most RV fridges have a disconnect if not absolutely level.   Most new fridges are very tolerant.

I bought the orange 8x8 stackable leveling blocks (10 in a package for $30). You should at least have some wooden blocks for your levelers.  If you park on asphalt you need them to protect the asphalt from your onboard levelers.  Sites are never level enough for onboard levelers to be happy.   If you park in mud you need the blocks.   I would suggest a half dozen 2x12x12 and as many 4x4x16.

Warnings:

My levelers have a hydraulic piston with a big, round disc on the bottom.  These are called ‘Big Foot’ levelers.

Slides

Extend your slides as soon as you are level – with the engine running.  If a slide overhangs your connection compartment, you may want to hook up before extending the slide.

I like to extend my slides while still on battery power as the extra voltage from park power can extend the slide with excessive pressure into the outside wall.  Having the engine running at this point is also good as the slide motor drains the battery almost as much as the levelers.

Make sure your slide seals sit properly.  The long ones along the top like to fall down and get squashed by the slide.

Make sure you are still level.  The slide side is best slightly lower than the door side.  There are many reasons for water to collect on the top of the slide.  If the slide slopes toward the chassis, when you retract the slide, this water comes inside.  You do not want this mess.  A slight front to rear slope will also reduce this problem but not as well.

Awning

See the awning extension section for extending the awning.

Solar Protection

Attach the outside window screens, windshield wiper covers, and the tire covers.  Some people put tennis balls under their wiper arms to remove the pressure from the wiper blades.

Park Connections

Parks are sticky on connection practices and each has its own set of rules.  Make sure you understand them and follow them.

Electric Connection

The standard park connector is a 30-amp connector.  The standard RV has a 30-amp plug.  This is a good match.

If the park has a 20-amp connector, run for the hills.  You can use your 30->20 amp adaptor but do not run your AC or you will blow their breaker.

If the park has a 50-amp connector, use your 30->50 amp adaptor.  It is unlikely that you have this adaptor.  It is unlikely that you will run into this connection without also finding a standard 30-amp connector.

It is possible that you need to extend your RV power cord.  If so, use your 20-foot extension.  No longer.  If you really need longer, never run your AC.

Water Connection

See Water for this process and equipment.

Sewage Connection

See the Waste Management section for this process and equipment.

Dish Connection

Final Outside Setup

Bugs -- Outside

Be careful of bugs.  If they get inside your motor home, you have a problem.  When you setup look for ants, bees, flies, etc.  A little prevention goes a long way here:

Ants

Ring your wheels and levelers on the ground with chalk or cleanser.  or

Carry a bottle of outdoor ant killer spray (hose attachment – Wal-Mart) and spray under the RV before you finish your setup.

Scorpions, Spiders

I maintain an Asian household: no shoes worn in the house.  I leave my sandals on the rug outside the door.  I leave my shoes on the floor inside next to the door.  Scorpions and spiders and other living things love to sit inside your shoes and bite you.  Leaving shoes outside on the rug keeps them out of the house but you must be better than me if you always check the contents of your shoes before putting them on.  If these things are native to where you are, be careful.

Bees

Buy one of those yellow insect collector bags and hang it nearby on a tree limb.  They smell to attract the bees and flies so you do not want it too close. The new ones do not smell so much.

Flies

Same as for bees.  or

Buy a package of the old-fashioned flypaper strips and hang one nearby.  Not on the awning support as when they get in your hair you have a mess.

Inside Setup

  Bugs – Inside

Do not let bugs get inside.  But if you have them, you have some choices.  I really do not like chemicals inside and so I have a can of Black Flag that is way beyond its expiration date.

My screen door has a double latch.  It latches to the main door and opens and closes with it.  When the main door is open, the screen door is free.  Now it latches to the door frame.  I have done two things here.  First, I have attached a Camping World torsion spring to encourage the screen to close by itself.  I have also replaced the screen door catch with magnetic door latches.  This permits me to open the door without the mechanical latch.  The advantage: I can keep the sliding latch window closed whenever I am setup.  This is a primary entry for flies and bees.  When I have the standard latch, I must open this window to reach the latch every time I go in or out.  With the magnetic latch, once the main door is open, I just push or pull the screen door and never open the latch window.

Ants
Flies
Bees

You are on your own here.  Why did you let a bee get in your house?  Maybe I would use the Black Flag here if I could not encourage the bee to fly out the window.

Electric Door Step

Interestingly enough I have found many RVers who do not know how and when their electric step operates.  Next to the door is a switch.  The switch has a manual and an automatic position.  The manual is still automatic but operates differently than the manual position.  Here are the rules:

I find many people play with the switch thinking that they are doing something useful.  Don’t do that.  Leave it alone.

There are some considerations here:

There is a lamp that goes on sometimes.  I have not figured out when.  I have rewired it so that it goes on whenever the door is open and off when closed.  I have wired this directly to the battery so that the battery bypass switches are ignored.  This means that I have a valuable light whenever I am entering or exiting regardless of how the vehicle is powered!  Wiring it any other way makes no sense and I have landed on my head when I went out in the dark and the steps were up.

Once while in an RV park, I turned things on and off while cleaning.  I then opened the door to shake off the rugs.  I had not realized that I had left the step up and fell on my head.  I suffered minor scrapes and bruises and a neck problem that needed therapy a year later when it did not recover itself.  Now I look down when I go out and have any reason at all to doubt the step is down.

A caveat: maybe your step does not work this way.  That is possible even though I think it is unlikely.  To be sure, follow the above steps and see what happens.  If it works this way, stop playing with the switch.  If it works another way, email me.  If you just think it works another way, I do not want to hear about it.

TV Setup

There is not anything terrible here, I just felt like writing it down:

I have driven off with the antenna up too many times.  You do not want to do this.  Camping World sells a little orange square with a spring clip.  I keep this on the passenger curtain when the antenna is down.  I place it on the driver chair when the antenna is up.

Tear Down

This is basically the opposite of setup.  It also takes about an hour. 

As a matter of life-style, I refuse to get ready to go before the day I leave a park.  This means that the day I drive away is exhausting.  It takes me about 8 hours to leave.  I get up at 4 am and target noon to drive away.  The 8 hours includes breakfast, shower, watching TV for the weather, and cleaning the RV.  I do not have a partner so by the time I drive away, I am exhausted.

Before teardown:

Tear down -- put things away securely.

After Teardown:

Suggestions?  Questions?  Comments?  Push Home/eMail above.
Written:  2003          Updated:  June 18, 2004          Back To Top