After a few weeks of visiting friends and family, plus getting my driver’s side slide fixed, I am happy to be back on the road, heading west. Tonight, I am in southern Illinois, but will be crossing the Mississippi at St, Louis, MO, tomorrow.
Normally, I try to drive about 200 miles per day, with maybe 250 being a maximum because it is tiring. Driving a big motorhome is not necessarily difficult, but you have to pay more attention while you are driving and keep your hands on the steering wheel because your vehicle is tall and a lot more sensitive to wind and road conditions. Mostly, I stick to the far right lane and follow the big trucks, but those big trucks also often pass me. And when they do, the air that they push ahead of them, hits my vehicle and pushes it over a little.
I once had the exciting experience of driving over the top of a hill in the New Mexico desert on I-10 and finding myself suddenly pushed over about five feet into the lane next to me by a sudden gust of wind. Luckily, there was no traffic around me.
I am also driving a lot of mass—15,000 pounds of it, to be specific. I have good brakes, but stopping fast is just something I cannot do as easily as you can do in a small car. And the last thing I want to do is drive my entire home and all of my belongings off the highway and possibly roll it. And actually, motorhomes really never roll. They fall on their sides and the thin walls and ceiling just collapse into little pieces.
So, the thing that makes driving a measly 200 miles tiring is the fact that you have to pay attention and concentrate as you drive. And I am not alone. Very few motorhomers drive much farther in a day than I do. The people who post on blogs and the ones I have talked to pretty much stick to 60-65 MPH and about 200 miles per day. It helps that a lot of us are retired and not in a hurry to get somewhere.
There is another aspect of driving a motorhome that many people don’t think about until they experience it. Visualize your refrigerator with all your food in jars, bottles, and plastic wrap. Then visualize that refrigerator traveling at 60 MPH over chuckholes and swaying as you go around a sharp corner or into a parking lot. Imagine it hopping up a few inches as you hit that bump as you go over those railroad tracks. Things in that refrigerator and kitchen cabinets jump, fly, slide, hop, bump, and move around no matter how carefully they are packed away.
So it is always exciting when you open a door or drawer to see exactly what will leap out at you.
There ought to be a voice like the one you get on airplanes reminding you that things in the overhead bins will shift during travel. A friend of mine once said that the only reason for having a rear-view mirror in a motorhome is so you can look back and watch stuff fall on the floor and leap out of cabinets.
The highways in Ohio and Indiana were especially rough yesterday. I kept hitting chuckholes and swearing that there must be something wrong with my shock absorbers. (Getting something like a shock absorber fixed is a story for another day, but I am going to get them checked in Phoenix this next winter at the only Ford dealer I know of that can handle such a request.)
So, my point is that after a long day of driving, I had to reorganize two of my kitchen cabinets last night. In addition, a piece of dark brown plastic trim fell onto the floor from something in the middle of my drive yesterday. I have looked all over and determined that it probably belongs under the microwave door somehow. I tried to stick it back, but of course it won’t fit. So I have this extra piece of motorhome that I don’t know what to do with. It will ride on the back dinette until I figure this out.
Hopefully, tomorrow I will have something to write about that does not involve stuff not staying put.