#crosscountryadventure2015: Things we didn’t know we didn’t know

6 Jul
Getting the camper home and into the driveway was just the beginning. There were lots of things we didn't know we needed.

Getting the camper home and into the driveway was just the beginning. There were lots of things we didn’t know we needed.

There is a line from a song in the movie “Pocahontas” that says, “You’ll learn the things you never knew you never knew.”

That line has run through my head continuously over the past three months as we have navigated through rv ownership. We came into this adventure not knowing a ton, but willing to learn and willing to listen to others who have been down this road many times. Each time we’d bump into someone new, they’d tell us something new we had to have.

To that end, there were some expenses we knew we’d have to deal with and some that we were unaware of. Nothing was unbearable, but there was some sticker-shock a couple of times.
Here’s a list of expenses we incurred before this trip, both known and unknown, for those of you considering your own adventures. These expenses are above and beyond the cost of the camper itself and the necessities we got for the inside of the camper when we decorated and stocked it:

1) Towing equipment: we knew our truck had a tow package on it, a tennis ball sized piece that we assumed fit into whatever would be on the actual camper. We didn’t realize we needed an additional weight distribution hitch kit. Cost: $150 on sale, with a coupon at Harbor Freight.
2) Brake controller: this is an additional means of controlling your brakes and the camper brakes from inside the car. Cost $100 self-installed.
3) Registration: we knew we had to register the camper. We didn’t know that to include tax, title and registration, it’d cost us as much as several weeks’ worth of groceries. Peanut butter and jelly for a month. Cost: $364
4) Getting the wheel bearings packed: we have a great mechanic who comes to our house and is extremely reasonable. When our neighbor drove by and called out his window, “Be sure to get your wheel bearings packed and your brakes checked,” we called our mechanic. Cost $127
5) Vin Check: Getting it checked wasn’t expensive, but getting the camper into the place where that had to be done was a little touch and go. Cost: $15
6) EZ Pass: A “must” for the roadtrip. We used our AAA membership to get it and it came loaded up with a starter amount of toll money on it. Cost: $50
7) Passport America Membership: Another “must” for the roadtrip. This membership gives you a network of campgrounds to stay at and a discount on their nightly rates. Cost: $44
8) Good Sam Membership: Another networking type of membership. The campsites that don’t accept Passport America often accept Good Sam. Cost: $25

8 Responses to “#crosscountryadventure2015: Things we didn’t know we didn’t know”

  1. aviets July 6, 2015 at 7:04 am #

    I’ve always wanted to try traveling in a an RV! Hope you’re enjoying it!

    Wait a minute…isn’t that song line from “Pocahantas?” We had a recording of the soundtrack when the kids were little and listened to it over and over and over…

    • thewholebagofchips July 6, 2015 at 8:40 am #

      Omg you’re right!I have to fix it!!

      • aviets July 6, 2015 at 10:42 am #

        Nah, I’m probably the only person out there dweeby enough to know the difference! ☺️

      • thewholebagofchips July 6, 2015 at 10:45 am #

        There’s just too many princesses…I can’t keep track of who sings which song. 🙂

  2. rvlomus@comcast.net July 6, 2015 at 8:01 am #

    Jen,   Nice WBOC write-up.  When does this weeks piece in Cranston Herald come out?   Hope you are all having a blast.   Love Bob & Val   PS we think of you every day – and say a prayer for safe travels.

    • thewholebagofchips July 6, 2015 at 8:42 am #

      I’m glad you liked it! All is well here. We are in Montgomery since last night and leave today for Louisiana. Next article chronicling the first week on the road will come out in Wednesday’s paper so I’ll share the link as soon as I have it.

  3. Sabrina July 6, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

    Thanks for the RV tips! We went on our 1st family camping vacation this past week and learned a lot about rv’s as well… We rented a YURT (similar to a cabin and cheated, but still got to experience a campground!) our family loved it! Next plan is to rent an RV, so appreciate the tips! Have fun!

    • thewholebagofchips July 6, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

      That sounds like fun Sabrina! I’m glad you’re finding these posts helpful!

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