When we bought our first RV, the previous owners used a label maker to create a checklist right next to the steering wheel. Hook-ups, jacks, antenna.
It was a nice insurance policy that just in case we forgot something, there was a checklist to remind us.
Well, as two year RV veterans, we didn’t think we needed this crutch in our new motorhome.
And let me tell you, big mistake.
My husband and I took a quick trip to Nashville from Alabama this weekend to shoot a livestream event with a friend. Instead of just taking our car, we loaded thousands of dollars worth of our friend’s film equipment into the RV for a fun little road trip.
Right after sunset, we made it to the office where we would be shooting the following day and unpacked all of the equipment for the shoot. Before leaving the office, Heath and I intentionally walked through the RV, making sure we weren’t forgetting to drop off any gear, and carefully pulled out of the parking lot into the Nashville evening traffic.
Heath pulled up to a red light and put on our left blinker to take the ramp onto Interstate 40, talking casually about how good a margarita sounded for dinner. The arrow turned green and we slowly chugged through the intersection.
That’s when the loudest, most thunderous crash of what sounded like breaking dishes happened. In quick succession, I turned over my shoulder, but our cabinets were closed and there was no way the dishes would have shattered that loudly in the cabinet. I turned my head forward and caught a glimpse of something fly out of the RV in the rearview mirror.
One of our under storage doors was wide open, and our belongings dramatically flung themselves into the service road.
“Stop!” I yelled at Heath without time to explain what was happening. I unbuckled my seatbelt and zoomed toward our exit door with Flash-like speed. I felt Heath move into the right lane, since there was no shoulder to pull onto, and flipped on our outside light. Just before he came to a complete stop (fortunately there was another red light giving us a few extra seconds) I threw the door open and hopped on the road.
I was already making a list of things I knew were in that storage space. Not ten minutes earlier we had unloaded boxes full of electrical cords and tripods. Since it was our largest storage space, there was also a rug, some camping chairs, a cot, a crockpot, grilling utensils.
I quickly surveyed what was missing from the storage. No crockpot. That explained the sound of shattering glass. No cot either. That must’ve been what I saw fly out of the storage.
I jogged to the back corner of the RV and saw the car behind us was at least 50 feet back. She had to be since our cot–which fortunately didn’t come out of its case–was lying in the middle of the road. I rushed over to it, hoisted it over my shoulder, looked around for evidence of any of our other belongings in the road, and ran to back to the curb safe from traffic.
I shoved the cot into the under storage, glancing at the red light to see I still had at least a few seconds before it turned green. I hopped back in the RV, yelling at Heath, “Where are the under storage keys?!” because they of course weren’t on the hook by the door where we normally keep them.
I flipped on the lights, saw them on the couch, jumped out of the RV, shoved the cot back into the under storage because it had fallen out again, slammed the door shut, and as soon as I stuck the key into the hole, saw the reflection of the green light on the wet asphalt beneath me. (Oh, did I not mention it had rained all afternoon?) I turned the key, checked the handle, and hopped into the RV.
“We’re good! Go!” I shouted up to Heath before even closing the door. I hung the keys back where they belonged and collapsed into the passenger seat next to my husband.
Out of all of our crazy driving moments after traveling to all fifty states, this was hands down the most stressful 30 seconds of my life.
There’s a new rule in the Padgett RV now. Always, always, always lock the under storage.