By Greg Illes
Ready to go? Let’s go! Anything missing? Nah. (Famous last words!)
If you’re a quart low on oil, or you forgot that coffee mug on the tree stump, even the camp shovel leaning against the back side of that tree, well, no big deal — you can wander on down the road to your next destination with little or no penalty.
BUT there is some stuff that’ll hurt, big-time, if you forget it. If you roll out of your camp under those low trees with your TV antenna still sticking up, your antenna and roof will cost you plenty. If you leave the power cord or the water hose still connected, get out the checkbook.
It pays to develop some bullet-proof methods to remember the critical departure items. As a private pilot, I always praised the use of checklists — and if you can make these work, great. But even better are visual “flags” which shout out for attention.
No matter where you are, how short or long you’ve been there, or what the weather is like, always walk completely around the coach before you drive away. Open cargo doors, untied bicycles, power cords and sewer lines, even soft tires, will all be clearly evident. After doing the walkaround a few score times, you’ll quickly recognize things that are amiss.
Unfortunately, stuff up on the roof isn’t as obvious and not so easily checked in a 360-degree stroll. I did my usual (thorough) check one day, drove out of camp, and stopped at the exit when several people furiously waved at me. My TV antenna was valiantly waiting for the first low bridge.
That same day, I bought a $2 stretchy keyring and snapped it over the TV antenna crank. When the antenna goes up, the keyring is hung on my ignition switch. It stays there until I bring the antenna back down. Same method for the cell phone booster antenna, but I used the connection weather cap.
You can figure out your own memory joggers — just try to make them visually obvious and foolproof. It will help to keep you and yours “happy campers.”