RV Lessons Learned – Florida to Texas – Day 1

emergency parking sign

After the RV lessons learned from the previous day’s experiences loading our rig, we were finally hitting the road! The RV Garmin was programmed for each night’s stop, the gas tank was full, and we’d each hit the restroom one last time.

RV lessons learned - things take longer than expected
Finally down the road!

RV Lesson: the map is not the territory

The day’s goal was the Madison RV and Golf Resort in Madison, Florida.

We wanted a light day for our first day of towing so we’d have plenty of time to set up before dark.

RVParky’s estimate said we’d be there a little after 1:00 pm.

That estimate assumes (1) you’re driving at the speed limit and (2) you do not stop for anything.

Our reality turned out to be quite different.

For starters, it was windy, up to 20 miles an hour in some places. We kept our speed down to 50 mph to help keep control of the rig.

After about an hour and a half, we noticed the Okahumpka Service Plaza coming up. We both agreed it was a good time for a stop.

While focusing on everything else, we didn’t realize that the huge yellow ‘LEFT’ sign meant something that we needed to pay attention to.

We found out quickly that it meant that this rest area is in the median with a left exit, not on the right as most are.

Fortunately, we were able to scoot over left and make the exit.

As you’d expect in a Florida rest area, we found great RV parking. We had a quick pit stop and headed back out on the road.

Well, we tried to get back on the road.

The signage was not clear, at least not to us.

We inadvertently entered the highway going back home!

Fortunately, there was another exit in two miles. We turned around and headed in the right direction again.

Just as we got going again, a noxiously loud beeping started.

We frantically checked the dash and info displays, the Garmin, and finally found it.

The Tire Minder tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) for our Airstream was on high alert.

Susan grabbed it and gasped.

It showed 191 PSI for the front driver’s side tire on Cara Mia. Adriel had just set it to 80 that morning.

It also showed the tire temperature was scorching high.

This is not something you want to see while driving down an interstate highway.

We discussed possible courses of action and decided that the best option was to pull over to the side of the road when it was safe.

It turns out that there aren’t that many places to safely park a 27-foot Airstream on the side of interstate highways. Those signs warning you not to stop except for emergencies are there for good reason.

We counted this as enough of an emergency to take the risk.

We finally found a place with a level and broad shoulder. Adriel guided us off the road as far as he could.

Carefully watching traffic, he edged out the door and slid down the rig’s side to the tire in question.

RV Lesson: keep essential tools handy

Our tire pressure gauge was in a tool bin and not accessible easily. We made a note to change that.

Adriel felt the tire — it was warm but not any hotter than the other tire.

Something was definitely off.

Rebooting is always a great option.

Both of us being good techies, we shut the TPMS down and restarted it.

When it came back up, all tires showed normal PSI and temperature.

We weren’t sure if it was a sensor or the overall TPMS, but it appeared that all was good for the time being.

We kept a close eye on the Tire Minder for the rest of the day. Everything seemed fine. Adriel made a note to check the tire pressure again at the next stop manually. When he did, it was fine.

RV lessons learned - keep essential road tools easily accessible
Everything looked fine!

Because we traveled so slowly, we decided to keep driving and have a protein bar for lunch. We’d only stop for restroom and gas breaks.

RV Lesson: towing is tiring

Driving for hours intently focused on towing really wears us out. We always stop for lunch now.

We arrived at the resort at 3:30, a full two hours and fifteen minutes later than planned.

We knew that our estimates for each day needed to be bumped up. A lot.

Still, we celebrated completing our first day on the road!

With contactless check-in, we drove directly to our RV site at the Madison RV and Golf Resort and set up for the night.

We were famished, so we skipped tea and went straight to some charcuterie.

After a light dinner, we turned in early. We were so, so tired! It had been a stressful and exhausting day.

We didn’t realize we’d missed a very important step until the next morning.

This is part of a series of posts about RV lessons learned. Even with all our struggles, we love our rig and our time on the road. We hope these stories of how we learned new levels of resilience and skills will help you keep yourself safe, happy, and excited.

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