December 1, 2016

Darkness quickly swallowed the light by the time we pulled into the RV park we were staying at in Riverside County.

We were in a hurry to set-up, and transform our fifth wheel into our cozy little home on wheels. In our haste we made the mistake of putting down our back stabilizing jacks before leveling our rig with the front landing gear. This put weight on the back jacks which aren’t made for that purpose and one of the stabilizing bars connected to the jack bent.

We thought we might be able to straighten it out and then reinforce it with a piece of pipe and clamps until we arrive in Mississippi, but that didn’t work. We are unable to straighten it and the jack would not retract. However, we were able to tie the jack up with good old tie wire Dan picked up at Home Depo. When your on the road, some situations call for creativity until you are someplace where you can fix your fifth wheel. It certainly isn’t a permanent solution, but it will work until we reach our Mississippi destination. We are staying there for a month while visiting our son’s family. We decided while there, we will have time to order and install a new stabilizing jack.

This was an expensive mistake, so I hope you learn from ours if your a RV newbie.

Here is what I learned about the actual process for leveling a fifth wheel and although it may vary slightly, there are a few rules that should never vary to create a solid foundation for the rig. Level side to side and then front to back and always, always, always use the front landing gear to level your fifth wheel front to back. Do not use the back stabilizing jacks, they are for stabilizing not leveling.

Proper leveling and stabilizing can make life a whole lot more comfortable and even keep the refrigerator running when roughing it in desert places or boondocking at boutique wineries.

This entire experience made me think about the emphasis that is put on the glitz and glamour of the extravagant paint job on the outside of the RV, the flat screen tv, the electric fireplace, surround sound and the toys we haul behind our rigs. None of which have anything to do with a solid foundation.

Without a solid foundation, life in the RV can quickly become wobbly and uncomfortable.

When we bought our RV, we were told that everytime we pulled it down the road, our fifth wheel would shake as if going through a 8.4 earthquake. We should expect minor maintenance. If neglected, things have a way of working their way loose and they might fall apart doing more damage and become more costly to fix.

I admit that as I look at the glitz and glamour of a Class A motorhome passing by, the chassis it is built on is the last thing on my mind.

If we aren’t making the effort to build a solid foundation, we shouldn’t be surprised when our relationships shake apart in the rough desert places or wobble uncomfortably when the wind blows. I wonder how many of us actually work on leveling and restabilizing our own personal lives?  And what is our personal foundation made of anyway.  All we have to do is look at where we spend our time and money.

Once again I am reminded that our choice to downsize and become full time RVers in this stage of our life is part of our restabilizing.

Thank goodness it’s never to late to work on our foundation.


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