Well, that was an experience.
We just returned to our Michigan home from a three month long trip that took us through 16 states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. We left Thursday from Florida’s Emerald Coast and planned to leisurely follow our 330 Rule the way back.
Little did we know that the three days we budgeted for the drive would all be in rain. Heavy rain. It’s a good thing God promised to never destroy the earth again by flood as, otherwise, I would be looking for an ark. We’re talking non-stop rain.
It started when we pulled into a Cracker Barrel near Cartersville, GA Thursday night. No sooner did I park in a space tucked away in the back, take Bo out to take care of his business and return to the RV when the storm hit.
And darned if we weren’t in the storm pattern all the way to Michigan as we headed out Friday north on I-75 to Chattanooga, then west on I-24 to I-65, on through Nashville and all the way to Shepardsville, KY, just south of Louisville.
The wipers never stopped. Road visibility was way down and the temperature plummeted from the 80’s when we left Florida to 42 degrees in Kentucky. We made the best of it, spending a nice, cozy evening snugged inside the RV. We relaxed, read, caught up on email and social media and organized our new 2019 Leisure Travel Vans Unity FX. We’ve only had it a month and are still figuring out a place for everything and what personal gadgets and extras we want to install.
Saturday morning, we were still in the storm pattern and it wasn’t until we were somewhere near South Bend, IN that the rain stopped. As we crossed over into west Michigan on US-31, the clouds were suddenly gone, the sun was shining and the temperature had jumped to 60 degrees. We made our way to I-94 and then to our son’s house in Kalamazoo in time for a big family birthday party for our four year old granddaughter Jovie.
The sun was out the whole way,.
But then, after dark, as we made our way across I-69 back towards our side of the state, we hit that storm front again and drove in heavy rain for another half hour. By the time we pulled into our driveway, it had slowed to a light drizzle. And this morning, Easter Sunday, it is nothing but bright sunshine, with a predicted high of near 70.
That’s more like it.
But in all, we had pretty much 36 hours of solid rain on the trip home. From it, and the experience we’ve had of seven years of RV travel in all sorts of weather, here are four suggestions for driving an RV in rain.
- Slow down. Get on the right side of the road and drop your speed. We found 55-60 was the sweet spot for freeway travel in heavy rain. Yeah, there were still crazies driving 80 mph that occasionally passed. Life is short enough without being stupid.
- Take frequent breaks. Driving in heavy rain is tiring. You can’t see as well as you normally can, passing traffic kicks up lots of extra spray and you are using your mirrors more than usual in rain. That causes tension. So take breaks every hour or so, We pulled into a couple of rest areas and did just that, rested. Short 20-30 minute naps can do wonders. Besides it is quite soothing listening to the rain pound down on the roof of your RV.
- Don’t tailgate. It takes longer to stop on rain-slicked roadways. Leave more space between you and the traffic ahead.
- Monitor the weather. Use a weather app to know the weather you can expect on route. Don’t be afraid to take an alternate route if you can get around a storm system.
Here’s a video we did some time back explaining the 330 Rule – https://youtu.be/Ch-NM215i7c
And here s a link to some fun 330 Rule stickers we are selling in a four-sticker bundle – https://shop.rvlifestyle.com/collections/accessories/products/rv-lifestyle-330-sticker-pack