Offcially the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere is March 21. That is also the spring equinox -- the day when the length of daylight and dark are the same. From now until the summer solstice (June 21, the longest day of the year) the days will be getting longer by about a couple of minutes every day.
Spring time is an exciting time for those of us who enjoy RVing, camping, and off road activities. After several months of having our equipment in winter storage, most of us are at least beginning to feel the effects of cabin fever, itching to hit the roads and the trails. Yes, I know, this isn't my first post on spring cleaning, but hey! Spring comes every year and getting ready for another fun season of camping and riding is something we all need to do every year.
To make the most of a new season of camping and riding we need to make proper preparations. If you live in a climate with freezing winter weather you will have to de-winterize your vehicle(s) and equipment. If you are lucky enough to live in the sun belt you might have been able to avoid putting your stuff into storage for the winter, but it is still a good time to inspect all your equipment to make sure it is in good condition and ready for another season of fun. Annual maintenance procedures are often specified in the owner's manual. Lacking that, be sure to inspect tires and brakes, belts and hoses, batteries and electrical systems, and inspect and change fluids and filters as necessary.
RVs, OHVs, and water craft should be properly serviced and inspected for any damage that might have occurred over the winter. If water systems in RVs have been winterized you will want to wait until you no longer expect freezing overnight temperatures before de-winterizing them. Be sure to check the manufacturer's recommendations for regular maintenance. Pay special attention to rubber items, like belts, tires, and hoses, as they are often adversely affected by winter temperature changes. Check fluid levels and check and test batteries. Don't forget the batteries in flashlights, lanterns, smoke detectors, and remote controls.
Other camping equipment and riding gear should be gotten out and inspected. Things should generally be OK if they were properly stored at the end of the last season but sometimes insect or rodents can infest stuff and do a lot of damage. Make sure everything is clean and in good repair.
Go through your tool boxes, spare parts, RV galleys, and camp kits to confirm that all necessary items are there and are clean and in good repair. Check to be sure cutting tools, such as knives, axes, hatchets, and saws are sharp and free from rust. Make sure handles are secure and smooth. See to it that wrench sets, screwdrivers, and socket sets have all their pieces in good condition. Replace missing or damaged items.
Review all your on board medical supplies, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and non-persishable ingredients to make sure you have everything you might need and that all is serviceable. Winter temperatures can have a dramatic affect on many products, especially those in liquid form. Bulging or leaking canned goods can be a health hazard. Discard and replace any suspect items. If you happened to leave any soda cans in your RV or camp kit where they got frozen, you'll find a sticky mess where the cans have exploded and leaked.
Review your personal readiness to resume recreational activities. Illness or injuries during the off season may have taken their toll on your physical and/or mental status. If you've been somewhat lax in physical activity over the winter, it would be a good idea to begin a moderate exercise program to regain the strength and mobility you will need to be able to safely enjoy your summer fun.
Begin making plans for your first outing. I recommend the first trip be to a familiar destination fairly close to home in case anything pops up that needs special attention. Save the more adventurous outings for later in the season when both you and your equipment have both once again been proven up to the task. It isn't unusual for it to take a trip or two before you get back into the swing of things and feel completely comfortable.