Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thought things would be different when full-timing

We really thought things would be different after we started full-timing and a lot of things are. We are seeing great places and meeting new friends while connecting with old friends and family. But unfortunately one thing is still the same; it still takes about 3 trips to the RV/hardware stores to get everything figured out for a DIY repair.

The first two years we owned our RV we were under a bumper to bumper warranty so Bob just sat and watched as the work was being done. We are now past the warranty period so Bob is now the RV tech. We started having toilet problems, the seal in the tank was causing slow foot pedal action and it was starting to leak around the seal. Replacing the seals went pretty good considering that the instructions said there would be four (4) mounting bolts for the tank to base. Turns out there were only two (2) but it took a phone call to Thetford to confirm that.

With the toilet back together with new seals and bolted to the floor so all is well right, not quite. Turns out there were two problems with the seal and the foot pedal and Bob only fixed the seal. To fix the pedal the arm had to be removed, all of this could be done with the toilet still attached to the floor which was good news. Taking the arm off of course was harder than it was supposed to be. Then there was a drive shaft that had to be pulled out and the excess grease removed from the shaft and the hole. But this just could not be accomplished even with a phone call to Thetford and a lot of grunting. So fine, put it back together and deal with it the next day. The arm snapped right back on with a convincing click, that is until you used the foot pedal and it fell off. So it was off to the RV store to get a new toilet. We wanted to get the exact model so the hookup would be easier but of course that model was not in stock at the RV parts store.

Now Bob tried to make sure that he had enough parts to finish the job. Of course the water supply for the old toilet would not align with the new one so with three plastic couplings and a 1/2" plastic tube and a new toilet Bob headed home, but first he stopped at Ace Hardware for a flexible hose to see if that would work. Turns out the shortest hose available was still too long for the small space behind a RV toilet. The next trip to the RV parts store was due to the fact that the cramped spaces made a tube length that put the two plastic couplers back to back with no way to pry them apart. If they leaked Bob did not want to find that out AFTER the store was closed thus having no toilet for the overnight period which Bob visits a few times. Bob got there moments before the store closed.

Turns out the junction did not leak and the toilet was installed with no further incidents but it still took three trips to complete the job. Funny how some things never change.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Where are all the Sci Fi fans?

We just watched our DVR'd 'The Big Bang Theory' and in it Sheldon listed what he knew best, outside of Theoretical Physics of course. The list included; Star Trek trivia, Star Trek: Next Generation trivia, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine trivia, Star Trek: Voyager trivia, and model trains. What struck us was that he failed to mention Enterprise (or Star Trek: Enterprise) trivia. That series was very good but only lasted four years due to low ratings. We wondered then what was wrong with so called Sci Fi fans.

Now we are wondering the same thing when a great show like 'Fringe' is having ratings problems. Take the best of the weirdness of X-FILES and combine it with a dual universe that allows each actor to play multiple roles so you get great acting, great stories from JJ Abrams, an all around great show.

So give the show a chance, we bet you will like it.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wickenburg has the most polite kids

We went to Wickenburg Arizona yesterday for Gold Rush Days. It was another great day and the weather was wonderful so the place was packed. There was no parking to be found. We lucked out when we were going down a dead end road to turn around and a car stopped to talk with us. She saw the Missouri license plates from Bob and Wilma's car and was expecting to meet some people from Missouri at Gold Rush Days and wondered if they drove out to her place. We said we were looking for parking and she offered a spot in front of her house which we readily agreed to. A little further walk but it was a space at last, thanks Beth!

By this time we decided to skip the parade and walk through the vendors for awhile. Jo ending up buying a purse but we mostly just gawked. Now to the kids, we ate at the Saddle Club's BBQ event and there were kids of all ages helping out, either serving or busting the tables. We never met kids, and we mean all of them, that were so polite. It was yes sir, yes ma'am, can I help you this that? It was incredible. The food was also really good, BBQ beef, chuckwagon beans and cole slaw.

After lunch we walked through the rest of the tents and saw some stuff we might have been interested in if we had still been living in a sticks and bricks. It was so liberating to be able to say that was really cool but have no inkling to buy it, full-timing just saved us some money yesterday!

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Got our first spam

Once we turned off word verification we got our first spam message ever. We still have approval set for comments so will keep that for now and catch the spam that Blogger misses.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just turned off comment verification

Blogger changed the verification for posting comments to a very hard to read two word system. We did not know that it was even set for verification but we just turned it off.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Full-timing is a numbers game

Continuing the full-timing theme which we started in our last posting, "To full-time or not to full-time" we got to thinking that full-timing is really a numbers game. By now you have heard the old adage that the RV can entertain 6, feed 4 and sleep 2, well that got us thinking. Since this not a sightseeing post there will be no pictures.

Living in an RV full-time is a numbers game. Having items that can accomplish multiple things allows you to pack more of the stuff you need to really make this lifestyle just like living at home but a home where you park it.

The key number for full-timing has to be 'multiple', we know not really a number but if you can take things with you that can perform multiple duties then you begin ahead of the game. First on that list has to be Dawn Detergent which can be used for dishes, black tank maintenance and makes a great addition to your presoak arsenal for laundry. Second on the list has to be our Cuisinart Griddler which we use to make pancakes, paninis, and a flattop grill for bacon and eggs. Finally, no RV or home should be without a crock pot which can be used for soups, casseroles, meat dishes and desserts.

For a lot of reasons though the all time favorite number with respect to full-timing has to be "2".

After over two years of full-timing we have come to realize that "2" works real well in the wardrobe department. Come to think of it maybe it is only Bob that feels "2" is a good wardrobe number : ) He has two pairs of jeans, one that he wears until way past it should be washed and so it goes into the laundry. Then he wears the other pair way too long to. This goes for dress pants, dress shorts, and bum around shorts. He has "2" pairs of tennis shoes but for different reasons. One pair is for when it is wet outside and he needs to take them off immediately while the other pair is for inside and nice weather.

"2" also works for the pantry. Face it there are some things you just don't want to run out of but you also can't store "2" of everything. This pantry system makes sense for items that you use everyday like Kleenex, distilled water and toothpaste and other item that are used daily and can justify the space they take up.

Other nnumbers of note:

200 - we like to travel about 200 miles each day. When we started out we thought our target would be 250 but have come to like the shorter trips.

65 - when traveling our maximum speed is 65 mph for a lot of reasons but mainly for the tires, 65 mph is the safe speed for the load that we are towing.

10-2 - and we don't mean Dr. Pepper. On travel days we like to leave about 10a and arrive at our destination by 2p avoiding rush hour traffic.

30 - we would like 30 minutes notice for guests, with three cats some dehairing is always needed.

So as you can see "2" has worked real well for us and is our favorite full-timing number, even if we have "2" cats too many. But the best overall use of "2" comes when we are asked this question, 'how many people does your RV sleep', we smile and answer that it sleeps "2"!

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, February 13, 2012

To full-time or not to full-time

We have seen on various forums the question come up as to whether or not a couple should consider full-timing in an RV so we thought we would offer up some hints to help in that decision. It will not cover which type of RV because there are so many options there and that is best left up to the couple. Just make sure you are happy with the layout of the RV after reading this article and make sure it has plenty of storage. The real key to have fun full-timing is to take what you like about living in a home with you on the road, albeit a much smaller home.

First and foremost both of you must want to at least give it a try for a good length of time, at least 2 years. The first 6 months to one year you will be questioning your sanity but just give it time, it is an adjustment just like anything else. For us we had plans of downsizing and RV'ng winter and summer. Then we realized we could just postpone the purchase of the downsized home and try full-timing. It was one of the best decisions we have made.

Secondly you need to realize that all the 'stuff' that you have accumulated over the years is just that, 'stuff'. It is amazing how liberating it is to be able to live with just the small amount of 'stuff' that you can bring with you.

So you have made the decision to full-time and to get rid of most of your 'stuff' now you need to make the RV seem like a home. We break that into major categories.

Water pressure; get a good water pressure regulator that does not cut down on the water flow. We got the Watts 263A which is one of the best you can get. We also put an aerator on the faucet in the kitchen.

Long showers; you may not be able to take as long of showers as in your old sticks and bricks but with some planning you can take a pretty good one. With a good showerhead like the Oxygenics Body Spa you get great pressure that feels like a home shower that does not use that much water so that the 10 or 15 gallons of you hot water heater will go a long time. Then just wait between showers for the hot water heater to recover. A good tip is that it will recover faster if you have both the propane and electric turned on for the hot water heater.

Laundry; we recommend getting a washer and a dryer or a washer/dryer combo and doing the laundry in your new home. It may be smaller loads but you will find that a benefit of this lifestyle is that you will probably have less laundry to do. We have a combo and just do laundry while we are watching a movie or television. If you already use a laundromat then disregard this suggestion as it will be an easier transition if you do things as if you were still in your home.

Speaking of television; if you like to watch TV then get a good satellite dish, we have an automatic dish on the roof, and also bring the comfort of home and get a DVR. Full-timers can also get a waiver and get what is called Distant Network Service from Dish or DirecTV which gives you the east coast or west coast feeds of network television. This way you won't miss your favorite shows. DVR'ng your shows will also allow you to extend your sightseeing adventures.

Speaking of sightseeing; if you love to travel and want to see more of the USA but don't like the hassles of airline travel then full-timing just might be for you. We have been full-timing for 2 and 1/2 years and have barely scratched the surface of what we want to see.

Take it easy; try to go no more than 250 miles in one day and then stay there for a week or more to get recharged for travel. When we absolutely have to be somewhere fast we still only drive 200-250 miles and stay for 2 nights.

Hookups; for the first year always get full hookups (electric, water and sewer) and try to get 50 amp electrical whenever possible. With 50a you can run what you want when you want it and not have to worry have tripping breakers. Save boondocking (no hookups at all) for the second year of your trial.

Full-timing is not for everyone but if you do this you will make it your personal experience. For us having to take short or worse yet, Navy showers is too much like camping. When we lived in our home we had a laundry room so we brought that with us. The same goes for television watching. And don't get us started on hookups, boondocking is not for us in fact we consider 30a electrical to be too much like camping.

We hope that we have helped those that might be considering a move to full-timing because we would love to see you on the road sometime. One of the best things about this lifestyle is the great people you will meet.

Finally the best advice we can give to full-timers heading out for the first time is that the first thing you should pack is your sense of humor because you will need it, especially for the first 6 months.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo