Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Under The Heading of Good To Know

The plug in for the electric tea kettle, the plug in for the UPS (uninterrupted power supply for the laptops) and the plug in we used for the space heater are all on the same breaker.  Or were.  Today I learned where the breaker switches are.  Moved the space heater plug to a different outlet.

Update:  Outlet in the bathroom that I 'used' for my hair dryer is also on the same breaker.

So we can have heat and hot water, or heat and power to the laptops, or laptops and tea, or dry hair and some heat, or any combination of 2 things.  Two, not three.  Good to know!

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Delightful Day For A Drive

A nice night's sleep.  A beautiful sunrise.  Great morning.

We stopped in to visit briefly with my uncle here in Spokane, and then headed out  for a "Saturday afternoon drive" on Monday morning.  We went eastbound on Highway 2 up to Newport, Washington to take a look at another KM Resort - Old American Kampground.  It was a little more rustic than Ponderosa Falls where we are currently camping, but there were some very nice spots along the Pend Orielle River.  Not alot for the kids to do, but since we don't have any kids with us, it was very appealing.  And the preserve host was an absolute delight, taking the time to talk with us about the area, and give us suggestions on which route to take down to Couer D'Alene.

We drove down to Spirit Lake, and turned off the highway to the boat ramp.  There was a road that appeared to go all around the lake....emphasis on the word "appeared".  It didn't show it on the AAA Map, but it did show an alleged road on the GPS.  Ten miles down the winding narrow road, crossing our fingers that we wouldn't run into any logging trucks, we came to the end of paved road.  Prior experience with logging roads told us to turn around and go back, which we did.  Spirit Lake is very lovely and pristine and I'm glad we took the side trip.

We took Highway 54 (this would be Idaho Highway 54), and then went south on Highway 95 to Couer D'Alene.  I had wanted to explore the area, but it was getting late, and we had one more stop at the R and R RV Store in Liberty Lake and then wanted to say Good Night to my uncle.  So today, all we saw of this lovely resort town just over the Washington Idaho border was a few malls.  Maybe tomorrow.

For now, the grill is being prepped for burgers, and I'm off to cut up some fruit.

Inaugural Voyage

Well, we did it!  For those of you that wondered if we were ever going to get out of the driveway, we did it.  The funny part was that getting out of said driveway was the hardest part of the journey.  We left Snohomish yesterday about 11am - just an hour later than we had planned.  We headed for Spokane.  We headed east on WA State HWY 2, turned south on Hwy 203 to Carnation, then Fall City, Preston and finally east bound on I-90.  We stopped at the Rest Area outside of CleElum for potty breaks and lunch. 

One of the pleasant surprises on the trip was that in one area of agriculture - there were signs on the fences saying what crops were planted there.  It would have been even better earlier in the year when the crops were still growing, but still it was nice.  A new crop to me was 'green manure'. From Wikipedia, " In agriculture, a green manure is a type of cover crop grown primarily to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Typically, a green manure crop is grown for a specific period, and then plowed under and incorporated into the soil."  Who knew?  Here I thought it would be harvested and then blended in with other stuff and sold in bags at the garden centers.

We pulled into Ponderosa Falls, a KM resort, just after 5pm.  It took 3 tries to getting the right number of levelling blocks, but other than that, things went without a hitch.  Beginner's luck?  Probably.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ghosts, Gremlins or A Reasonable Explanation

It's Autumn.  It's getting cold at night.  Have I mentioned that every time the propane furnace kicks on, it wakes me up?  We have the thermostat set at 67 degrees.  Last night, it must have been hovering around 66 because the furnace would start and stop, start and stop.  I'd just drift back to sleep, and whammo, the furnace kicked on.  And of course, it's not just one noise - it's two.  First the burner, then the furnace.  So about 1:30am, I get up and lower the thermostate to 65.  Furnace clicks off, and I jump back into bed, hoping to be a happy camper.  At 3:34am, furnace clicks on again.  I rolled over, laying on my back, with the thoughts going through my head, "It's just a noise, it will stop soon.  No, you don't smell propane.  It's just your imagination.  Surely, it's up to 65 by now.  It's just a hot flash.  Take some deep breaths.  It will pass.  No, really, it's got to be warmer than 65 now."  By this time, I've tossed, turned, kicked off the comforter, kicked off the sheet.  I've tried sleeping on my back, on my belly, on my right side, on my left side. No, no, no, I don't want to get up again.  Okay, it's frigging hot in here.  I get up to check the thermostat.  It's set for 98 degrees!  What?  How did that happen?  I tried to turn it down, and I can get the digits to go down to 65, but the minute I try to set it there, it flips back to 98 degrees.

Okay, that did it.  Time for Kim to wake up and do whatever it is that men do to fix things.  Personally, I think it may be a gremlin.  Or maybe my Dad is visiting from beyond the grave.  I have been smelling cigarette and pipe smoke recently.  While Kim is reading through the owners manual, and researching thermostat problems on the internet, I'm calling on my angels and asking for some help.  I need some sleep!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You Learn Something New Every Day

Woke up yesterday morning, and thought it was a tad cooler than normal.  We have the thermostat set at about 65 degrees at night.  When the propane furnace kicks on, it wakes me up.  I hope it is a noise that I will learn to sleep through, and even more I hope we will not be staying places that we will need the furnace anyway.

But yesterday, I got up a bit early, and was doing fine, sitting in my chair, wrapped in a blanket, attempting to doze.  I eventually gave up and went to heat some water for tea.  I noticed the thermostat read 61 degrees.  I thought maybe Kim had dropped the temperature down to 60 degrees so I could sleep through the night.  I kept trying to set the temperature to 67.  I just couldn't get it to go past 61 though. 

So I drug out the owners manual - big old 3 ring binder - and started to read up about the furnace and the thermostat.  I couldn't find anything to help me get it to work.

It finally occured to me that maybe we were out of propane.  I knew how to turn on the water heater, so I pushed that button.  I could hear it try to light, but it never clicked on.  On the 3rd try, the red light came on.  Oh, okay, no propane.  So I woke Kim up to go check on it, and to switch to the second tank.  (You may recall, I don't do anything with the propane).

The thing we learned - the primary tank automatically switches to the secondary tank when the primary tank is empty.  Here we thought we were doing so well, only using a little propane here and there.  I was so thrilled it was lasting so long.  I wasn't really surprised to find out that we had gone through both tanks.  Must be intuition, because it sure as heck wasn't from experience.

It was 8am, and Kim was off in search of propane.  The local Shell station had removed their propane tank.  The 76 Station had one, but the guy that billed tanks didn't come in until 10:30.  On to the next stations, nope no propane.  Another one where the propane guy wasn't in yet.  Kim stopped at the local Permagas dealer.  No luck, they only did commercial accounts.  Finally it dawned on him that the local farm co-op probably had propane.  They did, and the two tanks were filled.  That little excusion only took 2 hours.

But now we know.  And next time, hopefully we will be in an RV park that offers propane delivery!  In the meantime, we have hot water.  It was 90 degrees today, so the furnace was not necessary.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not - LOL.  90 degrees is a little too hot for me!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Tires for the Rig and A Stop At The Truck Scales

Yesterday, I went to get new tires for the 5th wheel trailer. From reading RV forums I notice some people give their rigs a name. Maybe we can have a "name that rig" contest? I digress. After shopping around, and with budget constraints in mind, I settled on Les Schwab's and their Toyo brand LT235/85R-16 Open Country H/T All Position. Since they are for a trailer, there was no need for a traction type tread design and I had read that the straighter tread patterns were better than the staggered tread. One reason for choosing Les Schwab is that they are all over the country so we have a pretty good chance of finding one while traveling if the need should arise. I can't comment on the Toyo's just yet. I'll have to see how they hold up before making a comment on them.
This was the first trip out of the driveway since we got the trailer and my first foray into the wonderful world of backing up. It only took 4 tries. Betsy was the spotter, making sure I didn't back into or run over anything and did an excellent job for her first time. We plan to get a set of walkie-talkies to improve communications for those times when the spotter is not in view of the driver.

One thing that has been weighing on my mind (pun intended) is how much does all this stuff weigh. The truck has a maximum hauling capacity called GVWR (I'm not going to get into that as their are several other ratings and factors involved and you can google it if you really want to know) and the trailer axles are also rated for their maximum capacity as well as the tires. So, on my way to get the new tires, I made a quick detour into a small truck weigh station that isn't often open. I had checked it out the week before and you can see the scale readout through the glass in the door of the office. It doesn't have the split weighing platforms that the more popular weigh stations do but I managed to get several key weights recorded and was relieved to see we are still well under the maximum load ratings. I'll need to make one more trip to the scales to weigh the truck by itself so I can see what the weight is on the rear axle when it's unloaded so I can calculate the trailer pin weight. The pin is the part of the trailer that locks into the hitch in the bed of the truck. The pin weight is how much of the trailer weight is supported by the truck and is part of figuring the truck's loaded weight. ie: If the truck is rated to carry 3000lbs and the pin weight is 2500 lbs then you are 500 lbs under the maximum rated capacity. Other factors involved are weight of driver and passengers, fuel and any personal belongings. It all adds up really quickly. Just a couple of things here, a favorite widget, a few books, DVD's and you've added a couple hundred pounds or more.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Tires for the 5th Wheel

We made our first trip out of the driveway.  Kim just left with the rig for Les Schwab in Lake Stevens for some new tires.  Considering this was our first experience with backing up, there were no angry words exchanged.  It was an easy back up out of the driveway, and then a 3 point turn on our cross street.

And I drove!  Okay, I backed up about 20 feet in a straight line.  I heard 'noises' coming from the rig.  Sounded to me like a parking break not released.  But I'm not a 'noise' specialist.  Kim thinks the springs just need greasing.

We'll go with his assessment for the moment.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What's That Beeping Noise By The Propane Detector?

Saturday's lesson in what can go wrong. Earlier that morning I thought I smelled a whiff of propane, but it wasn't the first time, and after checking the usual places I didn't find anything suspicious. Just to be sure I got out the spray bottle of soapy water and sprayed all the propane fittings. Nothing. Ok, no big deal. Then, a few hours later, getting on to around 1-2pm, I heard a 'beep,beep'. I glanced at the propane detector and the green light was still steady so I figured it must be the battery wearing out in the smoke detector so I checked it out and it appeared to be functioning normally. As I was putting the smoke detector back on the ceiling I heard the beeping sound behind me and as I turned to look at the propane detector I saw the the green light flashing! But still no propane smell. After checking the user's manual for the detector it said that low batteries could cause a false signal so I went to check the trailer's 2 12v batteries. They both checked out ok so I went back to the detector with my test meter and discovered that there now wasn't any power to the detector. What?!! It was just on a minute ago. Ok, so back to the batteries to do some more checking. Both batteries still showing 13.5 volts. I noticed some more wiring with in-line fuses and started to inspect them. When I was tugging on one of them I heard the propane detector beeping again. I went and looked and the green light was back on. Hmmm? I went back to the wiring and wiggled it some more and heard it beep again. My conclusion is that because the wiring was stretched fairly tightly that due to the outside temperature being higher than usual that after the trailer had gotten really warm and expanded that the spring loaded contact in the in-line fuse separated far enough to lose contact and that's what caused the intermittent beeping. Go figure!

Satellite TV Installation

On Friday, we got satellite TV installed in the 5th wheel. We decided to go with Directv. The technician showed up this morning about 9am. First he set up the dish and tripod and using his expensive satellite finder homed it in on the proper satellite. Next he installed the cables and ran them into the trailer using flat wire adapters. The adapters go through a window opening and then you can close (almost) the window. Next we went inside to set up the satellite receiver/DVR box. Again, this only took a few minutes to make up the inside satellite cables to the receiver box, plug in the video and audio cables to the TV and plug in the box. After turning everything on it went through a self-initialization process and downloaded a system upgrade and, Ta da, we now have satellite TV. We got the DVR option so we can pre-record our favorite programs. We had this option when we had Comcast cable and really liked being able to record and then watch programs at a more convenient time. Plus you can record one program while watching another.

LCD Flat Panel TV installation

Our new LCD flat panel TV arrived via UPS the other day. I bought it on-line through TigerDirect. It's a 32" Toshiba and it came packaged with a simple tiltable wall mount and HDMI cable. He reason behind replacing the perfectly good Motorola TV was that it was heavier and took up the entire cabinet in the built-in entertainment center. By making a door to enclose the cabinet and mounting the LCD TV to that I gained all the cabinet room for other stuff, like our HP All-In-One printer.
First I removed the trim frame that went around the original opening. It is made out of solid wood so it is pretty sturdy. I then got a piece of 3/4" A/C plywood and cut it to closely fit the cabinet opening. After some careful measuring and aligning I attached the plywood to the back side of the trim frame to created a door. I then attached the door to the cabinet with a piano hinge. I used some brass screw inserts and machine screws to attach the hinge so it would be stronger. The TV wall mount was then bolted through the plywood and the other part of the mount attached to the TV. The TV then just hooks to the top of the mount and the bottom has latches to secure it. I drilled some 1" diameter holes in the plywood and the bottom of the inside shelf to run all the necessary wiring.
With the tiltable mount and opening the new door part way the new TV is now adjustable for the best viewing angle.
Watched a DVD and so far everything is looking good. Now it's time to order Directv satellite service.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Macerator Pump and Emptying The Black Water Tank

Since RVing is new to us I don't have any experience draining the blackwater tank which would also require moving the trailer. I also haven't had much experience towing it or, especially, backing it up. To go to a dump station would require stowing all the stuff we've been haphazardly piling in, retracting the slide-outs, disconnecting electrical power, and hitching up the truck and since the tank was starting to get full I was really interested when I read about using a macerator pump which reduces everything to a slurry and can be pumped through a 5/8" garden hose into a sewer clean-out or even through a window in the house and into a toilet. I did some research on-line a bought a portable macerator pump that just twists onto the sewer outlet just like the hose normally would. After a few mis-tries I got the wiring run and everything looked like it was ready to go. Since we didn't have the sewer clean-out option we went for the toilet. Betsy is outside with the hand-held switch for the macerator and I'm inside holding the hose in the toilet. After a few false starts while testing with fresh water, in which we discovered the knife gate valve leaked, we finally started pumping the crud. I expected some odor, but WOW!!!, that was bad. Stunk up the whole house! In retrospect I believe I could have pushed the hose all the way down the toilet a few feet and not have had to deal with all the aroma. Even thought the instructions say you can pump into a toilet they don't go into much detail. If I try this again and pushing the hose further down works I'll let you know.

Gray Water Leak

Learning new lessons the hard way. Last week, I got the gray water tank drain hose set up and drained the two gray water tanks. One for the kitchen and one for the bathroom. The toilet has it's own, separate holding tank called a black water tank. So I got the gray water tanks drained and decided to fill the tanks and drain them again just to sort of flush them out. No idea how long the trailer sat before we bought it. I started running water into the two tanks by turning on the water faucets in the kitchen and bathroom. I figured it would take a while to fill and I went into the house to get some things. I don't think I was gone more than 10 minutes and when I came back outside I immediately noticed water pouring out underneath like rain in a downpour. Panic!! I ran inside to shut off the faucets and was glad to see there wasn't any water inside the trailer. I went back outside and looked under. The entire under side is enclosed with panels. Darn, now I'll have to remove a panel to see how much water is underneath. Oh, well. I was going to pull a panel anyway to run wiring for the new macerator pump I bought (That will be another post). Since the water had stopped pouring out I didn't feel compelled to immediately remove a panel so I let it go for the night. The next day I got underneath and started removing screws to cautiously lower one side of the panel to see if any water was still up there. Wouldn't you know, the propane piping is right there and I had to remove all the clamps holding it in place in order to gently pry it out of the way to lower the edge of the panel. The panels are flexible so it was pretty easy to get it back and out from under the propane piping. Fortunately, the water had all drained out and everything was dry. I'm guessing the kitchen gray water tank, which is only 28 gallons, overflowed through it's vent. After that episode there hasn't been any further mishaps.

AC/DC Distribution Panel

Hello Everyone.

Last week’s project was installing a new AC/DC distribution panel and DC to AC converter with a built-in battery charger. For those of you not familiar with the terms AC is like the electricity in your house and DC is what you get from batteries. RV's have both types of electrical systems so if you are not somewhere where you can plug into house electrical (AC) you can use battery power (DC). Up to a point.

Some things you just still need AC for and that's where the DC to AC converter comes in. It takes
DC (battery power or 12 volts) and converts it to AC (house power or 110 volts) for those things
that you just have to have such as an electric coffee maker, hairdryer, etc.

As is typical with most projects it took longer than I anticipated. Whereas the new unit fit in the same place as the old one the mounting holes were different, the places in the housing where the wiring went through were in different places and I was reminded yet again that my memory isn't as sharp as it once was so that when I got to the last couple of wires I'm scratching my head wondering "now where did these go". A little further investigating and reading the installation guide and voila, it's all done.

Now for the moment of truth. Turn the battery shut off back on. So far so good. Now plug the AC 110 volt back in.......yes! it works!

Nothing blew, everything works as it did before. Sometimes I amaze even myself. Even after 30+ years of marriage Betsy is still amazed at times. Her father who was a doctor was challenged by your typical household maintenance problems and they always called a professional when anything went haywire so she still has that in the back of her mind when ever I say "I can do that myself and save us a bunch of money". Not that she hasn't had cause to roll her eyes a time or two, but that will have to be another story.

K/M Resorts

The offices of K/M Resorts is about a mile from Camping World in Fife, Washington.  http://www.kmresorts.com/

So a little back story before I continue. My mom and dad had a long time membership with NACO/Thousand Trails. I'm not sure how that happened as my parents were not campers. My dad liked to fish, but otherwise you were more likely to find him inside reading than outside doing anything else. I'm guessing my mom played the fishing card to get him to agree to the membership. Sadly, he never had a chance to use the membership before he passed away. My mom did use the resorts once a year to prepare her income taxes (no phones, no TV - this was before cell phones and satellite TV) and occasionally to take the grandkids camping for a weekend. She only used the rental trailers that were on-site at the reserves. When my mom's health deteriorated, she gave her membership over to me.  By this time, our kids were over 18, and both Kim and I were busy working most of the time.  I did a lot of traveling.  We just never got around to using the membership.  I knew we would, at some point, be buying a rig and traveling around the US and Canada, so I hung on to it, paying the approximately $500 dues each year.  It's been 5 years now. 

Once we knew we were definitely buying a rig, I called NACO/Thousand Trails about what resorts/reserves were available to us, and other details about full time RVing.  Imagine my surprise to find out, that if you read the fine print, if you buy or are gifted a membership from another party, after 3 years, the membership reverts back to a bare minimum basic account.  I had access to only the original NACO resorts.  No access to Thousand Trails.  No access to Leisure Time Resorts.  And when I asked to talk to someone at NACO about options, there was no one available to answer my questions.  I was told there were meetings about upgrading memberships that were held from time to time.  I was peeved that I should have to upgrade a membership that was already at the highest level when it was purchased.  It losts its level because it was given to me.  I'll admit it was in the fine print, but it was never mentioned when my mom called to inquire about transfer of membership.  Why was that?


We sat down at the offices of K/M Resorts with Kevin Bibeau.  Long story short, after describing all the benefits and resort affiliates available through K/M Resorts, and answering my many questions, we got down to talking about money and costs.  We did receive the $2000 credit for purchasing our 5th wheel from Poulsbo RV, and we were offered a very fair trade in value for the limited NACO membership.  Kim and I asked for a few moments to confer, and after some very quick cost comparisons we figured the membership would pay for itself within 6 months.  Yes, there will be annual dues, but I was already paying more than K/M Resort dues to NACO for far less benefits. 

So we took a deep breath, and wrote out a check.  Now normally, I don't spend that kind of money without taking a day to think about it.  And I will say that Kevin did not use the high pressure "This is a one time only offer.  Sign today or the deal's off" tactic.  If he had, I would have walked out the door.  This sales experience was very low key.  The facts were laid out.  All my questions and concerns were answered.  (Thanks to NACO, I knew some appropriate questions to ask).  Did we make the right decision?  I think so.  I'm very happy with the investment.

If you are looking at an RV Resort Membership, we'd like to refer you to Kevin Bibeau at K/M Resorts.  Phone number is 800.392.5722.  The K/M Resort website is http://www.kmresorts.com/  Tell Kevin that Kim and Betsy Brown referred you.  We do get some credit for referrals.  For every referral that attends a presentation, we receive a $25 gift certificate to Olive Garden.  If memberships are purchased from those presentations, we receive a $100 cash for the first referral, $200 cash for the second referral, and our Dues Waived For Life for the third referral.  I'm aiming for the Dues Waived For Life level.  It will take the sour taste about NACO, and all the dues I paid to them, away I'm sure! 

So give Kevin a call and listen to what he has to say.  We were extremely pleased with his service!

What's Next? A Trip to Camping World

Two weeks ago, we drove down to Camping World in Fife, Washington.  (I'm doing blog catch up this weekend).  I've seen the store from the freeway everytime we drive through Fife, and have always wanted to go in and see what they had.  Why?  I have no idea.  We were not campers, although the idea of camping was appealing.  Kind of like the idea of having a farm is appealing.  With farming, there is a lot of work involved and I recognize that the farming lifestyle is probably not for me.  For one thing, I'm pretty lazy.  But camping, on the other hand, sounds like much more my style. 

Anyway, back to Camping World.  http://www.campingworld.com/stores/stores.cfm?store=45  Heading south down I-5, we took the first Fife Exit by the Poodle Dog Restaurant.  Now if that brings smiles to your face, I'm guessing you are getting close to retirement age.  The Poodle Dog Restaurant was a landmark in 1950s and 1960s, and honestly, I was surprised to see it was still there.  We drove up and down Pacific Highway South, and just couldn't find where Camping World was.  Lesson learned - print up directions before you leave so you know where you are going.  Just because you can see it from the freeway, doesn't mean you can see if from the surface streets. 

In need of a restroom, we finally stopped at a Dairy Queen, used the facilities, had lunch and Kim asked a gal waiting in the drive-through line if she knew where Camping World was.  Thank You Universe for all the nice people on earth.  This gal worked for the local Harley Davidson dealer, and people often stopped in and ask how to get to Camping World.  She told us that the cross street is Willows.  Incidently, there are no signs that say Camping World with arrows (a shout out the folks a Camping World - signs would be helpful!).  Even driving down Willows, there was no sign showing which driveway to turn into.  We ended up just following the line of motor homes turning into a driveway.  Yay, we finally made it to Camping World.

Now, neither Kim nor I are shoppers.  I enjoy wondering the aisles at the grocery store, and I'm not sure Kim enjoys wondering aisles anywhere, including hardware or automotive stores.  I was surprised when Kim agreed to walk up and down all the aisles with me.  You just never know what you might find.  Oh, we found plenty.  We found RV Camping books, we found wheel chocks, a dish drainer that fits in one of the sinks, domed food covers, an interesting ice cube bottle, an inline water filter, and some watermelon licorice (the last one being for the our pregnant daughter).

As we were leaving, we stopped to chat with a gal from K/M Resorts.  We were laughing because we found brochures up at Poulsbo RV that were promoting a give away of a "brand new 2006 Jeep Cherokee".  We asked how many miles this new 2006 Jeep had on it, or if it had just been stored for 3 years.   During our chat, she asked us if we had a rig, and we shared that we had just bought one from Poulsbo RV.  She asked if we received our $2000 one year free membership to K/M Resorts.  Nope, didn't recall that.  Then the next thing I knew we were following her to the offices of K/M Resorts to get this free membership.

PS:  I wonder what would have happened if we had gone to the Camping World in Burlington, Washington, which is actually closer to where we are currently parked in Snohomish.  I didn't know there was a Camping World in Burlington at the time of our visit, but apparently Kim did.  Sheesh!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Getting Set Up

Ah, here we are, at our 'home park' - aka the driveway of our house in Snohomish.    Our daughter, Erin, and her family moved into our house when we moved to Hawaii in January.  We didn't plan to move back into the house completely, so we took over the spare bedroom.  Now we are moving out of the spare bedroom and into the 5th wheel.  With all 3 tipouts out, we just fit.  With the stairs down, we can either hop sideways onto the pavement, or out a bit and onto the grass, avoiding the flower beds that line the driveway.

It was late in the afternoon when we got back, and I had promised to make meatloaf for dinner.  Erin is pregnant with her first child, and she thought meatloaf sounded good.  Anxious to keep the little mama happy, I took off for the kitchen, leaving Kim to do the set up.

I am not a mechanical person.  I was barely listening when we did the walk through at Poulsbo RV.  Kim and Jerry (the RV Tech) talked the same language.  It would have added 3 hours to the process for them to dummy down the conversation so I had a clue.  At some point, Kim will have to walk me through all the how-to's.  In the meantime, I know the switches for the hotwater tank, how to flush the toliet, how to move the slides in and out, and which switches go to which lights, and which lights don't have switches.  Oh, and I can raise and lower the shades and the windows, open and close drawers, as well as the refrigerator and freezer.  Did I mention I was an RV Virgin?  Did I mention I can count the number of times I've been camping on the fingers of one hand?  Just when I thought I knew something - like lifting up on the drawers to pull them out - things change.  In this RV, you just pull straight out - hard.  If you lift it up, you pull if off the tracks.

While I have very minimal experience with trailers, 5th wheels and motor homes, I do have plenty of experience in moving.  And I know the very first thing I wanted to do was make the bed up.  That way, when I knew I was pooped and about to fall asleep, I didn't have to stop to make the bed first.  I didn't, however, know where we had packed our sheets and comforter.  Oh well, I just stripped the ones off the bed we used in the spare bedroom, and used those for the time being.

We actually watched a movie on the dvd, and then it was lights out.  Day one complete.

Picking Up The 5th Wheel and the Drive Home

Betsy and I went to Poulsbo RV in Everett, WA last Saturday to pick up our new-to-us 5th wheel trailer. It’s a HitchHiker II LS 32.5 UKTG (UK= U shaped kitchen/ TG= triple glides or slide outs). It’s 33 feet long and didn’t look quite so big until we backed the truck up to the hitch. Compared to the truck it’s pretty big.

The tech at Poulsbo RV gave us an hour and a half orientation on how everything works and then we were ready to go. I guess. Betsy remembered the tech showing us how to put one of the glides out about a foot or so so we could get to the back window to tape on our temporary license and asked me about it just before I was going to pull out. We looked and sure enough, no license. We tracked down our salesman and he said he was sure it had one, it was good until 2010. We went to look and he asked the tech where the license went. It was out of state and they took it off. We ended up getting new WA state license for free.

Pulling out of Poulsbo RV you have to cross Evergreen Way, a four lane street with center turn lane and, of course I needed to turn left. Fortunately, traffic was pretty light that day and I easily got across and headed in the right direction. Thankfully the diesel engine in the Ford F250 has plenty of pulling power and it was no problem keeping up with traffic. Staying inside the white lines was another matter but no one honked so I guess I was ok. Just before we got on the freeway I noticed in the rear view mirror that one of the storage doors was open so I found a nice wide shoulder to pull over on and secured it and gave everything else the once over and away we went. Again the diesel engine quickly and easily got us up to speed and everything was hunky dory, that is until I hit a stretch of road that had grooves worn in the pavement from years of use. The truck’s steering is a little sloppy and I over-corrected a couple of times before it settled down and was tracking straight again. Still managed to stay in my lane and hopefully didn’t freak out the other drivers too much.

I did a Google search about the steering problem and learned it has been a problem with Ford trucks for several years running now and no fix in sight. Ford is apparently adopting the “if you ignore it maybe it will go away” method for correcting their design flaw. We’ll see once we start traveling. There’s lots of Fords on the highway so maybe it’s just a matter of getting used to the quirks.