Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Almost on the road again

January 16, 2013—We are almost ready to go on our maiden voyage in Junior, our “new” 40-foot, 2005 Country Coach diesel motorhome. We plan to head out to Tampa tomorrow, to attend a huge RV show. We’re eager to see how well Junior “behaves.”

Buying a “new” RV is like buying a house. Well, it actually is buying a house—one on wheels. If you think back to when you bought your last house, you will probably remember are the little “surprises” you had once you moved in. Junior has given us those types of surprises. Apparently the previous owners were not very meticulous about maintaining things properly. They made the inside look pretty, but under the “icing” we have found some (let us say) challenges. Fortunately, my husband can fix anything. (We hope.)

One of the first things Jim fixed was the hot water heater. Hot water heaters in RVs are just like the one in your house. After years of use, the heating element gets “crudded” up. It’s really not hard to change the element. Jim didn’t even have to do that; all he had to do was clean it. We have plenty of hot water now.

The bed was more challenging. The previous owners had put in a regular (not short) queen-sized Sleep Number bed. It was manufactured in 2006. Unfortunately the 20-year warranty does not transfer. We discovered two things wrong with the bed: One air chamber had a leak, and the hoses to the pump had broken fittings.

All the research I did about repairing the leaking air chamber claimed it couldn’t be done. Jim did not believe that. And so he fixed it. (At least we think he fixed it. We’ll know soon enough!)

When we called Sleep Number to find out if we could get new fittings for the air hoses, we were told that wasn’t possible. We would have to buy a new pump. Well, Jim found a way around that problem. He fixed the pump. And now we have a fully inflated and comfortable Sleep Number bed.
Another surprise was the reading lights on either side of the bed. They wouldn’t turn on. No, the light bulbs were not burned out. It turned out to be the switches. Both had gone bad. How is that possible—that both switches would go bad at the same time? Who knows. Anyway, once he found the cause, the solution was relatively simple.

The cigar lighter was another dilemma. It didn’t work. We don’t need the lighter to light tobacco; we need it to plug in Garmina, our GPS, as well as other 12-volt appliances. (A GPS is critical to traveling.) At first we thought it must be a fuse (logical, no?), but all fuses checked out OK. Surprise! When Jim looked under the dash, he discovered that the cigar lighter didn’t have any wires! Now you tell me: Why would anyone tear out the wires to a cigar lighter? (I know it did not come from the factory like that.) We’ll never know, but Jim wired it and now we have power to the lighter.

Speaking of “why,” why would anyone take down the privacy curtains and replace them with window shades? RVs generally come with a privacy curtain that is pulled around the front dash window. The previous owners had not only removed the curtain, they also took down the curtain track! The problem with window shades is that a gap remains between shades. Also, there was no shade on the door. Easy fixes, but it makes you wonder...

When we got our DISH satellite installed this week (more about that later), the tech told Jim about a bad repaid that had been made to the bathroom skylight. Someone (previous owner, no doubt) had incorrectly smeared sealant over a leaking area. The leak was not fixed, and we had an imminent threat of a leaky roof. Jim spent yesterday afternoon scaping away the old caulking and replacing it correctly. No more leaks.

We will have other things to fix, such as replacing a seal on the toilet, fixing an automatic awning whose circuit is blown, swapping out the radio with the newer (and better) one we put in Baby, and (when it gets here from the manufacturer) replacing a side view mirror. And the refrigerator still needs some work. Jim put a new fuse in the fridge’s “brain,” but he still has to do some wiring on it. We’ll probably take our little trip this weekend minus cold food. Eat out? Not cook? Gosh, do you think I can handle that?

We will have entertainment. This week we finally got our DISH satellite installed, as well as a new Fantastic fan (with remote control) in the kitchen/living room. (We’re glad we didn’t have it installed on Baby!). Our Country Coach was manufactured with a top-of-the line entertainment system, which included a satellite. However, the previous owners gutted the system, leaving a working HD TV in the living room, a non-working HD TV in the bedroom, and a very old VCR. (Does anyone use a VCR any more?) Fortunately, we had an extra HD TV for the bedroom at home.

Instead of getting an in-motion satellite dish, which would allow us to watch TV going down the road, we opted to get the Traveler model, which gets HD TV. We value HD more than being able to watch TV on the move. The cost was the same (free, thanks to the Good Sam giveaway last spring at Camping World's open house). All we had to pay for was installation of a cable to the bedroom.

Jim still has to install the rest of our entertainment center—the blue ray/DVD player and our Onkyo receiver. But we are not in any hurry for that.

We are heading out this weekend to Tampa to go to one of the country’s largest RV shows. RV shows are like home shows—lots of things (in addition to RVs) to look at and drool over. It should be a nice weekend, although the weather is supposed to turn cold. (I guess we’ll find out how well our furnace works.)

Until next time,

Your Reluctant RoVer,


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