Thursday, December 5, 2013

One Year Later – And I’m Still Alive!

It was December 5, 2012, a year ago today, that we sold our house and started living the full-time RV lifestyle.  One year ago already!  My, my, my, where has the time gone?  When I reminded Janet about our first RVersary, her comment was, “And I haven’t killed you yet!”  With the two of us plus our dog and cat packed into 300 square feet of living space, I knew I’d have to be on my best behavior.  Surviving the first year in close quarters required a fairly high “tolerable to live with” index.  Since I am still around to write this, perhaps I have succeeded.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that we faced some interesting “challenges” after we hit the road this past June.  But, as the proverbial “they” say, “Time heals all wounds.”  Either for that reason, or because we’re gluttons for punishment, we have started planning our travels for the coming year.  Our on-the-road theme for 2014 will be “Strength in numbers”.  We’ll be traveling with another couple, good friends who also have an RV.

Now that I’ve been living in a tin can for a year, here are the things I have enjoyed the most compared to life in a traditional house:

·  I am no longer affected by large annual increases in homeowners and flood insurance premiums. The same goes for property taxes.

·  No more worrying about hurricanes. If a hurricane is coming, we can take our house and get out of harm’s way.

·  House cleaning is a quick affair.

·  The term a “road trip” has taken on a whole new meaning.

·  Wherever we go, we’re still home.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and adventurous 2014.

Outdoor living space under the awning

Elkay stretching out on the bed

Annie relaxing on the couch

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What is six?

"I'll take 'The Keller Summer 2013 RV Trip' for $400, Alex."
"The answer is: Of 54 days on the road, the largest number of days in a row nothing went wrong with the truck or the RV."
"What is six?"
"That is correct!"

We're back.  The trip has been completed.  We covered 6,675 miles (5,300 of them towing our 5th wheel RV) in 54 days.  To say that the Griswolds had an easier time getting to Walley World than we had getting to Rapid City, South Dakota is an understatement!  Here is a list of everything that failed in the truck and had to be replaced during the course of the entire trip: Cooling system thermostats, brake sensor, rear window, four tires, a cracked wheel, all ball joints, left-hand inner tie rod, steering drag link, steering stabilizer shock, all four shock absorbers, exhaust gas temperature sensor, transmission seals, rear brake rotors, rear brake calipers, rear brake pads, air conditioner belt, air conditioner compressor clutch adjusting bolt.  How about the RV?  Replaced on it were: All five tires (4 plus the spare), all four wheel hub assemblies, all four shock absorbers, all suspension shackle bolts, nuts and links, all liquid propane piping, the 12-volt power converter/battery charger; hot water heater thermostat and main burner assembly, rear stabilizer jack motor, smashed side window, left side fender skirts.  The cost of all this mechanical mayhem?  A mere, eye-popping $16,000!  I'm still suffering from a severe case of PTSD (post-trip savings drawdown).  Naturally, most problems occurred on a Thursday or Friday, in the middle of nowhere.  That ensured we'd be spending three or four days stuck in the middle of nowhere, waiting for parts to be shipped from somewhere!  In the end, we prevailed, having laughed in the face of adversity.  (Or perhaps adversity prevailed, having laughed in our faces.)

Oh wait, I forgot to mention that the RV's roof has to be replaced because it somehow got torn on the left side!  (Thank goodness insurance will cover that lofty expense!)  Word to the wise: Never take an RV trip without lots of duct tape.  (Fortunately, we had several large rolls, and wound up using most of it.)  A good towing service is also a must have (which we had).  Lots of patience and an overly-optimistic attitude are helpful too!

Lest you think we didn't have any fun, here are some photos of things we did and saw between breakdowns:

The SPAM Museum, in Austin Minnesota.  Yes, it's for real.  The museum houses a complete retrospective of that classic American food product, Spiced Ham (SPAM)!  If you're ever traveling on I-90 across southern Minnesota, be sure to check it out.  By the way, if you put your email address on their mailing list, guess what you'll get?

Easily the friendliest town we've ever visited.   White Lake is located at I-90, 36 miles west of Mitchell, South Dakota.  Everyone who was in a car waved hello as we rode by on our bikes.  We had breakfast and dinner at the local cafe.  Eat your heart out, Garrison Keillor!

The Corn Palace, in Mitchell, South Dakota.  The murals and decorations on the building are made entirely of corn plants and cobs!  Inside is a venue for basketball games, concerts and events.  The Green Giant is mighty proud of this place.

Wall Drug, in western South Dakota.  Sure, it's a tourist trap, but where else can you get a cup of coffee for a nickel?

Why did the buffalo cross the road in Custer State Park, South Dakota?  So the tourists could watch it get to the other side.  Buffalo are really big; the nickel didn't do them justice!

If you take the twisting back road to Mt. Rushmore, you will come to this tunnel...
And when you're inside the tunnel, this is what you'll see!

Mt. Rushmore.  The South Dakota landmark demonstrates fine sculpture work can be done with lots of dynamite!

Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota.  A work in progress that shows what can be done based on the assumption Mt. Rushmore just isn't big enough!

Downtown Sturgis, South Dakota -- two weeks before the annual motorcycle rally.

Downtown Sturgis during bike week!  (No, we weren't there at that time.)

Devil's Tower, Wyoming

Climbers on Devils Tower.  Talk about close encounters!  Not for us, thank you!

In the heart of Alzada, Montana, population 38.  Oddly enough, the food wasn't lousy!

The bar inside the Stoneville Saloon.  "What'll you have, mister?"

South Dakota badlands.  Bad lands, good wife!

A prairie dog.  Cute?  You decide!

Yup, it's Nawlins!

 The Big Easy -- where boozing it up in the streets is O.K., just as long as the libation is not in a bottle or glass container!

So what did we learn from this trip?  With lots of fortitude, and a big wad of cash, RVing is a great way to see and experience the good ole U.S. of A.  And since we didn't kill each other, Janet and I must have some kind of crazy, enduring love!  When it comes to Final Jeopardy, you may as well wager it all.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Quit horsing around and evacuate!

It's Sunday, July 7, 2013, and we're in Shipshewana, Indiana.  You might be wondering what we are doing in a very small northern-Indiana town 42 miles east of South Bend.  Originally, we planned to go through Middlebury, Indiana on our way to South Dakota because the Jayco factory is there.  Jayco is the brand of our 5th wheel RV, and we wanted to visit the factory to see how RVs like ours are made.  (This part of Indiana, including Elkhart just to the west, is the RV manufacturing heartland of America.)  In addition to taking a Jayco factory tour, we wanted to give our RV a maintenance spa day at its place of birth.  Factory service is booked through August, so the folks at Jayco referred us to an RV service guy in Shipshewana, which is six miles east of Middlebury. Little did we know that Shipshewana, which has a significant Amish and Mennonite presence, is also home of a nationally-know flea market!  We are in an RV park located adjacent to the flea market. (We'll be going to the flea market this Wednesday.)  So far, we've heard more clip-clopping of horses as they pull wagons on the road than we've heard motorized traffic.  (There are wide shoulders on the local roads for horse and buggy traffic, which make nice bike paths as long as one navigates the horse dropping obstacle courses carefully!)

We arrived in Shipshewana yesterday from Frankfort, Kentucky, a day ahead of our planned arrival. Why a day early?  I'll get to that later in this blog entry.  (Hint: Think rain... lots and lots of it!)

Last Wednesday, we went to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, racehorse capital of America.  (Wednesday was the only day of the week it didn't rain.)  The horse park is an equine lover's paradise.  In the park is a restaurant, where we ate burgoo for lunch.  We'd never heard of this spicy stew before, so we gave it a try.  We found it to be very tasty.  The chef insisted the burgoo was made with beef; after all, this isn't IKEA!

Kentucky Horse Park

Dwarf horse – much smaller than a pony!

Can your horse do this?

These chairs were used in a championship obstacle course.

Funny Cide -- living the retired good life.

I rode a horse, of course!

After a very wet fourth, last Friday (July 5) was a soaker too.  (Remember... lots and lots of rain!) Hey, we're in Kentucky, so why not visit a bourbon distillery?  Just a few miles from the Elkhorn Campground, in Frankfort, Kentucky, is the Buffalo Trace Distillery.  We took a tour.  It was a fine way to spend a rainy afternoon.

The Buffalo Trace Distillery
For a few minutes, there was some blue sky and sunshine!

Barrels of aging bourbon -- someday to be barrels of fun!

There was a tasting at the end of the tour.  A couple of shots... and what's this?  Kentucky bourbon balls! Chocolate with pecans, and a kick.  I can't recall ever enjoying a confection more than this one!  If life is really like a box of chocolates, then life is very good indeed!

Now, the denouement.  On Saturday morning, the heavy rainfall continued unabated.  Elkhorn Creek, which had meandered gently around the campground earlier in the week, has turned into a raging, muddy torrent.  The water level began to rise rapidly, threatening to inundate the campground and wash out the only access road to higher ground.  Moments later came the call to evacuate the area!  Enjoying a brief break in the heavy rainfall, we broke camp, packed up, hitched up – all in record time, and got out of the campground just in the nick of time!  As we headed up the access road, this was the scene from our truck's windshield:

We said a prayer, crossed our fingers, and proceeded cautiously.  We plowed through the raging water... and made it safely to the other side of the road.  It was an adventure scene right out of a Saturday matinee!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Check Engine? Gimme A Brake!

As I write this, it’s a very rainy July 4th here at the Elkhorn Campground in Frankfort, Kentucky.  The only one I know who is overjoyed at the prospect of no fireworks tonight is Annie, our rat terrier.  She goes nutty and barks incessantly when there are both flashes of light and sudden, loud booming sounds, so the fourth of July is a double whammy for her.  Looks as if Annie won’t need that 1,000 milligram dose of Zanax after all!

The trip from Boone, North Carolina to Frankfort, Kentucky was scenic, and at last, without incident.  However, if you though after our fiasco-filled trip from Florida that nothing else could have gone wrong while in North Carolina, you’d be wrong!

Two Mondays ago, after I had a wonderful breakfast at Janet’s bagpipe camp in Valle Crucis, North Carolina (just outside of Boone, and really in the boonies), I decided to head back to our campground in Boone, a nice drive of five miles on twisty country roads.  I started our Ford F250, and after its big engine roared to life, the check engine light remained lit.  WHAT?  I popped the hood to check the engine, and sure enough, it was still there!  All of the fluid levels were O.K., so I drove back to the campground.  I called the local Ford dealer and made a service appointment.  Fortunately, the dealership had a good, many-years-of-experience diesel mechanic on its staff.  His diagnosis: bad thermostats.  (Our truck has a pair of thermostats in one housing.)  Not an expensive part, but, you guessed it, lots of labor time was required to make the repair.

For added fun, I happened to tell the mechanic that the cruise control quit working on the way to North Carolina, and I couldn't get it to come back on.  The diagnostic computer noted the problem had occurred, but when the mechanic tried the cruise control, it worked perfectly.  Of course it did!  The mechanic checked one of the controls attached to the bottom of the brake fluid reservoir that disengages the cruise control when the brakes are applied – it looked O.K.  But what’s this?  A nearby control switch, also under the brake fluid reservoir, was leaking!  It would have to be replaced.  Cost of the little part?  A mere $155!  The thought of running low on brake fluid and having to make a sudden stop while going down a steep hill on a winding country road, with our 15,000 lb. home in tow, flashed through my mind.  I considered this repair to be a blessing.

A few hours, and $770 later, the truck was once again road worthy.  I do the math.  Let’s see... We’ve gone 950 miles, and spent $2,400 for tires, $770 for the truck repairs, and $350 for fuel.  Hmm, that works out to $3.70 per mile.  It would have been cheaper to charter a private jet!  But if we did, think of all the excitement we would have missed.  And we’d never have enjoyed beautiful roadside scenery, such as rolling hills in Tennessee, on our way from North Carolina to Kentucky.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 2: Welcome Back Cotter; ZAP!

I’m writing this blog entry on Sunday morning, June 23.  It’s a pleasant, cool morning here in Boone, North Carolina, and we actually had breakfast by the fire!  Image the crackling of the wood, the sweet smell of the smoke, and the sound of water rushing over the rocks in a nearby stream.  Yes, Dorothy, this definitely isn’t southwest Florida in the summertime!  I started the day, as I do most every morning, with my favorite breakfast beverage: Goat milk and Baileys hot coffee.  I invented this elixir a couple of years ago.  In case you want to give it a try, here is the recipe: In an 8 oz. mug, pour 6 oz. of freshly-brewed, hot coffee; add 1.5 oz. of Baileys Irish Cream, and one-half oz. of goat milk; stir.  One cup gives you nutrition from three different food groups: Dairy, coffee, and booze.  You can’t get something this good at Starbucks!

I’d like to tell you that after that harrowing first day on the road, the second day was without incident, but I can’t!  Before we can hitch up and leave the campground, I’ve got get that new cotter pin.  Good news: There’s a Camping World just down the road.  (In case you are not familiar with it, Camping World is to RV owners as Home Depot is to homeowners.  They sell everything one could possibly need.)  Camping World opens at 8:00 a.m., and I’m there early, nose pressed against the door, ready to be the first customer of the day.  Bad news: They don’t have a cotter pin, or anything similar, that will fit in the hitch lever’s small-diameter hole!  How can this be?  I figure the odds are about the same as McDonalds not having any hamburgers!

Good news: There’s a big NAPA Auto Parts store a few miles away.  Bad news: They don’t have what I need either!  As luck would have it, there was another auto parts store down the street that had solid hairpins that would work nicely.  To insure that the hairpin would never break, I bought three of them.  Problem solved, and this time in only one hour.  “Perhaps today will be a better day,” I mused optimistically.  Ah, but it was still early!

The trip to our second stop, a campground in Anderson, South Carolina, was long, but fortunately, without mayhem.  We rolled in around 7:30 p.m.  Unhitching the RV went O.K.  (Thank you, well-made hairpin.)  Before hooking up the RV to electricity and water, I stepped inside and noticed there was no 12 volt power.  This is not good, because when the RV is not connected to external AC electric power (“shore power” in RV parlance), such as when on the road or staying somewhere that doesn’t have electric power, a 12 volt battery in the RV provides juice for lighting (interior lights and exterior brake, turn signal and marker lights), running the refrigerator/freezer on LP gas, powering the propane gas leak alarm, and controlling application of the RV’s brakes (which are electrically actuated).  A power converter in the RV keeps the battery charged when plugged in to shore power.  Additionally, a wiring harness that connects to the RV from the back of the truck during towing allows the truck’s electrical system to charge the battery.

There is a status panel in the RV that indicates the amount of charge in the onboard 12 volt battery when a button is pressed.  I had checked the battery before we left in the morning, and the status panel showed the battery had a full charge.  Now, the panel showed the battery was dead!  Zip, zilch, nada.  “That’s impossible,” I thought.  The battery is less than a year old; there’s no way it could have gone from full to no charge during the day.

I grabbed my trusty volt-ohm meter, popped open the battery compartment, and checked the battery at its terminals.  Guess what?  It was fully charged!  While that’s good news, it meant that the power from the battery was not getting into the RV.  As the sun was finishing its descent into the western sky, I started looking for impediments to the free flow of electrons.  I didn’t have to look far.  Just above the battery is a cutoff switch that can be used for turning the power from the battery to the RV on and off manually.  Dangling from the bottom of the switch, hanging on by a thread, was a thick, braided wire coming from the positive side of the battery.  Moments later, any delight I had at finding the source of the problem quickly turned into dismay.  I pulled on the wire gently, and it came right out of the switch.  Then the wire touched the grounded metal case of the battery compartment, which was a small fraction of an inch away.  ZAP!  A big spark flew, and suddenly, all power was gone.  “Houston, we have a problem!”  Did circuit breakers pop, or had everything just blown out?  The answer to that question would have to wait until I could repair the connection from the battery to the switch.

In the dying light of what would otherwise have been a pleasant evening, I started to remove the cutoff switch, which is attached to the inside of the battery compartment by four long Phillips screws.  The first three screws came out easily, but that darned fourth one – it wouldn’t budge!  I pushed and turned as hard as I could… no dice.  I needed a longer Phillips screwdriver with a much bigger head than the one I had.

As twilight descended upon the campground, I picked a nearby RV at random and knocked on the door.  By sheer luck, the friendly guy who answered the door had the exact size Phillips screwdriver I needed, and he was happy to lend it to me.  The stubborn screw yielded to the force of large Mr. Phillips, and I was able to remove the cutoff switch.  On the back was a post to which three wires were connected via large spade lugs.  And there it was: The spade lug to which the wire was formerly attached.  Using my socket wrench, I removed the nut that held the spade lugs to the post on the switch.  All I’d have to do was reattach the wire to the spade lug, reconnect the spade lugs to the switch… and pray.  Easier said than done.  The spade lug was crimped to hold the wire into it, so the wire would no longer fit inside.  (Why solder the wire into the spade lug, which would have held more or less forever, when you can just crimp it, which will hold the wire in place more or less until it comes out?)  I’ve got lots of electrical doodads, but a large-gauge spade lug isn’t among them.  Try as I did, I wasn’t able to force the lug open to get the wire to fit.

I returned to my friendly neighbor’s door, and with more than a little hint of desperation in my voice, I asked if he happened to have a large spade lug.  He didn’t, but fortunately, lady luck was about to shine on me again.  He said that a guy who lives in a trailer a couple of lots away happens to be an electrician.  Not only was the electrician at home, he had the tools to reuse my spade lug, offered to take care of it for me!

As the last embers of light faded from the late-evening sky, with the electrical repair completed, I reset the shore power circuit breaker and turned on the battery cut off switch.  Instantly, everything came to life.  Shore power?  Check.  Battery power?  Check.  The sun will come out tomorrow!

The next morning, in Anderson, South Carolina

Our Journey Started Off With A Bang!

As I write this blog entry on Saturday, June 22, 2013, I’m sitting under our awning in a comfy rocking chair.  We’re in Boone, North Carolina, and the weather is sunny and cool, with low humidity – a far cry from the hot, humid tropical summer weather we left behind in southwest Florida.  We arrived yesterday afternoon, after traveling 950 miles.  Whoever said “Getting there is half the fun” didn’t ride along with us!

We departed Fort Myers, Florida on Wednesday, June 19 at 9:00 a.m.  Everything was going smoothly until 9:45 a.m.  We were heading north on I75 at about 60 mph, the dog and cat sleeping soundly in the back seat, when suddenly a loud BANG got our immediate attention. Seconds later, Janet looked in her side view mirror and saw chunks of tire flying across the highway behind us!  Oops, too bad those chunks came from ONE OF OUR RV’S TIRES!  Janet pulled off the road onto the shoulder, and we got out of the truck to assess the situation.  Where there used to be a tire on the rim attached to the left-front axle of the RV was now what could best be described as Goodyear shredded wheat!  Since you have to see it to believe it, an unretouched photo of what was left on the rim after the blowout is shown here:

On the RV itself, a wheel well trim piece and the sewer line end cap were blown away, now debris on the interstate.  Fortunately, the tire on the left-rear axle left held firm.  There was no loss of steering control, and no other damage was done to the RV.

I grabbed my cell phone and punched up Good Sam emergency roadside assistance (similar to AAA, but for stranded RVers).  I was glad that the week before we left, I had the foresight to put the Good Sam number and our membership number in the phone’s contact list so that in the event of an emergency, I wouldn’t have to waste time digging it up.  I was also glad that one of the “in case of emergency” things I had prepared for was to note and remember the location of the little crank handle that lowers the spare tire from the underside of the RV.  About 35 minutes later, help arrived in the form of a nice guy whose truck contained all the heavy-duty equipment needed to change the RV’s tire.  Knowing that all five tires (four on the rig, plus the spare) were the same age, and not wanting to chance another tire meeting the same fate as its erstwhile companion, I asked the guy if he could recommend a good place, as close to our current location as possible, that sells and installs RV tires.  In fact, he did know of a shop to recommend, about a half-hour drive to our south.  (Yes, I know, that’s the direction from which we came!)

We arrived at the shop without further incident.  Naturally, they didn’t stock the tires we needed, but the manager was very helpful, and was determined to find them for us.  After making several calls to tire distributors, the manager (we’ll call him “Dave”, which, strangely enough, was his actual name) told us that the tires would have to be delivered from Tampa, and would arrive the next afternoon!  Hoping for a better answer, I asked (or rather implored) Dave if he could find some place closer, perhaps in Fort Myers, that could get the tires to us later in the day.  A few more calls later, Dave found a distributor in Fort Myers that had tires we needed.  Problem was, it was too late in the day for them to deliver the tires to our location thirty miles to the north.  Hey, no problem, I’ve got a big truck and a burning desire to be a tire delivery guy.

An hour later, yours truly, newly-minted tire delivery guy, returned with the goods.  Here is a photo of me with the valuable cargo:

After a delay of six hours, with their RV sporting five new tires, the Griswolds were on the road again!  Just before we left the shop, I experienced the second blowout of the day; this time it was my credit card, dinged to the tune of $2,400!  And just for fun, I forgot to get my set of RV keys back from the shop, a fact that did not dawn on me until later that night!  (Thank goodness Janet had her RV key set with her!)

We finally arrived at our first stop, a campground near St. Augustine, Florida, just after 10 p.m.  I pulled on the hitch lever to unhitch the RV, and just as the hitch opened, a cotter pin that holds the hitch lever to the hitch broke off into several pieces!  This came as a bit of a surprise, because, don’t you know, the same thing happened when I unhitched the RV at the tire shop earlier in the day.  One of the guys at the shop remedied the problem by putting in a new cotter pin.  The new pin must have been made of a very soft metal, because it broke away the very first time a force was applied to it.  “Probably made in China,” I groused.  Enough already, I’ll deal with this tomorrow morning.  “After all,” as Scarlett O’Hara said, “tomorrow is another day!”

But wait, there’s more: As a ground crew guy dedicated to safety, I ordered a fancy tire pressure monitoring system for the RV a couple of months ago.  Thanks to modern technology, should a tire lose air, get too hot, or suffer a blowout, a display in the truck would indicate the problem immediately, accompanied by loud beeps and a flashing red warning light.  After I installed the system, I tested it by unscrewing a sensor from a tire’s valve stem.  Beep, beep, beep… flash, flash, flash – the system worked perfectly.  I’m pleased to tell you that under actual driving conditions, the system did indeed indicate a tire blowout – about thirty minutes after it occurred!  I reviewed the tire pressure monitoring system’s instruction manual, looking for something I might have missed, and I found it: “Made in China.”  Hmmmm!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our first road trip

This past weekend (Jan. 18-20), Janet and I finally lost our RVirginity!  Yes, we took our first road trip.  Janet's bagpipe band's competition season kicked off with the Central Florida Scottish Highland Games, in Winter Springs, Florida.  Rather than simply drive to the games as we've done for many years, this year, we decided to take our house!  Early last week, I made a reservation for two nights in a nice RV campground in Sanford, Florida, which is near Winter Springs and 225 miles from our home base in Fort Myers.  I could tell you that the whole trip pretty much went without a hitch, but I'd be lying -- without a hitch, there we be no way to tow our 5th wheel!

Actually, we experienced two minor issues:

1. When we were getting the rig ready for the trip, we couldn't get the awning braces to line up in the retracted position.  We messed with the awning for about half an hour, opening and closing it several times, hoping that things would somehow line up properly.  Alas, they did not, but fortunately, a friendly neighbor with many years of RV experience showed what to do, which took all of about one minute!  (Nothing like the soothing voice of experience.)

2. Unlike our dog, Annie, who loves riding in the truck, our cat, Elkay, does not appear to be a big fan of traveling.  He's a big cat, and we put him in a large carrier in the back seat of the truck.  Normally, he has immaculate litter habits, but shortly after travel commences, he decides to relieve himself in the carrier!  Elkay demonstrates his joie de voyager by dropping a deuce.  On the outbound trip, we tried feeding him very little in the morning, but that didn't help.  On the return trip, the unsavory deposit was accompanied by an emptying of the feline bladder!  Lesson learned: We've put a small litter pan in the carrier for future journeys.  With any luck, Elkay will use it.  [Note to self: Never take Elkay on a plane in a cat carrier!]

Our driver (Janet), and the ground crew (me) continued our fine teamwork, handling departures, transit, and arrivals in style.  The odd thing was, as Janet pointed out, that after traveling 225 miles from Fort Myers and arriving in Sanford, we were still home!

We had a great time; the round trip was safe and uneventful.  Unsurprisingly, the largest expense for the trip was fuel: a whopping $165.  (OPEC has sent us a thank you card!)  The high cost of fuel will keep us from taking long distance, short duration trips.  Now we're looking forward to long trips this spring and summer.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


You asked for 'em, you got 'em.  Here are interior and exterior photos of our Jayco 5th wheel trailer (at its base camp in Fort Myers, Florida).

 The dining table (left foreground) has an extension that pulls out, and the top opens up to access storage space inside the table.  Note the storage compartments above the windows.

The convertible sofa opens to a double bed.  Note the bay window at the back (and the cat snoozing on the floor in the right foreground).

 Computer work area on left, entertainment center on right.

 Full kitchen, including gas stove/oven, microwave, refrigerator/freezer, dual sinks, food prep island, pantry.

Yes, the main room is tall enough for a ceiling fan!

 Bedroom upstairs has a king bed!  (The bed is on a platform that pulls up, under which are two large storage bins.)  Behind the mirrored sliding doors (background, right) is a large clothes closet.

 Lots of dresser drawers and cabinet space.

(The bathroom is behind the door on the right.)

 On our lot at the Fort Myers Beach RV Resort.  (All of the slideouts are open: One on left, three on the right.  That's the trick for making a roomy interior!)  Hoisted up near the front of the roof is an amplified "batwing" antenna for TV and FM radio reception.

The rocking chairs (under the awning) are very comfy.  They fold up flat and get stowed in the large "basement" storage compartment (which has two doors, one of which is behind the right chair).

 The right side has connections for water, sewer, electricity and cable TV; exhausts for the water heater, furnace and refrigerator; and a compartment for LP gas bottles.  At the front (above the bicycles) is the coupling pin, which attaches to the hitch in the bed of our truck for towing.

Coming up next: Our first road trip.