Thursday, January 10, 2019

Step Repair and a Small Modification…

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One of the best things about having an extended stay this winter is it gives us time to fix some things that we have been ignoring as well as take care of some larger repairs. The most pressing large repair was that we needed to fix our steps. You may remember I penned a blog about replacing the step motor in California. Last year I rebuilt the steps by changing out all the loose bolts.

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Well now our problem was the steps had broken. One of the steel slats on the outside edge of the top step cracked and resulted in our steps becoming very bouncy, and I mean VERY BOUNCY. This much needed repair required me to remove the steps first by disconnecting the cables/wires to the motor and ground, then next by removing the four bolts which hold the steps to the RV. Sounds easy right? Well, not so fast, as it was really hard to get to two of these bolts which required me to blindly explore to find the nut on the top of the steps to remove them.

Anyhow, once the stairs were off I took them over to a welding shop to have the crack repaired. The welder not only repaired the crack but added a side brace to strengthen the area around it. He also recommended I do the same bracing on the other side to prevent the same crack occurring on that side. Forty dollars later (a very fair price I thought) I spent the next two hours trying to get that one nearly impossible bolt back on the steps. I am not sure I would have ever gotten it on if I hadn’t basically taped the nut head to the crescent wrench to get the bolt started.

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Another minor upgrade I needed to make was to add a fan on the cabinet wall in between the TV and our stereo receiver. This became necessary as our TV had been sometimes overheated and recently our stereo receiver posted a “Thermal Error” which shut it down due to excessive heat.

I bought a nifty fan on Amazon which is powered via USB cable. By plugging it into either the TV or the stereo receiver the fan will come on anytime the unit is turned on allowing for air movement around the device to keep it cooler. But first I had to cut a hole in the 5/8” wall where I wanted to place the fan. I cut the hole by initially using a power drill to drill holes on each corner of the square I planned to cut out. Next I used a jig saw with a wood blade and slowly cut out the square.

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This, of course, made quite a mess so all the sawdust had to be cleaned up before continuing. Since I didn’t want to attached the fan to the wood as it would not provided efficient airflow I cut the hole larger than the fan. I then had to get creative by using one of our old license plates from the RV to make a plate upon which to attach the fan on so I could then secure the plate to the wall. I cut the hole in the license plate the same way I cut the the one in the wall but used a metal cutting blade in the jig saw. If I do say so myself it was a perfect solution as the fan is in and doing its job.

With those items repaired I took two things off of our TO DO list for our winter stay. Don’t worry about us being bored here as the TO DO list has plenty more on it…

NOTE: We are now at our winter site for the season in Bonita Springs, Florida…

Saturday, January 5, 2019

A New Year and Why Some People Give Up the RV Lifestyle…

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Another year has gone by the wayside and they sure seem to be getting shorter… As we let 2018 fade into the past we look forward to having a better year in 2019. Last year wasn’t our best year financially as we had a rash of RV repairs and we aren’t done yet. I still need to replace the front shocks and one tire on the RV. Hopefully I can get it all done before we leave Bonita Springs, Florida.

The year 2018 wasn’t all bad though as we stayed in a lot of new places we thoroughly enjoyed and spent several months with our daughter leading up to her beautiful wedding. However we often wonder if we had encountered the large expenses of replacing our turbo and exhaust manifold early on in our travels whether we would have given up on traveling. It is fairly common for folks that want to RV and tour the USA to become disenchanted their first year on the road if they were unfortunate enough to encounter high repair costs during their very first year’s travels. Often times these same folks toss back their RV keys, sell it all and move back into a sticks and bricks.

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Upon reading these accounts I always felt as if these people might not be giving the RV lifestyle a long enough chance but after encountering a year such as theirs I can now fully appreciate why some choose to give up the lifestyle. This lifestyle isn’t all a vacation every day as life on the road has its unique ways of reminding you that it isn’t going to be all fun and games.

In addition we know we are fortunate in that we haven’t encountered any major health issues during our nearly eight years on the road as that is another reason folks must give up the RV lifestyle as well. While we do have our own health concerns we aren’t tied to having to stay in one spot because of them nor do we have any debilitating issues which make performing the day to day tasks of RV’ing limited.

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We have also noticed that other RV’ers leave the lifestyle due to family member’s health declining (usually parents as they are aging). We don’t have to worry about parents aging as both of our parents are deceased. Only my mother was still alive when we started on the road and I was fortunate in that my sister was with Mom to watch over her before and after she entered a care facility in Texas.

While we may have taken a financial hit in 2018 we are very thankful we still have our health and our children are healthy as well so there is nothing stopping us (but ourselves) from continuing to travel around the USA in Abbey, our RV. In that spirit we celebrated the new year with our traditional good luck meal (black eyed peas and tamales) in the hope it will ensure the upcoming year will be a happy one. Here is hoping that all our readers also have a healthy and rewarding 2019 while traveling and may there be no issues limiting your planned activities. Our 2019 plans will take us out west  and we also look forward to seeing you all on our Road of Retirement.

NOTE: We are now at our winter site for the season in Bonita Springs, Florida…