Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Exterior of the RV-walls and roofs...

rv roof So we have spent a lot of time thinking about the interior of our future RV but have not thought about the exterior much.  So what does the net have to say about RV exteriors and what we should be looking for?
Exterior Walls
Walls are either wood or aluminum framing. It appears as if wood framing is generally less expensive, more flexible, not a good conductor of outside temperature and relatively simple to repair. However wood walls may rot due to excessive moisture from leaks and wood has the potential for bug infestations.
Aluminum framing, on the other hand, is usually more expensive and more rigid but may require specialized equipment to make any modifications.  However it is not susceptible to rotting but may be susceptible to weak welds from shoddy workmanship. 
So there is no apparent winner here but it is important to know which type of framing the motor home has especially when performing any modifications to the structure.  Also, If you are told it is aluminum framing, then it is important to ask if all sides, roof, and floor are aluminum since there are some companies that state their units are aluminum when in reality they mean the some of the walls or just the roof may be constructed from wood. I have no preference here so we will just note what materials are used.
The Roof
Roofs are made from fiberglass, painted aluminum, rubber or vinyl.  Now after searching the web for the best roofing material I have come to the conclusion that they all suck! They will all either leak or fail over time so again it is important to note what type of roof you have so you will know how to maintain it to extend the life of the roof.
Fiberglass is popular among many but tends to be thin and can crack near the edges but it is very durable. Rubber roofs are cheaper and very durable but tend to chalk and over time they may shrink and crack.  The biggest knock on aluminum is the noise they transfer during rain storms. A more modern membrane roofing material is UV stabilized vinyl, which is a completely different than rubber or EPDM (older rubber roofing material).
Each roof type has it lovers and haters so there is no consensus here either. What you need to watch out for is the joints where the roof meets the rest of the RV especially around the vents and the front and rear cap joints. Those will need to be resealed at some time and visually inspected on a routine basis. Also where the roof meets the side panels is a potential point for leaks so this area may need to be reinforced with sealants. Again there is no consensus as to which roof wins out but there is a consensus that no mater which roof type you have you will eventually have a leak and you will eventually be using a product called Eternabond to patch it.  Eternabond is an expensive "near permanent" solution to rectify  infernally designed roofs. I will avoid EPDM and rubber and will prefer not to have aluminum but the roof type won't be a deal breaker.
So what did I learn about roofs and walls?  I learned to keep my caulk gun, read up on caulks, cleaners and  other sealants and prepare for the inevitable "My roof is leaking..." blog...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tips gleaned from the net…

flapAnyone who knows me would know that I tend to over research things before I do them and would therefore not be surprised by the amount of information I have been collecting about full time RV’ing. So I I will list some of tips that other full time RV’ers have offered from what they learned, or at least learned to think about:
* You will be happiest full timing if you are dissatisfied with your previous life and are adventurous, daring, curious, tolerant, and practical. If planning to do this with another person you must LIKE that person.
Now who could argue this sound piece of logic?  It looks as if we are the perfect candidates… :)
* The cost of full timing is whatever money you have. You are likely to not make major changes in your lifestyle except for the fact that the scenery through your window changes.
More and more blogs that I have read suggest that this is true…
* Figure out how you will handle communications, finances, insurance, and health care before you start.
This takes longer than you think… i have been consolidating our financial accounts which takes a lot of time filling out forms etc…
* Get rid of as much stuff as you can then get rid of more until everything fits into your RV.
‘nuff said… this too takes way more time than you may think…
    * When taking possession of your RV, look at and test everything: structure, chassis, propane system, electrical system, appliance systems, generator, hydraulic systems, slides, and auxiliary systems. If you don't know how to do this, bring someone who does. After all, this is your house we are talking about.
There are lots of lists on the net that will assist you in this endeavor and yes I have links to a lot of these as well… now I have to start organizing all those as well. But at some point we are going to have to stop researching and start doing…  It is time to start testing our wings for our future flight…

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The list redone...

After the Houston RV trade show we narrowed our list to the following in order of preference in brands:
1- Tiffin
2- Winnebago
3- Newmar
4- Monarch

This has now changed some as Tiffin is now in the number two spot and Winnebago has moved up to the number one spot. Although there is no doubt in my mind that the Tiffin's are very well made it just seems that the more that we go into Tiffin's and Winnies that we almost always feel more "at home" in the Winnies so we will focus on them for now.

Also we stated in the past that we hoped to target RV's at 32 feet on the minimum side and that we thought they were not too small and we still feel this way but are more focused now on the 33-35 foot range.  This has more to do with floor plans than with length since we just haven't found a 32 footer that wows us yet.

So now we are looking at:

1- Winnebago
2- Tiffin
3- Newmar
4- Monarch

Coaches we saw at the RV show that we liked were:
Newmar BayStar 3202
Monaco Monarch 33 SFS
Tiffin Allegro 35 TSA

Coaches we have seen since then that we like:

Winnebago Adventurer
Winnebago Sightseer 33C

Features we still hope to include in our rig are:
-as large as a Fridge as we can get without sacrificing the pantry
- a pedestal dining table instead of a booth
- we really like the euro chairs :)
- no carpet in the living area
- lighter colored finishes
- no more than 2 slides
- we prefer the open bathrooms

We still have plenty of time to find our home but I am not sure we have plenty of patience... we are both ready to get on with the show now and get it over with... but as life goes on (we are under a year now to starting out new lives) we will eventually find our new home...

I still have much to learn about the motors, chassis, breaking systems etc... and heck I don't even know how to drive one yet :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I sit here thinking that in less that one year I won't be here... in this house...  at this computer... where will I be?  It will be much like the children's book series "Where's Waldo" and maybe... that is what I should name our future home... alas, I can't do that as one of my recent bosses was nick  named Waldo and I would never want it to go to his head...

Today was uneventful as I am on the third day of spring break that the university I work for allows us to have off.  So today's task was to repaint the horrid "closet from hell"... you know the one I am talking about... the one that is so stuffed with stuff you never, ever use or would ever use again if you lived to be a hundred and fifty!  But I am sure we all have on these closets and mine was begging for me to clean it out, repaint it, and either throw everything inside of it away and dedicate for future sale. So be it and the closet was painted, cleaned and reorganized and thus is more presentable for future sale opportunities.

But here I am again back in thought as to where I will be be and what I will be doing this time next year. Sipping on a glass of nice red wine my mind wanders and I have the sensation of being away from it all in solitude and at peace... and it feels delightful... soon too... it will be mine...

“Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.”
-Albert Einstein

Thursday, March 18, 2010

In search of the perfect RV...

While we were in Tennessee we noticed a large RV dealer just outside of Knoxville called Tennessee RV As we pulled into the store we were hoping to see some of the RV's we had on our list.  It would be really nice to start whittling the list down a bit and get it more manageable since my list is still really long. Number one on the list is the Alegro Bay 32BA.  We had already been to an RV show in Houston, Texas and decided 32 feet would be doable for us as a full time rig and the quality that Tiffin is known for as well as its drive-ability had put it at the top of the list but we still hadn't been able to see one yet.

So we start walking around the lot and I noticed they had some new Tiffins on the far side of the lot.  We strolled over to see them and lo and behold there was a brand new 2010 Alegro Bay 32BA. Here it was! Number one on our list... well we aren't looking for a new one but this is the same rig and floor plan so we enter it... First we noticed we didn't like the kitchen as it really had too little counter space, then there was the dining booth ( I think we now prefer the regular table and chairs), and the biggest disappointment was that it just didn't feel like home...

Well that did it and off the list it went. So we are now in search of the next number one on our list... it may be another Tiffin but there are some Winnebagos that are worthy of the spot as well. Back to the research and in search of our future rig...

Friday, March 12, 2010

RV awareness..

Well I am sitting here in a hotel in (of all places) Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  Why, you may ask,am I in the heart of where Dollyworld is located? The answer... I am on the way to see my DD play softball again at the University of Tennessee.  Last week we were in Baton Rouge, Louisiana watching her play at Louisiana State University. We drove about 750 miles between Texas and Louisiana and now we are driving about 800 miles between North Carolina and Tennessee. Yes... we are crazy and Yes... we are huge fastpitch softball fans.

So what is the point of this story?  It is all about RV awareness...RVA! Everywhere I look now I see RV's ... motorhomes to the left, fivers to the right, pop-ups, travel trailers, toy haulers... OH MY! This RVA is driving me crazy.  I was never aware that there were so many of them on the road, in yards, on the side of the roads, in storage areas.... We see them in the RV parks... which are everywhere also.  We stop and drive into some of the parks and take notes (don't know when we might be passing through).   But this RVA has us seeing RV's everywhere. Dang! They are everywhere... but where is mine?

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Visit to Escapees - Livingston Texas...

While on the way to Baton Rouge, La we decided that we would take a detour to stop and see what all the whoopla was about the Escapees at Livingston, Texas.  So as we drove through Livingston (a quaint Texas town) we noticed that the park was about six miles outside of town.  I first came across the name Escapees as a mail forwarding service for full time RV'ers. Later I found out they had a park system with 19 parks offering both dry-camping and full hookup sites. Even more impressive was their CARE, Inc. center which provides professional assistance to RVers who live in their own RVs while they recover from illness or injury (now this is a really cool service).
 Now as their web site says... Joe and Kay Peterson had been full-timing for eight years before they started the Escapees RV Club on July 4, 1978 with the first Escapade get-together held in February 1979 in California. Twenty-four families attended. Today two Escapades are held each year, one in the spring and one in the fall with as many as 2,500 member families attending. These events are a week long and offer seminars on RV living for both beginning and veteran RVers.
That brings us back to the story...So we stopped at Rainbow’s End in Livingston, Texas and entered a small building near the entrance.  We spoke with a volunteer at the building who shared with us some information about Escapees.Escapees not only offers a mail forwarding service but also offers a discount park system, as well as discounts on affiliated services. There are also RV sites at the Livingston location at Rainbow's End which has 130 full-hookup sites along with amenities such as a swimming pool, a large activity center and clubhouse.  So we drove through the park and it seemed rather nice but was very, very quiet.  After all we had been reading about how social everyone was in these RV parks we wondered whether it was all true or not.  I guess we will just have to go see more parks...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hobbyless Mrs...

Written my the Mrs...

Well my DH asked me the other day what my hobbies are as he is interested in what exactly I plan to do with all my free time once we retire  He said most of what I talk about is either work-related or about family matters (he was obviously worried about my transition to retirement).   You see, my husband has tons of hobbies and thinks ahead. Since I do not think ahead, I unfortunately had no real answer about exactly WHAT my hobbies are!  I do realize I am not a gal who likes to sew or knit or bead.  I much prefer having a glass of beer or wine  and talking College Softball.  Is that a hobby?

I guess I also spend a lot of my free time cleaning and doing laundry…REAL EXCITING STUFF.  And hey, I devote a great deal of time and effort nurturing my adult children from afar ( Never mind that they call it “stalking” or “interfering”).   Hmmmmmnnnnn.  Then it hit me… I can do all the things I haven’t had time to do because of work.  I can exercise with weights like my doctors want me to; I can bike and hike every day (weather permitting).  Yeah, so maybe I will become the fittest I have ever been (or at the very least offset some of the beer or wine that I drink).  I’ve also thought about getting a little lap dog to nurture so I won’t overdo the nurturing of my kids (however, my DH is not so fond of taking on a pet).  I like to read so maybe I will invest in a new Kindle. And there’s the realization that I can really take time to reconnect with my husband.  Like a second honeymoon maybe! In fact, for humor I bought a Twister game for him for Christmas for us to take with us in the RV (the kids were grossed out, but I thought it was funny).  Well I have a lot to contemplate since my husband created this new awareness.  I will just have to think differently.  Instead of a weekend or a week or two off, I need to expand my mind to all the possibilities of limitless free time. Maybe I will take some time in the next few months to plan ahead. Wow, what a concept!