Ambassador PLQ, Journey DL, Old Diary

Exploring Our Basement (part 1)

Uh Ohhhhh….. This sounds like a really boring post.

Well, it might be — depending on your love of order in the universe — or at least order in OUR universe!  I’m calling this part 1 because we haven’t finished, and I’m not sure when we shall finish… But I get ahead of myself.

Having completed our new lounge TV mounting today was a good day to tackle our basement — or to at least get familiar with it.  Journey came with typical 2002 Winnebago storage bays — little ones distributed along both sides of the coach.

The Ambassador has multiple bays too but they are laid out differently and not all allow for actual ‘storage’ — some are more for specific purposes.  There’s a battery bay that isn’t conducive to storing other items.  There’s an electrical relay bay that doesn’t exactly have a flat floor on which you could PUT anything.  The Shore Power bay is small and not much larger than the items that belong there.  And finally the wastewater bay is small with only minimal space.  We’ll have to find a way of storing our drain tube in some plastic tub when the time comes for sure!

What we did address was the primary storage area.  In Journey, if we added up all our storage compartments we had about 70 cu ft of storage.  Now we have about 99 cu ft of storage just in the primary storage bays, plus we have more storage in the coach itself.

When we arrived in Oregon we immediately ‘grew’ some of our stored items into a shed provided by the Forest Service for volunteer use.  And when it came time to trade Journey we took the easy course of putting a bunch of stuff into that same shed.  Since then — now coming up on 2 months — the basement storage has been mostly empty and the storage shed has been most full.  With us thinking about moving (at some point in time) I have been wanting to  see how much storage space we would have when we head on down the road.

After a delightfully SWEET breakfast of purchased strawberry-cheese popovers it was off to storage we go.  It took a good part of the day and more than a little razzing from the L.E.O’s about what we were hiding in our basement but I got most of the stuff out of the storage shed, have almost everything into the storage bays that is going there — but it’s not all nicely OR neatly stowed.

Winegard G2

With a separate tripod base, the Winegard G2 looks like it’s going to be our next choice…. maybe…

Part of my reason for wanting to see the available storage  is an upcoming choice about satellite TV.  Whenever we leave here we are back to not having a satellite antenna.  We liked the idea of the Winegard Traveler antenna that we had installed but we did find that there were quite a few instances of parking in campsites with obstructed views to the satellites and with our fancy self-positioning satellite antenna we still couldn’t get a signal.  I have been considering the possibility of getting a portable one — IF WE HAVE ROOM IN THE BASEMENT TO STORE IT!  And it looks like we will.

Well, that’s about it for today.  Tomorrow it’s back to the grind.  We’re refreshed and we finally feel as if we’ve had a truly productive weekend.  Don’t ask about part II of this discussion.  That may depend on how long it takes to get around to another basement organizing session!

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Ambassador PLQ, Journey DL, Old Diary

I Lost My … Memory

The new-used coach came with an old fashioned mattress

The new-used coach came with an old fashioned mattress

Not my mind, just my memory … foam … mattress.  You may remember that we bought a new mattress for Journey  not long after we bought her.  It was an IKEA memory foam mattress and we were under the impression that we had been getting a good night’s sleep on it.

We debated a bit at purchase about whether the mattress would stay with us when we traded, or whether we should switch to the mattress that came with the new coach.  The actual mattress isn’t anything special.  No fancy pillow top, not even the best construction in the world.  But we laid on it and on a whim we decided to go with whatever was in the new  coach.

After a week I think / we think we are getting better nights’ rest on this old style sleeping contraption than we were on the new-fangled memory foam thingie.  Go Figure!

For one thing, it seems that on the memory foam there was a tendency for both of us side-sleepers to roll face forward into the mattress — making breathing a little harder.  At our age, breathing is something we no longer take for granted.  Breathing is GOOD!

We weren’t sure whether we perspired more during the night — I often do, and always have — to it was hard to quantify that on my side, but Peg seems to have less of an issue, if so, I suspect I do too.

Our breathable fabric under layer

Our breathable fabric under layer

We did retain that Dry-Mesh pad that we purchased last November.  You may remember that just as in a boat, us RV’ers sometimes have issues with condensation.  In our case, here in the PNW,  the condensation was causing mildew and the best solution was to create a breathable airspace between our mattress and the unheated deck the mattress lay upon.  That solved our problem and although the mesh pad wasn’t expensive there was no reason not to take it with us.  I still highly recommend it to anyone who is RV’ing in areas where the temps dip below 45 or 50.  Replacing a mattress is a lot more expensive than purchasing this little pad.

As for sleep, can it just be a case that we like the ‘kind’ of mattress we’ve slept on most of our life?  I don’t know.  Peg and I had a waterbed mattress for over 20 years — so the innerspring mattress isn’t really what we have used for ‘most’ of our life.  But we do seem to sleep better on this than on the memory foam.  So much for THAT experiment.

Thanks for stopping and I’ll talk with you tomorrow!


Ambassador PLQ, Journey DL, Old Diary

Little Touches

Ok!  It’s time for some quick New-Coach-Reviews!


Instead of having 4 bays that were only extended part of the way through the coast, the Ambassador has full width bays accessible from either side!

These are all going to be mechanical issues.  Some day I’ll talk more about the cosmetic and lifestyle choices.

First thing on the list is basement storage that extends the full width of the coach.  Some of the newer coaches have sliding drawers but they take up additional space and I like this best.

Winnebago put the Inverter in the same bay with the shore power, but I like having a separate bay for the inverter and other small electrical parts I might have.

Winnebago put the Inverter in the same bay with the shore power, but I like having a separate bay for the inverter and other small electrical parts I might have.

This is really nice — > The power inverter has it’s own bay and that bay is directly adjacent to the battery bay!  In case the batteries get messy, there’s no cross contamination with the inverter system and there’s extra space for tools and cords and such.

2014041314472702There are two things really worthy of mention here:

  • First at the top of the photo you see two red knobs — there are two separate battery disconnect switches.  This is like a real motorcoach (Prevost / MCI) where you can turn off the chassis batteries OR you can turn off the house batteries — but you don’t have to turn off everything at once.  Winnebago had a dash switch that turned off house batteries but I like this better — all back with the batteries themselves.
  • I doubt this was original equipment but the previous owners replaced the 12 V batteries with 6 volt and now with a 4th house battery we have much greater staying power

2014041314480904Journey had a nice enough shore power bay but I like this much better.  In the first place there’s that cord REEL.  It’s not automated but it doesn’t need to be, and it still provides neat and tidy storage.

2014041314481505Another nice touch is the plug-ins for communications.  The Winnebago had a phone jack and a cable jack.  The Ambassador adds a satellite jack to round out the options.

No one likes to talk about wastewater but one feature I really like about the Ambassador is that the drain line swivels! It can’t be more than a couple bucks to use this set up — if there’s any up-charge at all but it’s so nice to have a connection that just drops right out of the floor without having to wrestle the wastewater drain line up to a connector and then down through the exit point.  Simple, elegant


Have you ever successfully dumped your waste lines and not gotten even the littlest bit dirty.  What a nice feature to have a pump bottle of sanitizer right there for you to use!  I love it and I don’t ever USE sanitizer — now I may start.

Another nice feature — to go along with the hose reel for shore power — is a hose reel for the fresh water line — and this one has it’s own power retractor.

Easy-Peasy.  Push the button and stand back because here comes your water hose!

Of course the one thing I also do is keep all the hose ends sealed — don’t want to mix fresh and dirty water or contaminate any of the hoses.  2014041314484508

While we’re down there in the dirty area let’s talk about tank sensors.  I never thought about it, but having a sensor panel down there where you’re working is one great idea.

Sometimes you just aren’t thinking about re-filling when you’re dumping, or you aren’t thinking about dumping when you’re re-filling and it’s nice to be able to check the fluid levels while you’re there.


Mirrors on the Ambassador


Mirrors on the Winnebago

I think the next item needed comparison pictures, so we have two shots of rear view mirrors.  At the top is the forward mounted mirror on our Ambassador.  Yeah — they’re chrome and shiny but that’s not the important part.  The important part is that they are visible through the windshield.  You don’t have to turn your head and divert your attention from forward motion to SEE the scene in the rearview.  The winnebago use the older, Freightliner style where the mirrors are mounted on the side of the coach and you have to look down and to the side to use them.  I love the vantage point — to say nothing of the fact that the “objects are closer than they appear”  mirror — down at the bottom — also lets you see the front of your coach!
2014041314503813The last ‘little touch’ I want to comment on is the windshield.  This photo is NOT our Ambassador, but it’s typical of a growing trend in Motor Coaches.  SINGLE piece windshields!

Our Journey and the Ambassador have split windshields — two equal sized panes.  A SINGLE pane on our Winnebago cost over $1100.00.  I can’t imagine the cost of the full screen windshield above — OR the shipping to get it to wherever you may need it.  I’ll keep my two piece windscreens thank you very much.

Yup — we like the new coach a LOT!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Ambassador PLQ, Journey DL, Old Diary

Back Home, Plugged In, and Fully Functional

Our short adventure to Guaranty RV in Junction City is over, scarcely 24 hours after it began.  Route to GuarantyRVThe route isn’t long — 67 miles each way, and the roads are remarkably nice.  I am quite impressed by the condition of the back roads we’ve been traveling since arriving in the state. On the way over we stopped at The Home Depot for a few little items.  The walk-off mat we had in Journey  would not have fit in the foyer in the Ambassador so that mat went with the old coach.  We measured the floor area and settled on another 3′ x 5′ size, this time turning it lengthwise.  I altered it to fit alongside the center console and it’s now in place.


those rubber backed walk-off mats used for commercial entries are just right for our foyer! So much SAND!!!!!

I didn’t realize just how large Guaranty RV is.  While waiting for the technician to show up this morning I walked around the two buildings in the area where we were, and found a map of the entire organization.  A total of 24 separate different buildings. They even have so many locations that they have a legal sized paper map! Luther arrived at our door — polite as always — about 9 a.m.  We showed him the problems with the microwave and the rear closet slide and he did some initial tests before deciding that the best solution would be to drive the coach into one of the bays and do the repairs there instead of out in the campground where we were parked. 2014041409104402 I like the fact that the dealership has their personnel move coaches around on their property.  It makes one rest a little more easily when you see coaches tooling around the lot. After watching some RV’ers driving their coaches in campgrounds I’m not sure I trust very many coach drivers. Within two hours we were fixed up with a new turntable motor in our microwave and some adjustments to the Extend Stop for the bedroom closet slide.  2014041407310201 Two hours later and we would be home.  This time we took a little more care getting set up, knowing we weren’t going to be going anywhere for a few months at least. I’m sure you’ve all seen this state produced travel/tourism books.  I used to enjoy looking through them but after perusing the newest versions from Washington and California I think I’m swearing off of them all. I realized how much of these publications are nothing more than paid advertising. I didn’t find anything of interest to me in either of them; the hard information they contained is easily available elsewhere and I’ve already seen it, and the rest of the books are places to go that I’d never go, and things to do that don’t really interest me.  More room in the coach and now I can sort through my library and see if there are other books I can discard. Ok — that’s it for today. I’ll talk with you tomorrow

Journey DL, Old Diary

Find Me a Welder!

I’m getting tired of messing around with this computer table.  So I’m going to take matters in my own hands and find me a welder.   There’s a shop in Reedsport called Umpqua Industrial Supply that the Forest Service uses and I’m hoping if I take a drawing along that maybe they can do the cutting and welding for me.  I can repaint what needs repainting black after they’re done.

I think I figured out my problem

I think I figured out my problem

The base doesn’t have the casters on it any more — I removed them long ago, and simply put furniture slides on the bottom of the lower rails.

Removing the front legs and supporting the front  with angles will give me enough strength.  Removing the curved brace will lose a little stability but If need be I can always use wire ties to strengthen that one cross member.

The revised table will slide under my driver’s seat; it won’t be too wide and as a result collide with the steering wheel, and it’s still the same size as my current table.  I like it.  I think it will work.

Some time this week I hope to get to the welder — or someone he suggests who might do the job better.

Wish me luck.

Journey DL, Old Diary

The Springfield RV Show

It’s OK to dream.  Right?

Of course it is and that’s what we did on Saturday.  The Oregon Springfield RV show is running this weekend and it was a miserable day (meaning it was raining too much to do anything outdoors unless you wanted to get wet) on the coast so we printed off free admission coupons for the RV show and headed over for the day.

It’s about 60 miles from home at Siltcoos to Springfield — just long enough to nosh a couple donuts on the way.

The show is primarily new and used RV’s — not components or component vendors.  I was hoping there might be more info about RV’s and less emphasis on selling — but hey, this is America and selling is what it’s all about.

Our objective?

We really only had one thing in mind.  So many of the volunteers here have 5th wheel trailers and when we bought Journey we didn’t look at 5th wheels at all — so we wanted to get an idea what was available in the trailer market — and we did.

Most of what we have in Journey fits us just fine.  There are a couple exceptions and in pursuit of the ‘perfect’ home you can’t blame a couple for looking.  We’d like a better place for my ‘puter setup.  We’d like a coach with a hold-open for the front door — the Winnebago doesn’t have any way of bracing the door open.  We’d like a 4 house battery setup — the Winnebago has 3, so we can’t use 6 volt deep draw batteries hooked up in parallel. You have to have an even number of batteries.  And of course there’s the issue of photo equipment — we need comparable space for that to what we have in Journey.  The only improvements we really are looking for are the ‘puter space and the hold-open.  Everything else we can live with.

Some of our volunteers have ‘toy haulers.’Fuzion_260_2011_4  I’ve been pondering whether  one of these — with a big door on the back end and a ‘garage’ designed to provide room for hauling OHV’s might serve as a good ‘office’ and the only way to figure that out would be do shop the models to see what was available.  We looked at what was displayed by about 7 different RV dealers and nothing really tripped our trigger.  If we could find enough regular living space in a 5th  wheel and then add the garage space for an ‘office’ it might be worth thinking about a change.  I think we’re done looking at them for now. Nothing fit our check list.


This is the one that caught our eye.

Then we looked at some class “A” coaches — like we have.  Lots of gas powered fuel hogs.  Units larger than we wanted. Units with too many gee gaws.  Units with too few gee gaws.  A lot of units that were built with an inferior interior finish — just sloppy workmanship.  We did look at one Monaco Knight — a 2005, 34 footer — semi-seriously.  But when we returned to Siltcoos and looked up the spec sheet from Monaco and compared it to our Winnebago there was too little improvement in a few specs and a worsening in others that we decided that it wouldn’t be worth going back into debt for so few changes.  Following are some shots from the show.  Some photos of the unit we liked, other images of other non-contenders.  The interWebs are wonderful to sort out the wheat from the chaff!

Then it was time to return home — to our corned beef that had been cooking away in our slow-cooker since this morning.   I love corned beef.  I could eat it every day I think — but we haven’t been having any since we got out here and I don’t really know why.  We also have not found restaurants that serve Corned Beef Hash of a morning and I really MISS that!

Tomorrow we’ll head to Lakeside for lunch with Al and Sherry.  There’s a little resto there that serves pizza.  The sign on the window just says pizza but Al says they have a special on Sundays – I’m not sure if that means it’s not available other days, or just that the price is not as spendy.  We’ll find out.

Polly called from Horsfall campground to fill me on on the stray dog that had been abandoned in the campground.  Coos county Animal Control came out with a live trap and trapped the dog overnight.  She settled down once in the cage and we won’t have to worry about  dog fights in the campground now.  Sweet Polly has such a soft heart about animals.  Once I found the phone number for animal control she ran with the ball.

Well, that’s it for today.  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Journey DL, Minimalism, Old Diary
journey dl

You remember what Journey looks like — with it’s 14′ awning on the side.

This morning the wind woke us at 4:30, blowing our awning around like nobody’s business. At 4:35 we were both up and getting dressed so as to go outside, release the braces, and roll the awning back up into it’s holder.

We now know that our secluded little compound in the forest is NOT all that sheltered from the winds.  🙂 🙂 🙂

But at least we discovered this when the winds weren’t strong enough to damage the awning.   This, I say, because we have seen enough RV’s with torn off awnings!

Awake In The Middle

Journey DL, Old Diary, RV Living

Carving, Disclosure, Modifications

Ok — consider this post sort of a catch-up day.  There are a few things I’ve been thinking about sharing and haven’t gotten around to them so I’ll lump them all together in this post.

Handicap sites are a pain!  I’m all for having them.  Everyone deserves an opportunity to use the forest.  But we noticed during our time at Corps of Engineers campgrounds that the handicap sites often went unfilled just because they WERE handicap sites and the campers wanting to camp weren’t handicapped.  It seemed a shame to have an empty site and a willing camper — and not being able to make a match.

The Forest Service has what I think is a simple solution.  —–>

What a great idea.  The site is reservable, and both and have blackout windows within which you cannot make a reservation.  So, if the site is still unoccupied at 6 p.m. on any given day, the site goes to anyone who shows up.

Wood Carving

I have mentioned in the past that Reedsport throws an annual Championship Chainsaw Wood Carving contest.  The works of art created for that competition is displayed around town at various businesses and I wanted to share a few.

RV Modifications

You may remember that a year ago I did some work on our dinette.  Most of the Winnebago design is really smart but the way they hinge the single support leg for the dinette is a bit weak — design wise and physically.  At the time many of my tools had already been sold and I didn’t do as good a job retrofitting the table as I wanted.  With the tools in the Work Center I decided that I would not have a much better opportunity to re-fix my fix.

The problem is that any amount of weight on the corner of the table causes it to deflect toward the floor.  Before installing my first table support  there was a good inch of flex.  Afterwards I had cut the wobble in half but I still wasn’t happy with it.  I decided to make a brace that was twice as long and which fit more tightly against the table bottom.  It cannot be fastened TO the bottom because when we want to use the dinette as a fold-down bed that single leg has to fold flat against the bottom of the table. Given the hinge mechanism that Winnebago uses that means the brace has to pull away from the bottom of the table as if it was a block mounted on the opposite side of the door from the hinge.

So, I found some Plexiglas, angled the cuts so that there would be improved clearance for legs while getting in and out and went to town with the saw and drill and sander.  The result is aesthetically better than the first attempt, it’s a great improvement in function.  Now when I have the laptop in the table and I’m leaning on the table with my elbows the table is much more stable.


So — Success!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow!