Old Diary, Travel

Here They Are

I mentioned Bob and Janice Flanigan this morning.  We had more time to chat with them this morning before they continued on their way, so here are a couple of shots to share.

The telltale of a PLQ -- the rear window on an '05, '06, '07, '08 Holiday Rambler Ambassador

The telltale of a PLQ — the rear window on an ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08 Holiday Rambler Ambassador

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Curbside view — Things change and the factory decided to mount their awning over the top of their lounge slide.

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Bob, Janice, and Peggy

It is always interesting to me that RV’ers who have never met before are so commonly friendly and open.  I think about next-door brick & stick neighbors and while I made friends of neighbors while we were stationery live-ers I really don’t recall them being as friendly as most RV’ers we’ve attempted to get to know.

In any campground there are campers who are clearly there to be with their family, or by themselves.  Then there are the ones who walk the roads just looking to make friends.  Sometimes I hide from them.  While I love people I’m not always ready for that sort of friend-making.  But those in between, can be the most lovely people we’ve met along the way.

With identical coaches (except for the model year changes)  we had a lot of approaches to RV’ing to share.  We share a lot of outlook on life, and I could see in their modifications to their own coach the kind of changes I might make, or might have made in ours given enough time to get around to them.

It was a fun day, and thanks to Bob and Janice for choosing to Just Stop By — without warning.  They’re off to a volunteer gig in Florida and we wish them well — and hope to see them again along the way.

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Ambassador PLQ, Journey DL, Old Diary

Little Touches

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

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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

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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.
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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.
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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.

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Mirrors on the Ambassador

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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.

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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.

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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

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Ambassador PLQ, Old Diary, RV Living

Wrap Our Head Around Transition

It took two and a half years of RV’ing to figure out enough about retirement to realize the miscalculations we made with Journey.   Journey may be history, but her lessons go with us.

We had no complaints about the coach.  It continued to be just what we expected, and she never let us down.  We have changed and it’s a good time to make the switch.  We expect to remain on the Forest in Oregon for some time  — a little more space is a good thing when you’re sitting still.  When we move on, we’ll be familiar with our new home and we we can then look forward to many more adventures along the way with a larger sized coach.

Oregon is a hotbed of RV activity. It advertises itself as the “RV Friendly State.”  There are a larger number of dealers and coaches to be found here than was the case in WI/IL/IA, so selection is wider and pricing more competitive here than in Milwaukee. Shopping is easy in Oregon.

Because we have changed some of our expectations about what we needed were wrong when we settled on Journey.  We have known RV’ers who have changed coaches in as little as 6 months.  I doubt will do this again, but as expensive as this change might have been, it is less expensive to have done it this way than if we were going from larger to a smaller coach.

Many RV’ers spend a night or two in a place and then they move on — that is not who we are.  When we were employed and living with limited vacation time we did that sort of trip too; now we just aren’t interested in rushing around the country.  We we shopped for Journey we were hunting  for a machine/home for which we could easily find a parking spot.   We knowingly put more emphasis on flexibility than on living space.  That may not have been a ‘mistake’ but we’d like retirement to be a little more comfortable and less rigorous.

Our idea of what it would be like to be volunteers was also different than what we have discovered.  It’s not something we thought about in detail.  We jabbered about it between ourselves as a vague idea but we never stopped to make a list of pros and cons, or needs and good-to-haves.  We have no idea whether we’ll volunteer again after we finish here on the Forest.  We know that we will intentionally take a break from volunteering for a while to simply ‘stretch our legs’  metaphorically speaking. But I don’t ever see us in a one night here, two night there lifestyle.

This change is not because Peg has been driving me crazy or vice versa. We have wanted to live and work together just as we are;  that part of retirement is better than we could have imagined.  Before going mobile I read numerous accounts of couples needing more space just because they found being in such close proximity to be stifling.  Some of them even gave up RV’ing for the same reason.  We don’t have that problem.  Left to our own devices, when we have room to choose from we often tend to be in the same room.  If I go to bed early, Peg comes in the bedroom with me.  If she’s outside, I usually follow.  We genuinely enjoy being together — so our new purchase is not a function of anyone getting on anyone else’s nerves.  It’s all about finding something more suitable.

By making our first purchase SMALL we find it much easier to trade UP than if we had spent a lot of money buying BIG and then tried to trade DOWN.   The choice to go larger is now a choice made with reason.  We tried small.  We want a little more room.  We’re learning from our own experiences.

Journey was a compromise — in my mind every purchase is a compromise.  It’s rare that I ever make a purchase that is exactly what I want.  That’ just life.  So, what are we changing, what are we giving up, what are we gaining.

What AREN’T we changing?

We are sticking with Cummins power.  We get another 30 horses, but we’re adding 8 feet,  our empty weight is going from 23,000 to 28,600 — we have a little more horsepower per pound, a little more horsepower per foot. Not much, but a little. New coaches in this length are being made with 450 horses.  That’s way more power than is needed.  Might be nice to have, but ‘might be nice to have’ is also expensive and HEAVY.  We don’t need that.

Part of me wanted to try CAT power, but none of the coach designs we liked had CAT power.  I’ve owned three of my own trucks with Cummins power and I liked them all.  I’ve driven motor coaches with Detroit power and while they ran well, there were things about them I did not like — it might have been nice to try the third major alternative.  But, when we found this floor plan in a clean chassis other considerations fell by the wayside.

Obviously that means we are sticking with a DIESEL pusher.  The engine is in the rear, making for a quieter ride, longer life, harder pulling engine — it’s just preference.  When we are stationary like we are here — no worries about gasoline gumming up the engine. Diesel doesn’t get old in that way.

And we still have our engine exhaust brake — an important safety feature to me.

Onan Generator — the best name in onboard generators for motor homes and also powered by the same fuel source — Diesel.  And we pick up some extra wattage with a higher rated genset.

We still have cruise control — it really is more economical.

Curbside mounted kitchen — it fits the way I cook.

We stick with the standard Queen Size bed.  All our linens still fit and so do WE!

Front lounge, center kitchen, middle bath, rear bedroom

Double pane tinted windows.

Rear view camera .

Rear dual tires — for me it’s not only a matter of enough tire to handle the load, it’s also a safety issue.  I can limp to a safe stopping point with ONE blown drive tire on a Class A — you can’t do that with a blown tire on a 5th wheel. And the tires on a Class A are larger and able to sustain greater payloads.  The rubber on the Ambassador is Michelin.

We still have a three burner propane stove that we probably won’t use very much. (Preferring our induction burner)

We still have a Norcold RV style refrigerator.  Newer, posher coaches are now offering household style refrigerators which limit your options for where to park.  I wanted to maintain dual fuel capability: electric and propane.  We ARE ending up with a 4 door fridge — not exactly 2X the size of our two door fridge but larger by a fair degree.

Buying Winnebago 2 years ago meant to us:

A known quantity — well known company, good reputation.  I can’t say much about the dealer network — we didn’t use many of them.

Freightliner Chassis — which is closer to a limo ride than a sports car — and more swishy in the wind and around corners. (Don’t get me wrong, all the commercial trucks I drove WERE Freightliners — they are a wonderful product.  It’s just that motorhomes are not trucks.  Over time I have come to question whether they are the best chassis for a motorhome.  We’re going to test out that opinion.  I am sure we will continue using Freightliner service — they are always good Cummins shops!

It seems funny now, looking back — that those are the only two criteria I feel as if I am losing.

One thing I am happy to be rid of is the way the bedroom closet slide operated.  Winnebago puts a nightstand with drawer and door adjacent to the closet slide-out.  It’s really easy for that slide catch on the door handle or drawer handle and get caught while retracting the slide.  We’ve replaced a couple drawer pulls and drawer slides for that reason.  That is one of my FEW critiques of the Winnebago design.

Buying a 3 year newer Holiday Rambler now means…

FIRST AND FOREMOST it is about the floor plan.  This is a very unique coach.  It’s probable that not more than a handful of these were ever built and its the only floor plan that we have really liked.  Our Winne floor plan was the best available for the size, but it wasn’t our preferred.  We liked and wanted the side aisle because we didn’t have sideways bed with a slide.  We didn’t want a view right down the bed.  There were better floor plans in chassis that we would not consider at that time.  But even then we did not see one like this.  It sounds odd, but that rear sitting room is just the Cat’s Pajamas.  Once we saw the floor plan we were willing to discuss how many of our other criteria we were willing to compromise to get the floor plan.  We didn’t have to make many compromises — the coach has most of our want list.

Holiday Rambler has had their problems.  They have been bought and sold a couple times but are still being produced.

Their design concept is very different.  Chassis are tighter.  The coach doesn’t swish through corners, it feels more stable.  There were a couple of lane changes I made in the Winnebago when she SEEMED really top heavy and tippy.  I don’t feel that in the Ambassador.  The suspension is 8 airbags and 8 shocks compared to a 4 larger airbag system.  IT’s DIFFERENT.

Updated headlights — for that newer look.

Component choices are different — not necessarily better, just different. We’ll have some getting accustomed to do. It’s a different feel.  For example — the simple addition of a multi-pane wall and door between bedroom and bathroom.  It lets more light into the bathroom from the bedroom, but it also adds a sort of cottage-y feeling. There are no lights in the closet — not a horrible loss, but different.  Light fixtures are different, bedding is different ( but still comfy ).  We slept really well our first night!

You can see I’m not particularly brand loyal.  I don’t see any value in one nameplate over another. The features are another story.  I was looking for a new home,  not a new brand.

We gain anti-lock braking — which I swear by.   I was never happy with the braking on the Winnebago.  She always stopped but I wasn’t always happy with the audibles during the process.  I even had the brake system checked out a couple times (with no faults to be found)  but braking was not my favorite part of Journey.  I LIKE the Ambassador braking!

We gain full body paint — the decal-over-paint technique used by Winnebago and other manufacturers in the early 2000’s don’t hold their looks as long.  I had been considering having Journey repainted for just to make her look more contemporary.  We had been planning on keeping her a goodly long time, it was just a good investment to make.  Now we needn’t do that.

Power heated remote mirrors — driving is much safer when you can see what’s behind you.

We gain the convenience of a cord reel for our electric line to shore power and our hose line to a water outlet.  Not a HUGE thing, but convenient and neater.

We gain the right and left side rear vision cameras that we lacked on our REAR only Winnebago system.  Safety first.  I would not have ordered it as an option on an new coach but I’ll be happy to have it.   I have a theory about not relying on those cameras too much.  They are wonderful for checking your blind spots when changing lanes, but I’m not keen on them for use when backing.  I’ll have a chance to experiment and report back.

Additional A/C power and heating power  Our Journey did not handle hot weather well.  The heat pump was our only a/c and in 90 degree weather it had it’s problems attempting to keep us cool.  We now have 2 roof mounted A/C’s and a very differently designed heating system. We now have 2 furnaces as well.  We hope to be cooler in summer and to sleep better during the winter because the furnace isn’t in the bedroom with us. We sleep well in Journey, but we often awaken when the furnace kicks in.

Buying smaller then meant giving up: 

Extra Batteries — even though we are parked at a full hookup site, we do experience relatively frequent power outages.  Having extra capacity is good, as is the fact that our short coach could only accommodate three house batteries instead of four.  If we had an even number we could have switched over to 6 volt deep cycle batteries connected in parallel.  With only three we had to stick with the 12 V batteries and shorter life combined with lesser capacity.

Space (duh!) — we knew we were limiting the kind of things we could do inside, what we could store and how.  I seriously under estimated how much space computing would consume.  We allowed adequately for my photo gear, but I missed by a mile on how much time I might spend at the keyboard.  I have always written, I have always worked on images — I simply did not weight that heavily enough in our coach evaluation the first time around.

Relaxation options — 1 sofa, 2 dinette banquettes, a bed, and  cockpit seating don’t give you many moving around options. Being “at home” is partly about being comfortable and sometimes you just want to sit more comfortably. Now I can sit opposite Peg on my own sofa while she’s reclined on hers and we can just be ‘at home’ instead of being in ‘the RV’.

Servicability — the smaller chassis meant that some components such as the generator which in a larger chassis can be put on a moveable slide for service access, in our short wheelbase unit had to be packed tightly between the frame rails resulting in expensive service access.  You literally have to remove the entire genset to do anything.

Social options.  The small lounge meant that it was pretty hard for more than two or at most three people to occupy that space. No couples dinners,  it just wasn’t doable.  Meals with our daughter and granddaughter were tight.

Buying larger now means gaining choices

Isolating coach functions:

Batteries can be separated from other electrical/electronic components,  (It’s a maintenance thing)

Water systems can be handled differently (in the Winnebago the entire ‘winterizing’ function is stuck right in the middle of the primary basement storage bay.  That means that not only do you lose storage that didn’t need to be intruded upon, but also, every time you are working in the basement you have to be careful not to nudge that 90º water valve.

In terms of living in the RV I don’t have to do most of my daytime activities within 6 feet of the entry way. This was kind of a surprise once we moved in full-time.  In Journey we used the first 6’-8’ way more than the rest.  At times it seemed that the RV was only 10’ long.  That’s a little exaggeration because we obviously used the bathroom, and we obviously used the bedroom, but those weren’t spaces we ever really went during the daytime just for the purpose of BEING there.  Now we can split our time and use more of the entire coach. I think it will be more like living in a house — there’s a greater sense of “room” as in bedroom, sitting room, lounge, kitchen, bathroom.

Wanting to be able to sleep two unrelated visitors in a longer coach means that we were able to consider a dining room table now, instead of having to limit ourselves to a convertible dinette.  It’s nice to be able to sit on a chair, instead of sliding into a booth.  Switching from dinette to table also meant design choices.  Most of the built in tables also come with wall mounted storage — and storage in an RV can never be over-valued.  It’s always at a premium.

Longer gives us more windows which equal more interior light. We both love light.  There are times when Journey does seem a bit dark inside.

The rear bedroom not only provides a desk, and a comfortable chair and more storage space, it also offers more viewing choices.  It’s not about just having more windows (which there are)  With our new, extremely rare rear window we have a completely different view of the world.  The window isn’t  quite a “picture window” but I can easily see being able to park the RV in campsites where the rear view might be the BEST view (we have already been in a number of those!  Simply being able to enjoy looking outside will be nice.  RVing isn’t about constantly being outside — at least for us it isn’t — and being able to enjoy the view in the dry, calm air of indoors is sometimes highly to be preferred over the mosquitos and wind and glaring sun outside.

And of course the single thing I have whined about off and on — is the addition of desk space where I can set up my computer, my server, my digitizing tablet, and scanner without having to put every thing away every time I want to do something.

I will keep my remodeled computer table, and use it in the lounge for a variety of reasons.  Even just writing letters.  And Peg will probably use it now that I’m not hogging it all the time — for working her puzzles too.  It folds nicely.  It’s lightweight and compact.

The PURCHASE experience.

I have to say that Guaranty RV made the purchase easy.  They are a larger dealership in a comparably sized community but I felt as if the purchase process moved along more smoothly.  I would return some day to Lichtsinn — our first selling dealer — if they had the right unit.  By comparison this was easier.  Perhaps some of that impression is because we had a better idea what we were doing.

Guaranty has a larger coach inventory and their service staff seem more like a Big City shop in terms of efficiency.  When we bought Journey we had a complete house battery failure while we were still parked on their lot and we ended up paying nearly $1000.00 for new house batteries.  I would have felt much better if the price of the coach had been $1000.00 higher and the dealer had changed the batteries out before we took delivery.

As far as salespeople — both sale people were … sales people.  Nicole did a good job for us with Lichtsinn.  Dean did a good job for us with Guaranty.  They were nice people to deal with.  Was either one more informed about their product?  I don’t think I’d say that.  They were both good salespeople.  We walk away from both dealerships feeling we made a happy transaction.

So there you have it…

Life will be different now.

How?  I’m not sure. Yet.

I think our perspective on future plans will change dramatically. We’ll have to plan a little more carefully; there won’t be as many sites in our length.  And that’s ok, I usually overplan but haven’t wanted to plan as much in retirement.  This purchase was also about preserving some of our options. Some of retirement is about conserving resources.  The day we retired we had no idea what being retired meant.  We’re learning how to answer that question as we go.  Ours continues to be a Life Unscripted.

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Ambassador PLQ, Old Diary

Welcome Ambassador!

20_3_5Yesterday we shared the news about our new home.  Let me fill in some of the blanks.

The new coach has 63,000 miles on her.  Not bad for a 9 year old coach and she really is in good condition.  We have found two items needing attention — things we missed during the walk through — but we’ll probably take care of them next Monday.

If you haven’t ever bought an RV one thing to pay as much attention to is your walk through.  When we bought Journey, the people at Lichtsinn did a good job taking us through our new house.  I was impressed.  If I was impressed by them, I’m gob smacked by the folks at Guaranty!  We spent hours with Luther and there was no sense of haste or impatience.

The thing is, even after a couple years with one coach engineering changes,  features are faded in and faded out and … being human we forget things!  I pretty much tell any tech who is supposed to be showing me the lay of the land to pretend I knew nothing at all,  and keep peppering them with questions.  At that time there’s no such thing as a foolish question and if can save me from a future Mobile Tech service call or a trip to the shop, Hey, I’m for it! We left with about as much information as we could absorb; some things I’d forgotten, and a lot of new good info.

In anticipation of the pickup we had removed as many of our belongings from Journey as were convenient to transfer into the work center.  For two days the work center has been a mess.  And we spent Wednesday slowly dragging all that stuff inside the new house.  We didn’t spend as much time at the dealership as we would have otherwise — the job would have taken more than a day had we done it on-site.  That is because finding new homes for all our belongings hasn’t been as obvious as it seemed when we first moved into Journey.  I’m not sure why that should be — other than the power of habit — but it has seemed that way.

I was a little nervous  about getting our 8 foot longer coach into our site.  There’s normally enough room to maneuver but the recent addition of 11 large trailers full of cuttings and clippings produced by the convict crews made the compound a lot less empty!  I’m not sure when they’ll burn the burn pile — but I want not to be here when that happens — we’ll take a day’s drive when that happens!

We discussed removing the bark around the coach — it would have been a good time to do so.  We discovered that it’s not fully gravel below the coach — so the bark stayed.  We not fill pretty much of the site.  My Blue Ox (our tow bar) is about 3 inches from the rear fence and the 50 amp cord to our power post is stretched to the limits.  I ordered an extension today — it will arrive Friday.

We’re parked, leveled and hooked up.  Tomorrow I thought I would talk about what we gave up, and what we got in place — a little look at how RV’ing has changed our lifestyle, and we are adjusting to those changes. I did have a call from one of the other volunteers — it seems the gossip grapevine is already going crazy.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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Ambassador PLQ, Old Diary

Changing Houses

2014040611274606We did it!

The past several days have been one continuous flurry of activity.  We made a deal on that 40PLQ that we’ve been talking about, we spent the better part of one day emptying Journey and taking all our belongings to the work center, then unhooking, making the trip to Junction city, going through paperwork, getting our walk through  inspection and instructions on the new-to-us coach, and then heading back to Florence.

Journey was a mess for two days while we wondered how we had amassed all this stuff that needed moving in less than one year?

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Dean Dorsey on the left, Luther on the right

By 7 A.M.  we were ready to head on out, and we did.  Stopping at the Dunes Cafe — a really cute little mostly-locals resto right off hwy 126 — we were in Junction City on time for our 10 A.M. delivery appointment.

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Our Ambassador in the bay, waiting for us.

Dean Dorsey and the Sales Manager  did their quick walk through Journey to verify our representation of our old coach was accurate and then Dean took us over to spend some quality time with Luther the delivery tech.

This was our first view of our new home this morning.  After the detailing she looked better than we expected and we were almost giddy.  Along with the usual tightening and checking Luther found problems with the water heater and he replaced the leaky one with a new water heater.  Nice!

 

A couple hours later and we’d gone through the coach and we were ready to finalize the paperwork. That took another hour or so, but Bill Shreiber, who’s title is “The Paperwork Guy” managed to find a lender who trimmed our interest rate by another half percent so it was a nice surprise.  We’re happy with the paperwork and all the final numbers.

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Higher and Lower

The Ambassador sits both a bit higher than journey and a tad lower.  It’s an odd sensation to realize that we actually sit HIGHER in the air but it seems from inside the coach that we are closer to the ground.  It’s the oddest thing!

I’ll share more about our new home in the next two days but we had our hands full just getting her home — she handles much BETTER than Journey. The Winnebagos have sort of a limo sort of ride, and while Holiday Rambler is no sports car, the ride and suspension are tighter on the order of a sporty car.  I wasn’t always sure what the Winnebago coach would do in odd maneuvers.  The Ambassador seems far more sure footed.

We were home by about 4:30 and in position easily.  But more about all of that in the next few days.

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

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Ambassador PLQ, Old Diary

The Almost Perfect RV

We might have found it — the almost perfect RV.

Which doesn’t mean we’ll ever end up owning it, but it’s nice to know it exists.

But first — The State of Wisconsin made a legal eagle out of me on Monday.  I received my license plate stickers for the CR-V that I was short, and as soon as we got home I stuck all of my new stickers on the appropriate plates — on Journey and on the CR-V.  Yay!  I’m legal.

And my Government identity “sponsor” took my email to her about why my credentials were hung up and forwarded it to the guy who told me there was a hangup and asked HIM what was wrong.  Seems I’m the first person she ever sponsored for an identity and she has/had no idea what she was doing.  Well, duh…. considering that it’s more than 3 months now… and we’re still fighting this war…. do ya guess?

I fixed the water system.  Well, I didn’t fix it, but I turned off the pump anyway!  One of our hosts called in to say the water wasn’t running in the campground.  All the staff were missing so Peg and I went exploring and we found the problem — a bad pump that ceased sucking water.  About all WE could do was to turn the pump off so it didn’t burn out — but later in the day Bob got out there and a contractor, and if the contractor gets Bob a quotation by 7:30 this morning the repair should be complete on Wednesday.   Somethings do happen quickly — and they usually have to do with the water system. 🙂

And… we spent half of Monday out talking with Volunteers — doing the other part of our job — for a change.  It was wonderful!

OK — I suppose I owe you an explanation. We still are not looking to BUY a different RV.  But our recent conversations gave rise to some interest in researching whether there even existed an RV with a floor plan that would accommodate the little lessons we have learned in 2 1/2 years of owning Journey.

We conclude there does exist such a beast.

It’s called a 2005 Holiday Rambler Ambassador 40PLQ… and if you are wondering if that 40 means what you think it means– alas, yes it does.  This frigging beast is 40 doggone feet long.  Longer than we ever wanted to be — and probably longer than we ever WILL be.

Yet, it’s fun to dream and so here are the visual details.   I say it that way because I did not investigate whether the engineering part of the RV would meet what I want — but this little project was JUST about aesthetics.  After all it has the ‘wrong’ chassis — a Workhorse, not a Freightliner — but hey, we’re dreaming here and you’ll see why…  This is the only model I’ve seen with one simple feature:Floorplan

^^^^^^ There it is. Right there at the rear of the coach.  A sitting room with a desk and room for my ‘puters.  No place for my cameras, but there IS room for my ‘puters.  It doesn’t solve the problem of where I go in the middle of the night when I wake up and want to ‘pure, without waking Peggy.  But it’s bigger and comes close.  

Ok — so we won’t likely ever buy one of these.  But I know that the Coach-of-my-dreams exists.  Isn’t that nice.

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

P.S.: Oh — and in the meantime — I might have found a little table I can use to solve my over-the-driver’s-seat computer-table issue.  It folds up, you can use 1/2 at a time — giving me a 31″ x 15″ adjustable height table with legs wide enough to extend across the base of my driver’s seat.  It looks to be a cheap, flimsy, table, made by Coleman, but it might fill my need.  Even if I have to buy and cut a heavier (read that, ‘more durable’) top to the thing — the existing top is only MDF.    The local Camping World is having an open house on April 4, if they have one in stock I’ll check it out.  (actually I ‘ll call first and SEE whether they have one.)

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