Sunset in PV

Sunset in PV

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 25 – 31, 2011 “Our New Home”

We received a few inquires as to what is involved in the installation of a ceiling fan, and what the cost of the MCD shades were. The short answer is, they were included in the price of our new motorhome; a one owner 2010 Itasca Ellipse 42AD with only 4,100 miles on her, aptly named “Elly”.

Since we were impersonating “The Jefferson’s”, we also decided it was time to upgrade our toad to something with better fuel economy, a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox that is rated 22 in town, and 32 on the highway, almost double the MPG of the Jeep Wrangler.

Purchasing a new automobile is definitely NOT one of my favorite pastimes, but I was pleasantly surprised how easy this purchase was. I have had a GM MasterCard for 20+ years, and had accumulated almost $3,000 in earnings. GM places limits on each of their models, and on the Equinox it was $1,000. When the sales manager took my card to apply my earnings to the purchase price, he returned asking me, “Did you know you were a “World” member?” Sure, I replied (but hadn’t a clue exactly what that meant). He said, “You can use ALL of your earnings toward the purchase, if you’d like”. Now, where I come from, that’s called a no brainer. (Click on any image to enlarge)

Followers of our blog realize we have been searching for a diesel pusher and something more comfortable, since we live in our rig full time. What caused us to bite the bullet and move up? Well, it was a combination of things. One, a fellow full timer of one year, just like us, commented that he bought his third rig first; a 2010 Tiffin Allegro Bus. That got me thinking about the concept. Secondly, saving $80K on this 2010 versus the 2012 42AD, we picked out at the Winnebago Rally last month. And lastly, the unit was barely used. The speedcook oven, cooktop, outside entertainment center, Kingdome in-motion satellite system, and 2 of the 4 TV’s had never been used, as the original owner had only used it 4 times.

It only took us 3 days to move in to the new rig, and the time it took for Chevy to order and install a new base plate and receiver (for the bikes) on the Equinox was 5 days. Leach RV had almost a week to fix the little things we noticed that weren’t right, move the brake and light systems from the Jeep to the Equinox, and do the final detail, which included waxing and topping off the diesel and propane. So………..... After being in Lincoln for 2 weeks, we finally departed.

The trip across Nebraska in I-80 was like floating on air. The air bag suspension, coupled with the 400 HP Cummins, kept the ride soft and the noise in the rear; neither of which we were accustomed to in the Suncruiser. CC and I each commented that this rig, 4 feet longer that the Cruiser, didn’t handle like it was bigger at all. Do I have buyer’s remorse? Not at all. Do I think we overspent? Anytime money leaves my hands it causes me redefine our plans for retirement and this lifestyle. Are we happy with our decision? So far, so good. If momma's happy, everyone's happy.

We arrived at Tom and Trudy’s in Cheyenne, WY, around 4 pm, and were set up by the time they got home from work. They have a wonderful home on 2 acres they built about 7 years ago.

Complete with a 40 foot by 60 foot “pole barn”, as Tom refers to it, where he houses all of his “toys”; 4 motorcycles, a boat, 2 trailers, and their “baby”. I think everyone with a motorhome needs a “pole barn”, don’t you?

We had a wonderful visit, and it was great to catch up with old friends. One thing life has taught me; when you re-aquaint with good friends, time spent apart seems to disappear, and you resume just like you had seen each other yesterday. Thanks Tom & Trudy, for everything!

From Cheyenne, we bolted down I-25 to our old stomping grounds around Denver, CO. CC pushed that big rig right through downtown and out to the “burbs”, where we arrived at our friends, Rick and Zoe, just outside of Elizabeth, CO, about 50 miles SE of Denver.

We will be in the Denver area for the month of September. Only a brief side trip to Lake Powell on the tenth, for 7 days on Rick and Zoe’s houseboat, and then back in the Mile Hi City for the remainder of the month. We have doctor appointments, haircuts, and hopefully a few lunches and/or dinners with friends here in the area. As CC said as she piloted the rig down I-25, it’s good to be home. I couldn’t agree more.

Until next time, take care and stay well…………………..

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 14 - 24 "New Ceiling Fan"

We are currently in Lincoln, NE. CC thought we needed a ceiling fan in our bedroom, so we called Leach RV, and they were only too happy to oblige.

After seeing how good the fan looked and worked, CC decided that MCD shades would be a nice addition to our home on wheels. These had to be ordered, so we just hung out for a few days, seeing the sights in Lincoln.

More pictures to come, as soon as I can charge the camera battery. Until next time, take care and stay well.......................

Sunday, August 14, 2011

August 3 - 14, 2011 "Madison, WI to Omaha, NE"

The drive to Madison was uneventful, thankfully, and we checked into Smokey Hollow Campground. This is the most unique RV Park we have seen, with more rides and attractions for the kids, more like a mini-amusement park than a campground. The “swimmin’ hole” has numerous floating attractions for kids of all ages, even a “dunk tank” for those interested in evening the score with a friendly foe. (Click on any image to enlarge)

The owner is quite the “inventor”, and has several motorized rides, including Cinderella’s Pumpkin, and this oversized shopping cart.

Adjacent to the jumping pillow, there is a volleyball court and a water balloon wars arcade, complete with a fill station for buckets and balloons.

The owner left this as it was “planted”(?)  a few years ago, about 10-11 feet off the ground, in hopes other drivers of RV’s would notice and take extra precaution in preventing it from happening to them. (That ornery Murphy again; he certainly gets around.)

We departed the campground to meet with Duncan Industries at a nearby Hampton Inn for our scheduled window repairs. All the way, we kept our fingers crossed that this time, the third try, they would, as Larry the Cable Guy says, “Git ur dun”. Guess what? Murphy is absent, and we are now with clear, sealed windows. Finally.

Since it was about 7:30 pm when they completed their work, we decided to boondock at Wally World; a first for us. We picked up some fried chicken from the deli for dinner, and hit the rack about 10 pm.

Depart Madison, WI, for Moscow, IA, to the HWH plant where hopefully they can find and repair that pesky little leak we have in our hydraulic leveling/slide-out system. A few miles after we got on I-80 west, we noticed a sign that read, “World’s Largest Truck Stop – Next Exit”………….so we did, cause we can.

We thought about our trucking buddies from Country Sunshine, Cool Whip and Lena, aka, Carl and Kenny. (That’s no typo, I said trucking.) Both were career men with Yellow Freight, and now we were about to step into their world. CC would not be denied, as she climbed up into that big rig.

Back on the road and arrived at HWH about 1 pm. Without an appointment, they said it would most likely be tomorrow before they could work us in. No problem, as they have 9 spots with electric. We were told to just go back into any one available, kick back and take it easy until tomorrow; so we did. We had just finished setting up, when we heard a knock on the door. Murphy, is that you? No, it was Troy with HWH to tell us they were ready for us. OK, tear down and wait for repairs. We’re getting good at this. Shortly before 3:30, Troy reappeared and said we were done; he replaced a bad fitting on one of the hoses. $95 later we were out the door.

After we hooked up the toad, we did the customary light check and walk around. I noticed some oil dripping from the area that was just repaired. So………..back inside I ventured to speak to customer service. It was almost 4 pm, and all the technicians had left for the day, but they paged Bill, one of the supervisors, to come in and discuss my options. Bill said, “Let’s take a look at it”. He proceeded to crawl under the rig, on the gravel parking lot, to diagnose the source of the leak; another bad fitting. Within 30 minutes he replaced the bad part, and we were on our way. Hooray…..all those little nit pikin’ items are now fixed and off our list; Ms. Sol Crucero is as good as new. It felt good to have all that behind us.

It was another night boondocking at Wally World, another first for us; dry camping for 2 days in a row. We are saving some big bucks I tell ya. LOL ;-)

The following morning we were up before the sun, and made an early departure, in route to the Omaha area to visit CC’s friend Dixie, who lives nearby. We checked into the Bluff Run Casino RV Park, and called it a trip. Now, CC has itchy fingers, and will most likely drop a few quarters in one or two video poker machines. Who knows, if her feminine intuitions are right on, and she hits the jackpot, our decision, at least financially, to go ahead and move up to a bigger rig, will be an easy one to make.

From here, we will continue our westerly way to Cheyenne, WY, to visit longtime friends, Tom and Trudy. Until next time, take care and stay well………………………………..

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 2, 2011 "More Murphy"

Over stimulated with sensory and memory overload; that is the way I would describe our last two weeks. After our bout with Murphy, things improved, albeit marginally.

CC and I are thinking about going back to work so we can get some rest, and return to a “normal” life; On second thought, maybe not. It takes real intestinal fortitude to live this lifestyle, and we are not quitters, so we must carry on. I cannot begin to write about everything we have experienced since our last posting, but it has been educational, in a good sort of way.

The Rally was hot and humid, with seminars held in large tents. Heat indexes were triple digits every day.  We attended classes presented by Cummins, Michelin, A&E awnings, HWH Leveling Systems, Winnebago Electrical Systems, Fulltiming 101, WIT Tours, and others I cannot recall due to cranial heating and overload. CC participated in the WOW (Women on Wheels) Driving School, and was invited to teach at next years Rally. Double WOW.

Winnebago offered a “Sign and Drive”, so CC and I signed up to test drive a 2012 Tour 42AD  with the 450hp Cummins. We were both impressed with the drivability and the smooth comfortable ride, not to mention the floor plan. Over the next few days we discussed moving up to a new diesel pusher, and decided to price one out, just the way we wanted, including options, interior and exterior colors, fabrics and counter material. Very nice, and the price? Triple WOW!!!!! We are still trying to justify a purchase of this magnitude, given our experience with the Winnebago Service Center. Had our experience there been less painful, the decision to purchase a new one would have definitely been easier. We’re still on the fence. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Evenings were also hot and humid, but we managed to attend a few “Happy Hours’, hosted by the 365 Club, Florida WIT, and row parties. Evening entertainment was provided every night from 7 pm until 9 pm. We did attend 3 evening performances, but usually we were so hot and sticky, all we wanted to do was hit the shower, and cool off in the rig.

While all of this was going on, we had the rig back into the Winnebago Service twice. So, on the days of service, it was up early, tear down, and move the rig from the Rally grounds to service. Waiting and more waiting for them to complete the work in this oppressive heat. What is that I hear? Sounds like Murphy. Wrong part? Oh, come back in 3 days, you say. Back to the Rally and set up. Three days later, repeat the process. Check.

Duncan Industries was at the Rally, repairing windows. Since we had two with broken seals, we signed up. Long, long story short; didn’t happen, and our options are to drive back to Elkhart, IN, or meet them in Madison, WI in two weeks, where they will be attending the Family Motor Coach Association Rally. 

We will take a break from all the stimuli, and just recoup and recharge at a sleepy little campground in Eastern Iowa; Lake Shores RV Resort. Not too bad, as the Passport America rate is $18 per day with no restrictions. From here, we're Madison bound; Murphy-less if at all possible.

Until next time, take care and stay well……………………….