Saturday, October 8, 2022

Almost back to Homebase

 Location: Sunrise RV Park; Texarkana, Arkansas

I'm on the last leg of the return trip from picking up Liberty2. Only about 120 miles left to go. It will be good to slow down for a couple of days cause I feel like I've been on fast-forward for a while. The trip has been productive since I've found a few things to fix and/or modify on the new RV. In RV'ing, there's always something. Yeah, I could take it to a dealer for a couple of things, but now-a-days it takes weeks, if not months, to get parts ordered and service completed. Easier and quicker to do it yourself, even if it costs a little bit. Oh well, hopefully it will keep me busy but also not prevent me from getting back on the road. 

My plan (we know how those turn out) is to park Liberty2 next to Liberty so I can move out of one and into the other. Two main items needed in Liberty2 is my old mattress topper and a new recliner. Both will do wonders for my back. I figure I will either throw away or donate a lot of stuff due to downsizing. Once I'm moved out of Liberty, I hope to sell her quickly. She has been up on Facebook Marketplace for a few months with a "For Sale Soon" sign. Well, "soon" is almost here. I've been reducing the price every couple of weeks and have had a few dozen contacts with about 20 that are serious. We will see how it goes but I won't be holding on to her in hopes of getting a higher price. Someone is going to get a very good deal.

I know these past couple of posts have been sub-par, but there has been so much new stuff swirling around in my head it has been hard to focus it into a blog. And since I'm just a simple man, I'll post a couple of pictures before showering and hitting the road.

Yep, those are cinnamon rolls. There is a R-pod Facebook group that has a bunch of fanatical members. These are hardcore R-pod fans. I've learned a few things from them since they are all open and honest about their thoughts, problems and solutions. One of their "rites-of-passage" (hazing) is to bake cinnamon rolls in the R-pod convection/microwave oven. So, not wanting to suffer their wraith, I bought an aluminum pan from the Dollar Store and a roll of Great Value (Walmart) brand rolls with cream cheese icing. Actually, they turned out a lot better than I thought they would. I look forward to trying biscuits next. Although Liberty had a propane oven, I only used it a couple times because it was difficult to use. One check mark for Liberty2. :)

This is from the campground 400 miles back. It is Boomland RV Park in Charleston, Missouri. If you're passing through the boothill of Missouri, it is a great place to stop for the night. $20 for full hook-ups. Honor system. Very convenient. I've stayed there a few times in the past. 

This is the campsite at Sunrise RV Park where I'm at now. It's not too bad, but about 1 1/2 times the price of Boomland for basically the same amenities. I'm surprised about the amount of Interstate traffic noise. There must be something wrong with the pavements.
No time for proof reading. Excuse any typo's, grammer, etc.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll CYA down the road. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Day 1 of Liberty-2

 Location: General Butler State Park; Carrollton, Kentucky

I'm tired. I guess I'm out of travel shape since I've been sitting around getting fat (actually lost weight) and lazy. This post will get me caught up on the two travel days to pick up my new RV which I think I will call Liberty-2. It will also include the three days and nights at the campground after picking her up. 

I packed up everything I could fit into Freedom and left Mansfield early on October 1, 2022 headed to Trenton, Ohio to pick up my new Forest River R-Pod 201. The travel distance was a little over 900 miles and since I'm older and wiser, I split the time up into two days. The first days stop was in Kattawa, Kentucky at a Day's Inn. While being bored at the motel, I started going over things in my mind that I may have forgotten to pack. Yeah, yeah, I made a list, in fact it was an electronic list on my phone. But, I couldn't remember for sure if I had packed my temperature gun to check the hub temps on the new RV. So, I found a Harbor Freight in Louisville and bought a new one on my way to the second motel. The second stop was at a Quality Inn in Carrollton, Kentucky which coincidentally is the location of the campground I'm at now. I purposely chose this motel location so I could drop by the campground to check things out before arriving with the RV. It was a good thing too. The campsite looked good, but I could see I needed more water hose since I had only brought 25 feet. One reason I chose this town and campground was due to a Walmart being close by. I headed to there to buy some more water hose. I'll be headed back there today to stock up on a few things now that I have the RV to put them in. 

I picked Liberty-2 up at RV Nation and spent about an hour or so with their technician going over things. Most of the items I was already familiar with since they were the same on Liberty. Some were new like solar panel, solar controller, inverter etc. I should have asked more question of the technician but I trusted him when he said they checked out all of the systems. I've since found two things wrong. One is very little pressure in the shower. This usually means some screen blocked with bits of plastic when the factory cut holes in the tanks. I removed the hoses and showerhead but that didn't solve the problem. Liberty2 has/had a "watermiser" in the shower which recycles water back to the fresh water tank until hot water reaches the shower. For years I have been doing manual by catching the shower water in a pitcher until it gets hot then using that saved water to flush the toilet as needed. I figured there must be a screen in the showermiser but couldn't find it. I called the company and talked with a nice technician named Gus. He talked me through a few things to checked but nothing solved the problem. I tried to remove the miser but couldn't. So Gus suggested removing the faucet assembly in order to remove the miser. I didn't like that idea because if I screwed something up behind the wall, it would be a major ordeal and I would be shower-less until I fixed it. So, using all of my engineering background, I solved the problem by buying a hack saw and removing the water-miser by cutting it away. Problem solved, water pressure restored. Adapt and overcome. 

The second problem is my water heater isn't working on propane. It does work great on electric so this problem is on the back burner. 

I thought about taking Liberty2 back to the dealer for repairs but decided against it since it could be days to order parts, schedule work, etc. I should be able to eventually fix everything at minimal cost.

Since Liberty2 is a bumper pull, that meant a new hitch up process and equipment. Also, the back-up camera on Freedom has started working intermittently. It is probably a dirty connection on the wiring harness, but I haven't really tried to pry it loose yet. So, instead, my plan B is use the tennis balls on radio antennas to line me for hitching up. I tried it at the dealer and it worked pretty good. It will take a little more practice, but it will eventually work out.

I'm too tired to write more. I have a lot to write but not right now.

This is the bridge I wanted to check out on the way to pick up Liberty2. After meeting an 18 wheeler in the middle I decided to go back to Louisiana by another route.

First site of Liberty2. In fact it the first site of an R-pod 201. I bought it without seeing one in person. 

Hitch meets ball. I checked how much Freedom would squat under the load. I was hoping she would do OK because I didn't want to get a load distribution hitch. Freedom's rear end squatted 1 inch and her front end only rose 1/4 inch. All should be good to go.

Hitched up in front of the dealership.

Walking to her to pull out and hit the road. The first miles of many, I hope.

Her first campsite. It was a easy angle to back in to but she backed easier than Liberty. The hitch didn't want to let go of the ball which was frustrating. I eased forward and back but didn't work. Eventually, she let go. There looked to be some galled marks on the ball. I put some lithium grease on the ball and will see how she does on the next leg home

 Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Changes, Downsizing and Liberty is for sale

Location: New Rockdale RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana 

Well, it's been a while since I've made a post and some people were a little worried. Medically, everything is fine. No one in the immediate family has been sick or come down with Covid. There have been a few minor things, but nothing significant. 

Changes are coming, finally! I ordered my new RV back in May and it has finally been built and delivered to the dealership. It was built during the last week of August and is the first production run of the 2023 model year. The dealership is in Trenton, Ohio and named Couch's RV Nation. They are supposedly the largest online RV dealer in the country. I'm not new to online dealerships since I dealt with one before buying Liberty. I chose another Forest River product since I have been completely satisfied with how Liberty has performed over the last nine years.

Hopefully, this will be a link to a very good Youtube showing the model I'm getting. >>>>>

The new RV is a 2023 Forest River R-pod model 201. Compared to Liberty, she is a travel trailer instead of a fifth wheel, she is about 3,000 pounds lighter, 5 feet shorter in length and 2 feet shorter in height. She has ZERO slides compared to Liberty's 2. I will get into a deeper description in future posts after I pick her up. I leave Saturday, October 1, 2022 to head to Ohio to get her. I plan to get to the dealership early on Monday the 3rd to finalize the deal and tour the unit with their technician. Around noon, I'll head to General Butler State Park near Carrollton, Kentucky which is about 100 miles from the dealership. I'll stay there for two days while checking out the systems to make sure everything is working. If something is wrong and it is major, I'll return to the dealership. If it is something minor that I can take care of at a reasonable cost, then I'll head home after the two days. I plan to stop at Charleston, Missouri and Texarkana, Arkansas for one night each, before returning to Mansfield on Friday, the 7th. Hopefully, after a couple scheduled doctor's appointments and a quick sale of Liberty, I'll be back on the road doing some more exploring of this great country of ours.

Now that I have a set date to pick up the new RV, Liberty is officially for sale. I've had her up on Facebook Marketplace for a few months with the disclaimer that she wouldn't be for sale until a couple of weeks after I received my new RV. Someone is going to get a sweet deal with her. In the marketplace ad I listed everything that I know of that is wrong with her. Included in the sale will be my Reese Elite fifth wheel hitch, 50 amp surge guard, a full set of brake hub assemblies (I never got around to installing them) and an assortment of other things. A side benefits is the buyer can read this blog to see where all Liberty has been as well as anything that has happened to her. It's all about transparency. I will walk away after selling Liberty with a clear conscious knowing the buyer got a great deal. That clear conscious is worth more to me than money. That doesn't mean I'll just give her away, it will be a fair price. 

Although I'm anxious to hit the road in the new RV, it was kind of sad putting the for sale sign on Liberty. 

I intend to take my laptop with me when I go to pick up the new RV so I should be able to make some posts on the way back home. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Upcoming Changes & Personal Demons Return

 Location: New Rockdale RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

I've been stationary for several months and the inside of Liberty looks like a mess. I've been living in Liberty full-time since the fall of 2013. Freedom has towed her a little over 50,000 miles and together, we've been to 46 of the lower 48 states with only Delaware and Rhode Island missing from that list. We have camped in over 300 different campgrounds and both have been reliable and only caused me a minimal amount of problems. But,,,,there's always a "but", uh? But, Liberty is clearly showing her age. Since I've been back in Louisiana, I've replaced the fill hose to her fresh water tank and patched a hole in the same tank. I've ordered her some new brake assemblies but haven't put them on yet. Her latest problem was her refrigerator stopped working. Instead of replacing it in kind, I ordered a small household refrigerator for a couple hundred dollars to get us by until I make some heavier decisions.

I need to decide whether to spend some money to get Liberty back up to par or sell her and get a new one. The amount of money to fix her up would be a 2 to 3 thousand dollars. Afterwards, she would still be an eight year old RV with more stuff waiting to go wrong. And of course, Freedom and Liberty has always been a pair, so if I sell Liberty, I would also sell Freedom. She has 150,000 miles on her so maybe a new RV and tow vehicle is the way to go. Whoever buys Liberty's will get a great, I'll guarantee that. It is my belief that both parties in a sell should feel they got a great deal.  

I've been thinking about getting a smaller RV since Liberty is a little more than I need. At the time I bought her, she was the smallest fifth wheel I felt comfortable buying. Years ago, I downsized from a 4 bedroom house to a one bedroom apartment and then to Liberty. I guess that progression needs to continue. Let's see, Liberty is about 280 square feet with high ceilings and two slide-outs. The RV I'm looking at is 200 square feet and no slide-outs. It's a Forest River R-Pod model 201. At 25 feet in length, she is 5 feet shorter than Liberty and weighs in at a little more than half of Liberty's weight. We will see how things unfold. I'm in no rush. I'll post more about that in a future post.

Forest River R-Pod model 201

Model 201 floor plan and some specs

I was going to talk a little bit about the return of some of my personal demons but have decided not to go too deep into it. But I will say they aren't alcohol or drug demons. We all have demons of different sizes and most of the time we have them buried or force them to go sit in a corner. Every now and then they decide on their own to come out and play. How frequently they come out to play is indicative of how much control they have on you instead of you on them. I've had mine under control for more than a dozen years but they have surprised me lately. I'm not sure what gave them the OK to return but I am sure I'll have them back in their place before long. After re-reading that paragraph, it sounds much more ominous than it really is. I learned long ago, in my late teenage years, how important it is "know thyself".     

Surprisingly, making this post has given me a good feeling. I forgot how much I liked writing it.   

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.