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Weeks 13 - 16 (March 26, 2005 - April 22, 2005)

Week 13

Saturday, March 26 and Easter Sunday, March 27, 2005
We Pick Up The Pick-Up - And Oh Yeah, More Basketball

We picked up our Ford F450 tow vehicle today! Isn't he a beauty? (You have to add your own Crocodile Hunter Australian accent).

Always being a sport sedan guy, I wasn't too keen on the looks of dually pick-up trucks. But I have to say, I am very pleased with the looks of this truck. Not that I know anything about what is under the hood or the suspension or anything else techinical, but it does look good.

Actually it should be perfect. It is a diesel with Ford's Tow Command package and upgraded tow capacity to 21,000 pounds. It makes for a louder than I am used to and bumpy ride when going slow, but it smooths out at speed and it should be more than enough truck to pull the Cambridge safely. That's the most important thing.

Saturday afternoon is filled with basketball as the Louisville Cardinals are trying to get to the Final Four for the first time since they won the NCAA Championship in 1986. This team has over-achieved and the city is pretty pumped up.

What a thriller!! The Cards' opponent, West Virginia, put on a shooting display unlike I have ever seen. But after being down 20 points in the first half, the Cardinals ended an amazing comeback by tying the game in the last minute. With their best player having fouled out, they went on to win the game in overtime! Amazing! Now we just need Kentucky to win on Sunday to get both major state programs into the Final Four in St. Louis.

Easter Sunday we went to my parents' small farm for breakfast. We drove the new truck to show them. My dad gazed at it like love at first sight. We had a great holiday visit and then it was back home to watch the last two basketball games.

Kentucky, another team of overachievers, sent their game with Michigan State into overtime with an unbelievable shot and comeback of their own. Unfortunately, they could not pick up the win. But it may have been the best weekend of college basketball I have ever seen. Our two teams vying for the Final Four and three of the four games went into overtime after incredible comebacks. Wow! An exciting weekend.

Monday, March 28 through Friday, April 1, 2005
Back To Improving The Website

Monday evening, after spending most of the day dreaming about going to the final four, I got back to the website. It still needs a lot of tweaking and more pages.

I got a contact page in place to make it easier to email us and inserted a photographs page for easier linking to our photo galleries. I am not happy with the Resources page, so I am working on improvements there.

Denny and Sandie, the couple we met at the Cleveland RV show in January are inspecting their new Cambridge today. They are going to email us how it goes.

Tuesday evening was spent working on a couple more affiliate programs and answering questions from some folks who emailed through the website. Even though I am really new at all this, it feels good to be able to help people a little.

Wednesday afternoon it hit 80 degrees in Louisville, so I had to hit the golf course. It was only the second round I have played this year. Normally I would have had 10 rounds in by now, but selling the house and a lot of cold and rain have kept me indoors. The round wasn't great, but acceptable and the weather was great for the walk.

Denny emailed me about their inspection. He identified a lot of little things that needed to be corrected, but both the dealership and the manufacturer were helpful in fixing the problems. They are taking their unit home next Monday.

I had a thought about starting our own Keystone Cambridge owners club. I emailed Keystone to see if they were okay with that and whether they would be interested in helping me. I got the nicest response and they gave me some great information on getting started. I am going to see if others would be interested.

Thursday evening we delivered Linda's Suzuki Grand Vitara to a friend of ours. He thinks he may have a buyer or may even be interested himself for his daughter. Another step in the process.

Also, on Thursday I received an email response from Chuck Woodbury who runs a few RV related websites. I had asked him a couple of questions. He said he is redesigning one of his full-timing websites and will be looking for an editor. He asked if I would be interested since he thought I had done a good job on RV-Dreams. I don't want to get my hopes too high, but it could turn into something.

Friday, Linda and I started back on Weight Watchers. She is a lifetime member and I have always just gone along with whatever program she was doing. We had both gotten in great shape using the flex-points program a couple of years back.

But we are both stress eaters and we had gotten off the program and put on too many pounds during the acquisition of my company and the subsequent tough transition. She wants to lose about ten pounds and I need to lose twenty to twenty-five.

It was my first Weight Watchers meeting. Being one of two guys in the meeting that was clearly more geared to women, made me a little uncomfortable. But we found out there is a new "core" plan that sounds interesting. I think we will give it a try.

I have been a member of the YMCA for awhile and she was a member of Curves For Women. I have gone to workout sporadically and she hadn't been in months. So we cancelled her Curves membership, added her to my YMCA membership and we are going to go workout together or exercise in some way every day. We started our routine on Wednesday morning.

Why all this concern about weight and health? Well, since we are going to have to get individual health insurance, we need to be in the best possible shape for underwriting so we can get the best rates. Also, we probably will have to do a little more manual work with the full-timing lifestyle than we have done in a long time, so we need to increase our strength.

Another week down.

Week 14

Saturday, April 2, 2005
Website, Weight Loss, & Watching the Final Four

Saturday morning I was up really early, so I worked on the Resource Page to get it in better order. I revised some links and added some book reviews. I think it is now ready for some additional resources.

We also headed to the YMCA in the morning, but found it too crowded. So instead, we went grocery shopping for our new Weight Watchers "program." Repeat after me "It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change." :)

After shopping and putting everything away, we did go workout. Bet you thought that "too crowded" thing was just an excuse not to go, didn't you?

Oh, I have to tell you about a wonderful email I got through the website. A sweet lady emailed me that she and her husband were planning on full-timing in about four years. They currently live on a farm and have a little RVing experience. Besides being a good writer who had some very nice comments, she told me that her husband is a quadraplegic. Still they farm and are looking forward to full-timing. What an inspiration!

The Final Four was not good. Louisville was not making shots and after hanging in for a long time, they lost to the better team. A disappointing evening, but it was great to see the Cards in the Final Four where they belong.

Sunday, April 3, 2005
A Beautiful Spring Day

Well I woke up at 3:00 am or was it 4:00 am? With the time change and "springing forward", I'm not sure.

But since there was nothing else to do that early in the morning, I got in about five hours of website work. I got some research done, improved the RV Clubs page, and did some more page planning.

Once Linda woke up, I read the newspaper and she prepared our Homeowner's Association newsletter (she is the Secretary). The day was too pretty to stay inside any longer, so we went to play golf.

We were both in early season form and it was a little frustrating, but it was great to be outside. She walked nine holes, before quitting and getting a cart to follow along so she could stay outside and read. I finished my eighteen hole walk.

Walking eighteen holes is equivalent to walking four to five miles. It is very good exercise when pulling or carrying a golf bag up and down inclines. That was our workout for Sunday.

In the evening, I was back to the website. I got the "bright" idea of setting up a page to link to every single official state travel and tourism website. In setting up the website I learned that specific state travel and travel guides were good "key words" that the search engines use when scanning for site matches to a search inquiry.

So with that in mind and the opportunity to provide another valuable page for visitors where they could get free information and order free state travel guides, I set out to find all the official pages. It took hours to locate them all, prepare links and get them onto a page. By the time I got them all loaded, I was too tired to organize the page, so I went to bed.

Monday, April 4, 2005
They Want To Close When?

Got a call from the real estate agent who has the buyer for our home. The buyers wanted to know if we could close on May 9 instead of the first week of June. May 9? That's only a month away!

When I told Linda, she freaked out (just a little). We wanted to be accomodating, but we have to be completely out of the house the day of closing. Let's think about this.

We still do not have our new home and though we are expecting it in about three weeks, there are no guarantees. May 7 is the Kentucky Derby, and for those not from Kentucky, the entire two weeks leading up to the Derby is a big deal. Plus I leave for a long weekend golf trip on May 11. (I held off confirming I was going just in case something like this came up, but I just confirmed four days ago at the deadline.) I don't know why Linda freaked out. :)

We called the realtor back and said we could do it anytime after May 23. Our contract says the first week of June, so we felt we made a reasonable compromise.

Monday evening I had gotten an email response from the Keystone Cambridge rep Patrick. He now remembered meeting us in Cleveland. We were the ones that did not like the recliners in the Cambridge and asked if we could get some from another model.

Patrick and an RV dealer sales rep actually removed and carried a large recliner we liked from another show unit into the Cambridge so that we could see if it matched the decor. Now moving a large piece of furniture through a trailer down the steps across the RV show floor up the steps and through another trailer is no easy task. Those guys were in shirt and ties and were sweating in the end.

The recliner matched and they carried it back. Our deal included replacing the standard Cambridge recliners with two from another model. Of course he remembered us!

Patrick had also visited the website, liked it and requested a Cambridge page. He even sent me a set of photos to use. In due time, once we have our unit, there will be plenty of exposure for the Cambridge.

Monday night I also finished the new State Travel Guide page. I think it will be a useful resource for our visitors.

I fell asleep watching the NCAA National Championship game. It was a good game and woke up to find North Carolina had beaten the Illinois team that had beaten Louisville. Time for bed - have to get up early to work out.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005
A Lesson

This morning at the YMCA, I re-learned a lesson in humility and being judgmental. For months I have been going to the "Y" and have seen a guy there who always seemed to be talking with the weightlifters and partaking in a lot of what I considered juvenile banter. I thought he worked there, but decided that he was not the type of guy I would care to know much less be friends with. Well this morning, this large man with his large muscles was intertwined on the floor on an exercise mat with a young handicapped boy gently providing physical therapy and encouragement with the boy's heavy duty wheelchair a foot away. My heart melted at the site. I felt ashamed of the judgment I had made about this man without ever speaking to him. I need this kick in the head once in a while - how about you? That's all today.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005
Closing Date Changes - Pressure Is On

Today the buyers of our home called back. They wanted to check one more time to see if we could close on May 9. It's still not a good time for us, but after our usual "what's the worst that can happen" decision making discussion, Linda and I agreed to close on May 9.

Now we really are a month away, and a lot needs to be done. In my usual laid back style, I am thinking "no big deal" for me, but even though we have sold the place completely furnished and decorated, Linda understands we have a lot in the way of personal items in closets and cabinets that needs to be packed up and sorted.

Linda is our "packer" and even though she is relieved that we do not have to auction off the majority of our stuff, she still has to figure out what we are taking, what we are storing, what we are giving away, and what needs to be sold. I'm for storing a few things, taking what we can fit in the RV and either throwing away or leaving the rest. I think I am on the verge of that "typical man" label.

But it really would help to have our RV in the driveway so we could determine for sure what fits and what doesn't. I think we will both feel better once we can do that. I hope there are no more delays in getting it.

Another quick story from last evening. Since Linda is our Homeowners Association Secretary, she publishes a newsletter for our neighborhood. This one announces our annual meeting on April 19, so I went with her to hand deliver it. It seemed everyone that was home knew about our upcoming adventure and wished us well.

We chatted with one sweet lady in particular and discovered she had done a lot of RVing. She also has a son, Steve Dobbs, that is a full-timer and is actually a partner in TrailerSaver, Inc. TrailerSaver manufacturers air ride hitches for fifth wheels right here in Kentucky. It is my understanding that they make one of the best hitches on the market. Small world indeed.

Thursday, April 7, 2005 and Friday, April 8, 2005
Work And Another Business Trip

These two days (and nights) have been spent mostly on the current work situation. It was Spring Break here and we had a number of people on vacation, so I had to become a little more involved in daily operations than I have in a while. Also, I had some frustrating office politics to deal with that threw me off a bit.

By the end of the week I found I have to fly to Tampa for meetings on April 18 - 20. Great. We were planning on picking up our RV the 18th and take a few days off to camp around Akron (where we pick up the unit) to make sure all systems are go and we know what we are doing before we get too far from the dealer. Now we are going to be pushed back until the 21st and we cannot afford to take the number of days away from packing that we had planned. Oh well, our good fortune still far outweighs the bad.

By the way, we had our first weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in Thursday. I had lost almost five pounds and Linda had lost over a pound. The Core Plan, regular exercise, and lots of water seem to be working.

Week 15

Saturday, April 9, 2005 and Sunday, April 10, 2005
Packing & The Washer Incident

Saturday and Sunday were beautiful days and I took the most of the opportunity to get back in my regular weekend golf games. Linda continued to wrap and pack dishes that were being given to her mother for her condo in Florida or to her sister in Jacksonville.

After golf on Saturday I made my usual call home to see if I should pick up anything on may way. Linda proceeds to inform me that our washing machine had just died with a full load of clothes in it. We had to go to a coin laundry for the first time in several years, and we realized that coin laundries had gotten rather expensive. Better think about that for the road.

Now what. We could get by without a machine for three weeks, but the washer and dryer were part of the package with the house. On one hand I am glad it happened, because our washer and dryer are eighteen years old, and I was feeling a little guilty about our new buyers ending up with them. I would hate to have seen them die a week after we left. They are worth nothing and, in fact, they were given to us as a wedding gift by Linda's first employer.

On the other hand, I did not want to have to buy a new washer and dryer for the house. We considered buying a small combo to use until we could install it in the RV and just reimburse the buyers for the value of the now dead washer. But even that didn't seem quite right since the value was nothing and we have not gathered enough information to determine if we really want a washer/dryer in the RV. So we called the buyer and worked out a compromise. They would go shopping and pick out a washer/dryer and would have it delivered. That way we could use it for the next three weeks, they could get what they want, and we would split the cost.

We also have a very cool under the counter mounted LCD TV/DVD/CD/Radio combo in our kitchen. It swivels so it can be watched while cooking or eating at our little bar area. Our buyers wrote it into the contract. The DVD had been stuck for some time, so since the washing machine thing came up, I finally decided to uninstall the TV and take it in to have the DVD fixed. When I get to Circuit City they proceed to tell me that it is not a fixable item, but since I bought a protection plan I can replace it with something else for the same price. But of course they don't carry this unit any longer and they have nothing comparable. So we do the right thing and call the buyers again and explain the situation. I tell them I am going to re-mount the TV and transfer my service contract to them so they can return it and get whatever they want when the whole thing quits. They graciously agree. So I re-mount the thing (a pretty big deal for this non-handyman) and suddenly the DVD starts working again! So we call them back and their first question is "What did you break now?" Fortunately, they are very nice people and laugh when I tell them the darn thing is now working. We are keeping our fingers crossed that nothing else breaks down before we leave. Whew.

Monday, April 11, 2005 through Friday, April 15, 2005
More Packing and More Insurance Talk

Monday we moved a couple of antique pieces (the only two we had) to my parents small farm. They came from my folks, so they volunteered to store them for us.

We are probably going to park on their property for about a month while we get used to living in the fifth wheel. Then we plan to spend another month in a couple of campgrounds before the job ends and we set out for good. A couple of months of practice should help.

The rest of the week was pretty much filled with work and packing (Linda has done amost all of that). We did spend a couple of hours speaking with an insurance agent about life insurance.

We currently have separate 30 year level term policies. My coverage is $500,000 and Linda's is $250,000. However, I made the mistake on these policies of not checking them out fully. I thought we were getting 30 year level premium policies, but that was not the case. Upon receiving a premium increase I discovered that our premium goes up every five year age band. I was not happy about this, so I brought in another agent that has been consistent in speaking with us.

Our goal with life insurance is simply to have a "starting over" fund in case something tragic happens to one of us. We want to keep premiums low for budget purposes and need only enough coverage to allow either one of us to get back on our feet. We discussed having a term insurance and permanent insurance combination, but ultimately could not justify the permanent insurance premium.

So we went with two $250,000 30 year level premium policies. We will pay the $1,200 premium annually, but this falls nicely within our budget at $100 per month. Also, these policies are convertible into permanent insurance at any time during the 30 year term.

Our agent for the life insurance is also looking into health plans for us as well. We will likely go with a high deductible PPO, but we are now trying to determine whether a Health Saving Account (HSA) plan to go with the PPO makes sense.

Friday night we decided that it was time to deliver our Cockatiel, Buddy, to his new home over the weekend. This was a very emotional night for Linda as she was packing up Buddy's stuff and various memories and pieces of our lives that we may never see again.

This time of mourning appears to be normal for most full-timers, but it is still very hard to end several chapters in one's life all at once no matter how exciting the future seems. We will be fine, but the sadness along with the pressure of having to be packed and out of our house and still not knowing exactly what we can fit into our new rig is all a little overwhelming.

Fortunately our dealer told us on Friday that our Cambridge would be in on Tuesday of next week at the latest. So after I get back from the business trip Wednesday night, we are driving to Akron very early Thursday morning. On Thursday we will get the hitch installed on the truck and do our detailed inspection of the unit. We will reserve next Friday for the dealership to correct any problems we may find with the rig. Then it is our plan to go to a nearby campground for a couple of days to test out everything in a real life situation. That way we can take the rig back to the dealer if we find anything else that needs to be fixed.

Oh, by the way, we had another weigh-in at Weight Watchers. After two weeks on the plan, I had lost a little over eight pounds and Linda was down almost three.

Thus ends another week.

Week 16

Saturday, April 16, 2005 and Sunday, April 17, 2005
More Packing, Hauling, Getting Rid of Stuff, and Buddy Goes To His New Home

It has been another beautiful weekend. Linda is proving that our cabinets and closets hold a lot of stuff that we have to figure out what to do with. She is doing a great job of sorting it all out and getting it packed. She held a sale at the house to get rid of much of her remaining candles and candle accessories left over from her Partylite Candles direct sales business. She had a good day on Saturday, but it looks to me like nothing is gone.

In the afternoon on Saturday we loaded up the F450 and made a run to her mothers house. We transferred several boxes of future yard sale stuff and stuff we are giving to other family members and stuff we are storing. It was a pretty good start.

Then, Saturday night, we decided we needed to get tools together to have in our RV. Again, I am not "Tim the Tool Man Taylor." I am more like "Howard the Who Can I Persuade (okay, Con) to Do Things For Me."

So we got out our Trailer Life Campground Directory which I recalled had a recommended tools list. We also consulted our full-timing books which also had suggested tool lists. We compared all the lists and went to the garage to see what we already had. You guessed it. Not much. So we piled into the truck and headed to Sears with our consolidated shopping list.

We got lots and lots of tools. Now my guess is we will never take about half of these tools out of the fancy new tool box we bought. But the experts say we need to have them, so we will be prepared. As long as I have a few repair guides with detailed instructions I will be good to go - well, as soon as I learn the difference between the five kinds of wrenches, four kinds of pliers, and twelve different screwdrivers. Oh and what am I supposed to do with the 8,000 piece socket set? And what was that RV weight limit thing? I am starting to think that food may make our fifth wheel too heavy.

Sunday included another loaded truck trip to the mother-in-law's. Once we got that truckload scattered throughout the house, Linda was starting to let go of the overwhelmed feeling. My back may not recover from some of the heavy boxes, but she is feeling a lot better about being ready to vacate the house on May 9.

Just one more very tough task for Sunday evening. We have to load up Buddy the Cockatiel for his trip to his new home. Buddy was a birthday gift for Linda from me over twelve years ago. He used to be able to whistle the Andy Griffith theme song from beginning to end and he was a very sweet bird. Then Linda decided he needed a companion while we were at work. He has now survived two females and he fathered I don't know how many baby cockatiels. But he doesn't whistle anymore. And he is not sweet anymore - he likes us being around, but we can't handle him without being bitten. Yet he has been part of the family for over twelve years and we have spent thousands of dollars keeping this $45 bird alive from various illnesses. So even though he is not a cuddly loving pet, he now has a new home and the silence in the house is tough. We already miss his squeaks acknowledging a welcome when we get home and his crazy antics with his now permanent girlfriend, a Beenie Baby, Jabber the Parrot. Buddy, we know you are in good hands, but we will miss you.

Monday, April 18, 2005 and Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Coordinating The Pick Up Of Our RV

These two days were spent in Tampa on business so there is not much to report. I simply made phone calls to our dealer to make sure our Cambridge was arriving and to make sure we could get our hitch installation scheduled.

The first gentleman I spoke with sounded concerned about my request for the hitch installation on Thursday. Apparently the service department was pretty booked. After speaking with the sales department I was assured the hitch would get installed on Thursday, but the rig did not come in Monday or Tuesday as expected. They were sure it would be in on Wednesday. I'm getting a little nervous, but the optimist in me knows everything will work out okay.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
The RV Pick Up

I was still in Tampa for yet another meeting on Wednesday. But I got a call from our dealer, Sirpilla RV, letting me know the Cambridge did arrive Wednesday morning. Our salesman, Mike, assured me that they would be ready for us and that it would be an all day affair. He asked if could be there by 8:30 am.

So I called Linda and we decided we would leave Wednesday night even though I would not arrive back in Louisville until 9:00 pm. She had to be at the house at 5:00 for our buyers' appraiser. She would pack for our trip and we would get on the road and drive as far as we could.

After I got home we loaded the truck with clothes, towels and linens, food, cooking supplies, and our new tool box. I printed some of the emails we had gotten from two other couples who had picked up their Cambridge models, got quick driving directions, and headed out about 10:30.

We drove until 1:00 am Thursday and finally stopped for sleep between Cincinatti and Columbus, OH. We got a room, planned to get a couple hours sleep and be back on the road by 6:00 am. What a long day!

Thursday, April 21, 2005
A Long Day At The RV Dealership

As planned, we got up at 5:00 am and were on the road by 6:00. We arrived at Sirpilla RV in Akron at 9:00 am. They were ready for us and everyone was very helpful. The service department took our truck to install the hitch and a young man named Chris took us to the "Show Through" bay for our walk-through.

If you recall, another couple we met had bought the Cambridge from Sirpilla at the same Cleveland RV show in January. They had already gone through the delivery process. Since theirs was the first Cambridge delivered by Sirpilla, they were the guinea pigs and let us know what to expect. They had numerous small glitches, so we came in with low, but reasonable, expectations.

The first thing we noticed when we started our walk-through was how huge the RV is. It looked a whole lot bigger than when it was in the Cleveland Convention Center. Linda and I just kept looking at each other and laughing about how us two newbies were going to pull this humongous rig.

We spent about 3 1/2 hours doing our walk-through and Linda took lots of notes. We went over the outside first and noted the landing gear, stabilizing jacks, electric hook-up, water heater, fresh water input, system drain convenience center, storage compartments, generator, central vacuum system, lights, and more. Once inside, we went over the master control panel, the four slideouts, the toilet functions, the sinks and shower, the microwave, stove and oven, the refrigerator, the TVs and DVD system including the antenna on the roof, the automatic vent fans, and the electric fireplace. Wow, there is a lot of stuff to remember and a lot of technology built into this fifth wheel.

Then we got a visit from the Customer Care Manager. It turns out the dealer could not install the hitch because of the construction of our Ford F450. Since it comes from the factory "incomplete" and the bed has to be added, special welding was required. So they needed to send the truck offsite and wanted to get our approval. We didn't have much choice, so we said okay and they were going to try to get it done the same day.

We only had a few very minor things that needed to be checked out or fixed. We completed a punch list and then walked to lunch. After we returned, we went to the finance office and completed the necessary paperwork. We were hoping to have our house sold so that we could pay cash. But, since the sale of our house is going to be May 9, we are actually going to pay off the RV loan before our first payment. While in the finance department we went ahead and purchased a seven year parts and labor warranty, a three year roadside assistance plan through Coachnet that covers both the RV and tow vehicle, and a seven year road hazard tire repair and replacement plan.

The punch list was completed by the time we finished with lunch and the finance department. Then Chris gave us a "tour" of the store and we picked up several items that Sirpilla includes with their new customr welcome package. We also picked up some miscellaneous products such as electrical adapters to convert from our 50 amp plug to 30 and 15 amp, toilet deodorant and breakdown chemical, marine biodegradable toilet paper, rubber seal cleaning and maintenance supplies, a mud dauber screen for the furnace vent, and various other items that were not expensive but recommended. Yes, we know the dealer sees a couple of stooges that don't know what they are doing and an opportunity to upsell lots of stuff. But we have to trust someone at this point and these guys have taken very good care of us. Besides, we are just a few weeks away from not being able to afford much in the way of accessories, so if we need them later we may be out of luck.

By now it was getting late. We were concerned about learning to hitch the trailer, figuring out how to drive, and finding a campground. The offsite welder completed their part after 5:00. Since it was after 5:00, the dealer's service personnel had gone home so the installation of the hitch could not be completed. Since we could not take the trailer anywhere, Sirpilla graciously allowed us to set up on their lot for the evening. They parked it for us and hooked us up with electric. We unpacked all of our belongings and got all of the systems going. We noted a couple of more items that needed to be fixed and Sirpilla got right on them. They also gave us a very quick lesson in hitching and unhitching. Then we headed to the grocery to pick up a few items and settled in for the evening.

What a day! We learned so much and have forgotten half of it already. We had cereal for dinner, watched the local news to catch the forecasts for snow over the weekend, watched Survivor (Linda's addicted), and fell asleep early. All in all our first night living in an RV was a success.

Friday, April 22, 2005
If You Buy An RV, Spend The Night On The Dealer's Lot

We had a pretty good night's sleep in our new home. Our only problem during the night was that we were concerned about conserving propane even though our unit has two 40 gallon propane tanks. So we stayed cold until we wised up and turned the thermostat up to get the furnace going. Once we did that, we were toasty the rest of the morning.

We finally got up around 7:00 am. Linda fixed bacon and eggs for breakfast and we had our first cooked meal in the unit. After breakfast I was headed to the dealer office to deliver keys to the truck so the hitch installation could be finished. When suddenly our door popped open. One of the guys had noticed our Cambridge. He had not yet had the opportunity (since ours was only the second through the dealer) to take a good look. He was quite embarrassed to see me at the top of the steps and Linda right behind me. He apologized profusely as we were encouraging him to come on in. He declined and just kept apologizing.

I took the truck over to service and they said to check back in a couple of hours. I also told them about a residue on the floor and a crack in one of the interior doors. About an hour later the truck was back. The driver cleaned up the residue on the floor and reported the crack in the door to the manufacturer. He also gave me a hitching lesson and suggested that I fill the main tank up with diesel before we hitched up and took off.

So I took the pick-up to get gas. It was the first time I had filled the main tank. $74.00. Ouch. When I got back we were preparing to take the leap to hitch up and drive to a movie theater parking lot to practice driving.

Linda took the first shower while I checked and returned emails. Then it started raining and I got my shower. While I was getting ready, Linda noticed that the floor outside the shower was wet. Uh oh. Did we have a leak? Potential big problem.

So I headed back over to the office and explained our problem. They sent a technician over and tested the shower. Eventually, he found that water was getting in between the frame the shower glass was in and the exterior frame. It appeared that some of the screws had been overtightened and they broke off. He got another opinion and went to get tools to fix the problem. We headed to lunch.

We dropped by to see how the progress was going. It appeared that the tech had completed his work. We went to pick up a few other grocery items. When we returned, we tested the repair and it was no longer leaking. Then we tested the other side of the shower and had the exact same leak problem. We got the tech back out and he fixed the second leak. Now it was about 4:00.

We were now ready to get our feet wet. However, as Linda was bringing in one of the slides, water poured off the top into our RV. Yikes! I called into the dealer office and they sent Dominic to check it out. Apparently, we were supposed to make sure there was no pooling water on the top of the slides before we brought them in. I went back inside with Dominic and bought something to sweep the water off the slides. Linda and I decided I would get up on the roof and sweep off the water from each slide while she would bring the slide in slowly as I kept sweeping. Well, we got our wires crossed and I got my new tool caught in the slide snapping it right off the handle. Yeah, the Sirpilla guys watching this were pretty amused, too.

Apparently, power awnings over the slideouts are the way to go. They help prevent water, leaves and sticks from accumulating on the tops of the slides. I had read on several forums that most full-timers would not be without these awnings. So we went inside to see if we could get some slide awnings installed before we headed back to Louisville. We found that we could have them installed on Tuesday, So our return to Louisville is going to be delayed one day so we can get slide awnings and vent covers installed - only (gulp) another $2,000. But these are a really good thing to have as full-timers and we will be happy we did this down the road.

By this time, it was decided that we were going to stay on the lot again Friday night. We had prepared for that from the beginning, so we were not frustrated. But now our fresh water tank was empty from our showers and testing the shower leaks. We all decided that we would take the RV over to the dealer building and get our fresh water tank refilled. We then would just park it in a different location. It was my turn to hitch up and pull the RV for the first time. I had an experienced co-pilot that helped me, but I did fine moving the rig around the dealer lot. The F450 wasn't phased at all - our large rig was no problem for our little power monster.

We still haven't gotten off the lot, but once again we learned a lot and would have been freaking out had we left the dealership and discovered these unexpected problems. So, our advice when buying an RV is to get the dealer to allow you to stay on site at least one night so you can test everything out in real life situations. Do not underestimate the value of this!!

Well that is it for another long day. Tomorrow we defintely will be taking this very humorous show on the road to a nearby campground. I'm sure there will be a few more laughs.

Go to Weeks 1 - 4 (January 1, 2005 - January 28, 2005)
Go to Weeks 5 - 8 (January 29, 2005 - February 25, 2005)
Go to Weeks 9 - 12 (February 26, 2005 - March 25, 2005)
Go to Weeks 17 - 20 (April 23, 2005 - May 20, 2005)
Go to Weeks 21 - 24 (May 21, 2005 - June 17, 2005)
Go to Weeks 25 - 28 (June 18, 2005 - July 15, 2005)
Go to Weeks 29 - 30.5 (July 16, 2005 - August 2, 2005)