Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Niagara Falls... or Bust! (We Went BUST!)

Get comfortable, VERY long post incoming!

Each year, we plan one big vacation and a few smaller ones.  In January, we went on a Caribbean Cruise along with Jeff's parents.  That was a really fun time, and we love cruising just as much as RVing, but since then we've been waiting all year for our next vacation.  We decided since we took a cruise in the beginning of the year, we'd take a trip in the RV.

As we've discussed before here on the blog, there isn't much local camping here on Long Island, and, we wouldn't really enjoy it anyway.  To sum it up, we RV for the destination and exploring, not just sitting in the woods on a weekend.  With that in mind, this vacation in the fall would be the only trip we took in the RV this year since we don't want to use it locally.

After some discussion, it was decided we would go somewhere fairly close to home so as not to deal with long driving days and short nights in loud roadside campgrounds only to spend one or two short days wherever we decided to go.

So with all of that in our minds, we decided that we'd go see Niagara Falls in September.  We picked September so crowds would be light, temperatures would be favorable, and vacation time at work was easy to come by.

We were set to leave on Sunday, September 24th and not return until the following Sunday.  It's about 10 hours driving time from Long Island to Niagara Falls and we had decided to break up the trip up the New York State Thruway with a stop in Verona, NY at the highly rated and recommended "Villages at Turning Stone Casino RV Park."  That would give us only 3 hours drive-time on day two to slowly make our way to Buffalo and Niagara Falls.  We made reservations for the KOA in Grand Island, New York, just minutes from Niagara.  We'd spend 4 nights there to take our time sightseeing, then two more nights on the journey home.  We even splurged on the large private "patio" spot at the KOA.

Lauren has never been to the area before so while there we planned for her to eat her first real Buffalo Wings from Duffs or Anchor Bar (Jeff prefers Duffs.)  As BIG fans of I Love Lucy, we planned to also make a visit to Jamestown to see the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz museum to see props and some recreated sets from one of our favorite shows and television's funniest woman ever.

As an added bonus, we had also planned a stop in Syracuse, NY to stop in and see Jeff's 98 year old Grandfather.  The New York State Thruway runs right through Syracuse and it would be a less than 5 minute detour off our route to see him. We planned to stop in for a late breakfast and lunch before heading on our way to our destination.

All summer long Jeff cleaned and prepared the trailer getting her ready while Lauren came up with the meal plan and prepped the supplies we'd need.

A month out we upgraded our tires from the cheap Chinese "Rainier" brand that came with the Jayco to the American made Goodyear Endurance tires.  A higher PSI and temperature rating along with stiffer sidewalls made for a noticeable smoother tow and added peace of mind.

A week out we started packing.  Clothes, supplies, tools, and all of our other RV goodies were set up and moved into the trailer.  Jeff changed the oil and transmission fluid in the truck and made sure all systems were go.

The day before we got the dogs bathed and ready.  Jeff hitched up the trailer and towed her from the backyard.  Lauren wasn't feeling that well but was still excited to go.

Sunday morning we awoke early to hit the road.  The truck was packed.  The dogs were excited.  I started the truck right at 6:30 AM and asked Lauren to check the brake lights one last time before we departed.

I couldn't believe it when a big thumbs down came from behind the trailer.  She came up to the driver window and explained that the left brake light and turn signal worked fine but the right light was out completely.  Fighting the sudden anxiety of "this is going to mess with our vacation," I went through my mental Rolodex of what could potentially be wrong and how I could fix it.

I hoped for the best thinking "maybe it's just a bad bulb." We towed the rig to the Walmart in town in hopes we could just replace it and be on our way.  We were a half hour early for them to open, so we sat silently in the parking lot waiting.  Looking back now, I could have saved myself time and energy just swapping the left bulb with the right one.  At the time however, my mind was racing with the possibility of electrical issues while fighting my Type A mentality of "complete the mission" and our now delayed vacation... or worse.

So, of course, Walmart opens, I grab a new bulb, run out to the parking lot, and PRESTO!  Wait, no... it still doesn't work.

Knowing several people that would "just go anyway," I just didn't feel comfortable towing across New York state without a turn signal or brake light and Lauren agreed so we towed it the 5 minutes home and parked in front of the house.  Lauren took the dogs in to go lay down (she still wasn't feeling well) and I took apart the brake lights to see if my basic electrical knowledge could help anything.
Working on the trailer.  Several lights were removed while I tried to figure out how the wiring worked.

After cleaning the plug from the truck and trailer cable, re-cleaning, and cleaning it again , taking apart both of the rear brake lights and the top running lights trying to trace the wires, testing and re-splicing wires, and a host of other things I had discovered the following:
  1. The right brake/turn light would work if the truck's headlights and trailer's running lights were off, albeit much dimmer than the left.  
  2. The wires for each light disappeared into the back wall of the trailer and none of them seemed connected in an area I could fix myself. 
  3. If you held the running light wire (the brown/green wire) to the frame of the trailer the lights would work fine, although the wires would spark continuously while being held against the trailer.
  4. Using a voltmeter, the light was only receiving 2-3 volts with the headlights/running lights on (no light), and 8-10 volts (dim light) with the headlights off.
  5. Using said voltmeter, the 7 pin truck plug was providing the correct 12 volts on each pin. 
  6. Every trailer repair shop on Long Island is closed on Sundays.  Really?!
Clearly we had a ground issue based on the fact if you touched the wires to the frame the lights would work.  
You can see the tail lights dangling by the wires while I took a break.

I also found that the internet and YouTube, although normally EXTREMELY helpful, provided ZERO help for our particular situation.  Maybe someone with this issue will find this blog and therefor be helped through it.  I always say I'm thankful to the people that usually post issues like this on the internet, so here I am giving back.

Everything I read said "check the ground" but never really explained how the light was grounded.  None of the lights had ground lines connected to the frame.  The ground on the truck plug worked when I checked.  I had vague recollection of reading that the ball hitch receiver was a source of ground and thought  I may have greased the ball too much when I hitched up so I cleaned that off and roughed it up a bit with sandpaper but that didn't work either.

By now it was 4pm.  By the way, those cool end-of-September temperatures turned out to be 94 degrees.  I was on my 3rd sweat soaked t-shirt by the time I had to admit we weren't going anywhere so I gave up for the day.  

I closed up the lights, resealed them with Dicor Sealant since it was expected to rain over night (lesson learned, don't use self leveling sealant on vertical surfaces in 94 degree heat... WHAT A MESS!) and headed inside.

The next morning I got up early and fiddled with the lights some more.  I was desperate enough to make a run to Walmart and buy a LED light (since it uses less power than a regular incandescent bulb) but that didn't work either.  It was worth a shot and we returned the light at Walmart for a refund.  

I pride myself on taking care of my things and being able to fix stuff but at 9am when the trailer repair facility opened, we called and asked for help.  They told us to bring it in but warned us that it could take up to 2 weeks with the end-of-season rush for people to fix or winterize their trailer.  

2 weeks?!  Our trip was off.  

Since it was daylight I kept the truck headlights off so, that while dim, at least the turn signal and brake light would at least work and be visible to other motorists.  We towed her 30 minutes east on the Long Island Expressway and dropped her off.  They had a special tester and verified it wasn't my truck before we left.  It wasn't a total loss, we checked out the Class C's on the lot before leaving.  That Jayco Melbourne looks right up our alley... anyone have $75k they want to loan us!?  :-)


We headed home and went back to bed.  I was mentally exhausted from the stress and disappointment (and from working in the heat on the trailer all day) and Lauren was feeling worse and I began to think perhaps it wasn't a bad thing we weren't going on our trip.  I felt terrible we couldn't go but was glad Lauren could get some rest.  I was upset that I wouldn't get to see my Grandfather either, especially since it had been nearly 2 years since I last saw him and at 98... well, let's not think of that.

Laying in bed with Lauren rested, I was watching a Monk marathon on The Hallmark Channel.  Sometimes I have to wonder just how old are we?!  I'm 33, Lauren's 32.  Anyway, I thought to myself... "You're an airline pilot and we get to fly for free as long as there are seats available on the flight."  Just fly up and see Gramps! 

So I decided that on Wednesday I would fly up in the morning, spend the day, and fly home that night.  I could easily stay longer but at his age he gets tired very easily especially with visitors and my Dad said that just a few hours was more than enough.  

Tuesday was spent lounging around the house but Lauren was feeling better so she decided she'd like to see Grandpa too.  Wednesday morning came and we dropped the dogs off at her parents house on the way to the airport.  The flight had some spare seats and we were in Syracuse by 11AM.  

I kid you not, the plane was just pushing back from the gate when I felt my phone buzz from a call.  It was the trailer facility!!  When we landed I checked my voicemail and they said it was all fixed!  So much for 2 weeks!  It was not even 2 days!  I called and asked what was wrong with it and the kid that answered the phone didn't know but read to me what the tech had written on our work slip.  It said that they removed the light, repaired the ground, and reinstalled the light.  I asked what the ground was that he repaired but the kid said he just answered the phone and didn't know and speak with the tech when I picked it up.  Oh well, I'd ask when we got there.

Gramps looked great.  He's still mobile and fully with it.  He gets tired easily and some of his memory is fuzzy but I pray that I am as good as he is at 98 when I'm half that age.  

Our flight home was at 6pm so we had plenty of time to visit. In the afternoon during his nap I checked on our flight and found that the flight was full and there wouldn't be any available seats for us to get home.  Almost at the same time Lauren and I had the same thought.  She said "you know, we have the rental car and we're right here.  Let's just drive to Buffalo tonight, see Niagara Falls in the morning and then fly home tomorrow!"

Only one problem.. we had NO clothes and NO toiletries.  This was supposed to be a day trip!  But, we'll figure it out, right? 

We drove the 3 hours to Buffalo and booked a hotel on Priceline while we were on the way.  Before setting up for the night at the hotel we stopped in at Duff's Famous Buffalo Wings so Lauren could get a taste for herself.  Delicious!  We google mapped a Walmart (which happened to be less than 2 miles away) and picked up some toiletries and some fresh underwear for the the next day!  

We got up early and headed to Niagara Falls.  It was absolutely gorgeous... but cold!  It went from 90 to 60 degrees overnight!!  We had to wait for the gift shop to open just to purchase sweatshirts since we were unprepared to even be there, let alone for such a temperature change.  We arrived around 8am and the attractions didn't open until 9 so we had the place practically to ourselves.  We were able to take a bunch of photos in front of the Falls together that would guarantee that we'll have at least one good one to use as our Christmas card this year.

From the famous "Maid of the Mist"

The Cave of the Wind with the "Hurricane Deck" was our favorite.  It's amazing that they build and tear down that deck every year to avoid damage over the winter when the Falls freeze.  The Hurricane Deck is the top level where you can get hit with Hurricane force winds and water from the falls.  I loved it even though it was so cold.  Lauren was brave enough to try it too!

 Jeff getting soaked on the "Hurricane Deck"

Lauren was brave enough to try, too!

The Maid of the Mist was fun, and we're glad we did it since it's so iconic, but we don't think it would be worth it to go again.  Since we hadn't planned on even being there, we unfortunately didn't have our passports with us and couldn't cross the rainbow bridge over to Canada to see it from the Canadian side.  Lesson learned, always bring your passport!  

We planned to drive back to Rochester for the 7pm flight home to New York.  It sounds crazy even though we were right there in Buffalo but the flights were full in Buffalo and Rochester had more empty seats than full... so Rochester it was!  

It was only 11am at that time and we had an afternoon to kill...so why not drive down and see the Lucy/Desi museum like we had originally planned?  A quick 2 hours later, we arrived in Jamestown, NY (birthplace to Lucille Ball) and got to see props and other memorabilia from "I Love Lucy" along with some recreated sets of their famous New York City apartment at 623 E 68th Street (a fictitious address... it would be in the middle of the East River if it existed!) and the set for Room 315 at the Beverly Palms Hotel in Hollywood, California from the 4th season when the show moved to Hollywood for Ricky's movie. 

Fans of "I Love Lucy" will recognize these sets from the show.   A mix of original and re-created artifacts, it was funny to see them in living color!

The other section of the Museum was dedicated to the real lives of the people Lucille and Desi and we learned many interesting things, some new to even big fans like ourselves.  There were very few people at the museum (ok, it was a Thursday at noon) and we were certainly the youngest people there but we were greeted warmly by the staff and found the information to be nicely presented and the grounds clean and well cared for.  

After truly enjoying ourselves, we headed an hour and a half back to Buffalo and ate an early dinner at Duffs again (I guess Lauren enjoyed it just as much as I do!) and then drove the rest of the way to Rochester.  We returned the rental car, flew home, got our puppies from "Grandma and Grandpa's" and were in our own beds by 9:30pm.  Phew!  What a trip!  

PHEW!  You made it this far!  Thanks for reading, I know this was a long one.  I'll keep the conclusion short, I promise!

We made an appointment to pick up the trailer on Saturday morning, and with the day in between I was able to do something I had been wanting to do for a long time:  Lay down crushed stone in the yard for the trailer to rest on. 

We had brick paver stones for under the tires but it was difficult to keep the grass short underneath the trailer and the grass was unattractive, spotty, full of weeds, and would often get muddy.  We had the stones delivered and a few hours later we were happy with our work.

 Piper and Rocky approve of our work.

Saturday morning we went and picked up the trailer.  I got to speak to the tech VERY briefly about what was wrong with it.  He said the 4 screws that held the backing frame of the light to the trailer were what grounded it.  After I was home I questioned that since the light frame was plastic and the electrical wiring just ran through a hole in the plastic to a clip that held the light in place and wasn't connected to those screws or the frame in any way.  I couldn't see how screws that held the plastic to the frame grounded anything, but, that's what the technician who worked on the trailer told me and all I have to go off of. 

He was in a hurry and wanted to make sure he also admonished me for my "liberal use" of the sealant and told me to not use that again on the frame saying it was a mess (it was) and that it made his job harder (it might have).  It was slightly embarrassing to be called out like that but I had already learned my lesson the other day on my own when it made such a mess.  Oh well.  

An hour later the trailer was home and it all worked.  Everything was covered under warranty so all it cost us was $6.00 for an updated New York Inspection.

What a week!  While it wasn't in our trailer like we originally planned, we were happy to have at least been able to make something of our week off.  We got to see everything we originally planned to see, along with my Grandfather, and the trailer was fixed.

Back in the yard, all fixed.

Until next spring... we have plans that might take the trailer south!

Get ready Uncle Mickey and Aunt Minnie, here we come!


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Explaining Ourselves, Again!

Ok, so it's August.  We've been missing for another few months.  Life's busy, what can I say?  We haven't pulled the trigger on a Class C yet, although we've looked at quite a few of them.  I really think it's the direction we're headed, but, not quite yet.

So, what's next?

Well, I FINALLY (towards the end of summer) got around to posting our "De-Winterizing" How-To blog.  You can read that directly below this post or click on the "RV'ing Tips" link to the right.

I also finally have to get the "RV'ing with Dogs" blog post finished.  I think that might be the most helpful post to our readers of the few that I'm currently working on.  I've also got to get the Trip Reports for The Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore and Black Hills, Devil's Tower National Monument, and 1880's Town blog posts finished.

I've just uploaded some photos to the photos page, so you can at least view those while I get my typing fingers all warmed up.  

We've made plans for our "annual" big trip this year!  We're headed to Niagara Falls this September once the weather cools and the busy summer flying season (for Jeff) is over!  Part of the problem with us not getting the most enjoyment out of our big trip out west was the constant go-go-go in the high heat of August.  This will be a nice leisurely trip, no driving legs over 4 hours.  We plan on getting to the campgrounds early in the day so we can relax, build a campfire, and enjoy the journey.

We don't have any plans other than seeing the Falls, so it will be nice to just take things as they come.  At the end of September we should also have nice cooler weather that will make using the trailer a much more enjoyable experience compared to the 100+ degree days last summer.  You can bet I'll be taking photos and will (eventually) get around to posting a trip report about that as well!

That's what we have in store for this site.  Thank you for still reading (if anyone is out there.)  We hope you're enjoying your summer RV season like we are!


How to De-Winterize Your Trailer or MotorHome

Happily, it's that time of year again!  It's time to awaken the beast from it's winter slumber!  It's time to DE-WINTERIZE your Travel Trailer or Motor Home!  

If your like us, relative new-comers to the RV world or maybe you're an old timer that's a bit rusty or just wants a refresher, you head to the internet for a reminder of all the steps needed.  There's an awful lot of information out there about how to WINTERIZE your trailer or motor home, but not really that much about DE-WINTERIZING!  Here's a quick photo step-by-step about how I de-winterized our Jayco Travel Trailer earlier this spring!  

STEP ONE:  SHE NEEDS MORE POWER, CAPTAIN!  BATTERIES and HOOK UPS!

I store my batteries in the garage over the winter to keep them from the freezing cold New York winter.  Using my battery charger a few days earlier, I brought them up to full charge and lugged them around back.  During the fall when we winterized our trailer, Each wire was removed, bundled together, and labeled for ease of use.  Since these wires were exposed all winter, I wrapped them in plastic shopping bags to protect them from any winter weather.


Now, looking at the picture I know it looks like a bird's nest of wires, but, trust that there is a method to my madness!  

All hooked up, just have to finish putting the battery covers on, so let's head inside to check the gauges!

Full batteries... I like what I see!

My solar panels are putting out 18.7 V, this will keep my batteries topped off while she sits in the backyard.  

The solar panels will keep the batteries topped off while our Jayco sits in the backyard, but to be honest, we stayed plugged into the house at all times.  I actually had to replace my Progressive Industries Surge Protector this year as it apparently had done it's job during a power surge and had blown itself.  I'll write a blog post about that next and come back and link to that here.



STEP TWO:  CLEAN THOSE PIPES!  (De-Winterize Your Water System)

For those of you who don't use the pink RV/Marine Anti-Freeze liquid and blow out your pipes, you can ignore this step and go right to sanitizing your tanks.  For folks like us, there's a few more steps involved.

Step 2.1:  I hooked up my water hose to our city water inlet.  That way we had positive water pressure without filling my 80 gallon fresh water tanks and having to run the water pump.  


Step 2.2:  With the water line open, I went to each individual faucet or shower head and opened up both the hot and cold lines until the water turned from pink to clear.  


What starts out as pink anti-freeze...


Eventually turns clear.


Same goes for the kitchen sink....


And the bathroom sink!  

Don't forget the toilet, shower, or any outdoor showers or kitchens you might have!  

Step 2.3:  Next up, it's time to sanitize your water system!  You should do this two or three times a year to make sure your water is safe to drink and use.  We previously did a blog on this, so I'm not going to repeat myself.  Just click the photo down below to read about SANITIZING YOUR FRESH TANKS!

Make sure to SANITIZE YOUR TANKS!

Step 2.4:  Get that hot water heater going again!  Before the winter came, I had opened the drain plug and relief valves.  I made sure the plug was in tight and shut the over-pressure relief valve.  I also fired it up to make sure it worked.  


The pressure relief valve looks similar to your home's water heater.  Here it's open...


And here it's closed.  


The drain plug on the bottom left is in tightly.  I left the panel open to make sure the heater fired up using both the propane and electric starters.



STEP THREE: ALL THE (NOT-SO) SMALL THINGS!  

Now that we've accomplished some of the more time consuming tasks, it's time to take care of all of the little (but still important!) items.  I changed the batteries in my smoke alarms.  Then I tested the propane/CO2 leak detector.  Next, I made sure the on board fire extinguisher was still serviceable and good for another year.  I opened the propane and made sure that the oven, cook top range, and the propane hot water heater ignition still worked.  I also tested the fridge but ultimately chose to leave it off once I could tell that it cooled slightly.  I then shut off the propane so it would be full when we needed it (no need to run the fridge for weeks when it's not being used!)


 New batteries and a quick test to make sure it still works.  


Press the test button on the top right and you should see all lights and a tone.


 We carry a much larger name brand Halon fire extinguisher when we go on trips but this is the one that came with the Jayco and stays onboard year-round.


Oven and range light right up!  

And that's about it!  A few days later I went up on the roof and inspected all the seals.  There was some spots where, even under the custom cover to the RV, the seals had dried and cracked.  I covered with Dicor Lap Sealant and covered some seals around our skylights and antennas with my favorite sealant of all, EternaBond sealant tape, for a nice clean look.  





After that, I added air to the tires and gave our trailer a nice wash and wax.  Now, you're ready for a fun season of RV'ing!







Thursday, February 23, 2017

Where have we been? Where do we go from here?

If any of our readers are even still here... THANK YOU!  We have definitely been missing for a few months (ok, like 6!)... so, what happened?

WHERE HAVE WE BEEN?

Well, like most of you know, real life comes at you fast.  We purchased the trailer in the spring of last year, took delivery in April, went on a few trips, went on our BIG 5,000+ mile trip in August/September, and put the trailer away for the winter fairly quickly at the end of September.

Then life just got in the way.  We both work full time.  Shortly after returning from our trip out west, Lauren was given a promotion and now spends 10-12 hours a day running her department at work. As an airline pilot, Jeff's busiest time of year is the fall and winter as everyone begins flying more to visit loved ones around the holidays.

Now that it's towards the end of February and we're seeing the finish line in terms of winter here in New York, we're getting that RV'ing bug again.  I'm getting the itch to rip the cover off the Jayco and get her ready for spring.

BUT...

After winterizing the trailer and a few weeks went by, we discussed selling the trailer.

Yes... Selling.  After all of that hard work.  After all of that fun tinkering with mods and add-ons.  After all of that money spent upgrading and fixing up our trailer.  Selling.

Turns out that Lauren didn't enjoy our "big trip" as much as I did.  I don't blame her.  She had very good reasons.

It was my fault, really.  I pushed us hard every day driving 8-12 hours, with short rests at night so we could hit the road early the next day.  Not because I enjoy driving, but, we had a large itinerary and a short time period in which to do so before returning home for work.

If you have your own or rent an RV, you know that every time you plan something it winds up taking ten times longer than you expect.

I did as much of the work as I could knowing that she would hate having to do a lot on her own.  So it was all me hitching the trailer, connecting and disconnecting the sewer hose, the power cords, and so on.  Unfortunately it was also deathly hot during our trip (dog days of August in the Mid West!) and it was often uncomfortable in the trailer while she wrangled our two energetic puppies or fixed up dinner in the hot trailer waiting for me to set it up before the air conditioner got going every night.

Only once on our trip did we set up camp for more than one night.  It was a constant go-go-go.  I was thrilled just being out on the road with our trailer.  It was something I had wanted to do since childhood.  She, on the other hand, didn't enjoy sleeping in rest areas when we were tired, having most of our food spoil on our first day because the ice in the cooler wouldn't keep them frozen during the day, or the stress of towing a trailer on busy roads.

Looking back on it now several months later, I'll admit that towing the trailer stressed me out more than I admitted during the trip.  We went through some pretty busy areas.  Even though we scheduled ot pass through Chicago early in the morning, traffic was still hectic and very heavy both times we passed by.  Major construction between La Crosse and Madison Wisconsin caused a few white knuckle moments.  The winding hills (and steep cliff dropoffs) of Pennsylvania also caused us to go wide-eyed at times... among a few others places where towing a 27 foot long trailer weighing nearly 5000lbs made me quite uncomfortable.

Plus, it was pretty slow going.  Most Travel Trailer tires should not exceed 65mph, plus with the high winds out in the Great Plains, there was times we were swaying pretty good even going 50mph.  I was also constantly concerned with the tire temperature and pressure as there would often be some pretty large fluctuations throughout the day based on my TPMS monitor.  

SO, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

We've both decided that a travel trailer likely isn't for us.  It's a lot of work and time just getting hitched and unhitched.  It's a lot of stress towing it.  When I think about it, between my truck and trailer, we have over 45 feet of heavy metal rolling down the street.

So, we've been thinking.  Perhaps... a Class C is in order for the two of us!

We've discussed what we enjoyed and didn't enjoy about the trailer.  One of the many items, as I've mentioned here, was the time it takes to hitch up and unhitch the trailer.  We also did not enjoy the fact that whenever we stopped for a nature break we had to get out of the truck, walk back to the trailer, fold down the steps, unlock the door, use the bathroom, and then repeat the process in reverse.

Having a motor home would allow us to easily slip back and forth between "Driving" and "Living" without ever leaving the vehicle.

We'd also have beefier tires and be able to drive a little faster than 65mph with a bit better fuel economy.  Our living in New York isn't changing any time soon so any place we go would be more about the destination than the journey because it would take so long to get out of the North East, just like our trip to Mount Rushmore.  We'll have to travel larger distances during the day and a bigger gas tank (my truck only got us about 180 miles before refueling where as some of the Class C's we've been looking at carry enough fuel to easily go 400-500 miles before stopping.

I don't want to go 100mph in a motor home, that's just crazy talk.  A lot of the time towing the trailer, we found ourselves between 55 and 60.  On a road where driving 55 is almost a safety hazard because everyone else is doing 80 or 90, going 70 or 75 would be nice.  Just increasing that to a constant 70 could increase our distance traveled by nearly 100 extra miles per day!

(As a general disclaimer, please spare me the safety lecture on driving at high speeds.  As an airline pilot, safety is ALWAYS my number one priority when operating heavy machinery.  I adjust speeds as I see necessary.  Just because I want to go 70-75mph doesn't mean I will.  I take situations as I see them.)

So, what do we want in a class C?  Something small.  Less than 30 feet, less than 25 feet if possible.  The Winnebago Minnie Winnie 22R is what we've been sort of looking at.  We'd also happily consider something on a Mercedes Sprinter of Ford Transit chassis as well.

We also want something small enough that we could use it like a car should we want to.  We'd really like a Class B but those are truly just too tiny for us and the dogs.  We won't be towing a car (TOAD) so anywhere we go we'll have to be creative to get around once we get there.  Hopefully a lot of the places we want to go will have parking large enough for a small Class C.

There may be some things we miss out on in the future.  We never could have done the Iron Mountain Road and Needles Highway in a motor home, but, there's always rental cars!

Originally we only wanted an island bed like what we have in the Jayco.  We probably won't find one like that in our size range, so we're considering a corner bed.  Most really nice motor homes in our size range have floorplans where the bed is on a slide and only usable when the slide is out.  The bed literally folds in half and unless the slide is extended fully, the bed is unusable.  That won't fly with us as we like to take a nap or two during the day if we're driving and we don't want to keep putting the slides in and out, especially at a rest area or Walmart.

We're also likely to buy something used.  Saying we're buying used is something that sends shivers down my spine.  I may sound like an elitist here, but, I really prefer to buy new.  Not just RV's or cars or whatever, I really don't like hand-me-downs or used anything.  Maybe it's my OCD, maybe it's me being snooty, but, I know how I take care of things.  Who knows how people really took care of their stuff when they sell it to you.  Sure it looks nice, but, is it really good under the surface?  Was it babied like I baby things?  Maybe.

We're looking at used strictly based on cost.  A new motor home like we would like would cost nearly $100,000 and Lauren and I are currently saving for a sizeable down payment on a vacation home/rental income on a beach somewhere (somewhere we would have fun driving back and forth in our new motorhome!)  and buying something worth $100k just isn't in the cards now.  We've seen some used ones online for $35-50k and that's a little more reasonable to considering shelling out, especially considering the trade in on the trailer.

SO WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE THE BLOG?

I still plan on blogging as long as we own the trailer.  If we really do pull the trigger on a Class C, there'll be plenty to cover as we transition from Travel Trailer to Class C.  I promised a whole host of articles in my last post, and, honestly... I don't think they'll ever get published.  I have some of them half done.  Some are nearly done and maybe they will see the light of day.

Really, the only one I truly want to get done and post is our experience RV'ing with dogs.  I feel that will be the most helpful to you guys and gals out there that travel or think of traveling with pets.

Lastly, thank you for sticking with us.  We promise to get back in the swing of things here with the blog and look forward to providing more content for you to enjoy!