(Ken) Who would have thought, just over a year ago Jodi and I put our plan to see this country into action; and in just over 12 months we are 95% road ready! January last year we put our house on the market in hopes of being on the road by April 1, 2013 and low and behold, we will be on the road one day ahead of schedule (Now that’s what I call reaching a goal!). Our house sold in September and we purchased our motorhome in October. While staying in a small apartment, we figured we would have all winter to clean and perform any maintenance that needed to be done. Wouldn’t you know it, the winter we had this year was much worse than last. Needless to say, we weren’t able to get much done; it was just too darn cold. We did manage to get new Michelin’s done in January. Thanks to Family Motor Coach Association, we were able to get nearly 50% off all of the tires and 40% off all labor. Also, thanks to Zeigler Tire in Youngstown, OH. for working with me and FMCA and getting the tires I needed and putting them on in one day.
After researching the internet and finding the company who originally manufactured the RV ladder for our motorhome and a freak hot streak hitting the valley for two days in early February; I was able to get out there and replace the damaged RV ladder the previous owner damaged while wrestling with a tree limb!
I don’t know about you but it really makes a job easier when the parts you order off the internet match up perfectly, hole for hole; especially when the heat index makes it to about 45 degrees. Luckily, the sun shone for just long enough to warm the roof up for the sealer to level out quite nicely. Back to the internet to research the next of many projects to come.
Research, research and more research only seems to give you a severe headache! Nonetheless, the more you do, the more learned you become. It was quite obvious that towing a Ford F-150 behind a vehicle that is barely going to get 10 MPG was not going to be feasible at all. The search was on – what way should we go. As with the search for our motor home (motor home to 5th wheel and large truck, back to motor home) we went from small sedan, to mini van, back to compact and finally to sub-compact. Rather than purchase a new vehicle blindly as we did with the F-150, we decided to spend some time and really look at what was out there! MotorHome magazine’s annual towed vehicle guide listed every vehicle that was approved and able to be towed behind a motor home. It provided excellent information for towing four wheels down; but we have a tow dolly; what now? iRV2.com proved to be a sanity saver! The RV Forums on this web site are fantastic if you have a need to know something/anything about RV’ing.
Jodi and I read numerous threads regarding towing with dolly’s and what they towed. When we just couldn’t find the question we were looking for, so we posted our own questions. The members of this web site are wonderful people who offer up their knowledge and their experiences as if they were passing you the salt at Thanksgiving dinner. I just hope that one day I am as knowledgeable as they are so I may return the favor to those asking in the future. We were able to find what others tow and narrowed it down to our top 5. It was actually fun at times visiting the dealerships while researching. What a difference in attitude when they realize you are only there gathering information on a certain model or when you tell them you want to test drive a certain model without the intention of making any kind of purchase that day.
We decided on the 2013 Honda Fit after test driving the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic, Kia Rio and Toyota Yaris. After all the research and test driving, the reputation of the Honda met our needs far more than any of the others. Now came the fun part, well, as far as I was concerned; Jodi hates the wheeling and dealing. So, to ensure she got her 2 cents worth in, she played a card I thought she had forgotten about. When we purchased the F-150 she gave me the freedom to choose the color and options with the understanding she got to choose the options and color of our next purchase. For the most part, every option she wanted/required was standard equipment on the Honda; and the Blue Raspberry is really starting to grow on me. Really, its not that bad – it IS blue!
Motorhome – check, tow dolly – check, new ladder – check, tow vehicle – check! People say all the time, the best purchase and the worse purchase they ever made was their RV. There is always something that needs fixed, maintained or upgraded. Our desire to camp outside the mainstream campgrounds put me back in front of the computer for more research. It was/is determined that in the words of Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor – more power is better! Once I was able to determine the two 6 volt batteries in the motorhome barely maintaining 11 volts on a good day; it was the time to be replacing them. My research taught me that 2 6 volt batteries were good, but 4 or more were better! With the tape measure in hand I found I could get four 6 volt batteries in the battery compartment and still maintain the proper ventilation. All the research on which batteries to purchase went for naught the moment we walked into Sam’s Club and there was a huge display of Duracell Deep Cycle batteries for $78.00 per. The dear wife, who was controlling the check at that particular moment instructed that the purchase can be made at this price, reviews could be done after. If favorable, we would save between $50 – $100 per battery. I could always return them if they weren’t favorably reviewed.
The few reviews I was able to find were all in favor of Sam’s brand batteries, and as you can see they have been installed. Four 6v Deep Cycle batteries wired in parallel and in series now cranking out 12+ volts continuous at 430 ampere hours. Should be able to live, albeit conservatively, for at least 3 – 4 days off the grid without running the generator all that much!
Next project is to research the inverter! I will have to let you all know how that goes in another post since I haven’t narrowed it down yet! Since we only have a week, I guess I better get on the stick! Till next time………………and I’m not ready to even start talking about Solar yet…………….