Saturday, April 30, 2011

Settling in to our New Motorhome

.I am SOO over my buyer's remorse!  This motorhome is a castle fit for a queen.  I watched the Royal Wedding yesterday and thought about how my life is a fairy tale as well.  Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

Jim has been up at 5am and stayed up till past midnight attaching stuff to walls, finding nooks and crannies to store stuff, mounting the main - big TV to a full motion mount so it can be aimed at the couch - and, putting together a new computer desk we bought at Staples.

Jim assembles our new computer desk.

The finished office (for now)
Some people who have seen it say, that's nice, but where is Jim going to work?  Uhhh - didn't you see the picture above?  That *IS* Jim's work ... taking care of his princess and the castle!    Right now, Jim can use his laptop on the little pull out table by the easy chairs - and we'll probably figure something else out later.  Like a Jotto desk or something.
It's Party Time!
I am so amazed at how nice it feels to be able to have company over.  Comfortably! (Thanks to Richard for the pictures)

So now, it's time to Stow and Go.  In our old RV, we had that down to about 20 minutes!  This one is going to take us a couple hours to figure it all out!  Then, we'll go pick up Mom and my friend Dee.  They will both travel with us for the first few days.  We put them on a plane in Atlanta to fly back - then we're on to Bowling Green, Kentucky for the RV SEF Conference.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011


I had my first business meeting in the new RV - I'm helping Sherine Bichara learn how to use Blogger to do a website for her company SB Cosmetics.  Wow ... what a concept!  I can actually have someone inside this RV.  The last time Sherine came over I had her meet me in the park's clubhouse.

Sherine visits my new office to work on her website for SB Cosmetics
Jim was working in the park office today (Wed/Thu/Fri - all season), while I ran errands getting copies of keys made and looking for some kind of temporary computer desk.  We know we can't keep the table and chairs - I need a desk.  We will probably end up with something custom-built, but I need something to use right now.  I didn't find anything.  Today I'll visit the local Habitat store and see if they have anything.
After work, we had company!  Company who brought champagne!

Jo, Johanna, Mac, and Jo Ellen help us with a housewarming!

Unbelieveable!  We actually have a living room.  It is SO comortable.  Everyone who visits is amazed at how it feels more like an apartment than an RV.  This floorplan is so unique - it divides the coach into 3 distinct living areas.
Click for larger image ... then use your Back button to return here.
After that first housewarming, we picked up my Mom and Jim's Dad and brought them over for a visit.  Guess what?!  They liked it too!  I forgot to take a picture ... darn.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Change is Good

Ok, so I'm over my trauma ... it also didn't take me too long to decide that I LOVE this new coach!  what an emotional roller coaster this has been!  Thank you to everyone who commented ... I loved hearing things like
'we have a big rig and still keep the laundry hamper in the shower!'  
'I've changed rigs a couple of times and things never fit at first, even into a bigger rig.  Over time the stuff will settle into place.'  
and many of you commented that sadness and angst is a very natural part of the process of moving, even when it is a good move.
Jim did the majority of the moving, and was very understanding of my need to spend time blogging.  I have a real need to write things down when I'm in the thick of it - otherwise I would forget.  We spent Monday night sleeping in the new coach.  We traded mattresses first - I can't believe that anyone could sleep on the hollow springy thing that passed for a mattress in the new rig, and the folks at Harbersons RV told us it was OK to take our old one with us.  It took us till about 2pm on the second day to clear everything out of Oh Boy.

I cried as we said 'Good Bye' and 'Thank You!' to our Safari Class C 'Oh Boy' ...
 Then we turned our attention to settling in to the Gulf Stream Endura - we will come up with a new name, I don't want to call it 'Oh Boy 2' because there could only be one 'Oh Boy.'

OMG, look at this mess.  This is everything moved over to the new rig.
It's going to take a while to find anything!  But, somehow, we got it all secured and ready to hit the road.  We cleared the areas for the slides to come in, hooked up the Honda to the tow bars and drove away!

First Stop - a weighing station!
I was very nervous about the weight of this rig with all our stuff in it  Weight carrying capacity of the Endura was the only potential problem we saw when we researched the purchase.  We knew the CCC (cargo carrying capacity) of the rig from the paperwork, and discussed it in detail with our friend and RV Weight Safety guru, Walter Cannon.  We all agreed that it might be a little tight, but that it should be do-able.
We stopped at a Pilot truck stop with the CAT scales and got the whole thing weighed.
The GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of this RV is 22,000 pounds.  There are lots of other numbers to be concerned with, but we at least wanted to know what the total weight was to start with.
We pulled up on the scales and pushed the button to ask for a print out of the weight recorded.  Jim drove around when I went inside to pick it up.  I looked at the bottom line and saw the number 25,000 ... my heart sank.  I slowly walked over to where Jim was.  I was probably shaking my head.  I handed him the printout and sadly pointed to the 25,000 number.
He looked at it, then looked at me and laughed!  What in the world could be so damned funny!?!  This was disaster!
He pointed to the third number down ... 3,500 ... and told me that was the weight of our Honda that was being towed.  If you subtract that from the total ... our RV weight is 21,500.
We're 500 pounds UNDER!!
Yippee, Yahoo, and Huzzaah - all is right with the world.  We have a new, beautiful home, and it is NOT overweight!  It does seem to be leaning a bit to the port side ... when we get to the RV SEF conference which is our first rally of the summer, we'll have Walter and his team weigh it correctly with a number for each wheel position.  But, for now, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, and knew I could start the process of making this new coach our home.
Back on the Road
Now I could relax and enjoy the ride!  And what a ride it is!  You can just feel the power.  And, the seats are SO comfortable.  And, it's quieter.  And, the view is better because our old, larger, cab-over used to obstruct  our view.  And, the dashboard console is so pretty, and, it's SO clean.  and ... and ... and ...
Have I told you that I really like this new RV!?
With this motorhome, we have a fresh start on our travels.  It is just raring to go.  This new RV only has 10,000 miles on it, and it has been sitting on a dealer's lot for several months.  You could just hear it saying, "Thank you for letting me run!"  We have over 10,000 miles planned for this summer and you can just feel that this diesel engine will consider that just a trot around the track.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First Look at the New RV


That was the exciting part.  Then came the paperwork and money ... that's a scary part, but we already had that all worked out ahead of time.  We'll have $900/mo payments for 8 years.  That will hurt, but we always seem to break even no matter what we do - so, I figure we will be earning at least $900/more from now on! 

Then came the moving part.  OMG, did I freak out.  We knew that the new one didn't have as much storage as the old, but you just can't describe the feeling of carrying your stuff and not finding any place to put it!  There is only one cupboard in the kitchen, just enough for our 4 plates, 6 glasses, and four bowls.  So, we put the pots and pans in the cupboard over the couch.

In the bedroom, I see *no* place for a dirty clothes hamper.  In the old rig, we just had it stuck on the floor in a corner.  In the new rig that little corner of floor disappears when the slide is pulled in for driving. 

But, the lack of space for our stuff was only half of my meltdown.  As I sat at the dining room table at my computer, I looked across all the open space to the kitchen and into the living room.  That luxury just doesn't seem appropriate.  I'm not worthy!  What good is empty space?  I've always been a believer in trusting your gut feelings, and my gut was *screaming* "This is so wrong!"  This kind of beauty and space is meant for a different type of RVer ... not for us.  We pride ourselves on making do with a little, of being able to stretch out our arms and almost touch the wall on either side.  How can we ever feel at home in this?! 

I considered holding my feelings inside ... we've made our decision, we really can't go back to the old RV - it is old and worn out, and we're not prepared work on it.  But, I just couldn't swallow hard enough, I had to let it out.  I called Jim in and I told him how I was feeling.  He listened.  I was prepared to take our paperwork back in to the sales office and ask them for our money back.  But, I had a suspicion that my emotions were unreasonable (yes, it does happen!  Just ask Jim.)  This has been a very emotional season for me, certainly enhanced simply by being a 58 year old woman.  I recognize that the burning in the pit of my stomach may simply be hormones (or lack thereof) stoking the flame.  So I waited for what Jim had to say. 

He likes it.  A lot.  He says we can make it work for our stuff.  It'll be problematic for a while, but when we get some time to make alterations, it will be good.  I believe him.  He's good at that. 
I took a deep breath.  Jim suggested that, instead of going out to dinner as we had planned, let's just stick a Lean Cuisine in the microwave and eat in our new rig.  Good idea.  We sat in the easy chairs and used the little end table that slides out of its holder in between the two chairs for our plates.  It worked well. 

We brainstormed about how to make a top for the little table that extended it just a bit.  Oooh, fun.  As I took more deep breaths, I realized how much easier deep breathing was when I'm not sitting at my computer desk to eat my dinner.  I was looking across an open space at the couch.  I realized that, in this space we could actually have visitors!  And, there is a completely separate space in the middle of the coach that will be the office.  I will be able to get computer work done, while Jim is doing something else!  In the old rig, we kinda had to be on the same wavelength in order to accomplish anything.  The small space dictated that.

I started to get excited.  Whew!

Ok, I'll get back to moving now.  Here's how the old/new rigs are parked to make moving easy.

Odie Supervises the move.

A plank from door to door makes moving stuff easier.

I keep thinking of my lobster molting analogy in the previous post. When a lobster outgrows its shell, it literally splits open and the lobster has to figure out how to get it off. A soft shell is what is left on the lobster and I'm sure the process is very uncomfortable for a while. Same here. Actually, a more appropriate analogy is probably a hermit crab ... they walk away from one shell and find another. I wonder how often they move?  Do you think they cry when they have to leave a particularly nice shell!?  :-)

In retrospect, I'm thinking that our Safari Class C was designed as a Full-timers' Camper, lots of storage, very efficient use of space - but small.  The Endura is designed as a Part-timers' house - spacious, comfortable living space - just not a lot of room for stuff.  I also am remembering that we spent a lot of time customizing our Safari while it was still parked in the driveway of our house!  We had a couple months to prepare for living in it - this time we have a day and a half!  And now we have *no* house.  This is it!  Everything's got to fit.

We'll see how it goes.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

The Last Stop

We had a great night at the Rest Area.  A few big trucks pulled in, but none of them ran their engines.  It was actually kinda of cool, so we didn't even need to run the generator and A/C.  We opened up all the windows and had a nice cross breeze in the bedroom.   hmmmm, I thought ... we won't have that in the new rig, the bed is in a slide with the head of the bed at a window, but the foot of the bed is solid closets - no cross breeze there :-(

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise.


I also noticed how dirty all the corners were.  Could it be that a really good cleaning is all we need?  Am I actually buying a new RV just to avoid the work?  Well, that is part of it!  But, no - it's time that Jim and I had a home where we were able to move around and not just sit at one chair 24/7!  We have outgrown our 30 feet with no slides.  We've loved it - living in a cozy 240 sq ft box - but it's time to upgrade.
I cried as we said our goodbyes.

On to Clearwater - Harberson's RV - and our New (to us) RV.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

I can’t believe we’re leaving our Safari Class C

It was 8 years ago, almost to the day, that we brought our first RV home.  We bought it on eBay.  We had been dreaming, and browsing eBay RV listings for a few months, when this listing appeared that just looked so perfect.  Not too big, not too small - 30 foot, Class C but with the storage of an A, no slides.  Not too old, not too new – it was a 1997 with 45,000 miles on it, that was 6 years old at the time.  We loved the open bathroom floorplan which allowed for more open space.  We bid $28,000 and ended up getting it!  We could pay cash for that so we didn’t have to take on the adult responsibility of payments … we felt like kids with our first bicycle.

We knew nothing about RVs.  We had rented one for a week and knew we loved traveling that way, and we had this ‘someday’ plan to live in an RV fulltime.  We made arrangements to pick up our new home and we put it in the driveway of our house.  We sat in it and daydreamed about how we could modify it to include an office for our computer work.  We ended up taking out the couch and building file drawers and a computer desk. We also purchased and installed a Datastorm Internet Satellite dish.  Over the first few years, we made many more modifications.  We had the motorhome that was perfectly customized for our needs.

As it turned out, this was a very unique motorhome – see past posts about our Safari Class C.  We lucked into a high-quality motorhome even though we didn’t know one manufacturer from another.  We love this motorhome.  How can we not love something that has taken us from Sea to Sea, and border to border.  We’ve seen so many sights and made so many friends while traveling in this RV.  We’ve grown from RV newbies to ‘Geeks on Tour.’  We call him ‘Oh Boy!’ because that’s the way we feel whenever we stow and go. Oh Boy!  What new adventure awaits us today?  I simply cannot imagine living in a home without wheels any more.  Many people marvel that Jim and I have been able to live in this small place for so long and still be happily married.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?  The four of us (me, Jim, Odie, Oh Boy) have been a real team.  I couldn’t do this without Jim, and I don’t think Jim would do this without me … and Oh Boy made it all possible.  That’s a powerful bond.  We’ve learned so much and loved every minute … well, almost every minute!  There was that tire blowout …

Living in Oh Boy! has become as comfortable as living in my own skin.  We know every nook and cranny.  My body knows exactly where to reach to turn on a light, or grab Odie’s leash.  I can get up from bed and make it to the toilet in total darkness because as soon as my feet touch the floor, it’s only 2 steps!  Like a turtle, our home on wheels feels like an extension of our bodies.  Like a lobster, we’re now getting ready to molt and get a new skin.

Our Last Gas Stop
Right now, we’re driving to where we’ll pick up our new RV and trade this one in.  We just stopped for gas … yes, gas.  Our new rig is Diesel.  Gas is 3.78 and Diesel is 4.19.  What are we doing?  This rig drives so nice, and with 30 amp, 30 feet long and no slides, we’re never limited to where we can spend the night.  We’ve fit in many a friend’s driveway, and State Park campground that can’t handle the big rigs. Are we really sure we want to do this?  Every time we’re at a rally, we browse thru the RVs on display.  We rarely like any of them any better than our Safari Class C!  Even the million dollar ones! 

We’ve made our decision.  It’s time to move on … grow up!  Make payments like adults Smile.  I just had to write this post first to tell you how much we’ve enjoyed this motorhome, to thank Oh Boy for all the wonderful memories, and wish him well on his continued adventure.  I hope his next family will enjoy him as much.

Our new RV is located in Clearwater (Harberson RV) so we’re driving there.  We’re parked tonight in the rest area at the Sunshine Skyway bridge in St. Petersburg.  What a cool spot!  One last night of magic in our very special RV.  Oh Boy!

Sunshine Skyway Rest Area

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Buying a New Home

There's no doubt we could use a bigger motorhome.  But we like our Safari Class C so much ... it has served us well for 8 years, living in it, traveling, working ... It has 135,000 miles on it, and I'm afraid it looks like it.   We're Geeks, not home maintenance people!
Whenever we go to the big rallies, we always browse thru the RVs for sale, and we never have liked one better than ours - regardless of cost.

Till Now.

Here she is ... or should I say 'He' ??  It is kinda macho looking.

It's the floor plan that grabbed us.  Three distinct living areas, and the middle one just has a standalone table in it right now ... should be an easy place to put a custom-built desk/office.  And it still has the cab over bed area where Mom can stay when she travels with us.

The plan is to take possession on Monday - 4 days from now - we'll park door to door and transfer everything over.  It's wonderful .. and I'm going to be very sad to leave our current rig.  It's also going to be tough having monthly payments ... we've been without those since we sold our house!

2007 Gulfstream Endura 'Super C' Diesel
Chevy Kodiak Chassis
Floor Plan/Model 6362
36 Foot
11,000 miles

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gotta Go Divin’

We’re in ‘Getting-Ready-To-Hit-The-Road’ mode now and are feeling overwhelmed with all sorts of things.  Leaving Mom is on the top of my worry list.  We’re also looking at buying a new (to us) RV … if you’re a facebook friend, you’ve been hearing about that.

Do you ever think that you’re just making work for yourself?  I look back and think ‘I haven’t accomplished anything, yet I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I haven’t even posted to this blog because I’ve been too busy … and I haven’t done any playing either.’  I know I’ve been overwhelmed with everything I need to do, yet I can’t tell you anything I’ve done! 

We woke up this morning to a perfectly still, sunny day – so we took a look at the Webcam for Fort Lauderdale beach:


Jim and I looked at each other.  We didn’t even need to speak ..

We gotta go divin’!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dolphin Research Center

This was a cool day.  We really liked the Dolphin Research Center - the dolphins seemed so happy.  Most of them were born there.  It was over a week ago now.  I've taken so long  because I really wanted to include the video, not just the still photos.  And video takes a lot more effort to edit.  No, it didn't take 10 days to edit, just 10 days to get around to doing it!  In case you're interested, I used Adobe Premiere Elements 9 for the editing - I have a lot to learn before I get good at it.  Here ya go:

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Visit Key West

Key West is just 39 miles away from where we're parked  - so we had a leisurely morning at the RV, then made it down to Key West in time for just a little sightseeing, then a late lunch.

Key West, a nice town for walking.

Jim and Mom after a nice lunch on the Harbor
 Then we headed back home in time for sunset at the park. 
Colorful houses along the highway

Sunshine Key RV Resort

Checking out the pier - looks like good place to watch sunset


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Sunday, April 03, 2011

To the Keys

. Time is starting to run out if we're going to take Mom on an RV trip before we leave for the summer. So .. we planned a getaway to the keys.  Although we've certainly been to the Keys many, many times - we've never gone in the RV.  Sunshine Key is a Encore park and is part of the extended family with our membership in Thousand Trails, so we thought we'd check it out.  We don't stay free like we do in Thousand Trails parks, but we get a discount.  We're paying $47/night which sounds like a lot compared to the $10-25 we normall pay for RV parks ... but it's really cheap for the keys!  $90 - 120 is the norm here!

Mom's riding spot, in the cab-over

Lots of kites flying along the way.  We *want* this one of a scuba diver - his flippers even kicked very naturally  in the wind.

The famous 7-mile bridge

You can walk under the bridge from the campground

Our site at Sunshine Key

That's Sunshine Key RV park as seen from the 7-mile bridge
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