Catching up with Harvey (my RV)

I have not posted for a very long time, so in order to keep a record of what I’ve done so far to move to the west coast where all 3 of my children live and all five of my grandchildren,I’m posting the beginning of the RV experience in a quick block:

Thanksgiving 2010 – Bought It!

I am the proud owner of a 2003 32” Coachmen Santara Class C with a Ford Super 450 (whatever that means). I understand the RV lingo now, but engines are beyond me. It runs beautifully, my mechanic checked it over and verified that other than tires and brakes, I wouldn’t need to do anything else to it. It has 23,400 miles on it.

January 2011 – Tires and Brakes, Oh My

I’m beginning the process of getting the RV (Harvey) inspected. Since I need new tires, and wasn’t sure about the brakes either; before I tried it out this spring, I wanted to make sure those two very important factors were accomplished. Whew! I’m already sensing that old maxim – boats and RV’s are money pits. But, nothing else had to be done, and the trip to Perryville to get it inspected was nearing. Mission accomplished, it passed, now at least I feel safe driving it, not worrying whether the brakes will work (and they were in bad shape from sitting too long) or the likelihood of a blow-out (famous last words).

April 2011 – Learning Curve

My first trip in my RV! I met my friend Kelly and her husband and their friends Mike, Kim and family at Elk Neck State Park. The guys helped be un-winterize the RV. Having camped with a pop-up at Elk Neck during a windy rainstorm during the previous Easter vacation, I now felt PRETTY secure knowing I had a firm roof above my head.

Kelly showed me how to turn on my heat and I quickly realized that it wasn’t exactly doing the trick. She loaned me an electric heater (after all, there were electric hook-ups at the campground.) That was very comfortable and very quiet, not like the loud heater (propane furnace) and quick chill down period until it came on again. Hmmm. After feeling how quickly Harvey cooled down, it dawned on me what those foam squares were for that the previous owners had in the RV (to put into the vents in the ceiling).

September 2011 – Important Lesson # 1

Harvey’s generator would not start. When the camping plan is to be around my daughter most of the time, it means boon docking (completely dry camping: no electric, no TV, no internet, no water, no sewer). She is surrounded by Bureau of Land Management acres. The federal government owns a LOT of ground around the southwest. It is an open range for cattle, horses and burros. That means – with permission from the local government office, I can camp pretty much for free for at least two weeks without having to move Harvey and empty and replenish my tanks. Consequently, you do want your generator to run.

My friend, who has worked on my cars for years, had cleaned Harvey’s generator and put a new spark plug and it works like a charm. He had also put on all the pieces for me to be able to tow my 2003 Tracker behind Harvey (four tires on the ground). Labor Day weekend, I decided I’d pull the Tracker for the first time with Harvey. It was still parked at his shop, close to the grass beside his parking area. Also in the grass were iron posts filled with cement guarding an outside electrical box for the building next door. Can you see where I’m going with this? He checked all the connections and said all looked OK, then he had to go test drive another customer’s car – See ya. Since I had to avoid a horizontally parked car in front of Harvey, I had to turn pretty sharply to the right. I hadn’t gone 5’, when I heard an awful screeching sound and immediately put on my brakes. But not before I had wrapped my back compartment door on Harvey around one of those iron posts.

My lesson is of course, that Harvey’s back end is BIG. It swings WIDE at turns. It will hit things that are too close. Back doors cost around $650 to fix – $400 for the door and $150 for another friend to put it on and paint it.

September 25, 2011

Tags for Harvey (lest you think getting ready to go RVing is cheap): The couple from whom I bought Harvey were nice enough to let me use their Delaware tags. They expired 9/30/11. If timing had been different, I could have used the tags until I established residency in Nevada (no tax), but no, Maryland wanted their money. So between taxes and tags, $2200 was shelled out to the State of Maryland for the little tin plates.

Trips

I had two lovely trips last fall and one where a teachable moment happened. Harvey doesn’t turn short and he’s very long with the car attached. A praise god moment! Nuf’ said.

The House

I’ve rented two furnished apartments, in my home of 37 years, and the personal stuff had to go. Since the new year, it’s been, sort, toss, clean, arrange (my nest in Harvey), save or sell, or stcass for short. And boy did I feel at times that I was stuck with a dirty job and I cussed quite frequently through our 100 degree summer with no a/c (and it was ok), so I figure I’m ready for the southwest.

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