Thursday, January 20, 2022

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Part four of the saga: What I did wrong and right, what I’m grateful for, and products that worked

Last week I wrote about how I was thinking about giving up my RV… already. If you didn’t read that installment in this series, start here before you continue reading.

So, seriously, should I sell it? After the stress of the past month, I am considering it. I could sell it and wait for the pandemic craziness to subside and buy another…

I will share what I did wrong but also what I did right. It is a lesson I continue to learn from.

The Canyon Star with fully working slides and my outdoor kitchen

Things I did wrong

  • Bought an RV sight unseen in a hurry. I was desperate and needed the RV to move from my house. This was my biggest mistake.
  • I failed to hire an independent inspector for an expert evaluation.
  • Trusted the dealer far too much.
  • Did not have time to buy and install a TPMS.
  • Did not weigh axles at a CAT scale.
  • Overestimated my ability to handle potential problems under a time constraint.
The garage: the cats’ room with storage

Things I did right

I bought the right coach! The Newmar Canyon Star 3921 toy hauler is a perfect floor plan for traveling with cats. The 10-foot garage is cat heaven with their litter boxes and cat trees. If the slides had been working it would have been quite comfortable. I am pleased with Newmar’s support so far.

I was prepared with the following things:

  • Progressive EMS electrical system that protects the coach from bad wiring and low/high voltage. Mike Sokol discusses the importance of these devices here.

  • ClearSource Ultra water filter inline with a Renator water pressure monitor. This filter is large and heavy, and I will use a smaller filter for quick overnight stays. ClearSource provides excellent support should you have a problem. Nanci Dixon’s tip to carry extra hoses came in very handy.
  • An LP gas detector, an inspection scope (I found a missing cat under the bed with it!), an electric voltage/amp tool, emergency flares, a bottle jack, tire gauge and air compressor.
  • A full contingent of RV supplies such as Tank Techs RX (it’s currently out of stock, but bookmark this amazing product for later!) black tank treatment (click for our review).
  • Glow-in-the-dark tape for highlighting steps and light switches also came in handy, as did silicone sealant, tape and more.
  • SoftStartRV. I have three A/C units so these will be vital for traveling. I did not have time to install them but I had 50-amp hookups all the way. I will get them in so 30-amp hookups and potential solar power will not be a problem.

Several purchases that I am very pleased with:

300Gs in a device the size of a small cell phone
  • All Over Internet: This is a mobile-phone-like device with large data plans. I have been using it now for three weeks and, with few exceptions, I have had excellent internet access and streaming. I signed up for the 300G/month plan, which is turning out to be too big. After three weeks, I have used 43G. I have been watching Hulu and Prime Video with no problems. I love it.RV/Dog Safety Temperature & Humidity Sensor | 4G Verizon Cellular | Wireless Remote Pet Temp Monitor with 24/7 Email/SMS Alerts | No WiFi Required | iOS/Android compatible
  • Waggle: This is a temperature monitor that will alert you when the temperature and humidity rise in your RV. It is an app on your phone and you can check the temperature at any time. An invaluable safety tool when you have pets in the RV. Living in the desert brings the risk of severe temperature, and I feel much more comfortable leaving the cats in the RV to go shopping or dip in the pool. Read Tony Barthel’s review of it here
  • My Blackstone griddle. My outdoor kitchen is a dream with this propane cooker. AND they are on sale! I paid $149 for the 17″ and it is on sale now for $119.
  • Carefree EZ Shade. My space here in the Emerald Desert gets full winter sun on the patio side. This EZ Shade attaches to your awning bar and can be quickly removed in a wind storm. It is not a complete sunshade and when the sun is direct, it only dulls it a bit. However, the breeze and view are not inhibited.

Things I am grateful for

  • The Ford engine performed beautifully.
  • The A/C units are humming along here in the desert.
  • The numerous campers who have helped me. I cannot say enough good things about RVers. Gary and Gloria, who have a Canyon Star, helped me open my coach after I locked myself out and to whom I am eternally grateful. Ron helped me locate an RV repair guy to come out to the park. Javier figured out what was wrong with the slide – bad control board – and figured out a way to get it extended until the new component arrived. What a gem he is!
  • Thanks to Deb and Don, who invited me to watch the Canada Olympic Curling Trials on their TV. Canadians with big hearts gave me such a treat.
  • Special thanks to my sister, who eased the stress by doing dishes and laundry for me and providing me hot water for showers.
  • The campers who have a smile on their faces and a kind word are what RVing is all about.

What’s next?

I move into my sticks and mortar house in January, but right now, I have a comfortable, livable coach. Javier comes in a few days to install the slide control board and fix the hot water heater. I will then book an appointment at Newmar in Indiana to see what it will take to bring my coach back to its deserving glory.

Thank you to all who have sent words of encouragement, some of whom have added very appreciated humor.

I am not giving up just yet.

##RVT1029

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CHARLES S
1 month ago

I would encourage you to extend your “Trusted the dealer far too much.” to any trust you give to Newmar. My experience with Newmar servicing our coach encourages me to send this note. Before you let Newmar remove your coach from your view, take, many, many, very clear pictures of everything, especially on the outside your coach. You write how important your air conditioners are. Make sure you take pics of the fins under the covers on them. I only have 2 acs and I cannot prove it but I believe they damaged the fins on both, and they would not accept responsibility for the damage because I had no pics. This is only one of 5 damages, I believe, they caused while working on my coach in 2018 and they would not accept responsibility for. This is probably good advice when leaving your coach for service anywhere when it is taken away from your view. If any servicer trusts their employees to take care of other’s property (home) they should not object to your watching your property being service

Diane Mc
1 month ago

Sounds like you are doing a great job of getting through the things you did wrong. Admire you greatly. I could/would not ever travel alone. Best part, knowing all the good people that are willing to help you out. There are a lot of us out there….more than we think. Don’t give up now that you’ve made so much progress. All the best.

Stephen Malochleb
1 month ago

I’d like to see the expression on people’s faces when you describe that you have a(Rolling Cat House.)Just don’t let the sheriff hear that.:):):)

Glenn
1 month ago

Helluva learning curve, isn’t it. Good luck!