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Friday, June 30, 2006

June 30, 2006, pm

I'm frustrated. I've managed to put a few pictures in my blog posts, but mostly it just says it's uploaded but the pictures don't get anywhere. I'm doing the same thing as I'm doing when they DO appear. I've written to blogger and hopefully they'll tell me what's going on.

This picture is here after 10 tries to upload it. Go figure. It's a picture of the bare metal at the base of the cabover. Anything I can remove with my bare hands and a vacuum cleaner needs to be out of my motorhome! Danny worked on it most all day today and it's much closer to being put back together. Tomorrow I'll go get some fabric to match the headliner in the cab, to go on the underside of the plywood where it will show from the driving area. We're going to make it a full time bed platform, without the fold-up stuff, so it will be a bit stronger.

I am so looking forward to having this project completed and the chaos returning to uncluttered order. It really is a pretty motorhome inside when it's not a construction zone!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

June 29, 2006 – Opening The Can Of Worms
That weekend, as I started to transfer items from the DodgeLodge II into the new Motorhome, we had torrential rain. Torrential rain is good: if you have any leaks in your Motorhome, you find out about them. OK, one in the bedroom, from that puncture hole. The cabover we knew about. I believe the water got in through the lower seams, although the windows are another possibility. And there’s a leak which drips down from the roof air conditioner. That one was a rather unpleasant surprise. I said a few colorful words and bought a really large tarp. With a big blue tarp tied securely over the top of the rig, and the awning partially open, I proceeded to continue with my moving. I put up my towel bars and hooks and paper towel holder etc. (I have a set that was made specially for me by a blacksmith I used to travel with.) The bathroom is done. The clothes are transferred into the closets and drawers. Most of the kitchen stuff is put away. I was washing my china when Danny decided there’s no time like the present and opened the can of worms in the cabover. I love that man.
I had seriously underestimated the damage, but it wasn’t as bad as he thought. And he loves challenging tinker projects. We took the mattress thing out, and ripped out all the damp rotten stuff. !
Not nearly as bad as the DodgeLodge II had been. Ceiling and side walls are ok. Just the platform needs rebuilt. He’s got the framework in place already! I am working locally this week and next, so I don’t need to drive either rig for work until July 9 at the earliest! TG
Meanwhile, I went on line to see if anyone anywhere had posted advice on how to repair cabovers. I’ve done one already, it was no fun, and it was very much a figure it out as I went kind of thing. I was hoping to learn by someone else’s experience. I ran across some stuff by a guy who had done all his seams with some stuff called eternabond. It sounds great, but it’s expensive. I’ll spring for it if it really works, so I’m going to do some more research. I don’t care what it looks like. What I want is NO LEAKS.

June 28, 2006
Browsing internet ads, I found this Motorhome that sounded really a lot like what I was looking for. Except that I was in Virginia and it was in New Jersey. Probably it was sold already anyhow, but I sent an email to the seller asking if it was still on the market. A day or so later, he called me. We discussed the Motorhome and it sounded really a lot like what I wanted. Plus he’d lowered the price from the advertised price. I asked for, and got, pictures by email and it was quite a photogenic Motorhome. Road trip!
I called my daughter, who had a (most unusual) free weekend, and asked if she was up for a Road Trip. Yes. I called my aunt, who lives in New Jersey and whom I hadn’t seen in AGES, and she was home and would love to have company. OK: can’t lose. If the Motorhome sucks, I’ve still had a good long visit with my kid and grandkid, and we all get a visit with my aunt!
Off we went, armed with directions, in my daughter’s car. We arrived at my aunt’s at about 1 am and she pointed us at bedrooms after an enthusiastic reunion. We spent the day visiting and catching up, then when the seller got home from work we went to see the Motorhome. It looked as good as the pictures. I poked into nooks and crannies and was mostly quite pleased. Darn those cabovers – there was some water damage in the platform. But it had all those things I was looking for and it drove beautifully. The dash air compressor was seized up, which made an ugly noise, but other than that it purred.
I know that when one is buying an older car, home or especially Motorhome, for not a heck of a lot of money, one is going to do some repairs. The trick is to have them be minor and worth the effort and expense. I have not had the best track record in this regard, but I have also had Real Mechanics inspect my prospective purchases and they haven’t fared any better than I have. So I took a deep breath, decided to trust my intuition, and wrote a check. Called my insurance company and road service company and off we went, back to my aunt’s house to spend the night.
I couldn’t sleep in it: her driveway is very steep and her town gives tickets to folks foolish enough to park on the street. But I showed it off, we got a good but short night’s sleep, and 5:30 am saw us on our way south. My daughter made it home to Richmond in 6 hours; I took considerably longer. Familiar SUV vs unfamiliar Motorhome.
The belt that runs the a/c and power steering broke before I got out of NJ. I expected this, the compressor being seized up. It was a relief! No more ugly noise, and yes the engine did purr beautifully with that gone. Of course, it now drove like a truck. Not a problem unless I wanted to turn slowly.
By the time I got south of Washington DC, I was SO glad to get on 5 and 301 and be out of the land of incredible traffic and over $3/gallon gas. I-95 has never been my favorite road and I like it less and less each time I use it. I reached my daughter’s place and parked. Now I had 2 vehicles there, and my work assignment for the week was also there – a major blessing. Tuesday, I drove my car home and my honey drove me back to Richmond. I drove the new-to-me Motorhome the rest of the week, put 4 new tires on the rear, and drove it home to my regular mechanic. My honey had picked up his Motorhome the day before and left my car there for me, so I dropped off the Motorhome and drove the car home. Next day I picked up the Motorhome with a new inspection sticker and operating power steering. My mechanic gave me an estimate for fixing the a/c – well, it won’t be this summer – and for replacing the sending unit in the gas tank. OK, when I can afford it. Off I went to the RV shop to have max-air vent covers installed on the roof. They were frantically busy, but they squeezed me in and that got done.
There are, of course, plenty of other things to do. Those were the urgent ones that I could take care of right then. There was a puncture in the side wall – someone had a run in with a branch – and that water damage in the cabover, which would need immediate attention. The rest of the list I printed and posted on my bulletin board.
June 27th, 2006
OK, so for some perverse reason I’d like to try blogging – WHY??? I am not under the illusion that I have anything fascinating to say on a weekly basis. However, I enjoy reading my friend Sue’s blog. If my other friends and family would blog I would read them. And when I searched on cabover repairs I ran into someone’s blog and it had Useful Information.
So – I have just acquired my 3rd motor home and maybe that’s a good excuse to start a blog and give it a try.
So – who is GypsyJane?
“I am a rambler, and a traveler on the road, can’t settle down…”
When I was about 12 or 13, I encountered a Ford Travelwagon in a showroom and knew I had to have an RV. Not that I had a clue what an RV was. But that was my dream home, and my dream car, when all my friends wanted Mustangs and souped up Chevys.
Life happened and I did other things – got married, raised 2 awesome daughters, lived in houses. Once I bought a school bus but the time wasn’t right and it never did get converted to a camper. Eventually I did get a camper van. Dinette converted to bed. Pump sink. No toilet. I loved it.
Next came the first motor home, the first DodgeLodge, in 1995.

“It’s old, it rattles in strange places, sometimes it breaks down. But it keeps a smile on my face, ‘cause I can drive around in my Motorhome….”
It was a 79 Shasta on a Dodge nose, and I began living in RV full time. I took the couch out to make musical instrument storage and slept in the cabover bed. I boondocked in Baltimore MD. I was camp host at a state park. I went to Florida for the winter.
I was an itinerant craftsperson on the Rendezvous circuit and also had a 15-passenger van – and I could only drive one thing at a time so I traded off the DodgeLodge for a travel trailer. It had twin beds, one of which I converted to a workbench and crafts material storage. I took out the dinette and made an office/music area. It had a motorcycle rack on the back for my scoot! It went north to upstate New York and south to Florida and uphill to West Virginia where my transmission died. It went to Richmond VA where I was a Nanny, and to Altavista where the van finally quit entirely. I lived in the trailer without moving and worked and saved and bought the second DodgeLodge.

It was a 78, and I rescued it from someone’s back yard. A friend and I stripped the sodden cabover down to bare metal and rebuilt it, I had some mechanical repairs done, and I was on the road again.
“See my taillights shining, as I travel to the Blue Ridge, shining like my eyes, you know I’m free”
On the road cautiously – there were some electrical problems to be worked out. My taillights didn’t work right. When I stepped on the brake, my clearance lights came on! I didn’t go far. While I was doing these repairs, I had met Danny. We took our first motor home trip together before we got my taillights to work properly.
The motor home lived in the driveway and I tried the housey thing again. NTS: never do that! I was climbing the walls, homesick for the road, bad case of tumbleweed fever. Then I started doing reset work, traveling, doing store sets and planogram maintenance. I’m on the road 4 days out of 7 – at least, and happy. (Danny has a motor home of his own also, but he also has a Responsible Position and doesn’t get to use it nearly often enough.)
The DodgeLodge II has served well as a reset specialist’s home. Only one breakdown on the road, and though it took me $50 in roaming charges to get a tow truck, it only cost about $20 to fix the problem. It is, however, a 21 foot rig with some serious structural issues and too many things that don’t work.
I put a bit of discipline into a savings program and a lot of prayer in to Grandfather and as the savings grew I started looking around for Motorhome # 3, RV # 5. Truthfully, I expected to wear the DodgeLodge II out completely by the time I saved enough and found what I was looking for. If you’re one of those people who can afford a New Motorhome With A Warrantee, you can’t even imagine living on my income so don’t even make comparisons. But there were certain things I’ve come to think are Important. Safe, reliable, structurally and mechanically sound. A 3 way fridge. Cabinets that open UP rather than OUT and are made well – no plastic drawers. Intelligent design: no wires or pipes diagonally taking up the entire cabinet rendering it unusable as a cabinet. A monitor board! (DodgeLodge II doesn’t have one. To know if the black water tank is full, you shine a flash light down the toilet!) Heat tubes and water pipes running together on the same side of the coach. Stuff like that. And I wanted a bigger rig, something with a rear bedroom.
2 weeks ago I was browsing motor home ads on the internet and I found one that – pretty much – fit that description. At a price for which I could write a check that wouldn’t bounce.
To be continued.