It's taken most of a week to unwind and get back to normal after out "shake-down-cruise" in our new to us, 2008 Itasca Cambria 29h motorhome. We left home on the 15th of April and returned home on the 8th of May....a 23 day "trial run" we covered 4800 miles. Before I get to the specific's, I will say without fear of contradiction, the experience was an 8.75+ out of a possible 10...most excellent!! The trip was planned both to surprise my old military buddy on his 70th birthday in Bandera Texas and to visit my wife's relatives in Cayuga Texas. Surprise we did and visit we did, both were great times and multiple days. Our traveling companions were our 3 dogs, 2 toy poodles and one 97 lb German Shepard, we were the "pack" on wheels and after a couple of day's the dogs were right at home. Now for the good stuff. When we got this motorhome, it came with instructions, but none for the $3000.00 or so of extras the previous owner had installed, I had to play, "Hey, what's this for?" for the 1st 1/2 of the trip, but got most of it figured out....like I said, most of it. As far a driving went, drove like a dream once I figured out how to steer the behemoth without running over those speed ripples on the side and middle of the road and only when I accidentally ripped the mirror of another RV did I fail to negotiate a turn (his fault for parking cattywampus and mine for forgetting the vehicle was 10' longer than what I usually drive). We did have some mechanical failures (hence the 8.75+ rating), a blow out which literally shredded the tire at about 65 mph, no damage to the RV thank the lord, (had it fixed by the Good Sam Emergency Crew),one of the slideouts fried a rocker switch and the black water dump handle broke off. Again simple fixes but time consuming, like 8 hours in a waiting room consuming. Just for shit's and giggle's, the cruise control decided it was boss and overrode the tranny for a spectacular squealing stop at a stop light.....I now drive in cruise with my thumb placed squarely on the "off" button. We did have tremendous luck out running the weather though. Save for one thunderstorm which at one point had all the dogs and my wife clinging to the ceiling like scared cats, we missed, storms, floods and dust storm road closures, each by less than day. There's more, but this is just the highlight reel hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did living it!!
Sounds like a great time! I've had RV's most of my life (or at least my family has!) and I can tell you they're not cheap, but worth every penny...
A couple of things I have learned: An RV is a house with engine trouble, or a Car with plumbing problems.
Tires: RV Tires ROT, and at the age of 6 years start to come apart. If you do it right, you can change a pair of tires every 2 years to spread out the pain and cost. Let me guess: outside rear dual, probably the passenger side came apart? (probably the most common).
You should inspect your roof and windows carefully. You may have a couple leaks or cracks in the caulk. Also, given the age, you may have a vent cover or two on the roof that are falling apart from sun exposure...
Water: When you have a hookup opportunity, be SURE to use a regulator. City water has way too much pressure and can blow your plumbing lines. Every couple of years, it's a good idea to sanitize the system... add 1/4 cup of bleach to a gallon of water... add that to your drained fresh water tank and fill to about 5 gallons... Run all the faucets until you smell bleach... let it sit for an hour. It'd be even better if you could drive it to splash that water around... Drain the tank, refill with some fresh water and run the facuets to clear the bleach... you don't want it sitting in there longer than necessary...
Batteries: Deep Cycle batteries must be maintained: check the water regularly. Don't leave your RV plugged in for too long a time as the battery chargers can boil your batteries. When plugged in I leave my "Coach" batteries turned off. I also bought 2 good battery minders on Amazon. When I get home, I plug them in and my batteries stay fresh and strong. If you do have to replace your RV batteries, Costco has 6V golf cart batteries that cannot be beat.
Lighting: If you dry camp a lot, invest in LED replacement bulbs. They're brighter and your batteries will last a LONG time... (I camped for nearly a week without running my generator)
Enjoy the RV! I love the convenience of home with the getaway aspect. If you're retired, you can get a National Park pass pretty cheap. Check out County, State, and National parks. there are lots of great places to stay!
Great story, thanks for sharing it. We have had pull behind camping trailers for quite a while and discuss the motor home option every year so I like to hear some real world tales about them.
Having owned both, I can say that a tow trailer is cheaper in the long run, but since we are desert rats, it makes more sense for us to have a class-A and tow a flatbed trailer. For most, though, a standard tow trailer is awesome, because you can disconnect and go where you want to... Though I have been known to flat-tow a vehicle...
There is something to be said, however, to having a toilet available while you're driving...
John, thanks for the tips, it has led lights, it was the driver rear inside that blew, vent covers were already updated, have the H2O regulator attached to the fill spout. We do Winterizing here, so the bleach isn't necessary, however, running a tank of water through the faucets before filling for consumption is a must. The tires are just over 2 years old and have no idea why the one blew??? I will be doing a new roof seal although it doesn't leak at this point. Thanks for the tip on the batteries also, I'm definitely at the bottom of the learning curve, but climbing as fast as I can. Perhaps you can tell me why a generator needs to be "exercised" under a load, it does make a difference I just found out by experiment and then reading up on the unit.
I'm getting ready to take my new tow-behind out for Memorial Day weekend.
the Fresh Water tank should be sanitized at the beginning of every year, and when it has sat unused for a while. Why? Take a canteen, put a few tablespoons of water in it, close it, and leave it in your garage for 2 months. then open and take a whiff and smell the mildew. even with the drains open not all the water comes out of the tank, the walls remain moist even if you get all the standing water out.
And the generator needs to be run with a full load on it to make sure the governor is working correctly.
Thanx for the input, have a safe Memorial day outing!!
What JL said.... The thing about generators, is they are just like lawnmowers. If you don't run them from time to time, the carb gets gummed up... If you run one to load, you test everything like JL said, but you also move all the old fuel out of the line... (I always add sea-foam to my fuel...) I have had to take apart my generator carb before... the bowl was green with crud, and the idle jet was clogged with goo...
I should run my generator monthly, but sometimes I forget.
I forget too, lol, then I get my friend Eddie to help me clean the mess.