A visit to the NAtional Studebaker Museum

*** Ok, we actually did a couple things on this particular day but because I took sooooo many pictures we will break up the days update into a couple different ones to make them more bearable for you AND me LOL!!*** Lots of pictures coming. In fact the pictures will do most of the talking in this update.

Friday (4/5) we decided visiting the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend Indiana as well as a couple other points of interest in the area just might be a good idea so we jumped in (the yet to be named) truck and drove the 50 miles from our hotel in Valparaiso to South Bend. (And dang, it’s hard to drive anywhere out east without those pesky toll roads getting in the way.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First off South Bend is on the St. Joseph River near its southernmost bend, from which it derives its name “South Bend” and has a population of just north of 102,000 people.

The area was originally settled in the early 19th century by fur traders and was established as a city in 1865 and because of its location on the St. Joseph River it was much easier to develop heavy industry such as the Studebaker Corporation, the Oliver Chilled Plow Company, and other large corporations.

The museum is a 55,000-square-foot facility that opened in October 2005 and has three levels and features fully climate-controlled galleries and storage facilities to ensure the best possible care for the Collection.

 

 

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The museum was designed by South Bend’s own James Childs Architects and features several design elements from the Studebaker’s factory buildings.

 

 

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In 1966 when they went out of business the Studebaker Corporation gifted its own 33-vehicle collection to the City of South Bend. This collection, which includes the Presidential carriages, and the Studebaker family’s Conestoga Wagon, formed the nucleus of the current Studebaker National Museum, and is referred to as the “Original Collection”

 

 

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The museum house’s the world’s largest collection of U.S. Presidential Carriages. The collection features the Barouche that President Abraham Lincoln used the night of his assassination, President Grant’s Brewster Landau, President McKinley’s Studebaker Phaeton, and President Benjamin Harrison’s Studebaker Brougham.

 

 

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I have never been a Studebaker fan but I will admit that we saw a few cars in the collection that would be fun to have and the museum was well worth the visit.

 

 

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We probably spent a little over 2 hours looking at all of the old iron.

 

 

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After the museum we made our way over to the Oliver Mansion but that will be in the next update.

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Headed to Indiana to get our new truck!!

Wednesday (4/3) after breakfast we once again jumped in the truck and headed out on the highway for another long day.

We hopped on I-70 heading east towards Topeka where we started wiggling our way Northeast towards St Joseph where we connected with HWY 36/72 and headed east until we got hungry and decided to stop and have a late lunch / early dinner at a Cracker Barrel in Bloomington Illinois.

Anyway we eventually switched over to HWY 57 and drove towards Kankakee IL where we jumped onto some two lane backroads like HWY 17 and then HWY 2 that had us wondering if we should have stayed on more of the main roads at times because it was getting dark and we ended up on some parts of the road that made us chuckle while saying “we won’t be doing this with a RV in tow”.

It all worked out and we ended up pulling into the Best Western University in Valparaiso Indiana after 650 miles at heck I don’t know, O-Dark-Thirty something. Another too darned long of a day on the road.

Once we were settled in I sent Tom “the owner of Classy Chassis where our truck was sitting” and let him know that we arrived a day early and to see if we could pick the truck up the following day. To which he replied “No problem” and told us that he would be at the shop around 8:30am.

With another day under our belts we called it an evening and settled in for the night.
Thursday (4/4) after yet another good ol hotel breakfast (I’m missing my home made yogurt) we made our way to Classy Chassis to pick up our new baby.

As soon as we got there Tom was waiting outside along with our new truck, what a beauty it is, not Tom, the truck.

Tom is a lot like me and likes to yack, so between looking over the truck and getting side tracked on who knows what other topics we managed to kill some time before we decided we had better head out for our next task of selling the F150.

** I have decided instead of going over the truck at this time we will do a complete update on just the truck at a later date once we get some miles under our belts and can really talk about it**

Some of you might remember the experience we had with selling my Jeep Rubicon this last summer and using the “Instant Cash Price” option on the Kelly Blue Book web site and because that worked out so well (I actually got $1500 more for it than I expected to sell it for as a private party sale) we decided to give it another try with the truck.

Anyway, before we left Junction City I went on the Kelly Blue Book site and input all of the info I could about our F150 to get the “trade in value” and the “sale by private party value”. Between this and doing a little looking on the Craigslist website we had a pretty good idea of what we could expect to get or it.

Once we input the info on the Kelly Bluebook site and saw the numbers we were given the “Instant cash price” option just like when I saw that option for the first time when looking to sell the Jeep so I clicked on it.

As soon as you click on the Instant Cash Option button your info is sent to local dealers (in the zip code area you input) that might be interested in buying your rig straight out. Of course because we were picking up our new truck in Valparaiso Indiana we used their zip code.

Within a very short time (I’m talking minutes) we received 2 separate emails from 2 different dealers that were interested in our truck along with contact information that of course we reached out to and told them when we would be in town.

You have to know that selling a rig this way may not get you the absolute top dollar you might get by selling it to a private party but in the case of my Jeep I did get $1500 more than I offered it to a private party for. And in the case of the truck the Instant Cash offer on the site was between the trade in value and the sale by private party price, and closer to the private party price and convenience is worth something. And remember, you can still negotiate.

So, we drove away from Classy Chassis with me driving our new Ram 5500 and Diane following in our F150 to the nearest dealer that reached out to us, A Subaru dealer about 15 miles away.

Because I went through this with the Jeep I knew pretty much what to expect. We pulled in and made contact with the person from the internet, he sent a guy out to look over the truck and verify everything I had input into the system was accurate, they took it for a 5 minute drive, we went over the offer price from the internet to which I said I wanted $500 more than, they ran that number by their manager, they agreed to the price, we took care of the title paperwork and by the time we moved everything from the F150 to our new truck they had a check ready for us. Pretty simple.

We can’t say that this process will work for everyone but has worked for us twice now and has made life so much easier than trying to sell ourselves. I wish we could have done that with the motorhome LOL!!

Once we said our goodbye to the F150 we just headed out for a little drive in our new rig which eventually lead us to spot for something to eat which lead to laziness which of course lead to us kicking back the remainder of the evening and making plans for the next couple days. You see we didn’t know just how long it would take to get rid of the F150 so we booked what turned out to be two extra days just in case. Better safe than sorry.

That sums it up for this update and we PROMISE that the next update is more interesting than what we have been talking about lately LOL!! Well to you anyway, what we have been talking about has been pretty interesting and exciting to us.

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Headed to Kansas

Ok, still playing catch up.

Sunday (3/31) after a good night’s sleep and no new tumbles to talk about we woke and quietly snuck away from Palm Creek about 5:45am and headed to Cracker Barrel for breakfast before hitting the highway headed towards Junction City Kansas.

After breakfast we started rolling at 7am with 1145 miles between us and the New Horizon factory and no set destination for that particular day’s end other than we knew we wanted to at least cover ½ of the miles.

Once we covered half of the miles we realized it was still early afternoon and saw absolutely no good reason to get off the road on such a good weather day to only spend the evening sitting in the cab of the truck. Yup, you read that correctly.

You see even though I want to be a trusting soul, with the way things are these days I just couldn’t see us getting a hotel room and leaving all of our worldly possessions stowed in a trailer with just one measly ol padlock protecting it. So I told Diane before we ever hit the road that we would be sleeping in the truck. I couldn’t get beyond the thought of someone breaking into the trailer and having to make Diane run all the way from our room to the truck to stop them. By sleeping in the truck she would have much less running to do if someone tried to take our stuff.

Anyway we just kept driving until we finally found ourselves driving in rain, which eventually turned into snow. Enough snow that it was sticking on the road and we were leaving tracks. What the heck!!

To make a long story short we drove until we reached Springer New Mexico where we found a truck stop that we could spend the night in. That turned out to be a 644 mile day.
Once we settled into a nice somewhat dark spot (but not too dark) we made our way into Kitty’s Café for a light dinner before bundling up and breaking out the blankets for our night’s sleep. You see it was snowing and the temps were supposed to dip down to 25 degree’s so we were prepared for a chilly night.


As it turned out I woke up about every 2 hours from either being uncomfortable or cold so I would start the truck, straighten out and reposition the old body and when it was warm in the cab again I would shut it down and try to get back to sleep as fast as I could. Diane seemed to be in tune with the same routine.

(4/1) By about 5:30 we had enough of that crap so we went into the store section of the truck stop, grabbed a couple cups of coffee and a couple donuts and hit the road in the dark and fog. We had just 500 miles between us and the New Horizon Factory and we planned to get there before they closed that day, and we did.

We rolled into the New Horizon factory in Junction City Kansas about 3PM, took a look at our coach, and then headed towards a hotel where I was able to back the U-Haul up to the back of another trailer where it would be secure for the night. Whew, what a couple days of travel that turned out to be.

After getting settled in the hotel we made our way across the street to the La Fiesta Mexican restaurant for a bite to eat. Mexican food is Diane’s favorite so I figured after the last couple days she deserved a treat.


On Tuesday (4/2) after showers and breakfast we took the U-Haul full of our belonging to New Horizons who offered to let us store our stuff in their racking if we wanted to palletize everything which of course sounded like a great idea.

That would save us from having to rent a storage unit for a few weeks and from having to load everything from the unit back into a U-Haul trailer and haul it up to New Horizon when our new home was completed. This way they could just bring us our stuff one pallet at a time when it comes time to move into our new home.

Diane decided to have a seat in the customer lounge while I unloaded the trailer and that worked out well. I think after the previous long days in the truck and the fact that it was a bit cool outside AND because the memory was fresh of the healthy debates that occurred over just how the trailer should be loaded a few days earlier had a lot to do with her decision LOL!! All we would have done is got in each others way anyway.


Once the trailer was unloaded, which actually took a little longer than expected, all the yacking I did with passer byers might have had something to do with that, we jumped in the truck and took the U-Haul to a drop off location that was less than 2 miles away from New Horizon.

Once the trailer was gone we headed into town for some lunch before returning to New Horizon to take a peek at our new home. Something that we had not seen at all other than in pictures so that was pretty exciting.

After our time at New Horizon we headed back to the hotel with the plan of waking up early the next day and start the next leg of our journey which would take us to Valparaiso Indiana to pick up our new Ram 5500 and hopefully sell our F150. This leg of the trip was going to be roughly 650 miles.

We had planned to make this part of the trip in two days, I guess you will need to come back to see how that turned out. Any guesses?

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Final days for this years Arizona visit

It’s time to start once again playing catch up on the blog.

In our last update we mentioned our time was coming to an end at our winter destination and our schedule was crammed, and they stayed that way and in fact still are LOL!!

On Wednesday (3/27) we kept our noses to the grindstone packing boxes, well pretty much other than Diane taking a break to go play Mahjong with the girls.

On Thursday (3/28) I went over to get our U-Haul trailer so we could get everything loaded up.

I would like to say everything went smoothly but the day grew long with a couple delays and we ended up loading the last thing in the trailer “for that day” after dark. But with help from our friend Drew and his son Andrew we got the only thing I needed help with “the mattress” loaded just after dark.

Of course after loading the mattress into the trailer meant that Diane slept on the couch and I slept in my recliner for the last night in our motorhome. Real comfy!!

Because the new owners of our motorhome were scheduled to pick up the rig the following day (Friday 3/29) AND scheduled an appointment with a RV wash service to do a wash and wax starting at 7:30AM I had hoped to have everything loaded on Thursday but that didn’t happen so there we were taking the last few things out the front door with a worker on the roof washing.

So just picture us running in and out with misc. items, stepping over hoses and dodging ladders with water spray hitting us as if to say “stupid fools, why did you procrastinate!!” Well we won’t go into this story any farther so we don’t open the sealed can of worms and relive that in our household LOL!!

The important thing is that we survived the ordeal and we are still happily together.
Some of the last minute stuff actually had to make itself over to the 5th wheel we mentioned that a friend was nice enough to let us use for what we thought was going to be maybe 4 nights.

Now in my mind all we needed for a short stay in the borrowed 5th wheel was a few cloths and an overnight bag but it turned into a whole lot more stuff than I figured, but again we survived all that LOL!!

After everything was finally moved out and the coach was washed and waxed we were able to spend some time with the new owners who asked if we would accompany them to the DMV while they did paperwork to switch over the title and get plates for the motorhome which of course we agreed to. But after it was all over it was apparent that we didn’t really need to be there. It was just something added to our day that took close to 2 hours, man are they slow at that DMV.

And holy cow is it expensive to license a motorhome in Arizona, we thought the stories we heard about California was staggering but Arizona is doing its darned best to compete. I don’t remember the exact number but it was over $2000 to register and get plates for 1 year!! It’s $350 for 2 years in Oregon.

Anyway, after DMV and one last walk around and walk through the new owners drove away with our old and their new home. It was a sad yet exciting moment that left us homeless other than a borrowed 5th wheel and a U-Haul full of our worldly possessions. What the hell have we done!!

With the motorhome gone all we need to do the remainder of the day was kick back in our borrowed home and wait for the Taco party that was to be held at our friends Chuck & Kara’s place right next door. And because the5th wheel we were staying in was borrowed and wasn’t hooked up to water or power we were given the easy task of binging the taco shells, how easy is that!!

There were 16 of us that attended what was to be our last happy hour of the season down south and a great time was had by all. Not to mention the great food and oh yes, the surprise Birthday cake for our friend Becky!!!

Ok, before I talk about Friday night let me tell you that I contacted New Horizon and told them our situation and that that we had a temporary roof over our head and asked if they could give us a “not solid” but good estimated time of when we could take delivery of our new home so we could time our journey that direction and within a couple hours we received an email asking if we could be at their factory April 16th to start our week long orientation. Well heck yes we could!!

So because we had to also go to Indiana to pick up our new truck and we had a few Points of Interest that we wanted to visit while out that way we decided we would be leaving Palm Creek on Sunday (3/31).

Ok, that sets the stage, we went to bed about 10 I guess and of course I woke up for my normal 3am bathroom urge. And because we were in a borrowed rig I figured I would just walk down to the bath house to relieve myself. And because Diane was sleeping I just grabbed my glasses off the dresser and headed out.

Well after living fulltime in a Class A with virtually no steps to deal with BOY was I surprised when I found myself doing a face plant after a solid fall with apparently no effort to brace myself from the top step. (You can see the steps in this picture to the right of where I’m sitting).

Obviously I made some noise which woke Diane, so much for trying to be quiet and I remember saying “crap I fell and I think I broke my glasses as I felt the warmth of blood running down my face”

So what do I hear from Diane in the bedroom? All she had to say is “we leave in a couple days so how are you going to drive without your glasses!!? Geezzz, such warm sympathy she showed.

Anyway, after getting up and cleaning myself up a little I snapped this selfie and realized that I only bent the heck out of the frames of my glasses so Diane didn’t need to worry, I would be able to drive LOL!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t take any pictures but after a couple days I had the best black eye than I’ve had in a lot of years. Oh well, what a stupid move. And for the record, I closed the door at the top of the steps the following night so I wouldn’t pull that stunt again.

Saturday (3/30) we decided to start the day by having breakfast at the Bistro in the park. On our way there Diane yelled out “STICK BUG!!”

Well after a little closer look it turned out to be an ACTUALL stick that looked like a bug LOL!!! I keep telling her that she needs glasses.

I had originally planned to play Pickleball most of the day but because my wounds kept bleeding off and on all day and my shoulder was hurting a bit and swollen from my fall I decided to just take it easy and go for a bike ride and say our “see ya next seasons” to our friends and get ready for an early departure the following day.

Ok, that’s about as abbreviated as I can make this update. Sunday (3/31) we woke early and started our drive towards Kansas so check back to see how that went.

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Our stay at Palm Creek is coming to a end

Our 5 month stay at the Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort (Pickleball Resort for me LOL) is close to coming to an end and so has our little sabbatical away from doing much on the blog to I guess LOL!!

This seasons 5 month stay was the longest stay in one spot by far since hitting the road and ya know what, it flew by and we had a great winter (even though the coldest we have experienced since hitting the road) and we have already made plans to repeat it again next winter. Who would have thunk it LOL!!

We won’t even try to put things in order or even elaborate a bunch on any one topic in an effort to streamline this update a bit.

We will start out with the obvious and say we played as much Pickleball as we could possible squeeze in. Me more than Diane of course mainly because of her shoulder issue (which we will touch base on).

I played pretty much every single day except for the 4 or 5 days that we had rain and the courts were too wet and I even dabbled more into tournament play, in the resort and at venues held in surrounding areas.

I even brought home a Silver medal from one of the tournaments with the help from my buddy and Pickleball partner John.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in another tournament I gathered up yet another Silver Medal in the Robson Ranch Invitational with my partner Steve.


And I was able to play in the second largest Pickleball Tournament in the United States, which attracted players from all over the county and filled 4 days with some fantastic play, called The Duel in the Desert. Not even close to any medals in this one but we certainly didn’t play our best Pickleball either.  You just can’t be on every day I guess unfortunately.

I enjoyed the challenge of the tournament play but I think I jumped in a little too fast after only playing in one tournament before this year and played too many this season. Even though I enjoyed the play and the experience it took away from some of my more casual play and added some new “pressure” to the game.

This season I played in mixed doubles and men’s doubles and I think next year I will cut back on my mixed doubles play and concentrate more on just the men’s. Maybe just one tournament with mixed double and cut the overall tournaments back by one or two. I say this now but by next season I will probably be chomping at the bit for more tournament play LOL!!

I have a competitive personality and it proved to be a little draining this season and I think I’m at the stage of my life that I want to concentrate more on the “fun” aspects of things than the competitive side. I’m sure I will find a happy medium.

Diane’s shoulder is still on the mend. She can now reach straight out to her side and can reach to just above head level to the front and can reach to just above her butt in the rear with just some pain but nowhere near the pain she was going through.

 

 

 

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It seems it will be a slow process for her to get back to normal, we have read that in some cases it can take up to 2 years and in extreme cases full movement is never back to 100%. Only time will tell.

We took a drive out to Eloy and spent a good chunk of an afternoon watching skydivers at Skydive Arizona which is always fun to do.

These people are practicing their moves on the ground before doing them in the air.

Thee people are practicing their moves on the ground before doing them in the air.

Here is a link to their website if case you care to learn more. https://www.skydiveaz.com/
Diane took a gourd class where you could make some pretty neat stuff like this cool birdhouse, which is what Diane made. But she won’t let me show you the one she actually made LOL!! But she did a nice job for her first attempt.

And Diane took a basket weaving class and made this nice little basket as her first project.
This is something I’m sure she will do again next season, at least I hope she does. I would like her to make us a nice basket to put fruit in on the counter of our new 5th wheel.

 

 

 

 

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We learned and played a new game called Bumble Ball which Diane and a few of her friends went on to play a few times but it proved to be a little slow and non-competitive for my liking. But a lot of laughing went on during the games so that’s always good.

On Breast Cancer Awareness day Diane along with a few of her friends walked in an Awareness Parade that was followed by a Chili feed, some live music and as darkness came a Hot Air Balloon Glow.

I took a drive out to the Coolidge Airfield one Saturday morning for the monthly Pancake and Fly-in.

I normally make it out to this more than once per season but I think because I have been still watching my eating habits a bit more and avoided the pancake part of the event I didn’t feel the early morning draw as much LOL!!

But as always there were some nice planes to check out and I managed to kill a few hours.

We had some very active Pickleball player friends that actually got married ON the Pickleball courts this season so we were invited to join them on the court for the wedding and to a very nice gathering later in the evening. A great and unique experience for sure and we were honored to be invited to be part of it.

If their marriage is even half as successful as their Pickleball play on the courts they will have one fantastic life together.

Let’s see, we also attended the annual Quilt Show here at the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This was more of a Diane thing but even I can’t help but admire the time and effort that goes into the designing and making of these quilts.

 

 

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I attended the Annual Pickleball dinner and dance even though Diane was out of town and wasn’t able to go with me and I’m not into dancing at all.

But I was able to share a table with friends and of course the place was filled with about 400 or more Pickleball players along with a band playing mainly oldies and there were free margaritas flowing and some good food so it was a good time.

We had good friends from Oregon fly down and rented a house in the Mesa area and Diane went up and spent 4 days with them. It was a ladies event and unfortunately no pictures were taken that I have gotten hold of anyway but they had a nice time catching up.

And then of course there was the Annual Car Show held at the resort that we always enjoy.
Unfortunately it rained pretty solid the day before the show so it was held in the parking lot instead of out in the nice grassy field it’s normally in but it didn’t take away from the great cars, live music and food vendors that were in attendance.

The people that are buying our motorhome has come down a couple more times since our last update to familiarize themselves more with the coach and I drove it up to Phoenix and ran it through DEQ as the last hoop (we are hoping) to be jumped through, of course it passed with flying colors.

And we have started the packing process which has created its own set of challenges. Boxing things up and having the boxes sitting out in our already small floor space isn’t exactly fun.

I suppose we could have just taken the last couple days and did it all at once but neither of us wanted to give up activities so we decided to start a couple weeks in advance and just pack a box in our “spare” time. And once crunch time came around “we considered that 3 weeks and counting” it seemed we felt busier than ever and wanted to squeeze every bit of activity we could in.

What’s worse is that once it got down to crunch time it became evident that even though we will have spent 5 months in one spot there were things we wanted to do that we didn’t find time to, how pathetic is that!!

Because Diane volunteered at the Pickleball members sign up table she was able to participate in a big event “party & games” that was the clubs way of thanking the volunteers.

They had a number of different events which included Pickleball of course, T-Ball, Hillbilly Golf and Bumbee Ball.

They were also treated to a meal and there was live music and dancing towards the end. A good time was had by all even though the weather didn’t cooperate 100% and it was a cooler day with a little wind but nothing that kept everyone from enjoying themselves.

Of course we continued the Tuesday night 2 for 1 Wing tradition and after starting with 4 of us going on a regular basis the group grew to between 10 and 12 that showed up every Tuesday night.

Speaking of not getting a picture, our friends Bob & Karen (Our Canadian friends Bob & Karen) stopped in for a short visit one after noon. We hadn’t seen them for probably 3 years and it sure was nice seeing them again. Time sure is treating them well.

And the resort finally was able to have one of their “Movie in the Park” nights. Normally they would have had a couple more from what we remember in years past but this year’s weather sure wasn’t normal or very cooperative.

Hmm, now how did that turn upside down??

Hmm, now how did that turn upside down??

 

 

Oh, the movie was “Green Book” and was much better than what I thought it would be.
We attended the “Blast from the Past “End of Season party that was chocked full of live music, food and friends.

Of course the last couple weeks are always jammed with farewell gatherings and I think because this winter’s weather was less than favorable for evening happy hours everyone was chomping at the bit once the weather did decide to cooperate.

One of our last Happy Hours had a Tequila theme that after an hour or so turned into more of an “empty out the booze cupboard” party LOL!!

And of course by the end of the night the whiskey bottle started to get passed around.

And of course by the end of the night the whiskey bottle started to get passed around.

Ok, at this point we only have a couple days remaining before turning over the motorhome to the new owners which at that point we will be homeless with all of our worldly possessions stowed in a U-Haul trailer behind our pickup, good grief the day has really come.

Our plans at this point. Have everything 100% packed on Wednesday (3/27), go get our U-Haul on Thursday (3/28) and load everything up, turn over the coach to the new owners Friday morning (3/29).

We had planned to roll out headed towards Kansas after turning over the motorhome but a turn of events came along and we have a slight change of plans. Our friend Tommy who is not in the park right now but is an annual site holder bought a used New Horizons 5th wheel that is in the park and has offered it to us to use as long as we need, WOW!!

His actual site is rented out until April 1st and the 5th wheel he bought is sitting on a site that does not have electrical so we will more or less dry camp in it for 3 nights and then it will be moved to his annual site where we will have full hookups and we plan to stay for 4 more nights before heading to New Horizons in Kansas.

This is all great as long as the resort does not give us grief about the U-Haul trailer sitting on the site with us. Everything will fit on the site with no problem and the resort does allow trailers to sit that are not over 13ft but because we will not be the actual site renters the waters are a bit muddy so we will see what happens.

Because it’s the end of season and the park is starting to empty out and because we have been here 5 months and have 5 months reserved for next season we are hoping we might get a little sympathy. Plus our neighbors on our patio side will be our friends Drew & Becky and Drew is Tommy’s brother so they won’t complain and the site behind us will be empty so they won’t complain.

Normally we are pretty straight up front people but this time I think we will try the “ask for forgiveness instead of permission” approach. The last couple times I have been the upfront guy it hasn’t worked out so well LOL!!

Ok, I guess we have rushed through this update the best we can and it’s 4AM Wednesday morning. Today everything will be boxed up and the then we have a Going Away Happy Hour at 5 tonight so it will be a busy day.

Tomorrow we load the U-haul, Friday the coach goes away and then we have a Happy Hour planned with 17 others that will be Taco themed. And then, well who knows but we will talk about that in our next update.

Posted in A little about us | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Written version of our Intro & Motorhome video’s

This update is for those of you that don’t particularly like to click on a YouTube video link. This pretty much is the same thing that is on the Video but not exactly the same.

As those of you that follow our blog know, after over 6 years full-timing in a Class A motorhome we have decided to switch to a New Horizon 5th wheel.

With that in mind I started thinking about how many times I see people asking on different forum’s “which is better for the full-time lifestyle, a Class A or 5th wheel” and how many times the people answering that question have only owned and actually lived in one or the other and can’t possible give a well-rounded answer.

And in those rare times that people have owned both it seems they had maybe an older motorhome with few or no slides and older technology whether it’s suspension or appliances or just general construction and they switch to a newer 5th wheel with slides and all the new technology and of course it would be night and day when comparing because they are not comparing apples to apples so once again the response can be pretty lop sided.

That’s where I got thinking about how we will be switching from a newer well-appointed Class A to a very high quality 5th wheel and how in time we might be able to share some information that might be helpful to those trying to figure out what might be best for them. And we have owned both a non-tag axle and a tag axle Class A.

In our “introduction video” we talked a little about our experience with RV’s and in a nut shell this is what it said.

((*- And before we go any farther we will say that there really is no right or wrong and what’s right for one person may not be right for the next and both I’m sure have their advantages and dis-advantages. There is no perfect world in anything any of us do.

*- When we decided to hit the road we already owned a Class A so it was a pretty easy decision for us on what we would be living in on the road but for a lot of people researching the fulltime life style is a little more complicated because they maybe don’t own a RV and in some cases never have so they have to figure everything out from scratch. And that can seem like a daunting task.


**- To start with we will give a little history on or experience.

*- In 2006 we bought our first RV, a 2006 40’ triple axel Weekend Warrior toy-hauler 5th wheel that we pulled with a Ford F350 King Ranch.


*- Then in 2007 we switched to a single rear axle 2007 Tiffin Phaeton diesel pusher with a 350HP Cat engine because we wanted more creature comforts than the toy haulers were offering at that time.


**- And that 2007 Phaeton is what we started our fulltime life style with in 2012.

*- Then after some time on the road and after we decided that the fulltime life style was something we wanted to continue doing we decided to trade in our 40’ 07 and buy a 42’ 2014 Tiffin Phaeton that gave us what we felt was even more creature comforts and an even better driving experience mainly because of the tag axle and more power and the layout of the inside which we will go over when we actually talk about our likes and dislikes of a Class A.


*- Since hitting the road in 2012 we have packed up and relocated 275 times in 35 different states and have traveled mainly on 2 lane secondary roads but have traveled some freeways as well. And have done everything from boondocking for weeks on end to staying in high end resorts. Well high end to us anyway, maybe not compared to what some might call high end.

**- So with that said we feel we have a pretty darn good idea of what it’s like to live and travel in a Class A.

*- When we first hit the road we have always said that as long as we pick up and move around a lot we would no doubt stay in a motorhome because we really feel that’s where the advantages are most obvious with a Class A but if we ever got to a point that we started to settle into one spot for longer periods we would consider switching to a 5th wheel. And that’s the stage we have finally reached.

*- My mindset is that many components of a motorhome are designed to be moving and I don’t want a big diesel engine and transmission just sitting. Belts & hoses and seals and whatever else need to be exercised and sitting for months on end is just not good for them.

*-Again, that’s my opinion, lots of people will say that starting a engine and letting it run once a month is all you need to do but I’m not of that mindset and don’t feel that’s adequate but again, everyone has their own opinions and that’s what makes the world go around, go with what’s good for you. We are just sharing what’s good for us.

*- As we mentioned, we are at the stage of our fulltime experience that we plan to start sitting in one spot for longer periods, 4 or 5 months in one spot during the winter and maybe 1 to 2 or even 3 months at a time during the summer months as we bounce around so we are having a new 40’ New Horizon 5th wheel being built that we plan to take possession of in April.

*- And we have a new 2018 Ram 5500 built and waiting for us at Classy Chassis in Indiana that we will use to move us around the country.


*- So our hope and our plan is to compare and share our fulltime experience‘s in our current Class A to what we experience in a 5th wheel and share it with whoever is interested.

*- Obviously because we have not been in our 5th wheel yet we will be doing a 2 or 3 part series starting with this “introduction video” and then one talking about our experience and our likes & dislikes about living in a Class A and then after we have spent some time in our new 5th wheel and feel we can do a real and honest comparison we will do another.

*- So in reality the “introduction video, this one” and the one about our motorhome experience will come pretty close together but the one comparing the motorhome and 5th wheel will be months away.

*- Maybe we will do one on the 5th wheel in May to give our initial thought and share what struggles we have adjusting to the change and what we might find that we immediately like OR dislike, we will play it by ear.

*- So, we hope we have sparked your interest and we hope in some way we can help someone in some way work through the ongoing question of what’s best for the fulltime life style, a Class A or 5th wheel. ))

Anyway, we know that we have already supplied a link to our intro video in a previous update but here it is again just in case.

Ok, now on to what we pretty much had to say in our video about what we like and dislike about full-timing in a Class A. Again, what is typed out is not exactly what is said in the video, I do more winging it in the video, but it’s all pretty close.

*In this episode we are going to talk about what we like about full-timing in a Class A. Our next episode will be after we make the switch to our new 5th wheel.

*- Ok, here we go.

*- First off I like driving a motorhome. Our current rig with the tag axle handles so nice on the road that it’s a pleasure to drive. And I attribute a lot of the road characteristics to the tag axle.

We don’t notice wind caused by mother-nature or from passing trucks nearly as much as we did with our first motorhome that didn’t have the tag axle. Plus our current rig weighs more which I’m sure helps.

*- We love sitting up higher while going down the road in our Class A. And with the huge windshield it gives us a great view of the scenery and it’s a huge advantage being able to see over traffic while looking for upcoming turnoffs or even seeing things happen well in front of us that we need to be concerned about.

*- I love the 2 stage engine brake in our 2014 motorhome. The exhaust brake in our 07 was very good but the engine brake in our 2014 is far better. It just takes away any anxiety we might have had going down even the steepest of grades around the country. Not that we don’t still need to use some common sense.

This is something that will be on our minds as we learn more about pulling a 5th wheel but that’s why we opted for the Ram 5500 instead of a smaller truck. From the research we have done we feel the exhaust brake system and larger brakes should be just fine. But we will report on that in the future.

*- Cargo capacity is a huge consideration when full-timing. Not just being able to fit everything in but being able to do so AND stay within the weight ratings of the RV AND when thinking about a 5th wheel the trucks ratings as well.

With our 2014 we have never had to worry about being overweight, even if we were headed to a boondocking spot with our 100 gallon fresh water tank filled and were stocked to the gills with food. And the tag axle has a lot to do with that.

The last time we were weighed our motorhome weighed 36,800 lbs and that was with empty grey and black tanks and we had about ¼ tank of fresh water at the time (so about 25 gallons), the way we normally are on travel days.

Our max weight rating for our particular coach is 44,320lbs so we were 7520lbs under our max allowed which we felt very comfortable with. AND we were very well balanced from side to side which is very important as well. So that’s a WIN WIN!!

And for the record our Gross Combined Weight Rating for our particular coach (which is the weight of the RV AND the toad combined) is 54,320lbs and with our coach weighing 36.800lbs and the F150 pickup weighing it at 5450lbs we were 42,250lbs total, that’s 12,075lbs under our max allowed. I just don’t know how we could ever have a weight issue unless we started chauffeuring a rock band around the country.

*- Speaking of cargo we have liked the storage arrangement in our class A’s. We like the way cargo is spread out pretty evenly in the outside storage areas which makes it pretty darn easy getting to everything.


*- And we like that the generator in our Motorhome is located in a slide out compartment at the front of the coach that does not take away from any cargo areas. That’s something that has always been a drawback to me when it came to 5th wheels having the generator in a area that takes away from cargo space.


Lucky for us the New Horizon 5th wheel we will be getting mounts the generator behind the axles so it doesn’t take away from valuable cargo space AND doesn’t add to the pin weight. But we will go over that when we do a video on the 5th wheel in the future.

Oh, the generator in our motorhome is a 10,000 watt Onan that runs off diesel provided from our fuel tank and it’s large enough to run everything in the coach with no issues.
And being able to start and run the generator with just a push of a button while going down the road without stopping is nice on those really hot travel days that we might want to run our roof AC’s. In reality we very seldom did that because of our usual early start times and not traveling very long into the day.

*- I guess because we touched a bit on power it would be a good time to bring up the solar we had installed.


We had 8 140 watt solar panels installed on the roof that provides 1120 watts of solar power that charges 6 Lifeline 6CT 300 Amp Hour AGM batteries that in turn provided us with 900 amp hours of battery power, well really 450 amp hours because you can only safely deplete these batteries to 50%.

But we don’t want to turn this into a solar educational video, we will leave that to the real experts. But if you are interested in what all we do have as far as solar panels, boosters, monitoring systems and inverters you can go to our blog and do a search for boondocking with a all-electric coach and it should take you to a write up we did back in 2016.

*- While talking about power we should mention that this particular coach is an all-electric coach and we really love that. Not having to mess with propane has been very nice.

*- Having a all-electric coach and camping off the grid is another big topic that gets hashed over again and again and again and all we will say about it is YOU CAN BOONDOCK JUST FINE WITH AN ALL ELECTRC COACH, PERIOD!! Don’t get wrapped up with all the NEA sayers. Those that say it can’t be done just haven’t done it or given it a chance.

I think the longest we have boondocked or dry camped off the grid at one time without moving was 17 days and we did just fine in an all-electric coach. Even though our holding tanks were getting pretty darn full, but they were the only deciding factor on when we had to find hookups.

*- I guess the last thing we should touch on in regards to the outside stuff is that we have felt the hooking up and un-hooking of our toad is a breeze. We have never timed it but I’m guessing we do it within 5 or10 minutes pretty easy.

We have made it a little tougher on ourselves by carrying the bikes on the rear of the motorhome instead of on the back of our toad but luckily we are still pretty nimble so it’s not really a big deal, and the benefits of having them on the motorhome for us outweighs any added inconvenience by far.

The only inconvenience we are referring to is that I need to duck and bend over a little more to work under the bikes when storing and taking the tow bar out of its cradle but that’s not really a big deal.

*- As far as having a toad behind a motorhome I love that when we get to a campground we can unhook before ever going to our site which makes out total length shorter when driving through campgrounds which can be pretty tight at times.

And it means that once we back into our site we are out of the way of anyone needing to get by us. Many times we see trucks pulling a 5th wheel still sticking out into the road and at times blocking traffic until they get unhooked, which also means they will block the road while hooking up as well and I admit that this gives me a little anxiety thinking about that when we make the switch.

But fellow RVers know this can happen and are pretty patient for the most part so I guess I shouldn’t worry about it that much.

*- I have also liked that our motorhome is only 12’ 8” tall at the highest point which really hasn’t been an issue for us so far, and we have mainly traveled backroads, not that we still don’t need to pay close attention.

Our new 5th wheel will be roughly 1 foot taller so I’m thinking we will encounter height issues a little more as we travel and it will be something we will need to pay even closer attention to.

*- I could go on and on about the outside stuff but let’s move on to the inside.

*- The first thing we want to bring up as far as the inside goes is the ongoing debate about the steering wheel. It never fails that when a 5th wheel owner talks about a motorhome they almost always bring up having the steering wheel be part of your decor in the living area and how ugly it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well that’s a problem only if you let it be. We on the other hand have turned it into a great place to put a lamp and dressed up that area and we never think about a steering wheel being there. So really it shouldn’t even be a topic, but I’m sure it always will be.

 

 

 

 

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*- And our seats turn around to add extra seating in the living room area and provides a great spot to sit down to take off or put on our shoes and the spot behind the driver’s seat and under the steering wheel is a great place to put shoes.


So to us the cockpit area in a class A just might have an advantage over a 5th wheel setup and that’s something we will have to figure out once we make the switch. We will let you know what we think at some point in the future.

**- And we use the dash like we used to use our “behind the couch” table we used to have when we lived in a house for plants and stuff like that. A real non-issue for us.

*- While we are talking about the front of the coach I guess we could touch on the windshield. For us we know that in a Class A we will always be looking out at the street in a campground unless we have a pull-in site, and in a way we thought that was an advantage because we know we will never be looking at someone else’s patio while in parks that have RV’s backup up to each other like so many do or staring at some brick wall or something like that. If you stay in enough RV parks you know it’s going to happen.

We would much rather look at people walking their dogs or something like that than looking out at someone sitting on their patio trying to have some private time.

And we always feel in touch with what’s going on outside and have always thought in a 5th wheel we might feel more out of touch. I’m sort of an extravert so I like being in touch but for people who are more of an introvert like Diane it’s probably not a big deal. Everyone is different.

But on the other hand if you are in a state park type setting or out boondocking having the back window of a 5th wheel would probably have the advantage. This is another thing we will have to get used to living in a 5th wheel.

*- And that big windshield can attract a lot of heat if you parked so the sun beats on it but we have overcome that by using a Magna-shade which we can’t speak highly enough about.
We love not having any snaps to deal with or having to use a ladder to put it up or take it down. AND it stops the sun’s rays BEFORE they reach the glass which is a huge advantage over just using the inside shades.

*- Moving back a little we like the seating arrangement in our current class A with the 2 front seats turned around and the L shaped couch that gives a “separation” feel between the kitchen and living room area. Even though we have never felt our couch was overly comfortable like in some other brands we have been in like Winnebago or Entegra for example. Tiffin could do a lot better job picking comfortable furniture.


*- And we love having the TV where it is with the fireplace below instead of having it up over the windshield like in our last class A, it’s so much easier to watch without neck strain.


*- In our particular setup we can comfortably seat 6 or 7 people while visiting without having to move in additional chairs to the living room.

*- And speaking of the fireplace, we love it. In the mornings if we are having cool weather I hit the button on the remote control that we keep by the bed at night and turn on the fireplace before getting out of bed and within minutes the chill is taken off and it’s very comfortable when I get up. And we use the fireplace as our main source of heat in the front part of the coach 95% of the time that heat is needed.

But keep in mind, we don’t spend any time in areas that get real cold for extended periods of time in the winter.

*- Another added heating feature we have in our class A that we love is the heated floors. We have tile floors everywhere in the coach except for our slide room and they can get very cold if in cool weather but the heated floor system keeps them nice and warm when turned on. And let me tell you, there is nothing more inviting than rolling out of bed and putting your bare feet on nice warm floors.

And it’s surprising just how much heat radiates from them when left on which helps heat the entire coach. We hate the fact that we will not have heated floors in our new 5th wheel.
That’s one of the first things we ran across when going to a 5th wheel manufacture that boosts “fully custom” because even though they would install the heated floors they would not warrantee them, that was almost a deal breaker for us to be honest, that’s how much we love the heated floors. But we gave in and it was our 1st “known sacrifice” in switching to a 5th wheel.

*- While still talking about heat sources our current coach uses a Aqua-Hot system for hot water and those times we need a little extra heat.

Without going into it much the Aqua-Hot system operates off electricity or diesel and can provide endless hot water while using diesel if we so desired. And for us we used the electric side of the system mainly because we don’t spend much time in cold areas where the diesel side would be needed. (The electric side is really only good if temperatures stay above 40 degrees or so).

It’s a good system that we have really liked and I’m sure we will miss when we switch to the 5th wheel.

*- Moving back to the kitchen and eating area we have everything we could possible need. We have a induction cooktop (which may not be the best one on the market but we got used to it).

*-We have a full sized dishwasher that we love even though we didn’t think we would want one in a RV, and it uses so little water it appeases people like Diane that worry about that type of thing.

*-We have a full sized residential refrigerator that we would not be without, we will never switch back to a “RV style” propane slash electric unit. (Now remember, these are just OUR feelings, not everyone is the same. Remember there is no right or wrong).

*-We have plenty of cupboard space for us even though some RV’s we go into have some pretty nice pantries that I’m sure are nice to have.

*-Our counter top space is adequate and being able to pull out the extension where our bank of drawers are sure helps when cooking larger meals or for us mainly we use it when using the Instant Pot (which we love by the way).

*- And we really like the way our dining room table just slides out to add more space. No legs and no leafs to deal with. And the tabletop space behind the table is a great spot for a small lamp and other do-dads.


*- Speaking of the cabinets and tabletop behind the kitchen table, it’s deep enough that we can have a file cabinet drawer there and the most important thing, a spot for a computer station.

I use this computer station every single morning and to be honest it might just be the biggest single item that I will be sacrificing by going to the 5th wheel because once again it’s something we will lose by going to a “fully custom” 5th wheel.

In fact if we think back not having a computer station is one of the reasons we did not go with the Entegra brand Class A back in 2014 when we were switching from our previous motorhome.

Oh well, I will figure out a system that works I’m sure once we make the switch but I really hate this one. And if we gave it some more thought or changed the floorplan some in the 5th wheel I’m sure something could have been figured out but for us it just wasn’t meant to be.

*- We like that there is really just 1 small step involved to get from one end of the coach to the other once we are inside and that step is just 7” tall and leads into our rear bathroom.
At this stage of our life steps are not an issue and we hope they never become a issue in the future because we will have more steps to negotiate in the new 5th wheel.

*- Speaking of the rear bathroom, we really love the separation having a rear bathroom has from our living area AND it’s good sized so we don’t feel claustrophobic and feel like we need to rush out.

Probably the only thing we are not crazy about in that bathroom is the closet. The space is adequate but we have a electrical panel located inside and it takes up a chunk of space on the bottom of ½, which of course is my side.

*- We have a stacker washer dryer in the bathroom as well. The “have or not to have” a washer drier is another ongoing debate among RVers but we can honestly say that we would not own a RV without having a Washer Drier on board while full timing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our first Class A we had a combo unit and we didn’t have any real complaints about it but we do like the stacker units we have now better. But if we felt we were tight on storage we would have the washer dryer combo at a minimum.

*- I guess the only room we have not mentioned is the bedroom. We have a king size bed that we love even though making the bed is a bit of a challenge, but I think that probably holds true with most RV bedroom setups.

And we did switch out our mattress to a Tempure Pedic like we used to have while living in the house. In fact we like it so much that we are taking this mattress with us to the new 5th wheel.

*- And there is plenty of storage in the bedroom including the nice sized storage area under the bed.

*- The only thing in the bedroom area that we do not care for is the electronics area.
First off the way Tiffin located some electronics in a small closed in cavity is pure stupid because of heat buildup, and we all know heat is a killer on electronic.

We went through 2 splitters at well over $100 each before I wised up and installed a fan in that compartment which fixed the problem.

*- The other thing about the electronic being located behind a louvered door in the bedroom is that the power lights shine through which bugged us a bit at night. So every night we drape a cloth over the door to block the light.

I suppose we could have done something else like put a piece of tape over the lights but we just didn’t. Or do what Diane always told me to do, JUST SHUT YOU’RE EYE”S!!

*- I guess that pretty much sums it up and as you probably noticed there are far more things that we like about full-timing in a Class A than there are things we don’t like. But as we said before, the real main reason that we are making a switch to a 5th wheel is because we plan to sit longer at spots and we just don’t want a big expensive diesel engine and transmission sitting for extended periods of time. And again that’s just my opinion.

*-Plus from what we have found with a little research the yearly expenses owning a 5th wheel should be less than owning a Class A.

Even though in our case because we are buying one of the most expensive 5th wheel brands on the planet we will not save much insurance wise, in fact when researching we found that between having our particular 2014 Class A and our F150 as a toad and our new 5th wheel and jumping up to a much more expensive truck to pull it with we will pay almost exactly the same for insurance and maybe even a few dollars more at the start but very little. Not enough to even talk about.

The savings will come in annual maintains costs and things like the cost differences on tires when the time comes. But again, we will report on that in our blog some time in the future when we can share hard facts.

*- There are many more topics that come up when comparing 5th wheels to Class A’s like fuel economy or how convenient or inconvenient it would be if you have a mechanical issue with a Class A compared to a 5th wheel and we have our own thoughts on those topics but this video is getting a bit long so they may be something we do videos on in the future when we actually experience them in our 5th wheel.

But let us just say now that don’t let people scare you away from a motorhome because you might get 8mpg while going down the road like we do in our Class A because trust me, if you pick the right tow vehicle to pull along you will more than make up the difference by having a economical car as a daily driver than driving the truck around that you use to tow a 5th wheel around I’m guessing. But we will report on that when we have hard facts.

*- And as far as mechanical issues while in a Class A let us say that yes, if you live this life style long enough you WILL have an issue at some point but we have never had to spend a single night in a hotel because of a mechanical issue.

Sure, we have spent nights or even over a week in the back lot at a repair center but what happens if you have a serious issue while full-timing in a 5th wheel? I bet you would be spending time in the rear lot of a repair center as well, no difference.
And in a motorhome we still have our toad to get us around.

In fact if our motorhome broke down on the road we could have it towed and still have our toad to fall back on but if the truck breaks down that is pulling the 5th wheel you may have to have the truck towed as well as your home (the 5th wheel).

But again, after we get some time under our belt in a 5th wheel we will report on that. Again, there is no perfect world and we don’t care what you fulltime in.

*- Ok, that’s it. We will do another one of these after we switch over to our new 5th wheel and have a chance to spend a little time in it so we can give our opinion on the differences between living in a Class A and a 5th wheel.

There you have it, our thoughts on living fulltime in a Class A in a nut shell. There are probably things that we take for granite and have forgotten to talk about but I think we have covered most of it.

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The 2nd video in our “Comparing fulltime living in a Class A to a 5th wheel” series

I finally took the time to do the 2nd video in our “Comparing living in a Class A to a 5th Wheel” series.
One thing I have figured out for sure is that I’m not a video producer and I won’t be getting any movie parts anytime soon unless it’s in something like The Walking Dead where I can just shuffle along with a mask on and eat meat LOL!!
Anyway, here is a link to the video.

 

Posted in A little about us | Tagged , | 8 Comments