Headed to Burns Oregon

Monday, October 15, 2018, we woke to another cold cold morning in Redmond with clear skies and a temperature of 27 degree’s, and it was travel day.

As I was getting around I couldn’t help notice the extra aches & pains I managed to muster up due to a good crash & burn on the Pickleball courts the day before. Yup, I headed off to mi right after a well hit ball, I must have had 6 good driving strides before I reached down to hit the ball and just kept going down until I hit the court and skidded “a measured” 5ft on my right side head first.

Once I popped up I found out that I did in fact get the ball back over the net and into play and the opposing team hit their shot into the net earning us a point and allowing me to retain the serve. So even though a little worse for wear it was not in vein LOL!!

We actually went on to win that game and play one more before I exited the courts and went home to lick my wounds.

Anyway back to travel day. We didn’t have a long day planned, just 145 miles from Redmond to Burns Oregon where we planned to spend just 2 night’s at the Burns RV Park.

Our pull through site was plenty long if we didn't want to unhook, even though we did obviously.

Our pull through site was plenty long if we didn’t want to unhook, even though we did obviously.

Because the temps at night have been getting down to the low 20’s the park was pretty empty during our stay but a few people did roll in to spend the night and then were off again, probably headed south a little faster than us to get to warm temps. They must be smarter than we are.

We had driven through Burns a number of times over the years either in the RV or on motorcycles rides but we have never stopped to explore so we figured we would at least spend 2 nights so we could have good 1 1/2  days to explore.

Burns is in Harney County and has a population of just under 3000 people in it and the nearby city of Hines. Those 3000 people make up about 60 percent of the people in the sparsely populated Harney County which is the largest county in Oregon and the ninth largest in the United States. That gives you a pretty good idea of how few people live in this vast area. Without a doubt there are far more cows in the area than people.

Because we only had 1 full day to explore other than doing a short driving tour around town on our travel day we decided to go check out the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge about 30 miles outside of town.

The refuge was created in 1908 by order of President Theodore Roosevelt to protect habitat for diverse waterfowl and migratory birds, and has grown to encompass 187,757 acres of public lands.

Some of the displays were a bit strange

Some of the displays were a bit strange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s a popular site for birding, fishing, hunting and hiking, the refuge gained widespread attention in early 2016 after its headquarters complex was occupied by armed anti-government protesters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We probably drove 40 miles or more of single lane gravel roads looking for wildlife and even though we did see a few birds, a few deer and 4 coyote we didn’t see nearly what we had hoped to see. We were warned by a good friend that wildlife would probably be scarce because of the lack of water this year but we decided to take our chances. Win some lose some but it was a pretty drive done the less.

After the Wildlife Preserve we decided to find a bit of history called the Pete French Round Barn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is borrowed from the web: The Pete French Round Barn stands in the heart of Harney County and remains a monument to one man’s livestock empire. Peter French arrived in 1872 and began amassing land and cattle. By the mid-1880s, his enterprise had grown to 70,000 acres and 45,000 head of cattle.

Some claimed he didn’t legally acquire the land or water rights, which prompted land disputes and court cases and added to his controversial reputation. One of the disputes eventually led to his murder in 1897.

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Although dubbed the ‘Cattle King,” French was the first rancher in the area to put up hay. He also raised thousands of sheep for their wool. The Round Barn was used to train wild horses to pull long wagon trains full of wool, hay and supplies to market in Oregon City.

In today’s landscape, this type of barn is unique. But during 1880–1920, round barns became popular in the Midwest where they were promoted as being efficient for progressive methods of farming. 

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The Round Barn is near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a network of wetlands that attract diverse bird and wildlife species. As you drive through the area, take in the sweeping views of the high buttes surrounding the low plains and marshes and the picturesque Steens Mountain towering in the distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I love old barns and this one was no exception. It took a pretty darn good craftsman to build this thing back in the day, heck even today it would be a challenge for most.

After the barn we called it a day and headed home, had some dinner and curled up in front of the TV as the temps once again started to drop pretty darn fast as the sun set. Once again it got down to the mid 20’s overnight.

Just a spot along the road that caught my eye for some reason.

Just a spot along the road that caught my eye for some reason.

We didn’t even bother hooking up to water or septic during our stay because we knew everything would just freeze anyway, plus we were given a to the point notice on a sheet of paper when we checked in warning of freezing temps and stating that there would be a minimum $300 charge if we broke any of their water lines LOL!!! OK POINT TAKEN!!

Wednesday (10/17) we plan to lift our jacks and move 225 miles south to Winnemucca Nevada where we will probably spend 2 nights. We may change our minds and spend just 1 because the overnight temps there are supposed to be in the mid 20’s as well and I think we are getting a bit itchy to get to warmer temps even though it has been sunny and warm during the days, well warm enough.

Oh, a couple people have asked if we have had any interest in our motorhome and the answer is yes. At this point we have 2 different people planning to fly to Arizona to have a look and we have 3 people that will be in Arizona planning to take a look as well and we haven’t even advertised it in any major publications like RV Trader. Plus there is the company that buys used Tiffin’s and re-sales them but of course that will be a last resort.

And we received a couple pictures showing the progress of the hauler bed being made for our new pickup. It may not look like much now but it will before long!!

OK, that’s it for now.

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Crazy times

We realize it’s been a few weeks since our last update but trust me, our heads were swimming so much that I’m not sure we could have put it to print in a way that would have made any sense, nor would you have probably been interested in most of what we had going on.

 Because we sold the Jeep this year for the first time since hitting the road we don’t have a car of some sort in our storage unit which has been a huge part of our justification for having a storage unit, at least one as large as we had. So now we figure it’s time to do away with a storage unit all together or at least sell off some of the stuff we still have in storage and move what’s left into a much smaller unit.

 With that in mind we listed a few things on Craig’s List and had pretty good luck getting rid of what we listed but because we only had a very short time to spend in the area before heading south we didn’t even make a dent in what we need to get rid of, so I think we have decided to spend a couple months in the Grants Pass area next summer to really get things done.

 And with the 5th wheel in the horizon we spent some time truck shopping which turned out to be more of a challenge than we thought it would be. After configuring the 5th wheel we realized we would need to purchase a Ram 5500 or a Ford F550 to handle it safely so just that made it harder to find a truck that was already on the ground, most Ram 5500’s and Ford 550’s that are sitting at dealers around the country (and we searched the country) are in the Tradesman configuration for Ram trucks and XL or XLT’s with the Ford trucks because most of them are sold as pure work trucks, not leisure and luxury trucks.

 +++ As a note I researched for hours between Ford and Ram trucks and between F350 and Ram 3500’s and Ford F550 and Ram 5500’s which ultimately made me decide on a Ram 5500. We won’t bore you with all of the fine details on GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating), Max payload numbers, GCWR (gross combined weight rating), Axle ratings, gear ratio’s, HP and torque numbers and the detuning of engines when you go to a 550 or 5500, Max tow rating’s, brake rotor diameters, turning radius’s and on and on, but I will if you want me to lol!!! But trust me, you would shake your heard if you saw the pages of notes and charts I had laying out on the table at different times during my research, not to mention the numerous You Tube video’s I watched comparing trucks. Hey, I research a new pair of Pickleball shoes and even watch video’s on them before buying a stinking $100 pair of shoes so you can only imagine what I’m like buying something like a truck, I drive Diane crazy.+++   

 Because of the lack of available inventory we started looking at ordering a tuck which you would think would be easy but no, not for us. We configured a 2018 Ram 5500 and placed a deposit with a dealer only to find out that the ordering window for 2018 rigs had closed, what the!!!!

 OK, so then let’s just order a 2019 we said, easy right? Heck no, Ram pushed back the order window for 2019 5500 trucks to November and don’t even plan to have prices available until early 2019 and don’t expect to start making 5500’s until around February with an expected lead time of 6 to 8 weeks which would push the delivery day out too far for us with the expected completion date of our new 5th wheel being April. (keep in mind the 5500 comes as a cab & chassis so we need to have the truck drop shipped at a up-fitter in Indiana to have the custom hauler bed installed which would add over another month to the process).

 So is your head swimming yet?? You can imagine how ours were and this is just the truck deal. Now add in the selling off stuff out of storage, trying to spend time with friends and oh, a little medical procedure that one of us had done that required a 2 week recover period (we won’t go into this) and you have a pretty good idea of how we were feeling.

 By now we were thinking that ordering a Ford F550 might be our best option, even though a Ram 5500 was our 1st choice the F550 was a very close 2nd and a very capable machine. In fact we happened across a 2015 F550 in Bend Oregon while doing online searches that was already up-fitted with everything we wanted in a truck so we decided to lift our jacks and make a move back over to the Bend Area to have a look instead of heading south like we had planned.

 Unfortunately even though a very very nice truck and one that would have saved us a considerable amount of money compared to ordering a new truck and having a hauler bed installed the numbers just didn’t add up. Every year truck manufactures make them tougher and tougher with higher and higher ratings on capabilities and we would have been over on our GCWR (gross combined weight rating) by close to 2000lbs with this particular truck and it was not equipped with a exhaust brake.

 Don’t think for one second I didn’t research things I might be able to do to the 2015 to increase its capabilities like switching out the gears and adding a exhaust brake system but after hours of research and numerous phone calls to different shops including Ford it just wasn’t meant to be.

 So now by chasing the possibility of the used truck we moved to an area that the temps were dipping into the high 20’s at night instead of heading south where we would be warm and toasty. Damn, is anything easy? I know, staying with the motorhome would have been the easy thing LOL!!

 Well about now were whittling down our options dramatically and in our minds were down to just 2 options, #1 order a 2019 F550 and have it drop shipped to the up-fitter in Indiana to have the bed installed or #2 purchase a 2018 Ram 5500 that was already on the ground and for sale at one of the 2 up-fitters in Indiana. (Are you saying wait a minute, a Ram 5500 already on the ground, I thought you said there were none). Let us explain.

 We will try to keep the examination simple. #1 We know what we could buy a 2018 Ram for and the up-fitter had the truck line listed it at $2000 over what we could buy a truck for and have it drop shipped. And #2 this particular up-fitter was charging more for the Kelderman 4-link air suspension than another up-fitter that we had been talking with making the completed truck close to $4,000 more than we know we could have gotten it done for. Because of this we (mainly me) was determined to find a truck ourselves to save money, I hate paying more for the same darn truck, a couple hundred more for the convenience of dealing with one outfit ok but $4K, damn!!

 Remember the “our heads were swimming” comment earlier? Well add the having this truck available at a higher cost to the picture and you get an even better idea. I can’t count the times I got up out of my chair to pace back and forth before sitting back down during my researching and thinking about going with this particular truck to put things to bed. And there isn’t much space to pace in a motorhome LOL!!

 OK, long story short (ok not so short) we struck a deal with the up-fitter, signed an agreement and sent a deposit check for a 2018 Ram 5500 Laramie Crew Cab. It has already had the stock rear suspension removed and a 4 link Kelderman air suspension install and is in the process of having the hauler bed manufactured and installed.

Once the hauler bed is installed there will be a few other upgrades done like running boards, spray in bed liner, a 90 gallon auxiliary fuel talk and a Trailer Saver air ride 5th wheel hitch and some additional lighting added in the bed area.

The Kelderman system waiting to be installed

The Kelderman system waiting to be installed

The guys are hard it taking things apart. We won't be needing those taillights because the hauler bed will have built in lights.

The guys are hard it taking things apart. We won’t be needing those taillights because the hauler bed will have built in lights.

You can see that the leaf springs have been removed and replaced by the Kelderman system.

You can see that the leaf springs have been removed and replaced by the Kelderman system.

You can see that the leaf springs have been removed and replaced by the Kelderman system.

You can see that the leaf springs have been removed and replaced by the Kelderman system.

 The plus side to buying this truck is that it will be completed before our 5th wheel is ready, the down side is that it will be completed well before our 5th wheel will be and the truck will be sitting in Indiana and we will be in Arizona LOL!! But they have agreed to store it at no charge until we pick it up just before the 5th wheel is completed.

 If you remember a couple updates back we made mention that we would no doubt run into a few hurdles during this change and I guess the truck is going to be just one of them. But like we said, we went into this with eye’s wide open and we will just roll with the punches the best we can.

 I admit that it will be hard for me not to either drive up to get the truck when it’s completed close to the end of the year or jump on a plane but it really makes no sense cost wise to do that. Plus it will be mid-winter and driving to Indiana from Arizona is something I’m sure I would regret once under way.

 Our thoughts at this point are that we will leave Arizona April 1st as planned and with luck the motorhome will be sold and we will just drive our pickup with a U-Haul trailer in tow with our stuff crammed in it to New Horizon in Kansas, unload our stuff into the new 5th wheel, then drive 700 miles to Indiana and pick up the new truck and drive back to Kansas and take delivery of our new home.

 Oh sure, we realize that just a plan and that something will probably create another challenge but I’m pretty sure we will be able to overcome whatever it turns out to be eventually.

 Ok, well we have managed to ramble on for some time about all this stuff and we haven’t even touched base on everything but we will call it good for this update.

 We will say that even though somewhat hectic we enjoyed our time with friends in Grants Pass. I was able to play Pickleball a number of times while in the area, we got in a few short hikes, we went out for a few meals with friends and we were able to spend some time with good old Jack.

 

Diane and Jack chillin.

Diane and Jack chillin.

Check out this picture Chris came across, it looks just like Jack and Felix!!

Check out this picture Chris came across, it looks just like Jack and Felix!!

 At this point we are in Redmond Oregon and plan to lift our jacks Monday (10/15) and drive to Burns Oregon just 145 miles south east to spend a couple nights before heading 220 miles south to Winnemucca Nevada for a couple more nights and then, well we don’t know where to from their other than south to warmer temps and eventually Casa Grande Arizona on November 1st.

 Oh, we had originally planned to hit the road out of Redmond Sunday but decided to spend one more night so we could make sure to not miss the KC and New England game. Of course this could cause hate and discontent amongst Diane and I because her and my teams are playing so it just might be a quiet ride tomorrow LOL!! GO KC!!!             

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Our 2014 Tiffin Phaeton 42LH

In a previous update we mentioned that we were switching to a 5th wheel and that our 2014 Tiffin Phaeton would be up for sale so we thought we would take a minute to post it here in case any of you might know of someone interested.

Before we went fulltime and when we hit the road we owned a 2007 40’ Tiffin Phaeton that we bought new and had such good luck with that it was a pretty easy decision to buy another Tiffin product when it came time for a change

We ordered and purchased this rig from Lazy Day’s in Seffner Florida and drove off the lot with it in April of 2014. (We will splash pictures throughout the post)

Our rig is a 2014 Tiffin Phaeton 42LH and is a (All electric coach) with 33,000 miles on a Freightliner Diesel Pusher Chassis with six airbags.

It is pushed down the road by a Cummins ISL450 Engine coupled with a 6 speed Allison transmission.

It has 4 slides that creates a great roomy feel and has 1 1/2 baths. The rear bath has a Tecma macerator toilet that was being used in the Tiffin bus’s that we had installed during the build because we were not excited about the toilet they were using in the Phaeton at the time, so that was a upgrade for this coach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there is a stacking washer & dryer unit in the rear bath and a built in cloths hamper (2 total in the coach, for us it’s his & hers) as well as a large shower with skylight. The rear bathroom setup was one of the main reasons we picked this floorplan. Very nice and private when you want that private time. And roomy enough to never feel claustrophobic which was very important to us.

The ½ bath has a good ol trusty porcelain RV toilet with no macerator which comes in real handy for those boon-docking adventures. In fact that’s about the only time we ever use it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This coach has a 10 Kw diesel Generator with auto gen start and we upgraded the house battery bank to 6 AGM Lifeline 6CT’s. Lifeline batteries are well known to be among the best you can buy. **The batteries were close to $500 each.**

We also installed 8 – 140 watt Kyocera Solar Panels with a Blue Sky solar boost and Blue Sky IPN-Pro-Remote. This upgrade cost over $5500 to have done and has made our boondocking experiences much more enjoyable. And it is nice to know that if we want to pull in somewhere for a night or even just to spend some time along our route for lunch by a river that the upgraded battery bank and solar system will keep everything alive and well without worry.

The coach also has 3 A/C’s on the roof with heat pumps. We also upgraded the fan blades on each unit so they run much quieter than they did from the factory. The rear AC developed a problem about 2 years back and was replaced so it’s a newer unit which is what drew our attention to the sound difference between it and the original units leading us to change out the fan blades.

Tiffin uses a HWH 4 jack Automatic leveling system which has proven to be a good system for us.

For entertainment the coach has 3 TVs, 1 in living room area, 1 in the bedroom and 1 outside. There is also a DVD/CD player with Surround Sound, an In-Motion Satellite dome AND a DTV Traveler Satellite antenna with A/B switch to bounce between either antenna. The coach came with the dome and we added the traveler, **this was a $1500 upgrade.**

Having 2 satellite antennas has come in handy more than once when camping in treed areas. We have had it where one antenna is blocked by trees but the other would get a signal. A little nicety that not every rig has.

The living room area has a Fireplace that can supply heat and, an L-Shape couch/sleeper with full size air mattress that has never been used.

We were not too sure about having the fireplace but after having it we can honestly say it’s one of our favorite things about the coach. I sleep with the fireplace remote by the bed when in areas that have cool mornings and I love grabbing it and letting the fireplace take the chill off in the front section of the coach before getting out of bed. A luxury we really enjoy.

Speaking of luxuries and getting out of bed, we LOVE the heated floors the coach has. There is nothing better than getting out of bed and having your feet land on warm floors. Actually between the heated floors and the fireplace that’s all we use to keep the coach warm most of the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But for those times it’s a little extra cold outside the coach is equipped with an Aqua-Hot 440-D domestic hot water and heating system that provides endless hot water for those long showers if your into those and a nice even and quiet heat source.

The kitchen area is nice and roomy and has a Maytag residential refrigerator (with 2 doors and a large freezer below and water & ice in the door), a Fisher & Paykel dishwasher, 2 Burner Induction cooktop, a Microwave / Convection oven and a pull out cabinet section with 3 drawers for added counter space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There is also a built in kitchen table that slides in and out for added space with good storage under it as well as a built in computer work station that hides away nicely.

The bedroom has a King size bed with a Tempurpedic mattress (that we are planning to keep) with good storage underneath and a ceiling fan that we have really enjoyed.

There is also ample storage in the bedroom and a second built in cloths hamper.

We will line list a few more things about the coach:

3 roof vents and fans with covers, 1 slide out Tray in cargo bay, LED lighting throughout, lower cargo area lighting has motion sensors, Under Coach multicolor lighting (upgrade that cost around $500). Electric Power Cord Reel, Electric Water Hose Reel, Hard wired Progressive Industries EMS system (upgrade that cost $300), Plumbed for an Air Force One brake system, Snap on Tire covers (upgrade with a $540 value). Magna Shade windshield cover (upgrade with a $575 value), Magna Shade captain’s side window cover (upgrade with a $195 value), and all recalls are up to date. And no one has ever smoked in this rig.

If you add the upgrades up they come to $12,110!! We know and don’t expect to re-coop what we put into upgrades but we feel they are all very worthwhile upgrades that we would do again without hesitation.

Because we are full-time RVers a key factor for us during the sale of our current home and the delivery of our new home is timing. We would like to time the turning over our coach very close to the time our new 5th wheel will be ready which is scheduled for the 1st week of April.

If we find someone willing to work with that we would be happy to work out a rent back scenario OR work with the price a little for the sake of convenience.

We are asking $220,000

Our 2016 F160 could also be purchased as a package deal but we have not given much thought to that scenario. But it is a great toad.

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NEWS FLASH, we have a change coming

 NEWS FLASH, things have changed since our last update.

After a lot of research we have made a decision on whether or not to switch to a 5th wheel from our motorhome and to which brand if we did. For a variety of reasons we decided to make the switch to a 40’ New Horizon Majestic 5th wheel.

There are a number of very nice 5th wheels on the market and a number of them that would serve the purpose of fulltime RVing but for us the build quality and the unlimited ability to customize a New Horizon unit to what we want just won us over. In fact the only limiting factor in what we could have done with a New Horizons unit was the depth of our pockets LOL!!! In fact looking at what they build I’m thinking we are not there average customer and probably won’t be allowed to rub elbows with most of the other owners.

 We are just joking when we say that because we have met a number of New Horizon owners and all of them have been very nice and helpful with all of our questions and very hospitable by opening their homes for us to tour.

 Just a few of the things that tipped the scales in the direction of New Horizon are and in no certain order:

#1- We find the way they use solid foam insulation to be very efficient in filling all of the cavities with no chance of sagging or moving over time which could affect heating and cooling.

 DRV was our second place choice for a 5th wheel and it so happened that one of the big topics on the DRV Forums as of late has been the insulation in the nose cap area falling. DRV boasts about their residential like hung insulation walls being the thickest in the market unfortunately the insulation needs to stay in place in order for it to be useful.

 To be honest when we toured the DRV plant last summer it crossed my mind after seeing the way they insulate that this type of thing could be an issue so even though I hate that it’s happening for the current owners sake I AM glad it happened while we were making our choice.   

#2- Even though heavy I like the 12” I-Beam and 4” tube frame design. It just won’t allow for the flex that most of the other frames on the market will allow. I know some flex is needed but with the triple axel setup and More Ryde Independent suspension all the way around I feel we will get the smooth ride necessary while in “earthquake mode” going down the road.

 Plus to a certain degree they build the frame to match your particular 5th wheel. The frame is made as your RV starts production, not made and stored in some storage yard for who knows how long before it’s used. 

 #3- Most brands on the market use Lippert jacks which have had their share of problems as of late and New Horizon uses a Quadra Big Foot system. Nothing is perfect and Big Foot had its own set of problems a while back but they seem to be taken care of yet Lippert is still struggling through some issues. Because of the I-Beam frame construction the New Horizon units only use 4 jacks for support instead of 6 like most other brands use in units this size.

This is similar to what we will have but we will have no carpet, we will not have a free standing kitchen table, different back splash, we will not have a gas cooktop, we will have different lights over he island. Well heck, it will be nothing like this LOL!!!

This is similar to what we will have but we will have no carpet, we will not have a free standing kitchen table, different back splash, we will not have a gas cooktop, we will have different lights over he island. Well heck, it will be nothing like this LOL!!!

 Now with my bigger is badder and if one is good two is better mindset using 6 lacks instead of 4 isn’t an issue but none of the New Horizon owners seem to have an issue with just 4 jacks so I guess we will not fret about it.

 #4- Most manufactures if not all other than New Horizon installs the generator right up in the nose of the 5th wheel taking away valuable storage space and adding pin weight but New Horizons installs the generator underneath the coach and almost right in line with the More Ryde suspension accomplishing two things, no added pin weight and no lost storage. This was a huge factor in our decision.

 Even though it’s mounted under the 5th wheel there is plenty of space to sit up straight under the coach and do service so it’s really a good setup. And that’s only a once per year thing so not something we need to worry about often.

 New Horizon offers 3 options for generators, a 8 KW Onan Diesel gen with an added 30 gallon tank, a 7 KW Onan gas gen with a 30 gallon tank and a 6.5 KW Onan Marquis Gold LP gen that runs off the 2 already installed 40 gallon LP tanks or you can also install a 100 gallon LP tank like they use in motorhomes.

 Even though I’m certainly more familiar and comfortable with gas and diesel generators we opted to have the 6.5 KW LP generator installed just so we didn’t have another fuel source on board. After doing some research there are advantages and disadvantages to all 3 types and we know a few (very few) people that have or have had the LP generators and really had no complaints so we feel pretty comfortable with our choice but for me the verdict is still out.

 I have little doubt that if we used a generator more than we do we would have chosen the diesel version and dealt with the extra fuel source. If you do the research you just can’t overlook that a diesel generator is more efficient.

 (We are adding solar to the roof so hopefully we won’t have to rely on the gen that much)    

#5- We have toured a few RV manufacturing plants and observed all aspects of the build process in each and we were very pleased with what we witnessed at New Horizon. The attention to detail was evident and they were not on such a stringent time frame to get a rig moved from one station to the next whether it was 100% completed at that station or not. To us that means there just has to be better quality control that way and less chance of something leaving the factory incomplete or half assed.

 New Horizon has averaged just under 30 builds per year over the last 5 years and for 2019 it sounds like they will build closer to 32. So they are not just rushing units out the door as fast as they can.

 Even the way they ran wiring was almost a thing of art, say that about most other brands I dare ya LOL!!

    

#6- Not being a cookie cutter floorplan and the ability to customize was also a huge factor. When we asked if we could make the bathroom a few inches bigger the answer was “yes”. When we asked if we could delete the vanity and medicine cabinet in the toilet room and replace it with a floor to ceiling cabinet with 6 doors the answer was “yes, how deep do you want it?” When we said that we didn’t like the location of the refrigerator and asked if we could swap it with the location of the pantry the answer was, you guessed it “YES”. We also said we wanted a totally different refrigerator than what they offer and the answer was (OK, let’s pick one out and we will go buy and install it). When we said we wanted a different kitchen sink than they offered and asked if we could pick one out and have them buy and install it the answer was again “yes”. When we said hey, instead off all those big windows along the passenger side we would like smaller windows with cabinets over them they said “Ok, we can do that”.

Another generic picture. We will not have any white cabinets (well maybe just the island but not decided yet) and the refer will nit be there, a pantry will be in that spot.

Another generic picture. We will not have any white cabinets (well maybe just the island but not decided yet) and the refer will nit be there, a pantry will be in that spot.

 

 We could drag this on forever talking about how everything we wanted and asked for the answer was “yes” but I think you get the idea. You just sit down and design these things like you do when sitting down with a builder and draftsman to design a stick & bricks house. They build the frame around your wants and desires which is totally opposite “almost” than any other RV manufacture out there.

#7- We like the fact that New Horizon uses 2 (25,000/40,000 BTU) two stage furnaces. Even though having only 1 furnace like in most RV’s is plenty I really like the fact that if nothing else we have a backup if one happens to fail. In fact we added a 3rd AC on the roof for the same reason. We have 3 AC’s on the roof of our motorhome and have never (well maybe once) ran all 3 at one time to stay cool. But we did have one AC go bad and it sure was nice having the 3rd unit to fall back on. Some people call it overkill, we call it cushion.

#8- Another key point for us was carrying capacity. So many times while looking at 5th wheels we found that the amount of carrying capacity for our “stuff” was just too low. We are talking about the weight of what personal belongings we carry around with us and still stay within the limits of the 5th wheel, not the cabinet storage.

 More than once we would have a conversation with a salesperson and when asked what the carrying capacity was the answer would be something like 2000 to 2500lbs or even less and when I would shake my head the sales person would say something stupid like “what, don’t you realize how much stuff that is!!??” Showing that he or she had absolutely no idea what living fulltime in a RV was like. “Not that you can’t fulltime with just 2000lbs of “stuff” but we don’t”.

 And to top it off most of the units sitting on lots didn’t have washer & driers installed or generators so after adding them and deducting their weighs from the equation it even got worse. Just using the lightest possible option and using a combination washer dryer as an example you are looking at 155lbs for one of these babies. And if you opt for a stacking set like we prefer that number could be higher, not doubled but higher.   

 Plus the weights they show are most of the time dry weights and we all know that we will travel with at least some water at 8.34 lbs per gallon (we typically travel with about 25 gallons unless heading to a boondocking site then we travel with 100 gallons). And don’t forget about propane at 4.2 lbs per gallon. Those numbers come right off the top of what you can carry with you.

 New Horizon however states they guarantee that every unit they build will at least have a 3000lb carrying capacity (in their Majestic series) and the unit we designed looks like that number will be closer to 4000lbs.    

New Horizon also offers a few things that we just could not get in any other brand that was on our short list, one of those things being real hardwood flooring. All of the other brands offer LVT (Luxury Vinyl Flooring) (and New Horizons offers that as well if you want it) which is a fine product but for us the hardwood (like the tile floors we have in our current motorhome) just adds to the homey feel we want as full timers.

 Most if not all manufactures also offer carpet but none other than New Horizons offers a no carpet option if you don’t want any at all, and we don’t. Most manufactures will at least have carpet on the slide floors like we have in our current motorhome but New Horizons will install hardwood on the slide floors if you want leaving you with NO carpet at all which is what we opted for.     

 We realize that having hardwood in a RV will have its own challenges but we made the choice with eye’s wide open and will deal with whatever challenges it brings, if any. Oh who are we trying to fool, it will bring some type of challenge I’m sure LOL!!

 Hmm, thinking now I guess New Horizon did pretty much say no to one thing we wanted, heated floors. We love our heated floors in the motorhome and New Horizon used to install heated floors in their 5th wheels under hardwood floors but have had some issues with the systems and no longer offer it as an option.

This will be very much like our bathroom except we will have obscure glass on the door. And that is the back splash we will have in the kitchen as well.

This will be very much like our bathroom except we will have obscure glass on the door. And that is the back splash we will have in the kitchen as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of homey feelings we are doing walnut stained cherry cabinets throughout with Corian countertops and real travertine backsplashes with a glass tile inlay. In the bathroom we will also have a vessel sink and in the kitchen we will have a nice large single bowl composite sink which getting rid of a double bowl has been a wish of Diane’s ever since we hit the road. And all of our plumbing and lighting fixtures and hardware will be oil rubbed bronze.

 Ok, we could go on and on about the good things we found about New Horizon 5th wheels and I’m sure we will talk more about that when we actually take possession but it’s not all roses either, there are challenges with anything in life so we will touch base on a few of those challenges we found when dealing with New Horizon to keep things in perspective.

#1- Location, New Horizon is a small company and only builds units as they are purchased so they have no inventory sitting on dealer’s lots around the country like most other brands to touch and feel. AND the factory is located in Kansas.

 New Horizon has a “Ambassador” program that consists of a small handful of New Horizon owners willing to speak with you and show their rigs to interested parties but that is a pretty hit and miss thing because at last count there were 8 Ambassadors spread out around the country and it’s a pretty darn big country so they may or may not be easy to bump into without great effort.

#2- They are in Kansas,,,,, no no just kidding LOL,,, #2- is that they are a very heavy 5th wheel and if you plan to purchase the Majestic series you need to take a long hard look at what truck you plan to pull it with.

 For us we really didn’t want to buy a 5th wheel that couldn’t be pulled with a Ram 3500 or a Ford F350 but by the time we finished designing our dream home we found it to be at the limits of both of those rigs even equipped with the max towing options.

 A person could almost close their eyes and convince themselves that either of those trucks would do the job and even though right at the limit of some numbers and taking into consideration that “we all know” “really we think we know” that manufactures build in a cushion for people that “think” they build in a cushion and push the numbers I could not ignore that fact that even though both trucks would without a doubt pull the weight, we have to more importantly slow down the load and stop the load safely.

 If this was going to be a weekend rig for us and we only planned to pull it around parts of the country with flat land we might have jumped on the F350 or Ram 3500 bandwagon but that’s not the case, so we opted for a larger truck that will handle the weight safely.

That's a Ford in the picture but that is like the bed setup we will do.

That’s a Ford in the picture but that is like the bed setup we will do.

 ((OK, I know there are people out there right now just stewing and their fingers are just itching to hit the respond button because they feel the only way to pull one of these heavy rigs around is with a Volvo tractor or something equivalent and we respect your feelings and I think they look cool and know they certainly are more than able to do the job BUT, that was something that would not fit our life styles and we would not have made the switch if having a HDT was the only way we could have done it. Period.))

 ((And on the other hand there are people ready to pounce because they feel a F350 or Ram 3500 would do the job with no issues and again we respect your opinions and decision’s but they were just not the decision we came up with after hours of research.))

 To sum the truck thing up we will opt for a Ram 5500 Cab & Chassis and will have either Classy Chassis or Utility Bodyworks in Indiana install a hauler bed. Certainly a more expensive and detailed process than going with a F350 or Ram 3500 but it will be a sweet and safe ride when it’s completed. We will no doubt do an update about it in the future because that choice brought up its own set of challenges that we did not think of.

 Oh, there is one other bed builder located in Oregon called Highway Products that we took a tour of while in Oregon and is in the running as well.   

 #3- Because they are not your regular run of the mill RV dealer they don’t really take trades (for the most part). So with that in mind you need to plan to sell your current RV yourselves if you have one. That’s a little scary because when you live in your RV fulltime like we do it opens a whole new can of worms and no doubt could prove to be challenging. Again we made our decision knowing we might be challenged matching up the sale of our rig to taking possession of our new home and are going into this with eye’s wide open.   

 We of course hope everything goes smoothly but it has potential for an interesting blog update in the future LOL!!

#4- Because New Horizon is a custom build buying one is a little different than going to a lot, finding a unit you like, working out a deal, writing a check and driving away. When buying a New Horizon you make a payment to get your build in the que to be built, then when production starts you pay another percentage of the price, then again farther into the build you write another check and then another check at the time you take possession.

 This really isn’t any different than what we have gone through having a couple custom toys made in the past or any different than when we built a couple of our homes but certainly different than any other RV we have ever bought. And to be honest it has to make a person wonder just a little at how financially stable the company is. On the other hand I guess it takes away any chances of them getting into a bind and in some way makes them smart at how they lock a customer in.    

#5- The only other negative about a New Horizon 5th wheel is the cost, they are far more expensive than any of the major brands out on the market but on the other hand cannot be compared apples to apples with the other brands either.

 Without a doubt the price had use second guessing ourselves and had me sitting with pen & pencil crunching numbers and shaking my head more than once during our decision making process. And we had conversation after conversation after conversation about it but for us at the end it made sense to get what we wanted and the quality could not be disputed. Hey, we can all make anything make sense, I get it. Just like what truck we have, right LOL!!

 We even jokingly said, we can just buy a DRV and live in it for 2 or 3 years and then buy a new one and still come out ahead money wise and have new homes each time LOL. In all honesty that statement probably isn’t far from the truth unfortunately but that’s not something we want to do every couple years.

 Long story short on the cost topic, we sat down and seriously gave thought to just how much longer we think we will live the fulltime life style (barring any unforeseen events) and if the answer would have been 2 or 3 more years we probably would not have gone with a New Horizon, in fact we probably would not have switched away from our current motorhome at all.

 But we both agree that we enjoy this life and neither of us have any real desire to start owning a bunch of stuff any time soon and both can see us living this life style for another 6 to 10 years so spending money on what will be a comfortable and quality home made sense, to us. Again, it’s easy to justify about anything.

  So now the transition can start. We will now put our current motorhome on the market and try to coordinate the sale of it with the pickup time of the new 5th wheel. We told New Horizon that we didn’t want to pick up the new 5th wheel until the 1st week of April. We have reservations in Arizona through March and didn’t want to interrupt our stay there to drive up to Kansas in the middle of winter.

 PLUS New Horizon has some pretty interesting changes coming up in there next model year and we wanted to have those changes applied in our new home. We were made aware of the changes even though not public yet during our designing stage because of our timing but we probably shouldn’t, out of respect, talk about them until New Horizon actually makes them public. But we were given the OK to at least say this much as a teaser LOL!! You know we like teasers.    

 We have also decided that because after our serious talk about just how long we really figure to live this nomadic life style we will sell off what worldly possessions that we have been keeping in a storage unit over the last 6 years. LOL, we can hear those of you that have held on to stuff for years only to find out you wasted money by doing so laughing right now saying “we told you so”. LOL!! Hey we all learn at our own pace, we just seem to be a little slow.

 I already put the Jeep up for sale which is a biggie and in fact sold it within 3 hours of it being taken out of storage. The money from it will go towards the purchase of a new truck to pull the 5th wheel as will the money from our F150 that we use as our current toad. This will take a little of the sting away.

 So, if you know of anyone looking for a good used motorhome that has had the bugs worked out and that is upgraded with some nice stuff like solar, a upgraded battery bank and other goodies stay tuned because we will no doubt be doing a update on what we have for sale.

 We will also put it on RVTrader and a couple other sites online for sure as well as hang a for sale sign on it during our stay down south. We don’t really see having a problem selling it but as a backup we have been in contact with a outfit that does buyouts and can fall back on that as a last resort and once again we know this could happen and are going into this eye’s wide open.

 That’s it in a nutshell. We could have easily pushed this decision off another year but once we started thinking about it and the ball started rolling we just kept rolling with it and here we are.

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We moved away from the Valley of the Rogue State Park and a old friend is gone.

 We have finished up our 6 night stay at the Valley of the Rogue State Park.

 As expected we drove into Grants Pass 3 times during our stay to play Pickleball. On one of those days we played from 8am until 12:30, then took off for a driving tour. On our way home we noticed another group playing so we of course had to stop and ended up playing a couple more hours LOL!!

 To be honest that proved to be a bit much because the following morning we were both feeling pretty stiff. I guess we need to get back into Pickleball shape before we get to Palm Creek this winter.

 There is a nice trail that goes by the park that we have talked about in other updates that we once again walked a couple times.

 We like the 2 mile stretch between the State Park and the town of Rogue River, it makes for a nice 4 mile stroll along the river.

 And we attended a Grand Opening event at a new RC Airfield just outside of Grants Pass.

IF we come back next year I will probably join the club and get some air time in.

IF we come back next year I will probably join the club and get some air time in.

Before I always had to drive 25 or 30 miles to a RC Airfield when in the area but this one is only a couple miles outside of town which is very convenient. Things are looking up in the Grants Pass area, a new RC Airfield and the growing amount of Pickleball Courts, both good things.

 

They had some good pilots at the show and some nice planes.

They had some good pilots at the show and some nice planes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And as we mentioned we took the Jeep out of storage. We tied that trip in with a good breakfast at one of our favorite breakfast places in Grants Pass called the Train Depot. We tend to eat here at least once or twice during our visits.

 On top of just getting the Jeep out of storage I had it sold within 3 hours of it hitting the road. AND I got $1500 more than I was willing to take for it so it was a good day. Well sort of a good day, I AM Jeep less LOL!!

The last pictures I will be taking of my ol friend. We had many many good adventures together.

The last pictures I will be taking of my ol friend. We had many many good adventures together.

 At this point we have moved away from the Valley of the Rogue State Park and will be sitting still for two weeks at our current location before starting our slow roll towards Arizona. The plan is to arrive there November 1st.

Our current site for a few days

Our current site for a few days

 As far as any updates on what our plans are on another RV, well we seem to be at a slight stand still. We were hoping to have a better idea of just what was going to happen last week but there ended up being a catch in the get-a-long on the dealers side that held things up a bit and as of yet we have heard nothing encouraging. So to be honest my enthusiasm is starting to wither a bit, Diane’s not so much I don’t think but mine certainly is.

 Oh well, I have always said that if it’s meant to be it will happen with few challenges and if it gets hard it’s just not worth it. I know that if something isn’t settled soon we will pull the plug and be happy with what we have, OR we just might attend a RV show in Arizona this winter and see what catches our eye if anything. At this point we will just stop taking about it in blog updates.

 That’s it for now.    

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We made another move a little further south

 The last couple days at Seven Feathers RV Resort were pretty much like the first few except on Tuesday (8/11) we jumped in the truck and drove about 45 minutes south to Grants Pass just to play some Pickleball LOL!!

 Hey, as we said in our last update the fuel was probably cheaper than what it would have been spending time in the casino. But there is a flipside.

 It’s actually a nice drive through 3 mountain passes between Seven Feathers and Grants Pass so in nice weather it’s enjoyable, and we had a nice sunny morning for our drive.

 Once at the courts we enjoyed seeing and playing with a group of people that we met back in May during our stay in the area and seeing our friends Brian and Julie. Boy, it sure was obvious that Julie & Brian have been enjoying and playing often because their games have improved so much since our last meeting, fun stuff!!

 We played from 8am until about 11:30 I guess before everyone broke up and went their separate ways and we jumped back in the truck and headed back home.

 Now comes the flipside we mentioned earlier, after showers and a little down time we went down to the casino for Taco Tuesday, 3 tacos and all the fix-ins for $1.99. THEN of course we stopped and made another small donation each in the casino before heading home LOL!! Dang, we should have just walked right through with blinders on.

 Luckily we needed to call it an early evening because we had laundry to do, we were scheduled to leave the following morning and our next stop is a water & power site only so we won’t be doing any laundry there.

 We always enjoy our stays at Seven Feathers RV Resort, the place is always so well kept and green, I just wish they would learn to adjust their sprinklers. Every time we stay there I have to spend a couple hours getting water sots off our rigs after we leave. But that’s a common problem at campgrounds with grass about anywhere we go.

 On that note I’ll mention a cool little gadget we carry that helps with those stray shooting sprinkler heads. It’s an Impact Spray Guard made by Orbit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They work really well and our only problem is that we only bought 3 from Amazon to test them out and now that I like them and really need maybe 3 more I can only buy them in packs of 10 to take advantage of our Amazon Prime. I think when we get settled in down south this winter we will just bite the bullet and buy 3 more individual pieces and pay the freight. I have never seen them in any stores so that’s pretty much a no go.

 On Wednesday (8/12) we drug our feet as much as possible before lifting our jacks and making another move because we only had a 50 mile day ahead of us and we didn’t want to get to our next spot to early.

 While slowly breaking camp a conversation with our neighbor popped up and it seemed they too were going to have a travel day, yup, all the way over to our site when we left LOL!!

 As I was standing back looking up at the roof as I always do before we travel I couldn’t help chuckle looking at their Newel Motorhome sitting next to our Tiffin and think about the old saying “A dollar waiting on a dime” and how it almost fit this scenario perfectly LOL!!

 We ended up rolling out about 10 and headed south to our next destination at the Valley of the Rogue State Park.

 If you have been following us long you might have noticed that we drove right by Jacks Landing RV Park in Grants Pass even though that is where we used to always stay when in the area. But then if you have been following us you will remember how they screwed us during our last stay as well LOL!!

 Just in case someone has happened along and had not heard the story we will supply a link so you can read about it in case you are curious. Even though we do not dwell on negatives I just can’t pass up the opportunity to give Jacks Landing a little more just advertisement for such piss poor customer service. Here is the link. https://wp.me/p2Dund-3mU

 Back on track, once we reached the state park we unhooked the truck in the rest area that’s located at the same exit and Diane took a drive into the park to see if our site was available. (Hmmm, that’s something we won’t be able to do if we switch to a 5th wheel. Scouting like this is something we do now and again and has been very helpful in the past).

 With luck our site was available so were able to head on in and get set up for our 6 night stay.

 We don’t have a bunch planned for this stay but Diane had an appointment to get a haircut which is done (and she’s lookin good!!), we have friends in the area to visit, I need to have a service done on the truck and I will take the Jeep in for its free service while we are here as well. And we have made a trip into town to play some Pickleball and I know we will make a few more trips into town to play more.

 I also put an ad on Craigslist for the Jeep and I bought a temporary trip permit and upped the insurance from storage mode to road worthy limits so I can give it some exposure.

 While looking at Kelly Bluebook online to check what it showed for a value on the Jeep I saw a feature I hadn’t seen before that was a “get a buyout quote” option so I of course had to click on it to see what it was all about.

 It turned out that it connected to a couple dealers in the area who in turn made a sight unseen offer that surprisingly was very very close to what I expect to get for the Jeep. They of course would need to see and inspect it and I’m sure there are catches involved but if it does not sell while we are here I think I will take it in and see just how that all works. And who knows, that could be a much easier way to sell it than meeting with people and taking the time to show it.

We have 5 more days until our next move so I’m sure we will be checking back in soon.       

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A short stay at Seven Feathers RV Resort and getting back on track

 As we mentioned in our last update Sunday (8/31) we drove from Boise Idaho to Redmond Oregon and landed at the Deschutes Country Expo RV Park where we spent 5 days. And it sure felt good to sit and not have to drive a ton of miles with no real plans to worry about every morning after the schedule we just finished up with our run to Kansas and Oklahoma.

 In fact we had such a mellow time this will be a pretty short update.

 Probably the highlight of our stay was getting together with our friends Bob & Karen, you have seen them pop up a number of times in the past in our blog.

 We met at a spot called One Street Down Café for lunch and had a darn good meal and an even better visit before saying our “see ya down the roads” and parting ways. We didn’t get any pictures unfortunately.

 I also made my way to the Pickleball courts on 2 different mornings and got in a few hours of play which is always fun and the group of people at the Redmond courts seems to be growing.

 In fact I saw that on top of the designated Pickleball courts they are now starting to put lines on a few of the tennis courts to help with growing pains, a good sign for the sport of Pickleball in Redmond.

 Other than Pickleball we got in a nice 4 mile “roughly” walk on the Dry Canyon Trail and we made a run to Trader Joes and Costco.

 Other than those things we really just enjoyed some down time and spent some of that time researching insurance costs on 5th wheels and the trucks that would be need to pull them, more on that topic to come in a later update.

 We were in Redmond until Wednesday (8/5) when we lifted our jacks and made a move to the Seven Feathers RV Park in Canyonville to spend a week and celebrate our 20th Anniversary and Diane’s Birthday.

 So far we went to dinner at the casino for Diane’s Birthday and made our donation to the cause while there of course LOL!!

 And I have made it to the gym a few times to spend some time on the elliptical machine, we have done a few walks and we drove to Grants Pass one day to show the Jeep to a fellow that might be interested in buying it. I decided there is just no real reason to leave it sit in storage while we are on the road.

 And we stopped in to visit with our good friends Rich & Chris and of course Jack & Felix.

Poor Jack is sure acting old, poor boy. While there we picked a few strawberries, pears and apples. It seems Rich & Chris have had their fill and was happy to share, mmmmm.

 I imagine the last couple days we are here will be more of the same but we are talking about driving in to Grants Pass on Tuesday morning just to play Pickelball for a few hours. It’s a 45 minute drive but we will probably spend less on fuel than what we would lose in the casino LOL!!

 Oh, and yes we have made a decision on what we will be doing about a new RV  but until we actually have every detail in place and some sort of paperwork signed to make it a done deal we won’t go into much detail just in case something falls through, there is always that possibility.   

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