Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Full-Timing RVs and Trucks

DeBary, FL
58 deg. clear, no wind. 
Forecast = Sun and clouds mixed. High 83F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.

Being that nothing important is happening, I thought I'd create a collage of the RVs and trucks that we've had since we went full-timing back in 2001. 
In the top left corner there's Mariah. (You can click on the photo to enlarge it). She was the 1998 35' Winnebago Chieftain gas engine motor home that Jim and Linda had when we started full-timing June 1, 2001. They had purchased her in 1999 and she served us well, taking us all across the lower 48 states many times and even up to Alaska and back in 2002.   

The center photo on the left side is TTT a 1992 Nissan pickup truck. (Mariah named him TTT for Tiny Tin Truck).  He also was with us right from the start and followed along behind Mariah for many, many miles. He really took a beating from all the gravel on our trip to Alaska and in 2004 developed some major mechanical problems, so in April of 2004, Jim traded him off for CLT, (Lower left in the photo), a 1996 Nissan pickup, (Named Cute Little Truck, also by Mariah). CLT's truck bed was the same as TTT's so it was possible to transfer the bed cap from one truck to the other without any modifications.

In 2005, Mariah developed some major structural problems so Jim and Linda traded her for Myrddin, (a 1992 40' Beaver Marquis diesel pusher). (Top right in above photo)

Myrddin was beautiful inside with a handcrafted cherry wood interior and was probably the motor home with the interior that Jim and Linda liked the best. Myrddin had his problems though, and on the first trip out West in 2005 we had major problems with the engine stopping all of a sudden and doing that, during the whole trip out west and back. Jim and Linda took him to many RV repair shops along the way, but no one could figure out what was wrong. 

We finally made it back down to Florida where a mechanic named Lester, at a shop in Lakeland Florida figured it out. Come to find out, it was an intermittent short in a 12 volt electric motor that powered the vacuum pump for the dash heater.  

The problem was fixed, but Jim never had faith in Myrddin after that. 

In 2011 on our way to the RV Dreams Rally in Sevierville, TN, Myrddin again developed an engine problem. This time it was a misfire condition. We made it to the Rally and then after the rally, Jim tried to find someone who could figure out what was wrong. Every place he called, he was told that they no longer had the diagnostic  equipment to check his engine out. Jim finally found a CAT dealer in Bristol TN who had the equipment and repaired the problem, which ended up being a loose wire on cylinders 3 & 4 injectors. 

At this same time, there was also a problem with Myrddin's furnace. When they tried to order the needed parts, they found out that they were almost non existent. It was at this time that Jim and Linda started to look for a newer RV.  

In May of 2011, Jim and Linda found Emrys, a 45' 2000 Newmar, London Aire diesel pusher motor home at a dealer in central Illinois.  (Bottom center in the above photo).

Linda named him Emrys, and he was also very nice inside, but didn't have the fit and finish of the woodwork that Myrddin had. When Jim and Linda purchased him, there were some problems that the dealer said that they would take care of. Well, come to find out, they just patched him together to get him out of the door, and once we were on the road, things started to go wrong. : (   (This dealer has since, gone out of business).

Again, Lester, (the mechanic and his crew down in Florida), came to the rescue and soon most of the problems were repaired and we were on our way. : )

Emrys was huge at 45', great to drive down the Interstates, (steady as a rock), and great to be living in with his 2 slideouts, but neither Jim or Linda had any idea just how much more those extra 5' of length would restrict where we could camp or go. He was no fun at all on hilly, twisty/turny roads, (like U.S. 101 up along the Oregon coast), and we found that many of the campgrounds along the non-Interstate roads could not accommodate such a large RV.

Jim and Linda adjusted our travels though, and soon we were traveling on almost all Interstates and staying in only the larger parks.

I still don't know just what happened to make Jim decide that he thought it was time  to stop full-timing and to buy a house again, but during the winter of 2012/2013, he told Linda that he thought it was time to stop. Now, before they started full-timing, they made an agreement that if one of them ever decided that it was time to stop full-timing, they would tell the other, discuss the reasons, and then stop if that person still felt the same after the discussion.

Well, as most of you know, they did buy a double wide manufactured home down in DeBary Florida. It's in a gated community and there is absolutely no place to park a 45' motor home, much less even get it through the entrance. They do however, have a storage lot within the community where a smaller RV could be stored.

So, the search was on for a smaller RV.

It didn't take long before Jim and Linda found Bobbie T., a 27' Class B motorhome, (lower right in the photo), at a nearby RV dealer that would take Emrys in on trade.

During the summer of 2013, we took Bobbie T, with CLT hooked behind, and traveled from FL to IL by way of Virginia Beach, VA and Apex, NC. At Linda's regular Doctor's appointment in August, she was diagnosed with cancer.

At that time, we came down here to Florida and moved into the Double-wide manufactured home so that Linda could have surgery and treatments, thus, officially ending our full-timing lifestyle in August of 2013.

Since we've been here in Florida, Jim and Linda have traded CLT for a 3/4 ton Dodge pickup, and sometime before fall, will be either selling Bobbie T, or trading her in on a trailer of some kind. The reason for this is that Bobbie T. is not doing well over in the storage lot and Jim is worried about what kind of condition her engine and other chassis parts will be in after such a long period of non-use.

So, that's the vehicles that we've had while Full-timing. We've had a great time traveling all over the lower 48 and up into Alaska and would have liked to full-time longer. But, as we all know, things don't always work out the way we wanted them to.

Did you know that American Eddie Eagan is the only person to have won gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Games? He was a boxing champion in the 1920 Antwerp Games, and also won gold at the 1932 Lake Placid Games in the team bobsled event.


1 comment:

  1. I hope that at some point you can see the country again. We really enjoy our traveling, and I'm sure you both (all 3 of you!) miss it :-)