RV Maiden Voyage!!

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On 24May2018 we embarked on a new adventure for our family. We loaded up into our RV, named Eileen because my wife and I love “Come On Eileen”, and headed south for the weekend. The RV was purchased about a month ago. We had bought a “Pop Up” camper last year for a trip with friends to Colorado and LOVED it. However, we quickly realized that we needed more room for us and our kids to have space and still enjoy our time together. The main reason for the purchase is because it’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid to own and travel in a motorhome. One summer my parents took us on a trip to Colorado in a Class C cabover RV. I still remember that trip. It’s all about creating memories together as a family. So, another bucket list item checked!!

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We found a 38ft 2004 Winnebago Itasca Suncruiser Deluxe model. I think my wife found it on Craigslist. After looking at the prices between a Class C and Class A we decided to go big since they were about the same. We weighed the pros and cons of each and decided that we like the storage space the Class A has compared to the Class C. I still giggle a bit thinking that I actually own one of these things. There was a bit of prep to do at our house for parking that big ole sucker. I ordered a load of gravel to have spread as a parking pad and had to trim some tree limbs overhanging the driveway. All-in-all, I am tickled to death to have this thing! We sold our pop up camper the other day which helped pay for the set of new tires I had to put on Eileen. The first thing my wife did was plan her remodeling project. She wanted to update it from 2004 to today. We ripped up all the old flooring to lay down new carpet and vinyl flooring. I got out my table saw and started cutting trim to fancy it up a bit.

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Now, our first trip. We parked Eileen down by the house the day before to start loading up. One nice thing about it is that we don’t have to pack backpacks or suitcases. You just pack it up as you plan to live in it. The food went in their cupboards and cabinets and the refrigerated stuff went in the morning we left. I overlooked a couple items but I knew this would be a learning experience. The lists we’ve made as far as what to get or do different is getting lengthy. The biggest issue I had was with the alignment. It was pulling to the left pretty hard. Funny thing is, I hit the “Tru Center” button about an hour after we left and that fixed the issue. Tru Center is a feature that helps to keep the RV centered when driving down the road with side wind or whatever. That was a HUGE relief to get that straightened out! Another thing I’ll do in the future is lubricate all the rubber where the slide outs are. They were pretty squeaky as we drove down the road until we bought some lube and fixed that issue. After about 3 hours of driving the “Leveling Jack” alarm went off. Indicating that the jacks were down. Uhhhhh, we were doing 70mph. How could that be? Well, come to find out, when it gets hot the jacks can tend to drop just a bit. I pulled over, squirted some lube on the cylinders and fixed that issue. Pulling over to make sandwiches and stretch was pretty cool. No drive thru fast food joints or city traffic to deal with.

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Driving this big ole hog isn’t too bad. I knew what to expect having driven PLS, M915s, Howitzers, 5-Tons, Deuce and a Halfs, etc. and being an 88M Truck Driving instructor during my years in the Army. I’m just glad this doesn’t have air brakes. My wife hasn’t driven it yet and I’m not sure she will. Not for a while at least. I’d rather her play flight attendant and just keep the family happy. There is definitely a learning curve to operating these things. For me, driving it for 12 plus hours made me comfortable again. We finally hit our destination late at night. When we arrived we pulled up to the office, got our reservation paperwork that was hanging on the bulletin board and proceeded to our spot. RV parks are a different type of place. Different from a regular camp ground, even. It’s the culture. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. For me, it’s cool cause there are a lot of retired military folks here. Once we pulled into our spot, we hit the auto leveler controller and found that one of the jacks wouldn’t extend. Another issue to deal with. Good thing is there is a mobile service tech who can come and help me with it. Since I’m a bit of a gear head, I brought a slew of tools with me. I brought my impact wrench, cordless drill, socket and ratchet set (half inch drive) and other tools. This is a dream come true cause I can pack everything and not have to leave anything behind. All I did last night was hook up the sewer line and power so we could just go to bed. This morning I hooked up the rest.

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In conclusion, travel day and day 1 on site has been a success. Our Golden Doodle, Lucy, is doing great and travels fine. We’re doing a load of laundry in the washer/dryer combo that we have on-board as we speak. Another great feature of having the Class A over the Class C. The slide outs are great and add so much more room. It’s literally like a small apartment on wheels. We’re planning to take this sucker to Idaho next year. Me? I could live on the road in this thing. I freakin LOVE it! The only thing we kinda wish we had was a car. That’s the biggest con, in my opinion vs having a pull behind. We’re talking about getting a small car to pull behind. I’ll post again after our trip with my final review of RV life. Oh! We joined Good Sam and will join Passport America as well. Those are RV clubs. Thanks for reading!

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