Sunday, October 21, 2018

Working Around the House & Equipping the 5th Wheel - October 21, 2018

It just took 4 days, and I finished the solar/inverter install. I installed the batteries, charge controller, and inverter in the large basement compartment.

First time hanging the inverter.

A little smaller compartment, but perfect for the equipment and our stuff. We are no longer full time, so it works great.

Batteries in the center.

I brought down the cable that goes between the combiner box on the roof, and the charge controller in the basement, in our bedroom and enclosed it in wire molding.

The solar and inverter monitor displays.

And the panels on the roof.

This roof has been recently re-done, and looks great.


My home made combiner box.

And everything works great!

Here are some inside pictures.

We have since replaced the 'heater' with a 32 inch Visio TV.

Nice big closet.

The 2 chairs are fairly new too!

We are very happy with it.

It was a bear to back it in beside the house. There is an awning overhang, gate, and brick wall to look out for. And you know how the truck has to swing around to get the 5th wheel to maneuver. So I removed a section of my brick wall. I plan on re-installing the metal gate so that it is re-moveable. So much easier now.

A nice little spot to park right beside our house.

It was pretty tricky with the brick wall, gate, and awning overhang.

Now it is much easier!

And I have been enclosing our patio, turning it into an Arizona room. It is going to be nice when I get it done.

That's what's been going on here. Yuma is finally cooling down, and all the winter visitors are arriving back here for the winter. I have been planning some trips. We will head for So.Cal in January to meet up with my son's family at Disneyland. The Grandsons are going to have a blast ... and Donna & I too! We also want to take trips to Tucson and Apache Junction this winter too.

Done for now.

The Fergs out .......

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

We're Baaack!!! - October 10, 2018

You can't take it with you! And you's only money. We have been thinking about my retirement and how far my $$$ would go. Our Edward Jones guy would love to just let my money grow, and grow, and grow. But why? So I can die and leave my retirement money to my family? It is a nice thought, but we decided we worked all of our days so we could ENJOY the retirement years. If our funerals are paid for and we make it last till we die, that's ok.

Now since we are really missing our RV travels, we jumped on an amazing opportunity.
My Brother-in-law's mother, Vera, and her husband, Jordan, come down here to Yuma every winter. They used to live just 3 houses away from where we lived in East Wenatchee, WA. Well, Jordan passed away last year and one of Vera's kids drove their rig back up to their home in WA. We were visiting my sister here in Yuma and were asking how Vera was doing. One thing led to another and we were talking about their fifth wheel and truck. She still had it and said she would give us a good deal if we wanted it. Hmmmmm....

Well.... we bought their Rv and truck!  We be RVers again!!

Donna had toured the RV while we were still living in WA. We also had visited them in their rig while we were both in Fort Mohave, AZ. The truck is a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, extended crew cab, Duromax/Allison, clean as a whistle. With 132K miles on it. Jordan was a maintenance fanatic. He replaced all 5 tires every 3 years. I found a great big stack of maintenance paperwork in the glove box. He has had a ton of work done on the truck to include servicing both axles, new brakes and new injectors, all the belts, tranny, new oil every 3,000 miles. He would replace something just to be on the safe side.

The fifth wheel is a 2004 Arctic Fox M29-5T. Again with new tires, axles, brakes, roof coating, and lots of maintenance records. When he had the brakes redone, he didn't want toe drums turned, he wanted new ones. That's the kind of guy he was. Vera had towels all over the floor to protect the carpeting, and it was like new underneath. It had a new matteress and 2 new recliners. It has 2 slides and everything workes like a top!

All for 26K!

I contacted my Edward Jones guy and said send me a cashiers check. I then used my Alaska Airline miles (and $23.70) and got a one way ticket to Washington. I left Yuma on October 2nd. After a terrible layover (14 hours) in Phoenix, then to Seattle, and on to East Wenatchee, WA. A short Uber ride and I was at Vera's. We made the deal and she gave me a mountain of extras to go with the rigs. October 3rd, I left with our new rig, heading south. A couple hundred miles later, I spent the night in the Wildhorse Casino, Pendleton, OR.

It got pretty cold, in the 30s by morning. Everything worked like a charm.

Then After around 450 miles, I stopped for the night at the Mountain Shadows RV Park in Wells, NV. I did stop along the way and picked up an electric space heater. It got down to 32 that night. The next morning, I scraped ice off the windows and headed on down the road. The mounains around me were topped with snow. Very pretty.

Then a 500 mile drive day and I parked in the Avi Casino parking lot in Laughlin, NV.

October 6th, and 210 miles later, I was home. Donna helped guide me into our RV parking spot at our house.

A good fit.

I insured the truck and fifth wheel through Progressive, where we have our Nissan through. The RV was $257.00 for a year, and the truck was $401.50 for 6 months. Then I registered them in Arizona and got my plates. The RV was $63.34, and the truck was $69.28.

Now I have the fun of installing my 6 solar panels, 4 AGM batteries, Magnum Energy inverter, and the Solar controller (with all the goodies). I have installed this stuff on my last 4 RVs, our Cameo & Bighorn fifth wheels, our Southwind & Hurricane motorhomes, and now another fifth wheel. This is the LAST one! Really!!

Donna is decorating the rig and loading her up while I do the install stuff. We are happy!

The next post will include pictures of my install and of the inside.

The Fergs out .......

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Recap of Year Five, and of Our Fulltime Experience - September 5, 2018

We sold the house and moved into our 5th wheel in 2012, September 5th, 2013 was the date we hit the road, our 'anniversary'.

Here is the Year 5 Recap: We began Year Five at Elks Lodge #1087 - Idaho Falls, ID - September 5, 2017

From the Elks Lodge in Idaho Falls, ID, we headed South to the Elks Lodge in Provo, UT. It was there, that we met up with our friends, Tim & Bev. We then travelled together throughout Utah. We camped several days in Moab and Panguitch while we visited the 5 National Parks in Utah. It was a wonderful time.

 Then to Lone Rock Campground on Lake Powell. From here we all visited the Page area and the incredible Antelope Canyons and Horseshoe Bend. Tim & Bev headed their own way, and Donna and I headed to the Grand Canyon for several days. Then to complete a major Bucket List item, we made it to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Awesome! Then we pretty much headed right to Yuma, AZ where we were going to spend the winter.

 We made it to Yuma in the last part of October and moochdocked on Tim & Bevs property. One thing led to another, and we found a nice place to buy too. We closed on our 'new' home on December 14th. We are very happy with the decision, a little bitter sweet, going from full-time to part-time.

 We attended an Escapees Christian Fellowship rally in Quartzsite in January. We later traded our old Jeep in for a Nissan Sentra sedan, and our Fleetwood Southwind for a Thor Hurricane. The motorhome switch was probably not a good idea, but it was good while it lasted. The first trip in the new RV was to the RV Dreams boondocking rally in Quartzsite in March.

 The middle of April, we headed north to visit our family in Washington. Most of the trip was on Interstate 5, stopping to see a couple of relatives on the way. We travelled all over Washington visiting our kids and grandkids. Our daughter Kim, gave birth to our first grand daughter, Ally Rey Reider while we were there.

 We left WA and headed back south on July 28th. We chose the Redwood Highway, Highway 101 for most of the trip through Oregon and Northern California. We ended up in Menifee, CA when we decided to just go ahead and head to our home in Yuma.

 We made it back to our place in Yuma and got rid of the motorhome and became 'sticks & bricks' folks again. September 5th, 2013 to 2018, our full-timer years, is in the books.

Where we have stayed in year 5 (# of days):

 Thousand Trail parks - 88
 RPI parks - 2
 Elks Lodges - 29
 SKP parks - 7
 Passport America parks - 0
 Good Sam parks - 0
 State/National Parks - 4
 Moochdocked - 60
 Casinos - 3
 Misc RV parks - 23
 Desert camping - 12
 Yuma Home - 136
 other - 4

28 days we boondocked

And some year 5 stats:

 Miles traveled - 6,668 -  2,291 in the Southwind, 4,377 in the Hurricane
 States visited - 7 .. New States - 0
 Number of times camped - 41 (at campgrounds)
 Average days camped per stop - 6.19 (at campgrounds)
 Campground fees for the year - $1,798.97 - that averages just $7.86 per night (at campgrounds)

 Highest average camping fees Month - $731.67 --- $24.39 per night for September

 Lowest average camping fees Month - $0.00 --- $0.0 per night for November, December & February

Highlights - Birth of Grand Daughter, Utah National Parks, Alb. Balloon Fiesta, New house

Lowlights - letting go of RV

After selling our house, we have lived in our RV, full-time, for 5 years, 5 months. We travelled full-time for 4 years, 3 months, and were part-time RVers, 8 months. During that time, we had 2 fifth wheels (Cameo and Bighorn) and 2 motorhomes (Southwind and Hurricane). We have travelled 41,162 miles since hitting the road back in 2013 and stayed in 25 states.

 Our campground fees for the last 5 years were $ 9,368.96. Which averages $ 5.55 a night, not counting our time at our place in Yuma. We have been to 43 out of the 60 parks in our Thousand Trails membership, and have visited 27 National parks. We have attended 3 RV Dreams rallies (2 educational, 1 boondocking), 2 National Good Sam rallies, 2 Escapees National rallies, and many other rallies and get togethers with other groups and friends.

 We have met soo many great folks on the road. We do follow many blogs, Facebook, and RVillage and always watch for a chance to meet up with anyone close to us here in Yuma. We even have room at our place to park visiting friends in their RV, with hook-ups too! Just let us know when you are in the area.

It has been a wonderful experiance, this RV lifestyle, and hope to start it up again as soon as we can. No regrets. We still want to explore the East Coast and Alaska. We were blessed to be able to do these last few years. Now we are content with our life right now. I plan on building an Arizona room and maybe a casita out back. I want to add a few more cacti in our yard. And we are doing good getting used to the heat during the summer.

The Fergs out .......

Monday, August 13, 2018

Full-time to Part-time to ???? - Yuma, AZ - August 13, 2018

After spending the first 6 days of August at the Thousand Trails park in San Benito, CA, we had a long travel day to Menifee, CA. It was a little over 400 miles to the Thousand Trails park in Menifee.

We checked in and were glad to have electric hook ups for our AC. It was over 100 degrees on the trip here.

We were going to stay several days here, then head down towards San Diego, but we recieved some news we were waiting for and now we had a chance to unload the RV. So we were off to Yuma after just spending one night here.

We arrived home (in Yuma) on the 8th.

We regret trading our old rig for this motorhome. It drives nice, gets better gas mileage, but that's about it! The list of things wrong with it is pretty long now that we have lived in it for awhile. If we were keeping it, it would be back at the dealer getting a lot of warranty work done to it. But we recently had received some pretty serious financial news that was devestating. We have some hoops to jump through and we will get by. Life will go on. The RV though, had to go. We will survive. We have a plan and everything will be OK.

I did remove all 6 solar panels, Inverter, Charge Controller, and all the goodies I put on it. They sure came off faster than it all went on.

Today, August 13, the new owner picked it up.

It has been a great 6 years. This lifesytle has allowed us to meet some wonderful people. We are hoping to save some $$$ and purchace a small travel trailer as soon as we can, and head out again (as part timers). We still want to travel the East coast and go to Alaska.

So here we are, at our place in Yuma. We don't have a RV, but a ton of good memories. Life is still good!

Fergs .... out!...   for now....