Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23, 2012 - Installing the EMS

Donna is getting everything back into our rig. Now I get to re-install my goodies. I have to re-install my Progressive Industries EMS-HW50C 50 Amp Surge Protector w/ Voltage Protection & Remote Display, our solar setup we got from AM Solar (4 panels and charge controller), and the Magnum Energy MS 2012 2000 Watt Inverter. Today is the EMS.

I pulled out the AC breaker panel and disconnected the incoming power cable and pulled it back to the basement. Our Bighorn basement is huge. I removed the wall section revealing all the hoses and wiring. There is plenty of room to work in there. I then fished a 5 foot piece of 6-3 w/ground power cable, that I picked up at Home Depot, into the basement.

I was able to connect the power cables into the EMS without standing on my head. It is good to have all the slack and room to work.

I mounted it just inside of the basement wiring area. It is the 'neatest' installed item in the mass of wires and hoses and stuff. I am sure I will be in here again when doing the solar and inverter stuff.

I fished the cable into the control area for the Remote Display.

Now after we move to a new location, I can plug into shore power and just open the door and see if the power is good or not. The display will show the operating frequency, and the Voltage and current on each leg.

Next is the solar equipment. It gets dark soon after I get off work and it has been raining lately. But we have lots of time. The rig is winterized and we will have it ready to live in probably about March 1st. I am still retiring July 1st and then we will be off.

Meanwhile, we check the blogs and forums and continue to plan and dream. Time is moving quickly and we are counting the days. 251!!!!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012 - Picked Up Our New Fifth Wheel

For the last week, Donna has been emptying our Cameo and cleaning the rig so we could trade it in. I have removed the 4 solar panels from the roof. I had to leave the combiner box up there because it was really on there good. I used lots of Dicor and was afraid if I tried prying it off, I could damage the rubber roof. I was able to remove the 16 solar panel mounting feet. They were attatched with 2 screws each and Dicored to death. It was tough but they were 20 bucks each and I didn't want to go though the expense of ordering more than I had to. I did order a new combiner box ($69.95). After I had all my gear off the roof, I used 2 tubes of Dicor and filled all the scerw holes.

I then removed our Progressive Industries EMS-HW50C 50 Amp Surge Protector w/ Voltage Protection & Remote Display and our Magnum Energy MS 2012 2000 Watt Inverter. It was kinda a pain, but I got everything spliced back to normal. After removing the 2 monitor panels in the hallway, I had to cover the big holes. I used a 6 by 8 inch piece of cherry wood (part of an end table) and it covered the holes and looked pretty good too.

We had to have the rig to Blue Dog RV in Post Falls, Idaho by 11:00 so we left around 6:30. My new B & W Companion hitch worked great even though I installed it in the lowest mounting holes and the bed rail clearance was only 3 inches.

The last trip with our Cameo.

Once at Blue Dog RV, we surrendered the Cameo and they re-installed our Splendide 2100XC Washer/Dryer combo into our new Bighorn. They also winterized it for us since we will not be in it all winter. We took part in the walk-through and everything seemed to be in order. While we were there, we purchased a Rand McNally RVND 7710 GPS.

Then off we go to get her parked at our 'Home Sitting' location.

It was just starting to get dark when we arrived back to East Wenatchee. Donna guided me and we made it through the apricot orchard and after a 6 point turn-around, had it backed into the parking space.

Now all we have to do is put all of our 'stuff' back it our new BH. And I get the pleasure of re-installing all the gear I pulled off our old rig.

We love our new 'home'.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October 7, 2012 - A New Fifth Wheel

Well, that decision didn't take too long. Donna called Blue Dog RV and told them we will take the deal that they offered us the day before. We are trading in our 2008 32 foot Cameo and getting a 2009 38 foot Bighorn by Heartland.

Here were the things we really wanted in a new fifth wheel:
Longer with more living space
More storage area
Two air conditioners
Larger refrigerator (double door)
More kitchen counter space
Windows that slide open, not the crank type
Room in the basement for my batteries, inverter, and solar stuff
More slide-outs
Built as good or better than our Cameo
Must give us the 'feel' of home

I have done my home work too. Good reviews of the rig and the Heartland organization. They have a pretty good Heartland Owners Forum too.

We plan on picking it up on the 15th if I get my new B&W Companion Hitch that I ordered installed. In the mean time, Donna is busy emptying everything and I am pulling out the EMS, batteries, inverter, and solar equipment. It is quite a job. But easier removing than installing.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October 6, 2012 - Picked Up The new Truck...and...looked?

We got up early. Left the house at 5:00 AM and headed for Coeur d'alene, Idaho to Dave Smith Motors. We had our GMC all cleaned out and ready to give up for our new truck.

We arrived at 8:15 and sure enough, the truck was ready. It was cleaned and full of fuel. We signed a few papers and gave up our old truck.

On the way back home, we stopped again at Blue Dog RV because they had emailed me some photos of a new RV they recieved and Donna wanted to stop and check it out. It was a 2009 Heartland Bighorn. Hmmm... It was pretty nice. We liked the way the windows opened, had a bigger refrigerator, was longer (38 feet), much more storage (very important), more room in the bedroom, and a good price. Donna said lets see what our Cameo is worth as a trade-in. I reminded her that we were just looking. The numbers were looking pretty good too. Donna loved it. I said no, no, no...I gotta sleep on this. Golly, we just bought a new truck. And I would have to remove my solar setup, battery bank, inverter, EMS, and lots of wiring and stuff.

We headed home. Our new truck does have the B&W Turnover Gooseneck Ball hitch all ready installed. I will order the B&W Companion fifth wheel hitch today.

Here is some new photos of our new 2008 Silverado 3500HD DRW truck.

We love our new truck. This should carry the load. And...let me think about that new fifth wheel.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012 - Ferg's Birthday, East Wenatchee, WA

We are back from the RV Dreams Rally. We had such a great time. As we left the rally, Howard and Linda weighed our rig. The Cameo was 13,725 pounds and balanced pretty well. But our truck had 766 pounds too much on the rear axle. So I have been looking for a bigger truck. I liked the Duramax/Allison in my GMC. It always pulled like a champ.

The last 2 vehicles we have bought came from Dave Smith Motors out of Kellogg, Idaho. We always get a good deal there without the high pressure of car salesmen. We made the drive and started checking out the short list of possible trucks that met my 'wish list'. With many to choose from, I chose a 2008 Silverado 3500HD dually. After trying it out and inspecting the heck out of it, we bought it. They are going to do a few things to it, like a new spray on bed liner and detailing. We will pick it it Saturday, October 6th. Here is a couple of quick photos I took on my Iphone.

I pulled out my 41 gallon auxillery Fuel tank and will re-install it in the new truck. We are giving my Hijacker autoslide hitch to my Sister because they are moving ahead with their dream of retireing and going full-time too.

I have been researching new hitches and if the gooseneck ball hitch in my new truck is a B&W type, I plan on going with the B&W Companion hitch. It has had very good reviews. Plan B will be a Curt Q24, a 24K hitch.

I was kinda bummed after hearing that I was over-weight, but everything is working out just fine. I can't wait to pick up the new truck.

On the way home, we stopped at Blue Dog RV in Post Falls Idaho. Since the RV Dreams rally, we were kinda dreaming of moving up to a slightly bigger fifth wheel...kinda. We walked through a few rigs and didn't see anything we cared for.

Only 270 more days till my retirement and then we're off!