Friday, February 26, 2016

A hole in one!

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Today was not a trip, but another modification to our home to make it even better. This coach came with a nice closet for a washer/dryer, but recall we had recently bought a W/D Combo unit and installed it in the Mammoth. 

We were able to move the combo from that coach to this one with the help of the guys at the dealership, but we had not had time to install it yet. Unlike houses that have the dryer vent already installed in a laundry area, RVs typically require you to cut the hole and install the vent. We also wanted to install the drip pan under the Combo, so if there are any leaks there will not be damage. The drip pan has an overflow outlet, and we had to plumb that to the exterior. 

We took a bunch of pics, but here are just a few:

Starting the vent hole from the inside.
Getting ready to cut from the outside.
Hole is done!
Vent pipe added, wooden base and pan installed, drain for pan routed into the carpeted chase and down to the propane compartment. 
Washer/Dryer Combo installed, power, water, drainline hooked up. Feet secured with special brackets.
Looking down behind the combo, you can see the dryer vent exiting the coach.

We ran a quick test, and things seemed to work just fine. However, I ran my first load a few days later, and we have a leak somewhere. We'll figure it out, I'm sure. 

Can't wait to get it up and running!

Update: we determined the leak was from the new hoses we put on for the cold and hot lines. The original hoses from Splendide had a bigger washer inside, making a better seal with the connections on the back of the W/D. We put the original hoses back on, and no leaks!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Making of an Office

Sunday. February 7th, 2016

Today was not a trip, but a important day for the Big Country. Friday, Tony came home and we removed the couch from the door side slide, and took it to our storage facility. 

Rear living, with opposing couches -- one on the door side will make a great office.

Couch to be removed

Sunday, we headed to Frisco, a suburb of Dallas, to go to Ikea. Ikea is a Swedish company that sells quality home goods and furniture that usually require some assembly. Everything is well-designed, good quality, easy to assemble, and very affordable. The store is a huge two-story maze, but you manage to see everything very easily because of the path that leads you through every department. 

I had already researched the tabletop, legs and storage I wanted to buy to complete my office, so we knew what we were looking for. We just had to see it in person. Of course, we looked at everything, just in case we saw solutions for other areas of the trailer. 

We ate lunch there in Ikea, as well. They have a cafeteria-style restaurant. They sell Swedish specialties, including meatballs and fresh salmon. It was great!

After eating, we finished picking out our pieces. For larger pieces, Ikea sends you to a warehouse type area, where you pick up a flatbed and use codes that help you locate your exact boxed pieces. (Legs, tabletop, and drawer storage unit.) We also selected a shelf and brackets that mount to the desk, as well as an under-desk cord minder, a divider tray for the desk storage unit, and a battery powered motion detecting LED light for for the W/D cabinet. All this for $211!

After our purchases, we headed home, for this evening was the Super Bowl!

Over the next few days, I worked to put the pieces together and my office set up. 

Here's the final result: 

Now we have a good place to hide the litterbox, as well. We used the same small table with curtains we had before, it's on the left hand side under the desk.

I am loving this arrangement! The windows are great, and I have plenty of space around to have everything within reach. 

Even the cats have room to lounge behind the computer and not be in my way!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Big Country at home in the Big Country!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Today we got up and got moving a little slow. But not too slow. Tony cooked breakfast on the new induction cooktop, and we enjoyed the view out the new bigger windows. 

We then worked to get everything ready for travel, which wasn't too hard since we hadn't really spread out too much, and we were already hitched. 

We ate a quick lunch about 11:30, and pulled out just about noon (check-out). We immediately stopped at Bucee's for fuel, then headed on our way home!

We had a traffic slowdown in Cedar Hill, but otherwise things were going well. The new rig tows much smoother than the ElkRidge did. 

We stopped at a rest stop outside of Santo, and I offered to drive. I'm going to try to learn this from the beginning so we can share some of the long hauls in the future! 

Getting ready to tow!

I was able to tow all the way to our exit for the park, then switched back to Tony driving, to pull into the park and to our site.

Only hard part was going up Ranger Hill, where I got behind a slow semi and couldn't pass. It was a little scary for me, not knowing if people behind me would slow down and avoid me. I put the hazard blinkers on. They did, and we made it just fine.

This part of Texas is called the Big Country region, so it's only fitting we now live in a Big Country! Once at the park, we got into our site and positioned just fine. We unhitched and pushed the Level-Up system's auto-level button, and watched her do her thing! Voila! Level in about 2 minutes!

We then got her all hooked up to power, water and sewer. Yay! I'm going to love this!

We got more things settled in place, now that we know we aren't moving for a bit. Tony get the satellite hooked up and working with the new tv, and we enjoyed the evening in our reclining loveseat. 

The cats are adapting quickly to the new place as well,  with lots more windows to see out, and couch-backs to sleep on!

Can't wait to start enjoying this new home.

First Night in the Big Country!

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Today we slept late. Until almost 9! Very unusual for Tony, he's usually awake before 7. But we were really wiped out from the exciting day yesterday. We slept fairly well, considering we were in a new rig. The furnace has that "funny" new smell, and of course there are new sounds and such!

Last night we left the rig hooked to the truck since we were too tired to mess with it. We did, however, put the 6 Level-Up jacks down and level manually.

We finally got moving around 10:30, and did some moving of various boxes and baskets of last minute grab and go from the Mammoth. It was crazy, I should have taken a pic but we both forgot. The living room had stuff on every couch, down the middle of the living room, the bed was covered, and the dinette was, too. 

We had to uncover the bed last night of course, so all that stuff was also in the living room. 

We moved our queen sleep number bed over to the new rig, and left the king mattress at the dealer. We decided we weren't ready to invest in a new king mattress just yet, so we will cut down the base to fit. Tony has already lined this up.

Anyway, we started trying to organize the kitchen and get everything a "home" for now. We also hooked up water and sewer, and tried some of the various features we hadn't had time to play with at the dealer. 

We'd invited our folks to come out to Bluebonnet Ridge and see the rig, so we worked to get it more presentable. Tony's folks came by in the afternoon, and mine came by for supper and both gave me something in celebration of my birthday. They all liked the rig very much.

After my folks left, we pretty much collapsed again for the evening. We head home to Eastland County tomorrow. We've very happy with our new home so far!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mammoth heads to a new home.

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Well, this is a bittersweet post. We decided after much deliberation that it was time to move to a full-time coach. Heartland, our manufacturer of choice, finally made the right combination for us: a floorplan we like (additional 5 feet, great kitchen, seating opposite the tv, space for a desk, 2 entry bath, larger shower, King bed, etc.) decor we like (wood color, flooring, window treatments, furniture style, wall texture, light fixtures, knobs and faucet colors, etc.) features we like (beamed ceiling, convection microwave, induction cooktop, large 4-door fridge, level-up auto leveling, glossy sidewalls, etc.) at a price we like (Got a fair deal on the trade and the new rig price we can live with).

We've been looking at what our "next coach" would be for a long time, and we knew that it was very rare when all three things come together. The decor and features of a brand can change every three months in some cases!

So, January 29th, the day after my birthday, we took delivery of our new Heartland Big Country 4010RD.

It was quite an experience! 

First, let me give some history. 

As the previous post mentioned, we discovered this floorplan at the Ft.Worth RV show. We inquired about it, and soon hooked up with James Pearson, the regional rep for Heartland Big Country and ElkRidge, as well as Mark Stewart, the Sales manager at ExploreUSA in Mesquite, TX. We had spoken to Mark a few years ago when we happened to stop in to ExploreUSA just to look. We liked his easygoing style and no bickering approach. James was truly a salesman, selling us on all the features of the BC over the ElkRidge, which he coincidently helped us buy, nearly 6 years ago.

We walked away from the unit, but did some thinking while still at the show, and decided to see what they could do to make a sale happen. We put down a deposit on the unit and left, hoping that after the show was over they work on the deal and make the numbers work for us.

It took a week of some back and forth to get everything squared away, but they made us an offer we felt was fair. Note that they had no idea what our Mammoth's condition was! And as you know from this blog, she's seen a lot of action, as well as many mods and upgrades. 

We decided to go and see the coach once again, to check things we couldn't recall seeing at the show and to sign some preliminary paperwork. We looked the unit over for a good while, then worked with Mark to get some final numbers. They initially offered to "throw some things in" for us, but ultimately they could only do one additional thing. We decided to have them move our Fifth Airborne kingpin from one unit to the other. Mark said this would be "no problem".

While we were waiting for the PDI date to be set, they were to be checking everything. During our review of the rig, we found that the cooktop was scratched or cracked, and would need to be replaced. There was a discrepancy in the reclining loveseat-- the invoice said heated, but it was not-- so we worked to get the right furniture. Also, there was some paint overspray on the front cap. 

I had hoped these items would have been resolved before we took delivery, but they were not. We have to go back to take care of them when the ordered pieces get to ExploreUSA.

Whoops, let me give you a little more history:

Thursday, January 28th, 2016
Today is my birthday! And we loaded up Mammoth to take her to Terrell, so we'd be closer to the dealership for Friday's PDI. We stopped at Blue Beacon, to get her washed, and pulled into Bluebonnet Ridge RV Park about 8:30pm. I did some work, then went to cleaning and prepping for tomorrow. We had already done a number of pre-sale items, like getting rid of some of the extra stuff so we didn't move as much. Also removing all the personal decor, our Heartland plaque off the ladder and "Dorsey's Mammoth" decal. We also took out our remote thermometer sensors, and many of the command hooks and such that we added along the way. We also prepped the washer for moving by draining it and removing the water lines, drain and vent hoses.

Back to Friday, January 29th

Friday morning came quickly and we were out the door by 8:07, for our 9am PDI. Cats rode in the carrier, and were let loose in our rig while we did the PDI.

The PDI went fast, and we probably were not as thorough as we could have been. But we were struggling with the fact that to switch the kingpin, the dealership had to take both units offsite and have an RV Tech do the change, then return. The cats and I waited in the truck, while Tony wrapped up signing the PDI papers. I also went and grabbed us lunch. After these switch was made, then we had to move everything from our current home (ElkRidge) to our new home (Big Country), and be out by the end of the day! Did I mention it was nearly 80 degrees, and no electricity!? It was a little toasty. 

It was after 2pm when we finally got to moving from one rig to another. We wanted to stop quite a few times, but kept plugging away. Kitties slept or watched patiently in their carrier, as we moved stuff. They did great!  We did manage to get some help moving the W/D Combo from one rig to another. Yay! 

The dealership closed at 6, and we were still a ways from being done. Mark offered to stay until we were done. He even helped us switch the RV Lock over from the old to new rig. 

Finally, with it all moved, we were ready to hitch up. But the slides did not work! Mark helped us out again as he moved our old rig out of the way with a forklift so we could safely back to the building and get some power from the building to move the slides in. 

We finally left the dealership about 8:30! We stopped at Buckees to grab a quick bite, then back to Bluebonnet Ridge. Whew! What a wild ride!!!

I hope Mammoth finds someone else to make as happy as she made us over the last 6 years. She is well prepared. We will miss her. :)