Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

We feel the blues of Chinook being sold. We were supposed to "baby sit" her while the new owner was out of town for the weekend, but his wife seemed to bond with her real fast, and we haven't seen her since the money changed hands. I am glad it went to a good home where it gets used. Now we get to step into the next part of our plan, which is getting the house fixed, so we can rent it out. Time is going by fast, and we need to kick in the next gear, there might only be couple months left for us to get ready.

The Halloween has been really tame this year for us. We usually have a party for Halloween, but this year we sold our awesome margarita machine, and decided to not throw a party after all. We did attend one though, and like usually for this holiday, we were dressed up for the occasion. I love Halloween.



Chinook Officially Sold

After passing all the inspections and a thorough look over of the Chinook by a professional inspector, the Chinook is now officially sold.  So everyone who was hoping the sale would fall thru so they could snatch up such a great vehicle will have to continue the hunt.  Even while filling it up with gas today, I was approached by someone who wanted it (there were never any for sale signs on it either).

The market for Chinooks is definitely a hot one!

All for now, Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Moving forward

So we are almost done with the Chinook. It is with sad realization that the Chinook will not be with us anymore. We have a sale pending officially, and I am pretty certain that the sale will be finalized on Monday. This will finally get our wheels in motion, since the selling of the Chinook was our ticket to do the foundation repair and some of the other renovations. Then we just have to figure out where to put our junk that will need to be stored for later use, and get it done! I just have a feeling that it is easier said than done. I am pretty persistent when I get my mind into something, but I think we are so different in that matter, that it will take us longer than it needs to. But there is no need to get into any major stress about it, just start early on, so we don't have to panic once the time comes.

I think Chinook will have plenty of interesting adventures ahead of it, the new owner looked like he had very interesting history,  not your average RV buyer. We had lots of interest in the rig, and we got requests about it all the way from Canada, which was kind of surprising. Though we have to admit that we would have gone a long way to get one for us, we just happened to be really lucky to find ours from Houston, so we only had to drive few hundred miles to get it. Now that our beauty is about to leave us and we will have the beast to house us on the road, the urge of finding an appropriate name has become evident. Until we come across suitable one, we will just refer to her as the Beast.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

1998 Chinook Concourse Side Entry for Sale!! -SOLD

Really hate to do this, but we really don't need 2 RVs.

Really rare side entry Chinook with permanent bed floor plan. Low Miles, around 40,000.

We just took it on one last trip and it performed flawlessly over the 450 mile journey.
If you are looking for an easy to drive RV, this is it! If you are looking for an RV that is the sports car of RVs, this is it!  Made of a one piece Fiberglass shell, it should last a Long Long time.

As the driver of the vehicle I can attest to the handling, speed, braking, horsepower, and comfort of it.  You can cruise at pretty much any speed you would want to drive.  It easily handles 90+ mph, in fact it is fun to pass sports cars in a motorhome effortlessly. Averages 10-13 mpg with a full load of water, gas, supplies.

Some of the features:
Ford 6.8 Liter V-10 Triton Engine
4 Speed automatic w/ overdrive
Power windows
Power locks
130amp Alternator
Cold in dash A/C
Driver and Passenger air bags
37 gallon gasoline tank
Onan Microlite 4000 watt gas generator with less then 80 hours.  Auto cutoff if gas tank goes below 1/4 full.
6 CU FT Dometic 2 door refrigerator/freezer, 3-way runs on A/C, D/C, or LP.
I believe an 80 watt solar panel on top to keep your batteries charged.
2 burner stove
Kitchen sink
Shower/toilet combo unit with medicine cabinet. REALLY hot showers
LP 6 gallon water heater (heats quick and is HOT)
32 gallon fresh water tank
36 gallon gray and 15 gallon black tank
16000 BTU Furnace
A/C unit on top
30 amp plug with 23 foot cable.  Has adapter to plug into a normal 110 outlet as well.
Full size permanent bed 75"x47"
Dinette converts into a 1 person, or 2 child bed. (Twin bed)
2 Deep Cycle Marine batteries for 250 amps of power, batteries less than a year old.
Sewer hose and a new in box spare sewer hose
Windows all have the double privacy screens on them
Privacy curtain that snaps onto the front cab of the unit
13 inch tv
VCR(easily swapped) and stereo
12 gallon LPG tank
exterior shower
Carbon Monoxide and LP gas detectors
Equipped with Vehicle Boost Start, in case your engine batteries are dead, it allows you to start the engine      with the coach batteries.
Tow hitch, can tow 8000lbs
Tires have 90+% tread remaining.
2 Fantastic roof fans, one in main cabin and another is the restroom/shower.

Small enough unit for stealth camping, see Glenn's Blog to see how he gets away with free parking 99% of the time.

Side Entry in a rig this size gives it many advantages over a rear entry model. For one, you can have a trailer or car towed along behind you and not have to unhook it in order to go outside. Or if you opt for a cargo hitch to carry stuff it will not interfere with your use of the main doorway.  Also folks with pets report problems with the rear entry models as you end up opening right into the street, whereas the side entry, you end up away from traffic.  Plus for full timers having a permanent bed is a boon to having to constantly put your bed up every day and back down again at night. Plus there is a big storage area under the bed, easily accessible from the outside.

All the electronics work perfectly, mechanically in superb condition.  Has some minor wear on the exterior, but for a 14 year old rig it handles better than any of my other vehicles.  Chinook put out a Super high quality vehicle.

Located at Plano TX.

Contact Lee with any questions:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Naming The Beast

We both agree that the Beast needs a name. So far she has been just the Beast, but I don't think any lady would be impressed if called with a name like that. So it is time to at least entertain other options, and this is where you my dear readers will come into the picture. While our lil' Beastie is resting at the RV repair place getting her refrigerator fixed, I would love to come up with a name for her, so when she comes back we can have a fresh start, sorta... Makes sense, right? I know it doesn't but just play along, it will be fun.

Lee has claimed all the rights for her sweetheart, including the name. But it doesn't mean that we couldn't suggest names that would fit a sporty lady. Ok, I have to admit that the Beast is actually pretty fitting, and lots of people have called her Beast (including me, when I first saw Lee drive her to our cul de sac, that was the only word that came out of my mouth), but it just doesn't feel very ladylike, though I have to admit that she is quite a tomboy, but maybe she just needs some gentle guidance. So let's get all those ideas flowing. What ya think??? The Beast forever or should I keep pushing for another name? I know, our problems are not always so grave. 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One decision closer

As it often happens, the fall does bring the nice cool weather. And it looks like our chase for the perfect weather of 75F has taken a break. It seems to be perfect enough right here, right now. Few days of occasional slow drizzles and cooler night temperatures, and suddenly this seems to be my Texas in all the possible positive ways. This has brought us to reconsider selling the house, and maybe just rent it out. There are so many pros and cons, it is difficult to make the right decision.

The pros on keeping the house:
  • There is always a place to fall back into after we are done with RV dwelling, or if something would happen and we will be forced to get back to "normal life".
  • Real estate is always an investment, the house will still be there, and maybe we could sell it later on if we need to, or if we find another place we would like to call home.
  • The house is really a unique, we still could be able to make it into our dream home with few changes.
  • Lees family lives here, and we would love to be close to them.
  • This is a great place to live, very desirable area, and this kind of lots are too difficult to find in neighborhoods like this (the lot is huuuuge).
  • We love the house!
  • The house could be generating some income for us. Paying the mortgage and leave a bit over for fixes that might be needed, and maybe even leave some money to drive a few more miles on our trip.
The cons on keeping the house:
  • It is older house and needs constant maintaining. We either need to pour money into it now, or risk the fixes without our supervision. (costs more, and once you aren't supervising the work, anything is possible)
  • Some major repairs are in our future if we keep it.
  • The Texas heat is really brutal and can cause some serious damage to our house, especially if it is leased out to someone who doesn't care about it as much as we do.
  • We wouldn't have as much money to start with if we didn't sell the house.
  • Being absent for years while the house is rented out can destroy the landscaping and pretty much anything else too.
  • The fixes on the rental are quite difficult to do on the budget while travelling. 
  • The repairs can be costly, especially on the major things like AC units.

The critters won't give a rats patootie where we live,
 and who lives in our house as long as they have a pile
 of blankets to burrow into
It is so easy to make a decision just considering what is happening around us at the decision making time, but the truth is that there are other times too, and things change throughout the year. The problems seem to arise mostly during the summer time when the heat is extreme, but once the weather cools down a bit, it can be pretty dang awesome place to live. But maybe there is a place where we could be happy around the year. For some reason I keep looking towards the East coast thinking that is where our questions get answered. But then on the other hand, I keep wanting to head to the West... makes sense, right?

For now, I think we have made the decision. This post has been a draft for weeks now, and I finally found it more fitting to our situation now, since after listening to our friends who also happen to be experts in real estate or rental properties, we have decided to go forward with the intention of keeping the house and leasing it out instead. I feel happy, since I can still have my dream of fixing it into a perfect place. And if the road is going to claim us, then be it, the option to sell it later on is not going to disappear anywhere.



Monday, October 8, 2012


Started my day today by getting out my new fancy amp meter and jumping into the RV to search for the culprit. Hooked up my amp meter directly to the battery, turned on the DC disconnect switch, and saw it immediately spike to 16.5 amps. Then I proceeded to remove EVERY DC fuse on the panel and still it was draining 16.5 amps.

So I went to the only thing I knew of that could drain that power IF it was turned on (and it was NOT), and that is the refrigerator/freezer. So I hooked my amp meter directly to the dc power on the back of the fridge itself and lo and behold, 16.5 amps. Disconnected and terminated the lines and checked the battery again. Down to 0 amps being drawn. PERFECT.

Zubie says there is no power in a
birdhouse either.... something must
have drained it too
So not only did I find out the refrigerator was draining the power, I also found it was bypassing the fuse panel, but not the power disconnect switch. Someone made a boo-boo wiring or rewiring this fridge at some point. On the plus side, nothing else was draining the batteries once I removed the fridge from the power.  Looks like a new control panel is in my Dometic refrigerator's future.

So that's the good news, the bad news is I still don't have enough juice to start the truck. I think when I closed the hood of it yesterday with the trickle charger on it, it hit the power button. So all night long, no power was going to the batteries. So I'll tackle that one later and hope that this issue didn't kill the 2 main engine batteries. I have no idea how old they are anyhow, so they may need to be replaced.  Could be original to the truck for all I know.

Update:  Was able to jump start the truck and ran it for an hour or so...will test it in the morning to see if it kept a charge on the batteries.

Update 2: Started up the Revcon with no issues today, so the hour long running yesterday charged up the batteries good.  Looks like 2 less batteries to replace.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Private Investigator

Spent some time on the Revcon trying to track down the mysterious power drain.  After a while, my neighbor and I discovered his amp meter only measures A/C current, so our previous readings were all wrong.

So a trip to Home Depot and 150 bucks later I had the only AC/DC Amp meter they had in stock in my hands.  After hooking it up to the DC panel I was getting solidly good readings on everything I turned on, but no phantom power drain.

Glenn saw my wife's posting yesterday and sent me an email with the ingenious idea to hook up the amp meter to the battery itself and then monitor the amp readings.  So I proceeded to do that after checking the amps going through the DC panel and immediately noticed something draining about 16.5 amps, which is next to cataclysmic for someone who would want to spend any length of time in an RV.  That drainage explains why my batteries got killed overnight.  To put it in layman's terms, something draining 16 amps per hour and a battery when fully charged is 125 amp/hours, at best you have 7.5 hours of power.

So, the good news is my purchase of the amp meter was justified.  The good/bad news is now I get to put on my detective hat and trace down the power-sucker.  The adventure continues...


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Electrical mystery

On two occasions already the Revcon has totally gotten drained out of all three batteries. First time happened right after we got it home, and today we noticed that it has happened again. First clue was that the stairs did not retract out when we opened the door, also the automatic locks did not work. There was no charge left what so ever. Our neighbor, super handy guy, who knows everything about plumbing, electrics or building anything (I bet if asked, he could build a space craft, we... not so much) took a look of it with Lee. They went through all the wires, and they seemed to be working just fine, but for some reason the batteries just get drained out.

See the cord running to the Revcon... hope it gets a bit charge from that.
We are suspecting the fridge, since it should not be on at all, but today even after quite cool night, the freezer felt really cold, colder than what I think it has been at any point in the last month. Lee suspects that there is some sort of limping mode that it goes into in some events and will stay there until the batteries are drained. I know nothing about limping modes, or anything else electrical, I just hope that we get it resolved before hitting the road, would be really sucky if we got stuck somewhere cause our batteries unexpectedly died. Limping doesn't help, the food will get spoiled anyhow after the limping ends in few hours, but the trip is spoiled long before that if you are stranded in the middle of the wilderness. Gave us something to think about. Have to come up with some sort of emergency plan for the cases like that.

What is going on here???
We are scratching our heads, me mostly, cause I'm not really good for anything constructive with these matters. Though I have made plans of painting some, and changing the flooring and other grand ideas that will not help at all. But hey, someone has to be the one who thinks about pretty things. :D
Any ideas are welcome! I know that solving this distantly is pretty impossible, but maybe experience will give some possible clues to what might cause this.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Last Trip With Chinook

It's not the kind of trip we wanted to make, but as I am typing this, I am laying on the bed of Chinook with 3 dogs, and we are heading to the South of Texas to attend a funeral. As we drive down on I-45, I am pretty sure we have couple of skunks hiding under the table, pretty strong stench at times. Makes you wonder if the hair in my nostrils is gonna survive the burn the skunks left behind. Roadkills are everywhere, so sad.

We so wanted to take the Revcon to the road, but we didn't have a chance to clean it yet, or work on few issues we have in it. Mainly what we have left now to do is to get the fridge fixed and try to figure out where the dogs are going to sleep. I bet they think under our covers, like they've done so far, but that isn't safe anymore, since the bed is above the cab.

This part of RV'ing was my favorite, driving from point A to point B. Not so much anymore, since in order to keep one of the dogs from going crazy I have to go to "sleep" with them, so I miss on everything on the road or aside it. But I guess the only way to get them used to it, is to actually keep driving around. I don't think it is that they don't like it, I think they (or actually just Pixie) gets overly excited and maybe worries of us leaving her behind. She is unlike many greyhounds and stays indoors, doesn't dart out the door when she gets a chance, except if we are packing the RV, then nothing is going to hold her in, she will run into the RV if an opportunity arises

Over day has passed since I started to write this post, we had a funeral, lots of tears and sadness, but also laughter and like Granny wanted, tons of food. Granny was loved by many many people and she made quite many friends during her 95 years of life. She didn't want people to leave her funeral hungry and if they did, it was their own fault. We left the dogs into the RV while we were at the funeral, and we were so glad to notice that even Louie, who gets always crated, did fantastic without his crate.

You ever feel like you have someone just sitting on your
shoulder barking orders while you are driving... we do.
We left the funeral a little earlier than we wanted to, but we had a long drive home, and didn't want to drive all of the way in the dark, especially since I had to be ready for work the next morning. Regretfully we had to skip also visiting Grandmother, time did not allow us, and we felt awful about it. We passed many cars with our brave Chinook, and were absolutely sad thinking that it will be the last trip. It is perfect size for a single person to live on, and two people to make trips with, and seems like the only option for us to get around at all with all the critters. It drove so beautifully, I am sure we will miss the ability to just step on the pedal and zoom by the slow pokers. Even Pixie calmed down on our way home, and I was able to sit on a seat instead of laying in bed with her to keep her calm. Though it didn't come without any enforcing, every time she got jumpy all over us, I cracked the window a bit, and the sound scared her to go lay down. I am sure it would be safer to have them all crated during the drive, but it is not possible in this tiny rig to have 3 crates.

The cotton is ready
We passed again tons of stinky stuff, roadkills of all sorts, cats, raccoons, dears, dogs, possums, skunks and armadillos, and each one of them made me sad and some of them made me nauseous. I am sure we passed some chicken farms too, the smell was really strong, and almost made our eyes watery, that would not be explained away with roadkills alone. The trip was quite successful and we are once again thankful to my husbands cousin for letting us suck their power to keep the rig cool for the doggies. I just wish we could have stayed couple of days, instead of having to squeeze the whole trip into one day. After all, Chinook deserves a goodbye trip.