Living the Dream – One Invoice at a Time

Not that you’d know it from today’s weather – wind, rain, hail, and snow – but it’s just about time to get the trailer out for another season. Our goal is to get to where we are going out year-round, but with colder weather than usual and household projects that didn’t happen this year.

One of the projects we needed to get done before beginning another RV season was to have the bearings on the fifth-wheel’s wheels repacked. So, off to one of the local RV dealers to have the job done.

Since the trailer was going to be there anyway, I decided to have them look into a couple of other problems we were having. The first and more serious of the two involved some separation along the street-side sidewall.

Unlike most newer trailer and motorhomes, which have single piece sidewalls, usually fiberglass, ours has sidewalls made of aluminum sheets or slats that fit together and overlap slightly. If you picture vinyl siding or perhaps tongue and groove laminate flooring, you might get an idea.

Shortly after we took delivery of the trailer (on my birthday – happy birthday to me!), we began to notice a little separation whenever we would hitch to or unhitch from the truck. It didn’t get worse over time, and we could usually pop it back into place, but we knew it was something we should have looked at, if not addressed.

Fortunately, the service department where I took the trailer employed someone who had worked on the sidewalls on this model before that company went under. So he had an idea of what to look for and how to do it without it costing a fortune.

With the use of some longer screws, they were able to better secure the sections so they would not separate during the hitching/unhitching process. While they were at it, they also straightened out the doors on the front cargo compartment so they would close and latch properly. During a return trip from a weekend outing, the doors had come unlatched, and by the time we heard the banging noise of the doors slamming against the truck’s rear bumper at 65-miles hours, the damage was complete.

Of course, none of this was done out of the kindness of their hearts, and by the time all was said and done, the total was $561, which also included replacing a damaged bearing and sealing a small crack they had found.

On a newer fifth-wheel, that probably doesn’t sound like that much money. However, based on what we paid for the trailer and its age, that is a fairly sizable sum, especially when you add in the $800-plus we spent last year after some juvenile idiots cut a hole in our door while the trailer was in storage.

On the one hand, we’ve spent an additional 15% of the the price we paid for the trailer on repairs in the last year. On the other hand, it gives us a sense of what we are letting ourselves in for if we do realize our dream of living full-time in an RV. What it hasn’t done is dampen our enthusiasm for RVing or for the lifestyle we’re hoping to one day live.

Introductions Are In Order

As if I didn’t have enough going on, I’ve decided to start a second blog. Unlike my other blog, From Out of Left Field, which is about a variety of subjects, I hope to narrow the focus a bit here.

Specifically, I plan to write about things related to RVs, RVing, camping,  some of the places my journeys take me, and hopefully about adventures I experience. I may also do a bit of verbal dreaming here, but always with the overall general focus in mind.

Let’s start with the basics – of our rig, that is. We have a 2006 F-350 Crew Cab DRW (dual rear wheel for those not in the know). Besides being my daily transportation to work, we use “The Beast” (as my son dubbed it when we bought it) to pull a 33-foot, 1995 Kit Cordova fifth-wheel trailer. It has two slideouts, a rear kitchen, and one well-worn recliner my wife and I often fight over. (Well, not really. Just wanted to liven things up a bit.)

Because our son is still in school, we have not yet been able to travel far and wide, but we have taken the trailer to numerous locations in Idaho and Oregon in the 14-months we have owned it. We hope to take it many more places before it comes time to move to the next rig.

The Kit was, for us, a step up from our previous rig, a 2007 Jayco 1007 tent trailer. We used that 10-foot trailer plenty in the four years we owned it, but when we added a dog to the family, it was no longer big enough. Not to mention that soft walls are not conducive to the kind of year-round RVing we aspire to do.

Before that, wetent camped for a couple of years after being reintroduced to camping by a couple of friends after we moved to Idaho in 2003. Despite the fact, that we pretty much hated tent camping, we realized that we enjoyed seeing new places and being out in nature. After these same friends told us about meeting people in Yellowstone National Park who lived in their RV full-time, the seed was planted. Once we moved from the tent to the tent trailer, the idea of RVing had taken root. I hope to put some of the blooms on display in future posts.