We had our first outing in the bus and some excitement with a series of unexpected repairs and good (cold!) times at the lake.
In addition to this video detailing much of our trip, below you’ll find a few details that I left out because the video was getting longer than I liked. Enjoy!
- By 11:30 we’d run through the startup checks, pulled in the slides and landing gear and were on the way to Fredericksburg. We did stop at Wal Mart for food supplies for the rest of the week. While preparing to leave the mart parking lot Susan mentioned that “the dog is starting to resemble a cat” because he was getting underfoot so much. He was not at all happy with the bus so far. It hisses and beeps for just about everything.
- Tried to get some tortillas at Hildas but they were slammed with customers and didn’t have enough employees for all the tables they had. They had a bar but only had one person working it who was also working the register. We ended up leaving empty-handed. Perhaps try calling ahead and order takeout next time. We got some cider and bottled pretend margarita at the nearby convenience store. The latter was ok tasting but low on alcohol.
Misc Thoughts during/after our first trip
- Don’t have to wait long for hot water in an RV! This was brought home to me once we were back home and I had to wait what felt like 10 minutes to get hot water in the kitchen. Takes less than a minute in the bus because the hot water heater is right over there. At home, I can run the water in the kitchen for several minutes before I get any hot. Yes, we could run our heaters at a higher temp but then we’d be wasting gas.
- It’s dark with the shades down! Though it would have been nice to have some glow strips on the floor since we weren’t familiar with the placement of everything.
- Noisy while driving. There was enough wind noise that Susan and I had to shout to be heard on the freeway. We’re definitely going to be test driving other units to see how typical this is. At the time of writing, we’ve been in one other bus, that we’re pursuing buying and the difference is like night and day. We can hold a normal conversation while going down the freeway @ 70mph
- Misc minor maintenance needed in the house. Typical things that happen in an RV such as drawer catches needing to be tightened up because they loosen over time while the house is bouncing down the road. We’ve already been introduced to several items, like drawer catches, that just need to be treated as “consumables” with spares on hand.
- Good ride for the most part, though Chip wasn’t a fan at all. He was not used to a “house” moving around and after a couple of days would quickly hide in the bedroom once the bus started rolling. On the first day he took to hiding under Susan’s chair.
- Beeps that the boy absolutely hates. Everything in the bus made the beeping noise that makes Chip act like he’s being tortured. The turn signal, the power-on sound when turning cockpit power on, the microwave and induction cooker controls, all were signals to Chip to get the heck out of dodge.
- Hissing. So much hissing. Starting and stopping the bus resulted in the air brakes and lift bags making a hissing noise that we reserve for times when we want Chip to stop doing something or if we have to scold him. He couldn’t wait to get out of the bus and didn’t want to get back in as much because of the bad sounds in the bus as for the good nature smells outside it.
- Eight Thousand Million Keys. Actually there were only about 8, but when half of them look the same and they only want to go into the lock one particular way and you can’t tell if you’ve just tried to put the key in the wrong way or if it’s the wrong key, it makes it seem like there are a million keys. We’re looking forward to putting in keyless entry locks or hopefully just needing fewer keys in our future bus.
- Dometic thermostat UI is terrible. Couldn’t tell for sure how long any given zone was going to run or if it was going to use the settings we’d just tried to program in. It was always turning off when we didn’t want it to and appeared to heat only one zone and that zone wasn’t the bedroom.
- Loose/wiggling mirror on the passenger side. I know this is common in larger vehicles but made it hard for me to use and I would get it fixed or replaced in a hurry
- Don’t follow other people’s directions. Google never gives us anything more useful than we could do for ourselves by just looking at the route on the map. This was a note I wrote in our log book and it was a good guideline to follow several times during the trip. We were usually best served by just figuring out for ourselves what route to take, with some references to show us where low bridges and fuel might be.
- Plan the route before setting out on the road. I found it helpful to have the turns written down and stuck to the dash where I could refer to them as needed
- Bring chocolate. Chocolate always helps.
- Need cockpit light dimmers and more directional lights for the pilot and navigator that won’t cause glare on the windshield. That was one problem in our rental when driving at night. The lights in the cockpit were bright and were omnidirectional, lighting up the entire cockpit and causing windshield glare.
- Need slip on camp shoes. We didn’t want to track stuff info the coach and even slipping on/off our regular shoes without tying them became a pain in the butt.
- A large ground cover/rug would be nice. A tarp works in a pinch but isn’t nearly as attractive.
- Got about 10mpg and drove ~700 miles
- So glad we had the radios. I’d have hated trying to get into our spot at Whitney in the dark just by shouting at each other.
- I want a HUD. Actually, as of this writing I now have a simple HUD that shows speed and some basic engine status. I’m going to try it out in the Mini with the intention to put it into our bus when we have one.
We’ve taken our first trip in an RV, rented from Southwest RV and our first video is naturally of our boy. Alone in the RV and finding that we left some food for him. Sort of.
More specifically we went to the Dallas RV SUPERSALE.
We didn’t have any intention of buying but thought it would be good to wander about looking at options.
Going on a Thursday meant we avoided the crowds and I thought we’d be assaulted by sales people. Wow, was I wrong. The sales people studiously ignored us near the RVs. Either we didn’t look like their demographic or they were all thinking “You must come to us and experience the glory of our wares” or some such. Most of the wares were pretty nice.
It wasn’t until we got to the accessory vendor area that people were interested in trying to sell to us. Those people were hungry.
The RVs were really nice and I really really wish that Airstream made an A class that had the design aesthetic that their trailers do. There was one that looked as much like a starship on the inside as they do on the inside. If they’d had an A, Susan would have had to tie me up and take my credit card away.
The primary design aesthetic of most of the other RVs was something along the line of “put as much crap in there as we can.”
Most of them weren’t horrible looking but they went for the most expensive “look” they could get without actually spending any money. The ones from Tiffen were better in that they used higher quality material but they also went the route of adding fiddly little bits that added unnecessary weight but really didn’t add much in the way of design value.
One of the RVs looked like it came out of the reboot of Restoration Hardware. You know the one. Where everything looks like it belongs in a mausoleum populated by vampires. What I didn’t know when I said something similar out loud was that the RV has just been purchased and the buyer was sitting 6 feet away. Oops.
So anyway, though we saw some impressive RVs, we managed to leave without buying anything.
Next? On to our first trip in an RV to the Texas Hill Country.
This will be updated later when I have time to sit down and write but our “Great Escape” (better name later) refers to our desire to live somewhere that isn’t called Texas.
We’ve been here very literally our whole lives and it’s time to try living somewhere else.
Stay tuned. More details later.
Meanwhile, here’s a picture of our dog, Chip.