Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Our Redwood Went In For A Little Tweaking!

Off she goes! To the RV Doctor!
It has been a while since our fifth wheel has traveled. We have been stationary here in our park, watching fall turn to winter and enjoying our new minimalist lifestyle and loving the heightened enjoyment our life has with less and less "stuff" forcing us to bow to it's demands.  I am a minimalist in my soul, and finally I get to start actually living the life I have been dreaming of for some time, but that's another post!

Owning a brand-new RV (I think I will get universal head-nodding on this from other RVers) is both a blessing and a curse.  From what we have been able to understand from our years of experience and research, there is NO brand that is exempt from the "RV RULE OF QUALITY CONTROL" which is: There ain't much!  Our Redwood has it's share of "QC" issues, although we have been satisfied by how much.  It's all about how they deal with problems, and so far, we are very happy.

This will be our second trip for warranty repair work.  None of the issues we have had have been so bad that we were uncomfortable (like the climate control not working or the water system, etc.)  Still, they were strongly things that we were glad we were able to get fixed and should never have left the factory.  Again, for some reason, this is chronic in the RV industry, and when you buy a new RV, you will save yourself a lot of frustration if you just expect it.  I even advise you to go ahead and make a service appointment when you take delivery of your new RV, even though it may seem silly.  I promise, stuff will come up that needs to be fixed, and often there is a several-week wait for an appointment!

This time, we are going in to have a new buffet top put on because when our shades fell off on one of our early trips, it gouged the surface.  We also have issues with our LED lights in one of our awnings and some moisture build up in our nose cap. There are several other things too.  We keep a running "Punch List" of items and then when the list starts getting long, we make our appointment with service.  We go to the dealership where we purchased our RV for service, but that isn't always necessary.  Depending on your manufacturer, you can usually go to any convenient authorized service center for this.  This is a major consideration when you purchase your RV! DO NOT assume that you won't need extensive service, MOST people do!  Choose a GOOD service center with skilled technicians and a strong communication connection with your chosen manufacturer!  I advise you to do a little homework and read reviews of the different dealerships and service centers. There are HORROR stories from some, and glowing reviews from others. You will be glad you did!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our First Winter In Our 5th Wheel

The road in our park, HALF raked of the
debris from the latest wind storm!
It has been cold in our part of the world! We have endured a couple of bonafide winter storms, both wind and cold pummeling us with their wrath and we huddled in our 5th wheel, feeling a little anxious.  While we had done our homework and done a lot of research before deciding to full time in this particular RV, we still knew that the proof would be on display soon enough, and indeed, winter is upon us.

Having the wind storms was one thing. We rolled up the awnings, filled the freshwater tank  and that was about it.  We were ready. That's the big plus of RV living, power outages are a complete "zero" on the richter scale of inconvenience.  Even in a luxury RV such as ours, it is still, at it's heart, designed to exist happily off the grid for appreciable bursts of time without causing any discomfort to it's occupants.  We had the good sense to include a 5000 watt generator in our rig, and that completed the collection of "Power Outages Don't Matter" features. (On our wish list is a complete solar system addition, like we have on our Lance Camper: WE LOVE solar!)

Bitter cold is another thing entirely.  As is heavy snow, which we have not had to endure yet.

We have a large furnace, run by propane. Because we have a large propane powered generator also,  we opted for the large, 40 pound propane tanks on our trailer.  We are glad we did. During a cold blast, the furnace runs a LOT and burns a large amount of propane. The large tanks allow us to do things other than run to the local station and fill our tanks every other day.  Luckily, we also opted to include two heat pumps in our build, which are part of the air conditioners.  Unless temperatures dip below about 35 degrees, the heat pumps keep us toasty warm and we can use the electricity instead of the propane.  The furnace automatically turns on if temps get too low for the heat pumps to handle.  Additionally, the furnace air is supplied below in the belly of the RV to keep all the pipes and tanks and valves from freezing. I would never even CONSIDER owning an RV that did not have this feature. Having pipes, valves and tanks freeze is catastrophic and expensive and will put you off RV living in a hurry.

Even in the most luxurious, upscale RV's the walls are only a very few inches thick.  It's all about the type of insulation used and the workmanship of the manufacturers that makes the difference.  But a few inches is still just a few inches and it is apparent in a few areas.  The insides of cabinets along outside walls will be noticeably chilly inside during the coldest weather.  Spaces between furniture and an exterior wall will be much cooler also. Whether that cold air in the cabinets is moist and freezing creating frost on your interior cabinet walls, is often a clue as to how four-season-ready your RV really was intended for, and this is one of the things different (MOST) brands are referring to when in their owner's manual they state: "This RV is NOT intended for FULL TIME LIVING and is for recreational purposes only." If your's says that, then be aware, you may have to run interference at times with nature.

Still, all told, we are very happy with the performance of our Redwood in this cold weather (which has been down into the teens).

This morning, we were watching the news, having our coffee and heard them say that it had gotten down to 16 degrees overnight.  The good news is, we didn't know!  We were blissfully unaware of the shocking cold outside as we slept. Thank you Redwood, for building a truly all-season coach!