Friday, March 28, 2014

18 Days To Go And I Know How Some Of Our Customers Must Feel.

As I stated before I took the trailer to my RV dealer, Sumner RV for some needed maintenance on the wheel bearing and tires this past Monday.  This dealer sold 18 or 19 units at the Tacoma Spring RV Fair so I expected them to be very busy with deliveries this week and I didn't expect much in the way of repair work would be getting down in their shop.  I just received a call from their service manager who informed me the trailer would be done this afternoon.  Unfortunately I am not able to pick it up until Monday.  The call was pleasant and he told the bearings were all done, brakes were at 75% and there were no further parts beyond what we discussed.  He was about to send the wheels out to get the
new tires and wanted to check with me on the brand that I wanted.

Of course, when I saw the number pop up on my phone I came to attention and answered with a little
bit of anticipation for the big whammy.  More parts, labor or something to make the bill bigger than we
discussed but I got nothing….Ken is a happy camper.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

20 Days Left And Something That Might Just Work

While I was at the Spring RV Show at the Tacoma Dome I ran into a gentleman from Ellensburg with a product that might meet my expectations.
I have been searching for an inexpensive way to change out the lights inside the trailer with LED lighting.  Since we expect to be off line (no electrical hookup) often we need things that will save us the precious limited electricity that comes from our solar charged batteries.  I have checked Camping World as well as other outlets online and brick and mortar and had come to the conclusion there was no inexpensive way to swap out the lights.
These little jewels can run as much as $30.00.

Enter the LED light bulb conversion kit.  $13.95 and it comes with connectors, wiring and flat bulb for most any 1156 bulb replacement inside an RV.  I haven't installed it yet, but the difference in lighting that I saw at the show was amazing and I will be using a mere 1 amp compared to 3 amps.
Merely replace your current bulb with one of the adapters with harness to plug into the LED module,  peel the back off the module and press it against the top of the light fixture.  I purchased the one that has 48 little lumina in it.  I certain hope it will light my way.

Be seeing you

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

21 Days Left And…….

With 21 days left I best be getting my act together.  The trailer went to Sumner RV yesterday where it will spend a pleasant week getting all kinds of things done to it.  The folks down there were very busy and I told them they had all the time they needed.  Seems they sold a bunch of merchandise at the Tacoma Spring RV Fair that I attended on Sunday.  But first, let us back up to Saturday.

As I have told you my grandson, Zach, works with me on Saturdays doing odd jobs around the parts department and learning and hoping to have at least a part time job when I leave.  We visited with the owner in the early morning and he gave Zach a special project to do outside the items I already had planned for him.  It took him nearly all of the morning and he was sitting at my desk when I snapped a picture of the "future manager in training".
Moving on….as I said in an earlier post I planned to attend the Spring RV Show in the Tacoma Dome with a co-worker who is looking to make a first time purchase.  He backed out, but I couldn't help myself and I took off to the show to see what is new in RV land.

I have to tell you that I wasn't too impressed with the available selection.  I was surprised to see an 18' trailer with a bigger kitchen outside than it had inside.  I guess my question would be, why two kitchens on an 18" trailer?  Didn't the old teardrop mini trailers have one kitchen, outside?  The high end seems to be where the quality stuff is at.  The low end is just that, the low end.  Obviously the materials used in the low end are not the same standard as the upper end but it seems to me that it has gotten cheaper when you look at the low end and a lot more expensive when you consider the high end.  And they seem to be much darker inside, especially the more expensive units.

Our trailer has a couch in a position that makes it damned near impossible to get out of the bedroom area.  There is a wall behind it and very little room between the bed and the wall.  We got this particular model because we didn't want to deal with slides and have since found dealing with the couch to be a pain.  It is a jack knife style couch and it isn't very comfortable.  I am actually considering  removing it and the wall and putting in a couple easy chairs.  We'll see after I investigate the possibilities.  Perhaps I will choose to get rid of the dining area or both.  Mia suggested that there should be a trailer manufacturer who just provides the shell for you to fill up.  Sounds like a better idea to me.

Some of the couches that looked like they might be more comfortable than ours.  The last one is tossed in so you have an idea of what we are dealing with in the current configuration.

So onward and upward, I perused all of the offerings and here are pictures of some of the stuff I saw.

Something I noticed on the bigger more expensive units is the use of a dark tinted exterior glass that looks to be just that, glass.  A single sheet of tinted glass against a weatherstrip.  I heard a salesperson say they were 30% more efficient than the older style windows.  I really wonder about that.  Here is a couple of pictures of the set up.  Look 30% more efficient to you?

Thanks for stopping by….

Monday, March 24, 2014

March Madness and 22 Days Left

Okay..there are 22 days left until I am officially retired.  Everyone tells me I will be bored and looking for a job in ten days.  I really doubt that but I won't say never because with all my years of experience I have learned.

March madness, one billion dollars and research, research, and more research.  Ha!  Not I…give me a bracket, a dart board and a sharp dart and I have exactly the same chance of winning as the person who spent hours and hours researching the teams, their records, illnesses and everything else.  I will suggest that once again no one will have perfect bracket.  In fact I thing the first round did it for a majority and the second round busted the rest.  Oh well.

Off to get my projects down.  I did get some pictures at the RV show and I have some questions about what I saw…..but I am busy sifting through all the data in my head.  It is so tiring that I think I might need a nap before I continue…


Sunday, March 23, 2014

23 Actual Days Left

After a long day at work yesterday, Zach and I came home and removed the cover from the trailer to see how it survived the winter.  Other than some dust on the roof and green on the propane tank cover we have no issues.  It is clean and looking good.

I am off to the Tacoma Dome later this morning to join a friend of mine as he looks at all the new RV's available at the Spring RV Show.  It should be interesting to see his reaction when he experiences interiors that are bigger and better looking than his home.  I will take pictures and follow his adventure for a future blog post.

The afternoon will be spent and my sons enjoying a family birthday party for our other grandson, James.  I really enjoy getting together with the family, whatever the reason but birthday parties are fun if your not the person the party is for.  I had a 50th birthday party but skipped the 60th party.  I am thinking it would be nice to have a 70th.

Tomorrow morning it is off to Covington to pickup the trailer and take it to Sumner RV for some needed maintenance.  I was going to use Camping World but Sumner RV is where I bought it and they are actually able to perform the same services for slightly less that the big chain and I like helping out the local guy.  The bearings will be packed and tires replaced.  The trailer is a 2010 making the tires almost 4 years old.  Rather than have issues I am having them replaced.  There is some weather cracking in the sidewall so I want to make sure.  It is recommended that tires be replaced on a trailer every 4 years so the timing is good.  In the future the wheels on this trailers will be going round and round but for the first 4 years the trailer has not moved much.  We took three trips and other than that it has sat at Gold Bar or Covington.  Not a good thing for tires.  So we replace them.

I have 23 total days left and I have tried everything I can to get out early but it isn't happening.

Have fun

Friday, March 14, 2014

Down To 32 Days And A Day Off

We had three beautiful days of sunshine and mid to upper 50's and then my phone went berserk yesterday with warnings of flooding in Federal Way through Tuesday night.  I get up this morning and it is once again raining.  I doubt that Federal Way is in any serious threat of flooding since it is on a hill but I can see where we might have some issues getting up to Gold Bar this afternoon since we generally go through the valley along the Snoqualmie which has a habit of flooding during major rain events.  Right now it doesn't appear to be raining hard enough to cause issues but earlier this week I would not have attempted this route since the river did go over in several places.

I am up early to get ready to go to North Bend and get the tires installed, the truck aligned and an oil change.  Routine maintenance unless they find something else wrong.  While I am there I will purchase a dozen maple bars from one my all time favorite bakeries.  I don't know how long George's has been doing business but I love the maple bars and make a point of having at least one each time I visit this quaint little town.
Then we will be off to Gold Bar to visit our lot and see what the winter weather has done to the place.  Since the park rules state you can not modify the size of your lot we are required to get a permit anytime we might do something that could enlarge the lot.  The park sees the addition of gravel as a possible way to increase your foot print so they require we get a permit so they can inspect before and after to make sure there are no modifications.  Not a problem for me.

After our visit with the lot I will go down to the local gravel yard and investigate the available gravel sizes and specs before making my final decision on which one to order.

This is bring us closer to getting everything done so we can actually retire.  My next task is to get down the Social Security and get set up with part B Medicare.  I guess I sort of messed up when I used the online site to sign up for Social Security.  I signed up to begin getting payments and failed to notice that I should have signed up for part B at the same time.  Unfortunately I can't access that part of the site to register and have been told to contact the Social Security office.  Phone can take for ever and from what my grandson tells me the Social Security office is a snap.  He had no trouble when he went to get a new Social Security card a couple of weeks ago so I think I'll just drive down and handle it on Monday.

I am hoping, weather permitting, to get the trailer uncovered and down to Camping World for the new tires, wheel pack and possible inverter this coming week.  Once that is done and the gravel is laid down I can move the trailer to the park and start looking forward to a couple of weeks of decompression after our retirement April 15th.  We are moving on to beans and rice.

There is a RV show in the Tacoma Dome the weekend after this and a buddy of mine from work and I are going to see if we can find him a RV.  He wants to travel as well and wants some help trying to decide what to buy.  I told we would go look at the possibilities.

Hope to see you down the road, real soon.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Magic Number is 37

As of today we have 37 more days (23 actual work days) remaining before move on to the next stage of life.

Next Friday I am having new tires installed on the truck and an alignment as well as an oil change at our Chevrolet facility in North Bend and then Mia and I will drive up to see what winter has done to the lot at Gold Bar.  I have to get a permit and visit the local gravel yard to get some gravel dumped on the lot so we can level it and make it a little deeper.  When we first put gravel on the lot we purchased some unwashed small gravel from a local yard and we have not been happy with it.  I am now looking at some 3/4" washed gravel…no sand.  I think this will work out much better.

I plan to get the trailer out of wraps some time the beginning of next week and tow it to Camping World in Fife for new tires (they are too old by date) and get the wheel bearings packed.  Then I will tow it up to Gold Bar and get it set for the spring camping time.  I have to go to Camping world tomorrow to set up the appointment and purchase some replacement and new items for our travels.  I need to find a good portable inverter that can charge phones, kindles and laptops while we drive down the road.  At night we will camp outside connected camp areas so we'll need everything powered to make it to the following morning.

Once we retire on the 15th of next month I suspect both Mia and I will want to spend some time at Gold Bar just decompressing.  At least that is my plan.

We'll be here for Zach's graduation and then off on the first trip of the new stage of life.

Hope to see you down the road, soon.