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RoadTrip 2012 - 5270 Miles

Posted on Sat 29 September 2012 in LandYacht

Here's the full route of RoadTrip 2012 - 5270 Miles!

Final Route RoadTrip 2012

Final Route RoadTrip 2012

Today's fixes to this old Winnebago

Posted on Sun 26 August 2012 in LandYacht

Real quick background. Our RV refrigerator, the Dometic RM2612 runs on AC Power or Propane. It involves witchcraft and physics, but it makes stuff cold. Pretty much right from the get-go the self-igniter for the Propane died. Then in Phoenix when it was 115F we learned it can't keep up with that and we lost all our food. Since then it had seemed to just not be getting cold enough. While we were in Albuquerque we took it to Camping World to get a tune-up.

After four hours, the Technician at Camping world said the igniter and the lower board were bad. I had figured this going to into it. He said they don't make the lower boards anymore. I asked him if there were 3rd party boards. He said, there are for the Norcolds, but Dometic is a Swedish company and they keep every secret. He then said the guy in the store would give us a deal on a drop-in replacement. (\$1000 or so). They did clean the flu in the unit and when lit manually it was working way better, but it still needed the new board or if it ever blew out then propane would still be flowing and it would not relight.

Here's the deal. Bill is either ignorant or the Camping World was trying to rip me off. It took me about 2 minutes on their free wifi to see that the dometic boards are widely available and that there is even a 3rd Party board with some improvements from Dinosaur Electronics.

I explained this to Bill, the Service Rep Jeanne and the parts guy. They all seemed shocked since they couldn't find one. They sent us on our way with a free cleaning. I then called Jack Sisemore's Traveland in Amarillo, TX. They had the Dinosaur Electronics board and the reigniter in stock! I paid them right over the phone to hold them for me.

Today I installed both pieces, took me about 30 minutes to remove the old ones and install the new. Refrigerator is now working awesome, automatically switches back and forth from AC to Propane. We're happy!

If you're older Dometic RM2612 is limping along, get the flu cleaned and have the lower board tested. There is a service manual in PDF on the web if you want to do the tests yourself. Its pretty easy with a multimeter.


Shower Repair

Posted on Mon 30 July 2012 in LandYacht

I mentioned the shower drain was leaking. Turned out the floor in the shower flexed enough to break the p-trap (no, not a pea trap) under the shower. We replaced the p-trap a few days ago and today I cut the 3/4" plywood strips to firm up the floor in the shower. They are tensioned pretty good and I put some liquid nails on it as well. I think it will hold forever. No idea why it wasn't built this way in the first place. :-/

Now the shower floor feels solid and the p-trap should be protected from being damaged again.

Winnebago Shower Repair

For any of you doing this kind of thing, be sure not to block your access to the p-trap or wiring when you put the boards in. Also, its very likely I now have a high spot in the shower, so we may have to sponge up or squeegee up water after our showers which doesn't run down the drain. Not that a big deal, we never level the rig anyway. pow!

Window liner

Posted on Mon 30 July 2012 in LandYacht

Reflectix is cheap and awesome. We used it on the boat and its works great. Here we've not only made the front windows darker than just the curtain, but also added some heat shielding. Yay for cheap!

LandYacht Reflectix

Available at Home Depot's in the US, but unfortunately not in Mexico!

Our first KOA Campground

Posted on Fri 27 July 2012 in Campground

LandYacht KOA Kent, WA

LandYacht KOA Kent, WA

Finding a Land Yacht

Posted on Sun 15 July 2012 in LandYacht

The Requirements

When Dawn and I decided we wanted to do the RV thing for 4 to 5 months, we started thinking about the amenities. We love our boat; it’s very functional with our lifestyle. Dawn goes to bed early and I usually stay up pretty late. In order to make this work we knew we’d need a dedicated bed, separate from the living area of the motorhome so she could sleep and I could read, work on projects, research, play with the HAM Radios, etc. In addition to that we also really wanted a separate shower stall. We don’t have a wet bath on the boat and we prefer this. Given the right motorhome this probably would not have been a deal breaker, but it was a definite preference. That was it for living requirements really. As for the rig itself, we wanted something pretty easy to drive and small enough to get into older parks, so we ruled out anything over 30 feet and we were looking primary around the mid 20 foot range.

We also have a passion for all things vintage, and minimalist. We also believe strongly in community. For us this meant we really wanted a funky vintage RV. We also wanted one with a strong owners group, selfishly for our own help, but also so we could return the favor over the long haul and help others.

The Search

Searching for the RV happened exclusively via Craig's List using http://SearchTempest.com. On Craig’s List you can only search one city at a time. Search Tempest let’s you define your search across as many Craig’s List cities as you want. We started searching Oregon and Washington, but as time went on we realized we didn’t need search the entire NW, and Puget Sound was good enough, which still requires Search Tempest to do the search easily.

We spent about a week visiting 1970’s eras Winnebagos. We LOVE these. The boxy style is gorgeous, and some of the layouts of the \~25 foot Braves and Chieftains are really awesome. This was our initial target and we saw some great rigs, but ultimately they all required more work to be ready to do a big trip then we were willing to do. Along the way we also had some great stories.

We called one owner who we knew had a late 70’s brave with the entire interior disassembled and needed to be reinstalled. We talked to him on the phone and he went over this again. We asked him, if the exterior was tight, waterproof, no rot, etc. He said, “Totally.” We went to see it and there was a 1 foot by 6 inch hole in the roof where a vent should have been and rain was pouring into the RV. A lot of people love their RVs and can’t see the warts I guess. ;-)

The Find

After about a week of looking we felt the clock ticking. We gave up on the vintage Winnebagos and expanded our search to ot­her years and body types within our price range. This led us to finding a 1991 25 foot Winnebago Chieftain on a Chevy 6.2L Diesel chassis. We’re attracted to the diesel because we work on them all the time on the boat. The layout is great with an aft double bunk, dedicated shower, and convertible dinette table. This rig lacked the vintage styling we wanted but it has the benefits of having more modern systems and a very roomy layout for its paltry 25 foot length.

Right now she’s at the mechanic and we’re expecting that to finish up any day now. I’ll explain all that in a future post.