Category Archives: Trip Report

What a Day!

Good Morning, Internet!

Yesterday, I had Sky Meadows Mobile RV Repair install the tow bracket on Agent Cooper. They did excellent work, and I mentioned that I’d be coming back to see them in a couple weeks for some minor issues with the RV.

Little did I realize…

I posted a video about my newfound sense of freedom – but I wound up staying in Starke for another night rather than driving down to Wildwood. What tipped the balance was not paying for a night in an RV park in two different locations on the same night! Instead, I stayed up fairly late working on my project for work, and got to bed about 2am, with the intention of getting up sometime between 6 and 8, working a little more, then being on the road to Wildwood (and meeting new friends!) by 10 or 11, since it’s only an hour and a half drive from Starke to Wildwood.

About 10am I was all set to go. I fired up the coach, and away we went…only…there was this weird noise – like pea gravel in a rock tumbler. I got about 30 yards down the road when I shut the coach off and climbed outside to have a look. I opened the hood only to realize that there’s nothing to see there but the radiator! I climbed back into the coach with the intent of starting the engine, then coming back outside to give it a listen.

Disaster!

The starter would spin, but the engine would not crank. I was well and truly stuck. For the fourth time in my ownership of the YarrVee, I dutifully got The Black Book out, and called Good Sam Roadside Assistance. I was on the phone for about 20 minutes arranging for a repair facility and for a tow. A second call was to make sure that I had my ducks in a row regarding the impending warranty claim. I made sure I had the numbers I needed, when Roadside Assistance called to let me know that Sky Meadows Mobile RV Repair was on “their list” of repair facilities, and that a tow truck was on the way to come hook up the coach and take it a mile and a half down the road to Revel’s RV Repair – where I’d had the tow bar put on.

I thanked the girl for her time, and got Agent Cooper disconnected from the YarrVee (my first time! Two clips, two pins, two safety cables. totally a cinch!), walked up to the front desk and let them know the situation, and that they could expect a tow truck inbound…hopefully more sooner than later.

About 45 minutes later, the giant tow truck showed up, with a little helper buddy. It took the two guys about 45 minutes to settle on an angle that got the front wheels safely off the ground without dragging the back of the coach on dips, and then we were off!

Just as they were yesterday, Wade Meadows Sr. and Wade Meadows Jr. both showed off their expert skills and amazing attention to detail. Wade Jr. crawled under the coach and found the broken starter (it was pretty obvious), along with a broken knock sensor. They contacted Good Sam Extended Service, and got authorization to do the work while I zipped over to Green Cove Springs (with Figaro with me, since the engine cover was off, and it’d have been trivial for him to get out!) to pick up mail, and 4 packages. They were done with the starter before I left Green Cove Springs. I was truly impressed. I figured I had at least an hour to get there and get back, if not longer. They were done in 45 minutes!

Replacing the starter and the knock sensor was $722. I have NO IDEA how much the tow was, but it wasn’t cheap. However, between the Good Sam Roadside Assistance Plan and the Good Sam Extended Service Plan, my share of cost was a $100 deductible. I’ve owned the coach for less than 6 months, and the ESP has already saved me nearly half what it cost to purchase. I have a lot of bad things to say about my post-sale experience with CampingWorld, but the inclusion of the Roadside Assistance and the fact that they even offer any kind of ‘warranty’ on a coach that’s already 10 years old is amazing – never mind one that’s good for 3 years or 36,000 miles! The ESP is as good, or better, than the warranty CarMax will offer you.

I got back to Starke about 3:15pm, and successfully got back on the road to Wildwood at 4pm on the dot. Traffic was light, and I pulled in to Site 26 at the KOA in Wildwood right at 6pm. Jason and Kristin came over and visited for a little bit, then we all settled in for the work-night. It’s funny to me. They’re out of their Airstream, and have been in a ‘loaner’ Fleetwood since October. It’s a Fleetwood Storm. For the Snows.

…It’s a Snow Storm.

…In Florida.

 

That amuses me way, way more than it probably ought to.

I am SO excited, I think I may have peed a little.

I am SO excited, I think I may have peed a little.

After Amazon silently canceling my first order because I’d moved 1900 miles since my last order, having to open a support case and wait 48 hours for them to tell me “Please order again, we’ll be good this time, we promise!”, adding an extra set of weekend days in waiting for delivery, and finally, having a professional do the bracket install this morning…Agent Cooper is *finally* equipped for Dinghy Duty.

Wade and Wade, working on Agent Cooper The finished install...

 

After driving 1900 miles with a both destination and a timeline to meet to get to FL to set my domicile (Man on a Mission, comin’ through, comin’ through! s’cuse me, pardon me, DOWN IN FRONT!), then being ‘stuck’ here after returning the U-haul dolly on the 23rd…it was a bizarre feeling to climb into the driver’s seat and realize…

 

…I can go *anywhere*.

2014 Wrapup: Where the YarrVee did, and didn’t, go…

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen a few fellow Fulltime RV Bloggers including Eric and BrittanyTim and Amanda, and Leigh and Brian post summaries of their travels in 2014. I thought I would follow suit – not so much because anything interesting happened in 2014 (I’m just getting started), but rather as a retrospective for the future. A guide to where I started the journey.

Number of States: 1

Number of Overnight Stops: 3

Where I Stayed: 1 private campground, 1 parking lot, 1 RV/Mobile Home park

Free vs. Paid: 2/3 locations were paid.

Camping Fees

Total: $1,112

Monthly Average: $556.00

Nightly Average: $18.65

October 2014 – Purchase

The photo from the YarrVee ad.

The YarrVee was purchased at CampingWorld of Golden. The purchase process was very, very smooth. The after-purchase support…not so much. Once that fiasco was resolved, we did enjoy our short stay the Garden of the Gods RV Park as well as the 2014 Emma Crawford Memorial Coffin Races. I forgot to take any pictures. …sigh… 

We left the RV in a parking lot adjacent to our apartment, or parked on the street through most of October.

November 2014 – Skylark Mobile Home Park

On the 1st of November, the YarrVee got the first of many monthly homes. The Skylark Mobile Home and RV Park in Lafayette, Colorado.

The YarrVee before the record breaking cold...
The YarrVee’s new home – before the snow and the record breaking cold…

November saw a record breaking cold snap around Veteran’s Day. On Sunday the 9th it was 74 degrees. We knew that the cold was coming, so we went to Home Depot and bought a 1500 watt oil-filled electric heater, a utility light and a 100 watt bulb for the water bay, and heat tape + insulation for the water lines.

On Monday, the high temperature was 65, and the low was 14.
On Tuesday, the high was 17, and the low was 6.
On Wednesday, the high was 6, and the low was -7.
On Thursday, the high was 10, and the low was -11.
On Friday, the high was 30, and the low was 0.
The cold weather didn’t really break until early the next week. The interior of the coach did stay above freezing during this whole period, if only by a few degrees, and I haven’t (yet) seen any evidence of damage, though I think the 110 side of the water heater may have burned out. I’ll have to check it further in 2015.

In late November, I had a job interview…

December 2014 – Back to the Shop

December 3rd was my last day at Denver International Airport, where I had worked for over half my adult life. December 8th was my first day working a gig as a contract ServiceNow developer for a company in Niwot. At this point, I think it’s the move with the biggest successful risk/reward I’ve ever made.

December 22nd, I got a call from CampingWorld that the seat parts they’d ordered from THOR had finally come in. When the coach went back to CampingWorld for a couple of weeks in December, two things happened – my month old Galaxy Tab4 was stolen out of the nightstand drawer (“Not responsible for valuables left in your coach”) after I forgot to retrieve it when the coach was dropped off Christmas Eve – and while they had it, they broke the power steering pump.

And that wrapped up 2014…

Here’s to a more adventurous 2015! (I hope it’s the good kind of adventure!)

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone – take two¹!

.

*2014 Cost of RV Life:*
63 days paid camping in 2 location
25 days free camping in 2 locations
88 days total

Total spent on RV life this year: $1163.70
Average Daily Cost of RV Life: $13.22/day
Average Daily Cost of Apartment Life (2014): $39.45/day

*CONTACT*
http://www.YarrVee.com
http://ift.tt/1tq1gcm
http://ift.tt/1zSV182
http://ift.tt/1tq1ikc
http://ift.tt/1zSV188

YarrVee.com
411 Walnut Street #9806
Green Cove Springs

*Tentative 2015 Itinerary*
January 10, 2015 – Amarillo, TX
January 11-12, 2015 – DFW, TX
January 13-14, 2015 – Houston, TX
January 15-16, 2015 – New Orleans, LA
January 17-18, 2015 – Pensacola, FL
January 19-?, 2015 – Jacksonville, FL

March 13-22, 2015 – Austin, TX
SXSW – http://sxsw.com/

April 19-24, 2015 – Las Vegas, NV
ServiceNow Knowledge15 – http://ift.tt/1lRzxkC

September 4-7. 2015 – Atlanta, GA
Dragoncon – http://ift.tt/PrbWE3

New videos published 8am Mountain Time.

¹ I forgot to trim this in Lightworks, so the first version was 25 minutes of absolutely nothing… wups

Thanksgiving Shenannigans…

For Thanksgiving, we had breakfast at the local Waffle House. The one that has the TouchTunes internet-connected jukebox – which, naturally, I trolled… For my $5, I played:

  • Temple of the Dog – Hunger Strike
  • Muse – Supermassive Black Hole
  • Muse – Follow Me
  • Cage The Elephant – Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked
  • Blind Melon – No Rain
  • Weezer – We Wish You a Merry Christmas
  • Creed – My Own Prison
  • Creed – Torn

And then I got inspired…

  • Bing Crosby – White Christmas
  • Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas
  • Wham! – Last Christmas
  • Taylor Swift – Last Christmas
  • Donnie Hathaway – This Christmas
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks – All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks – White Christmas
  • John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War is Over)
  • Jose Feliciano – Feliz Navidad

Then I ran out of Christmas songs, and reverted to some old standbys…

  • Tom Jones – It’s Not Unusual
  • Tom Jones – She’s a Lady
  • Frank Sinatra – New York, New York
  • Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls
  • Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Nickelback – What Are You Waiting For?

Not that I got to hear any of the songs (someone had a ton of songs in front of us), but I’m happy in the knowledge that I queued up a couple hours of pretty terrible music as the best sort of holiday gift to the staff and customers.

Surviving the Record-Breaking Cold…

The YarrVee crew has been very, very lucky with this massive, 98 year record breaking cold snap here in Denver. We’re still packing up our apartment, and while the YarrVee is in it’s new home, it’s been unoccupied.

The last 3 days have been bitter cold. The highs for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were 17, 6, and 10. Fahrenheit. (-8/-14/-12 C, with lows of -14/-22/-24 C!). The high of 6 on Wednesday was a record breaking cold – the lowest high for November 12th in 98 years. The low broke a 130 year old record. Fortunately, between our new $50 oil-filled radiator, and setting the propane furnace to 55, the interior has remained between 40*F/4.5*C and 48*F/9*C, and we’ve got around a 1/2 tank of propane left.

Thanks to the RVGeeks Winter RVing suggestions, the water bay has a 40 watt utility light hanging in it. It’s remained below freezing, but we made sure that our water hose is empty, insulated, and has 15′ of heat tape inside the insulation. To keep the bay itself warmed up, we need a bigger bulb in there, for sure.

I crawled under there on Sunday (when it was almost 70*/23), and it looks like our black and grey tanks are mounted across the whole width of the coach, just below the floor in the bathroom, and are very flat and wide. This is good, since they’ll suck up a lot of heat from the flooring.

Even if we’d already moved out of the apartment, living the last several days in the YarrVee would have sucked (especially the showering part!), but the RV would have remained reasonably livable, if rather uncomfortable, with our current level of preparation, and that’s encouraging. We’ll probably purchase a second radiator for the 110 outlet at the front of the coach to take some slack off the propane furnace in preparation for January and February.

Once it’s not “We’re all going to die!” cold out, we’ll shoot some video of our winter preparations, including what’s worked, and what still needs work!