After owning our new-to-us RV for four weeks, we are mostly finished with the projects we wanted to complete upfront. Working on our RV has become a hobby for us over the past few years, and it is something we both enjoy. If Hubby had a good shop, I think he would actually be happy working on RV houses for a living. Perhaps we’ve watched too many episodes of Flippin’ RVs? However, our new RV actually needed very few repairs and updates, relatively speaking for an RV that is 16 years old. In fact, this is quite possibly the best used RV we’ve ever seen for its age.
We have spent most of our spare time lately working on the RV, and we’ve made great progress. We also made two test trips in the RV to hook everything up. Our first “trip” was just a short drive to an area RV park for a few hours to give all the systems a good run-through, even though we tested all of them before we purchased it, and our second trip was this past weekend to a state park that had some 50 amp campsites open. Happily, all is going well so far, and we are pleased with our decision to purchase this particular RV.
We’ve discovered that this is a nice time of year to visit Lake Colorado City State Park, just before the real heat of summer hits. It is usually not crowded, and once again, the wildflowers were beautiful and wildlife was found in abundance, especially a variety of birds, including bobwhite quail and lots of cottontail bunnies. Our female poodle surely wanted to break free of her leash to take out after them, too!
An unexpected storm with some small hail blew through the park early on Saturday evening, and thankfully, we put all the awnings up on the RV just before it hit. We thought the bikes and our chairs would be protected under the picnic table cover, but as you can see in the photo above, most everything ended up in the mud after the high winds played havoc with them. The rocking chair was actually laid on its side on top of the table, and you can see where it ended up! My bike, seen in the mud, just got a little dirty and is fine.
We are starting out from the dealer where we purchased our RV with new tires, a new rubber roof and one new air conditioner in the bedroom. The furnace and generator were also serviced prior to taking delivery, and the refrigerator was inspected. Also, the entire fuel system was serviced, including the removal of the gas tank and thorough cleaning. The RV only had 7,000 miles and the 7000 watt Onan generator only had 58 hours of use. We knew the story of this RV, and we verified it through Carfax, even calling one of the mechanics listed on the report to talk to him. After doing our homework as best we could, we felt comfortable enough to proceed with our purchase.
In the rest of this post, I will share some of the updates we’ve been working on with a few pictures, even though they are just phone pictures taken mostly while parked in storage with the slide in and don’t reflect how nice and roomy it is inside with the slide pulled out. Having a long slide is something new for us, and we are loving the extra room.
Hubby has also done a few mechanical things as well, nothing major, but I won’t attempt to get into those here. Let’s just say it’s nice to have a mechanically inclined Hubby who has worked on cars since he was 16 years old.
One of the nicest surprises was discovering that our RV came with a set of custom sunscreens for all of the front windows, a feature that I don’t recall seeing before, even in new RVs. It also has awnings over all the windows that are not covered by the large awning, another feature that we don’t see in RVs very often.
We are certainly going to enjoy using these front window sunscreens because they help to block sunlight and keep others from seeing inside during the day, while allowing us to leave the front curtains open. At night, we will still close the curtains for privacy, but it will be great to leave them open during the day for a change to give us a more open feeling inside the RV. Having all this additional exterior protection from the sun from both the sunscreens and awnings will definitely help us when camping in warm/hot weather. They made a big difference this past weekend, for sure.
One of the big projects we tackled was updating all of the gold hardware and fixtures throughout the RV to an oil rubbed bronze finish. Nearly all of the handles were showing wear in the finish anyway, and gold and camping somehow just don’t work for us.
We’ve worked on updating the hardware over the past four weeks, and we are finally done. We simply replaced all of the bathroom hardware with a new set, including additional towel bars, but we actually painted all of the other hardware and fixtures in the rest of the RV. Taking one area at time helped to keep the project from feeling too overwhelming at once.
Our new RV bathroom actually has a tub and shower combo unit (Hurray!), and it originally came with gold trimmed shower doors. We removed those doors, and Hubby trimmed the edge of the unit with new white plastic molding to cover the screw holes and help to hold water inside. Once that was done, I installed a nice hotel-style shower curtain with a see-through mesh top that I found at Bed Bath and Beyond. It is so nice to go from a teeny-tiny shower that we could barely turn around in to a very roomy shower/tub combo that is much more comfortable.
Another project that Hubby opted to tackle right away, as preventive maintenance based on a previous experience in our first RV, was to replace all but one of the faucets and attached water lines and also install new water shut-off valves on each faucet, including the outdoor shower that is located in one of the outside basements. As part of this project, we also purchased new kitchen and bathroom sink faucets in a matching oil rubbed bronze finish.
Our son helped us swap out the old CRT style televisions for flat screens, and he also helped to permanently install our DISH satellite box and two Blu-ray players. This was definitely a big project, but he does this for a living and did a fabulous job on both televisions with Hubby’s help. We already owned a large flat screen television in our previous RV that was never permanently mounted, and we did not sell it with the RV. We only had to purchase the smaller television for the bedroom, along with another Blu-ray player, and I actually found close-out deals on each one.
Updating the bedroom was largely my project. We opted to have a custom mattress built in the Dallas area (contracted through a local store here) because we needed a queen short mattress. We didn’t care for the mattress options at Camping World (mostly expensive foam mattresses), and we previously purchased this same Sleeptronic mattress for the first RV and loved it. It took just over two weeks to get it here, and we are once again very happy with it, after testing it out last weekend for the first time. This particular pillow-top mattress is very comfortable, but it also has reinforced sidewalls, which is important for an RV mattress. We tend to sit on the bed in the RV more than we do our bed at home, and without that sidewall support, the mattress will break down over time.
This bedroom is larger than the bedroom in our previous RV, but even though it has so much nice closet space, it still does not have a slide-out. The queen short mattress works great, but I wanted to see if we could find a way to regain the extra six inches in length at night. I found the solution at Camping World, and it is a perfect fit with the new mattress. It is an Avena brand foam insert with a fitted zippered cloth cover that we place between the wall and the head of the mattress at night, and it is six inches wide, giving us the length of a regular queen size mattress at night. The next morning, we just remove the insert and push the mattress back up against the wall to make it easier to move around during the day. It is a simple solution that I highly recommend to others with this same setup in their RV bedrooms, and I think this insert may be a new item at Camping World.
Once our new mattress was in place, I finished out the bed with new bedding from Costco (sheets) and Bed Bath and Beyond (comforter/pillows). I was determined to find good deals on quality linens, and I managed to outfit the bed very affordably with all new linens, including four pillowcases, three accent pillows and 500 thread count sheets. I also purchased two Better Homes and Gardens closet organizer units at Wal-Mart to give us a place to conveniently store our shoes and a few other things.
Hubby installed two new LED 12v reading lights above the bed, one for each of us, and we found them at Camping World. We had similar lights in our previous RV, and we wanted to have them in the new one, too. He had to run the wire for the new light fixtures, and he did a great job, as usual.
The kitchen has a hard wood floor, not laminate, and it is in pretty much perfect condition. We knew that we would need to keep it covered most of the time to prevent it from getting scratched by the dogs’ toenails, and I also wanted to protect the carpet in the living area from wearing faster than the carpet under the slide-out while in storage.
We’ve had a nice Berber carpet remnant in a spare bedroom for quite some time, so I had two custom rugs made, one for each area. The rug for the kitchen floor also has a special backing to keep the rug from scratching the floor and prevent it from slipping. I absolutely love how the rugs came out, and they will help preserve both the wood floor and the carpet in those areas.
One of the features that we really like in this RV are the many lighting options we have inside, especially the recessed lighting above both the living area and kitchen. However, none of the fixtures had LED bulbs, so we upgraded two light fixtures to LED bulbs. At $20 each, that is all we care to do right now. We want to have a couple of LED lights available, one in each main area, to use at night when we boondock to help preserve the house batteries as much as possible between times we are allowed to run the generator to recharge them. (We also carry some small LED lanterns, too.) We typically don’t use our inside lights very much anyway, and just like our first RV, this one has lots of nice windows and well-placed roof vents. We also have a big skylight in the bathroom above the tub/shower.
Another feature that sold us on this RV was the visibility break between the living area and kitchen up front and the bedroom in the back. We held out hope that we could find an RV with this type of break to give more privacy when others stay with us. Many RVs today do not have this type of separation, so we feel very fortunate to have it in ours now. The concept of privacy of any kind in an RV came be a bit hard to come by.
In closing for today, I have one funny story to share as we are slowly becoming acquainted with our new RV.
We both kept looking and looking for the switch for the “back porch” light outside but could never find it, and we even contemplated calling the manufacturer to see if they could tell us where to find it. Finally, just a few days ago, I noticed that the light was on, but neither of us had turned it on. Later on, it was off again. I finally “connected the dots” and realized that the light comes on automatically when one of the basements underneath it outside is opened. Oh my goodness, what a good laugh we had when we finally figured that out!
Every day in an RV is an adventure, even if we’re just doing chores in it!