Recreational Vehicle

The RV…. a machine that takes you from your house to a campsite, to a lake for fishing, hauls your boat or All Terrain Vehicles behind so you can tramp through the wilderness, fish or hunt.

Downsizing from a 5 bedroom home with two people to a 40′ sailboat has to have a transition, right? Or not.  Some people go right to a boat.  Some already have a boat and are set up in two households.  Some of us have had to give up our boat(s) and jeeps and other things just to downsize and collect cash to be able to GET our sailing vessel (and don’t even have it yet!)

In our case, our plan included going across country to get to the East Coast from Colorado.  We haven’t left yet.  But we did some math and figured out that it was going to cost a lot to stay in hotels, eat out a lot and visit friends.  Some friends will “put us up” for a day or two, but we can’t really “put them out”.  We don’t want to get in the way of peoples’ lives while we’re traveling and visiting on our way across the country.

So the math worked out that we should buy an older, small RV we could load our remaining belongings (clothing, radio gear, JoAnne’s special cooking tools, tools to do repairs and a few other important-to-us things, like books) instead of staying in hotels and eating out every night.  So we went on a search and found an old, 1978 Dodge Shasta with a 440 engine, some dents, dings and assorted minor hail damage, but no apparent leaks.

This week it has rained like hell, so I’ve been checking everything on the RV and sure enough… no leaks.

I’ve done some repairs like changing out one of the valve cover gaskets, repaired some damage on the house in the rear of the vehicle and have tested a few things.  Last night I dropped the vehicle off at Pikes Peak Traveland, a local RV sales and service place for a “Check the House” inspection.  They will check the entire house systems out for me (I don’t have time to do it right now, and I have no way to check for propane leaks etc).  I told them IF the house checks good to install new lights on the rear (Brakes, taillights etc) and look for a broken window (one of the side panel windows is shattered, but still in place) as well as to examine the vehicle’s tow system to see if it is sufficient to haul JoAnne’s Wrangler behind us.

We figured it would be good to have a dinghy, you know?

Our belongings have been pared down from 36 years of stuff we’ve collected, saved and stored (in some cases without even knowing what was in the boxes!) to about 12 storage tubs, one military footlocker full of books and 4 tool bags.  The next challenge after the RV is repaired and made sea—er roadworthy is to figure out how to pack all that stuff in there.

So, downsizing from a 5 bedroom house to a 22 ft RV should be quite an interesting process.  Since we’ve already downsized as much as we have we think we can do it.  But, if not, we will go through all of this stuff yet again, tub by tub and eliminate things we don’t need, or duplicates of some items.  We decided to keep most of the Amateur Radio equipment, since it works, it has certain jobs and most of it is small (except the HF rig).  The HF rig can be used on the boat, on the road, in the RV, at a camp ground or a friend’s house.    We can remain in contact with our family through HF using “Airmail” and the Winlink 2000 system of radios across the country.

Dishes have been cut down.  I think she has what she needs, but any replacements or items she wants we’ll get.  We gave all our beautiful flatware away to our daughter.  She had a few pieces.  She threw them out before we could get them for the RV.  Oh well, you cruise, you lose.  I guess we’ll hit Walmart and pick up a small, cheap set for the RV which will do double duty for the boat later.

Tools… were a problem.  I have five sets of tools.  Electronic tools (I’m an electronics technician, so this is a kind of lifeline for me, and can earn me money).    Mechanic’s tools.  Need them to work on the RV going across country, and eventually the engine of a yacht.  Metal and woodworking tools.  I can “make things”, maybe things I can sell or things I can use.  Power tools.  They are battery operated (Li-ion batteries) and aren’t quite as bulky as A/C operated power tools, but these include a drill, a Sawzall, a skill saw (small rotary blade) and an LED light.  I also have an A/C powered sander, a charger for the batteries and a dremmel tool.  Lastly we have a bag of rigging tools.  This bag has things like string, lines, ropes, shackles, a couple of sailors knives I made, some marlingspikes, bees wax and various other things.

Thus far I can’t figure out how to eliminate any of these.  Eventually, I suppose we can pare those down when we find our boat and figure out we need three wrenches, a hammer, an axe and a pocket knife to do everything.  I doubt seriously THAT day will come. haha

So in a few days when I get the RV back I’ll have the task of figuring out how badly I suck at Tetris in trying to fit all that stuff into the RV, out of the way, and in a location that keeps it over the centerline and nothing heavy over our heads….

On the bright side, we won’t have to “down size” to a 40 foot boat either.

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