2014 CPE Nationals

First on the list was to “de-winterize” the RV.  Mid-May, I emailed the folks (AC Nielsen RVs) who winterized the RV last year, and a very unpleasant women seemed disinterested in my business called me back.  I guess it was the fact that I over-excitedly said that I wanted them to “de-winterize” our RV and make it “camping ready.”  I guess to better versed RV-ers, “camping ready”  means more than what I meant.  I meant for them to just undo what they did.  Flush the lines, deodorize and sanitize the fresh water tank, and I was hoping for a tutorial of the water system.  She said, “We don’t do that (camping ready) for RVs not bought from us.”  I told her that they winterized our unit and I simply wanted them to undo what they did.  To which she said, “we won’t make it ‘camping ready’ because we can’t be liable if something doesn’t work.”  I told her to pretend like I don’t know what I’m talking about (because I don’t) and I want them to just de-winterize it.  Her response was, “you know, you can watch YouTube videos and learn how to de-winterize it yourself.”  I told her I was aware you could learn most things from YouTube, but I’d prefer someone who knows what they are doing to do that.  She said, “Ok, we can get you in at the end of June.”  Well, that simply won’t work, so shamed into watching YouTube it is.  I found the RV Cowboy, and I started to following his lead.  He’s hysterical.  Check out the RV cowboy here in “Springify your RV”

Flushing the lines went relatively well.  I hooked up the hose to the municipal water connection and started to run water.  Ran the pumps, and turned on the faucets.  Pink, foamy stuff ran out, and eventually the lines ran clean.  I did that for the sink, the toilet, the shower hose and the outdoor shower.  Learned that the outdoor shower has leaks and needs to be replaced – add to the list.  I walked away from that session feeling like I got something accomplished.  Then, after I slept on it, felt I forgot the water holding tank.  Probably need to flush and sanitize that too.  So, I put that on the list for next time.

Additionally, it seemed appropriate and prudent to take it to the Volkswagen Dealership to get the engine looked at, oil changed etc.  When we showed up for the appointment, the workers pretty much poured out of the building to look at our RV.  They all loved it.  Comments were in the lines of whether we were willing to sell it and that it looked like it was kept in a time capsule, and that they are impressed with the overall concept.  People just can’t believe that Winnebago stopped making these.  I feel the same way.  So, we had the oil changed and everything inspected.  The net of that was that our coolant line has a bit of a leak, and should be replaced, but no rush.  Other than that, good to go.  So, coolant line replaced…on the list.

No time left to flush and deodorize the water tank so, we’ll have to tackle that next time.  I hoped I could just hook up to municipal water source when I got there.  Just in case, brought two 1-gallon jugs of water.

Location:  Washington County Fairgrounds Lake Elmo, MN

Cost:  CPE Nationals cost was $120 for the weekend, or $40/night

Review:  Well, technically this isn’t an RV campground, it’s fairgrounds.  That said, for CPE to charge $40/night, I’d expect a little more than what I got.  I didn’t have a water hookup, and I had to put a deposit down on a special adapter plug for the electricity. (30 amp twist and lock)  Showers were a bit of a walk, unless you used the one (and I mean one) in the dining hall.  All showers were marginally clean, but with shower flip flops, very do-able.  Hot water…seriously, what more could you want?  A mirror…yes, a mirror would have been nice.  Outlets, also nice.  Without these creature comforts, I considered myself “really camping”!  Ha-ha.  Bottom line, though, was the ability to be right on site where all the action is throughout the weekend.  I did enjoy that.

CPE Nationals was my first solo trip in the RV, with Treo.  We headed to Washington Fairgrounds near Lake Elmo, MN.  Oh by the way, it’s early June.  Early June in MN means variable weather.  We had it all.  Thursday, arrival day, was pleasant.  Friday was HOT – low 90s.  Friday night thunderstorms came through and into Saturday.  Saturday morning was rainy and very cold, rain finally stopped in the afternoon.  Sunday was perfect – top 10 day even.  So, in this trip I got to test the fan with windows open, the AC, and the heater.  All worked to perfection.

A thunderstorm experience in the RV is cozy and terrifying all at the same time.  I like the sound of rain – it pings.  But, when coupled with dog agility, it’s the sound of dread.  Thunder and lightening are particularly loud and freaky.  Luckily I remembered Treo’s thundershirt, but even with that, he was very sad.  Again, in pouring rain, a working bathroom right there would be nice.

Storage for foodstuffs was tricky, but I opted for the overhead bins in the front (closer to the kitchen), and jugs of water under the passenger side captain’s chair.  That storage area is right by the side door and it’s perfect for a couple jugs of water, my lantern, and the toolbox.  Clothes were in the back overhead bins and the closet.  I also store a lot of things in the bathroom.  The trunk holds my chairs, camp mat, insect zapper, pop up trash bin, and fold up table.  The storage area in the back of the unit itself has room for hoses, the power cord, and a storage bin that I pack my black/gray water hose into.  I also put all my converter plugs in there as well.   I think I’m up to 3 different kinda  now, including the 30 amp twist and lock.

What I learned on this trip was that I needed to buy the twist and lock adapter (done); that sometimes you HAVE to go to the bathroom in the unit – so, I have to get that working and understood.  I have enough water in the pipes to be able to use it a couple times, and I tossed a bio pod in there as well.  AND, that being able to brush ones teeth, or wash one’s face would be nice too.  So, figuring out the water system would  be ideal.

Next trip?  SAME location the following weekend. Washington County Fairgounds, in Lake Elmo, MN.  This time it’s FLYBALL.

RV Newbies – Sept 2013

Our 2005 Winnebago Rialta QD arrived last August after a long, long search and lots of talking.  We had finally committed to getting an RV in partnership with my Mom last summer, and since that time there was at least one that was sold out from under us because we didn’t act fast enough.  So, when we found the opportunity for THIS RV – 2005 limited edition with less than 2k miles on it, we jumped sight unseen!  It is all that it promised.  I think our VW service tech called it a “time capsule” and he’s right.  Here’s a pic from the day it arrived:

other side rv

Inside it’s all leather.  We added an awning and a new TV (the standard one is analogue).  Everything works great and it came to us camping ready.  So within a few weeks, we decided to take it out for a weekend close to home.  Key stats to remember:  (1) Other than when I was a kid, I’m not versed on RVing; (2)  There’s no men in our immediate family to kick the responsibility to to learn how to run this thing; (3)  Seems like most the instructions in the Rialta manual simply say, “turn it on and it works”…like magic.T

We decided to take it on a test run close to home.

Before we went, though, we decided to also buy a trunk to fix to the two package on the rear.  I’m a “why drive when you can buy online” kind of gal, so I ordered our trunk online.  When it came…it’s huge.  Not sure how it would work on our RV, I got a swing away package so we’d be assured to have access to the back storage area.  That turned out to be unnecessary, as it sits pretty far away from the unit.  Of course it didn’t fit right out of the box.  The tow needed an adapter, so I had to go get that it a local U-Haul store.  Once I got that, we were ready to hook it all up.  By the time I got it all together, and on the vehicle, it was 8:00-ishpm.  We didn’t have a lot of light left in our evening to get to the park and get set up.  It was like this.

babygotback

 

Where:  Hitchcock Nature Center

Rates:

  • RV camping sites with 30 amp or 50 amp electrical services
    • $15.00 per night
  • They also have tent camping and cabins.

Review:  We really liked this park.  The bathrooms were clean, the sites were very level and we were surrounded by nature.  They did have fire pits with firewood you could buy right there.  We didn’t get a lot of time to explore since we were off at an Agility Seminar during the day, and dinners there at the host’s house at night.

So, we learned a lot that night.  Here’s the list:

(1) Read ahead of time how to plug-in RV because it’s really hard to figure out in the dark, when it’s 89 degrees+ outside.

(2)  Know where your going ahead of time.  It’s hard to find a campground, in the dark, when you don’t know where you are going.

(3) Leave early to assure you will have enough light.

And we learned a lot during the weekend.  One of our dogs doesn’t like a bunch of little dogs jumping around in tight spaces, and this space is tight with 2 adults and 3 dogs.  Thus, we separated everyone with a baby gate.

fullhouse

One of the great things in our RV is the many, many outlets for charging our many devices.cozyrvlivn rvlivn2Clearly the dogs are very settled in this new “house”. warm glow

More adventures to come…