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Old 12-07-2019, 02:16 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 45
RV life so far (with all your help)

Hello fellow TT/RV folks! In case you haven't seen my prior posts, I'm brand new to RV's and jumped in the deep end all at once. My house and 90% of my belongings burned in a fire 4 weeks ago, and I ended up getting insurance to let my buy a new Travel Trailer to live in while my house is rebuilt. I'd never even been inside an RV before, so to say I'm a newbie doesn't begin to tell you how much I had to and still have to learn. But people here have been absolutely incredible. I've asked questions you'd expect a 3 year old to know and yet I've been treated with respect and offered solutions to all my problems, well wishes about my fire, tips for RV living and more.

I've been in my RV for 3 weeks now, so I wanted to talk a little about how its gone so far. First, I did run a water line just over 400 feet. I taped onto my 3/4 inch service line going to my house so I didn't have to go another 300 feet to the main by the road. I ran a 3/4 inch Pex pipe and lots of people expressed concerns about the size of the pipe I ran, but the good news is it has worked out fine. The shower has slightly low water pressure but it works fine and is in no way a problem. It also has a pressure reducer and that may be the cause of my low pressure- but I'm afraid to take it off and since the pressure isn't low enough to be a problem I'm just going to leave it alone. I buried the Pex line from connection all the way up tp my camper. I then cut the bottom out of a 5 gallon bucket,dug a hole about a foot deeper than the height of the bucket, and put a foot of gravel at the bottom so it will drain. Then ran the Pex pipe into the bucket and put a cut-on/cut spigot in there. From the spigot inside the bucket I attached one of those hoses that you plug in and has a built in heating element. So the flex pipe and spigot is about 3 feet down in the bucket, connects to a heated hose, then comes up through a hole I cut in the roof of the bucket, then up to the hose connection on the RV which has a lid. I also filled the connection area with insulation. So hopefully I'm frost protected on the water line and its working great.

On my electric, I made an extension chord out of super heavy duty 6 gauge UF wire with a female 30 amp plug on one end and a male on the other. Unfortunately I had to run it 220 feet since the only source of electricity is the temporary electric service they set after the fire. The reason I made it up as an extention cord rather than wiring directly into the temporary service breaker box is that by doing so I was able to run the wire myself and no inspection was required (because as an extension cord it is "temporary" - they only inspect the temporary service set up and plugs, and I can legally plug things into that like extension cords). Now certainly a lot of people expressed concerns about the distance I had to run my wire, but others felt that with my running such a large wire (it cost $2.40 per foot for wire that big!) that I'd be ok. I haven't hooked a voltage meter to it, but I can tell you everything seems to work perfectly so far. I run 110 electric heaters and have never had any kind of issue. The long cord also never feels warm anywhere and no breakers have tripped in the camper OR at the temp service. SO electric seems to be working out.

I've got enough flexible black pipe to run over to my septic tank from my house, which is much closer since it is on the same side of house as my RV is.

As those who have read my other posts know, I was a bit disappointed and surprised to find out my hot water heater is gas only even though my salesman said it was gas or electric. But it has worked out really well. I simply leave it off 23.5 hours a day, turn it on 20 minutes before my morning shower, then right back off and after 3 weeks I can't even tell I have used any propane from one tank and my backup tank isn't even turned on yet. Remember I'm heating with electric (99% of the time- some mornings I kick on gas furnace for 5 minutes for a quick heating). One thing that has shocked me is how long my hot water stays hot if I heat a tank full and don't use it. That tank must be super insulated because it can keep water warm for 10 hours! nice for hand washing later in the day after I've turned hot water heater off in the morning.

I spent most of the day today underpinning my camper! I had been thinking hard about all the options and expenses and so it. Then I suddenly remembered that I had a huge stack of sheet metal that was used on my metal storage building and somehow they had a ton of it left over and just put it inside where its been for years. The pieces are all shapes and sized, and many were absolutely perfect fits for underpinning my camper. I even had left over insulation too so in most cases I put that up also! Its just perfect. To hold it in place, I used hay bales. I was warned that this could leave to rodents and I appreciated that warning, hopefully I can control mice with traps, poison, etc. Also, I put each bale of straw into a huge, thick, contractor trash bag. I know mice can eat through it but hopefully it will keep the bales somewhat dry, lighter, and slow the rotting down. Anyway, I just laid the sheet metal against the camper, then pushed the bales of straw firmly against it. THe straw bales form a solid barier all along the bottom edge of the camper, but they come about 2-5 inches short of reaching the bottom of the camper. But with the sheet metal in place, I now have solid metal from the ground to about 12 inches up on the side of the camper, then the straw bales are pushed right up against the metal siding. In short, there is basically a complete and total seal all the way around all 4 sides of my RV- usually with insulation, then sheet metal, then straw bales in bags (which provide about 2 feet thick insulation all the way around the bottom. In nights when it gets down below 18 or so , I have a VERY small (250 watt, not 1500 watts) 110 heater that I'm going to put in the space under my camper that is insulated and sealed. It night not even be needed, but its not much trouble, won't pull much power, and will only be used on VERY col nights. Here in TN we honestly don't have many nights below 18.

One thing I'm kind of proud of is my cable and internet connection. About a year ago my home cable TV was acting up and the cable company ran a brand new cable from the pole at the road, back to my house- about 300 feet. I noticed that cable was much thicker and heavier than the inside the house stuff, and I thought someday I might use some to run cable from my house to my barn, so I asked the cable guy if I could keep my old wire he was replacing. HE was happy not have to roll it up and haul it off so he left it. I couldn't handle it as one piece so I cut it int 2 150 foot pieces. Well, I never used it for my barn but it came in SOOOO handy for my RV. I ended up using that wire to run from my house (they didn't turn off my cable at my house since is isn't a danger) back to my RV. THis gave my high speed internet and wireless (with router), cable tv, and Roku and netflix for endless movies. I made the connections and am kinda proud i was able to do all that myself.

Well, there you go.....way way more information than anyone wanted to know or (probably) took the time to read. But so many people here have been so helpful that I really wanted to take time and explain how I ended up doing everything. In no way am I suggesting I did it the best way or that I won't have problems. But for the last 2-3 weeks I've done all these things and everything is working so far I will provide updates going forward (shorter ones, I promise!) and undoubtedly I'll have more newbie questions to come and I hope I can continue to count on you guys for the support and information you've given so far. More than anyway, I want to say thank you. Without the people here I never would have made it this far!!


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Old 12-07-2019, 06:29 AM   #2
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Location: Palm Coast Florida
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Now to get the house rebuilt or just maybe continue to live the RV life style?

At one time I had a 37' 5th wheel that was almost as comfortable as my house. I would spend 6 winter/spring months in Florida and then 4 summer months in Pennsylvania. That life style was way more social than staying in my house in Ohio.

Now I have a house in Florida that I kinda like but am thinking the RV life style was also just as likable.

The huge advantage of a house is appreciation in value while an RV has huge depreciation in value.

Glad things are working and with Netflix you have lots of stuff to watch. Just an FYI - Netflix spends double on content as ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX.

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Old 12-07-2019, 09:03 AM   #3
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Location: Full Timing. When I park I'm home
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Glad to hear that things are working for you. We got rid of the house 10 years ago (sold it didn't burn it) and have never looked back. Be sure to let us know if you need anything else but it sounds like you are getting the hang of the RV life style.

2004 Volvo, 2009 smart car
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Old 12-07-2019, 09:15 AM   #4
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Thanks for the update, I'm glad to hear that things are working out for you in the RV. Hopefully the home repair goes as well.
2013 Winnebago Sightseer 36V
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:28 AM   #5
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You Rock Kevin!
Keep us posted.
Someday Iíll Go~
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:10 PM   #6
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 45
You guys are the best...thanks for the interest and support. I spent so much time detailing the technical set-up and functional things that I didn't talk much about how I'm feeling about living in an RV and RV life so far. In short, I LOVE IT!

Honestly, its been a life altering revelation. I've been accumulating possessions since college and for the first time in my life I have almost none. (I don't say that to garner pity- insurance is going to pay me for all my stuff and I'm in good financial condition so I don't mean to sound like I'm struggling the way so many people sadly do). Its had a big impact on me. I don't miss all that stuff at all. I'm not a sentimental person and I never had kids, so I don't have a lot of precious emotional mementos that many people would have. SO for me it was all just "STUFF" and there is something freeing about not having it. If I wanted to pack up and move today I could do it in an hour and there is something freeing about that. And I think about all the things I have acquired and ask myself why- what were they really for? Certainly there are some things I will want and need- I'm not a Luddite and I like to be comfortable. I want a computer and TV and a good bed and warm dry clean space. But I am suddenly realizing that I have all of those basic needs right here in my RV. Its almost as if everything else in my house was for other people- decorations and things to show the world I'm doing well and keeping up with others and so on. Before moving into my RV I had things, in some ways, to prove I wasn't poor. That's sad because certainly there is nothing wrong with being poor- but like so many people I wanted to show success and doing it with a nice house and nice things in it was a way to do that- shameful as that sounds.

So for the last 3 weeks I've been sitting here in my new Travel Trailer thinking "What else do I need in the world"? Seriously. It's cozy, comfortable, clean, meets all my needs, etc. It has really been an eye opening revelation to me. SO even if I never moved my RV, I could be very happy here. I also have 145 tree fruit orchard that has been my passion for the last 8 years, so between my orchard and my new RV I could be very happy and comfortable here for years to come even if I never traveled with it. But I CAN travel with it, and that fact has me equally excited. I've always loved going to new places, so the idea that I could take all the comfort and fulfilling things about my camper AND combine it with seeing new cities and new outdoor destination makes it even more exciting.

Anyway, I get the feeling most of you discovered what I'm experiencing many years ago. For me it has been a very exciting eye opening experience. FOrgive me for ranting about it but its been a very exciting, life changing discovery for me and my my "normal" friends just won't get it the way you all will. SO thanks for letting me ramble and for helping me get where I am today.
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Old 12-07-2019, 04:36 PM   #7
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Sorry for your misfortune and happy for you that you are discovering that you do not need all those things to be happy and comfortable.

Michele and Mark
2010 Nuwa Hitchhiker fifth wheel
2015 Ford F350 diesel dually
Michele and Mark
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:35 PM   #8
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Proud of ya, sweetpea....
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Old 12-07-2019, 11:39 PM   #9
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Wow that’s me in a nutshell...
Okay minus the house fire.
If you can see it.
You can achieve it.
I totally relate.
Someday Iíll Go~
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Old 12-07-2019, 11:55 PM   #10
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Location: MN
Posts: 220
"SO thanks for letting me ramble . . . "

If we don't want to read it, we don't have to, and the internet is never going to run out of room or letters. So, please, ramble on - it's been entertaining, and educational, and maybe even a bit inspirational.

1993 Rockwood 28' Class C - Ford E-350 7.5L
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Old 12-08-2019, 08:37 AM   #11
Join Date: May 2019
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Way to roll with the punches life has given you. And thanks for sharing, your experience and comments are very interesting.
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:53 AM   #12
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Location: Palm Coast Florida
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Just an additional thought. I know you bought a Highland Ridge travel trailer. To me, that is an ok travel trailer but not as nice as say a Flagstaff/Rockwood trailer of a Jayco Eagle travel trailer.

Your Highland Ridge did not even have a gas/electric water heater so I am thinking it may be a lower quality trailer. You were probably under pressure to get a place to live quickly too.

I guess what I am saying is if you have any extra time go look at better travel trailers. Again I recommend the Jayco Eagle trailers or the Flagstaff/Rockwood trailers.

To make it as comfortable as a house pick a travel trailer with a couch you can lay on and an comfortable easy chair. Lol - I had a very comfortable easy chair and a cat that would sleep on my lap. Man, to me, that does not get any better.

Tennessee gets cold at night so next month you will have a much better idea of what you would like in a trailer. Like fireplace and dual pane windows easy chair and couch.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:19 PM   #13
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Location: Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Good job! I see you have the skills necessary to RV.

Note about your water heater. The water in the heater is exposed to the outside through the propane burner system. I see it holds heat well, but it could freeze when exposed to lower temperatures.

Monitor the temp with your hand and if it gets really cold, you should turn the burner on or leave it on. I leave it on in low temps and it still does not use much propane.

Note about sealing your under trailer space. Long periods of high humidity can lead to rot and corrosion. You may wish to put a humidity gage in there and vent it if humidity gets high. Some people install a closable heat vent in the skirting for that purpose.
Paul Bristol
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Nissan Pathfinder 2015
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:37 PM   #14
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Persistent - are you saying that the water will freeze because he is turning off the water heater when not in use? In Tennessee?

I would say he will be fine unless really cold zero degree weather hits.

OP - if really super cold weather hits just leave the water heater on.

Another thought - you really need an electric capable water heater. I am still puzzled that in 2019/2020 you can buy a RV with a gas only water heater.

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