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Old 01-08-2016, 02:28 PM   #1
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First major trip 5 days in the RV

I know.. not a long trip compared to most of you good folks. But hear me out. It was a great experience and helped us learn more about our new to us rig.

We live just South of Atlanta and took our daughter to Ft Lee Virginia for some Army training (she's in the Reserves). We decided to make it a semi vacation and spend the time with her on the road instead of dropping her off at the airport. For the most part we had a great time.

The only bad time was when I got grouchy trying to get to a campground after dark and tired. Yup.. we have a new rule.. if I ain't gonna make it before dark.. we find a Walmart or something. (My sincere apologies to the local fella who tried to help me but got to listen to me gripe).

This was actually the only night we stayed at a campground though. The rest were at Walmart lots here and there. My major kudos to the RVParky app.

Overall no mechanical issues (2000 Winnebago Chieftain DP). We did run out of propane even though the sensor said half full. Ended up a very cold night. Plenty of clothes and covers kept us warm though. Tank was bone dry and after fill up the sensor said empty. One more thing to fix.

Battery bank only lasted 7 hours or so at night with the furnace and cpap. So we will be looking to upgrade that and add some solar this year. During the day we had to run the generator for tv lights frig etc. That was in the am and evening.

Also my wife being the petite and short thing she can't quite reach the pedals very well. A flat box under her left foot to keep it from dangling helped. Now I will either find or craft some pedal risers for her.

It was a fun trip and we learned plenty. Looking forward to many more of the same.
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Old 01-08-2016, 02:34 PM   #2
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Sounds like the Ramblers had a fairly normal outing!
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Old 01-09-2016, 12:02 AM   #3
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Congratulations!!

We are waiting on the delivery of our first RV, so I can share the excitement of your first multiday excursion. Sounds like it went pretty well. I can see myself also getting frustrated by trying to drive too far in a day and I don't think I would like driving an RV at night (at least right away).

If you haven't, check out YouTube. There are tons of great videos for new RVers. Happy to hear you had a great first experience. Drive safe and enjoy your new way of seeing the US!
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Old 01-10-2016, 07:31 AM   #4
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Any trip out with the family is a good one. Hopefully the next will be better. The more trips the more memories, good or bad. In the long term they all become good. Safe travels.
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Old 01-10-2016, 07:55 AM   #5
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I love the comment about being grouchy about arriving at the campground after dark and swearing never to do that again. Our first "big" trip was about 2-5 hour legs over 2 days. We ended up getting in after dark both times due to either not being able to get our act together or weather/traffic. The second day was getting near dark going to Nashville, going thru the Chattanooga mountains I almost freezing rain and then having the drivers side windshield wiper blade fly off.

On another trip to Topsail in Destin Fl (what should have been an 8 hour drive), we got caught in a 7 hour traffic jam on I-75 and did not get to the campground until 11 pm that night (which of course was midnight by my internal EST clock) we had to get into the park and find our site on our own very late. I'm sure our neighbors appreciated that.
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Old 01-10-2016, 08:07 AM   #6
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if I ain't gonna make it before dark.. we find a Walmart or something.
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Old 01-10-2016, 08:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by GenXRamblers View Post
I know.. not a long trip compared to most of you good folks. But hear me out. It was a great experience and helped us learn more about our new to us rig.

We live just South of Atlanta and took our daughter to Ft Lee Virginia for some Army training (she's in the Reserves). We decided to make it a semi vacation and spend the time with her on the road instead of dropping her off at the airport. For the most part we had a great time.

The only bad time was when I got grouchy trying to get to a campground after dark and tired. Yup.. we have a new rule.. if I ain't gonna make it before dark.. we find a Walmart or something. (My sincere apologies to the local fella who tried to help me but got to listen to me gripe).

This was actually the only night we stayed at a campground though. The rest were at Walmart lots here and there. My major kudos to the RVParky app.

Overall no mechanical issues (2000 Winnebago Chieftain DP). We did run out of propane even though the sensor said half full. Ended up a very cold night. Plenty of clothes and covers kept us warm though. Tank was bone dry and after fill up the sensor said empty. One more thing to fix.

Battery bank only lasted 7 hours or so at night with the furnace and cpap. So we will be looking to upgrade that and add some solar this year. During the day we had to run the generator for tv lights frig etc. That was in the am and evening.

Also my wife being the petite and short thing she can't quite reach the pedals very well. A flat box under her left foot to keep it from dangling helped. Now I will either find or craft some pedal risers for her.

It was a fun trip and we learned plenty. Looking forward to many more of the same.

I feel your pain. After 8 years full time, I have 3 axioms about driving conditions:
1. Nothing good happens driving in the dark.
2. Nothing good happens after dark in the rain.
3. Nothing good happens when in reverse.

We just finished a 2 day 700 mile trip. We didn't get away the first day until just after noon and it was after dark when we reached our over night stop at a Walmart. Like you, I was cranky about it. I was glad to see that my lights still worked.
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Old 01-10-2016, 08:18 AM   #8
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Yep. Sounds normal for a first trip - our first longer trip started out like that: We decided to leave the evening before as soon as my wife got off work and get a few hours of travel time in - so a Walmart about 3+ hours out was our first stop.

No heat in 35degree weather, shopping center had constant people walking across parking lot, car traffic, etc well past midnight, broken glass and shopping carts scattered all over. As it got colder and I couldn't figure out why the furnace wasn't working, I finally had enough, cranked it up and headed out at 4am. My wife wondered whether we should just bag it.

Once we got to our destination, everything worked, we had a really nice time and the trip home did not include any Walmarts or nighttime driving. I would do a Walmart again, but that would only be due to a major delay and a desire not to do the midnight camp setup thing.

End of story: The propane regulator was bad. The dealer replaced it for free.
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Old 01-10-2016, 08:32 AM   #9
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Yup, we avoid driving after dark and after dark arrivals if all possible. If we do end up in a situation of arrive after dark we do a minimal setup - park (very very carefully), level, connect power, slides out. And do anything else the next morning.
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Old 01-10-2016, 03:45 PM   #10
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We love Walmarkt they the best USA wide!
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:16 AM   #11
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We love Walmarkt they the best USA wide!

For overnight stops when traveling I prefer the convenience of highway rest areas, (only because they are "easy OFF/easy ON").
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:47 AM   #12
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While there are various options to upgrade your house battery bank, replacing with a more capable battery is the easiest. Many come with just a single, inadequate Group 24 and can be upgraded to Group 27, 29 or 31. Look for AH (amp hours). I swapped my Grp 24 with about 75AH to a Costco Grp 27 with 115AH and lasted 3 days (led lights and light furnace use). The furnace is a hog, so setting it for about 55 degrees can make a big difference.
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Old 01-11-2016, 09:22 AM   #13
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While there are various options to upgrade your house battery bank, replacing with a more capable battery is the easiest. Many come with just a single, inadequate Group 24 and can be upgraded to Group 27, 29 or 31. Look for AH (amp hours). I swapped my Grp 24 with about 75AH to a Costco Grp 27 with 115AH and lasted 3 days (led lights and light furnace use). The furnace is a hog, so setting it for about 55 degrees can make a big difference.
I have room I think for 3 12 volt or 2 6 volt gc2's. Not sure which way I am going yet til I measure the space. But definitely will be swapping out for leds soon also. Part of the long term plan for using the genny less.
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