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Old 06-12-2017, 11:04 AM   #1
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Location: Madison, AL
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Our first year full-timing - Lessons Learned

My wife and I have now been living in our RV full time for a year. We both work full time as well. Before we left the great state of Texas to make this next journey in our lives we spent 5 weeks getting our new diamond in the rough prepared for full time living. It had previously had multiple roof leaks which I easily repaired. Factory installed roof caulk is not designed to last 13 years. I removed all caulk, prepped and cleaned each surface rigorously and applied Eterna-bond tape to seal the seams around all the sky lights, roof vents, etc. Total cost - $100 + storage fees. We performed general cleaning getting the RV ready for us to use.

Once we move it, we immediately found problems, all of which were serviceable. We had the charging system rewired correctly, something National didn't do. That required replacing the house batteries. We had the refer serviced so it would run on propane or electricity and added the ice make. Total repair cost ~ $1200 and not covered by our Good Sam insurance.

So far travel in the RV has been limited to trips to Auburn football games to tailgate, a weekend in Chattanooga, a long road trip to Nebraska and back for Thanksgiving and a trip to the Talladega infield. Our couch was not new (2003 National Tradewinds 375 LE) and when we bought it we knew it needed work and we were OK with that. The mileage was low on it, so it had spent most of it's life sitting. It came with Michelin tires that were in great shape.

We did have one really bad weekend. We had an electrical fire, convection microwave and water pump died all in the same weekend while tailgating. Fortunately the wire problem was limited to the inside of the microwave. We replaced it with a new one ($300 - Sears outlet) and the water pump ($250 and not covered by Good Sam).

Living in Alabama, it does get hot in the summers. We learned quickly that keeping the RV cool required keeping the glass covered. We ordered a windshield cover from Camping World (they just happened to be on sale). and I made a cover for the driver's side window, as it faces the afternoon sun. Total cost ~ $95. Now the air conditioners can keep up. I ordered tire covers at the same time. When I hit the lottery I'll be able to replace the tires .

After a few trips, we started seeing ballast failures of our fluorescent lights. I read a thread on this site about how to replace the lights with LEDs. I wired up my first light and we were back in business. Total cost - ~ $13 (Ebay). That was so much fun I've rewired two more lights at no additional cost. The only upgrades we've made to the RV are a 14" thick gel/memory foam queen mattress and two sets of Adirondack chairs (one set portable, one not). I have had to restring one of the blinds and need to do the same to another one.

Once winter arrives I was worried about all the limbs and things hitting the roof when it was cold, so I bought an RV roof cover (from Camping World, because it was on sale) along with some heat tape and insulation from Home Depot for the water line. Total spent - $250.

My wife is not comfortable with towing the car behind the RV yet, so she follows everywhere we need a car. It's not optimum, but whatever. It's only a minor nuisance to me.

Overall, we've had a very pleasant experience.

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2003 National Tradewinds 375 LE
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:42 PM   #2
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Posts: 1,198
Our first year full-timing - Lessons Learned

Adventure- it's how you perceive life's bumps in the road. The clear message is that you've embraced change and dealt with a few bumps and kept smiling. Well done.

PS: Towing will make life easier. Pros outweigh the what if factors.
Taking in the sights with our Trolley ...but life is always better under a Palm Tree
2016 Coachmen Mirada 35 BH. - our Trolley
2016 Jeep Cherokee Latitude, Western New York
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:21 PM   #3
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Nice story.

Towing is really easy. The only thing you can't do is back up when hooked up. But a little planning when you go into gas station, etc and you'll ask yourself why you didn't tow earlier.
Bill & Brigitte
06 Windsor PEQ, Cummins 400 ISL
2014 Honda CRV
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Old 06-12-2017, 05:30 PM   #4
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Welcome WDE!
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:08 PM   #5
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Sounds like your embracing life at its best I bet there is a bunch of us would love to stop what were doing and join you.

Buxtonworks Monaco Knight 30PBD Allison 3000 No Toad yet
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