Taking Delivery of our RV and Trip Home

Here I sit at our dinette table in our new home on wheels with a view of a wonderful state park from every window. On the way from Kansas City to the dealership in Tulsa Oklahoma we stopped at each point we would be visiting again on our return trip. Such as one fuel stop and a campsite. Being new to towing a fifth wheel, especially a larger one, I wanted to help ease the tension by reducing the chances of any sudden surprises. As it turned out, after spending three nights camped near the dealership, we received a sudden call from a Oklahoma Park Ranger that a campsite we planed to spend time in at the Grand Lake of the Cherokees was flooded. Darn, I thought as I’d visited the actual spot we intended to back into during the trip down. The Ranger offered an alternate site which I had not researched. I was ready to find a commercial RV park but rightfully, Karen insisted this is a vacation and we are staying in a wonderful wooded state park near a lake. So blindly I agreed with the Park Ranger we would just find a spot when we arrived at our new destination which was the Honey Creek State Park in Grove Oklahoma.

Earlier, upon arrival at the dealership, we found our new home was sitting outside the service entrance, pointed towards the road out of the dealership plugged into a 50 amp service. We had a short period to open the door of our new home, amazed by what we had purchased. It’s beautiful.. As I recall, in short order the salesman mentioned the finance guy was ready to do the paperwork. I knew the dealership had gone through the RV on their own by this point. I asked to do the walk-through with the technician before any paperwork. Yup, sometimes you have to take control and not be the nice guy that walks in an orderly fashion.

I may have made a mistake by telling the technician walking us through the fifth wheel that we had prior RV experience because he passed through a few system explanations quickly. Our trip through the RV with him lasted less than two hours which may or may not be normal to show one all the systems. I had a lengthy pre-delivery checklist which I did not use. Yup, you read that correctly – I did not use my list. I decided not to use the list but work from memory. As the technician explained the systems my head was on a swivel looking for anything broken. Upon arrival the salesman said they had found one thing left to repair which was a very minor divot in the face of the stainless refrigerator door. He said they had already ordered the part and hoped it came in before we left our three day stay at the nearby RV park. The part apparently never came in. No worries as we never planned to have the dealership fix anything unless it impeded the usage of the RV as eventually, we will be full-timers and plan for a trip to the factory in northern Mississippi with our list of fixes. Vanleigh has full hook-up spots at the service center for warranty repairs or those returning for upgrades such as adding shelving, factory options, electrical upgrades and more. Plus they have a factory support person on-call 24 hours a day to walk you through issues. And lastly, according to everyone on the brands unofficial Facebook owners page, one need only take a photo of anything damaged and send a list to the factory who will get it all fixed when we arrive for a scheduled appointment.

Karen and I joined the unofficial Facebook page for Vanleigh last October and the folks there have posted answers to every question that I’ve had. For example, I could not get the Furrion observation camera to link to the trucks monitor. I learned you have to have at least the trucks running lights on to activate the electrical to the camera. One guy even said he had a low water point drain problem and rather than tow it to a dealership, Vanleigh mailed him the part and paid for a mobile tech to install it.

It took living in it five nights to find a short list of things to fix. So far that list has 10 items on it with only two being things I might not want to fix myself. Just like buying a new sticks and bricks home, we expected to find small things that we wanted to be perfect in a new home.

The technician that gave us a walk-through said they have a four-page list the dealership uses to check everything when RV’s arrive at the dealership and then again if it has sat on the lot for long before it sells.

The last day of our trip I found what would be the only flawed parts that needs to be replaced before our next trip. It’s a low water point drain valve. I’m calling the factory to have the small plastic value shipped to me and worst case I’ll get a factory tech on the phone to walk me through the install. It appears to be an easy fix and I know I could just cap the drain off in the interim.

If you do not have RV experience, I’d suggest if you buy an RV, especially at an out of town dealership, that you plan on spending a good four hours to operate every system and window and valve, etc… on your own before you pull away. Because we decided to have our local dealership bid against those within easy driving distance of home, price obviously trumped whatever else the dealership had to offer. I’m very happy with our decision to purchase out of town.

As a side note, I called down to the dealership before we left town for the trailer VIN which I provided to our insurance guy. He faxed down proof of insurance when we arrived at the dealership.

I know both experienced and inexperienced RV readers will want the details on a few other aspects of our fifth wheel delivery. I’m starting to see some of the back-story behind many of the posts I’ve read on other’s blogs who are at the same stage in the process and us.

Hitching up a truck to the fifth wheel for the first time ever:

Took three attempts with the technician guiding me. Because I was using the cargo camera view for the bed of the truck. A friend had told me not to get a taller tool box for the truck that would block the view of the bed. Good advice as it turns out. Because when I decided to just look out the rear window, I backed the truck right up to the hitch. And the second time we hooked up I got it on the very first try. Karen and I had talked through the process and each other’s rolls which helped. YouTube videos, as usual are something you can do now in preparation.

Unhitching and leveling for the first time:

Our first night stop was well planned. Only two right turns with wide roads and one left turn to the RV park across the street from the dealership. They gave us a spot normally reserved for just overnight stays. We pulled right into the large drive-through spot. I became worried we had not spent enough time going over the fifth wheel auto leveling features with the technician as the driver’s side front jack was not going down unless you pushed on it with a foot. But when it finally came down, the leveling system worked wonderfully. Vanleigh has a heck of a nice setup for access to the leveling system controls which include buttons within view of the back of the truck and a display inside the basement which includes full videos on how everything works, built right into the control panel. Stupid me did not know the front jacks come down one at a time as that’s the way the hydraulic system is setup. The jacks closest to the hydraulic fluid tank come down first, then pressure is created that forces the fluid into the other jacks. If the hitch does not separate from the fifth wheel pin you probably don’t have the front jacks up enough taking the pressure off the truck before pulling forward. Make sure you have chocked the tires before even starting to unhitch. By the way, we have started referring to the fifth wheel sides calling each the driver’s side or passenger side. We auto leveled with the slides in per the dealership’s advice. If you decide to plug in your electrical cord before leveling make sure the cord is not under a jack because you will crush it. And no, we did not do that. Maybe putting in a few quick notes in this post will save someone a problem later. The leveling system works off your batteries which we are staring out with two 12 volt (with RV gas/electric fridge).

Unpacking and hoping we brought what we needed:

We had loaded the truck with totes, filling each sorted by if the contents went inside or outside the RV. Started the process weeks before we left to make sure nothing important was left behind. We also decided to pack the truck full because over time we must move a lot into the RV for fulltime living.

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Truck loaded and ready to go. The retractable bed cover really came in handy.

The trip home after we put the fifth wheel in storage will leave us with empty totes and two bags for clothing. Maybe it took two hours to unpack. She did the inside and I did the outside. No worries where everything goes for now because we know from past experience it will all move again once we get used to living in the RV. I’m still fascinated by how well some of these RVs are laid out. You can tell the builders and appliance providers have finetuned their construction. Even the fridge has bars inside that can be adjusted whereby preventing movement when traveling down the road.

The dealership provided a starter kit and I’ve already posted about all the other junk we bought. We had to add an extra length of water hose for the first campsite. The less expensive water pressure regulator provided in the starter kit works good enough. We did not buy a tire monitoring system before we left nor a surge protector for the electrical. Because I’ve not decided on what model to get and I want to hear more advice from seasoned campers we are meeting. I did not buy an RV specific GPS and just use the truck’s built-in unit. A friend suggested getting a phone app to look up low bridge clearances. Our first trip was for seven nights. Karen did one load of laundry while we were gone which left us with more clean clothing than needed. I’d pre-planned two modifications for the fifth wheel before we left to pick it up. Ended up having the dealership install the rear observation camera as I could not fit the ladder in this trip. I installed the Extenda shower rod in the bathroom after a friend passed along how his install went.  We are loving the extra shoulder space in bathroom which is normally an area you give up with a shorter 35′ camper.

(Photo of shower rod that articulates in and out)

Karen bought a rug for when you step inside the camper and decided on her color scheme now that she has seen the inside. She bought the shower curtain and towels in advance. We have had the same towels at home for years, so it was time for new ones anyway. It’s nice to dry off with something that does not feel like sand paper for a change😊

We are already learning everything will have its place. The grill for example fits in a tote of its own. After it cools down, I place it on top of the same tote inside the basement to secure it. When we travel it goes back into the tote. I should add before we move the RV each of us inspects the other’s preparations for now. She can do a walk-though outside to see if everything is secured and I can do the walkthrough inside when she is done. I’ll bet after we move a dozen times this will totally be second nature. Yes, we have lists for move days which I downloaded from the owner’s Facebook group to make sure we catch everything.

Our final day on the way home was exhausting. Having to pack up everything we were not leaving in the fifth wheel, cleaning and making the drive to place the RV in storage where it will remain for a month until our next trip. Others have told me they were worn out by the process as well.

Or first time in an RV with 29 tornado sightings all around us:

So glad we received a weather radio as a Christmas gift. While parked in Oklahoma 29 tornados were spotted in all directions around us. The fifth wheel handled the severe storms exceptionally. We did get a small amount of water around the utility bay access door where a piece of weather stripping was mounted a little low. Our radio puts out alerts, runs on battery/solar/USB charger and a knob you can wind up to charge it.

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Thankfully we were in Tulsa Oklahoma with excellent local news service. Initially we have decided to not have satellite TV and depend upon local stations. Access to a weather channel is important although we can of course check for information on our phones. Karen brought up the idea we had not asked the RV park about storm shelters and at some point we are going to figure out a way, perhaps with a small dry erase board, to mark down our exact address in the case of an emergency. If you have to call 911 and have stayed at three different locations in as many days it might be hard to remember where you are in the event of an emergency.

The first time pulling the fifth wheel:

I’ve pulled trailers but nothing of any serious length or size. Of all the things concerning in becoming an RVer, pulling a huge fifth wheel was one of the most dreaded things for me. For months now I’ve been using the mirrors in my vehicles to improve my usage of them. I’ve been watching trucks and campers as they make wide swinging turns. I’ve watched all the YouTube videos I could find and bought a book on how to Tow Your Fifth Wheel Like a Pro. And of course, I’ve asked many friends for advice.

It was absolutely the best decision to check into a very close RV park after picking up our new home. Camping nearby allowed us to make a shorter day of it; keeping the anxiety level down which included the unhitching process.

Trip planning using Google Map and Google Earth was our friend. I viewed every road and every turn on the computer before each leg of the trip. This included rest stops every two hours. As it turned out we would not have had to stop for fuel for the final day of our trip, planned for a Sunday when the roads were the least congested. As luck would have it on the last day, hours before a trip through the city, a planned rest at a truck stop I knew well offered me the opportunity to even practice backing up in a large, nearly vacant lot. Fortunately, most of the truckers had not come off the road for the night.

We even had a sudden route change as we entered a “congested” small town where a unexpected sign pointed us to a truck route which was not on my earlier planned route. Trucks are our friends. When I see one in front of me or coming the opposite direction, I know I’m on a road we can handle. I had asked Karen to be on the alert when I knew turns were coming or exiting/merging onto new roads. She helped read construction signs and told me how good I was doing. After the first 200 miles, and certainly on open interstates, the tension loosened up. Pulling the fifth wheel, just like a friend had said, felt just like all the other trailers I had towed and for the most part I just had to adjust to the way a fifth wheel corners and how much room it takes to swing it through an intersection.

Driving advice is a blog post of its own and one I’m not yet qualified to write about. I can tell you it’s not as bad as I had thought. However, if you have not towed a trailer of any kind, I’d suggest you borrow a short one perhaps with an experienced friend as a co-pilot. If it’s a bumper pull just know the tires of a fifth wheel do not track the same and your turns will have to be wider.

I did not let anyone hurry me and certainly when making turns. We parked and walked to our campsite to make sure I knew what lanes to drive in and how to approach the site. This included walking the route from the campsite to the dump station. And of course, I fueled the truck prior to hitching.

There were opportunities that added to the stress, which became milder ever mile down the road. We decided to stay on four lane divided highways as much as possible however did at times drive miles on two lane roads. In general, the interstate driving was less stressful. Two incidents were notable, and I was thankful I was looking far ahead on the road rather than just watching the path directly in front of the truck. In one situation, on a two-lane highway, a truck had broken down with half the truck blocking a portion of my lane of travel. I slowed down. There was a truck approaching me from the other direction, so I flashed my lights to make sure the driver was aware of the situation. There was not time nor space to stop, so with seconds to go I moved over to the left as far as I could knowing I would miss the broken-down vehicle on the right shoulder and leave enough space for the on-oncoming traffic to pass. Had the guy in the broken-down vehicle stepped out of the driver’s door it would have been terrible.

The second nerve racking event was the dreaded construction zone with reductions to narrow lanes next to barricades. That happened twice and in one incident I changed lanes for more space.

One trick I had read about was practicing finding some mark on my truck that subconsciously felt like it was marking the center of my lane.

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From my driver’s side view point, this washer fluid outlet marks the center of the lane

I’ll attempt to explain this in more detail but if it’s not clear, just post a comment and we can all discuss it. On the hood of my truck are two small outlets used to spray washer fluid on the front windshield. The outlet on the left marks the center of the road. I know this because when I have the feeling the outlet is centered on the road, I can check my rear tires using the mirrors and see an even amount of space left between the lines on the road. When I went through the narrow construction lane I slowed down and just concentrated on keeping the truck centered in the lane and knew the trailer would follow. At all times I knew what was behind me and to the side. Had I wanted to take part of the other lane I could have done that as well. The traffic behind me, as always, would just have to put up with it.

A friend explained I should get used to getting flipped off by other drivers who might not appreciate me taking it slowly or taking part of another lane to turn or go through narrow openings or not racing to the top of a hill. I can report not having been flipped off even once. Although I received a stern look from a young driver once who presumably thought I should have been in another lane when approaching a bridge so she could more easily pass me. I knew from trip planning that on the other side of the long bridge the road narrowed to one lane which was the lane I was in.

I can also say that while driving the most congested part of the trip on an interstate road with three lanes I drove in the center lane to avoid merging traffic. Practicing keeping the truck between the lines in my own lane, using the mark (washer fluid outlet) on the hood of the truck came in handy again.

Surprisingly those small cars racing around, cutting in an out, did not overly bother me. I knew I had a truck capable of handling way more trailer than I was towing. When the traffic around me seemed unconcerned about our trailer that somehow provided a feeling of confidence that I was doing a good job of driving.

Sometimes driving five miles under the speed limit not only saves fuel but gives other traffic a chance to pass me rather than driving at my sides. Within a couple hundred miles I felt secure passing slower traffic. I had the dealership install the observation camera on the back of our trailer which was pre-wired by the factory. I discovered I had to have the running lights of the truck turned on for the camera to work. It’s an observation camera and not just a backup camera. So, the view is very wide and shows me the entire road behind me. I’m glad I purchased the camera but by no means was it necessary as long as you just keep checking your mirrors and know what traffic is behind that might later be at your sides.

The dually truck preformed splendidly. I did not even feel semi-trucks pushing me from behind when they passed. The trailer had no sway to it in the wind or caused by bumpy roads. It had the power to speed up when needed such as to create more room for traffic merging onto the highway and other times power might be needed.

The tow mirrors on the Ram truck are the best I’ve ever used. I can see everything beyond the sides of the trailer, especially when needed such as merging onto the highway. More than once I told Karen “I love these mirrors.”

Or trailer has excellent tires, but I still wished I had pre-purchased a tire pressure/heat monitor. Because you can’t see the trailer tires when towing. I’m definitely buying a monitor when I find the four-tire model I want. Just for a sense of security. I asked around the campground and RV park. Not too many people are using tire monitoring systems, but most are not full timers. I also discovered nearly no one was using a surge protection/power monitor hooked to the RV park electrical. I’m leaning towards a less expensive model that hangs from the outside power pole rather than one built into the camper. That way I can check the power outlet to make sure it’s okay before bothering to pull into the campsite. Really wish I would have had one during the big storm in Tulsa Oklahoma just for surge protection. Again, just another device that makes one feel more secure.

Karen had done a great job of securing stuff inside the fifth wheel for travel. One drawer opened and I adjusted so it would stay closed on the next trip. There were bumps in the road, even small pot-holes that were unavoidable. Sometimes you just don’t see them or can’t move over fast enough to avoid them, especially when you don’t want to jerk the trailer from side to side at highway speeds.

Did we have all the accessories we needed for the first trip?

I’ve covered this topic off and on at other times in this post. There was but one thing I had pre-purchase, twice because I could not find the first one. That was a $4 ninety-degree elbow to hook the fresh water hose to the side of the trailer. The elbow takes pressure off the connector on the RV. Our fresh water connection is inside the utility bay and there is no room for a connector.

I had to buy an extra length of fresh water hose, having started off with just the one provided by the dealership which is 25’. I noticed another camper had a ten-foot section hooked to his 25’ hose, presumably salvaged from an old hose. Camping near shopping the first three days was a bonus.

I used the water pressure reducer that came with the starter kit provided by the dealership, their hose and threw out the rest. Oh, I almost forgot, the starter kit came inside a five-gallon bucket which happened to really come in handy. I use a two-step stool to get in and out of the truck bed. That came in handy for the fifth wheel as well.

I’ve posted in the past about what accessories we pre-purchased and believe recently I had already shared my spreadsheet of stuff I looked to buy early and well as maybe later. I can say for sure to start off with as little as necessary as you will get great pointers from other campers. You can make the first trip without a lot of what you think you need. And sometimes ingenuity is the best alternative. For example, I can’t find a roasting pan that will fit our Weber Q. Small example of a need for sure. But who want’s burnt ribs for dinner. So I picked up four small rocks off the ground and placed them under a cheap throw-away pan I found at the grocery store. Trash bags are great substitutes for totes such as to hold a water or sewer hose. We could have gotten by with much less for our first trip. We bought items we knew we would need in the long term. We know it takes several trips to the RV to store everything we are taking for our future in an RV, so loading the truck with all the stuff makes since. However, we now have a better idea of how much space you just don’t have to store stuff, especially if you don’t want to move a bunch of boxes to find something.

Wish we would have known how hard it is for old dogs (our pets – not us) to get down the final two steps of the camper. We are buying some kind of carpeting to go around those steps to give them better footing. Already measured the steps. Karen says this is the only thing she can’t live with. We don’t want injured dogs. I totally agree, although lifting the dogs up and down the stairs is great exercise.

Speaking of exercise, I must tell you much of the time we were camped I thought about how good this lifestyle is going to be for me. I’ve sat behind a desk for too long. At home I often work franticly for three hours getting the yard work done and then sitting in the air conditioning. This lifestyle is going to force me to be more energetic and move around a lot more. The walks around camp, through unknown grocery store isles and taking the dogs out was good for the body.

Putting our new home in storage:

We are planning for our sticks and bricks house to go on the market in June. This month we will spend most of our free time getting the final touches on house (at least that’s the plan).

During the trip down to take delivery of the fifth wheel we had stopped at an RV park on the south side of Kansas City to check out their storage area just in case my nerves were shot, and I did not want to pull the newer trailer through the city. Our sticks and bricks acreage is treed and there really is no place to store the fifth wheel. I had driven to other storage facilities near home, and checked them out on Google Earth, prior to or trip. I called around and found two that had space for us. The storage space I decided on came with instruction to call them two hours before we arrived. The owner of the facility helped with directions where to pull in and was a great ground guide when I needed to back in. He even took Karen to the back of the fifth wheel to give her pointers on guiding me. We have portable radios for that which sure came in handy even when doing a check to make sure all the lights worked. Get a set!

We boxed or bagged up everything that we were taking back to the sticks and bricks house before we left our final campground. The space we store the fifth wheel is just large enough to get the stairs down which allowed us to remove the food from the fridge. Or we could have stopped short when backing in long enough to remove things from inside.

We took every piece of food out of the fifth wheel as we don’t want mice. The owner of the storage unit came by to say never even leave mouse killer pellets in the camper. He calls those poisons “bait for mice” adding the mice don’t know it’s anything but food they are smelling – until presumably it kills them.

I switched the battery disconnect off but know there will still be a minor drain on the batteries for small stuff that stays on. I’ll go back and charge the two batteries at some point. The dealership provides a cover for the bathroom ceiling vent so it can stay open with it rains. I had no idea they provided that until I saw the cover on the top of the camper. I left the bathroom vent open to exhaust trapped heat.

The trailer is setup in storage in a way Karen can get at it when I’m at work to measure stuff. We are going back to the fifth wheel in a couple days with our next trip planned in June for central Missouri. I’ll go back with the generator to check the batteries until I learn what the actual power draw is when in storage. I’m thinking small things live the CO2 detector remain on even when you shut off the main power. I know I could just unhook the battery cables but prefer not to do that because right now the vented boxes that contain the batteries came with about 25 screws that must be removed to get at them. And with all the electronics on the fifth wheel, I’m not sure if some of them would loose memory if I disconnected the batteries.

The emotions of returning home:

Okay, you full-time RVers are going to understand this the best. When Karen and I returned home to our sticks and bricks home there was a bit of emotion involved. We walked into this large, beautiful home. Surrounded by the gardens and trees on our small acreage. We spent a lot of time making this the place we wanted to be.

Many of the rooms are now void of contents as if someone is getting ready to move out. We both thought, “what have we done.” We both know we are giving up something for something we feel is better. We also know we can make a change again if necessary. I believe we both know it’s going to take months or a year to get the hang of full-time travel. We both remain committed to doing this and although arriving back at the house was emotional, before we arrived, we both wanted nothing more than to get home to get rid of the house as soon as practical. We both know there will be additional emotional times to come.

Where are the pictures?

You are going to have to wait on a tour of our new home. I can see now why so many other bloggers don’t get their photos out as soon as they buy the trailer. It’s because we want to get it organized and decorated first. Putting our own stuff and touches inside the RV is what makes it home. That will be when we want to share more images. For now these few photos will have to make do.

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3,580 pounds of cargo space remaining even after all the options were added. This is with 7,000 pound axles and load G rated tires. We could have added factory optional 8,000 axles, disc brakes and H rated tires for even more capacity.

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And a closing note to our friends Dean and Cheri of Travels with Bentley Blog. They made a drive down from their summer spot in Kansas to see us while camped. Karen and I really enjoyed the visit! We are looking forward to the Escapees rally in October following Apple Butter Days in Mt. Vernon Missouri.

21 thoughts on “Taking Delivery of our RV and Trip Home

  1. I was going to leave a. Long comment, but I’m so excited for you that I need to just see you in person to get it all out! Lol..
    Love..your Sis

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    • June is not far away! We are also looking for a two week stay, at least, in the Mt. Vernon area for October. Still trying to figure out parking for Apple Butter days. As Karen and dogs are coming we will probably try and find the closet park to Mt. Vernon but have to be in Carthage the week after Apple Butter days.

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  2. Mark, I’ve been following your journey toward full-timing for quite a while now, and I wanted to extend my congratulations to you and your wife on reaching this wonderful milestone in your journey. Your new rig is lovely! This is an excellent blog post as it reflects both your to-be-expected anxiety and happy satisfaction, as well as providing a solid foundation for first time RVers. I would encourage you (and others) to pick up a surge suppressor without delay. I’m speaking from experience – our first sacrificed itself to save our electrical system when we plugged into an incorrectly wired pedestal. Best wishes to both of you for many happy and memorable years on the road!

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    • Thanks for following along Mary. I’m going to get a surge protector for sure. The more expensive ones also monitor for low voltage situations but at double the cost. I’m still thinking about what level of coverage to get. I’ve got a month to figure it out before our next trip. I do have an inexpensive gauge to plug in to check the 110 volt outlet on the pedestal but I know that’s not the same.

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  3. Sounds like a successful first trip, Mark! You certainly have plenty of cargo carrying capacity. If you are like me, once you are on the road, a sticks and bricks will feel confining. The view out the windows never changes…no matter how big the house is.

    On the surge protector: that’s the one item I buy the extra protection plan on at Camping World. If it gets fried, they replace it for a minimal charge for I think something like two years. I’ve fried a few of them, so it’s worth it.

    As always, feel free to PM me with questions.

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    • If one might go through them that fast maybe the Progressive with the lifetime warranty is the best bet? Although I’ve read the Surge Guard has a higher joules rating for surges. What brand would you recommend?

      I’m sure you remember the mad dash towards getting the house on the market! Our realtor reminded us what was going on in our lives when we built this house as a way to judge the timing to put it on the market. The short answer is the most likely family to buy this has two or less kids and are looking while school is out. If it sells quickly we are hoping the buyer will not want to move in for a period of time otherwise we are going to become full timers early. That was a reason to get the fifth wheel five to six months before hitting the road. Another reason being to get used to it and have some fun!

      Selecting the weight class (under 19,000 pounds) for our new fifth wheel and then buying a truck a few months earlier than the fifth wheel definitely turned out to be the best direction for us. Can’t even put a number to how many times the truck came in handy before we picked up the fifth wheel. And I believe getting used to the big truck eased the tension of hooking a heavy fifth wheel to it.

      Thanks for all the help over the past nearly five years! Both with your posts here and you wonderful blog. I’ll hit you up on your blog or a forum for sure.

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  4. Mark,
    Please comment on the decision to purchase your rig out of town. Concerns to do that might be less customer service from local dealers. At least that’s what appears to be consistent feedback from other forums and blogs.

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    • I’ve covered this topic in past posts. But in a nut shell, we are going full time and so service from a local dealership is of less importance. Finding the best deal from a reputable dealership within reasonable driving distance was more important. We also selected a brand of RV where exceptional customer service from the factory after sale is well documented. We are keeping a list of repairs and will be going to the factory for repairs. Other than that when we are traveling and have a problem if the local dealership will not be able to meet our needs while under warranty we will ask the factory to pay for a mobile tech. I would also prefer to go to someone who is in business to repair RVs and is not associated to a dealership whereby after warranty we will pay our of pocket.

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  5. Well done Mark and Karen! Jodi and I look forward to speaking with you about the details of taking delivery of your RV and your trip home. As you know, we will be doing the same in a week or two. I can relate to your comment about the emotions attached to your sticks & brick home. It will for sure be an emotional event when we sell our sticks & bricks. Amazing how attached to a place you can get when you’ve poured so much time, energy, and money into your home. Hopefully, the freedom we achieve will make letting go of the sticks & bricks worth it.

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    • Appreciated talking to you both on the phone. I put a few links in the post that included the radios we ordered.

      Helps Karen and me both to talk to people going through the same events.

      All our RV friends have made this transition to this point so much easier. I’ve tried to pass along all their advice in posts or on blog pages when I could.

      I often think about important events or activities or places from the past. Those memories are just a moment in time and it’s taken me a long time to figure out most cannot be repeated and most came about because of change. This house will be a memory within six months of moving out of it. Meeting friends like you would not have been possible without this change and I can already tell, like with Dean and Cheri came to visit at the state park, in just a short period we will have closer friends then we have now.

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  6. You’re already learning to jiggle with the Jello. Congratulations!!! The excitement builds. Tire pressure monitoring and surge protector are a must. We have them both and they’ve served us well. Our Progressive Industries electrical management system has saved us when we had a power strip start arcing, and the company is awesome to deal with if something happens to your surge protector. Tire pressure monitor has alerted us when we lost one of our cam plates, the tires got closer together and heated up, temps started spiking with the wheels involved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thinking about skipping the RV specific GPS for now. Our truck has an awesome system and I can use a Truckers atlas or low bridge phone application for now. Does that sound okay? I just don’t want any more clutter on the dash board than necessary.

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  7. Congratulations Mark on passing this major milestone! The next few months will test your resolve. Keep your eye on the prize, it is worth it.

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  8. Gorgeous rig Mark, congratulations! I also tried using my backup camera but quickly realized the alignment line Ford puts on my screen isn’t exactly in the middle after I put some reflective tape right on the centerline of the hitch. I found out that if I centered the hitch on the center rear headrest that it was much easier just to turn around and look and not use the camera. Probably better to look anyway as my camera isn’t as clear as just looking. I saw a guy the other day punch a hole in his front cap when backing up to the trailer. It looked like his hitch lever was a bit higher than his bed rails and it caught the front of the cap. Of course he was backing at light speed too, way faster than I ever do. Anyway – enjoy the new rig. Looking forward to your next posts. We’ve been on the road almost a year and love it!

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    • I like the idea of looking as well just to make sure the wife is not going to be run over. She stands back there to check to see if the pin is at the right height to hitch. We were also talking that the driver should get out and double check the person outside to make sure the tailgate is down or up and that the jaws are around the pin. So far we have been doing pull tests just to make sure it’s hitched before bringing the front jacks all the way up. Although on the B&W hitch it is super easy to see the jaws are closed.

      I’m sure we will get a system down – and one with no short cuts for sure.

      I’ve been worrying about making sure the break away cable does not get hooked around anything which would cause the trailer breaks to lock up such as during a turn. I’m using the same place to secure the cable on the hitch that the dealership showed me. So far so good.

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      • We do a pull test and check the jaws every time. Just before we picked ours up at the factory a guy totaled his truck when the trailer separated and fell on the truck 😦 Also, per the experts, don’t hook the break away cable to the hitch connect it to something else on the truck. If the hitch separates from the truck you want the brakes to apply. My dealer told me the same thing yours did but a truck driver friend set me straight.

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      • Totally makes since. If the hitch were to fail and come off, or even a piece that happened to connect the break-away, then the trailer breaks would never come on. I hope others read your comment as well!

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  9. Congrats! She’s a beauty! I can 100% understand the emotions. It’s bittersweet for sure! I’m sure you will find that it isn’t as hard as you think – once you are out here!

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