Sunday, March 20, 2016

Getting ready to hit the road

12 inches of fresh snow on St. Patrick's Day
We had a few days of exceptionally warm weather last week so we decided to pull the tarp off the Guppy and move it down close to the house. We hadn't bothered moving it last year when we left in February, but I decided I didn't feel like either having to carry everything several hundred feet or waiting until the last minute when it got moved so we could load the car on to the tow dolly. Turned out it was a good thing I was feeling a tad lazy.
When we pulled the tarp off, the S.O. discovered one of the ceiling vent covers was broken. Don't know if it shattered from the weight of snow on the tarp or if it broke from a combination of deterioration from cold weather and exposure to UV rays over the years, but it was definitely broken and needed to be replaced before we went anywhere. Our first thought was, "Oh, crap. We need to make a special trip to Ishpeming to Hilltop RV." Then we remembered Amazon. Amazon sells everything. I placed the order on Saturday; Tuesday afternoon we had a new vent cover. Actually, we had two. This is the second time we've had to replace one and have figured out they're made from such flimsy plastic that it would be a good idea to always have a spare on hand. (And, as long as I was busy spending money online, I also got two insulators/sun shields that can be placed on the inside of the vents. We now have a way to blackout the light from the ceiling if we ever spend a night in a Walmart parking lot again.)

Timing was on our side again, too, because the day after the S.O. replaced the shattered vent cover, a snowstorm rolled through that dumped over a foot of wet sloppy snow on us. The S.O. had covered the broken vent with plastic sheeting, but I don't think it would have done as good a job of keeping water out of the Guppy as the actual vent cover did.

The S.O. has done one significant repair and some minor tweaking to the interior in preparation for leaving. The significant repair was replacing the charger for the RV battery. The original equipment one had stopped recognizing when the battery was charged so would kept cranking out too much voltage. It wanted to boil the battery as well as fry ceiling lights. We got a new charger last month; it seems to work exactly the way it's supposed to. The minor stuff includes installing a radio/CD player in one of the cabinets in the dining/living area so we don't have to rely on the radio in the cab if we want tunes. That radio works okay, but it's awkward to get at and there's an issue with the volume. If it's loud enough for us to hear it okay while sitting in the living area, it's also loud enough for the camp sites next to us to hear it, which isn't good. The way the thing was installed there are speakers in the bedroom and there are speakers in the cab, but there was nothing in between. I suppose the S.O. could have figured out a way to wire in another set of speakers, but that wouldn't have eliminated the awkward part of getting at the controls. . . so he put in a new radio. Problem solved.

Other minor tweaks included installing latches to prevent the refrigerator doors from popping open while the Guppy is moving, which means no more worries about flying ketchup bottles, and converting the space where Cleo's litter box lived into usable storage. Now all I have to do is figure out what, if anything, to store there. The Guppy actually has more storage space than we need -- it's just not configured in a particularly handy way. Sometimes I really wonder just what the designers of RVs are thinking about when they come up with the configurations for cabinets and cubbyholes and what they laughingly call "closets." There are a lot of dead spots, places where you can shove stuff but you can't really see into very easily. I can stash a lot of stuff in the bedroom, but in order to access some of it I end up having to mimic a snake, crawling on the floor on my belly trying to reach the Rubbermaid totes that got shoved (or slid) all the way to the back.

All that storage space strikes me as a bit weird, too. After all, the Guppy is a recreational vehicle. Theoretically no one was planning to live in it permanently. Just how much stuff did the designers think the typical family was going to want to take with them on a family vacation? Keep in mind that in addition to the storage in the living area, there's also a ton of storage space underneath the thing -- multiple compartments for stashing lawn chairs and barbecue grills and sun shades and patio rugs.

In any case, now that the S.O. is done with his minor fixes and improvements, I can start loading clothes, books, my sewing and knitting stuff, and the groceries that won't be bothered by a few freezing nights before we leave. If all goes well, the only things left to load the morning we pull out will be canned goods and our toothbrushes.


  1. You can get metal roof vents that hold up better.

  2. I can't believe it's that time of year already.

  3. This is going to be a shorter trip than last year so no Texas this spring.


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