Friday, March 25, 2016

If it's not one thing, it's another

I'm beginning to think that owning an RV is a lot like owning a sailboat, only not quite as pricey. One of my friends used to sail. His description of the typical boat was "a hole in the lake into which you pour $100 bills." The Guppy isn't quite bad, but it does seem like the mere fact of moving the beast  means something is going to happen that's going to entail time, money, or both.

Latest example: We're now in Missouri. We left home Wednesday morning, weather was normal winter (kind of chilly but nothing unusual or terribly annoying happening). There were winter storm advisories out for southern Wisconsin, but we figured we'd do our usual overnight stop in Portage and that would take care of worries about driving through a blizzard. The storm was supposed to track through that part of the state in early evening and to have moved to bother Michigan by morning.

Well, we were more or less right. As we were getting to Portage, we spent maybe half an hour driving through some blowing snow and slush. The temperatures were right around freezing so things were sloppy, but no big deal. We got checked into the motel and relaxed for the evening. Went out in the morning and discovered the snow had continued to fall as a combination of rain and snow through the night. Despite being partially sheltered by the cab-over part of the Guppy, the windshield had thick ice on it, and that cab over part had icicles about a foot long dangling from it, kind of like in the photo below taken in March 2015 at Montauk State Park but all the way across and on both sides. The hood was frozen thoroughly shut, of course, so the S.O. got to do his usual cursing while knocking ice off it so he could get various fluid levels. In short, the Guppy looked like a prop from Frozen but no big deal: it was an annoyance, but wasn't going to stop us from continuing on our way.

Photo from last year; the area in question is right above the passenger door.
We hit the road, all seemed to be going well. There was still some slush falling in Portage, but we knew from watching the Weather Channel that the messiest part of the storm was to the north, not south, and it wouldn't take many miles for the snow to transition to sleet and then to just plain rain. We had knocked most of the icicles off that were dangling in front of the cab and I was amusing myself by watching the remnants to see how fast they'd shrink from the combination of rising air temperatures and heat generated by friction as the vehicle moved. That's when I noticed off to my side that there was a little piece of ice dangling by what appeared to be a fine thread of something. . .  What the heck? Didn't take me long to realize that the pea-sized lump of ice was dangling from a thin thread of silicon caulk.

I'm not sure just how long that little piece of ice dangled there, but it managed to do some damage. All the caulk the on the lower edge of the cab-over on the passenger side got pulled out. Caulk doesn't cost much and this isn't exactly a major repair, but it still means that as soon as the weather warms up a bit the S.O. gets to borrow the Younger Daughter's step stool and do some patching. And, given that ice coming loose messed up the caulking in that one area, he probably needs to go around the entire Guppy and make sure something similar didn't happen any place else. I am beginning to understand why some people buy an RV, drive it to a campground or resort, and then never move it again until they sell it.

It was a good thing we stopped when we did, because by the time we got here to Farmington, not only had all the caulk pulled out on that side of the cab-over, wind was starting to work its way under the fiberglass. Another hundred miles or so and things could have gotten ugly. 

On the positive side, all three plastic vent covers are still in place and in one piece. And, yes, Billy Cook, we are going to buy metal ones the next time we need a vent cover. Turns out aluminum costs about the same as plastic and is a lot more durable.


  1. I have had had two RV's" a tag along and a fifth wheel both driven to Alaska and back. December I bought a 1998 thirty-one foot (too big) class C motorhome. We haven't had it out yet, and though I haven't moved it from the driveway since i bought it I already see where I am going to have to put money into it - not counting $700 for title and registration. Hope it doesn't turn out to be a full time job and money pit.
    Happy trails
    the Ol'Buzzard

  2. Sell out and buy one of those $350,000 Class A jobs and become gypsies. A Used RV is like a used race horse - just a hay burner

  3. Blog Fodder, we have no interest whatsoever in owning a Leviathan, and from what I've seen at campgrounds, you can have just as many problems with leaks and similar weirdness the first time you hit the road with something fresh off the assembly line as with an RV that's got thousands of miles on it. If anything, because they keep adding bells and whistles to the new RVs, there's more stuff that can go wrong with a new one than with a thoroughly used one.


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