Three Months in… How are we Doing?
It’s been a little over three months and we are officially full time RV’ers. We packed up our big house and man did we have a lot of stuff. Thank goodness we started early. About 6 month before we actually bought the RV, we started planning and packing up our house including selling unwanted things on ebay. We separated out what we ‘thought’ we needed, what would go to storage and what we were ready to toss… I’m glad that’s over!
Picking up the RV
We bought our coach from the Motor Home Specialists in Alvarado, Texas. On April 4th, 2015. Why Texas? The options are plentiful, the prices are competitive and the people are great! Plus we got to go to a Texas rodeo for the first time. 🙂 Who wouldn’t want to miss that!
A great thing about this dealership is the RV park located on the dealership grounds. When a customer purchases an new RV (especially first timers like us) they let you stay for a few nights and train you on how the RV works. They use this as a sales tool to push you out of their consignment coaches and into their new/pre-owned coaches but i’m sure some negotiations on the buyer’s part can get around that policy. I won’t bore you with the details but they walked us through each button and switch on the entire coach. You can be sure I had my notepad out. These notes helped us make RV checklists that saved our bacon during our maiden voyages. You can checkout our post on RV checklists here. For those who don’t RV, checklists are a must-have as certain tasks need to happen in a specific order before traveling (or arriving) or you could easily damage your coach. For example, we need to make sure the coach’s front tires are straight before settling in or when the air suspension relaxes we could bend our front fenders! Experienced RV’s know this stuff but I wouldn’t have known that so we really appreciated the 5+ hours of hands on training they gave us. For another cool tip on avoiding mistakes check out these handy reminders that are under 20 bucks. We also had the chance to make sure everything was working properly before we pulled the RV off the lot; turing everything on and flipping every switch this way if something was broken it would be addressed before we hit the road. They also gave us a hands-on refresher on the driving characteristics of our new coach. Every coach is different and we appreciated the time and also the space to test our abilities in their huge lot with plenty of space to practice. Taking it slow and wide turns are key! With only a few small issues – light bulb here, door cabinet repair there – we were on our way!
Note: We’ve had quite a few folks ask us to write a more detailed review of our experience with Motorhome Specialists so we’ll be posting a dedicated article on that topic shortly. All of our comments are honest first person accounts, we are not paid by MHSRV.com nor did they know we were bloggers when we purchased the RV.
The Drive Back to Get Our Stuff
We were so excited to get down to Texas that we forgot a few key essentials. For all others who are picking up your RV and bringing it back home don’t forget to bring… linens, bath towels, a pot and pan, silverware and a few cups. Yes they give you a nice fancy pillow and blanket on that bed but remember there are no sheets underneath it! Let just say we were so used to just packing clothes and personal effects we didn’t even think about packing household needs. While a Walmart is always close by to purchase any of these items, (and we stopped and stayed at many of these on our quick trip back east) buying items that you already have always leaves me feeling like an idiot!
On the way back we also stopped in Houston to have a CruiserLift installed (more on this in a separate post coming soon). While getting this done we made friends with another couple getting the lift. Tom and Jodi, our first RV friends. They were really friendly and informative; sharing stories and teaching us about the AllStays App. The AllStays App made the ride back east much smoother. Helping us find RV friendly gas stations, campsite and Walmart’s to park at for the night. It was an awesome feeling to get reassurance from another couple that you can really do this and it’s fun! So a big thank you to Tom and Jodi hope to see you again soon.
First Driving Experience
While I have yet to drive this bad boy, Erik has been the captain of the “Black Pearl.” The “Black Pearl” is what we have decided to call this new boat of a home we now live in (thats the Entegra official paint scheme name lol). We managed to get back to CT in one piece. A few first time driving tips:
- Invest in walkie-talkies. This helped communicate while backing into spaces or maneuvering around some tight spots. Here are the ones we use. They have a reliable charging base, good range and a built in flashlight which comes in handy when checking your tire pressure in dark places.
- Look up! While I was doing a great job at making sure we didn’t run over anything our couch is almost 13 feet high and power lines and trees can always be an issue. As a spotter, stand back and get your entire coach in your field of view.
- If you’re not sure – don’t attempt it. Turing around in a 45 footer (now 50 because of cruiserlift) is not easy. So our new rule of thumb is if you’re not sure wait for a better option.
- Take is slow – What’s the rush? Taking it slow gives us more time to react to traffic and unexpected situations. We take our time, especially while in tight quarters.
Please let us know of any other first time driving tips or stories to warn other newbies. We are only a few weeks in and could definitely use the advice.
Sake, our Cat is loving his new home too. While most days he enjoys his usual spots the couch, the chair, the bed, but every once in a while we will find him in some more peculiar spots. We’ll post more pictures of him enjoying the RV as well as him learning to walk on a leash which is his new favorite thing to do (going outside).
We made it in one piece back to CT and headed straight to Riverdale Campsites in Madison CT. We loved this campsite because of its close proximity to our home in Stamford, CT. For other travelers interested in exploring New York City this is a great spot as you can keep your rig out of NYC while being less than an hour from Grand Central Station (Take the Metro North – New Haven Line Train). There are also plenty of cool things to checkout in the Madison area, we highlighted some of them in our area review post.
So all in all pretty good. We are adjusting to our new life and close quarters as a couple. The first couple weeks Erik suffered from some pretty bad allergies and I got a nasty cold that I fought off. Change is always a little weird, especially when your home, car and job are all wrapped up in one basket but so far we honestly don’t have any regrets. We are definitely glad we took the plunge and went with a diesel pusher above a gas model because we are so reliant on our coach working 100% of the time. As we are learning no RV is perfect but our Entegra Coach has so far been excellent. We’ll post more on that later as well as another update on how we are doing!
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