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About Bill&Anneli

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    Full time on the road
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    Cycling, hiking and Class A diesel pushers

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  1. With our limited experience I would just chime in that if you want to stay away from RV parks and pefer boondocking - you should focus on the biggest tanks you can get and the most solar power you can fit on the rig - those things would matter more than class A or C, or things like floorplans etc. The key regarding floorplan for us was to be able to access bathroom, fridge etc with slides in - we can't always put our slides out where we park and wanted to make sure we could sleep and live comfortably with slides in. Also, things like insulation is a big deal because you have to run AC/heater more conservatively while "off the grid" than when you hook up to shore power. And a high quality "residential" bed was a must for us, sleeping on some of the RV beds/cusions we found in lower end rigs would be fine for trips, but not for fulltime for us. For those reasons we ended up with a higher end class A. And yes, it is very beautiful and feels way more extravagant and elegant than what we "need". But it has the quality furniture that can take the "abuse" of fulltime living, (I have a low tolerance for cheap flimsy plastic things that break....), the type of insulation and heating system we wanted for "all weather" camping and the type of engine, size tanks etc etc. that we felt would best fit our needs. Good luck !
  2. We called Miller insurance and they were very knowledgeable about full time RV needs. They were able to help us schedule those higher value items that are not fully covered by the general policy, like higher value jewelry, special items in storage, carbon bikes etc etc. You need to "schedule" certain items, dont assume your $4,000 bike is covered....
  3. Hello all! Just as an update, we arrived at Rainbow's end in Livingston November 1, wihtout major incidents. We have learned that driving on weekdays is better - we had a problem with some sort of coolant sensor and Freightliner is not open on Sundays. We found this out along I-5 in southern Oregon on a lovely 70 degree sunny October Sunday afternoon... Freightliner said dis-connect your town and go buy some coolant (becuase you should not add it while your engine is hot - so no driving the motorhome). We pulled into a rest stop, as Bill took off in the Jeep - I got a little stool out, sat outside the motorhome at the rest stop, enjoying the fall sun, and started reading the Freightliner manual. BOY - it has a LOT of good info in it!!! So advice to newbies: -it is good to read all those manuals - even though it is so overwhelming at first - try to read a little every here and then. Like when you have 2.5 hours to kill while your husband goes to fetch OAT on a Sunday afternoon... As I sat there I felt lucky that it was not puring down rain, or freezing, or 100 degrees and humid, and that I had googled that Oregon allows 14 hour stays at rest stops. Somewhere deep down I felt like I became an RVer that day - managing to enjoy myself while stranded at a rest stop..... My prior self would probably have been crying.... But I found myself smiling, knowing we would be ok. I was very touched by the many RVers who pulled into that rest stop and got out of their rigs and asked me if I was OK and needed any help. Thank you to all of you who do that !!!! Another thing we learned: when you have an un-expected stop (like sitting at Freightliner in Phoenix for several hours) - and they have everything ready for you at 4 pm. YOU DON'T HAVE TO leave.... be smart - wait til tomorrow - or at least til rush-hour is over. It is not fun, or safe, to drive your rig thru downtown any big city in rush hour - that stress we brougt on ourselves. We could have stayed at Fregithliner til the following morning...BUT we felt rushed to get to our destinatation.... DON'T RUSH yourselves.... AND - DRUMROLL!!!! - we graduated Bootcamp on Sunday - some of the info we had already learned (the hard way)- and we learned a lot of new stuff, and got a lot of good advice. Not sure that you need to run out and buy all those gadgets - RVers sure love all their gadgets ! And get your RV and vehicle weighed..... it's a safety issue. In hindsight, we did it the hard way - the day we picked up this beautiful, complicated coach was the first day we lived in it full time - with no prior RV experience. But we are catching up - so, last advice- to those of you still thinking about going full time: do it anyway that suits you - you will be ok - and even if you don' take all the good advice given to you (like rent before you buy, start simple and work your way up etc etc) - you will be ok, its just a matter of how resilient you are. And make sure you have a little buffer in your budget when starting out - there are a lot of up-front expenses that evens out over time and a lot of things to buy- the first couple of months are EXPENSIVE. I think we're in this for the long haul :-) Happy travels, see you out there !
  4. You guys are awesome, love reading all the comments. As for us, we made it in one piece (both of us, the Ventana and and the Jeep) all the way "home" to Oregon. It was a long and crazy drive from Tampa Florida. We hit all kinds of weather, learned that we are a huge target for 40 mph wind gusts, and thanks to Bill's very expert driving skills we were fine- althoug we did see a couple of 5th wheels as well as a class A lying on the side on the interstate, knowing that could have been us was scary. We also learned that when there are no Semi-trucks on the road - GET OFF THE ROAD!! and hunker down somewhere safe - in our case that was lightning and incredible wind with rain like we have never seen (and we are from Oregon). The entire motorhome was rocking when parked in the storm. And all of you are right, now a month into this adventure the stresslevel is down, learning curve is still steep, but does not feel as overwhelming and we are having more fun. We are currently parked at the Newmar dealer/service center in our home town to take care of some warranty items - thankfully nothing really big. Oh, also we had to come over the pass in un-expected snow (yes it very rarey snows here in September so we thought we would be fine) so Bill took someone's advice and turned off the engine break, and used the breaks for all 5,000 ft of decent off the mountain. BAD idea- the breaks were smoking and very Stinky, I could still smell the break stink in the bedroom when we went to sleep that night even after washing sheets, opening all the windows etc etc. So, yes, we are still learning :-) And we are learning that most mistakes you can learn from, and they are not fatal. And we have found the Newmar Ventana face book group who has been incredibly helpful as many of our questions/issues also apply to them and most have the same or similar equipment/appliances etc. Thanks again for being so encouraging, we are really looking forward to RV boot camp in Livingston, and now we have some stories of our own to share and a MILLION new questions - LOL. Best !😀 Bill&Anneli
  5. Thanks to all - this is a very kind and reassuring community - I did add the signature line - hope it worked. Today we are celebrating surviving week one - nodbody died and the coach is still in one piece so we call that success. And - I will the advice for the newbies from these newbies: Even though you do all the things they advise, start scouring the various forums, watch u tube videos, learn and read all you can for for months and months before that first class A - there is probably no way around being overwheled by your first one so just hang in there. Thanks again and we will continue to read these forums. They are very helpful even if they can not completetly prepare you for what it feels like to wake up on a space ship.
  6. Like I said, IRS does not care about your state income tax...... the states do, but not the IRS...
  7. Thank you for the reasuring words... so to answer your question about Boot camp... yes we signed up 6 months in advance - all set to go in August in our own back-yard in Coos Bay, Oregon where we know the roads, know the places to go... we thought we were on top of it. Make plans and God laughs.... We left Oregon August 2nd in our Jeep that we planned to tow behind that Dutch Star we had arranged to buy down in California about 800 miles away. Packed for a short trip, just down to pick up, then back home to Oregon and straight to boot camp.... We were about 400 miles into the trip to pick up the motorhome in Callifornia when the private seller went squirly and the deal fell thru (yes, we had inspections done in advance, had agreed upon a price etc etc). So now what ??? We hunkered down in a hotel in California and scoured the internet for the type of coach we wanted for a few days... talked with Newmar dealers in Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Florida - all over. Because we knew exactly what we wanted... nobody had the right fit for us. We put the right word out - if anything comes in on trade call us... We spent a week on the sunny beaches of California near LAX - ready to fly out at a moments notice for the right coach.... One day this nice lady from Florida calls and says one of her clients has ordered a larger coach and is brining in the model we were looking for.... but it would be a couple of weeks before his new coach arrives, so they can't actually sell it to us for 2-3 weeks.... We said sounds great, put our name on it at paid a deposit. We waited for a few more days in Los Angeles trying to decide how to spend the next 3 weeks... after a few more days we decided we don't like LA and decided to start driving east... we could always fly from Phoenix. Got there and it was 116 degrees so we kept driving.. decided we can fly from Dallas... too busy and besides there was this Margaritaville in Shereveport Lousiana that looked fun, so we kept driving.... Someone in Louisiana said we absolutely had to go to Orange Beach in Alabama - whitest sand beaches in the country she said... so we kept driving... Two weeks later we roll into Tampa Florida, and our coach is ready next day for pick up , and it came with the blue ox for the Jeep - how perfect :-) ..... Well.... the Jeep has a custom front bumper and a special order knuckle part is needed to connect the jeep.... Everyone so nice, we can just stay here for a week or so and learn the coach, get the jeep hooked up - right ? Then there was this thing called Hurrican Dorian..... so after two days in Tampa we decide to get out of dodge of the Hurricane. Jeep is not hooked up so one drives the jeep the other the coach.... we drive north... guess what - all the people in florida are evacuating - and all campgrounds in this part of Georgia are full !! so first night we slept with slies in parked at a Pilot Truck stop.... next night 200 miiles further north the Camping World Manager was kind enogh to let us stay in their parking lot and hook up to their 50 amp... people have been soooo kind to us. So here we are, our 4th night finally in a camp ground ... with full hookups.... and yes we missed Boocamp on 8/22 back in Oregon. Now we are signed up for the next one in Livingston Texas in November - hope to see you all there :-)
  8. All I can say is that we are grateful everytime someone offers to help and we are newbies. The advice is not always the "right" way for our type of RV. I think of it kind of like golfing... everybody gives you advice. Just smile and say thank you - they mean well. Some advice you take to heart, other things you forget right as you say thanks. And I'd rather have someone offer to help than to feel all alone out there. Isn't the best part of RV-ing the "community" and all you awesome people being friendly ? Common sense applies, read the cues, when someone does not want to be interrupted or helped, you can tell by their body language...
  9. Before taking off in your new RV on your new adventure....here is some advice for newbies from a couple of newbies, 4 days into our first time, brand new coach, AND at the end a question for you experienced RVers. Here goes.... Before you take off in your new RV - make sure you have someone who has the same brand/make/model of your coach that can give you advice. We just bought a very nice class A -and we have been on the road for 4 days. Our walk thru was VERY thorough, many hours, we took notes, video etc. Our dealer has been awesome, they took all the time we needed, and even came with us to the first camp ground to set up the first time, sent their techs etc over the next 2 days to answer questions etc etc. STILL we wake up feeling like we are on a space ship- and we don't know how anything works.... the manual either does not say or is in 'greek' - when it says AC it is not referring to Air Conditioning, it is referring to Alternating Current.... Questions are endless: Slides out before or after jacks down (dependes on manufacturer it turns out) Turn generator off before or after hooking up to shore power upon arrival? When do you turn the inverter on ? When do you turn the ignition off upon arrival ? before you turn off the generator ? after hooking up to shore power ? you do need the ignition on for extending the jacks... Do you leave your water pump on all the time ? when do you turn it off ? How low can you run your fresh water tank ? to 0%? or is it like the diesel tank, you can't go below 1/4 tank before generator shuts off (this one we actaully remembered from the walk thru). They told us 4 times to not start the generator with both A/C units running - what do we do ? forget the first time of course.... When you are at a rest stop 3 hours into your maiden voyage and have no power and generantor won't start - don't panic and think you somehow shorted the whole coach out... Our advice: make sure you have a phone number to call - someone who cares about you and will take your call on a Sunday afternoon... the manufacturer number may only give you VM - even the 24 hour hotline and they don't call you back til maybe Monday or Tuesday. We did not know enough to ask any of this stuff before taking off, and plenty of it we were told, but after a several hour walk-thru it is all a blur... and you don't actually grasp it all. And clearly we were not paying close enough attention when the dealer helped us set up that first camp.... We were so lucky that our sales person cared enough about us to give us the phone number of the service shop foreman - and he even answers his phone while on a cook-out with his family on Labor day. What a guy ! Did I menton that we came from Oregon to buy a coach in Florida -so we are VERY far from home, far from family and friends... All you experienced RV-ers are soooooo kind, but you all have your ideas of how to do things- and you all have different types of RV's - so while you are awesome and always ready to help, it is overwhelming to get conflicting advice, and sometimes advice that is not right for your RV. For instance, we were told no wheels off the ground when jacks are down, need blocks, when jacks are extended. Well...turns out, it depends on whether you have a gas or diesel coach... So its hlepful if that trusted phone number is someone who knows what you bought and what that manufacturer recommends... We are feeling a little "shell shocked" at this point - AND in awe of all the kind people out here willing to help us. My question for you experienced RVers - did you ever want to just return the coach to the dealer when the learning curve felt too steep ? and just forget about the whole thing; or did you love it from the first day ? This kind of feels a bit like parenting.... very overwhelming and very steep learning curve and no instruction manual that tells you every little step and the right order to do things... Now that our son is an adult I hear myself congratulating new moms and saying things like "you will love it... enjoy, time goes so fast....." Maybe I should instead tell them the truth I learned along the way - it does not really matter if the baby has low ankle or high ankle shoes when learning to walk - he will walk and his ankles will be fine. All that matters is that you care enough and love that baby enough to worry about it. I should next time I run into a brand new mother.... I wonder if this RV is the same way... maybe it does not matter in which order you do some things, maybe the little things will take care of themselves if you only care, keep trying and stay calm and carry on? When does the fun start ?
  10. Sounds like the park owner is being audited by the IRS or other state or local taxing agency. Fulltimers have to worry about domicile and whehter they file income tax in their state of domicile, if required. IRS doesnt care where or if you pay state tax. Fulltimer RV status does not affect your fiing status with the IRS. IRS won't call you or come knocking un-announced on your door (whether in a house or RV). IRS will send you letters. They dont email or call. Lots of scams out there, don't fall for them. Any IRS agent should give you their badge number before you answer any questions in person - ofcourse by then you will have gotten many many letters and you already know what they want and what's going on.... Always consult IRS.gov if you have questions, or want to know your rights, unless you have a trusted tax professional by your side. Be ware of scams.
  11. Thank you to all for the thoughts, we did read the article on this topic in escapees magazine from a few years back, we both have worked in the financial services industry so are familiar with how these contracts work. What we don't know is what to expect in terms of repairs etc on a 450hp Cummins Diesel engine, the chassis, allison transmission and all the "house stuff". Is there such a thing as an "average" amount to be expected on repairs (not wear and tear that is not covered)? probably not.... We are looking to buy a used Newmar Dutchstar 2015 for what it is worth in case there are any Newmar owners out there that may have additional comments. We are having it inspected and the prior owners have provided maintenance records. Maybe after the inspection we will feel more ready to make a decision on this. Thanks again!
  12. 10% of purchase price would be $21,000, if we don't have that to set aside - are we fools for purchasing the motor home?
  13. Thank you Sandy, so what does it cost to repair a 450hp diesel engine ?
  14. Hello, We are purchasing our first DP motor home, not mechanically inclined so will not be doing any of our own mechanical work. We are looking at the extended warranty plans out there, GoodSams offers one for a 2015 Dutchstar (which is what we are considering) for $1629/yr with a $1,000 deductible, that is for comprehensive. Does anyone have any experience with these types of extended warranties ? or any advise for us ? Thanks so much !
  15. Hello, We are also shopping for a class A - we have looked and looked on the common websites (RV trader etc) as well as talked with probably 20 different dealers all across the country. Right now we have made an offer on a coach about 650 miles away. The seller is a private party. He has e-mailed maintenance records to us and we have hired an inspector to do an "on site" - i.e. he will go to the coach. Not as thorough inspection as brining it to a service shop and hooking everything up for 2-3 days. We thought we'd start with the shorter inspection and if the report is good, go down there, look & test drive. Maybe then take it to the service shop for a full look-over. We are first time RV buyers, so don't have any experience ourselves. Any other suggestions on a better way to go about this process form those of you more experienced ?
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