Luckily, we made it home to Indiana without any more problems. On our journey back, we learned what we needed to do each night that we stopped and slept at a campground. We learned to extend and retract the slides (by the simple push of a button). We had 3 slides, 2 in the kitchen and living room that were opposite each other which really made the living space nice. The other slide was in the bedroom. We learned the different hose connections. There is a black tank for sewage, a gray tank for kitchen and showers. Pop showed us how to empty and flush out each hose which is a necessity after each trip. We needed a 50 AMP power connection (some are 30 AMP, but the bigger you go, the more electricity you need. There is also a standard 110 volt plug that comes with the hook up).
We were so happy with our first 5th wheel! There was an electric fireplace that could be used for heat or just for ambiance. The island gave me a lot of counter space with storage built in. There was a pull-out couch and a table with chairs. It came with the original leather Euro chairs which we later switched out with 2 rocker recliners that we bought at a surplus store. Which in itself is a story.
My parents live in northern Indiana where a lot of RVs are made. There was a surplus store near them. I had seen an advertisement for some leather rocker recliners for $150 each. RV furniture is expensive, so that was a good deal. They were exactly what we were looking for. I went with my parents and was pleased with what I saw. I bought a pair. They were loaded into the back of my Jeep in boxes. I was able to see one since one end of the box was already opened. They would not let me open the other box because it was on a fork lift and they were using the fork lift to put it into the Jeep. I noticed that a corner was slightly crushed which worried me a bit. I wouldn’t be able to open the boxes until I was back in southern Indiana where I lived (it was such a tight fit in the back and my husband wasn’t there to help so there was no way to unload to check it and then load it back). There was a money-back guarantee but I lived 4 hours away. So of course when I opened it up, there was a small tear in the leather at the bottom. It just seems to happen that way with me. I called the company and was given the run around. I sent pictures and was told I could bring them back. I explained how that was not possible and asked for a discount. Then the “leather” started to bubble the first time they were used. They refused and ended up blocking my from their website. So the lesson here is: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Mom and Pop stayed on the pull-out couch while Dave and I slept in the king bed. A king bed was crucial to us since someone, no names mentioned here, flops around like a fish during the night and I am a very light sleeper. My RSD also affects my sleep since I am in constant pain and some nights sleep evades me.
The used 5th wheel also had a toilet room and a shower and sink that were open to the master bedroom. There was a plastic partition that could separate it, but we never used it. The toilet room was very small, especially for Dave who is 6’3″. We ended up closing the wood sliding door that separated the living area from the bedroom area and not closing the toilet room door so it wasn’t so claustrophobic. You learn to adapt to your surroundings.
We loved the layout of this one, but it was too small and there was no room for an office where Dave could work peacefully. There was also some upkeep that our old one needed. One thing was a new awning. We were almost home from one of our trips when Dave accidentally took a turn that was too tight and ended up broadsiding a telephone pole with our awning. Luckily, it was only the awning that was hit and not the 5th wheel itself. You can bet that he won’t make that mistake again! We are living and learning, that is for sure. Other upkeep included resealing around the sinks, fixing the filter under the kitchen sink, sealing the roof, balancing the washer, fixing a hole in a wall panel, etc.
A hole in the wall, you say? Yes, I would love to gloss over the hole but I won’t. That is another live and learn moment. The hole was due to a computer bag that had shifted during travel. We were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in Gulf Shores, Alabama. We had just arrived and I was extending the living room slide when I heard a horrible noise. The noise was made by the computer bag getting squished in between the wall and the slide, thus making a hole. I was horrified, but you can bet that I will never make that mistake again. I now check all slides before extending or retracting them.
So back to the story. We thought that by buying new, we wouldn’t encounter all these problems being that it is a new unit. Buying new turned out to be huge problem, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
We found our new 5th wheel at Camping World, London, OH. The day we went to see it, we had no intentions of buying it. We just wanted to see if the floor plan worked for us and our needs. In buying a new home or automobile it seems that compromise is in order if both people want different things. I ended up having to compromise since I didn’t want to buy a 5th wheel that was longer than 40 feet and this one was 42 feet long. State Parks normally don’t allow any RV that is longer than 40 feet and one of my dreams was to visit State Parks all over the United States. I also had to compromise on the amount of counter space in the kitchen. There were other makes and models that offered more counter space. I really want to start cooking like I did before being diagnosed with RSD (Reflexive Sympathetic Dystrophy also known as CRPS). Standing for periods of time creates more pain on top of the constant pain that I already suffer from. My thought was that since I wouldn’t have tons of housework like I did when we owned a house, then I would have more energy and pain tolerance to start cooking again. The jury is still out on that one, so I will have to update you later.
As I write this, I am thinking to myself, “Am I the only one who compromised?”. Hmm, never thought about that. Dave got his office, automatic leveling system, and a residential refrigerator. I might need to have a conversation with him later about this. Well, our conversation revealed that he compromised on a 6 point automatic leveling system and only got a 4 point. We had manual leveling on our previous one. If Dave says that he compromised, so be it. Since I am the one writing this, then I must say I compromised a lot more than he did. Just sayin’.
Now back to us buying a new 5th wheel. We loved the floor plan of the Highland Ridge Open Range 3X427BHS. The bunk house could be Dave’s office/dog room which also has a half bath and second entry/exit door. Three dogs equal lots of stuff and we needed room to store it. It had a standing dinette set (4 chairs and a table with 2 extensions instead of a booth), king bed with room to walk around the bed, an enclosed bathroom (some have a separate room for toilet with a sink and shower in a different room like our previous one), washer/dryer hook up (there was room for separate units instead of a combined machine which takes much longer to do a load) and 5 slides which gave us a total of 427 sq. ft. to live in.
One thing that Dave and I both agree on is that we love the bathroom. He would also say that he loves the 50 in. tv that came with the unit, me, not so much. Our bathroom has 2 entries. One from the hallway going up to the bedroom and the other is in the bedroom. It has a beautiful glass vessel sink, medicine cabinet, 4 drawers and 2 cabinets that give us lots of storage, RV toilet and glass enclosed shower. We absolutely love our shower. It is just shy of 4 ft by 2 ft. A very nice size for an RV. It has an integrated seat and a shower head that rivals home shower heads. It has a sky light in the shower, so you can feel like you are bathing in nature (the same feeling like I experienced for over a year in Matagalpa, Nicaragua as a missionary. I bathed in a small enclosed outdoor space that had no roof and you were bathed in sunshine as you showered.) The bathroom has been the only room where we haven’t had major issues, just a cracked door where the handle was installed and scratches on the inside of the sky light. It has been our refuge where all troubles melt away for a bit with the sun on our face and the spray from the water. If only we could live in an unending shower so our bliss was not taken away so soon…