Well, we’re a good ways in to 2021 and while I’ve been quiet, I’ve still been making plans. So, let’s catch up a bit.
- I’m still in Tucson, AZ. I’ll be here until March 1st.
- I had a bit of a maintenance issue with my road bike when I arrived and it took three and a half months to get replacement parts from Japan. Thanks COVID. I’ve finally gotten back on the road in the last week. Yay!
- I’ve done a bit of hiking and a whole lot of golfing
- Since mid November I’ve been working as an independent contractor for Amazon Flex. Think Uber, except for packages and groceries vice people. I work when I want, the money’s not bad for extra cash and it gives me something to do. Win, win, win.
- I’ve got some MAJOR upgrades planned for the coach………
For the past year or so I’ve been considering either purchasing a new motorhome or doing some upgrades to this one. A few things have driven me in the “upgrade” direction. If I was getting a new coach I’d be switching to a diesel and that is significantly more expensive. In fact, to outfit it the way I’d like, nearly double what this coach cost me. 2020 was a banner year for RV sales, again thanks to COVID and prices are currently at a premium. Not a good time to buy. I had a lot of difficulty finding a unit I liked as much as my current one and I won’t spend that kind of money without complete satisfaction of all my “wants.”
So Upgrade it is. In early March I’ll be heading to Redlands Truck & RV in Redlands, California.
The biggest and most costly upgrade will be a complete replacement of what is laughingly called the “suspension” on this coach. Look, it’s a truck frame and quite frankly, it rides like a truck. Or probably more accurately, like a Conestoga wagon. It’s really nothing more than leaf springs and the optional sumo springs I had put on when I built it don’t help very much. Every bump and jar from the road is a kidney threatening and coach shuddering jolt. Things like uneven turns cause quite a bit of body sway and have led on more than one occasion to things being thrown across the inside as I’m driving. The solution: Liquid Spring.
My entire rear “suspension” set-up will be removed and replaced with this Compressible Liquid Adaptive Suspension System (CLASS). Here’s how it helps:
Along with what you see in red, which is the rear install, I will be getting high performance shocks and a system to help maintain steering control, especially should I get in to an emergency situation, like needing to swerve suddenly, or control during a front wheel blowout on my front wheels.
Along with this I’m having the engine compartment insulated with a compound that will reduce engine noise and heat transfer into the coach. Lugging this thing up mountains can get pretty ear splitting at times.
I’m having my 6-gallon hot water heater replaced with a tankless unit. It’s not that I’ve ever run out of hot water. 6-gallons is certainly enough for one person. But, it does take a minute or two of running the water before it heats up. That’s water just filling up my holding tank with no use. Generally not a problem when I’m hooked up to a sewer line, but there are many times when I’m not. Also I can’t stand the idea of essentially “wasting” that water, particularly when I’m out west. I’m hoping to have a powered cable reel installed for my 50-amp electrical cable. This is really just a nice to have thing, instead of having to manually stuff my cable into its compartment. There’s some question as to whether the reel will fit, so that’s not a done deal.
There’s also some significant work to be done on the interior, but unfortunately this is going to require a second visit to Redlands, probably in early June.
I have a great big sofa. It’s rather uncomfortable to sit on and it does not face my TV. In fact, I don’t really have any comfortable place to sit in the coach, so it’s time to remedy that. I will be replacing the sofa with a double reclining sofa, so almost like theater seating. Two recliners, a drop down center console, USB and power outlets, cup holders….the works. The unit is also shorter than my current sofa, so I should have room for a small side table. Unfortunately, the model I wanted was out of stock, so I have to wait for their next delivery, which right now appears to be late May.
Of course, there’s not much point in having this great seating and reclining arrangement if it doesn’t face my source of entertainment, so I have to move the TV. One of the four anyway. This is going to involve some complicated and custom work. What I’m hoping to do is take the TV down from here….
….and move it to here….
What should happen is that the table top, which slides out, will get permanently mounted. Everything on the left 2/3 of the unit will be taken out and a TV Lift unit will be put in, so that the TV will lift up and pop out of the top. I’m hoping to be able to keep the 3 drawers on the right. Redlands was not sure they could do exactly what I want, but we will work all that out when I’m there in March for the Liquid Spring install. Then they can hopefully do that when I return in June, assuming my recliner unit has arrived by then.
So it’s some big bucks (although minuscule compared to a new coach) and big changes ahead. Till then, a few more weeks of golfing, hiking, riding and Flexing.