Tucson is a couple of weeks behind me now. I spent a week slowly heading west with a few stops for golf before getting to Redlands, California to leave my coach for the first phase of my planned upgrades. Redlands Truck & RV Service has constructed 11 sites with power, water and sewer (just like a regular campground) in their offsite storage area, just 2 blocks from the service center. They call it The Grove, since it’s lined with lemon and orange trees, free for the picking. I snagged one of each. Haven’t tried the lemon yet, but the orange was FABULOUS!
Since the coach was gonna be up on lifts and torn apart, I went to stay out at US Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, near Oceanside. Pendleton is a HUGE base; approximately the same size as the state of Rhode Island. I had great plans for some golf and bike rides, but the weather turned out rather unfriendly for the week. I was winded out of one round, rained, hailed, and sleeted out of another 🤬 and rained out of a bike ride or two. I managed to squeeze a short but fun ride in on my last day before meeting some good friends in San Clemente for an amazing dinner.
The coach was finished on time, even with a few discoveries along the way which added on to the list…….. and cost. It’s a little disconcerting to walk up to the coach after spending $25,000 and not see any real evidence of difference, but that’s because nearly all the work in this phase was exterior and underneath. The one easily visible addition was a new electric cable reel, which not only has freed up some room in the compartment, but is far easier than hand coiling the cable.
I had a tankless hot water heater installed, though I’m not sure it was worth it. On a practical level I thought it would save me from filling up my gray water tank as quickly, since I had to run the water for a minute or so before it got hot. On an ecological level, I am very aware and sensitive to water issues and wastage, especially in the west. In homes the tankless seems to be virtually instantaneously hot. So far, in the coach it takes almost as long to get hot as with the conventional water heater, so I don’t seem to have actually achieved either goal. Doh!!!!
I had the engine compartment sprayed with a foam insulation designed to cut down on engine noise and heat radiating into the cockpit.
The DOOZY of the whole scheme was, of course, the LiquidSpring suspension system I had installed. The install replaced the entire rear suspension, replaced the front shocks with high performance Koni shocks and add a Safe-T-Plus steering assist system. Apparently it was even more of a challenge to install than they were expecting because seemingly peculiar to the construct of the floorpan of my coach, they had to remove the generator and the propane tank in order to have room to be able install the rear system. Not permanently, just so they could do the install. But they got it in and all is well.
The one big add-on, other than the several hours of additional labor for the propane/generator work-around was two new front tires. The alignment was apparently so bad (both wheels were canted and toed-in) that the two outer tread lanes were completely worn through after only 30,000 miles. I’m now newly aligned an after 3 years, I finally have a the load weights on each wheel individually and both axles as well as my overall, fully loaded gross weight.
I’ll be back to Redlands in June for Upgrade Phase II which is all interior, with recliners replacing my sleeper sofa and a complete reconstruction of my dinette/workstation. For now I’m off to Las Vegas for the better part of a month before circling back to the Southern California area and then back to Redlands. The drive this afternoon to my overnight stay in Barstow was a dream. The LiquidSpring DEFINITELY makes a big difference in drivability and ride, and the engine noise is greatly reduced, especially going up mountains. I didn’t have to turn my radio up even once.