August 27, 2012

I Clear Out More I Find More

Since my last post telling you about test driving different potential tow vehicles, I have moved more things to recycling.  I have pulled more clothes from the closet for my next Goodwill run to the larger town 25 miles away. During this time of doing a room at a time, I find more things I would do to the house if I were staying here. So I really need to do them and I think some things can be done while the For Sale sign is in the yard.

I am not a "pack rat", never have been nor will be ... but it is amazing how one person can collect so much stuff over the years. I do a lot of downsizing on an annual basis, so this is why it is so surprising to me as I move through each room, just how much stuff has accumulated.

The next thing to sort are books, my music collection and my IU sports collection. What do I do with them? When I say books, I am not talking a lot of books but these are the books that survived the last time I went through and cleared out books. My music collection is nothing more than obnoxious. Ranging from LP's (vinyl), to cassette tapes (over 300 ea), to CD's (close to 400), a dvd movie collection and a collection of IU football and basketball games on VCR tapes and DVD's, dating back to the first VCR player/recorder in 1985.

So I guess I am at the hard part of getting rid of some things that I really like, still listen to, still read or look through ... I am not sure what to do with them ... storage is not an option.

Throughout my busy day at work and the time home in the afternoon, one thought kept moving through my head pretty consistently. That was, a Toyota Tundra Pickup, with a cab high bed shell and a trailer. Still when I went back and looked at some Class C's along with the BT Cruiser that I had bookmarked.....I like the advantages of them and wanted them just as much as a truck and trailer. LOL

Even though I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff this weekend, I still have a lot to do and it's like a never ending battle. I did sell one of my bedroom chests within hours of texting the pics to my friends. I am having no luck selling my spare set of wheels and tires on Craig's List, except the Nigerian that wanted my name, address and phone number so his company could send me a check and his shipper could stop by this small out of the way Midwestern town to pick the wheels and tires up. In a reply to his email I just attached a link of his name that I found on google showing he was from Nigeria...never heard back from him.

Someone at work today asked me if I thought you could RV full-time on a "shoestring budget". He and his wife would love to do that but being cash strapped due to life, I'm not sure it would be a good idea. I told them I have no experience in RVing so I couldn't answer that but to me traveling in anything across the country on a full-time basis, on a "shoestring budget" is pretty dangerous. I told him to talk to another co-worker that had the huge Chevy dual axle pickup and the 38' 5th wheels for the RV experiences, not the monthly expenditures.

So, the thought of the day ... do I want to get on the road the fastest way and that is buying a truck and a trailer for less than I would spend on a Class C. Or do I need to wait? I don't want to touch my savings, like I have said before. Now I do have a savings for just RVing that has been increasing, but the best way to raise cash is selling the house.

Truck / Trailer or Class C towing a small 4x4 vehicle? Or just a Class with no toad?

I wish I would really make up my mind ... very very frustrating.

August 25, 2012

Test Driving Tow Vehicles

After taking a load to the local recycling center, I headed to Bloomington IN about 25 miles away to test drive some Toyota Tundra's, FJ Cruiser, Ford F-150 and a H3 Hummer.

One thing was consistent about all of these vehicles ... I found myself staying at the speed limit with ease ... something I don't experience a lot in my Mini Cooper. That was a good thing!

I started with a 2008 Tundra Crew Cab that had an long bed, something you don't see a lot of. Drove with the comfort of the Cadillac while I headed to the lake down a road that was narrow with hills, curves and blind spots. It had a 5.7 Liter V8, 6 speed transmission. A whopping wheelbase of a 165". Loved it but a few things bothered me, over a 100K in miles, the crew cab seats pulled up and would have been a pain to set up some sort of bench for the hounds to lay, sleep or sit on while traveling. Tow capacity of 10,200 lbs, new tires and new brakes. Clean carfax. Thinking after I left, it may be a little bit more of vehicle than I want/need pulling a smaller trailer.

Out of curiosity I drove a 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser. A friend has one and has 4-wheeled everywhere, literally, in it and has pulled a small trailer. She warned me it did not have enough cargo space and hard to see out the back and both of those warnings were true. Yet, it drove really nice, I loved it, could have bought right on the spot .... still reality was...not enough room for cargo storage and traveling with the hounds, if I chose a trailer. Plus it had come from NJ, showed a lot of rust in the engine bay and underneathe the truck. I am assuming that was from all snow removal on the highways with salt and sand in the winters, that's also a favorite combe here in Indiana.

Stopped by the Ford dealership to drive a 2009 F-150 ... basically just didn't like it period. No offense intended for any Ford owners reading this.

Stopped by just to talk, with the owner of the lot I bought my Mini Cooper from. He had a nice 2007 Toyota Tundra 4x4 I was interested in driving but it sold on Thursday. I told him what I was wanting to do and what I was looking for in a tow vehicle. Possibly a Tundra like he had last week. Most of the trucks he had on his lot were dual axle, couple of Fords for $35K, a couple of Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500's, a H3 Hummer and a FJ Cruiser where someone had spent the money to max it out on 4-wheeling accessories.

I picked the H3 to test. It was rated with a 112" wheel base, 9" off ground and a towing capacity of 4,500 pounds. The tow package was trailer ready with a 7 pin connection for the trailer lights etc. It road better than the FJ, a little different ride, felt better on my bad lower back (important). I have to be honest, I like this vehicle as being one to tow a smaller trailer, enough 4x4 to get me a little further off road (just not to the end of the earth) and enough room to store cargo for a solo traveler and some hounds. For the hounds, the back seats slid forward and then you had the choice of folding the backs forward or leaving them up. If I had that vehicle I would change the roof rack and buy the 3/4 length one to hold more storage on top. My old '63 VW had a great rack like that just for the VW bus. It had a 2 owner clean car fax, 74K on the odometer.

So that was the range of my test driving today. A truck and trailer is a big switch from what I had been thinking a month or so ago, with the Class A pulling a Mini Cooper, a Class C alone and then towing a toad of some sort. I have always had the urge to be able to get a little further off the beaten path in my stays.

The Big News is ... I bought a new stand to attach a new "Home For Sale by Owner" sign to.  The last one I had up for a short time last spring was destroyed by one of those high speed winds and thunderstorms you see in the Midwest. I am not sure how far down the highway it flew before it was slammed into the turf.

The more I think, even for full-timing as a solo traveler with some hounds, the rigs get smaller. RVSue has been on the road for a year in a Casita, seems to love that set up. A couple of others have been in a Casita for over a year and they all like their set ups. Maybe that's something to think about. Really take the minimizing your lifestyle to a whole different level and still see the same beautiful country a 40'er does.

August 23, 2012

Truck and Trailer

I am back on the Truck & Trailer kick this week.  I keep thinking of all of those pictures I have seen and in some cases hiked, where you are only going to get back in there with a 4x4 Truck. Thinking of a 17'-21' trailer and a shell over my truck bed for storage and a crew cab for the hounds to lay down or sit up while riding. 

I know I could buy something bigger and tow a 4x4 and that has been analyzed....and tempting....but I don't think my pocket book wants to do that.  See, I want to make this transition without touching my savings.  I want to do it with cash raised by selling everything (downsizing) and selling my house. I know that once I spend time out west that I will not want to come back to Indiana. I lived in California for 10 years and Whidbey Island, Washington for 10 years....loved it all. 

I still can't get the thought of warm weather this winter out of my mind and to do that I should hit the road no later than November to beat the bad Midwest weather.

I'm back to the plan of cleaning out, selling what I can and donating the rest as I wait for that 1 buyer of my house.  Once the house is sold, buy the trailer and the truck that is going to tow the small trailer. Will put the Mini Cooper up for sale soon and will use the proceeds of that to buy my 4x4. Then I will drive my '94 Chevy PU until the house sells. Once the house sells, my friend buys my '94 pick-up, that he has been waiting to do for years and is still waiting for me to give it up.

Then I will hit the road with a truck trailer combo, all bought with cash from the house sale and will not have to touch my savings.  The feeling of having that savings for emergencies feels better than using some of it for a bigger motor home.

A lot to do this weekend. More stuff to drop off at the goodwill, more trash for Wednesday pickup. I plan to get down to what I would live with on the road as soon as I can, while working and waiting for the house to sell.  I have verified with my HR dept, that a 2 week notice is all I need and all vacation time and salary is paid up the day I leave. 

I have more "stuff" in this house than I thought I did .... unbelievable.

August 18, 2012

Looked At RV's Today

I took time on Saturday to hit the road, looking at RV's on 3 different lots. The closest lot was small, family owned but only had travel trailers and 5th wheels. Drove around the lot and did not see anything worth getting out of my car for. I then headed 45 miles east to Indianapolis to Colerain RV's and Camping World because I knew with their large inventory I could check on about every RV and trailer that I have considered.  That proved to be the case.

Just as I planned, I was fortunate to walk both lots without a salesman and only my iPhone to take short notes on what I saw. Sure, I looked at the 2013's but with no intentions of buying them and not even buying anything. With cars I am too impulsive but not with RVs.

I was able to see 2 Class B's, both 2005's. The Coachman Concord and the Gulfstream BT Cruiser both had slides, 27' - 29' and believe it or not had enough space for me and my hounds or more space than some C's. I liked the BT Cruiser better, it was 29' and I had it rated higher for having enough room for me and my hounds. For a smaller rig I have always liked them.

I looked at 3 different Class A's. 2 of them were 30' long and the old old Fleetwood Southwind was 34'. I looked at that not only because I wanted to see an older model with no slides but also it was the same model my friend had full-timed in as recently as 2005. The other two were both Winnebago's Sightseer. Of course they felt bigger inside than a 29' Class C because they are higher and appeared to be a little wider. Yet, when I sat in the driver seat and compared the feeling of sitting in a Class C or Class B ... it just seemed too big and not something I would want to be driving in the places that I want to be going.

I looked at 6 Class C's. From a 2002 - 2012, 28'-31' and even checked out a 23' just to see if it would work with my dogs. The best and favorite of all of the C's was the 2012 Jayco Melbourne. It had 2 slides, was 30' and had every feature that I wanted but was listed at $105,000, more than I want to spend. The 2007 Forest River Sun Seeker really had a good floor plan but really nowhere to install a computer desk by replacing a couch or a kitchen table. The 2002 Jayco Designer had a great floor plan and it must have been a good RV because it had be used and used a lot. It was 31' with a slide but the overall condition was not something I would want to deal with.

The last 3 C's I looked at were all Thor's. I am not sure of the reliability of their reputation but I liked all of their floor plans and have even when seeing them online. The 2012 23' surprised me with the room it had and while I was sitting there looking around, walking around I really felt that it might be a possibility with 3 dogs on the days that we were stuck inside due to weather. I might be wrong after I get out on the road, but if the weather is good, I plan on being outside most of the time. It proved to be an option to look at later. The 2005 Thor 4Winds was in really great shape, the entertainment center was in the overhead compartment, was 30' long with a couple of slides. The 2013 Thor Freedom Elite was 28', had the best "trunk" storage I had ever seen and of course being a new model, had everything you would need. Looked great.

Then as a lowest start up cost option, I looked at a 2012 Jayco Feather Travel Trailer and believe it or not I could see that working with dogs and me. Had a queen size bed in the front, kitchen in the rear. At the same time it may not be made for 365 day rving. The other Jayco trailers I looked at were great but to go that route I would need to buy a 4x4 truck to tow it with.

On the way back I had about 90 miles of country highway to cruise and think, unlike my trip to Indy on I-70 was more like a high speed race and no time was allowed to day dream. It is beautiful scenery in southern Indiana and the highway I travled felt like times I driven cross country. I wanted to see what kind of reaction I had when I got back to my small town and the house I have lived in since 1997. I wanted to see if these past few weeks of saying I am packing up and leaving or in my recent posts, talking of selling everything but the hounds and hitting the road, would make that feeling different as I drove up the drive way to the top of the 80' hill.

In the past, after day trips like these, I was always happy to get back home and it felt good, even if the snow flew or the sun was out and it was hot. I noticed today it was different. I have really had no attachment to this town living a few miles outside of it and knowing no one ... and I didn't feel any different driving through town today either. The town is so cliquish, that it has created it's own privacy with me and that has been that I liked while living here. I am more of a loner than people I know, think ... so it may be a huge reason I have stayed in this location for 15 years. As far as the house, it felt like it was time to go. All I could think about was what I needed to do to put it on the market and things I needed to do to sell everything that I am not going to take.

Didn't surprise me with that reaction but it was different than in the past.

So today was a good day, a recycling run, more clothes ready to be dropped off at Goodwill tomorrow in a town 25 miles away, sun was out all day and I was able to check on floor plans of every kind of RV I had been looking at online. So I am now in the stage of clearing out the house by selling, donating or throwing away and preparing to sell the house by owner.

I am thinking of putting the sign out tomorrow afternoon in case I find that buyer that would rather do their own improvements (ie: painting interior in their favorite colors) rather than not putting the sign out until I have everything cleaned out, painted and pretty well empty before showing it. It only takes 1 to buy and the highway I live on gets a ton of traffic.

As always your thoughts and comments are appreciated and very helpful.

August 16, 2012

Is My Job Making the Decision For Me?

After the 4th day in a row this week .... yes, I know, it's Thursday night as I write this, so that is 4 out of 4 job seems to be getting worse and worse.  A job that at one time I really liked but with some major changes out of my control,the past year has made this job a big pain.

I am beginning to think this job situation is "part of the solution" as in motivating me enough to get me out the door and soon.  Long time readers will say, "we have heard this before". Yes you have, but this time it is much different. I have contacted 2 different people about their interest in my home before I stick the sign in the yard. The last 2 people that were interested last spring, first part of summer made different decisions on location. I already know without any doubt what I am finally taking and what I am getting rid of. I am going to be very very busy this weekend.

My RV spreadsheet to analyze different options was important in this process by showing me, that yes, it is ok if I leave after I sell my house or rent it out but one of those two things must happened before I can hit the road due to the reduction in my monthly income. (temporary) Still I have enough pension coming in monthly that I can survive ... and travel ... listen to the waves at the beach for a few days ... feel the warm temps this winter instead of freezing and complaining about it on this blog and seeing some of the pictures from blogs I follow, in person instead of on my monitor.

This job thing is not just something that has taken place to where some readers may think I am acting irrationally or impulsively.  Some of this "circus" has been playing since I got there. In the past, the job was new, I had a different attitude than I do now and I had no plans 2 years ago to retire anytime I decided to put up with it.  Now I have decided I no longer need to nor want to. Life is too short to put up with daily bs that is out of your control.

It's going to be a Class C, that I buy and one that I pay cash for. I have a few manufacture names that I like and will look for. I am not going to be taking all the stuff I thought I was. I am taking only things that I needed. The rest will be sold or donated, nothing will be left in storage. I am going out Saturday morning for a short trip to a RV dealer just to look at some floor plans of C's. This is a small family owned lot where they personally drive all of their inventory from Florida to sell in Indiana.

That is a BIG change in my downsizing philosophy.

I am not having much luck selling my spare set of wheels and tires from my Z4 on Craig's List so I guess I will go where I have been successful at in the past, enough success where I sold fulltime from 2005-2009, and that is eBay.  I know it has changed a lot in the past couple of years but it still gets a lot of traffic for selling used items. I am going to follow Glen's plan where he got rid of most of his stuff on eBay and Craig's List and those small dollars added up.

Any way not much to say other than, after today I realized it was never going to change if I stayed where I was. That is job and location. I am finally going to change them after a lot of years thinking about it but never doing it.  Only the past 10 months of those years of thinking considered the RV lifestyle. Tonight I was back full steam ahead in downsizing and having a specific plan to get this plan in action.

I think the more I looked at my spreadsheet, showing me actual expenditures and income of RVing full time for me or staying with a house and retired, made me decide to go for it now and not wait for May of 2014. A vacation is not an option. These thoughts of leaving the job and area have been going on for more than a few years.

Back to not having enough hours in a day/night to get everything done!

August 14, 2012

Some Days it Just Hits You

I just spent wasting an hour and five minutes of my life, mowing the yard. There's nothing hard about it but not something I will be wanting to do in the future, or even now. My job is going downhill fast. I have never seen so much confusion, "duh moments" in my life and the sad thing is it deals with more money you would want to think about.  I had the urge to retire last year also but thought I'd stick it out but now that feeling is back stronger than it has been in a while. I almost resigned yesterday.

Strong enough feelings that I had an idea hit me hard today, something I had thought about in the past and an idea that was suggested by a friend of mine with a lot of experience in that type of environment.

A Crew Cab Pickup Truck and a Bigfoot Trailer.

I like the Toyota FJ Cruisers myself, always have, but had 4Runners in the past. So I am going to clean up from my yard mowing job, kick back and look at Tundra's, FJ's or Pickups along with the Bigfoot Trailers.

The hounds ??  Like I said previously ... when I am at a location, most of my time will be spent OUTSIDE, I need a place to hide when there is bad weather, to sleep, fix meals, play on the computer, watch a ballgame and store food.

After a great meal of (TOW) Taste of the Wild dog food, no grain, Bison Meal, Chicken, Chicken Meal .... all three hounds are passed out on their blankets within a 6' area....the bloodhound is snoring at 5pm....unbelievable. It doesn't matter where my couch or bed will be located, any kind of RV, Tent, Trailer...the bloodhound will make it her's.


Bloodhound Property Laws

If I like it, it’s mine.
If it’s in my mouth, it’s mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
If it just looks like mine, it’s mine.
If I saw it first, it’s mine
If you are playing with something and put it down, it’s mine.
If I am chewing something up, all of the pieces are mine.
If it’s mine it must never be yours
If it was yours, get over it, it's mine.
If it’s broken, it’s your fault, but it’s still mine.

August 11, 2012

Back To The Original Plan

Back in October 2011 when I read an article on Yahoo Business page about Glen living full-time in his van, that led me to blogs of people doing this full-time in all different kinds of vehicles. I have followed a lot of those blogs since that time, learning a ton of information about the RV lifestyle on the road.

After my blog post last night, thoughts started literally bombarding my mind. Clear thoughts, a lot of the point I wondered if I should go back and delete that post because of all the indecision I had written about. A couple of things struck me as quite clear.

1.  What was my original plan back in October 2011?
2.  What caused all my excitement to the point of an obsession?
3.  WHY ... yes, why was I wanting to do this?

When I answered those three questions, I had my clear plan once again and my "to do list" was out visibly so I could check the items off and get closer to a departure date. Like anything else, when you stray from a plan, confusion, indecision and 2nd guessing come into play.

All of the answers to those 3 questions were applicable 10 months later.

So, with it being a cool sunny morning here in the "tropics" of Southern Indiana, I am having one more cup of coffee then hitting my list of things to do and back to my downsizing expedition.

August 10, 2012

A Week of Thinking

It's hard to believe that cooler temps have hit the Midwest here in southern Indiana. It's 68 as I sit here writing this. Just last week it would have been in the mid to high 80s now at this same time. So, the windows are open, with no fans running.

Like this post title says, it's been a week of thinking, also getting more information about different types of boondocking and camping from people that have a lot more experience than I.

A few things are pretty consistent over these past 10 months since this "rv urge" hit me. Of course everyone has a different type of rig, different maintenance, different lifestyles and experiences. Each has a different rig set up, some have animals, toads they tow, or toys they ride ... all different circumstances.

I have come to the conclusion being on the road will cost me no more than I want it to. As living in a house, with a job and unexpected expenses, or spending money on entertainment .. my costs per month are pretty set.  I don't think it will change much living on the road. Sure, I will be able to save monthly but then that savings will be used later for routine maintenance or unexpected repairs on the rig I choose. Just like living in a house.

One thing I did decide this week, it's not the ability to afford major repairs that pop up on occasion but what I am willing to spend. After a lot or re-reading information I have saved, the Class DP is the most expensive. There are a couple of friends of mine that have these and have never had any kind of problem with them. Yet, some of the blogs I follow have them and describe some expenses they have had to pay, in amounts that I don't want to deal with.

So I think of me and wonder, which side of those stories would I be on. If I am on the expensive side is it worth it to me to have a Class A DP.

More than a few people with large Class A's have told me privately they wish they either had bought a smaller rig or will when they will buy their next one. Hearing something like that, makes me think.

The Class C from what I understand in most cases can be worked on at a service center of the type of engine. A Ford or Chevy dealership, local garge. A place easier to find than a speciality diesel shop and a little less cost. The number of slides you need are nice, sides work for some all of the time with no problems and others have had problems. So is the extra room for comfort worth it?

Do you look at the comfort level more than what it would take to be on the road with minimum cost? Could I spend less on a rig, find it dependable and get on the road without the initial expense I was planning on in making the purchase and be just as happy? I will only find this out when I do it.

Smaller rigs can get into more places boondocking.  Boondocking is what I plan on doing the most of. Free stays as much as possible, that has always been the plan. Seasonal movement more than a tourist on vacation movement.

The hounds, they can adapt to anything I will buy. Right now they are all sleeping together on their favorite Mexican blankets within an area of 5'. They do that a lot throughout the day. So does it really matter if I am sitting in a 36'-40' rig at night while on a computer, watching a movie or reading a book after thinking I needed a bigger rig for the comfort of my hounds and I?

I envy Glen over on To Simpify because he can live in such a small space (A great Chinook) has stayed full-time longer than he had originally thought he could. He travels to some great country and does so with only minor repairs over the course of a year. Yet even in that rig there are places I want to go and stay, where the Chinook could not get me there. Yet, he has some wonderful "front yards" in his travels and easy to find a place to park his home.

Then I analyze what year of rig to buy. Everyone has different experiences with the years they have now or have had in the past. Would I have good repair luck spending less to buy an older model? Or would I be the one that has a 1-3 yr old rig that has repair problems one after another. Some in this range of age have no problems at all. Just like buying a car or truck, new or used. I have/had both with different results .... so that is a moot point I guess.

The problem I have and have mentioned before .... I like them all!!  No matter what class of rig I look at ... I like them and want them. Everything from a small fiberglass trailer to the Earthroamer.

That right there makes it really hard for me to decide on what to buy.

What about a 4x4 Pickup pulling a trailer. There are a lot of people doing that for a number of years successfully. Some pulling a 16' trailer and having a blast of their life while other are boondocking with a 35' 5th wheel. Some of those 5th wheel towing rigs have been towed for repairs while others are great. Wandrin' has been traveling that way for 12 years or more.

Just like owning and living in a house.  Some are "money pits" while other are just general maintenance. In my case living in the Midwest, what you put off in routine maintenance in the summer could be costly in the winter. That is the part, the time spent in that type of preventive maintenance, where I am getting tired of and would rather be sitting in my chair in front of my rig somewhere, watching the sunrise, soaking up the rays or watching the sun go down.

So, you can see where I am at in trying to decide what to buy and when to leave.

I have absorbed a lot of information and looked at a lot of pictures of different setups, heard a lot of different stories and opinions.

I know a lot of what I have written tonight has been mentioned before. I can only guess that when it's the right time to happen, everything will fall into place and I'll sit back and think "that was easy, why did I take so long?".

The range of thought this week was wide. From a Class A DP towing a 4x4 jeep all the way down to traveling in my Mini Cooper with a rack on top with my camping equipment and the hounds in the back.

You can see that my mind is very similar to scrambled eggs right now. Tons of thoughts and not even a clue on what to do.

For those that have posted comments or emailed me their thoughts on all of these lingering questions I have all the time ... Thank You!

Now,back to your blogs, RVs for sale sites, and google images, while I hear the coyotes and crickets outside my open window.

August 05, 2012

I Started Looking at Smaller Class C & B+

Yes, I moved my search away from Class A's to the Class C 27-31' and even some 27' Class B+ .... I LOVED them!!  I could see me getting away to locations that a Class A may not get. The main thing was, the repair cost. Class A diesel repair compared to a Ford engine Class C or B+ (with sides).

Sure I have the 3 hounds....but I tried a little trick in my house. I measured the living space of a Class B, put the hounds in that area and took a look at what I might be looking at. In a way, I think I could do it....reason is???

If I am parked somewhere out in the boondocks, BLM, Federal Parks or Corp of Civil Engineering land ... I am going to be OUTSIDE!!  Even if Im in a chair looking at the sights, reading or napping. ..... outside!!  I just need somewhere to fix my meals, sleep and watch games on the tv. I can do all of that inside a Class C or B+ and 3 lazy hounds.

What do they do now when I watch games ... they sleep.

I know the tanks are smaller, could decrease the number of days I am out but are larger tanks and more storage space a good reason to spend more for a larger Class A???

I am traveling light ... seriously.  When I was working at home a few years ago, I lived in a pair of jeans in the winter, shorts and tshirts in the summer.

I really like those Dynamax's.  I also like the Jayco Melbourne, like John's.  I can almost see a Lazy Daze, with half of the back room my computer desk and the other side the bed.

Blast away with comments ... I know ... always back and forth

August 04, 2012

A Crazy Day ... House Repairs

Saturday started out normal. Sunny and 84 degrees at 8am, waiting for the grass to dry so I can mow the yard. Cup of coffee and reading blogs. Just sent an email to my dad and a few minutes later, I lose power here at the house and as the overprice iMac plus the 27" monitor try to reboot there is a loud explosion outside at the transformer. It was nothing like I have heard before, even in the worst storms.

I go outside to make sure nothing has blown into the transformer, even though it's a perfect weather morning. Then look up on the roof where the main power goes into the fuse box, looks good there.

I check out my fusebox expecting some breakers to be popped ... and not a one ...not one. I called a couple of neighbors and a landscaping business nearby on the owner's cell phone.  Power completely out.  About the time I start to walk back inside, the transformer has a huge explosion!

Power is out for almost 4 hours and kicks back on just as the outside temps had hit 97 degrees. Yes, it was hot inside, outside etc.

In the meantime inside I smell a "slight' aroma of that infamous electrical burn smell. Even though the power is off, both surge protectors where the computer is  .... no lights, completely off.  I check my living room, one surge protector mounted into the socket is fried and "brown explosion" marks are on the wall.

Remaining calm and already in my mind thinking my HD large tv is history as well as the overpriced Mac's. Not being an electrician, I start my process of elimination. 2 fans plugged into different outlets are running so I'll plug my computer in that one directly to see if my worst fears are real or not, or will the overpriced Mac bootup????

Plug it into the wall outlet that I know is working .... computer boots up!  Shut that down and plug in my overpriced large Mac Monitor ... looks good. Both surge protectors are FRIED. (must have been that burnt smell).

On to the living room. One wall outlet is fried. I look at the other outlet with the wall mounted surge protector that I had my DVD player and PS3 plugged into due to the length of the cord. Due to those lengths, I had to plug my Directv DVD, my large TV into the fried outlet. Using an extension cord to reach the good outlet, I plug both tv and the DVR directly into the good outlet, both turn on. DVD says "starting up will take a few minutes".  I figure incorrectly that if I have a screen then both the tv and DVR are good....Call the tech help at Directv (she was great), we determine that the receiver is fried and she is sending out a replacement. We tried connecting to the tv with new HDMI cables, then the component and video cables ... no good.

An interesting thing that makes me think my tv is wasted. Maybe a reader with more electrical experience can enlighten me.

Each time I moved the component cables (red,blue,green) and the video cables to a different port (AV1 or AV2), the port it was plugged into would disappear from my tv source input list. Same thing happened when I tried 4 different HDMI ports...whatever port the cable was plugged into, that port would disappear from the list.

So, I head to Walmart for 2 new surge protectors, have my computer, ipad dock, modem, printer and desk light all working normal with the new surge protector.

I'll spend the rest of the night trying to find out if I can plug and play a DVD player and PS3 into the tv, one that is not getting a tv reception signal from the DVR, or will I need some sort of antenna signal to get the DVD player or the PS3 to play.

As for RV's ... It was a week of reading about a lot of problems with what some people had. A few LARGE repair bills ... much like my day today!!!

The yard was mowed but I kept thinking as I mowed, that I am so tired of house and yard upkeep. After some of the bill totals I read about, I am not so sure my house repair bills will be a lot lower than RV repairs.

There always seems to be some doubt in back of my mind about RVing.....and those HUGE repair costs is what keeps me wondering about the future. I have cashed saved for house emergencies but the more I save the tighter I get in spending it.