September 22, 2013

Shakedown Cruise With the Hounds

First of all I really appreciate all of the great comments that have been posted the past couple of weeks and especially the past couple of days. It may start being hard for me to reply to each one due to the increase in comments, but I will. I wanted to let you know that I do read all of them, I note your suggestions and appreciate them.

Second ... since I have finally bought a rig, even though long term travel may not happen until next spring, I will return to blogging every couple of days or when events occur while the RV (no name yet) sits here teaching me all it can before I leave next spring. When I said I was going to stop blogging after my Arkansas trip, I really didn't think I would be buying a rig this soon so that is why I didn't know when I would return to blogging.

I have posted some different pictures on a couple of Facebook groups I follow, so some of the pictures I post here may be duplicates to those that are either in the Bloodhound Group or a few different RV Groups that I have joined.

The hounds seem to really like the rig. No hesitation going in and all three have claimed their spots. Saturday afternoon was a "get acquainted" day for them. I left everything as was, no furniture throws, no blankets ... just as is and let them sniff away. Last night we all moved out to the rig, opened the windows and spent the first night in the backyard. There were no problems, and they acted as if they were in the house sleeping during the night.

Based on the Bloodhound Rules (linked in the Labels on the right), Sadie decided the couch was hers.

This morning I wanted to take them on a shakedown cruise, maybe 2-3 stops along the way. To all that have commented in the past weeks with suggestions on handling the hounds on the road, some suggestions were implemented with successful results. All three hounds had on their 6' standard cloth leash attached while driving. At 51 miles I had found a spot to pull off the highway in a closed business parking lot. I stepped from the cab, walked to the living room door and walked out BEFORE them...when I said "stay", they all stood there wagging their tails ready to go outside. 1st one out was Sadie, the bloodhound...she stepped out, stopped and then waited for the other two. Out of curiosity and not being near traffic, I let the other two bassets out, holding their leashes as they stepped down the steps. All three hounds did not run....simply started walking with their noses to the ground.

After about a 10 minute walk with no problems, no leash tangles, some switching hands..I dropped the leashes to the ground and said "get in". The bloodhound being a typical bloodhound....went first, sat down inside and waited for the bassets. The other two hopped inside and went to their chosen spot. 27 miles later, saw a place to pull over .... same "fire drill" with the dogs....same successful results.

We returned home after 110 miles, with absolutely no issues. Between today and the trip in the H3 Hummer 2 weeks ago, it was like night and day.

First impression ... I really feel good about buying a Class C instead of towing a small trailer with the H3. I know there is a lot more to go and longer time on the road, but right now there seems to be enough room  for the hounds and I while inside. On those good weather days, we will be outside the majority of the day.

The rig itself ran great as expected through the hills of southern Indiana corn country (yes south of Indianapolis a lot of hilly country). The pictures just show the corn country, not the hills. I know the rig has the new Blistein shocks installed and that probably makes a difference, but this rig rides so much smoother than the other I test drove over the past year or so.

It finally rained Friday night so that was just one of the reasons I wanted to lower the awning and see what was there. There were different rows of water on top and inside the awning. The awning was in great shape as well as the awning structure. I wiped down everything, left the awning up for the day to air out, opened all the roof vents, windows and let the nice cool air today flow through the rig. The awning was easy to lower, luckily all of the original manuals are with the rig along with the owners manual. We rookies need all the help we can get when it comes to rig operations.

So I am at the point of familiarizing myself with the rig and all the accessories included. After spending almost two years reading forums, emails, asking questions it is amazing how much you can't remember when it's time to apply all of that knowledge. Luckily all the important stuff is in my notes or sites that are bookmarked. This is why I want to use my backyard as my classroom as well as local trips as much as possible before leaving next spring. I would love to be in Quartzsite AZ or Borrego Springs CA this winter but I'm not sure if I will be able to leave that soon.

After a tough day, Heidi decided a nap in the sun would be perfect.

Sadie is practicing her "stay command" ... no leash attached while in the backyard. You can see her enthusiasm.

In summary, everything about the decision to change directions in what type of rig to buy feels good. The hounds seem happier than they did in the H3 and I like driving the rig. Now, to decide to tow or not and if so, which vehicle to tow. I am already receiving different feedback from people on that question.

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