The joys of owning an RV

Life lesson of this week – I have discovered that owning an RV actually requires work, as in sentenced to 10 years hard labour, kind of work. Apparently, contrary to my belief (and probably those of my friends back home), you don’t just ponce about in an RV seeing the sights, cooking gourmet dinners and toasting your good fortune to have a hobo lifestyle. No, no my friend. First, you have to work for it.
And with that in mind, I will tell you my knees are rather sore, my back hurts to the degree I’m walking as if I’m 80 years old, and I now find I have to lie down on a hard flat surface frequently to sort out the pains in my spine.

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Button working on the bus

 

However, despite the aching in my bones, I have rather enjoyed my task for this week which was to reseal Belle’s roof. While Loops continues to work on the water tanks (I swear I will never take water for granted again), I have been crouched over on the roof cleaning the old sealant around the bolts on the roof and applying new sealant (Dicor) to ensure no rain will leak into the interior of the RV. And it’s a good thing that I didn’t mind doing this, because apparently I shall have the pleasure of this chore next winter too, and the one after that, and the one after that and…you get the picture.

I do believe I have found my favourite place to be in the RV, and that will actually be outside, on the roof. Once we leave the stunning scenery of the storage lot (complete with concrete business next door), I can’t wait to see the amazing views we get from up top. And no, I don’t mean I’ll be traveling up there people, be sensible, but I am already planning on camping out one night on the roof. I just need to rig up a system to make sure I don’t roll off while I sleep.

Anyway, back to my work. In case you ever need to know how to assist someone in resealing an RV roof i.e. any of you planning on paying us a visit, it goes a little something like this:

Step 1 – Clean old, manky, dusty sealant with mineral spirits and a paper towel. Note: treat spirits like you are handling an explosive device. If you trip and fall and spill them or accidently get too vigorous in cleaning and end up getting some on the paintwork, you will be immediately shot (and remember, this is America, they can do that over here). This is because mineral spirits remove EVERYTHING. Dirt, Paint, skin, clothing, etc. It would probably even eat a hole in some concrete or steel. Interestingly though, it doesn’t actually remove old sealant, it just makes it go all gummy and clean.
Ok, actually, maybe that wasn’t that interesting, sorry.

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Cleaning the sealant – changes from grey to white!

Step 2 – Clean the paintwork around the sealant with Totally Awesome. Yes, there is actually a product called Totally Awesome. Once again, this is America, you have to learn to expect things like this.

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Yes, it is totally awesome

What I find most amusing and/or creepy about this product is that of the things it removes, the first listed is blood stains. However I guess it makes sense, because you might need it to clean up if the person you’ve enlisted to help spills you mineral spirits (see step 1 again).

Step 3 – Let the cleaned spots dry. This is an important step, because by this point, you’ve been hunched over on your knees for about 35 minutes. This means you already have some serious back pain going on, and rather than being able to stand up and climb off the roof for a rest, you rather sadly can only contort your body sideways until you gently fall over and can roll onto your back in the hope lying flat will cure your ills. You will be once again able to move after 6.5 minutes. I’ve done the research on this.

Step 4 – Add new Dicor sealant over the old stuff. Oh how easy this sounds. It also looks easy if you have watched the youtube video showing you how to apply Dicor, with its magical power to be ‘self-levelling’. Don’t buy into that shit.
Dicor’s main purpose in life is to cover every inch of anything within reach in a white gooey, sticky and un-removable substance. It also does not ‘self-level’. I believe its creators have tried to endow it with powers of self-awareness that it does not possess.
Also be prepared to spend hours applying your Dicor, sweating your backside off in the Florida heat (aided by the warm air being blown all over you by the air conditioning vent) to then have to wait the ‘inspection’ of your work, and the inevitable pointing out of the bits you’ve missed.

Step 5 – Once finished, go inside the RV and drink a nice cold bottle of root beer, toasting your hard work!

Obviously I’m not the only one hard at work on the bus, and to be honest, I’ve had the easier job this week compared to the mighty project that Loops continues to tackle, the dreaded water tanks.
Just to put his work into perspective, as I’ve had a couple questions as to why we still don’t have a flushing toilet yet, Loops is not simply tinkering with the tanks to make sure they work properly, no, Loops being Loops, he is completely rebuilding our water system from scratch. To ensure it is perfect.

This means the tanks themselves have been reconditioned; he’s had to re-weld and repaint the floor of the storage bay and had new shelves and brackets built to secure them in place.
In addition he is building all of the pipe work himself, installing electric valves for filling and dumping water AND is installing a filtration system of such magnitude that when I turn on my taps, the water that rushes forth I shall be able to bottle and sell at ridiculous prices for being purer than any mineral stuff you can find.

I also feel that at this point I have to lay blame for some of the delays squarely at the feet of both Lowes and Home Depot. For it seems whenever we have to visit either of these stores, despite often the items being listed as in stock at the store in question, it turns out it isn’t. This means you’ve spent all the time and effort to traipse over there to scour the aisles for an item that simply does not exist. You then need to go back out to your car, and drive off to another store and begin the fruitless search all over again.
In our quest the other day trying to find a filter, we visited no fewer than 5 shops and covered 60 miles in the process, such is the vast size of America. That’s basically half a day chasing parts.

However, there is some good news that I can share that may now help us with this. Whereas previously Loops had to down tools, pack all of his work away and head off to look for parts or to return items, no longer! I shall now be able to do it for him as I am a mighty possessor of a Florida DRIVING LICENCE!

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Crazy eyes on my licence!

Yes, that’s right people, I can drive. And obviously the lady who assessed me thinks I’m absolutely fantastic at it, because it took here just a mere 10 minutes to decide I was suitable to be let loose on the roads, and that included the time it took for her to assess the car I was driving was suitable. The bloke in the UK made me drive around for at least forty five minutes to prove my worthiness.

So in case you are thinking about qualifying yourself for a licence in the state of Florida, here’s what I have to say on the matter:
Believe the hype, the driving test is really as easy as everyone makes it out to be and frankly they should be quite ashamed of this fact. During my test, half of it was in a car park and the other half in a housing estate. At no point in time did I drive over 31 miles per hour, encounter traffic lights, pass another vehicle or see more than two other cars on the road. I did however have to demonstrate the extremely taxing skill of pulling into a car parking space, forward. Because parallel parking it turns out is just too easy I guess.
The real reason all of this gripes at me is that 16 year old kid can pass the exact same test I did and is now licenced to walk into the car park, jump in my 43ft RV and cruise off down the road. No additional training or testing necessary, a 10 minute test qualifies them to take a 25 tonne vehicle and turn it into a death missile on the road.
That somehow doesn’t seem quite right to me.
In fact, the toughest part of the whole driving challenge was the four and a half hours I had to spend on the online drug and alcohol awareness course. One again, I’ll just point out the ridiculousness of the online course verses the on the road test.

And with thought, I will bid you adieu for now.

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