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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

'The final countdown.....'

Tuesday morning brought us heavily overcast skies which eventually gave way to partly sunny later in the day.  As I walked outside around 1030 hours to begin the final push to get ready for liftoff Wednesday I thought I had about 1/2 a day of work.....was I ever wrong!  I finished just after 1600 hours and was one tired puppy......here's the short list of some of what I had to do......

--remove tired covers and stow them
--dump black and gray tanks, and flush black tank
--clean and put sewer hose (three lengths) away
--top off fresh water tank at 140 gallons
--roll up and stow hoses
--roll up and stow all xmas lights and extension cords
--remove pedals from, and stow mountain bike
--put away 2 tool bags, and one tool box
--haul remaining firewood down to Mike and Liz' for them to burn in October....there is no way I am going to haul that wood one inch further.....we managed to burn about half of it in September.....about 7 round trips to their site (they were away at the annual 'Volunteer Appreciation Day' lunch)
--clean all the windows in the front cockpit
--finish straightening up trailer.....there was way more to do than I remembered, and this is where the extra time went
--drop trailer back on hitch, attach chains, anti-sway bar, etc.
--set up HP Netbook and program our route up to Springfield, OR
--take off and stow mirror and windshield wiper covers
--take off and stow wind chimes
--take off and stow our 'The Hockwalds' sign
--stow outdoor foldup chairs
--take a nap....whew.....glad it was cool and cloudy

What still needs to be done Wednesday morning.....

--disconnect shore power cord and stow it
--disconnect shore power cord for the trailer and stow it
--secure screw organizer in trailer
--put coach entrance step and mat away
--turn off the water heater
--secure the Norcold refer
--crank down and secure the Winegard satellite dish
--turn off the DVR
--turn off the electric heaters
--secure everything inside the coach for travel
--crank up the Detroit Diesel and air the coach up
--load the VW in the trailer
--roll the 22.5" wheels towards Springfield, OR
--turn to TLE and say "It's good to be moving again...." to which she will reply "Yeah..."

Other than that there was, and and is not much to do before we roll.....:-).....and to think we didn't take out too much stuff this time around!

We ate the wonderful enchilada casserole dinner TLE prepared around 1730, and then strolled down to the 'phone booth' for one last sunset picture......



Life is good.......TLE says I take good care of her

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Not much.....

Monday I spent most of the day outside enjoying the light wind, and putting more stuff away.  TLE and I pulled up the awning mat and laid it over the picnic table to let it dry out before we folded it up and put it away.  I pulled up the Malibu lights so TLE could put them away, then worked inside the trailer stowing more stuff away in anticipation of inserting the VW Wednesday morning.  During that time I also walked down to the 'phone booth' to make a couple of phone calls, including my weekly phone call to my sister in Michigan.....


.....not a bad view to have while talking on the phone, hmmmm?

I finally finished cleaning the driver's side of the trailer.  Now, for the first time in a long time the Newell and trailer are both clean and shiny at the same time.  Just a few more things to do Tuesday and we are ready to haul the anchor.

We spent a few evening hours over at Mike and Liz' site sitting by the fire answering their questions about their planned drive south to Southern California in November.....Gary and Angie joined us, too, and between the four of us were able to impart a lot of good information to them about routes to take, and places to stay.  It was a great way to end the day, and great that we were able to have another fire before we depart.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Auf Wiedersehen, Au revoir, Adiós, Arrivederci

Sunday was our 'swan song' at the lighthouse, and just like our very first day on site last year, our last day this year was filled with all that makes this location so memorable.....a ferocious wind out of the north, bitter cold, sun, stunning views, and very interesting visitors.  TLE and I were stationed in the lighthouse for our 'bottom shift', and were thankful we were inside this day.  As I stood inside the tower room hearing the moaning wind I thought I should take a video so you could see an hear what I saw on this day......

Listen to the moan of the wind in the tower stairway from Sunday

We said our 'until next times' to Mike and Michelle who departed immediately after their last shift for Bend, OR, so now we are down to three lighthouse couples for a few more days when we depart with Gary and Angie leaving just Mike and Liz who will be here through the month of October.  The afternoon flew by, and in spite of the ferocious winds in the mid 30's with gusts into the 40's we had 117 visitors.  While helping TLE put away the 'work room' props I came across this picture showing the lighthouse during its extensive renovation a number of years ago.......

 Came across this picture of the lighthouse under renovation a few years ago

Once we had put things away, we locked the front door and climbed the 64 stairs up to the 'lantern room' to take our last 'usie'.....it was just pure unadulterated luck we caught the light bulbs in between us, but is is so fitting......

Last lantern room 'usie' this time around

We were home before 1600 hours watching the end of the afternoon NFL games, and eagerly awaiting the evening game between the Denver Broncos and the Detroit Lions.  It was an ugly, ugly game marred by penalties, and very little offense, but the Broncos prevailed in the end 24-12.  The evening game ended just before 2100 hours, and then we settled in to watch the very last episode of CSI (Crime Scene Investigation)......the 2 hour finale will be the only episode this year, and they wrapped up the last 15 years very nicely.

While I did put away a few things Sunday morning, Monday will be the big 'put all the stuff away day'......thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

"I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello!" *

Saturday was a 'day off'.....I don't know why I say 'day off', because even when we are on it hardly seems like work.  It does not seem to matter where you happen to be at Cape Blanco, because it is all so beautiful.  

While I worked on a few things around the coach TLE made one last run into Port Orford's Ray's Food Place to shop before we head north.  While she was gone I worked on installing our new water pressure regulator......


......I was pretty sure I had all the proper parts to install the new regulator, but being so far from the local hardware store I decided to just install it temporarily, and wait until I'm much closer to a good hardware store in case I need any other parts to finish the installation.  I left the old regulator in place, but will remove it at a later date. Fortunately this new Sea Tech regulator is totally compatible with that choice. The main thing is once again the Newell plumbing is protected from future high pressure city water.  While all this was going on I had the trailer TV tuned to the morning College football games.

After TLE returned from Port Orford we decided to take what is possibly our last walk on South Cape Beach, and what a day for a walk it was........

I she saying goodbye, or hello?

.....while it was quite windy (yes the wind out of the northwest has returned) the air had a noticeable clarity which just further enhanced the view.....

 I call this 'Rhino Rock' because it looks like a Rhino horn from a distance

The picture below is proof positive that if you take enough pictures with a phone camera you'll get a 'keeper' eventually.....

 Taken from at the foot of the foot of Cape Blanco looking south to Port Orford

 There she is again.....goodbye, or hello?  I'm going with 'Hello!'

Found a few cool tidal pools with some sea life

......in all we walked just under 4 miles round trip up to the Cape and back.  We returned in time to tune into the evening College football games which included UCLA at Arizona, and USC at Arizona State.  UCLA won 56-30, and USC won 42-14....doesn't get much better than that for the 'home' teams.

Thanks for stopping by!

* From The Beatles song

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A-Bandon-ment

I've been many places over the past few years where the locals will repeat this popular refrain....."If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes".......that is so true here at Cape Blanco, and Friday was another good example of that.  We arrived for our 'top shift' at 1000 hours to sunny, windless skies, but by 1015 the fog rolled in......then back out......then back in.....then back out......then back in and back out once again in the space of an hour.  At one point I could not see the lighthouse from my 'greeter' position down at the entrance to the lighthouse station.

 About to fade to 'white'.....

 ....and just a few minutes later it was clear once again

It was one of those days when seemingly every visitor had an interesting story.....there was the retired Coast Guard guy who had spent 3 years working at the Cape Arago Lighthouse (up near Coos Bay, OR) back in the 60's.  Cape Arago is no longer in operation, and visitors can no longer get to it as the boardwalk that connected it with the shore was damaged, and not repaired a number of years ago.  He had a lot of very interesting stories.  Another gentleman had been involved in the restoration of a lighthouse near San Luis Obispo at a place called Avila Beach.....again much interesting information.  Then there were the Brits who had the best sense of humor ever......it seemed as if I just went from one great conversation to another and suddenly it was 1310 hours.......technically I was off duty at 1300.....:-)


Our plans for the afternoon were to drive into Bandon for one last visit (this time around) to Tony's Crab Shack, then do our laundry, and then visit Face Rock Creamery one more time.  It was a perfect day to sit outside at Tony's......TLE had their Smoked Salmon Alfredo (to die for), and I, being quite predictable, had three of their Fish Tacos (also to die for) chased with an Alaskan Amber Ale.......

TLE cherishing every bite of her Smoked Salmon Alfredo.......

We were back home before 1730 and settled in for the evening watching several episodes of 'Tiny House, Big Living', 'Bering Sea Gold' and 'Edge of Alaska'.....we have come to love the 'Tiny House' series as it mirrors, to some degree, our journey and experience.

Only one more 3 hour 'bottom shift' on Sunday and we are free to roam once again.....time to start putting stuff away!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Middling


Thursday was our last 'middle shift' at the lighthouse, and we could not have asked for a nicer day to spend 6 hours outdoors greeting visitors.......if only we would have had visitors. Usually when we open at 1000 hours there are several cars waiting at the gate to drive up to the lighthouse, but Thursday there were zero.  We didn't get our first car until 1015.....as it turned out we barely broke 100 visitors coming in at a scant 104 for the day, which is, by far, the lowest visitor total TLE and I have experienced on any of our shifts this season.  I think Thursday's temps were by far the warmest we have had out at the lighthouse this year, and once again the wind was virtually nonexistent.

Where is everyone?

We had so much free time we spent time talking to each other.....

Gary and Angie keeping each other company

.......in spite of the low visitation numbers the time passed quickly and we were home by our usual 1545 hours.  

We scheduled another campfire get together for 1830 hours, and this time had a full house with all four lighthouse keepers sitting by the fire telling funny stories.  I have to admit that Mike and Liz tell the funniest stories of all of us.....we were still going strong as 1930 hours approached, but suddenly we began to feel rain drops.  We were all so surprised that two of us actually thought we were hit by bird 'doo doo', however, within just a few seconds we realized it was rain, and quickly put everything away and headed back to our individual abodes for the evening.  Last year campfires at least a couple of times a week were the norm, and it was how we got to know each other better, but with the fire ban this year we haven't had those opportunities.  I was beginning to think I had hauled all that hardwood up from SLT in vain, but now it is paying off.  We should be able to have one more fire over the next couple of days before the next forecast rain arrives.

We were in bed by 2230 and knocking on the gates of dreamland shortly thereafter.....thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The ban is lifted.....

It's there again.......that vague feeling of ennui that always ensues when we come to an end of a stay at a place we love.  In one week we will be rolling our wheels once again, and for the next two months until we land back in SoCal we will be changing our view on a regular basis.  Next Wednesday we will be saying our 'until next times' to nomad friends and wondering when our paths will cross again.  We only have three more volunteer assignments here at Cape Blanco (Thursday, Friday and Sunday) so we will have ample time to put away what little stuff we have deployed around our campsite, which, finally as of Wednesday evening, will include our portable fireplace.  The campfire ban was lifted a week ago, but it has been too windy until Wednesday night for a fire.  We hauled a lot of firewood to Cape Blanco from South Lake Tahoe with the intent of having fires several times a week, but the campfire ban and then the wind made that impossible until Wednesday.  I really do not intend to haul that wood one inch further, so we will have as many fires over the next week as possible, and leave whatever we don't burn for Mike and Liz who will be here one more month.

We had the 'bottom shift' Wednesday, and what a great shift it was......we had just over 180 visitors for the day......a lot for a Wednesday.....and the weather was picture perfect......clear, sunny with virtually no wind.  I was adding up the number of assignments we had this month and it comes to 15 meaning that we have worked exactly half the time we have been here, albeit only about 60 hours in all.....a much more relaxed month than our last at TVC when we each averaged 40 hours per week (160 for the month).

We closed up the lighthouse at 1530 hours, and were home by 1545......TLE sat down to read a good book, and I headed outside to vacuum the VW, and take care of a few other 'upkeep' things, then got the wood loaded in the portable fireplace for our first fire since we left South Lake Tahoe.

Around 1730 I lit the fire using an Ignite-O packet as I always do, and within a few minutes had a roaring fire.....works every time!  No muss, no fuss.....just stack the wood, insert an Ignite-O packet in the middle of the wood, light it, and relax.


The evening weather was so nice we even ate (pollo asado tacos) outdoors for the first time since we got here August 30th......we sat by the fire until almost 2100.......Angie and Gary joined us for the last hour.  We headed inside to watch the season premier of 'Survivor' (we recorded it) and were in bed by 2230.  It was really great to sit outside without being buffeted by the wind!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Jerry and the Jets

When I left off yesterday we had made reservations at Jerry's Rogue Jet Boats to take the 11 am boat 32 miles up the Rogue River to Agness and back.  We met Mike and Liz at 0930 to ride with them down to Gold Beach and arrived at Jerry's Rogue Jet Boats office at 1015, checked in, and then waited for our departure time.  There are three tours offered: 64 mile round trip, 90 mile 'white water' round trip and 104 mile 'white water' round trip, but after August 31st only the 64 mile trip is offered due to reduced water depths past Agness.  For $50/person you go 32 miles up the Rogue River to Agness where you can buy lunch at one of two restaurants located right on the river.  The restaurants are on opposite sides of the river with one (Singing Springs) offering a buffet for about $15/person, and the second (Cougar Lane BBQ) offering a full menu......we chose Cougar Lane.  Lunch is not included in the 64 mile trip.



There used to be two competing jet boat companies on the Rogue River - Jerry's Rogue Jet Boats and the 'Mail Boats'.  Both started in business about 50 years ago, but within the past year, or two Jerry's bought out 'Mail Boats' and they are now one, although the graphics have not yet been changed on the 'Mail Boats'......for the purposes of this trip we were riding in one of the blue 'Mail Boats' called 'Wildcat'.  This boat has 3 small block Chevy 354 cubic inch engines powering the powerful jets that propel these boats up river.  The draft of these boats is about 6" at speed, which enables them to pass safely through the numerous shallow spots along the river where depths can shrink at times to just 8 inches.

'Wildcat'

We left on our 'Mr. Toad's Wild Ride' trip promptly at 1100 hours and were treated to a great two hour trip up to Agness.......it doesn't really take that long to make the trip at 30+ mph, but on the way up you stop a lot to see some of the wild life, and are given a lot of really interesting history about the river......

 Mike and Liz to my left

TLE  to my right......all buttoned up!

......initially is it quite cold, and we all were bundled up against the cold and wind......

Osprey nests

Long shot of a bald eagle

 Our intrepid captain.....Kevin....very entertaining

These jet boats have flat bottoms so our captain entertained us a couple dozen times going and coming doing "360's" when the water depth is appropriate and the river is wide enough......lots of fun.


We reached Agness just about 1300 hours, disembarked and walked up the hill to the restaurant which had this enormous outdoor deck, and draft beer!  Doesn't get much better than that!

Much warmer in Agness

By 1430 hours we were back in the 'Wildcat' and headed back down river......it took us just over one hour to make the return trip, and it was nice to watch the scenery speed by at 30+ mph as the boat carved through the many twists and turns of the Rogue.


I was able to take a little video of what you looks like zooming along the river in the jet boat.....enjoy.....



We were back in Gold Beach by 1600 hours and on our way back north to Cape Blanco by 1630........Mike and Liz had suggested we stop on our way back at Arizona Beach to pick raspberries, so we did.  They had gotten a tip from the local camp host that there were a lot of unpicked berries, so we stopped and picked a few pounds.......


It was a great day, and the experience exceeded our expectations.....we all thought we received a lot of value for the price we paid.  We were home just before 1800 hours with, once again, smiles on our faces.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It's Gold!

Recently I ordered a replacement water pressure regulator through Amazon, but upon receipt of that regulator realized I had misread the item description thinking it was adjustable up to 50 PSI, however, the one I purchased only goes up to 25 PSI, which is a little low for my application, so I had to return it and purchase the correct one.  I've only had to return one other thing in all the years I have been buying stuff from Amazon, and am so impressed with how easy it is.  You just go to your 'ORDERS', open up the item in question and there is a tab that you click to return the item.  You are asked a couple of questions, and then they give you a shipping label to print, and attach to the package.  Naturally, you have to pay the return shipping, which Amazon just subtracts from your refund.  Since we had this return package to drop off at UPS we decided to drive south to Gold Beach Monday.  There was a drop off location in Bandon that was closer, but we've already been there a couple of times this year, so Gold Beach it was!

We left the campground around 1030 hours to begin our 33 mile drive south, stopping off in Port Orford at the hardware store to buy some clear marine grade caulk, then on to the Post Office to drop off some mail, then continued on south arriving in Gold Beach around 1145 hours......we quickly located the UPS drop off facility located within Rogue Outdoor Store on HWY 101 where we quickly deposited the Amazon bound package.

The view along HWY 101 on the way to Gold Beach is just as spectacular as any other section of 101 in Oregon.....



......and, of course, there is the obligatory historic bridge that carries you over the Rogue River into Gold Beach.....

Historic Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge

.......after completing our main task we began our search for a place to have lunch, but the first 3, or 4 places we chose are not open on Mondays.  Ultimately we settled on eating at Double D's Cafe to which Yelp gives 4 stars on 33 reviews, and they were open.  This is a little 'hole in the wall' kind of place, but it is well worth the stop.  I had a classic BLT with curly fries, and TLE ordered a classic Rueben with curly fries.  As it turned out we got a plate full of curly fries with accompanied by a sandwich......I'm not being critical here......just describing the abundance of curly fries on each of our plates.  My BLT was delicious, and TLE loved her Rueben......we got a box for the curly fries we could not finish......:-)

As you cross over the Isaac Lee Patterson bridge into Gold Beach you can see the famous Jerry's Rogue Jet Boat docks on the right, and I thought "Why not come back tomorrow and take that trip up the Rogue River?"......apparently I did more than think it as I quickly heard TLE's voice replying "Yeah, let's do that!"  I sent an instant message via Facebook to Mike and Liz asking if they wanted to join us, and they also replied in the affirmative, so we made reservations for the 11 am 64 mile round trip run on Tuesday.  At $50/person this seems like a good value, but I'll let you know when I write about Tuesday on Wednesday morning.

On our way back north we stopped in at Humbug Mountain State Park to check it out......the park offers water and electric hookups (no sewer), and a dump station.  It stretches out along Brush Creek in the shadow of the 1,756' Humbug Mountain......it is a very interesting park, but feels a little claustrophobic to me.

Instead of heading directly back to Cape Blanco we drove another 8 miles northward to the small town of Langlois and the famous Langlois Market where I stocked up on some exotic brews from their amazing collection.....next to Dart's Liquor in Stateline, NV this tiny out of the way store has one of the more impressive collection of 22 ounce brews I have ever seen.

We were home by 1530 hours with smiles on our faces.....what a nice day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Seduction.....

Sunday was another beautiful, sunny day at the 'White' Cape.....the kind of seductive day that calls to you......"Come walk my trails, my beaches.......watch the light play upon the clouds, the sea, and the rocks giving you a scene you have never seen before......come....by all means, come......".....and, of course, you obey.....


Around 1100 hours we got dressed and headed down to the beginning of the South Cape Trail heeding that siren call born on the winds of Cape Blanco and are immediately rewarded with stunning views up and down the coast......

As I said....stunning views

The South Cape Trail is .75 miles long, but the views along the way make it feel 3 times as long.......


....the fog rolled in and out as we made our way over to the lighthouse, and then down to 'north beach'......


....we don't walk on 'north beach' often as the beach there is much more narrow than 'south beach', and when the tide is in there is no place to walk.....we timed our approach to 'north beach' this day to find the tide at its lowest, and we succeeded.....




......acres of sand to walk upon..........


......as stunning as the views are along 'south beach' they are even more so at 'north beach'.....the rock formations are breathtaking!  In all we walked some 3.6 miles round trip over two hours, but for us the walk seemed timeless.

I took a picture of the sign that welcomes you to the lighthouse.....if you click on the picture you will be able to read the logos of the various 'stakeholders' here.......


We were home in time to watch the Dallas Cowboys at the Philadelphia Eagles.....the Eagles' offense is really offensive, and the Cowboys were not much better for much of the game, but they had it in control late in the game when Tony Romo went down with a broken collarbone....not good for the Cowboys.

Around 1910 hours we walked down to the 'phone booth' to see what magic awaited us at sunset......I took this picture just at the fog rolled in and the sun was setting behind the offshore cloud bank......



.....just magical.....thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Living in the moment

Every day I am asked multiple times by arriving visitors "How are you doing?"......I always reply "Excellent!", because I am.  How could I not be doing excellent getting to spend several hours a day in the great outdoors enjoying the good weather (right now), and exceptional views?  This reminds me not to take this experience for granted......I try to spend a few minutes each shift just standing at the edge of the bluff taking in the gorgeous view, taking a deep breath of the sea air and feeling the wind on my face......I literally feel this sense of well being....serenity if you will......wash over my soul.  I watch the wind bend the long grass parallel to the ground at times, hear the barking seals in the distance, the cry of the eagle as he floats upon the updrafts along the cliffs in search of his next meal......this is about as good as it gets.


I had a chance to have an extended conversation with a couple who had both just retired and were taking an open ended car tour up the Pacific coastline.  They remarked how they were learning to 'live in the moment', and not make too many plans.......just let "it" happen.  That is really what this nomadic life is all about......living in, and cherishing the moment.....not thinking too far ahead......yesterday is history....tomorrow's story is yet unwritten.......just enjoy today.....enjoy where you are, and what you are doing.....if you aren't enjoying where you are, or what you are doing roll your wheels.

In the old Visitor Center here at Cape Blanco someone, years ago, had painted a mural on one of the walls of the 9 lighthouses along the Oregon Coast.......last year it was not possible to take a picture of the entire mural because some shelving was in the way, but now that it is empty I decided to take a 'pano' shot of it Saturday for posterity's sake.......please click on this picture to see it in more detail....


.....Ranger Greg is still trying to figure out how to save this mural and move it to the new Visitor Center.....I hope he is successful!

We had the 'top shift' Saturday so were off by 1300 and home shortly thereafter enjoying the sunny skies with a 'little' college football thrown in for good measure......okay, a LOT of college football.....


.....and not a bad view to enjoy whilst watching the game!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

May I have more? (Also, why we chose a 36' Class 'A' diesel pusher)

I know the norm here is wind, fog, cold and not much sun, but I want what I want, right?  After 3+ months of mostly sunny, warm, windless weather in SLT I was ready for a little weather variation, but it didn't take me long to wish for no fog, no wind, no clouds and more sun.  Friday we awoke to just what I wanted, and if the weather guessers are remotely accurate in their predictions for the next few days we should have a little more of the same.

Order is restored......sunny, warmish, little wind


The view from my office for the 'middle shift' was nothing short of amazing all day long.  We had just over 170 visitors for the day making for many interesting conversations, which always seems to make time fly.  We had a lot of wild life sighting, including our first porcupine sighting.  There were 5, or 6 deer, numerous bald eagles, and rabbits as well as people of every shape, size and description.

We were off at 1530 hours and headed into Port Orford to do some small shopping, and once again TLE kept it small.....just one small basket.  We were home by 1645 and relaxing in advance of our dinner with Mike and Liz......they had purchased some hand made German hot dogs which they contributed, and I grilled, along with fresh peaches (also grilled) and other sides.  We sat outside for the first time in 10 days to eat, but by 2030 it was beginning to get cold (wish we could have had a fire, but I don't think that wish will be granted this time around....there is a still a state wide ban on campfires at all Oregon State Parks), so we retired to our individual homes for the evening.

Now, on to the topic I promised in yesterday's blog.......'Why did we choose our Class A diesel pusher?'

The first thing I will emphasize here is that there is no wrong answer to the question "What RV should I buy to full time in?".....seriously.  I have told TLE on occasions too numerous to count that there is an RV configuration and design for everyone.....all you have to do is walk through any RV park anywhere in America and you will know I am right.  It really comes down to what strikes your particular fancy, and meets your needs based on how you plan to live your life on the road.  For the sake of brevity I will not go into all the pros and cons of all the RV configurations available, and why we didn't choose them.  Why we chose our particular Class A 36' diesel pusher is only relevant to our situation, but I will take you through our thought processes that led to the decision we made, and why we have had zero regrets about that decision in the 7 years since we bought our Newell.

Our first motorized RV was a 1987 Fleetwood Tioga 26' Class C shown below.....

It came with this cool awning tent enclosure which added to our living space


We liked it a lot, but after a few multi week trips in it, and knowing our desire was to travel full time we decided we needed something bigger.  From the beginning we knew we liked the convenience, for us, of the motorhome platform.  We could stop anywhere for the night and not even get out of the RV.  While in route TLE could get up and go to the bathroom, or get a snack for us without the need to stop, and if we decided to stop we didn't even have to get out to go to the bathroom......very important to us if the weather was inclement.  We decided pretty early on that we wanted to move up to a Class A design that would allow us to make better use of the driving and passenger compartment.  In most Class C configurations that space is completely unusuable when camping, whereas in many Class A configurations the chairs could be turned around and the console, and dashboard space could be utilized giving us more usable space.

We spent time going through every conceivable Class A configuration at RV shows, as well as touring the Class A's owned by people we knew, and met along the way.  One accessory we decided against pretty early on was slides.  I wanted to be able to work on all the systems of our new RV, and trying to fix a slide when it malfunctioned (and they will) seemed way above my pay grade.  The next thing we decided on was we didn't want anything longer than 36' so our camping options would not be limited by our size.  Many National Parks have length limitations of around 35-36 feet.  So, over the months of searching we had narrowed our choices down to an RV no longer than 36' with no slides.

Next up for me was I wanted at least a queen sized pedestal bed we could walk around so neither of us would have to crawl over the other to get in, or out of bed, plus we wanted a configuration that would allow us to use the area under the pedestal bed for storage. Secondly we wanted a washer and dryer in our RV.  

Another issue is whether to buy a new, or used RV.....I hadn't purchased a new car in a couple of decades because I hated the immediate depreciation when you left the car lot, so why would I change my philosophy when it came to an RV?  Ultimately we decided we would not be buying a 'new' RV as we did not want to be making loan payments for the next 6 years, so we began focusing on Class A motorhomes around 8-10 years old that we could afford to buy and own outright. 

The final thing we decided we wanted was a diesel pusher......more power for pulling a large enclosed car trailer.....why we decided to pull an enclosed car trailer, instead of just pulling a car behind us like most people do is a whole other discussion that I will write about separately.

Now that we had narrowed our options down we began to look in earnest for our next RV, but within a few weeks became very discouraged as virtually all of the used Class A's we looked at did not stand up well to full time living, let alone part time, or weekend living.  They all had this 'threadbare' look to them after 8-10 years, and at $70-$90,000 dollars for a used one we would have to do a lot of interior renovation before we even began living in it.  Then one day while browsing the local Craigslist RV ads I came across this ad for a 1982 Newell......I had never heard of Newell, and there was a good reason.  They only build about 25-30 of them a year so there are not many on the road.


This was the only picture in the original Craigslist ad, but I was captivated!

This Newell was 36' long, had a pedestal bed, and a Splendide washer/dryer.  As I said, at the time I had no idea what a Newell was, but it looked beautiful.   The draw back for me was that in 2008 it was 26 years old.....about 16 years older than we wanted.  On top of that it had this weird Detroit Diesel 2 stroke engine (a 6V92 with turbo putting out 350 horsepower).......what is a 2 stroke diesel?  Initially I was a little put off by the age, but we happened to be attending a wedding down in the area where the Newell was stored, so we decided to make an appointment to see it while we were in the area.  I happened to be the first one to respond to the ad, but as it turned out I was not the last.

The wedding was Saturday evening so we met Fred (the second owner of this 1982 Newell) around noon time at the storage facility where he kept it.  He opened the door for TLE to enter, and before I was able to get to the top of the entry stairs TLE was sold, and I was playing catch up.  Fred spent 2 hours showing us all the basement storage areas, cranked up the Detroit, the generator, etc.  The interior on this 103,000 mile coach was immaculate, and everything worked.  By the end of the tour I was very intrigued.  I called my good friend, Claude Banker, to find out if he knew anything about Newells, and he did.  He immediately sent me a link that explained the differences between a traditional 4 stroke diesel, and a 2 stroke, then a link to a Newell users website.  I spent most of the afternoon reading about Newells, and by Sunday (after the wedding) we went back to look at it again.  At our second meeting Fred advised that he had already had offers above what he was asking, but since I was the first in the door we could have it for the original asking price of $39,900.  We had done some checking and found Newells of similar vintage and condition going for over $70,000.  This Newell was way below our original budget of $70-90,000 so we decided to pull the trigger and put a deposit on it giving us two weeks (March 1st) to come up with the balance.  Of course, the rest is history, and on March 1, 2008 we became the owners of not our 'next' RV, but the RV that we will call home for years to come.

To own this giant Newell coach I would be on a steep learning curve for the next few years.  I knew very little about electricity, or how to troubleshoot electrical problems, so I had to learn about 12 volt direct current and 110 alternating current, and how to solve electrical problems......that was a very steeeeep learning curve for me and my education still continues in that area to this day.  I would have to learn about diesel engines, their upkeep, and how to fix stuff when it breaks....fortunately I had this wonderful users group called NewellClassic.com (which no longer exists......a Newell friend of mine started a new one called NewellGurus.com and it is thriving to this day) and quickly became friends with several of the forum contributors who spent hours on the phone with me helping me troubleshot minor issues I was having.  Ultimately we met many of these folks in person, and have spent thousands of hours with them traveling, staying at their homes, on the phone,etc.  Without their help I would have drowned quickly, but today, with their backup and support I can pretty much fix anything that goes wrong, and have, indeed, done just that.

So, there you have it......our reasons for choosing the RV we travel and live our lives in every day 365 days year.  What you want, and need will probably be different.  There is really no wrong answer to the question 'What RV should I buy?', but you are the one who will have to answer that question.  Decide what things are important to you in a 'tiny house' and then go find it!

Thanks for stopping by!