Sunday, November 27, 2005
1st Road Trip - A Success!
Nine brave souls....well, eight and yours truly, (that's the Duchess and I at the right of the picture!) set out from Tampa aboard the now-named "Roadhouse" on a sunny, clear & cool Saturday morning.
Our trip covered 11 hours, and included visits by our crew of "Elks & Ladies of the Elks", to lodges in Naples and Punta Gorda. We ate a lunch in Naples Lodge, and then found ourselves waterside on the Peace River at the Punta Gorda Lodge for a fine dinner we had packed ourselves. The coach was marvelous. With 9 aboard we averaged almost dead on 8 mpg! That was pleasing to us.
The ride was wonderful, and the companionship and laughter was most enjoyable. We had along some nice wines, but began the day with a bright wake-me-up of Bloody Mary with a huge stalk of celery. Then your driver drank water!
One knack I seem to have, and perhaps I picked it up from our earlier boating days, is not just finding a place to park the coach, but also looking ahead to how we will find a path for departure. This is critical for any who have yet to experience the thrill of trying to maneuver in a parking lot full of cars with turn lanes designed for those cars!
It is also quite evident to the Duchess and I the Lazydays driving school is a fantastic bargain! (Free to purchasers of Lazydays vehicles)....The simple things such as turning radius, backing and so forth give you a several weeks head start on driving capability. The lesson on setting your mirrors alone is well-worth the time. Unless you've driven an RV, you'll not know of what I speak, but trust me, your first time on an on ramp to an interstate, you'll find out.
Good Trip! Good Friends! Great Coach!
p.s. If you read the last post (see below), I was not able to find the time to set up the GPS on my laptop, so we flew blind....well, not really, as I have lived in Naples and my sister in Punta Gorda, so knew my way around quite nicely.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Road Trip! Our 1st....
I'll blog on the results.....have my 1st maps from my Rand McNally trip program, and maps to the Lodges from Yahoo maps. I will be bringing the "Roadhouse", as it has been dubbed, home tomorrow from storage for a quick wash job, and some loading of essentials for the trip.
Excitement is there already, both for us and for our friends who enjoy such jaunts.
I'll be setting up a new laptop-connected GPS map program tomorrow for use in a nicely-designed niche in the dash on the passenger side. The thing should help us maneuver directly to the Lodges, if all goes as planned.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Towing a "Toad", Continued...
Now, however, two separate manufacturers of towing hitches and equipment have informed me the manual for the Suzuki is WRONG. Seems the folk at Suzuki are worried about lawsuits!
Of course, my 1st perception was that there were some folk who did not know my vehicle. However, it seems several hundred Vitaras and their Tracker counterparts are touring the USA behing coaches.
Now I am determined to tow this thing, and apparently will be quite capable of doing so....Price tag for a "fold-away" hitch and lighting that utilizes my own Suzuki tail lights and turn signals, plus the connector at the Suzuki end will be about $1,500 before finished. OK....I can live with that....as long as the tow is GOOD!
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Nothing Easy - Take Storage for Instance
If you own 20 acres, you're all set. If you live in town (Tampa, FL) as we do, you need a storage place. Our coach, when backed into our driveway occupies everything from the house to the front sidewalk.
"Storage" means different things to various folks. Some get $40 per month to allow you to park in a field with minimal fencing, and no lighting or security. Some are WAY out of town where property is cheaper. Some, in town, are nicer but also more expensive.
We ended up at a place actually located about two miles from home. It is slightly off the road behind a building, has a live-on tenant who is home every night, has security cameras to the fellow's own coach, and is well-fenced and lighted. The toll goes up to $75 right about here. Not cheap, but convenient and gives a feel of security.
I am seriously considering a piece of land, fenced and available to others...but then I have to obtain insurance, etc. Probably not worth it.
UPDATE: Suddenly it occurs to me! This is a whole lot like boat ownership (we had a 26 foot flybridge sportfisher for five years). They both cost a lot and the trials and tribulations of ownership are endless. The rewards, however should be great....they were for the boat!
You Can't Tow THAT!
In early 2000, the duchess and I bought a new 1999 Suzuki Vitara. At the time there was a glimmer of the future which said, "We'll tow this behind our Motorhome!"
Now, some 41,000 miles later, the Vitara (this is the jeep-style canvas top with two doors, but roomy seating for four) is suddenly our vehicle of choice for what we then only dreamed about.....Our Town Car will sit home....I am NOT towing that!
Now we have the Coach.....it has a hitch system and light connectors....Ready to rumble!
The 1st call I make to a hitch person to set up towing of my little Vitara gets me a near laugh-off. "You can't tow that!" I am informed.... "The Suzuki, even your 2WD stick shift, has to be towed on a dolly BACKWARDS!"
Check the owner's manual stupid! I do....They are apparently right. Oh boy! I hate the concept of a tow dolly. They are bulky, expensive and have to be locked to a tree or some such while you are camped so someone else does not borrow it! Plus it makes our unit & its little trailer a good bit longer!
Time to re-trench!
Memory of the time of purchase of the vehicle tells me someone at the Suzuki dealership told me of a place which installs "driveline disconnects" which offer you the chance to disengage the drive shaft and tow this little car. However, I cannot, five years later, remember the name of the place.
Suffice it to say I spent the better part of two days chasing down leads, and finally found a firm named REMCO which makes these things. Through a local dealer they inform me that I don't need to disconnect for this towing! Opposite of my owner's manual information.
Current status: Monday I call the REMCO folks and get the information straight from them.
Hopefully we'll have our "toad" (name for the towed vehicles) hooked up and ready to rumble.....
Ain't camping fun?
UPDATE: Moved to top!