Our first “Trip”

Consisted of driving the RV about 20 miles to Liz’s Folks’ place in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.  There we have spent a couple weeks “fixing” all sorts of things.  Along the way,  we have learned some things,  as well.   First what we have learned:

I have learned that when presented with two options:  1)  Replace a part or 2) Replace an entire assembly,  ALWAYS choose Door #2  on a 30-year-old vehicle.  The likelihood is you will end up (sooner, probably,  not later) replacing the assembly anyway.  Example:  the toilet needed a new valve.  No prob.  $45.  In the process of installing that valve (in a completely inaccessible location…see next point), I discovered that the aged, brittle plastic toilet had failed in an invisible spot.  Thus,  the new valve sprayed water all around the bathroom.    I thought for a moment about telling Liz this was a FEATURE,  like those fancy Japanese Toilets that clean and refresh your whole body… but she would NEVER fall for that!  Replacement toilet $165 (+ the $45 spent on the valve that I should NOT have repaired).

Another learning opportunity:  I have learned (always suspected) that I am far more  persistent than skilled.  This is especially true around RV systems,  and has helped with our retirement budget.  Basically,  all RV systems are just like home systems EXCEPT they are wedged into small and inaccessible places with many sharp edges.  This means that, notwithstanding skinned knuckles and bruises,  I can make almost any repair “above the floor” (leaving engine, transmission, brakes, etc. – below the floor —  to the professionals).    Example:  The above toilet repair  would have cost approx. $23,467 (considering our mechanic’s labor rate of $118/hr).  Instead, it was self-performed for only  $165 (replacement toilet),  a couple of days squeezing into small places and an occasional BandAid.  So far no transfusions required.

We have also learned that the Bluebird is a MAJOR conversation starter.  While parked in Twin Lakes,  MANY total strangers drove by, honked and “thumbs-up.”  A few less than many (but still quite a few) stopped and talked to us at length and were grateful for a tour.   I think we will not be lonely travelling in this style.

What we have fixed (and will soon fix):

  • We cleaned the carpet and upholstery
  • We deployed the leveling jacks and verified this system operates
  • We sterilized the holding tank and all the fixtures that are involved in potable water
  • We now have 100% working plumbing.
  • We opened the awnings and found them to be in perfect condition
  • and,  we Lived in the Bus for almost a week (albeit showering inside).

Next I tackle the propane system (stove, furnaces, fridge, etc.).  There is also a connector for a Gas grill (though we don’t yet own one that will fit in the storage bays).    I don’t expect problems,  but if you hear a “BOOM” coming from the general direction of Twin Lakes Wisconsin,  you will know that we are having a bad day!


I am also going to rework the bedroom a bit to create a king-sized platform out of twin beds.  The platform will split and open like a drawbridge netting us more storage.  Liz is a little woried about sleeping on such a high-tech feature…especially one designed and built by…ME!   What could go wrong?



Actually,  now that I think about it…it seems to me that the next items to address will be the Blender and Ice maker…which together should make all the rest of the repairs more palatable (Margaritas, anyone?).

We are truly close to being able to travel for real in this bus.  All vital systems are or will shortly be functional.  Stay tuned for our first “Real” road entry on our travel blog.



2 thoughts on “Our first “Trip”

  • your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Liz Dan
    Sounds like you need to take a course with the guys on “This Old House”! I stress old Never too late. .Robinsdale doesn’t care as long as the “bus” is not a permanent “feature!”.

    Hoped you and Liz would come for the July 8th gathering. See you whenever.

    xox Mom

  • The first thing I thought of was The Long Long Trailer with Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz.
    Happy Trails!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *