RV Safety and Security

I actually woke up in a panic in the middle of the night last night, again, thinking (or dreaming) that someone was breaking into my rig, even though I was sleeping at home.  While it might take some time to get used to, I’m planning on adding some features that will help me sleep better at night (literally).

  1. Car alarm system.  I need to get something that will go off if the door is opened, I really don’t want any false alarms when I am sleeping.
  2. Fix the dead-bolt on the coach door.  The dead bolt currently doesn’t quite reach the door frame, so that is going on the immediate fix-it list.
  3. Personal protection.  I’ll soon be getting a gun.  JK.  I already have a canister of pepper spray, but I think I’d like to find a nifty spot to hide it that is very easily accessible from my bed.

Anyway, hope the “night tremors” will stop once I have these security features in place.

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First trip in the RV

I spent 4 nights in a row in the Rialta for the long weekend.  I picked up a friend of mine and we went to stay with another friend in Chico.  I parked right in front of their house, and my buddy stayed on the couch (in the house).  I stayed in the RV to test things out, and to be able to sleep in a private place with an actual bed, which was a much better option than the livingroom floor with the dog.

I’ve learned a number of things after actually spending some time in my rig.  I’ll probably go into more details, but I quickly want to get a list while everything is fresh in my mind.

  1. The insulation sucks.  It gets pretty cold in there at night, but sleeping in a sweatshirt, beanie and super-thick comfortor helped.  Every morning when I woke up, all the glass/mirrors were fogged up.
  2. The tanks (fresh/gray/black) actually hold a good amount.  I didn’t take any showers, but still had plenty of room in all tanks.
  3. Battery life is pretty good too.  I was parked for 4 days straight, used the lights/radio/fan/water pump during that time, and still had a full battery charge.
  4. Light really penetrates in the morning.  I had to get a pair of blinders so I could sleep in past 7AM.
  5. The street is much louder than inside a house.  Earplugs were key.
  6. I need to tint the coach door window.  The shade for that must be pulled up every time you open the door, so I constantly forget to close that blind.  If you are changing, its best to remember.
  7. Gas mileage is great!  I averaged over 17mpg on the trip.
  8. I need to fix the CC.  The cruise control doesn’t work, and it can be cumbersome keeping a constant speed for hours on the interstate.
  9. People either think it is incredibly creepy or amazingly cool that I live in an RV.  If I give them more details and an RV tour, they usually come around.
  10. I need a light that comes on if the coach door is open.  I’ve had too many close calls stumbling to find the switch after entering the coach.
  11. I need more security.  For the entire time, I didn’t really know when the coach door was locked and when it wasn’t, so I had some panic attacks in the middle of the night when I thought I heard (or dreamed) that someone was entering my rig.
  12. I need a tiny vacuum.  The floor gets really dirty really fast.
  13. I need a key hook.  I kept losing my keys every time I was inside the coach.
  14. Leveling blocks did help.  I would rather just find a level spot, but there really weren’t any perfect spots.  The leveling blocks were a quick solution to help get the thing level.  Not perfect, but better than nothing.
  15. It is nice to have the option to put the desk away.  I might just leave it be instead of installing a new solid one-piece permanent thing.

I’ve got plenty of work to do on this rig in the meantime.  I ordered a ton of stuff last week, and it all was waiting for me in my room when I got home.  I’ll start posting more details on some of the modifications I complete.

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Purchased my Motorhome

I had been searching for the right RV for my living and traveling needs for over a month.  I had decided that the most important features to me were the following:

1.  Not looking like a creepy RV

2.  Good mileage

3.  All-inclusive (shower, stove, fridge, bathroom, etc.)

4.  Comfy bed

5.  < $25k

6.  <22′ long

After reading about Tynan’s Rialta, I figured that the Rialta might just be the best fit, but I had to do my own research to find out.

I started by looking at some of the older Toyota models.  A lot have 4-cylinder engines and claim 20+ mpg.  You can also get them for around $5-10k, which would help keep my investment to a minimum.  However, those older RVs have a few drawbacks.  First, the ones I looked at were in pretty rough shape, but it makes sense considering that they were 20+ years old.  Finding one in mint condition would run me closer to the 10k mark.  Also, they are build on a wooden frame and have issues with the thing rotting away.  Finally, since they are older RVs, they definitely give off the “Creepy RV” vibe, which is something I absolutely want to stay away from.

Next, I started looking at Class B (vans) motorhomes.  I liked that these looked more like vans than they did RVs, but I think that one problem was the lack of space and high prices.  I looked at Road Treks, Pleasure-Ways, and a variety of other van conversions.  I found that anything that fell into my price range wasn’t something I wanted to live in.

Then I started looking at shorter class C’s built on American chassis’.  I found that some had what I wanted, but most had gas-guzzling motors, and were usually a bit bigger than what I wanted.

Finally I came back to the Rialta, but checked out the Rialta’s siblings, the Itasca Sunstar and the Vista.  For a bit, it seemed like the way to go, however after some consideration, I came to the conclusion that the Rialta’s siblings were quite a bit larger, didn’t get as good mileage, and gave off more of the RV vibe than I wanted to exude.

So once I decided to go with the Rialta, I had the difficult task of finding one in my budget.  There was one about 1.5 hours north of me that was about 75% over my budget.  No way I would buy that.  There was one 6 hours south of me that was about 15% over my budget.  I figured I might go down there to check it out if I couldn’t find anything more locally.  I decided to put a “Wanted” ad up, and got one reply.  They were about 2 hours east of me, and under budget!

Since I wasn’t going to make the 2 hour trip out there just to check it out, I had them take it to a local RV mechanic for an inspection.  The mechanic tested everything, and called me back with nothing but good news.  My dad and I drove out there, spend a few hours checking it out, and we all went to the bank to transfer the funds and title.  I drove the thing home that day.

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