Around-Town Transportation

While the RV is technically a vehicle, it is not convenient to use as around-town transportation.  To solve the problem of getting around town while parked, I went through several solutions:

  • Walking/Public Transportation – While I’ll probably be doing plenty of this no matter what, there may be areas where I’ll have to walk several miles at a time.  I definitely to bring something along to make this easier.
  • Tow a small car – This would just be too much trouble to find two parking spots and add an extra 15′ to the RV.
  • Motorcycle – I put a lot of thought into this idea.  I could get a Ninja 250 (~300lbs) and a hitch-mounted motorcycle rack that wouldn’t add too much length to the Rialta.  A motorcycle would be a great way to get around towns, since it can go on the freeway, park easily, and even accommodate for a passenger.  However, I ended up ruling this out because of the extra weight it would add to the already over-loaded rig.
  • Bicycle – I can easily mount my bike to a small rack on the back of the Rialta without adding too much weight.  However the only downside is if I have to ride long distances, or up huge hills.  I’ll get to my destinations all sweaty.
  • Motorized Bicycle – I rode a motorized bicycle all throughout college until it was stolen.  It is the best around-town vehicle I have ever owned.  This light-weight super-efficient transportation device will fit nicely on a bike rack in the rear of the Rialta.  The only problem is that you can’t take it on the freeway.

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I’ve decided that I’m going to go the motorized bike route.  I’m currently searching Craigslist for a suitable 2-bike hitch-mounted rack for the Rialta.  I plan on building a “commuter” motorized bicycle, and also bringing my mountain bike.

My last motorized bike was a 2-stroke, frame-mounted, noisy and smelly, cheap Chinese piece of machinery.  I’m going to do it right this time with a 35cc 4-stroke Robin/Subaru engine from Golden Eagle Bike Engines.

Once I find the perfect bike to build on, I’ll start a thread on MotoredBikes.com to post details on my build.

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Fixed the Rialta Refrigerator DC Mode!

They call it a 3-way fridge because it can cool in 3 modes:

  1. 110v AC: I need to be plugged into shore power, have the generator on or be using an inverter for this mode to work.
  2. 12v DC: Used when driving, but I found that it never worked well…
  3. Propane: Somehow a flame keeps the fridge cool really efficiently??  It works so I won’t ask any questions.

I wondered why running in DC mode didn’t drain the battery or cool the fridge more than a few degrees.  I figured it was just a really weak cooling mode.  Finally I read online that I should check the fuses on the top of the fridge.  I pulled out the kitchen drawer just above the fridge, and of course, the 20 AMP fuse was blown.  Turns out someone stuck a 3 AMP fuse in there!

Osh didn’t have any 20 AMP fuses, so I got a 15 AMP one and stuck it in there.  I switched the DC on and didn’t hear or notice anything.  I came back a few hours later and the fridge was down to 20 degrees!  Success!

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2nd RV Trip Notes

My second trip consisted of 3 nights parked outside a friend’s house in Chico.  Here are some more things I realized:

  1. I wired the stereo to the car battery.  I also wired in a switch so I can turn the stereo on without putting the key in, and I guess blasting the stereo drains the car battery faster than I thought.
  2. The AUX Start switch does not work properly.  This switch is supposed to connect the coach batteries (the ones that are ALWAYS FULL because of the solar panels) so that the coach batteries can start the car if the car battery dies.  I actually had to use jumper cables to connect the coach batteries to the car battery.
  3. I need to keep things VERY organized.  Due to the size of the rig, the place can become a mess in an instant.
  4. I feel safer inside now than I did last trip.  Since I figured out how the locks work, I haven’t been waking up scared anymore.
  5. The DC mode of the 3-way fridge doesn’t really work at all.  It was on the entire time and the fridge never really got cold.  I don’t know if it even works at all!  I will get a thermometer for the fridge to make sure my food stays safe.
  6. I still need a shower curtain and a way to heat the water…
  7. I could use a soap dispenser for the kitchen sink.
  8. The blackwater tank level sensor doesn’t work right.  I dumped my tanks and it still reads about 2/3 full.  I though I paid $190 for an inspection prior to buying!
  9. The solar panels are working great.  The battery is practically ALWAYS full.  Granted I’m still not living in there full-time, but I think my solar system should suffice.
  10. The solar panels seem to be mounted sufficiently.  They were still there when I got home.
  11. I need new wiper blades.  My windshield destroyed hundreds of bugs, and trying to clean it with the spray and the wipers just made it worse.

Overall, I think I am getting much closer to having a livable space.  Just a few more trips and I should be ready for a full-time move in.

Here is where I went to dump my tanks.  No charge!

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