On the mend

I found out today from the shop that is repairing the damage I did during the dry run with the motorhome. They ordered the parts and submitted the estimate to the insurance company for review. I had originally planned on leaving for my journey after my cousin Hannah gets married on March 15th, but with the damage to the RV and the time it will take I’ve pushed that back by 1 week to give myself time to get my new home all set up and road ready. So my departure date is now March 22nd.

The dry..well,not so dry run.

These are pics of the first RV park I stayed in outside of the Lazydays dealership/campground. We drove from Tampa, after buying the motorhome, to Daytona Beach to pick up a trailer that will allow me to haul my pickup and my motorcycle at the same time.

I didn’t call or plan ahead, my brain was in hotel mode – not motorhome mode. It didn’t dawn on me that the RV park office might actually close at a certain time instead of being like a hotel and having someone man the desk 24/7. We got to Daytona at around 5:30p. I thought I’d just park in the Walmart parking lot as I’d heard that was something they allowed. Well, they don’t in Daytona Beach! There is a big sign (I should have gotten a pic) that says ‘Absolutely no overnight RV parking’.

That means, plan B – find an RV park. I called a couple of places and they were already closed for the day. I happened to get in touch with one campground that was just closing up. They agreed to leave the information for the available slot at the desk so that when I got there I would know where to go without having to wait for someone in the office.

During the conversation regarding the reservation. I felt like it was important to mention the size of my rig to make sure they could accommodate. Being new to this (first night) I didn’t know if that was a reasonable question or not. When I told her what I was driving, she said “yeah, I ‘think’ we can squeeze you in”. I thought that meant they had a slot or two open, it did – kind of. What it really meant was “the turns will be tight and it will be extremely difficult to navigate but if you are competent and experienced you ‘should’ be able to pull it off.

Did I mention this was the first run for me? 🙂 When we got to the campground, it was dark and had started to rain. Not like a little drizzle or anything, no…that would have been far too easy. It was a down pour! So here I am with a grand total of 4 hours logged in the drivers seat, ZERO hours logged backing it up and I’m navigating through palm trees hanging over the very narrow path meant for something half the size of my motorhome. Easy right?

If it wasn’t for Jason and some guy named Steve I would have taken out a tree while backing into the campsite. Thanks to their skillful coaching and navigation I missed it by at least and inch! Might as well have been a mile I figured. 🙂

The next day we went to go pick up the trailer with my pick up. The dealership was only about 20 minutes away from the campground. It was still raining. Off and on, but when it was raining, it was REALLY raining. We got back to the campground with the trailer, no issues there at all. We then started loading up the truck after hitching up the trailer to the RV.

What I didn’t take into account was the fact that I increased the length of the whole unit by about 28 feet (trailer length and truck length combined) which meant the already tight navigation out of the park just became that much tighter. Jason helped me navigate out of the park, again without his help, I KNOW I would have hit something…else. We made it all the way to the exit, I asked Jason to get in, tried to make the last turn nice and wide but got too close to a palm tree and sideswiped the RV!

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Day one – Picking up the RV

Wagoners West – A bucket list journey?

Welcome to Wagoners West! I created this site to document my journey in full time RV’ing. This started off as my quest to locate a home in the far western United States. I did a lot of searching on CraigsList, and City-Data to try to find the ideal place to live. There were lots of really great places but I couldn’t decide on a single location.

My plan was to stay in a few different places for a few weeks or months to determine if I really wanted to be there or not. In doing this research it seemed like I would be spending a good bit of money and time going from apartment to apartment, dealing with utility hookup fee’s and lease agreements, or breaking lease agreements.

The more I thought about the more it seemed like a good idea to get a travel trailer or an RV and just live in that until I figured out which place would suit me the best. After endless searching for ‘the right unit’ and debating with myself on which would be better, a travel trailer or a motorhome, I finally decided on a motorhome.

The reason was that my pickup is an older model (1998 GMC Z71) and has a lot of miles on it. I thought that if I pulled a trailer around, up and down mountains and that sort of thing it would tear it up pretty fast. I didn’t want to upgrade my truck or tear it up so I decided on a motorhome. The next step was to find something with enough power to pull my motorcycle and my truck and still have juice left to get up and over the mountains. In addition, I wanted something with enough living space to be comfortable. I searched pretty extensively and decided on a diesel pusher.

It is a 2003 Phaeton(pronounced Fay-ton) by Tiffin. It is 40 feet long and has 3 slide-outs giving me just under 400 square feet of living space when they are all fully extended. It has a 10,000 pound towing capability, 30,000 miles on a 330 horsepower CAT diesel and an Allison transmission on a Freightliner chassis. From what I’m told and what I’ve read “She’s not even broke in until you hit 100,000 miles!”, I guess we’ll see.

I bought it from LazyDays in Tampa, FL. They claim to be the largest single site RV dealership in the world and have really good reviews. I was able to get the RV for about 20k under book value which was important to me because if this adventure ends in a flaming disaster for me, I’d like to be able to at least get my money back when/if I sell the RV! 🙂

I’ll try to update this on a regular basis with little tidbits regarding lessons learned or interesting things I witness or experience during my journey.