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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fiddling around in the Motorhome on a Sunny Sunday Afternoon


It’s a gorgeous sunny day here in the Wisconsin Winter Woods….   we got some serious snow melting going on!  Temps are up in the mid 40’s and our deck is now clear and dry!


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Since it was so nice, we went out to hang in the motorhome in the driveway.  I am sitting here trying out Steveio’s new chair and I find it pretty comfy.  Took the laptop out to work on a blog post for today.   Steve is putzing around with a few projects, in and out.

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I am looking out the windows, over the white snowy fields and lawns.. with a bit of brown showing under a few pines.  The sunshine feels warm and is waking up the flies in the windows.  Wonder how they live all winter in the subzero temps and come to life when it’s warm?  Some super-cool hibernation practices going on there, I guess.

On a trip back into the house to refill my coffee cup, I grabbed my camera to snap some shots.  Thought I would take some pictures of the *decor* in our rig,  These are things that mean the most to us – mainly given to us from friends and family.  

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And this one is REALLY cool.. and from a fellow RVing person!

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And because I am such a Fiber snob, there are also things that are handwoven in our rig:

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I also wanted a better shot of our kitchen area since the other one I had was from when we first looked at the rig at the dealership.  That photo has an ugly green runner in it.  Now you can see our pretty hardwood flooring.  

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All of our cabinetry is solid Western Alder wood, native to the Oregon coast where our rig was made.  There is no fiberboard, fake panels or papered layers to our cabinetry, which is something that wood-loving folks like us appreciate.   Even our double door Dometic fridge has real wooden matching panels, custom fit from the Safari factory. 

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All of the drawers are very wide and deep to the backs of the cabinets.  Not much wasted space back there.   They don’t make em like this anymore.  Sigh.  So we gotta keep this rig in tip-top shape to make it last.


Plus I never had a shot of our icemaker corner!   This little U-line icemaker really pumps out the batches of ice cubes, compared to a household refrigerator unit.  

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It is one thing I would like to run at least one day a week or so,  via our inverter to make up a tub of ice, bag it and put it into our regular freezer to use.   According to Steveio’s Flume meter, it is drawing 8 amps.   That’s not so bad at all.  I don’t think keeping it going all the time is sensible on a boondockers budget, but enough to keep us from having to fill those dinky icy cube trays into our regular freezer would be appreciated.


We had some problems with our Onan LP generator a while back, and although we don’t like to use it much, it “should” be in top-notch running order in case of emergency. 

Well, after throwing a few parts at it, like the control board, the voltage regulator, new brushes etc. we are still only getting 55 volts instead of 110.  Sigh.  The diagnostic readings at the cleaned slip rings  are only 8 ohms.  So by diagnosis of three different folks who work on Onan generators, that means only one thing.  The windings and rotor are shot.   Replacing them necessitates a complete generator removal (which Steveio is doing right now)  and we found a great guy who will rebuild that part for a reasonable price.  Compared to a new genny, this is a bargain. 

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He is now running his big air compressor to use the grinding tools and air tools to remove the generator.  At least our rig is in a good parking spot that the land slopes away a bit form the rear, so he can get under there easily to drop it right out the bottom.  

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Some motorhomes have the generator up in the front on a slide out drawer.  We are not so lucky.     Guess I better go help him, even if it’s just handing him tools or holding the flashlight.


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There.. that is done.  Now back in the rig for a while!


Still too much winter here to start the new solar installation.  We got the old solar stuff all down, off and sold.  But it will take some time and warmer temps to be working on installing the new stuff.  We are looking forward to it. 

Once that is complete, HandyBob at  handybobsolar blog page  says that we will have to “RE-learn” our boondocking habits!   We used to be so frugal with our battery power, but once we get the four 100watt panels mounted up there and the new controller and trimetric gauge in, we can start being a little more extravagant!  

He suggested we may never need to expand to using the six battery configuration we had planned to in the future, and just remain with the four batteries we have now for our needs.  

The key to good solar usage is to set the controller to the perfect settings to fully charge these particular batteries.  Many are only set to charge up to about 80-85% of what the six volt golf cart batteries can handle.  Instead of 14.4 as a top charge, our batteries are really fully charged at 14.8.    The difference between those two numbers is close to 20% of their usable range.    So between the charge, acceptance and float levels, we will get the settings just right once it’s all hooked up and see how we do.  

(remember:  never let your deep-cycle batteries get below 50% of their usable capacity, as it severely shortens their usable life!)


Well, that new Wave 8 catalytic heater got us up to 75 degrees in here, so I guess it was time to turn it down.  LOL   I would imagine we won’t be using it on high too much during spring, summer and fall camping, huh?



Time to head on in the house, and get some supper started.  Thanks for sharing the sunny Sunday afternoon with me!


  1. Karen, thank you so much for sharing your House on wheels with us. I too have homey pictures to share..if and when I ever figure out how to download them..lol

    Cindy from Texas

  2. Thanks for showing everyone your home! Love all that counter space in the kitchen!!!! Awesome.

  3. Nice rig,Lucky Stevio is so handy with his hands, I know he will get many more years out of your home, I'll bet the dogs are chomping at the bit to get out and camp. Sam & Donna..

  4. Hello Karen, I've been reading your blog for awhile. I'm a newbee and just in the first stages of the decision. We went to an RV show last year and of all the big ones I liked the Safari the best. Perhaps it was because of the animal image on the back! I am an artist. My subjects are animals. I am struggling with how to take part of my studio on the road. Since all of my sales are thru the internet, taking the store along is no problem. I look at your work room and wonder if you plan on putting some of your fibers and looms in storage.
    The next two years should be interesting!

  5. The new heater is looking good. Now remember to ALWAYS keep the cover on the heater when not in use. They hate dust and the entry sees mucho dust-raising traffic from humans and dogs, plus what the wind blows in. It is expensive to replace these things every other year...

    signed "the voice of experience"

  6. (I will reply to all five comments)

    Hey Cindy, I am using Microsoft Live Writer to do my blogs... it lets you load your photos right from your own files, save your blog posts, and then hit PUBLISH and you won't lose stuff in the event of a glitch. Easy Peasy!

    Yes, Margie, the kitchen counter space was a real *deal breaker* for us when we bought this rig. About triple of what our last motorhome had! We cook a lot and rarely eat out, so the space was pretty important.

    Sam & Donna, you can BET ON IT that not only are we chomping at the bit, yes the doggers are too. I took them out with me during the afternoon in the rig. They were so happy to be in there and wanted to know why it didn't magically transport them to a new spot to sniff?

    Merikay, actually I plan to take along my best 8H table loom, my spinning wheel sits upright in the closet, protected by surrounding clothes, and the sock machine compacts down into a tool box and the stool type table for it folds flat. I will sell off my four rug looms, as I can always buy another one of those if need be if we get a sticks and bricks again. But Steveio is thinking I should take one rug loom along. We could haul a big utility trailer with a small car inside, like Mike and Janna do from the blog: http://tinteepeelogcabin.blogspot.com She hauls along a long arm quilting machine in theirs along with their car. My largest loom I might store in the kids' garage attic, as it can be broken down to a reasonable pile of wood. I hauled it here in the back of our Jeep from Canada in pieces, so it won't take a lot of room. Will see when we get to that point in three years.

    Wil, you are 100% right! We have it covered when not in use right now with a cloth, but after looking at the vinyl covers from Olympian for $35, I can make one. It's next on my list. Thanks for the heads up and I should have mentioned that in my post.


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