Monday, January 25, 2010

Recovering at Desert Pools

We returned to Desert Pools for a 2 week stay on the 12th. Barb had seen the surgeon for her first followup visit the day before. And he said that she was doing well. She asked if she could drive and he said for short distances as long as she wasn't taking pain medications. So we decided that she would drive here from thousand trails rather than hook the car up and take it off. Our first move in the new motorhome went well. We find ourselves taking our time as we are not familiar with how things work. We have various questions that we are getting answers to from other coach owners, manuals, and the internet. Dennis spent a fair amount of time sorting out the tv cabling which is unfortunately undocumented. He got it so that we can use the "cable" connection to bring the signal to our front tv. But we can't use our second reciever in back through that connection as there is only one co-ax cable to come in, so we are running cable to our bedroom though an engine access port at the back of the bedroom. Inelegant but it works. We replaced the old tv in the bedroom with a flat LCD tv we brought from the bus. We spent a couple of days coming up with a way to install the tv in way that would be functional and reasonably attractive. We are satisfied with the result. It is not bad looking if you don't look too close. We will do something similar replacing the old tv in front with our other, larger LCD tv from the bus. But we will probably have it done professionally as this will be easily seen by anyone coming in and probably not the place to be experimenting. The Monaco has a Trac Vision Dome installed. We assumed that this would be a simple matter of hooking it up to our Direct tv receivers, but no such luck. It was not clear how to do it, even after browsing the manual. So we called the company. After going through a rather complicated voice mail system, we got to tech support who when we told him the model, said "Are you sure, thats a very old system." He said that it could be done but would be difficult. We would have to get an old Direct tv receiver that has a "low speed data port" and a software update would have to be done, but he said that it could not be done by our Vista computers. His advice was to find an installer and have them set it up for us. Of course, we tried ourselves. It turned out that we had an adaptor that would connect a usb from one of our computers to the 9 pin connector from the dome. But the computer would not recognize the hardware and we could not find a way to enter the command. So we called a a local installer who said essentially "that thing is an antique, you would be much better off to buy a new one from us." We thanked him and decided to keep using our tripod for tv for now. We have come across the name of another installer who we will contact for a second opinion.

At the same time we are trying to sell the MCI bus. It is parked at the consignment lot where we bought our new coach. But we have not signed a contract to sell it. The owner has admitted that he does not know how to price it and he clearly is much less familiar with buses as opposed to manufactured rv's. For now, he lets people look at it asks them to make an offer if they are interested. But it is clear we need to try some other approaches. We have listed it on the internet and had a number of requests for pictures and more information. Unfortunately most of these are in distant parts of the country. So we are listing in the Southern California RV Trader magazine with the hopes that we will get someone local and interested. Oland also took some flyers we made up to Quarzite & made them available to some individuals with interests in buses. So far we have not had what we would consider a serious offer. But we have had some deals proposed, perhaps reflecting the quixotic nature of bus conversion fans. The latest is a trade of the bus for a semi tractor and 53 foot flat bed trailer. This may well be a good deal but it seems like it would create more problems than it would solve.

Barb is generally doing well in spite of an allergic reaction to steri-strips. She saw the doctor again and he is happy with her progress. She is generally doing better day by day. She was able to get away from using the pain medications quickly. She finds the decreased activity level difficult to tolerate. She has been going for walks around the park and plays various card games at the activity center.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rebuilding Barb

For many years Barb has suffered with back pain, shoulder pain and arm pain due to the size of her breasts. For whatever reason she finally decided enough was enough and saw a doctor in Palm Springs and inquired about the possibility of getting this fixed. Dr. Hayduke is a local plastic surgeon. He submitted the pictures and paperwork to our insurance company and after several weeks they approve the procedure.

The morning of Jan 7th 2010, Barb, Dennis and Merralee headed to the hospital when Barb underwent a 4 hour surgery. She did well and didn't look non the worse for wear when she came to room she would be in overnight . Julie was also there to greet her. I is wonderful to have such wonderful friends who would spend that much time for me I truly feel blessed. Before heading into the OR, Dr Hayduke came by and told Dennis and Merrilee he need to spend some time marking my body. After he left the room, Dennis and Merrilee both said that he looked like he was 12 years old. When he returned Barb told him this and he said that he was really 13 and that his mom drove him to work. Barb really felt so much better when he said that. lol He is a really good surgeon.

Barb has been resting and improving in our new motorhome, her recovery will take about 6 weeks. Dennis has been absolutely wonderful (still not much of a cook) he has been taking care of everything, even the laundry.

Thanks to all of you who stopped by at ttn palm springs. Barb is looking forward to seeing all of you really soon.

Sorry no pictures yet of the after, and of course all you know the before.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Our New Home

We got all of the paperwork done and were able to move into our new motorhome on December 30 and 31st. In spite of all of our prep work and we could not complete the process in a day. It was very difficult. Merralee offered to help and we told her that she could probably help best by taking care of Roxie while we moved which she did. That certainly made it easier. But there was a lot to move and a still a lot to throw away. You wouldn't really think that an RV could hold so much as when you try to move it all in a day. But we were taking our time and doing it in an organized fashion. But as the process went on it seemed increasingly disorganized. In any case we had essentially everything moved by late on the morning on the 31st. But we were still putting things away, hopefully where we could find them later. And we were waiting for the dealer to install the a new kitchen faucet that had been promised as part of the deal. Finally, we were ready to go, but the fuel tank was reading low and we thought that we should fill up first. So by the time we drove to a truck stop and put in nearly 90 gallons of diesel fuel, it was after 2 o'clock when we got back to our site at Thousand Trails.

To say the least we were exhausted. There were a few little snags in setting up for the first time. No real problem, just things that we were not familiar with. We had a fast food dinner and very little energy. There was a big New Years Eve party that we had planned to attend. But Barbara was ready for bed by 8 o'clock. Dennis walked up to wish a Happy New Year to Oland and Meralee, John and Debbie, and a few others, then returned to the motorhome to have a glass of wine and watch tv until he was too tired to stay up.

Here are some pics of the new coach.

Our new home.

This is the entry to our new home. We are both very pleased with the coach.

This is the living area and we were able to seat at least eight people and could also seat more.

This is the dinning and kitchen area, love the counter space and the very large with an icemaker fridge.

This is the bedroom, I really love the quilt that was left for us.

Guess this is the best space, Dennis has his own location with a pocket table for his computer. It is really nice to have that.

Some have asked why we decided to get a new motorhome. 'We have long argued that our bus was as sturdy a vehicle as you would see in an RV park. It has been a good and reliable vehicle on the road. But we have seeing a lot of newer RV's with the slideouts that make them seem like more liveable space. That was our primary motivation for looking for something newer. And although we have been able to work things out, we have found that it is often difficult to find someone who is willing and knowledgeable to work on an old bus when on the road. That has been a source of concern for Dennis who is not known for mechanical skills. And there are systems and conveniences that are available on newer RVs. While most can be added to a bus conversion, they can be difficult and costly, especially if you hire someone to do it. So we had been thinking for some time in a tentative way about finding another RV. Our first thought was to buy a fifth wheel as that appears to be the way to get the most living space for the least money. And we looked at a few. But we like traveling in a motorhome and the idea of having a large truck for a daily driving vehicle did not appeal to either of us. And the cost of a new or near new fifth wheel and and new or near new truck to tow it was still expensive. So we looked at the idea of what we could get in a motorhome for something in that price range or less. We were convinced that a new motorhome that would meet our critera as fulltimers could not be found in this price range. So we started looking at older motorhomes that were larger, had good reputations and in our view well built. We believe that we bought at a good time as the market has been down for the last couple of years which has made prices of used units more favorable to buyers. We were a bit surprised to find one as quickly as we did that we both wanted as we had somewhat different criteria in mind.

By the way, is anyone looking for a deal on a used MCI bus? We still have ours and are putting it on the market.