Before we left for our cross-country journey we knew that our RV needed some work. But we put it off because we were always at a park with full-hookups. And we knew it would be expensive. When we left, it was time to fix them. Here are our RV repairs and upgrades for a month of living off the cord.
I was hoping to put up this post after we had fully completed our slide remodel, but as often happens during a remodel things don’t always work out the way you plan. So here is the (almost complete) remodel of our slide-out.
First I guess I should tell you what a slide-out is, in case you don’t know RV lingo. It’s basically an extension to a room. When you’re driving, it’s pulled in. When you’re parked somewhere, it slides out and creates extra space. Slide-outs are usually on rail systems and have motors to move them in and out.
Old, yucky furniture and gross carpet
Do you know what sun rot is? An upholsterer told us it’s what happens to upholstered furniture when the sun starts to break it down. As you can imagine, upholstered furniture in an RV gets a lot of sun. Our slide-out had a sofa and a booth dinette. We had no interest in sitting on either of them, so we took them out first opportunity.
Actually, we posted an ad in the free stuff section of Craigslist. We said whoever wanted it would have to use their own tools to remove it, carry it out and haul it away. Some guy and his buddy came and did it and were happy to have them. I’d hate to see what he had before if he liked our stuff. But we were thrilled because we didn’t have to pay to get rid of them, and have them end up in a landfill.
Underneath the furniture was some of the last bit of carpet left in the RV. Previous owners replaced most of the carpet with laminate. The carpet on the slide-out was NASTY. It was supposed to be all the same color but was three or different colors due to dirt, uneven exposure to light and who knows what else. Ryan ripped that out and we had plywood.
In with the new (floor)
All this happened right before we left to travel full-time, and many other things needed to be done. It was low on our priorities to fix it up, so the slide just had our turtle’s habitat, some storage bins and some other miscellaneous stuff for awhile on the bare plywood. During our travels, we finally stopped at a home improvement store and picked up some flooring.
Then, we traveled around with the boxes of flooring for awhile. We bought it right before we starting moving to a new place every week or less, so there wasn’t a lot of time. When we got to Las Vegas, Ryan finally had a chance to put the floor in.
It was super easy. The flooring can be cut with a utility knife. It’s a floating floor and sticks together underneath. It took him less than a day to do the space including the cuts (less than 50 square feet).
Organizing our space
I had a few things in mind for what I wanted, so I drew up a basic floor plan. What we wanted most of all was to have everything secured in place while we traveled. We didn’t want to do a lot of packing and unpacking or worry about things moving around.
First priority was to make something to hold Rocky’s habitat in place and create built-in storage. Ryan did an awesome job of creating a cabinet that held Rocky on top and has storage underneath.
We have a cabinet for our pressure cooker and food processor. Another cabinet holds all our bike gear.
After we took out the furniture we had a free-standing desk for awhile. We gave it away before we left, because it slid around and rattled when we took trips. So after he finished building the cabinet, Ryan built a desk attached to it.
We also bought a small trash can with a recycling bin on top. I attached some straps to the wall to secure it in place. The straps also have buckles on them that are quick to open and close, so we can pull the whole can out when needed.
What’s left to do
We have two folding recliner chairs and two folding tables that we keep on the slide when we’re parked. Right now they go into the bedroom when we’re traveling. We are going to create a way to secure them to the wall of the slide so we don’t have to move them every time.
We may also build a little “cave” around the dog bed, because dogs like that kind of thing.
We also need to finish the edge of the slide. It used to have carpet wrapped around it. It’s been difficult finding the right trim to cover the height of the slide-out floor.
We’re going to a huge RV show for our next stop, so hopefully we can find something there.
Also, as often happens, when you fix one thing up you find something else that needs work. So there will definitely be more to come.
Before you go…
The temps here have been getting to freezing at night, so we took some precautions so that we (and our water pipes) don’t freeze, too. However, we didn’t want to spend a fortune to do it. Here are our money saving tips for winter RV travel.
We’re in the middle of nowhere right now (Coalinga) so I thought I’d catch up on some topics that are long, long overdue. One of which is how we re-sealed our motorhome’s roof ourselves and saved a ton of money.
Even with all the RV repairs, we were definitely ahead of the curve staying in Redding in June!
Rent and Utilities:
We spent $395 for one month’s rent. Our electricity deposit was $75; with it being so hot, we owed another $75 for electricity and an additional night’s stay (all utilities are included on the nightly rates). We didn’t buy any propane in June. We also spent $86 for spending the day at the motel next door to the first smog repair shop, which I am not going to include in my rent total. Total: $545 + $86
We spent $557 on groceries and $209 at restaurants (see this post for which restaurants we visited). Total: $766.
RV Maintenance and Repairs:
While in town, Ryan replaced the kitchen faucet. We bought the faucet a long time ago, but hadn’t gotten around to changing it out. We needed some extra parts because the water lines didn’t attach properly. Unfortunately, Ryan had to go to the hardware store three times, because he wasn’t given the correct attachments. We spent $48.69 on parts and supplies. We had a failed smog test, 2 repair shop visits and a smog certificate for a total cost of $539.63. Total: $588.32.
We spent $73 on gas for the RV and the rental car we took to Lake Shasta. The rental car cost $51.85–I’m probably going to chalk that up to entertainment because it was mostly for that reason. Ryan and I also each opened accounts with Uber and each got our first ride for free. I took mine to the Pedego shop to pick up my bike and Ryan took his to get a ride home from dropping off the rental car. No extra costs there. Total: $73.
It cost $52 for the two of us to visit Lake Shasta Caverns, plus the $51.85 for the rental car to get there (and do grocery and other shopping). Total: $103.85.
Total Expenditure on Food, Utilities, Fuel and Rent for June living in Redding: $1414.
I was actually surprised at how high this total is. I chalk it up to 2 things: it was summer, so utilities were high, and we ate out much more than we usually do. Part of that was we were biking around so much that we would become starving while we were out, and couldn’t wait till we got home to eat. Normally, I would take along snacks, but in that heat I’d be worried that anything I brought would be melted or spoiled. I think the heat also didn’t help much with getting hungry, because it takes a lot more energy to ride your bike when it’s 90 degrees than when it’s 60 or 70 degrees. Once we got to the coast, riding our bikes for over an hour didn’t make me nearly as hungry as it seemed to for only 30 minutes in Redding. We’ll see, though, how things shape up over the next few months.
What I am happy about is how much money we were able to NOT spend. Even with the RV repairs, I had the money to put an extra $500 payment toward student loans and $820 into savings. And we still had money to go have some fun and eat out a few times. It may not have been the most exciting month, but it got us closer to our goals. And we’ve had so much excitement in the past week since we left…that post is coming up soon.