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Adventures in our Cottage on Wheels

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Our Motor Home Roof Rehab

Our 1998 Southwind was overdue for a roof rehab - see photos 1 and 2. The original top layer was almost gone in places and we were having a lot of trouble with chalking and grey streaks forming on our windshield, windows and side panels. I researched various treatments in forums, ads and websites. I wanted something long-lasting and relatively easy to apply, since this would be a do-it-yourself venture. I was tempted by an expensive two-part liquid roof system, but the cost would have been o

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Our Time in Washington, DC

Cherry Hill Park is located next to where I-95 meets the Beltway, north of Washington, DC. They have a bus stop on the property, where Metro busses pick you up. In the morning, they run several express busses to the College Park station on the Green Line subway. The campground is neat and clean and appears to be very well managed. They have a very nice store, with lots of RV parts and supplies. We had heard good reviews on this place, and we agree with them. Highly recommended! Using the

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

On the Way Home From Washington DC

Since I wanted to avoid the NJ Turnpike, we went home via I-476/Pennsylvania Turnpike, west of Philadelphia. This is an OLD turnpike, which is very narrow. Much of it is under reconstruction - it should be better when finished. The right lane had bumpy drainage structures in it, so I drove mostly in the left lane. Meanwhile, the signs and their supports, that were mounted on the median barrier, were scary close. The only thing about this route that was better than the New Jersey Turnpike was

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

On the way to Washington, DC

We left our home in Readfield, Maine at 8 AM on July 7th. We made 2 rest and lunch stops and 2 fuel stops along the way. We were in a long rolling traffic jam on I-495 in Massacusetts, north of State Route 2. Traffic only stopped completely one brief time, but was just crawling for miles. I turned on the CB for a while. I got a bit of useful information from the truckers' chatter, especially about where the traffic opened up again. However, I could have done without the profanity. It was a const

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Paradise Indeed!

This past weekend (June 20 - 22, 2014), we camped at Paradise Park Resort, in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Years ago, we had tried 2 or 3 other campgrounds in the OOB area. We liked this one the best of any we've tried. It's a tad expensive, compared to the places we normally stay, but worth it. The pricing is similar to other places in OOB. This campground is VERY neat and clean and has the best restrooms we've seen. The location is on a side street across from the upper end of Old Orchard S

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Carry some water in your onboard tank!

On Memorial Weekend, we camped at Beaver Brook CG, in North Monmouth, Maine. This place is beyond the end of the pavement, and our Garmin GPS had the directions wrong. Fortunately, I knew the area somewhat, had been there years before, and had studied my DeLorme Atlas before going. Yup, I'm an Engineer and a belt-and-suspenders kind of guy. Actually, the unpaved portion of Wilson Pond Road wasn't too bad. I've seen paved roads much rougher. Our site was on the far side of the campground, at the

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

It's Finally Spring!

It's finally Spring in Central Maine! The leaves are opening up and camping season has begun. When I retrieved the MH from storage in late April, the engine battery had run down, even though I had used the disconnect switch. I used the battery interconnect on the dash to boost from the house batteries. It started right up. That's a handy feature! I got all of the systems going without much trouble. I did have to play with the burner adjustment on the water heater though. On our last outi

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Visited the MH in its winter storage

Today, Grandma and I visited our "Cottage on Wheels" in its winter storage, inside a warehouse of a former lumber yard. Due to some health issues now being evaluated, we have decided to forego our previously planned winter trip to Florida. Therefore, the MH will stay in storage until April sometime. When I parked it, on Nov 16, I used the "battery disconnect" switches, but did not physically disconnect the batteries. I was pleased to find that I had ample battery power today. The engine sta

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Winter Storage

Today, I parked our "Cottage on Wheels" in its winter storage spot. It will be dry and out of the weather - see photo. A former lumber yard in our area has converted some of their buildings to storage, and advertised locally this fall. After confirming that they could accommodate a 32' Class A, and that it could be parked such that we could take it out for a planned winter excursion (more on this below), we sent a deposit. We also checked with others who store a MH, and found that the price

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Maine Wheels October 2013 Rally

In early September, we got a "Welcome to FMCA" letter from the Maine Wheels chapter, inviting us to join the chapter and to attend their rallies. They meet once a month,from May through October. We had another commitment on the weekend of the September meet, so we decided to join and attend the October rally. The Maine Wheels met at the Pumpkin Patch RV Resort in Hermon, Maine (near Bangor) on October 11-14. We drove there on Friday evening. This is the first time I have set up the motorhome on

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Should I have driven this thing up here?

Before our fall foliage trip, Grandma had heard from friends about a road to scenic lookout near Rangeley. She had heard it was a gravel road, but in good condition, and that the view was spectacular. She said it was "Quinn Road on Route 17." Well, Grandma is a bit dyslexic sometimes. It turned out to be Quill Hill and it was on Route 16, between Rangeley and Stratton. When we found the sign, the gravel road off Route 16 looked a little steep, but was well graded. I decided to try it. It

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

A Maine Foliage Trip

On September 28th and 29th, Grandma and I took a weekend trip to some very scenic places not far from our home. After watching our grandson's Saturday morning soccer game, we headed up Route 17, which passes through our town, and continued to its end in Oquossoc. From there, we took Route 16, through Rangeley, to Stratton. From Stratton, we headed north up Route 27 to Eustis, where we stayed overnight at Cathedral Pines CG. On Sunday, we followed Route 27 south through Bigelow and Carabasset to

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Prince Edward Island Trip - Part 2

On the way to PEI, we had taken a northerly route from Moncton, via Rotue 15 by Shediac. To see something different, we decided to take the southern route by Sackville. Grandma was navigating and she suggested we take Route 106 through Dieppe and Moncton, thinking it would save some distance, compared to TransCanada Route 2 around the north side of Moncton. It may have saved us distance, but I don't believe it saved any time, as it led right through the heart of the city. As we were coming to t

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Prince Edward Island Trip - Part 1

During the week after Labor Day, we took a trip to Prince Edward Island, Canada. It was the longest trip with our "Cottage on Wheels" so far. As I'm typing the story, it's getting a bit long, so I am breaking it into two parts. The attached album includes a few of the many photos I took. We left home on a Friday evening, after I got done work. We stopped at a Wal-Mart in Newport where we hosted a visit by friends. As they left, our friends pointed out a slack tire. I had just checked the pres

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Watch out overhead!

One of our early expeditions involved working on a family project. Our son is building a house in Bow, NH, and had rented a house near the Merrimack River in Hookset, NH, to live in while building. Grandma and I took the MH to New Hampshire so she could live in it for two weeks while painting interior rooms in our son's new house. Because I still work about 3/4 time, I traveled to the New Hampshire project on weekends. It was dark when we arrived in Hookset. I knew that there were overhangi

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Not an Off-Road Vehicle!

My sister and one of my uncles both have properties on Ripley Pond in Maine. In past years, I have taken our camper trailers in to my sister's place. However, our MH is a good bit taller and I was concerned mainly about the overhanging trees. My uncle's place isn't so far in. We did some reconnaisance and found that, with a little tree trimming, we should be able to get in. My uncle said "Sure, trim anything you need to." On the weekend after we finally got our new tires, I put a pole trimmer a

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Tires

I wrote about our tire purchase in one of the forums a while ago. I'll put a brief version of the story here as well. From reading the Good Sam forums and the FMCA forums, I learned about the Michelin Advantage tire discount program through FMCA. One of the other FMCA members from Maine posted about the savings he got. I sent him a PM and found out which dealer he used. Grandma is a great believer in comparison shopping, so she called around. Sure enough, the best deal to be had on Micheli

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

First Trip

So, we had the "Cottage on Wheels" home, and basically functional, but it still had the original fifteen year old tires. I was looking into tires (a subject for another entry), but we wanted to take a little shakedown cruise. We decided on Meadowbrook campground, in Phippsburg Maine. It is less than 50 miles from our home, can be reached on two-lane roads. I didn't dare take this thing up to 70 MPH on the old tires. Also, Meadowbrook is not far from one of our favorite places in the world, Popha

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

First Scare

In the process of the delivery and our purchase, the seller picked up a new chassis battery and I agreed to split the cost with him. However, he delivered the coach on the old battery. I installed the new battery. I consider myself mechanically proficient, and I have changed batteries on dozens of vehicles over the years. This battery has the GM type side terminals. I thought I had them tight, but I am also concerned about over-torquing things (don't ask me why). I had no electrical proble

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

 

Purchase

In June of 2013, Grandma and I got serious about our quest for a used motor home. We were shopping somewhat on the low end - under $30K. We browsed our local classified ad magazine (Uncle Henry's), Craigslist, dealers' web sites, and any other sources we found. We looked at 16 coaches in 8 days! Only 3 or 4 of those met our standards at all. We had one near miss where there was a very nice coach for reasonable money, but someone put a deposit on it about an hour before we called. On June 21, we

GrampaDennis

GrampaDennis

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