Browsing "Buying Miranda"
Oct 4, 2008 -

Evaluating Miranda

I’ve been on the road with this RV exactly a month now. I can’t believe that this day in September was my last day of work! Now that Miranda and I are so well acquainted with each other, I thought I’d share a list of things I like about her and one of the things I don’t.

Let’s get the negative out of the way first!

Things I Don’t Like

Since it has been on my mind lately, I will start with the battery compartment. It’s spacious enough that I could put in eight golf cart-sized batteries if I want, but maintaining the batteries is a pain because of lack of overhead space. I am considering installing a pull out battery shelf, but I need to look into how much reinforcement would be needed.

The storage space under the dinette benches could much easier to get to. The bench behind the driver’s seat is especially a waste of space. There is a tiny, hard to open, drawer, accessible from the aisle. Taking it out would give me a large storage chest. It’s on my to do list.

The wardrobe doors suck. The sliding doors have hard plastic holders to keep the doors from moving when I drive. I have yet to access that closet without striking one of those holders with a wrist or elbow. The doors have a tendency to get off their rails and forget about trying to open them if stuff inside has shifted. If I’m going to live in this coach for any length of time, I need those doors replaced with ones that open out. That’s no longer a luxury item! I had considered a tension rod and curtain solution, then realised that this wouldn’t hold the items in while driving. So, back to real doors I go. All I want for Yule is…

The towel holder on the inside of the bathroom door has got to go. I say this an average of once a day. Early on in my trip, I hit my head so hard on the darn thing that I had a dark purple egg on my forehead from Nipigon all the way through to Regina!!! Yesterday, it almost took an eye out. Yet, it’s still there. I need to remember to bring a screwdriver in there the next time I, erm, go.

The cockpit console. I’m told that there are other ones available, so I’ll have to do a search. I’d like one that could hold my atlas and other guides and which wouldn’t make reaching for the glass of water/a pen/a pad of paper/the camera/my sun glasses/the lip balm/the hand cream/ the Purell/etc. a treasure hunt.

The house door sticks as though it’s not exactly square. Maybe it just needs an adjustment. I’ll have to take a closer look at it.

The cockpit door locks only occasionally open from the outside with the key. I frequently have to reenter from the house and open the doors from inside.

Things I Like

The layout is pitch perfect. The spaces flow well into one another and make the coach seem really spacious. I’ve lived here a month and a bit now and I have yet to feel cramped at all. I really like having to cross a room (the main part of the bathroom) to get to the kitchen and that the entrance to the kitchen isn’t exactly in line with that of the study. I am a lot happier having many small rooms than a few big rooms. The fact that the toilet has its very own room is a bonus. In such a small space, having to open an actual door is a real luxury.

The furnishings are well chosen. The absolute only thing I wish I could change, and I’ve said this before, would be to swap out one of the chairs in the lounge so I could fit in a credenza with shelves and drawers. I was surprised to discover that I like having the other chair. When I’m traveling, I overturn my computer chair in the back room, making that room fairly inaccessible. If I’m just stopping for a few hours for lunch or making a late stop in the evening, I don’t bother ‘making up’ that room and instead I find myself plopping down in one of the chairs at the front to read. Unfortunately, the chair that would be easiest to remove, the one behind the passenger’s side (because the bolts are easily accessible via the battery compartment), is the one I want to keep. The chair by the door tends to be a catch all, so I might as well have a proper surface there.

I’m surprisingly fond of the dinette, too. I usually eat there and it’s where I sit with my laptop and research materials to plan out my day. When traveling, I take the wicker baskets that I placed over the fridge and store them on a dinette bench. Eventually, I’ll get around to creating some sort of securing mechanism so I can leave the baskets above the fridge when traveling, but for now they’re completely out of the way on the dinette bench.

The ‘upstairs bedroom’ is a cozy space that works for me even though some might find it a tad tight up there with my mattress. I like that there is room for overflow storage without cramping my sleeping space. I’m not fond of the fact that I have to climb up on the dinette to get up there, though, since it’s getting the dinette dirty. I supposed I c/should put a towel over it. But climbing up (and down) isn’t a pain at all, not even in the wee hours of the morning when my bladder is screaming at me. There is a conveniently located light above the bed and I really like the curtain on a hospital rail. Closing it at night is the equivalent to shutting the bedroom door and gives me the feeling that I’m cozy and secure in a private little nest.

The kitchen is surprisingly efficient. There is just enough room to work. The only thing I’d change is that I would replace the double sink with a single one. The sink could be deeper, too, but that’s a minor complaint. The stove and oven are fantastic. A couple of weeks back, the piezo (sparker), the one part I was told didn’t work, started to work! So, now I don’t have to use a BBQ lighter to fire up the stove. I absolutely adore cooking on a gas range; it’s so much faster than on an electric one. The oven is excellent, too, and doesn’t require any feats of athleticism or eyebrow risk to light. The size is just right one-person sized casserole dishes. As for the fridge, no complaints there. It’s huge! I can’t even keep it completely filled, but when I have something oversized, there’s room for it.

The bathroom is the best space in the coach that I didn’t design myself. It does not feel like a stereotypical RV bathroom. There is plenty of space to walk around in the main part of it. The vanity is generously proportioned, with a medicine cabinet that offers more usable space than I have need for, plenty of counter space, and an under sink cabinet that is roomy enough for all my cleaning products. Next to the shower, there’s enough place for me to put a storage tower I had at my old house, effectively giving me the exact same amount of storage in the bathroom as I’m used to having! The shower is very luxurious and just the right size for me. There’s no elbow banging involved in it! The only thing I’d change is the shower head since it doesn’t have the adjustment for turning off the water while soaping up. The toilet room is surprisingly pleasant for such a tiny space as its white walls and window make it very bright and airy. This room was also the source of a DOH! moment for me. I was frustrated that the coach doesn’t have a broom closet. Yesterday, I finally clued in as to why there’s a hook behind the toilet. Whadya know, it’s just the right height for hanging a broom. Or a Swiffer stick in my case!

Then, there’s the room I call the study or the living room. Oh, I LOVE this space! My mother really outdid herself with her fine tuning of my design. The two mattresses and pillows make a wonderful place to recline and watch a movie or read. The night table is at just the right height and distance for placing a mug of tea or a glass of water. The useless bar has turned into a very useful place for storing all the cables for my electronic equipment. There’s also just enough room to put a litter box and box of litter out of the way, tucked in the space between the toilet room wall and the edge of the storage box topped with the night table.

Looking up, I have no less than four skylights, two of which have covers enabling me to leave them open even when it’s raining. They add a lot of light to the coach and bring in less noise than do open windows. I do need to think about insulating them for the winter.

Finally, there’s the basement. What else can I say about the basement, but thank goodness for all that usable storage space! I packed the basement in Ottawa and have had to make only a few minor tweaks. There can be a lot of shuffling involved to get at things that are stored in the bowels of the large pass throughs, but it’s not tedious at all.

All of these elements combined make for a very airy and livable coach. I don’t feel cramped in here in the least and I just left a 900 square foot home!

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Appliances, Batteries, Buying Miranda, Electricity, Fridge, Stove, Technical    5 Comments
Aug 29, 2008 -

Doin’ the Moho Slalom

I got the tow pins tonight. All I will say about that is that I’m surprised that I’m surprised about how that went down.

Anyhoo, I arrived at Miranda’s parking spot for the last time around 7. I took perhaps fifteen minutes to unload boxes and empty as many of them as I could.

Then, I looked for the magic battery button, but I don’t seem to have one, so I positioned Pommette for a boost. Once I got Miranda going, I manoeuvred her into place for hooking up the toad behind her.

Hooking up was surprisingly easy!

My tow bar is a Blue Ox Aventa II. I would have bought an Aladdin, which is a high end model suitable for towing a small car, but much cheaper than the Aventa II. The Aventa II, also a high end model, could probably tow a Hummer. It’s really huge and heavy, but I like knowing that I could upgrade Pommette to a pickup or SVU one day and still have a tow bar I can use.

The Aventa II is a self-aligning bar. I can’t figure out what’s ‘self-aligning’ about it, but I can say that I was completely hooked up, safety cables and all, in less than 20 minutes. The hardest part was getting the toad lined up perfectly with the coach and at the correct distance. Then, it was just a matter of attaching safety cables and electrical wires. I figured out the wiring on my own. As it turns out, I had to open a thingy under the rig, push in another thingamabob, and then plug the cable into the thingamabob. I’d seen the thingamabob in the rear pass through and had offhandedly guessed that it was part of the towing system, so I was already one step ahead of the game when I couldn’t find a skinny rectangular outlet for the wire.

I’m surprised by how easy it was to hook up the car on my own. There is no way I could have done that with a traditional ‘fixed’ tow bar, the kind with a ball coupler. The only thing I wasn’t able to do was confirm that the brake lights were working on the toad, but since the turn signals were, I didn’t worry.

Then off we went, the very picture of freedom and the antithesis of the current economic climate, LOL!

The drive back to Ottawa was very emotional. I was pretty sure it would be my last time driving up the 416 into a beautiful orange sunset and watching the pastoral landscape slowly become the skyline of the adopted city I will always consider to be my hometown. For all that’s found, something else is lost….

I let Majel the GPS pick the best route to the garage where I would drop off Miranda. She had me go down a narrow residential street that had cars parked down it. The parkers were smart and alternated which side of the road they were on, so I was able to take a serpentine route all the way down. Maybe I’m just tired, but I really got a kick out of doing the moho slalom.

Towing was a piece of cake. It really helps that I could see the car in the backup camera monitor, as well as all the connections. I didn’t notice much of a difference when stopping and starting, even on hills.

I feel positively drained and have to keep reminding myself that this time next week, the first day of my adventure will be just about behind me.

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Backup Camera, Buying Miranda, Communications & Electronics, Driving, Funny, GPS, Itineraries, Personal, Preparations for Departure, Technical, Towing and Toad, Travel    8 Comments
Jul 28, 2008 -

The Day Has Come At Last!

I get to go pick up Miranda at 6:30 tonight!

The previous owner called me on Saturday morning to let me know that he was releasing the keys… and that his neighbour with the keys had just left for the weekend. *edits a really honest, but not so nice, thought* Anyway, the neighbour called last night to say I can swing by tonight. At last!!!

A friend and I had planned to go pick up Miranda together in her car, so she could follow me to the storage location and give me a ride back. We both felt that I’d have enough stress without worrying about towing right away. Well, of course, now that my friend has been on standby for over a week, she had to leave town. So, trial by fire for me tonight. 🙂

I went over to Their house yesterday to install Miranda’s license plate (carrying a copy of an email giving me permission to be on Their property, just in case). I wasn’t sure about what tools (wrench) I’d need for that or how complicated it would be (not at all), so I figured that I could save some time on pick up night. And, okay, I just wanted to make sure my rig was okay! 🙂 At the same time, I took a closer look at the tow hitch… and discovered that They hadn’t left me the safety cables. *rolls eyes* So, I need to go pick some up before I get Miranda tonight. There’s a store in Gatineau called ‘Attache remorques’(Trailer Hitches), so I figured they would probably have the necessary item. They do. Thank goodness. I can’t believe how much STUFF is involved in towing. Freedom doesn’t come cheap!!!

My car is filled to the brim with assorted bits and bobs for the coach, as well as all my hand tools. Since Miranda will be parked 45 minutes from home, I won’t have the luxury of making a million trips out to see her, so I need to maximize every visit. Moving will be easier than I’d thought, though. My mother is coming up the last weekend in August to get some of the furniture my sister wanted, plus the few boxes she’ll store for me. It was supposed to be earlier, but this turns out to be a much better plan. I’ll be able to pick up Miranda that morning and bring her up to my house and then fill her right there, with help in bringing in larger items like the mattress. Then, I can take off for a campground for my final three or four nights before hitting the road. I had another thought over the weekend. I wasn’t sure what to do with the bed spreads and curtains that come with Miranda and which I don’t want. I might as well store them.

This coming Saturday, provided the weather cooperates, I aim to go pick up Miranda bright and early and drive her to the nearest Home Depot so I can get all the major work done on her–back up camera installation, bed ripping out, carpet replacement, desk building, etc. That’s going to be such a fun day!

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Backup Camera, Buying Miranda, Communications & Electronics, Technical, Towing and Toad    3 Comments
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