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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
Aug 23, 2008 -

Extreme Makeover: RV Edition, Part Two

For the pictures, please refer to the individual room pages on the Miranda page.

Sofa Covers

My mother and her partner sewed these for me. The fabric ties in the colours of all the various woodwork in the coach, the green of the curtains, etc., and the gold of the trim while still being rustic enough in theme for me to feel that it reflects my style. You would think that I spent weeks looking for the perfect fabric instead of about five minutes of poking around the bargain section of a single fabric store! This fabric was just 3$ a metre! The big brown cushion was one my mother’s partner no longer had any use for and it matches the fabric perfectly. The other cushion with the arm rests belonged to my dad and will ensure cozy nights lying there reading or watching movies.

Solar Panel

Yes, I’m on the roof taking a picture of my solar panel.

Controller

The solar panel is hooked up to this gadget that makes sure the battery isn’t over charged. Right now, the light says ‘charging.’ It also tells me if the battery is fully charged.

What is that wooden thing on the wall by it?

Night Table

More parts cannibalized from the useless bar! The tray slides under the mattress when not in use. Simple in its brilliance. My mother is such a genius.

Inverter

Plugged directly into the battery, this inverter gives me 400W of 120V power. I can’t believe that makes sense to me.

Camera

The camera is a lot more discreet than I thought it would be.

Remote Control

For the monitor. A useless picture, but it’ll remind me that I need to find a more useful cab console for storing stuff.

Monitor

I was going to provide a pic of what I see out the monitor, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that. I got to Miranda today to find her engine battery dead. I have a theory why, but need to have it confirmed. By the time the excitement of giving her a boost (an advantage of having two engines!), the thought of getting a picture of the picture flew right of of my head.

Today, I brought a carload of stuff to the coach and actually put things away as best as I could. I wanted the empty boxes and I also needed to make room for next Saturday’s onslaught. Two things I discovered are that the huge basement pass through is full (woe is me) and that my suitcase doesn’t fit where I thought it would fit and I no have idea where else to put it (WOE is me).

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Aug 22, 2008 -

I Can See!

No pictures tonight, but I’ll have lots and lots next time I go to Miranda!

Unfortunately, Mr. Wonderful and his son ran out of time and weren’t able to install a second battery since they would have needed to run a load test on the first one. But that’s no biggie, really, since they explained to me how to install the second one. It’s something I know I can do myself since it’s no different than is using jumper cables.

The back up camera is unbelievable. I bought it on eBay on the recommendation of several RVers. The seller is interceptinc and I strongly recommend him. The system was a bargain price and is of very high quality. It included absolutely everything you need to get set up, except mounting screws for the camera. I have a huge colour monitor that can even be hooked up to a DVD player and it has sound and a remote control. I can see almost two full car lengths behind the coach and the tip of the tow bar is evident so I know how far to backup. What a difference this is going to make!

The solar panel mounted beautifully. It’s flush with the coach, so I won’t be able to angle it to catch the maximum number of rays, but I knew that going in (the gimbled mounts are pricey!). There is a new controller on the wall that tells me whether the solar panel is charging or not, and if the battery is full.

Finally, the inverter was mounted onto the bookcase between the two arm chairs. Unfortunately, I’ll need to run an extension cord from it to the back of the coach, so my setup isn’t ideal, but it’s the best that could be done with the time and resources available. I’m satisfied and thrilled with the quality of the work that was done.

Since I can’t tow yet, Mr. Wonderful’s son had to follow me behind the coach all the way to North Gower so that he could bring me back to my car (we did the reverse on Tuesday). Tonight was such a nice night, he decided to use his motorcycle. So, I got my first motorcycle ride! It was an absolutely exhilarating experience!!! I must have made quite the picture in my giant sunglasses, helmet, leather chaps, and biker jacket! That experience alone made the financial outlay on the electrical work worthwhile. I’m still grinning from the thrill of it.

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Backup Camera, Communications & Electronics, Driving, Electricity, Nice Folks, Preparations for Departure, Social, Solar Panels, Technical, Towing and Toad, Travel    5 Comments
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