The Adventure Begins
~Tuesday, June 9, 2020~
I know, I know, this is a long post. But it's our first, so hang in there....they will get shorter. What do we consider Day 1? Is it the day we drove off the Richardson’s RV lot in Riverside, CA with our new rig, is it the day we landed back in Napa to train ourselves with the new rig at Skyline Park, or is it the day that we landed at Del Mar Beach at Camp Pendleton’s Base to begin our month of precious time we will be spending with our family? It seems the obvious choice would be when we drove off the dealership lot. But after much consideration, we decided our first “official” day of being full-time RVer’s and initiating our travel blog, is the day that we officially DROVE AWAY from our beautiful hometown of Napa, CA, WITH our new home on wheels.
But before going into details of that special day, we had to share a few events that lead up to that moment. First, we had to pick up the trailer. It’s about a 7-8 hour drive with normal speed, but with a top speed of 60 mph towing a travel trailer, it became 9-½ hrs. It’s now about getting somewhere SAFE, not getting somewhere fast. We stayed at our daughter Hannah and future son-in-law Devin’s home in San Marcos last night, after driving from Napa. The plan was to pick up our RV in Riverside from there. Hannah made a delicious breakfast for us (thank goodness because we had nothing to eat until dinner). We had a 1-½ hour drive to Richardson’s RV in Riverside….and behold, there it was ready to take us on this long awaited trip.
After a lot of research we decided on the 2020 Lance 2465, which at 29 feet, looks like a beast to us since we’re stepping up from a tent. The hours Jeff spent researching the best trailer for us, will pay off. We originally considered AirStream, which is an amazing brand, but felt the Lance would provide us with the same quality standards, with a larger, more usable floor plan, mainly because of the slide outs, and its 4-season status. Double pane windows, all of the tanks are enclosed underneath the trailer so they’re not exposed to the elements. The airspace for these tanks and piping are actually heated. Most trailers are not built for winter. At the many RV shows we attended, Lance always came out on top for us because of the high quality construction too. You can feel and see the difference, with the attention to detail that other manufacturer’s lack. Once we knew the brand we wanted to purchase, it was equally difficult to find a dealer who had the exact model with the finishes we desired. Using RV Trader really helped, and it just so happened that the exact model we wanted was in California at Richardson’s RV in Riverside. Jeff had read reviews on Richardson’s before, and read nothing but stellar comments. Some of the items we really wanted were the full step (goes to the ground rather than hover), better size fireplace (for some reason we saw many 2465’s with smaller fireplaces and wanted the taller one) and finally we wanted the Passage model/finishes which are harder to find. The only thing that it didn’t come with was solar. They said they would install it (a GoPower 100 watt solar panel along with the wiring and solar controller) for a good price. The staff at Richardson’s was amazing to work with too. We spent 4+ hours there having our orientation with Kerry, the $ girl, Tiffany, who didn’t push the extra stuff too hard on us (did not buy an extended warranty from the dealer-we wanted more time to research on our own-more later on this) but we did buy a year of roadside assistance with Coach-net (that one we had researched already). Then we met the parts manager, Russ who gave us a list of items we might want to consider buying for newbies who don’t know anything. Even though we’re newbies, we were one step ahead having already bought most everything that was on his list, months ago and at better prices. We did manage to take advantage of their $50 in-store coupon that was only valid that day, i.e. lubricants, a propane hose, 20’ dog tether, and poof, $50 gone. Then we met Mike, head of service. He was awesome, teaching us hitching/unhitching/wiring (you can check out his expertise on our video from June 9. We started launching into battery talk, when he passed us off to their Go Power solar expert, Steven. I had a question about battery use when using the tongue jack, and that opened up questions about switching out the standard battery with the 2 Battle Born lithium batteries we already purchased. Then that opened a conversation about whether the solar system could handle the lithium program wise. He told us we would be fine reprogramming the solar controller to the lithium batteries. Cool!
After trying to absorb all the things we were learning in 100 degree heat, and tensely driving our new RV for the first time, it was quite an exhausting day. I must have looked in the rear view mirror every 10 seconds, for miles, while Jeff took the wheel first. It only took 20 minutes (thank goodness) to get to our campsite at Rancho Jurupa in Riverside. Sweet! A pull-through site….great for our first night. Clean, nice spacing between sites, level concrete pad, lots of trees, and full hook ups. Great for newbies like us. It quickly became apparent that the Anderson Blocks we bought wouldn't work with our axle width, and that we'd have to make some minor adjustments there (cut and sand). Then we thought we had an issue with our surge protector. It would have been nice if the instructions indicated that there is a slight delay in charge before it kicks in. Jeff spent about 30 minutes on the switches, and making adjustments, thinking it wasn’t working. But, in the end, it was a great way to meet our friendly neighbors from SoCal. There was a group traveling together, staying at different sites, where Roger became our go-to RV tech.
A great first day. Heading back up north tomorrow to Napa to stay at Skyline Park for 5 days to get acquainted with our new purchase. Stay tuned….