The Outpost

Not really.

The dealer for our coach, the Hitch House, is located in Barrie, Ontario and, while the city itself is well north of Toronto, it seems to be firmly in the grasp of the Greater Toronto Region. It is a tough drive through some of the most heavily congested roads in all of Canada.

We dropped the coach off last weekend and it will be with the dealer for about three weeks. We will pick the coach up sometime during the week of May 7th.

We have a few outings planned in May including our very first Newmar Kountry Klub outing with the Muskoka Ramblers. The rally will be held May 26-28 at the Milton Heights Campground.

Looking forward to getting our coach back home though. Here is where we left the Castaway.

Warranty Service

Our coach came out of storage last week and we took the Castaway over the the dealer for some scheduled service and warranty items.

This was our list:

Warranty Items

1. Kitchen Sink Leak: drain pipe leaks where drain meets down pipe immediately underneath the sink.
2. Loose Fabric Trim: fabric trim by pantry drawer leading into bedroom has come loose in a couple of areas.
3. Cracked Floor Tile: cracked floor tile driver side behind the recliner that is closest to the kitchen galley.
4. MCD Day/Night Shades: MCD Day/Night Shades over dining area appear to require reprogramming. Day shade inoperative over main dining area window and night shades over main dining area window and small dining area window out of synch.
5. Winegard Rayzar Digital TV Antenna: Unit is producing an E3 error during operation (motor movement error).
6. Sofa Bed Latch: Latch for inflating sofa bed doesn’t stay closed when inflating.
7. Passenger Side Basement Door: When door side slideout is open, first basement door rubs bottom of slideout (door out of alignment).
8. Front Wheel Vibration: At highway speed, roughly 100km and above, front exhibits a vibration that is characteristic of unbalanced wheels.
9. Driver Side Fuel Cover: Missing clearcoat?

Technical Service Bulletins

1. 467 RSB – Recall 16V 826: Power Steering Fluid Leak (potential fire hazard)
2. 472 TSB – Slideout Motor Mounting Bolts (under-torqued). We hear loose mounting bolts on both front slideouts (Full Wall Slideout and Off Driver Slideout) while driving the coach.


1. Trim Edge: Trim Edge popped off door side woodwork. Small piece of trim was placed beside the passenger seat in front of coach.
2. Service of Coach: As required (fluid levels, lubrication, etc).
3. Coach Detailing

The service team at the Hitch House has been hard at work on the coach. We received some good news with respect to the potential fire hazard recall item. Freightliner inspected the coach and our build was fine. We did not have the issue and no remediation work was required.

Given the overall complexity of the coach, we are pleased that we have not experienced a substantial number of issues after our first year of ownership.

One negative though. The detailing team is backlogged and unable to work on our coach.

I will have to do the detailing work myself, which I had done last year. Very time consuming.

I ordered some new product from McKee’s. Lots of positive press on their RV specific products. Once the coach comes home, I will be hard at work detailing the Castaway for the 2017 touring season.

Back Home


The Castaway is back home for a few days. We brought her out of storage yesterday.

I was a bit concerned about whether we would have any issues taking the coach out of storage. She had sat there for about six months. We did check in on the coach from time to time during the winter months however we were not allowed to run the engine inside the storage facility and, given the layout of the storage area, we could not readily take the coach outdoors.

The tires maintained their inflation. That was a surprise. I had brought along the air compressor fully expecting to inflate the tires. No need. Each tire was fine.

Circle check revealed no issues.

And the big moment. Would the engine start?

Without a hitch. It took a bit of time for the air pressure to build up and then, jacks up and off we went.

In the province of Ontario, we are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license to operate a coach that weighs above 11,000 kg. And an air brake endorsement.

Good thing. These vehicles are the same size as a commercial bus and it takes a somewhat different mindset to operate them safely.

Getting back behind the wheel after a six-month hiatus did not feel at all uncomfortable.

The coach is awesome to drive and the 40 minutes that it took to get home pass all too quickly.

On Saturday, we take the coach up to our dealer for servicing. That will be about a 3-hour drive. In one of the most congested traffic areas of Canada.

That drive will be a bit more challenging.

Old Drives and Old Computers


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

Yes. 11.

11 old computers. Old Macs, PCs, laptops. Even an old Toshiba netbook.

5 old tablets. A dozen or so old cellphones.

And over 20 external hard drives. Of various sizes and configurations.

Why so many devices?

Well, they were acquired over the past few decades and never discarded. Until now. As part of our downsizing activities, we are downsizing all of our tech. All we will need when we retire is 1 laptop, two tablets and two smartphones. And a NAS. Oh and a couple of Apple TVs. A router. Okay, I’ll try and stop there.

The old Apple products will make their way to the Apple Store as part of the Apple Recycling Program. The rest of the old products will go to an electronics recycling depot in town.

But first?

I have to go through every drive and every computer just to make sure that there isn’t any data that we might need to keep. I am mostly worried about digital photos that did not find their way into my Lightroom catalog.

I’m almost done this part of the downsizing effort. It’s silly in a way that digital downsizing is almost as much work as physical downsizing.

I purchased a 4-bay NAS to hold the bulk of our digital data while we travel. I have another set of disks that I will use to keep a rotating set of incremental backups offsite to prevent any catastrophic data loss. Over the past several months I have been scanning and digitizing memories and storing the data in Evernote. That data resides locally and in the cloud. 1 copy local on the NAS, 1 copy in the cloud and 1 copy offsite.

The photography collection is also in three places. 1 copy local on a direct access storage device, 1 copy on the NAS and 1 copy offsite.

Most of our other files, things like spreadsheets, word documents, presentations, courseware, music, movies, will live on the NAS with 1 copy offsite.

Fascinating to turn on all of this old hardware. Old operating systems. Old browsers.

The sad thing is that they all still work. I feel a bit sad that the machines will go into recycling but then again most of the machines have been sitting gathering dust on our storage shelves for the better part of 10 or 15 years.

Time to let them go now.


The Castaway is still there. Still in storage.

We checked on her several times during the winter. And, apart from filling up the batteries with distilled water, everything on board the coach was fine.

We will be taking our coach out of storage next Wednesday. Hopefully, the engine will start without any issues. After a full inspection of the coach, I’ll need to do the following:

  • Inflate tires to nominal levels, front tires to 110 PSI cold, rear tires to 95 PSI cold
  • Turn on the inverter and reset the charger
  • Turn on the engine and idle
  • Turn on 120V AC breakers
  • Close and secure fridge doors
  • Confirm interior cabin is set and ready
  • Bring up jacks and head out of storage

We will be taking the coach to the Hitch House on Saturday for service and warranty work. I am also getting them to detail the coach. I did it myself last year and it took several days for me to complete the work. As we are downsizing and moving in a few months, I will not have time to detail the Castaway this spring. The dealer assures me that they will do a good job (I tend to be a bit fussy about detailing).

Lorraine and I are very excited to be bringing out the coach. With the house now sold, we are much closer to our retirement dream. We will be in Canada for another winter and after that we should be snowbirds by November of 2018.

I can hardly wait.