RV Ladders


I need a different ladder.

For when we travel.

The coach is tall and I need a ladder that can get me on the roof as well as allow me to get to the upper areas of the coach, like the windshield. And this ladder needs to fold up into a compact form so that we can carry it in the basement of the coach.

If you take a look at this video, you can see the type of ladder I do not want. That looks like one dangerous way to get on the roof of a Newmar Dutch Star (same model of coach as our Castaway). You can watch the entire video if you wish as it does have some interesting perspectives on risk management and staying healthy. I’ve pointed the video to start at where he gets up on the roof.

At my age, I need a less risky path. The choice of ladder for me will be a telescoping ladder like this one from Werner:



This ladder is available from Home Depot here in Canada for under $200. A similar design, Little Giant Ladder, is also available in Canada at an outrageous price. In the States, it sells for about $250USD. In Canada they want over $500 CAD for the ladder. Ouch.

The Werner can function as a step ladder, up to 9 feet, and it can function as an extension ladder up to 19 feet, more than enough to safely get on the roof of the coach.

I’ll also be able to clean the windshield.

I love a clean windshield.



The Castaway has a 105 gallon freshwater tank. That tank, which we are using on a daily basis, is getting closer and closer to empty.

We have been living out of our coach since we first brought it home. It is parked just outside our house with an awesome view of our forest. It is a bit like boondocking except for the convenience of being so close to the sticks and bricks house.

The only service we have for the coach is 30-amp shore power. We have no other hookups for the motorhome.

When we last needed to dump our tanks, we took the Castaway over to the local KOA, conveniently located a few kilometres away, and used their dumping station. For a small fee of course.

Unfortunately, they do not provide a water service unless we book a site for the night.

So, what to do for water while we have the coach parked on our property?

We could connect our freshwater line to an outdoor faucet except for one little issue. The outdoor faucets bypass our water filtration system. We draw our water from a well and treat the water. The idea of filling our freshwater tank with untreated well water is not too appealing.

We have a call out to our local water person. It doesn’t seem to be that big a job to me, although I am not a plumber, to make a small change to the water supply lines. We need a bypass valve to supply treated water to the outdoor faucets. We already have a bypass valve to shut the supply of untreated water to the outdoor faucets. A small bit of piping to connect the new bypass valve to the outdoor faucet supply line and we would be good to go.

Our local water supply company is another option with “every on site water need supplied.” Although they do not show any RVs on their website, they do show a large sailboat. I suppose it would depend on the cost of the water service relative to the cost of making the plumbing change.

We could also book a night at the local KOA to fill up the freshwater tank and dump our black and gray tanks. That option may well be the least costly. It would also be the most fun.



Standing at the bottom of the stairs. Waiting for the climb to begin.

I had just finished a full day of touring in London, England, well in excess of 30,000 steps, and the thought of climbing yet another long staircase seemed overwhelming. And so I waited. I waited to start the climb.

I knew it would be worth it at the end of the climb. At the top of those stairs I would only be a few hundred paces from our room at the incredible Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. There I could take my shoes off and recover from all of that walking.

Just get started. Climb that last set of stairs and get it over with. Although, jumping on the escalator would be so much easier.

What was I waiting for?

Did I want to take the easy way up those stairs?

I drop by Mike Griffin’s website from time to time. He had this to say in a recent post:

We’re still waiting. Waiting to really, seriously, finally, and with great commitment take off in our motorhome and see the country. Waiting is painful. My DW has told me that I’m wishing my life away and should live in the moment. But that’s easier said than done. I’ve finally decided to retire in August 2016, and my wife will do the same the following April. That means we’re within 12 months of “taking off”. But after a dozen years of researching RVs, renting them for vacations, and buying our own dream home on wheels late last year, I’m chomping at the bit to hit the road.

I know exactly what he is going through. Right now I am waiting, waiting for our house to sell, waiting for my retirement date to arrive, waiting for our new life to start. And there is really no quick and easy escalator to take. It is a long climb and the end seems so far away.

If I look it this from the positive side of things though, I have learned something really important about myself.

I hate waiting.

Back Breaking Work


There can be no greater joy than detailing a 40-foot motorhome.

Today, my body is racked with pain. And I still have one side left on the Castaway.

Detailing such a large vehicle is back breaking work.

Washing and drying off the driver’s side was pretty straightforward. Spending six hours applying and buffing paint sealant wasn’t complicated. It felt long especially with half of that time spent on a ladder stretching and straining to reach the almost out of reach areas of the coach.

The plan was to tackle the passenger side today.

I am so sore that I may need to defer that side until next week.

Now, where did I put that Advil?

Details, Details


The Castaway is a big coach. Particularly when compared to a car. It is so tall that a ladder is needed to reach the almost 13 foot high roofline. With a length over 40 feet, the coach has somewhere in excess of 1,500 square feet of surface area.

I love to detail my car. I have all of the tools and finishing products necessary to deliver an awesome car show shine.

When we took delivery of the Castaway, I declined any form of paint treatment by the dealer. That part I would do myself. After all, I love to detail my car. And I have all the tools.

I am now having second thoughts.

I washed the coach last week. It was a really, really big job that took a couple of hours to complete. And I did not dry the coach. I ran out of daylight and decided to let the water sit, something I would never, ever do with the finish of a car.

I have a package arriving from my friends at Auto Obsessed which includes the following:

  • Griot’s Garage Glass Cleaning Clay
  • Griot’s Garage Speed Shine
  • Griot’s Garage Glass Polish
  • Griot’s Garage Glass Sealant
  • RejeX Paint Sealant
  • Microfiber Premium Dryer Towels
  • Griot’s Garage Micro Fiber Wash Mops Heads

The long weekend is coming up and my task is to detail the coach.

I’ve decided to break it down into 6 phases.

Phase 1. Front Cap

The biggest part of dealing with the front cap of the coach will be the main windshield. With such an expansive area of glass, I need to make sure that I have eliminated any and all water spots etched into the surface and polished out the minor imperfections prior to applying a sealant. I will use the glass cleaning clay to remove surface contaminants. The clay requires a lubricant which is where Griot’s Speed Shine comes into play. Once complete, the windshield should be free from road film, oil, tar, grease, water spots and the remains of splattered bugs.

The fine glass polish will be a second pass on preparing the windshield for the sealant. The sealant increases wet weather visibility as it creates a hydrophobic surface to repel water. It also makes it easier to clean material off the windshield. As we enjoy a wonderful, panoramic view from the flight deck of the coach, enhancing the visibility and clarity of the windshield is at the top of my detailing list. Even for a new coach.

Newmar applies a shield to most of the front cap. Called a Diamond Shield, it is basically a protective film against stones and bugs. The front cap will be hand washed, dried and then treated with RejeX Paint Sealant. RejeX is a thin, polymer coating that protects the paint finish for up to six months. It has a high refractive index so lustre should be on par or better than most waxes.

I think this part of the job will take about 4 hours.

Phase 2. Rear Cap

The rear cap of the coach will probably be the easiest and fastest part of the detail work. 2 hours should be more than enough time to wash, dry and treat the rear cap. The toughest part of this job will be cleaning and treating the long mudflap at the bottom of the coach. It spans the full width of the coach and it hangs below the bottom frame.

Phase 3. Passenger Side Slideouts

There are two slideouts on the passenger side of the coach: the living area and the stateroom. The stateroom is the smaller of the two. Nothing too complicated here. I am going to guess at roughly 4 hours to wash, dry and treat the two slideouts.

Phase 4. Driver Side Full Wall Slideout

There is only one slideout on the driver side but it is a large one. It basically spans most of the length of the coach. This one slideout will take about 4 hours.

Phase 5. Passenger Side

Lots of details to worry about on the passenger side with multiple compartment doors, stainless steel accent trims and a large surface area. I will be happy if I get through this side in about 6 hours.

Phase 6. Driver Side

This side will be a little easier than the passenger side as the full wall slideout occupies most of the space leaving just a small area of the coach to wash, dry and treat. It also holds multiple compartment doors and stainless steel accent trims. Probably a 4 hour effort.

All told, it may take about 24 hours to detail the coach.

I have Accuride wheels with Accu-Shield aluminum wheels. The wheels do not require any polishing or treatment. I will wash them of course but I won’t be spending any time polishing or treating the wheels.

The tires are fine for now. I want to pick up some product for the tires once I have had a chance to do a bit more research.

Wish me luck on this project.