Planning and Organizing

Being stranded has turned out to be a great opportunity to really focus on getting things organized in the coach. With limited space, how and where things get stored can make a big difference in daily life.

Clearly, a small space forces a certain level of minimalism. That said, we have everything we need. Hard pressed to highlight anything that we are missing aside from a repaired awning.

Being retired means that I have a lot more time available to help smooth out the ride, as it were. And one area that really needed some smoothing?

Our checklists.

There are a lot of things to remember when getting a coach ready to leave and getting it ready to arrive. I’m surprised that the manufacturers of motorhomes don’t publish checklists for their customers. I have some general documentation about our coach from the manufacturer but it is really, really superficial and it is generalized to the point of being irrelevant.

I have been revising our checklists for our coach and I am printing them out and placing them into a binder. I will follow the same protocol that pilots use when preparing an aircraft for takeoff and for landing. I will work through all of the checklist items. There are so many of them that I can’t remember them all and there is a tendency on my part to assume everything is okay and make haste to get on the road. Forgetting something in the process without a checklist is highly possible. For me.

Here is the departure checklist (still under development as I need to add the checklist items for getting our car ready for towing behind our coach):

One for testing air brakes:

One for arrival:

 

I have several other checklists. One related to getting our access point to WiFi and LTE for Internet access. Others for maintaining subsystems like our generator and heating system.

We’ll have two copies on board, one for me in the cockpit and one for Lorraine as she helps out with the circle check.

I’ve seen first hand several accidents that occurred simply because the owner of the coach was in a hurry to get going. Preventing unnecessary damage to the coach by trying to exit a site too quickly is one thing. The consequence of a critical system failure while driving could be catastrophic.

Safety first.

Otherwise we wind up in the House of Blues.

Pain Cave

The weather has been swinging dramatically from unseasonably warm to unseasonably cold. And when it gets cold, the cycling goes inside.

A pain cave can be put together almost anywhere.

Our coach can be transformed into an awesome pain cave with multiple screens to help amplify the glorious pain and suffering.

Takes a bit of effort though.

The trainer that I use, a Tacx Neo, is a wee bit heavy at roughly 48 pounds. I stow the Neo in the passenger side forward bay. It is somewhat challenging to move it out of the bay and into the coach on my own. With Lorraine’s help, no trouble at all.

We spread foam mats underneath the bike to protect the tile floor and to absorb the energy being transferred to the trainer. The Neo, fortunately, is very quiet and very stable.

A few towels are spread out to catch all the sweat. Not unusual for me to drop 4 or 5 pounds of sweat in a typical 1-hour spin. Although not visible in the picture, there is a fan to push some air around to create the false impression of being cool on the bike.

The bike itself is stored in a bay that has a pullout tray. I store it with both wheels off. I bring in the front wheel and set it aside. I bring in the bike — without wheels — and attach the front wheel when I am inside the coach. Then the bike gets attached to the trainer.

I attach a sweat guard to the top of the bike. You can make it out in the photo above. It is the triangle shaped black and red material near the handlebars. Two water bottles at the ready.

I fire up Zwift on the Apple TV if I am doing a recovery spin or the Sufferfest on the MacBook Pro for some real pain and suffering. With the Sufferfest, I use AirPlay to throw the computer screen to the two front screens of the coach via Apple TV.

The Neo and my heart rate monitor connect via Bluetooth, transmitting all of the metrics of the ride to the software apps I am using (either Zwift or Sufferfest). My Garmin bike computer also tracks the ride.

The software app takes control of my smart trainer and the fun begins.

Great sound in my custom built home theatre system and the coach’s blackout system really does conjure up a cave-like experience.

Takes about 10 minutes to setup and roughly the same amount of time to tear down.

This was a video tour of my old pain cave at our former house.

Doesn’t matter where you are though. Suffering is always available.

Even in a motorcoach.

The Long Weekend

This is home for the Thanksgiving weekend. Not exactly as per plan.

No status on our timeline. The parts have been ordered but we do not know when they will arrive. Obviously not today. Hopefully sometime next week.

Here are a couple of shots of our current site. We are nestled amongst the trees with a large, open area that, for most of our time here, has been ours alone.

There have been a few coaches that have set up beside us for an overnight stay here and there. Four coaches over three nights. Otherwise, it has been a very private spot at the Hitch House.

Here is a shot of the baseplate on our Lincoln.

We were supposed to be here for two days to have this base plate installed for our Blue Ox tow bar system. We will have spent at least three or perhaps four weeks before resuming our journey due to a series of unexpected issues which you can read about here.

The base plate on our car is discrete. From a few feet away you would hardly know that it is there.

We have a Blue Ox Patriot II as our supplemental braking system.

To legally tow a vehicle behind a motorhome, in any State or Province, the following is required: a base plate bracket to connect to a tow bar, a tow bar with safety cables, a supplemental braking system, a break away system and the ability to display stop, turn and running lights on the towed vehicle.

Plateau XLMB

As we enter our third week at the dealer, we have seen quite a few coaches coming and going. Most for service although a fair number of newly sold coaches.

We have had a few neighbours during our stay. They spend a night in their new coach and then head out.

We, on the other hand, are starting to become permanent fixtures. We now know most of the staff here on a first name basis. They all seem to know us.

Our newest neighbour is the proud owner of a Pleasure-Way Plateau XLMB. They received their coach yesterday and they are parked beside us for a night or two.

The Plateau XLMB is a 22-foot coach built on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis. It would be far too small for me for extended travelling but a perfect size for touring. It is a coach that can go anywhere.

No slide-outs but a very clever use of space.

The interior features a queen-sized Murphy bed and a good sized washroom. Pleasure-Way is a Canadian company that stands behind their product with an excellent 5-year comprehensive warranty.

Starting at roughly $150,000 Canadian, it looks like a compelling option in this segment of the RV market.

I went through Pleasure-Way’s video tour and I was quite impressed with the builder and the attention to detail. And our new neighbours seem very happy with their new coach.

Homeless

Our car is still out of commission and likely won’t be ready until late Wednesday. We remain stranded at our dealer as we await repairs.

The coach had to go into the shop today for a couple of items one of which was totally necessary and yet totally discretionary: a WiFi and 4G LTE Extender.

We had the dealer install the Winegard Connect 2.0 unit which provides an access point for the 20 Internet capable devices that we carry on board the coach. They now connect to the coach’s local network — the access point — and I only have to change one device — the Winegard Connect — to point to either a WiFi source or an LTE source.

20 Internet capable devices?

Yes indeed.

Smart TVs: 3 of them
Apple TVs: 2 of them
iMac: 1 of them
MacBook Pro: 1 of them
iPads: 3 of them
iPhones: 2 of them
Sonos Speakers: 4 of them
Logitech Harmony Remotes: 2 of them
Pioneer AV Receiver: 1 of them
Sony Playstation 4: 1 of them

We were without the coach until about 6pm this evening.

Homeless.

Our golden retriever was in her crate for most of the day in one of the offices at the dealer. Lorraine and I ran a few errands but also spent most of the day in one of the offices at the dealer.

The coach will go back in for a few hours at 8am tomorrow.

We likely won’t see the car until end of day tomorrow.

We should hopefully be back on our way on Thursday with our car in tow.