A Super Clean Windshield

The windshield must be clean.

And not just clean. Super clean.

Inside and out.

I always clean the windshield before we start a drive and I always clean the windshield when we set up at our site. There is nothing like a really clean windshield. No haze, no streaks and, for a few minutes into the drive at least, no bugs.

My approach is probably a bit different than most.

I use product from Griot’s Garage: Window Cleaner, Glass Cleaning Clay, Fine Glass Polish, Glass Sealant.

If the exterior windshield requires a major treatment I will clean the windshield, clay it, clean it again, polish it, clean it again and then apply sealant. A final buff and clean and the glass is all good to go. I will usually do a major treatment on the exterior windshield once the sealant is no longer repelling water.

Otherwise, it is regular cleaning of the exterior windshield with the glass cleaner.

The interior of the windshield uses an approach that I took from a ChrisFix video:

Works like magic.

He has another video on how he deals with the outside of the windshield. A bit different from my approach and it does yield a great result.

The RV Geeks use steel wool to clean their windshield. I’m not prepared to try that technique. Some mixed views on that approach in the auto detailing community. But here it is just in case you want to give it a try on a windshield you don’t like.

Self-contained RVs

The votes were tallied and the majority — at least the very few that elected to vote, cast their votes in favour of welcoming owners of self-contained RVs, namely travel trailers and fifth wheels.

My understanding is that the FMCA has roughly 135,000 active members. Only 9,800 active members voted on this item. 6,820 voted to extend membership beyond owners of motorcoaches. And that is all it took to change the original vision for FMCA.

Membership in FMCA was contingent upon ownership of a motorhome and the vision of the founders of FMCA was a club specific to motorhomes. On their website, FMCA has a series of questions about the change including this one:

17) How will FMCA fulfill the vision that the founders had that FMCA would be an exclusive club for motorized RVs?

We recognize your concern about this issue. However, to continue to exist as an association, we also recognize that we need to avoid stagnation. The RV marketplace has changed and evolved over time. We’ve looked around and seen that our families and friends – those we want to welcome as new FMCA members – have many choices of RVs that are not motorized. We want to make sure FMCA flourishes well into the future, and broadening our focus is a way to help ensure this.

We have been FMCA members since we purchased our coach. Not quite sure how to react to the change.

I love Airstream trailers. I am not much of a fan of fifth wheels. Not that it really matters except that my ownership experience is quite different from travel trailers and fifth wheels. I’m not all that interested in reading articles about travel trailers and fifth wheels nor being part of rallies with travel trailers and fifth wheel owners. And given the recent surge in the sales of motorhomes coupled with the demographic shift to retirement and the appeal of an RV lifestyle, I’m not sure how necessary it was to make this change.

Looks like it was volume related and there is no question that there are far more travel trailers and fifth wheels than motorhomes. Maybe this will encourage more members. I guess we will find out.

Commercial Driver’s Licence Renewal

In the province of Ontario, Canada, we are required to hold a commercial driver’s licence to operate a Class A diesel motorcoach. Specifically, a DZ licence.

The Z designation is for the air brake component and it is mandatory for anyone in Ontario that operates a vehicle with air brakes.

The Class D licence lets you drive any truck or vehicle combination exceeding 11,000 kilograms (roughly 24,000 lbs), provided that the towed vehicle weighs less than 4,600 kg (roughly 10,000 lbs).

To apply for a Class D licence, you need to be at least 18 years old, hold a valid Ontario licence other than G1, G2, M, M1 or M2, pass an eye test, submit a medical report, pass a written test about operating large trucks and tractor-trailers and pass a road test.

To make our life in retirement just a little more interesting, our provincial government has elected to change the rules regarding Class D renewals.

Class D licence holders up to age 80 will be subject to a Class D knowledge test and vision test every five (5) years at time of licence renewal. Class D licence holders over the age of 80 will still have to complete an annual knowledge, vision and road test.

Class D licence holders under the age of 46 will be required to submit a Medical Report every five (5) years.

Class D licence holders between the ages of 46 and 64 will be required to submit a Medical Report every three (3) years.

Class D licence holders age 65 and older will be required to submit an annual Medical Report.

Having a more stringent requirement for commercial truck drivers makes sense. Does it make sense for someone like me that operates a recreational vehicle? I will now have to do the Class D tests every five years and medicals every year after age 65. And I’m just not sure how relevant all of the truck related content is for someone who drives a recreational vehicle. Some of the content is applicable. Most of it, however, is primarily for people who drive trucks for a living.

As we plan to be in the States during the winter months, it will be quite aggravating to have to deal with license renewals in March — March being my month of birth. Our provincial government bases renewals on date of birth.

Could be costly having to fly up to Canada just to do a licence renewal every winter.

Rock Guard

This is our rock guard on the back of our coach.

Tough to keep it clean and after reading several threads on the IRV2 forum, I’m not too sure about keeping it on our coach.

Here is one comment from one of the threads:

Why not try going without the so-called rock guard for a while and see how it goes? You may find your toad will suffer less stone chips and stay cleaner.

I removed mine at an RV Park in Whitehorse, YK after fighting with stones covering my toad everyday on our way to Alaska. Prior to departing, I had raised the flap from 4″ clearance to 6″ clearance on the advice of our caravan organizer to prevent the flap from dragging on the ground going through some of the dips in the highway.

Turns out that even at 6″ the flap was still causing small stones to be tossed up and covering my toad.

In Whitehorse our Wagon Master suggested removing the flap altogether. So on his advice, I made arrangements with the park owner to leave it and pick it up on our return.

Lo and behold, there were no more stones and the toad seemed to not accumulate dust and mud as it did with the flap.

When we returned to Whitehorse, I told the RV park operator he could just dispose of the flap as I was now convinced it was doing more harm than good.

That was three years ago and I have not regretted its removal. In fact, I used to use a Guardian Rock Guard and a custom windshield cover which I have not used in over 15,000 miles and I have zero stone chips to the toad.

Others I have talked to along the way have gone the same route and are very happy with the results.

Worth a try.

I’m going to do a bit more research. I have seen some toads that have extensive damage on the front end due to stones being thrown up from the back of the coach.

I’d like to keep the toad in good shape.

That problem would obviously go away if I used a trailer but for now our plan is to tow four wheels down.

Entegra Enters Class A Gas and Class C

I came across this press release from Entegra:

Entegra Coach recently announced the expansion of its family of luxury products to include luxury Class C and luxury gas Class A members.

“The name Entegra Coach is synonymous with luxury motorhomes,” said Andy Baer, GM of Entegra Coach. “Expanding into smaller coaches allows us to better support our loyal Entegra Owners by providing luxury options prior to, and after, their large diesel coach lifestyle. … In addition, now multiple generations of families can enjoy the Entegra Coach lifestyle together, while in the luxury of their own coach.”

We almost bought an Entegra.

This one actually:

It was the first coach that we walked through when we went to the Hershey Show way back in September of 2015. Loved it. And the salesperson was very keen to cut us a great deal. If we bought the coach right then.

“Canadians buy from us all the time!” He told us.

We were not there to buy from a U.S. dealer though. We were there to do our research. And we ultimately decided on a Newmar Dutch Star.

We bought our coach from a Canadian dealer. Primarily for warranty support and relative ease of access. And our Canadian dealer, the Hitch House, has been terrific.

Entegra became part of Thor. Thor was founded in 1980 when two entrepreneurs acquired Airstream. Then Thor made a string of acquisitions leading up to Jayco.

Thor had a knockout quarter with record sales of $2.23 billion, up over 30% and record net income of $128.4 million, up over 63%.

I had posted about Thor in December of 2016. At that time, the share price was $105 USD.

The current quote for Thor is $153 USD. Really big jump on their results. Yikes.

Companies like Thor don’t fit into my investment portfolio although given the incredible surge in the RV industry, perhaps I should have taken a bit of a position in Thor. It looks like easy money now doesn’t it?

Hard to say how long the ride might last for Thor.

This move by Entegra to get into Class C and Class A gas coaches is interesting. The new products were to be featured today at the RVIA show in Louisville. One luxury diesel Class C coach, the Entegra Qwest, two luxury gas Class C coaches, the Entegra Odyssey and Esteem, and one luxury gas Class A coach, the Entegra Emblem.

Nothing up on the Entegra website as yet.

I’ll have to check back and see what they are doing on this front.

With all of this demand and new product, it is bound to start getting crowded at the RV parks.

Andy Pargh has a couple of interesting posts about Entegra that he wrote back in June of 2016 here and here.

For whatever it might be worth, Andy went on to purchase a Prevost.