Our New Dutch Star


Our 2016 Newmar Dutch Star 4002 had arrived to the dealer end of April. We were able to take delivery this weekend.

They say that you can only prove the delivery with photos so we have a few to share with you. First up is a shot of the interior layout of the main living area.


Jamie was our service technician. He was very professional and very thorough. He explained all of the systems on our coach. Mind you, I had done so much reading and research that things were not quite as overwhelming as I had originally feared. Hey, I know this stuff!

Here he is installing our licence plates for the coach. We are now ready for the road.


Our stateroom includes a king-size bed.


The Dutch Star 4002 is a bath and a half design. This is the rear bath which includes a stacked washer/dryer, shower, and safe.


The entrance to the rear bath as seen from the bedroom.


Our dining area. Perfect for two although the table does extend and we have a couple of extra chairs.


The galley includes a Whirlpool residential fridge, a Whirlpool convection microwave, a Kenyon countertop stove and a dishwasher.


The captain’s chair. Although the initial reaction to all of the buttons and dials was a bit alarming, the driving experience of our coach was amazing.



Here is the coach with the awnings extended.


A couple of exterior shots as we made our way back home. This was at a service centre midway between the dealer and our house.



I’ll share more about the first drive in the coach tomorrow.

She Is Home



We made it home safe and sound in our new coach. Lots to share about our experience over the past few days now that we are back and connected to the Internet again. More to come once I have had a chance to catch up on some sleep.

So excited to have our new home.



We are heading out tomorrow to pick up our new coach. We will be at the Hitch House for two days. I expect that the process will be a touch overwhelming.

There will be lots of paperwork and lots of information to process. The technician will be spending quite a bit of time with us to go through the operations of the coach. We will be living in the coach for a few days before we bring our motorhome, the Castaway, home. And we have to complete a thorough inspection of the coach.

We have our own checklist thanks to Norm and Ellen over at the iRV2 forum. You can download a copy of it here.

Their checklist is very comprehensive and it will help us identify any initial delivery issues with the coach.

Lorraine and I are also planning an initial trip with the coach later this summer to shake it down and to see if there are any other issues that need to be addressed.

We are quite realistic about what to expect: there will be issues. This was true when we bought our first home. This was true when we built our first home. This will be true with our new coach.

We went with the Hitch House and Newmar because both companies have great reputations for customer service. Although it is a couple of hours drive to the Hitch House, I am hoping that we can capture all of the initial issues with the coach, review it with them beforehand and bring the coach out to get them addressed all at one time as opposed to making several trips back and forth.

We will report on our initial experiences over the next few days.

Should be fun.

RV Electricity


We have some learning ahead of us with the new coach. The electrical system is the one that will likely take the most effort on our part. We don’t know how to use electricity on a coach.

Well, I mean we know how to turn things on and plug things in. We just don’t know how all of the various systems work together.

Our coach will have three separate electrical systems: 12-volt automotive DC, 12-volt DC coach and 120-volt AC coach. Power will be generated from multiple sources including the on-board generator, shore, batteries and eventually solar. We will have an inverter, an automatic transfer switch, an automatic generator start on low battery, a surge protector and an energy management system.

In short, if you will pardon the pun, we will have a complex electrical system to manage.

There are several resources that I found very helpful in terms of learning more about the electrical system of an RV.

The first one is from RVTechMag.com.

I’ve created this tutorial to help explain some of the basics of electricity as related to RVs. It’s certainly not going to turn every RVer into an electrical engineer or service tech but it may help many of us to better understand the basics of electricity and how it relates to RVs in general. I’ve organized and categorized topics so that they begin with raw basics and build from there. That way you can either start at the beginning or skip the stuff that you know and go right to your area of interest. You can use this as a study course if you wish or simply a reference source to refer to as needed.

The second is from RV-Dreams.com.

I was thinking about what I should cover in a “Basic RV Electrical” section. Then it dawned on me that I would want it to be really, really basic. I asked myself this question: What is the absolute minimum I need to know about my electrical system…

Gone With The Wynns offers a lot of great video tutorials on solar.

Solar power is our main source of electricity on the road and we’ve learned way more about it than we ever wanted to! From our current and past RV Solar Systems to simple explanations on what it is and how it all works, we try to keep things as simple as possible with these complex RV electrical systems. Click on any of the posts below for more information on solar, inverters, chargers and portable power.

And finally the RV Geeks offer a variety of video tutorials on electricity for RVs.

Driving Test Nerves


Behind my mask, when I took my driving tests for my D Class and my Z endorsement, was pure fear. I did not expect to experience such stress. I did not expect to experience driving test nerves.

The mask I normally wear is a mask of confidence. It is a mask that says: I am okay and I have it all under control.

My first driver’s licence was issued when I was 16 years old. In those days, if you completed a driver’s education course, all that was required at the examination centre was successful completion of a short multiple choice exam. Within ten or fifteen minutes, I had my driver’s licence. No fear. No stress.

Totally different experience when I took the DZ tests.

What would happen if I did not pass the DZ tests?  We would not be able to bring the coach home as we had originally planned. And because Lorraine was delayed in taking her DZ courses, my DZ licence was on the critical path. No one else in our family would be able to pick up the coach from the dealer.

I did not want to let Lorraine down.

Failing something can be hard to take. Failing something can be embarrassing.

There were fifteen people in my class and every person was stressed out over the written and practical tests.

Why was everyone so nervous? What consequences did we face?

It then became clear to me: being nervous in these situations is actually pretty normal. The thing to watch out for?

Fear of failure often leads to failure!

It is so important to shift the nerves and anxiety into positive energy.

I told myself that I can absolutely do this. I told myself that I can ace these tests and, as it turned out, I did. Out of 160 test items over four different exams, I missed only 2 questions.

I used 4-7-8 breathing to ease my nerves and anxiety:

  • Slowly breath in through the nose for 4 seconds
  • Hold the breath for a count of 7
  • Slowly exhale for a count of 8

Repeat this process a few times and suddenly the nerves and anxiety levels calm down.

I did not treat the driving test as a test. I told myself that I was going for a drive. I have been driving for over forty years now. I know how to drive. Sure, I don’t often drive 4o-foot vehicles weighing over 30,000 lbs, but I know how to drive.

When I started the drive, I knew I had it. I knew that I could show the examiner that I could safely operate this class of vehicle.

“Congratulations!” he said at the end of the test. “You aced it.”

Lorraine took her Z endorsement training last week. And she had her tests on Friday. She was also nervous and anxious. She also aced the tests. Learning to control our nerves and our anxieties is part of life. Getting our commercial driver’s licences for our motorhome was a milestone in getting ready for our new adventures.

That was another important part of the process for us: keep ourselves focused on the goal. This was simply just another step in the process.

We get to drive the coach home this coming Saturday.

So excited.