We have pretty much packed everything up from our coach and brought it back into the house. Tomorrow we will need to empty our tanks, add a bit of diesel fuel, and complete a final check of the coach before taking it into storage.
Once the coach has been placed into storage, Lorraine and I will be heading out to Walt Disney World for the week. We will be at Fort Wilderness on Saturday and we intend to do a pretty thorough check of the park. We have booked two weeks at Fort Wilderness in May and we will be taking the coach down for those two weeks. This will be our first time staying at a campground on the Disney property. Of the many times that we have been down to Disney — somewhere above 20 vacations — we have always stayed at one of the resort hotels. We have never walked through the campsites at Disney before so our time there on Saturday will give us a bit of a preview before we drive down in May.
Because of the travel and a few other commitments, the posts on this site will resume on Monday.
Home can be defined as the place where one lives permanently. Or perhaps not.
Lorraine and I have had the good fortune to travel all across North America and much of Europe. And we travel light. On our extended trips to Europe, we travelled with one small bag each for our clothing, and one small bag each for our cameras, smartphones, and computers. We discovered that we needed very little in the way of things when we travelled. We had a sense of freedom, of being able to discover the world around us without worrying about the stuff left behind in our hotel room. But then again, we always returned home. Home to a big house filled with lots of stuff.
How much stuff? The short answer: way too much stuff.
We have made a few attempts to get rid of a lot of the stuff in our house. We have purged our clothing, given away some of the junk that we had crammed into a large storage area in our basement, and we have certainly tamed down our tendency to buy things on impulse.
We are finding that as we near retirement, there is a penalty that you have to pay with owning too much stuff, a penalty of obligation, a penalty of being tied down. We are discovering that we do not own our stuff, our stuff really owns us. Our house is part of that problem. A large house affords more opportunity to buy and hold a lot of stuff. We have filled our house with stuff.
Our coach has everything we need to live and arguably more. The limited space in the coach acts as a regulator in terms of how many things we need to bring along to be self sufficient for days, weeks or even months on end. Less space, less stuff.
We are downsizing. Our house is for sale. We are going through another purge. I have been reading extensively in the area of minimalism, trying to learn about the principles for a simpler way of living in a country where we have so much ability to consume.
Our plan once the house has sold is to find a small parcel of land for our coach and to build a smaller house, probably less than 1,000 square feet. We have about 7,000 square feet in our current house.
As the coach goes into storage for the winter later this week, I will be posting more about this part of our journey, how we are downsizing and how we are getting ready to retire. I will post on what we have been learning about the minimalist lifestyle, and how we are getting ourselves ready to go out on the road in our coach. And, of course, I will continue to post about our travels and our discoveries in the RV world generally.
We received a lot of feedback on the iRV2 Forum about storing our coach in a climate controlled storage facility.
And this is what we are going to do when we put the coach into storage next week.
1. Clean Out The Coach Before Delivery
We will remove everything that does not need to be held within the RV, things like clothing, food, as well as everything stored in the basement of our coach. And, to the extent possible, I will make sure that the coach is really clean inside and out.
2. Deliver Coach to Storage Facility
We are using a large storage facility in Eastern Ontario, Gan 401 Storage. They offer a heated facility with backup generators, electrical service, indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras, sprinkler systems as well as a full time building superintendent.
3. Prepare Coach for Storage
We will turn off our inverter, adjust our charger to 15 amp shore power, reduce the charge rate 10%, shut off our water pump and empty our ice maker. We will shut off all 120V AC breakers except for the main. We will confirm that our Auto Genset Start is not enabled. And we will bring the air down to bottom.
4. Inspect Coach Monthly
We will go to the storage facility monthly to exercise the generator and engine and to inspect the coach for any issues. We will also be on call should there be any issues with power or break-ins.
Other suggestions we received included winterizing the coach just in case something might happen. Although power outages do occur, they are typically short in duration and, if it looks as though the power will be out for a long period and the backup generators aren’t working, we should have enough time to take any corrective action given our proximity to the storage facility.
In a few short weeks we will be taking our coach to a climate controlled storage facility for the winter.
I wasn’t really sure how to get the coach ready so I posed the question on the iRV2 forum and, within a few minutes, I had an answer, from a fellow Canadian no less:
I also store my coach in a climate controlled facility. I also have 15 amp power. So, here’s what I do.
* Air down to bottom
* Adjust charger to 15 amp shore power and reduce the charge rate 10%
* Shut off water pump and empty ice maker
* Shut off inverter
* Shut off all 120 ac breakers except main
* Confirm AGS (Auto Genset Start) is not enabled
Oh, and of course plug it in and verify that charger is responding and drawing very little power.
NOTE: DO NOT turn off batteries at switch overhead driver.
I store mine 165 miles from home, so I have to get it right. Hope this helps and I have not missed anything. If I have, hopefully someone will jump in.
The toughest part about getting to the Shamadon RV Resort?
Driving through Toronto.
We were delayed by almost three hours due to severe traffic congestion on the 401. I have no idea how people living in Toronto can tolerate the horrendous traffic congestion on most of their roads.
This meant a late night arrival into the park. We had planned to get there for 5pm and we wound up arriving there closer to 8pm. In the dark.
Crystal was expecting us. And she had Patrick help us get settled in.
Wonderful service from the team at Shamadon. Patrick and Crystal were outstanding.
Overall I would rate this park 8 out of 10.
Now keep in mind that we are comparing this park to some of the RV resorts that we have stayed at in the United States. Relative to the Canadian sites we have stayed at, I would rate this park 9 out of 10 with top marks for service and for the setting.
At this time of year, the park was very quiet and we were given a site that was picture perfect. A corner site with great views of the countryside and no neighbours. A very private and peaceful site.
Getting into the Park
Aside from driving through the Toronto traffic, the route into the park is very nice. Scenic roadways. Well maintained and smooth highways. Picturesque small towns. No issues for height and width of a large rig.
Be warned though that your GPS will likely take you along Letterbreen Rd off Highway 6.
Your only option if you take Letterbreen is to take the turn on Concession Rd 2 for about 3 kilometres of gravel road. If you keep going on Highway 6 and take the turn on County 9 then you will only have about a kilometre of gravel road before the entrance to the resort.
The check-in process was very quick and Patrick escorted us to our site. He was very helpful. And he demonstrated something that I really enjoyed throughout our stay at Shamadon: amazing customer service. Very friendly and attentive staff.
We were assigned site 211. This was a large grass site and I was a bit concerned about whether our coach would settle particularly as we had rain in the forecast. No worries though. We had a bit of an adventure getting out of the site but not because the tires got stuck. More on that in a moment.
The service on this site was 30 amp even though our coach likes a 50 amp service. We are very accustomed to running the coach on 30 amps and this is not a major issue for us. The water pressure was a bit low, about 30 psi or so. We used our freshwater tank and water pump for showers — I like a bit more pressure than 30 psi when I shower.
Shamadon had placed us in an exceptionally quiet and wonderful location at the park. Surrounded by trees and a stunning forest trail, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. No line of sight to the Bell satellites and the digital antenna could not draw any usable channels.
Getting out of the site proved challenging. Our rig was too high to exit the loop by going straight out of the pull-through (from site 211 out past sites 210 – 200). There were numerous low-hanging branches in our way. I pulled the coach forward, repositioned and reversed back as far as possible and then swung hard to complete the three-point turn to go past sites 212-216. We had no choice but to exit the wrong way out of the loop in that part of the park. Fortunately it was a very short part of the loop and we did not have any oncoming traffic.
Beautifully well maintained and scenic
Amazing staff and service
Nice facilities in a country setting
A bit of a challenge for a 40-foot diesel pusher to get around so pick your site carefully
Lots of gravel getting into the park as well as driving around the park
Tomorrow we head off on our last expedition of the year in our coach, the Castaway.
We will be spending the weekend at Shamadon RV Resort in West Grey County, Ontario. The park is roughly a 5-hour drive from home. The owners convinced us to try one of their grass sites, Deer Meadow 211 (the upper left site in the map below). It is a large site, 60 feet by 80 feet. And private.
There is rain in the forecast so I am not too keen on a grass site. Despite its prime location, it is also only a 30 Amp site. We can manage on 30 but the nights are starting to get colder and we may need to have a few more services online. So, we will see how things go.
We are picking up our youngest son from University on the way there. Driving through Toronto on a Friday afternoon is always fun, especially in a 40-foot coach.
I am very excited to see my son tomorrow. My oldest daughter and her family, including our two grandchildren, will be coming up to visit us on the Saturday. Even if the weather is off, this weekend will be awesome.
And then, the Castaway goes into storage for the winter.
I had posted about RVs catching fire over here.
Nothing to worry about, I thought. We do circle checks. We have a coach that is almost new. I mean, coaches don’t just catch fire for no good reason, do they? Newmar coaches wouldn’t just catch fire, would they?
I was browsing through the Newmar Owner’s Corner on iRV2 and I came across this thread.
Oh no, I thought, a Newmar caught fire. More concerning, a 2016 4369 Dutch Star caught fire. How could that happen?
Tom and Bella had recently started full-timing in their beautiful Newmar coach. According to news reports, Tom suddenly lost power steering and a nearby driver stopped and told Tom that his coach was on fire.
Both Tom and Bella are fine. The rear cap of their coach does not look so good (source of photo here).
What a heartbreaking experience for them.
They do post on the Newmar Motorhome Facebook group and they have been providing some updates. They posted a video of their coach on fire. So sad. They do not yet know what caused the fire.
The probability of a fire in a coach is very low based on the statistical evidence. However, seeing it just happen on the same year and model of our coach is more than a bit concerning. Is there a design flaw? A recall that we do not know about?
I will be watching this story carefully to see if there is anything Lorraine and I need to do on our coach. And I may pick up one of these products.
I hope that Tom and Bella’s insurance company helps out. And I hope that Newmar helps out.
After our little adventure with being locked inside our coach, we were a bit tentative in terms of how to operate the door of our coach. On our return leg from the Hershey RV show, we were a bit nervous every time we went to open the door from the inside.
We now understand what caused the door mechanism to jam: we must unlock the door first before trying to open it. We just did not learn that until after we got back home.
Refueling a large coach like the Castaway means planning ahead. Most gas stations are too tight for a coach our size. We generally look for a Flying J on our route and we make our fuel stop there. We have gone into the truck stops and used the fueling stations there but it is a bit of a different experience.
Here is a short video of me leaving the RV fueling station at the New Milford, Pennsylvania Flying J:
I find the Flying Js to be a lot calmer than the truck stops. We have a Flying J credit card which allows us to pay at the pump and we get a small discount off the cost of fuel. Most of the truck stops require a pay first, pump after protocol. I also find the RV lanes at the Flying J to be cleaner than the truck stops. In the truck lanes there is usually a lot of spillage around the pump area.
One thing that I have learned when fueling the Castaway is to watch out when topping up the tank. I make an educated guess as to how much fuel I need for the coach and I ease back considerably on the pump when I get close to that estimate. My first time out I filled at a truck stop and I had the fuel spill out all over me. This was due to the higher pressure for the pump and the tendency for the diesel fuel to foam. By the time the tank had filled there was simply too much fuel still on its way. It spilled all over my hands and feet.
The smell of diesel stays on you for quite a while.
I now use disposable gloves when I fill the tank. I add fuel from the side of the coach well behind the fuel cap as opposed to directly in front of it. And I am fine to be close to a full tank. Not completely full. Not over full. Just close enough.