Farewell Starter RV, My First RV

Well guys, it is official! Starter RV is no longer. Last week, I got rid of the first RV I ever owned and that inspired this site.

Starter RV and basic tailgating setup

The First RV: Starter RV

The Good

Starter RV was a 1990 Winnebago Chieftan. At Georgia Tech, that means it was a championship edition (GT won a National Championship in 1990 – sorry Colorado, your fifth down does not count!) When I got the RV, I wanted to make sure that I could do this whole RV thing without investing a lot of money. Starter RV, being as old as it was, had no slides and few electrical systems to go wrong. The prior owner(s) had already ripped out the dinette for more interior space and replaced the carpet with a laminate floor. This proved quite beneficial as the dog crate had a place to stay and the floor made for easier clean-up after the messes the dog would make (all messes are automatically blamed on the dog. No matter what).

Three and a half years later, I’d say it was a good time overall. I learned how to drive an RV. How to deal with the sewer and water systems. I sure learned a lot about RV electrical systems and batteries. I made some upgrades, including a new flat screen TV.

The Bad

There was a lot of things that still could have been done on Starter RV before I said goodbye. The water pump probably needed to be replaced. I was going to try out a new Oxygenic shower head but never got the chance. The blinds were all falling apart and needed replacing. Curtains needed to be held up by more than thumbtacks. The ceiling, particularly in the bedroom, was falling down.

I didn’t trust Starter RV on a long trip away from home. It wouldn’t have surprised me if the engine just wouldn’t start any time I went to crank it. I expected it to shake, rattle, and roll right apart on the pothole-ridden streets of Atlanta. The dash A/C and radio didn’t work. The speedometer stopped working twice (and was fixed twice). There was no inverter. Storage was limited. Basement storage gave a new definition to wet bays (they never dried out and stuff would mold in them).

But hey, it served me well to get into this wonderful, wacky world of RVing.

The First RV Road Trip

The first RV road trip in Starter RV was the second football game – when Georgia Tech visited New Orleans. Talk about a trial by fire on all things RVing! I had to learn all the little crazy things about how the Winnebago worked. And in an older RV, there were a lot of crazy little things (oh look, check engine light that was a faulty light). I had never used hookups before in an RV park so of course, there was the great flooding incident (fortunately, just the water on the outside, coming out the overflow connection – no interior flooding). The New Orleans trip was also the first time I stayed overnight in a Walmart parking lot.

And on the way back from New Orleans, in 90 plus degree weather in September, the air conditioners wouldn’t work while we were driving. As soon as we stopped, the A/C would start blowing out cold air again. Then we’d hit the road and about 15 minutes later, the A/C would be blowing hot air. As a result, we would stop, get it as cold as possible and then drive as long as we could until we just couldn’t stand it anymore. Stop, let it cool and repeat. That was a long drive home. Never had that problem ever again so it sure was weird. But it sure did prove that we were driving in a tin box that would heat up real fast.

Of course, we can’t forget that on that same trip back, stopping to gas up and seeing engine coolant leaking out. Fortunately, a friend and veteran RVer was stopped at the same station, checked it out for me and said I was good to go. Just a reminder that RVers are awesome and will help a new girl out.

All in all though, the first RV road trip was a success and GT came home with a win.

Lessons Learned From My First RV

I’ve learned some lessons with Starter RV:

  1. Slow down and enjoy the trip. You don’t always have to be in a rush. The right lane on the interstate is OK.
  2. Learn all there is to know about your RV. Every system. Every rattle.
  3. Have the right tools and a DIY attitude. You never know when you will need to fix something. And it is usually not when the RV is parked in your driveway.
  4. Always have a rain suit and/or poncho. And a sweatshirt. Maybe some extra clean t-shirts as well. Things happen. Weather goes crazy.
  5. Command Hooks and Gorilla Glue are your friend. As is WD-40 and a screwdriver.
  6. You’ll meet some awesome people in RVers. And road trips are an awesome way to develop deeper friendships.
  7. It’s OK if everything doesn’t work perfectly. Perfection is not necessary.
  8. Never leave home without a credit card. Gas is expensive. Repairs are expensive. This isn’t necessarily going to be a cheap hobby.

The Last RV Road Trip

The last hurrah for Starter RV was just three weekends ago, when Georgia Tech visited Clemson. I’ve always loved going up to Clemson and parking at the YMCA. There are lots of great Clemson fans up there, including a welcoming bunch that does karaoke. It just seems like every time we go up there though, it’s cold and rainy. And 2017 was no different. And well, Clemson dominated Tech.

The winds on the way home were crazy, tossing around tractor trailers and RVs of all sizes. It made for as stressful ride home after the loss. In the cold. Yeah, that was fun. Although still a good road trip.

The Story Doesn’t End Here

Farewell Starter RV - you were a great first RV!Don’t worry. I’m not leaving the RV Life.

Stay tuned later this week to see what replaced Starter RV. Let’s just say that not only did I accomplish one of my 2017 RV resolutions, I went ahead and knocked one of the 2018 resolutions off the list!


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