Thursday, September 15, 2011

Life With Lucy…One Year Later

We have now owned Lucy for 1 year. We flew to Little Rock on 9/11/10 to purchase her and bring her back to NC with us. It will always be one of my “good” memories of 9/11. On 9/13/10 we handed over the check and took possession. It was love at first sight Red heart


She’s not without her faults and we’ve had a fight or 2, but she’s settled in nicely and she’s our comfort; a part of the family. She has frustrated us, amazed us and given us more than a few “ah-ha” moments.

Early on, everything was a learning experience. We knew nothing, other than what we read, about how to handle her, how to maintain her tanks, how to maintain and care for her batteries, inverter, generator, slides, water heater, hydraulics, air bags, power cord reel, roof. I could go on and on, but I think you get my gist.

As they say, experience is the best teacher. We still don’t have a lot of experience, but we sure have learned a lot! I compare it to a baby in its first year of life :) We’ve gone through dead batteries, slide issues, roof leaks, no hot water, no power and a few others. With any of these issues, when it happens, you know there’s something wrong and you’re about to learn something new! If you were very, very lucky, you figured out what was wrong quickly and then took the steps to correct it, sometimes by paying someone else to fix it :)  In a few instances, it takes weeks or months to pinpoint a cause such as a roof leak. We found out early on, that the most obvious cause was almost never the real problem. The second most obvious cause is also never the problem :) When you take your house down those long bumpy roads, it stands to reason that seams will stretch and pull and fittings will jiggle loose and need constant monitoring and maintenance. Once a leak has sprung, it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack. Guess how I know this :)

One major thing we learned was to never, ever assume something is hooked up correctly no matter who did the work before you. We realized several months ago, that Lucy’s alternator was not charging her house batteries (she has 4) while we were driving. The house batteries charged from shore power and they charged with the generator running but, not from the alternator.  The inverter kept everything running while we were driving but by the time we reached our destination, the battery charge had dropped significantly and it then took quite a while on shore power to bring the charge back up. We knew this wasn’t the way it was supposed to work but we didn’t know what was wrong. As we are both anal when it comes to researching this stuff, we researched ourselves crazy. We finally narrowed it down to a charging solenoid between the house and chassis batteries that is notorious for going bad. That had to be it. What else could it be? I found a new one online, but before ordering it, Rick did a couple tests to verify that it was, indeed, the solenoid. Wrong. Solenoid was fine. Sure glad I didn’t order that thing! More head scratching for the next couple weeks. More research. Every post we read where someone had the same problem, ended up being a bad solenoid. Tested again. Nope. This is when Rick got out the schematics for the wiring of the batteries, inverter and whatever else is tied together down there in that humongous grouping of wires of many colors :)

Me: I didn’t know you could read a schematic.

Rick: I can’t. I guess I’m going to learn.

Me: Good luck with that Winking smile

Well, he may not have totally learned how to read those schematics, but he did figure out that one wire was connected to the wrong battery. It should have gone to a house battery and was, instead, connected to a chassis battery. How that happened or how long it had been that way was anybody’s guess and Lucy wasn’t talking. He changed the wire around and the next time we traveled, we were on the road 5 hours and when we arrived and plugged into shore power, the charger went straight to float :) Hurray!

Now, I have to admit, 12 months ago, I would not have understood one single thing I just said! So, if I lost you there, I apologize. Unless you are the owner, or about to be the owner, of a motor home, you’ll likely never need to know that :) And if you’re one of those engineering types, you are probably laughing your butt off right now trying to figure out how something so obvious could be so difficult! Oh well :)

Then there was the day Lucy refused to start. She sluggishly turned over the first time we attempted, but that was all she’d do. Her batteries were fully charged but just like a stubborn mule, she refused to even click when we turned the key. As most of you might remember, we had to have her towed to a service center and many $ later, she started right off after having us buy her a new starter. If she only would have talked to us, and told us her old one was on it’s last leg, we could have saved ourselves some grief and $. Now, even after several months, each time we turn the key we both smile when she fires right up.

Lucy is now sporting her first booboo. This too, was a learning experience. Never attempt to make a right hand turn into a narrow driveway when there are heavy whiskey barrels full of flowers on each side of said driveway. Even if you think you’ll make it :) Also, never underestimate how strong whiskey barrels are! In a fight, odds go to the whiskey barrel :)

As we go along,  we continue learning stuff together…almost daily…the 3 of us. It’s always something, isn’t it Lucy?

If you’d care to share any tips or wisdom, please leave a comment. Sometimes, it just takes one idea to make the light bulb Light bulbcome on!

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle


  1. Even though Lucy sometimes has some "splainin" to do, it sounds like she's settled nicely into the family. She sure is pretty!

  2. What great writing! So many bloggers don't recognize the appeal to readers of weaving well crafted personal stories into their posts. Nicely done, and informative to boot! I would probably never thought of checking for miswired batteries!

  3. They certainly are complicated machines, but oh how we love 'em. It may be a good thing that they can't talk. They know too much about us.

  4. Yep we had our first boo boo not too long ago too... ours is still unnamed but our GPS has a name - Alice...

  5. You have come a long way in just a year!

    The three of you are a 'beautiful' thing...Don'tcha'know ;o)))

  6. It is a match made in RV land.... Our Tassie has given us some real big fights when we bought her new in 2005 and despite all we still hang out with her... She has been a loyal girl! LOL
    Have fun

  7. I like to tell myself that the complexities make the journey more interesting. Every day is an adventure. Most of the time a good one:)

  8. I can't believe it's been a year! I remember the day you said you were going to go full time. WOW.

    I sure understand all the learning, but still can't figure out inverters. I'm hoping we can stay with the 5er and not worry about all the MH stuff, but something tells me AGE/HEALTH will eventually put us in an MH and we'll have to learn too.

    Congrats on the one year!

  9. It was right about this time last year I found your blog and started following your journey. Time sure goes by fast. Thanks for allowing me to learn with you. We hope to be fulltimers one day too.


I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment.