- Stray Cat Strut June 13, 2017
The question we see most often within RVing with Pets groups is “What do I do with the kitty litter?” When looking at floorpans, we insisted on having a bath and a half so the half bath would be dedicated to the cats. We intended on taking out the toilet in that bath and capping the plumbing. It would be used for a litter box and storage.
As the build came closer, we thought “Hmmmm – it would be nice to be able to have both bathrooms”. We found more uses for the second bath, particularly so guests wouldn’t have to go through the bedroom in order to use the bathroom. So we thought of alternatives. The shower? No, the chances of litter going down the drain and then getting wet was a dangerous proposition for the black tank. In the basement? Well, if anyone could figure out a way to squeeze through places she shouldn’t, it was Nala. So we went with the master bathroom, but out of the way.
We had double sinks in the master bath. We’ve always had double sinks in all but one place but never ever used both sinks. We decided to use the underneath of one sink for the cat litter.
We worked the folks at the Bunkhouse (these folks used to work for Tiffin and branched out on their own – more info here). They also capped the plumbing to the second sink. Because they had so many scrap doors, they used a throwaway door first for the template. Once we approved they made the door and the step for the cats (the step may appear to be going overboard but when you have older felines, it’s nice to give them a helping hand…er, paw).
Did this work? Yes, but it took some serious practice and reworking. Understanding that this was a cabinet we’d maybe one day want to use, and because the cats weren’t used to the area yet, we had to allow for some misses.
- Cat litter box
- Cat litter (we really like Dr. Elsey’s – tend to go with Respiratory Relief here)
- Plastic drop clothes (for painting)
- Plastic bags (drum liners work well such as here)
- Frog tape (have you ever used Frog Tape? You should. It’s here)
- Duct tape (we like the black – found here)
- Potty pads
- Vinegar spray (something like this)
First, we covered the entire cabinet in plastic, frog tape (so it would easily remove from the cabinet when needed) and then duct tape on top. We lined the entire bottom in more plastic and duct tape for easy cleaning. Finding a litter box to fit the space was problematic but we found there was a Petco litter box that fit. We wanted one side to be higher so taped cardboard to one side. Then covered it with a “litter box liner” (read: it’s a drum liner from Home Depot).
Was this fool-proof? No. Particularly when we had a kitty in kidney failure, it was tougher to keep that area clean. We used the potty pads as items we could easily lay on top of the plastic and remove as needed, along with the vinegar spray to get rid of any smells. At first we underestimated the cats’ ability to miss the box, and boy, if they could, they did. We hadn’t initially covered every inch of the cabinet with plastic and layers but in time we learned that was the best way to preserve the cabinet’s integrity.
Now this process is kind of second nature to us, but that was thanks to many mistakes and near-misses!
- Accidental Tourists June 8, 2017
We happened upon Breckenridge all thanks to friends we met at the Tiffin campground when we were all in the same boat of not wanting to be there. We had to get items fixed that no one else seemed to be able to fix. We compared notes of where we had traveled and they said “Oh, you’re going to Colorado? You need to visit Breckenridge!” We were able to extend our short week visit last year to almost two months last year, thanks to a cancelled reservation (thank you, people who cancelled).
This year we decided to stay the entire summer here. We hadn’t really planned on it being so cold in May – on Memorial Day no less. We aren’t skiers, it was a bit cold to hike and instead decided to take a drive to anywhere.
That’s how we happened upon the Continental Divide in Loveland Pass. Sure, we heard about it. We passed the exit on I-70. In fact, when there was a fire in the Eisenhower Tunnel, Waze insisted that we take Loveland Pass in our rig instead of waiting for the road to open back up (thankfully the fire was cleared before we approached the tunnel). By turning right at a light we’d passed, we ended up here.
First we passed a ski town where the slopes were half grass/half snow and were closed. Made sense. It was MAY. But then we happened upon another ski town with fully-functional slopes at Arapahoe.
And then we saw a bunch of cars on the side of the road and there it was: the Continental Divide. We got out, climbed to the ridge, and took a few pictures.
You may see a bunch of emergency vehicles in the background.
You know what happens in May when it is 70 degrees out, sunny, with snow on the ground? Avalanches. A skier went off-trail (as many do in this area) and got caught in one.
This is one of the lessons we continue to learn on the road. You can look into “things to do” while visiting an area. You can make plans. Or you can just drive and happen upon things that quickly become your favorite places or all you see are fields and fields of…NOTHING. Sometimes you can follow people’s recommendations and get the feeling of “wah waaaaaah” once you get there (places to remain nameless, and unfortunately this has happened more often than not). And then you can follow people’s recommendations (the friends at Tiffin) and end up in a place that becomes one of your favorite places. It’s a toss up. You won’t find out until you try.
- Training Day June 1, 2017
What: RV Driving School
Where to Buy: RV School
Price: Varies, depending on type ($695 for the one we took)
Between the two of us we have *censored for ridiculously high count* years of driving experience. It’s second-nature to the both of us. In thinking about driving a 45 foot motorhome (plus tow!), we first watched youtube videos, talked through the logistics of driving a motorhome, discussed how this would be different than driving a car or SUV, et cetera. But like many others, we tend to learn by doing.
Knowing that we were driving something that was hundreds of thousands of dollars (a bit different than the Jeep, we’ll admit), we knew that we weren’t going to depend on youtube. We researched RV Training and determined that we wanted to get training before we took a major trip, so looked at Pennsylvania.
We researched via Google and Facebook and found RV School. They have multiple locations because they aren’t a brick-and-mortar “school”. They have trainers throughout the nation who may live in the location (considered to be “permanent locations”, or be visiting for an extended period of time (“seasonal”) or just a couple weeks (“temporary”). The instructors determine their own schedule and you work out the timing of the training with the instructor. That said, payment is to RV School and RV School stands behind their instructors.
We took a Combination/2 person lesson. It’s a 2 day 6 hour intensive training. There’s also an option for a single/1 person course with the option of a “ride along” companion, but we both wanted ownership of the driving in some way.
We contacted the instructor, Ray Casselberry, to work out the date and place. Ray was a lifetime truck driver who was retired, and we felt he was fully capable of helping us drive the bus. He recommended we travel an hour to South Central Pennsylvania (Carlisle). So with Kim, Chris and the dogs in tow, on Chris’ birthday, his gift was driving our brand new RV (happy birthday to you!).
The training itself was intense and thorough. Did it cover every scenario? No, how could it, but it started at an RV park Ray had a relationship with (and known to have some tighter turns so we maneuvered with an instructor right there for the first time) and the area had everything – steep hills (up and down, as what goes up must come down!), small town roads, traffic circles, highways (entering and exiting) and large shopping centers (to practice backing up). It also allowed the dogs practice to travel in the rig, and helped us identify some snags in our current doggie containment system (our dogs, it turns out, were used to the car and being RIGHT NEXT to us).
To say we learned a lot is an understatement. The training was invaluable. One thing our instructor immediately corrected was our speed. When we both got to the wheel the instruction was “slow down”. As we had more practice, he said it less and less. We also came across some spine-tingling “omygah!” moments which he talked us through (getting onto a packed highway, for example). We learned the “stupid face” (Ray’s phrase) which is the face you give if a car decides to be jerkish and blocks you from safely making your turn. We learned to be more patient than you have driving a car or a SUV. It’s so simple, but it reiterated safety first.
Other than the perk of being more confident with our driving, another perk is insurance – completion did lower our rates than if we hadn’t taken the course.
Would Recommend: Yes. We do often think back to lessons taught during those two days and it was worth every single penny.