Libbys on the Loose:2 Humans. 2 Great Danes. 1 RV.: October 2015

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Things we have learned in the past week..."It ain't all sunshine and rainbows"

Living and traveling full-time sounds like permanent vacation right?  For some it might be....  For us, we still work full time and deal with problems (different kinds) like everyone who lives in a stick and bricks home.

Our challenges have certainly become more unique living in a home on wheels, but the challenges and problem-solving have been fun in their own way.  It's all in how you approach life and deal with the lemons it sometimes gives you bite in and make a sour face, or do you make lemonade?

Apparently, this is our dogs' reaction to mice!
In the past week, we have had some interesting ones!  Our first was the discovery of a mouse (later to be determined that he was not working solo)  We have dealt with rats before, so these little guys were no problem for us.  In Florida, we once had rats chew through our water pipes in our attic while we were on vacation.  When we came home, imagine our surprise when we discovered several places where our ceiling was showing the telltale signs of water damage!  We were confused at first since we had a relatively new roof.  At the time, we didn't know that we were dealing with a family of rats.  In the end, the pest control company caught 4 GIANT (at least in my opinion) rats that had done enough damage to our pipes that we had to turn off the water to our house and end up having to re-pipe the entire house; not to mention all the ceilings that had to be repaired from the water damage.  We know exactly how much damage these guys can do in a short amount of time.

When we were purchasing items for our RV earlier this year, one of those "just in case" things was a set of mouse traps.  Boy, are we glad we had those!  We heard that mice find it easy to enter into our cozy tiny homes and, in even a short time, can do catastrophic damage.  We have read that this is especially the case when the weather starts to turn cold.  We first suspected a mouse after a small hole was found at the bottom of Jeanine's daypack.  In the exact place where some peanuts were held.  Thinking it was a just a tear in the bottom of the pack, the nuts were moved to a different spot just to have another "tear" again, in the place where the nuts were!  Just to be safe, the traps went out.  
Well - our concerns were confirmed that night.  But, being novices in actually using the mouse traps (we had used pest control companies in the past), we were not crafty enough in the setup.  Our mouse had eaten the peanut butter right off the trap without setting it off!  A quick call to my Dad (who has A LOT of experience using these traps) gave us the advice of putting the peanut butter or cheese under the metal arm rather than on top of it so that the mouse would have to work harder to get it.  I know that there are many options when it comes to catching and getting rid of mice, but for us, the snap traps seemed the best way to go.  We certainly didn't want to poison them so they would die somewhere it would be impossible for us to get to and we didn't want to get near a live mouse.  We also had to consider the amount of space we have so keeping anything large for our "just in case" wasn't logical either.  In the long run, we ended up getting two mice.  I think we will keep the traps out a few more days, just in case.

Our second challenge of this week was discovered when we moved from Glacier National Park into Whitefish RV Park.  Once we are set up in a park, we have these great portable outdoor dog pen fences that we purchased on Amazon.  We use them to fence off a portion of our area so that when we sit outside our dogs can play.  Every park we have stayed in requires that your dogs be on a 6ft leash at all times which for our big guys, isn't really conducive to play time!  It is for not only the safely of everyone in the park, but also for the safety of our dogs.  We completely understand and agree with these rules.  However, finding an RV park that also has an off leash dog park is challenging.  Our solution with the gates, has so far been a success.  While technically we are not following the 6ft leash rule, no one has had any issues with our setup and many people come by to say hello to the dogs and are amazed that they don't simply step over or push over the fences.  We use constant and consistent training so both Nyx and Moose are good with boundaries.
 Another added benefit to having the fences - middle of the night bathroom breaks. While they are infrequent, they do happen.  And we're pretty sure that nobody looks forward to those times and rarely gets enough advance notice so they have time to get dressed (especially now that it's in the 30's at night!).  So, we let them out - they do their business, and come right back in.  While in Glacier, we were set up in an area that was gravel so the next morning, cleanup was easy!  Our new spot - under the cover of deciduous trees... not so much.

Our final lesson for this week was about Bear Spray.  Having lived the previous few years in Cocoa Beach, where you hear about shark attacks, we know that most of the time incidents can be prevented with proper behavior and respect for the area.  We have read up and talked to several people about the fact that we are currently living in bear country.  Not only are there Black Bears, but also Grizzly bears!  In our research, we have found that bear spray is the best defense against not only bears, but predators in general.  If you are planning on doing any kind of hiking like we have, it's best to be prepared.  And, pro tip, don't go for the 8.1 oz cans.  Go with the larger 10.2 oz - you get a full 2 oz more which equals a longer distance and a longer duration.  Most would agree, with bears, the farther this thing shoots, and the longer it shoots, for, the better!  Our motto has long been "Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it".  This has been our motto for nearly the entire 14+ years we have been together.  Yes, we do get teased about it sometimes - but when it's you who needs something, chances are, we've got it.  Since both of us grew up in rural areas, our motto has been passed down from our parents.  There are many stories we could share with you about times this has come in handy!  In this lesson, we learned that while yes, it is important to have your bear spray with you everywhere - to never leave it unattended...  We had run into the store and left the dogs in the truck.  This is something we do often since they go pretty much everywhere we go.  They will usually stick their heads out the window to say hi or just lay down for a nap.  They are excellent truck dogs - most of the time!  In this instance, they found the can of bear spray.  Being the big, powerful dogs they are, they ended up opening up the bear spray.  UGH!  Now, while we are fans of spicy foods, neither of us noticed any smells when we got back and the dogs were acting normally.
 Then we saw that Moose was orange.  And their bed was orange.  I'm sure Nyx was orange as well - but with her dark colored coat, we didn't see it.  Luckily, we didn't have far to go to get home, so we wiped down the surfaces of the truck that we could see and rode home with the windows open.  Both dogs got a shower and we took the sheets and mattress pad (fortunately we use a waterproof one) off the bed in the truck.  We have now discovered that bear spray is an oil based product which we still haven't gotten out of the mattress pad and sheets (they will probably have to be replaced).  We were also unsuccessful in getting it fully off the dogs so they went for a spa day (their first!).  We still have not gotten it all out of the truck.  We are now waiting for the next nice day (rain storms for the past few days that will last a few more) so that we can pull everything out of the truck and give it a thorough cleaning.

We hope these lessons have brought you some laughs!!

Did we get it right? Do you have experience or knowledge about this post? Please make yourself heard! Comment below and we will respond as soon as possible. As always, thanks for following us! Disclaimer: We are not paid writers. We write for enjoyment and to share information about our travels with our families, friends, and our followers. The information that we provide is based on our experiences with the products, services, etc, that we write about. It is 100% non-biased!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Glacier National Park - Apgar Campground Review - West Glacier, Montana

Glacier National Park
Apgar Campground
West Glacier, MT 59936
(406) 888-7800

After leaving Abbot Bay (and braving a pretty decent windstorm!) our weekend off-grid came to a close as we had to seek out cell/data signal for the Monday morning grind.  Unfortunately, we hadn't gotten our cell booster yet (which was sad because we found signal just around the bend of the lake from where we were!).  Since we plan to be hooked up for the remainder of our time on the road (due to freezing temps) we didn't really have a need for it.  Too add to that, we verified all of the campgrounds we plan to stay have coverage using this awesome app by Technomadia!  (Thank you guys!  The app has been awesome on the road so far) We use the app to ensure that we will have adequate cell/data signal - both a requirement for our daily work responsibilities.

Before we left Florida, all accounts of Glacier National Park on their website said that as of October 1, all facilities would be closed with the exception of foot/bike traffic.  So, it was our understanding that, providing we were walking or biking, we wouldn't be allowed access to the park.  On one of our scouting runs (looking for a place to boondock that had good cellular signal), we drove back past the West Glacier park entrance.  A brightly lit beacon of a sign read "Going to the Sun Road open to Logan Pass".  An immediate wave of happiness washed over us because we didn't think we were going to be able to get into the park let alone being able to go 32 miles on the Going to the Sun Road!  During our discussion with the ranger at the fee booth, she informed us that a few of the campgrounds were open, but would be mostly primitive camping. Didn't bother us one bit since we wanted to get a gauge on our propane consumption through the use of the generator and the furnace (temps were dropping into the mid to high 30s at night).

Only Loop A was open to camping and was switching to full primitive camping the day after we got there so we were dry camping but with cell signal!   The number of larger sites (big enough to accommodated our 36) are few and far between, so if you plan to visit, especially in the busier time periods, make sure you get there early.  By our estimate, there are probably only 9-10 sites that we'd be able to fit.  Since a few of those sites were already occupied, we picked the one that appeared easiest to get in and out of.  For most smaller rigs, the spot we choose would have been a pull-through.  We found it much easier (after our first incident, we've been erring on the side of caution!) backing the trailer into the spot than pulling through.  Aside from that, pulling through would have employed us as tree trimmers (low hangers on the entrance to the site).

The best part about staying in the park is the close proximity to all that Glacier National Park has to offer.  One of the biggest attractions is the Going to the Sun Road which traverses the park through the near center (north to south) and runs east/west from East Glacier to West Glacier.   Fortunately, we got there early enough to be able to take the Going to the Sun Road to Logan Pass.  32 miles on a narrow winding road (completed in 1932) to the summit at 6646' above sea level.  Needless to say, it was colder and much, much more windy!  According to a couple we met at the summit, the winds were gusting to about 25mph (measured with an anemometer) while the temps were in the low 30's without the wind chill!  For a couple (under dressed) Floridians, the stay at the top was short and sweet!
Avalanche Lake

Since the colder winter weather was impending, during our stay, the road to Logan Pass was closed but access to Avalanche Lake parking area was still open.  This was great as this area offers many miles of beauty-laden trails to hike and bike.   In this section, there is a magnificent hike to Avalanche lake that is approximately 2 miles each way.  With some pretty dramatic elevation changes and a shortage of time before we ran out of light, we huffed our way to the lake (meeting a very friendly woman from Russia along the way who was also was traveling full-time).

View from Apgar Lookout
Another nearby hike is the Apgar Lookout which winds its way up 1850' to a (no longer used) fire tower.  The hike is 7.2 miles round trip and is not for the faint-of-heart.  In fact, we stopped several times along the way to take breaks and keep from overexerting as neither of us had hiked anything with as much elevation change in such a short distance.  That being said:  Do this hike!  Once we arrived at the tower, it was quickly apparent that the walk was well worth it.  Panoramic 360 views of Glacier and the surrounding Flathead Valley were truly breathtaking.  Both of us wished that we could stay the night at the tower!  Waking up in the morning to that view would make anyone want to stay in bed and soak up the scene!

Jeanine working hard!
The biggest downside to staying Glacier is that National Parks (for the most part) do not allow dogs to be walked on any of the hiking trails.  While this isn't the best for us, it's understandable, especially since there is a LOT of wildlife in the park.   They are allowed to be in any developed portions of the park with the exception of picnic areas, restrooms, etc.  As far as the camping areas, they are (like most parks) to be kept on a 6' leash at all times and, of course, can't be left unattended outside.

All in all, we spent nearly three weeks staying at Apgar and loved every minute of it, despite the chilly temps!  We learned a lot about prepping for cold weather while staying and got the RV ready for some much colder weather.  Needless to say, we aren't done with Glacier National Park.  We've just seen the "tip of the iceberg" (couldn't resist!) of this park and can't wait to get back to experience more!

Apgar Lookout fire tower
Did we get it right? Do you have experience or knowledge about this post? Please make yourself heard! Comment below and we will respond as soon as possible. As always, thanks for following us! Disclaimer: We are not paid writers. We write for enjoyment and to share information about our travels with our families, friends, and our followers. The information that we provide is based on our experiences with the products, services, etc, that we write about. It is 100% non-biased!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Getting Ready for the Snow in an RV - from a couple of Floridians!

We aren’t completely mad, I assure you.  We do know a little bit about cold weather despite having lived in Florida for many years.  I was born and raised in Colorado.  Until the age of 12, before my family relocated to Florida, I spent winters building snowmen and perfecting my ski technique.  Eric was born and raised in Pennsylvania and spent many winters doing the same, but on a smaller scale (and with a snowboard on "mountains" haha).  It wasn't until after high school that Eric left Pa and went to Florida for his Navy training.  

So true!
We both enjoy 1-2 weeks a year traveling to ski (even though I haven't been able to the past two seasons) and have always dreamed about spending a season at a resort.  But before full-timing, we never would have had the opportunity. Little did we know that we would be afforded the opportunity to do it this year’s season!  Early this fall we mapped out a plan that would include spending approximately 7 weeks in Whitefish, Montana (although it is before ski season, we will be spending time prepping with lots of hikes enjoying autumn and the turning of the leaves which doesn’t happen in Florida).  After Thanksgiving, we are planning a week and a half to travel to Colorado, possibly with stops in Big Sky, Montana and Jackson Hole, Wyoming (depending on snowfall).  We then plan to have about a month each in Breckenridge, Colorado and Park City, Utah finished by a few weeks at the end of February in Tahoe, California before a sprint back to Florida in time for the Runaway Country festival the third weekend of March.
We departed Florida in the middle of September in nearly 90 degree weather with all of our winter gear loaded in the RV along with a few items our research found (thanks google, grandma, and other bloggers!) that have already proven to be helpful for the cold.  Even though it hasn't dropped below freezing (our thermometer says it got down to 29 one night, but not sure)  I’m sure we will be adding as we go and discover tidbits from other RVers and through our first-hand experience.  

When we were choosing our new fiver back in February, we knew that we would eventually want to do cold weather living so we made sure we had a “four season” rig.  This can be misleading, as there technically isn’t a “four season” rig – rather more of a three season.  With right preparations, plenty of advice from those with experience and some of our own experimenting, it can be just as pleasant inside during the winter as a hot summer.  Most full-time RVers prefer to follow the mild seasons, not ever having to worry about such things as extreme temperatures and there is definitely something to be said for that, and I’m sure we will join them sometime in the future, but not this year!

As we departed Florida, already in our possession were two ceramic space heaters, a backup propane heater, foam door insulator, and 3m plastic window film.  

In our first three weeks, we have used only our on board furnace (with a vent cracked to help control humidity, ideally kept between 30-40% to keep from damaging condensation from forming inside).  An important note on our first three weeks: we have, so far, spent only on night on the cord as we discovered on our way that many parks such as Devils Tower and Glacier National Park are still open (and uncrowded) for primitive camping.  The days are still in the mid 60’s with the nights in the low 40’s (a few dipping down to the mid 30’s).  It’s been wonderful experiencing our first real autumn in years.  We both forgot how beautiful and colorful the trees got and how cold air has that crispness to it...

After a few colder nights requiring the use of the furnace, we did have our carbon monoxide detector go off in the middle of the night which was a little scary, especially since we didn’t know why.  We smelled some propane earlier in the day and being new at regular use of the furnace we didn’t think much of it (we had also just changed one of the tanks). Since we didn't want to take any chances and we were pretty sure the problem was somewhere in the furnace, we decided to shut it down and go with our Mr. Heater Big Buddy backup propane heater.  Since it was already late at night, it seemed like the best option for both safety and sleep!   The Big Buddy runs off of one or two 1lb propane cylinders OR you can get a hose with a quick connect (shown above in Amazon store) that allows the hookup of a 20lb tank - well worth the expense for the added peace of mind.  I don't recommend using the medium setting.  It doesn't seem to get any hotter than the low setting and it made a funny smell.  Low was perfect and put out a nice, even heat while high had no problem heating up inside the RV within a few minutes.  The heater doesn't come with a power cord, that part is extra,  but it can be run with 4 'D' cell batteries so that you can run the heater's built-in fan. This is a nice feature to help keep air circulating inside your rig.  It works just fine without, but for keeping condensation down and keeping temperatures even inside, we prefer using the fan. 

Typical RV Carbon Monoxide Detector
The next morning, after some investigating, Eric found that the furnace exhaust had been turned into a caked dirt mess by some bugs (we think probably mud daubers in Florida) at some point!  We don’t know if this happened before we purchased the RV or over the summer, but we are sure glad it was such a simple fix. We do have vent covers over them now, but we didn't have them until about two months after having the RV. Once we figured out the problem and cleared it out, we were back up and running in no time.  We were glad we had the backup propane heater since we were in Glacier and there are only three times a day that it is acceptable to run a generator (which we would have used to run the space heaters rather than freezing all night if we’d had to).  The only drawback we had with the heater is that we didn't have enough backup 1lb canisters of propane to run for more than then night.  We now have plenty of those as well as a connection to hook up the Big Buddy to a 20lb propane tank.  We've read stories of fellow RVers heating their rigs for days and weeks before having to change out the tank!

I would say the funniest lesson we’ve learned so far is just how much wood is in a half a cord!  As you can see from the picture – it’s a lot!!  We were having trouble finding firewood at a reasonable price (read: grocery stores charge $5+ dollars for 4-5 pieces of wood that burn up in 15 minutes!)  We saw a  truck full of wood alongside the road in Columbia Falls and thought we might be able to get a better deal.  Knowing we would be in the Apgar campground inside Glacier until it started to dip down to freezing temperatures, we figured we would be camping there for another week or two.  Going through 8-10 pieces every evening we wanted to save by buying more than just the bundles the grocery store offered so we decided on the minimum delivery amount, a half a cord of wood!  Holy Cow, half a cord is a lot of wood!  We have now started a wood sharing business LOL – our fellow campers now had their very own source of wood, for a donation of course ;-).

The preparations that we have already made include adding a weather station that has a remote temperature sensor that we will keep in our bays so we can monitor temperature - the last thing we want is for any of our pipes or tanks to freeze up!

We have also ensured that our door and basement compartments are completely sealed with foam tape.  When using foam insulation tape, it is important to make sure when choosing a size to not get it too wide or too thick.  The idea is for it to fit just right, with just some squishing for the ideal seal.  Too thick and your door won’t close and too thin you won’t have a seal to prevent not only the cold, but the wind, from entering.   We also will use foam board insulation on the inside of any of our exterior access compartment doors to help keep the warm in and the cold out!

Our next step was a thorough inspection of all the seals of our windows.  Being that our windows are single pane as I’m sure most older RV models are, while the seals are good, there is not really any insulation as most newer double paned glass offers (maybe a future upgrade?)  On a visit to grandma in Chicago last spring I saw installed a “plastic wrap” type material on her windows.  Since we had evenly flat aluminum frames around our windows, we were able to affix the plastic directly to the frames with the included double-sided tape.  It was applied fairly easily (we recommend removing blinds etc to made the job easiest) but was a little difficult to get in place at the top of the frames.  Once the plastic is in place and reasonably snug, any wrinkles can be ironed out with a hair dryer.  This product has allowed us not only fully seal our windows, but also to use the air between the plastic and the window as an insulator which is hard to believe just how much of a difference it makes!  It does take a little practice to install, as it does tear – but a few pieces of gorilla tape fixed those right up.  So far we have had it installed for a week and despite using the day/night blinds and having two energetic doggies, we have not had to replace any yet.

In the next few weeks, we will be purchasing a heated water hose.  Although our tanks are in our insulated and heated bays, we will prefer not to keep water in them this winter.  We will also get a PVC pipe that we will wrap with heat tape and insulation for our black and grey tanks so we won’t have any of the dreaded poopsicles   
we’ve heard so much about. Ewww…

Other things we are considering are heat blankets for the propane tanks (expensive so we may wait on these as the coldest parts of our winter we will spend hooked up directly to the campgrounds propane) as well skirting for around the bottom of the fiver to keep out the winter winds and the worst of the cold.  We have already some tarps, which we plan on trying first in the front of the RV where we have so much room below the tongue of the fiver.  On the suggestion of a full timer we met in St. Louis, we will also probably be getting 1in thick foam board that we can use to circle the rest of our RV including the slides.  He even suggested if needed, as he has seen others do before, to enclose each slide in the same foam board.  I don’t think we’ll need to go that far!!

RVing in cold weather is not for the faint of heart.  That's coming from two Floridians.  That being said, there is a certain sort of fun (some call it crazy) that you have from full-timing in the cold weather.  Besides, if you love any outdoor winter activity, there's no better way to get up-close and personal with the great out-of-doors than by setting up shop near your closest winter resort.

If any of you have any more suggestions or ideas for us, we would really appreciate your comments!  Don’t forget – we’re a couple of cold weather novices and it’s certainly going to be an adventure in RV living!!

Did we get it right? Do you have experience or knowledge about this post? Please make yourself heard! Comment below and we will respond as soon as possible. As always, thanks for following us! Disclaimer: We are not paid writers. We write for enjoyment and to share information about our travels with our families, friends, and our followers. The information that we provide is based on our experiences with the products, services, etc, that we write about. It is 100% non-biased!

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Bittersweet Return

Finally back on the road!  Our apologies for the long hiatus - It's just not as fun writing about our boring (read: not moving) lives in the house so we decided to spare everyone and took a break. Waking up in the morning in the same place (even though it's really paradise!) had already begun to wear on us.  Last thing we wanted to do is bore our loyal readers and followers with that!  So, we are back at it and have lots of new information and visits to new places to share!

After six months of being (almost) full-time on the road, we headed back to the house in Cocoa Beach at the beginning of August.  In addition to getting the RV repaired, we had to prep the house for sale including packing, some light repairs, etc.  The RV made it to the repair shop to have my little "oops" fixed and, of course, the truck decided (on our way back) to start having issues.

She did us well but good riddance!
On our way back through Myrtle Beach, SC, the truck started to suffer from a loss of power on acceleration.  After pulling off the highway and scanning the code, it appeared as though there was a drop in the fuel rail pressure.  Having had a previous Cummins, I was relatively sure that this was a first sign of a future fuel pump replacement.  If history had anything to do with predicting the future, I knew this was going to be an expensive proposition - the last one was nearly $2,000!  In addition to that, we had been having some transmission heat problems in the mountains of North Carolina.  Whenever we attempted to downshift on a uphill ascent, it seemed the the transmission was doing everything it could just to keep up, let alone trying to downshift.  It also overheated on us once or twice with simple around-town driving. Needless to say, we needed to part ways with the white beast.

Fortunately, we were able to sell the truck and recoup most of the money that we put into it.  Lesson learned:  you get what you pay for.  You'd think we would have learned that by now!  So the search was on  to find another truck.  Of course, in our true fashion, this wasn't the only task to accomplish.
Our needs were fairly specific - I was researching issues with the Ram trucks where I found that transmission issues were prevalent due to the fact that Dodge (unlike Ford and Chevy) was still using the 68rfe transmission, considered a "light duty" transmission.  Chevy started putting an Allison transmission in its heavy duty trucks as early as 2002 with the introduction of its 6.6 Duramax (Isuzu built) diesel.  Here is a great article on a comparison between Ford, Chevy, and Ram.  Since we have the two big babies that travel with us, our only option was the Ram truck as they have the mega cab option.  We considered buying a Chevy and extending the cab, but the costs were astronomical, so we decided to seek out the toughest built Ram truck we could find.
Ford also started to use their Torque shift (also medium duty) in 2004.  Ram trucks did not start the option of a medium duty transmission (in my research) until 2014 with the introduction of is AISIN transmission and the ability to tow up to 30,000 lbs!  This was what we were looking for.

It took awhile to find exactly what we were looking for - a 2013 or newer 3500 4x4 mega cab with the AISIN trans and 6.7L Cummins.  In addition, we preferred the comfort levels of the Laramie Longhorn or Laramie Limited trucks due to their higher levels of quality in materials and comfort. Finding what we were looking for proved to be a pretty daunting task.  The only way to tell whether or not the truck had the AISIN was to either run the VIN number at a dealership (which they aren't always inclined to do as a favor) or being able to look under the hood.  The AISIN transmission equipped trucks have the dipstick for the trans on the driver's side of the engine bay.  The other transmission options both had their respective dipsticks on the passenger side.  We did find a few, but most of them were either brand new and more money than we wanted to spend.  In fact, we found two different ones from the same dealer in Texas.  (Apparently, Texas is the hotbed for heavy duty trucks!).  One was a gray one (the color we preferred) while the other was black.  Both were the same year and similar miles as well as having nearly identical options.  We were ready to take whichever one the dealer could complete the paperwork the fastest since we knew that we still had all the parts (fifth wheel, tool box, and auxiliary fuel tank) to get installed on the new truck.  As luck would have it, the dealer was unable to locate the title for either vehicle so we moved on.

Finally, we found our current truck - a 2014 Limited.  It was loaded with every option from the factory except the 5th wheel prep package, which we were under the impression we didn't need since we already had a full setup with our Demco autoslide.  Little did we know, the frame was changed with the update to the Ram truck line in 2013.   So, as we found out, we would now need to add the OEM 5th wheel prep package ($225 plus labor to install) as well as an adapter plate (another $500) for the Demco.  (The OEM 5th wheel prep allows for a drop in fifth wheel to attach directly to the frame rails via "pucks" in the floor of the bed of the truck) Hooray for unexpected expenses - especially before setting out on the road for months!

Of course it couldn't be as easy as just ordering the parts and having them show up at our doorstep. After ordering the OEM 5th wheel prep package on a Friday morning, I received a phone call on Tuesday morning (the day before the parts were supposed to be delivered - I even got a tracking number showing this) stating that the part was not available.  After a lengthy, somewhat heated conversation,  we finally located a set in Lakeland, Florida and had them sent right away.  And, of course, wouldn't you know it, a similar lack-of-having-parts-in-stock problem occurred - though not quite what we expected.  The adapter plate was not shipped, but the parts to attach it were.  So we had a bunch of bolts, etc, but no frame to attach to the pucks or to the Demco.  Needless to say, frustration and disbelief set in quickly.  All the parts were supposed to be in that Wednesday to be able to stay on our timeline for departure.  It was quickly becoming impossible for that to happen.

Finally all the parts got to Elmer's Paint and Body and they could finally get everything into the new truck (the RV repairs were already done the week before).  That was the last piece of the puzzle before we could get back on the road.  Fortunately, the rest of the assembly, etc, went off without issue.

Since leaving Florida, our current stops include Badlands National Park, Devil's Tower National Park, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, and Glacier National Park.  We will have new posts coming up in the next few days, so keep an eye out!

Did we get it right? Do you have experience or knowledge about this post? Please make yourself heard! Comment below and we will respond as soon as possible. As always, thanks for following us! Disclaimer: We are not paid writers. We write for enjoyment and to share information about our travels with our families, friends, and our followers. The information that we provide is based on our experiences with the products, services, etc, that we write about. It is 100% non-biased!