2. ANATOMY OF A MONSTER
THE BEAST THAT LURKS:
When you consider the age 35 years, my rv is a dinosaur. And if you look at it from the front, it gives the appearance of a grinning monster with two beady eyes, just daring you to make it work. "Come on sucker, lay it on me, I dare you". Upon first acquiring it, little did I know the excruciating pain it had in store for me for years to come. Even after that first trip from hell, I felt that I could master this beast without it costing me an arm and a leg, not even considering the possibilities of losing both arms and both legs.
I must say that, when I first started to drive this "thing", it scared the living hell out of me to drive. My first trip in traffic had me sweating where my wheels were touching down, how much tolerance on either side of the lane I had, if I pulled the steering wheel even the slightest would I clip the car in the next lane, where my tail would wind up making turns, and more. I held onto that steering wheel like a freaked out cat clawing on to a rail for dear life trying to escape a fierce bull dog or coyote that had a hold on my tail. But as time past, I found my markers in the sides of the windshield and began to settle down in the captain's driver seat which had two very pleasant arm rests. It was almost like being in a nice big easy chair, and if there were a tv present, it felt like you could kick back with a beer and watch it.
On the other hand, to even think about fixing this "thing" if something went wrong was extremely scary. God, there were so many things to have to consider. With an rv you essentially have to be an auto mechanic, a plumber, an electrician, a natural gas expert, a construction worker, a metal worker, and more. Little did I know I was beginning my career in all of these areas.
INTO THE BELLY OF THE CREATURE, IE, THE LAYOUT:
A little overview of the layout and functionalities of this "thing" are in order. I already mentioned that it is a 1977 Executive Dodge 440 7.2 liter engine that was said to have been rebuilt with 50,000 miles and a 10-14 mile per gallon capability. Even after the trip from hell, I was convinced that the engine was basically good, although I was not getting the miles per gallon I was initially told. The milage was more like 6-7 miles per gallon, a far cry from what the seller claimed. But even so I felt that I could overcome all other obstacles. Besides, I really liked the length of 26 feet and its color both inside and out, with the exception of the putrid green bath tub/shower. When this rv was first built it was a sickening green with white color on the outside, and the same on the inside with the addition of brown and a really sickening green carpet color. The prior owner had been smart enough to change the outside green to maroon and to change the carpeting to a nice blue, while putting in a nice white ceiling wall paper. If he had left it as originally colored, I never would have purchased it. But I accepted it as is despite the bath tub still being that gawd awful green. UUUHHGGG! Fortunately, until I finally painted it, I could close the white shower door and not look at that piece of cr_p.
Warning to all who enter: Beyond here, there be dragons and serpents
On the inside, it has a very homy and comfortable layout, which is set off by the nice cabinetry and lighting throughout. As you enter near the front, to your right is the raise driving platform, because you sit over the engine as you drive. Two very comfortable captains chairs are for the driver and one passenger. That is to say, they are comfortable as long as they are not falling over. I should mention at this point that when Marlene's chair collasped on her (refer to the trip from hell), she actually fell over backwards off of this raised platform. I am most thankful she was not injured. Directly in front of you, as you enter, is the four seated dining area, and further back is the refrigerator and control panel. And to your left is the kitchen with stove and oven. Turning left and proceeding from front to rear, the next area to appear is the bedroom area which has two bunk beds on either side of the aisle. The upper single bunks conveniently fold up and become nice looking overhead storage areas. The right side lower bunk can be extended out into the aisle to make a big double bed. Given that the dining area table can be used for another double bed, I have a total of 7-8 beds (not that I need them). Finally in the rear is the bathroom with shower/bath, sink, and commode. Collapsable pull blind partitions can be used to provide separation of the commode from the bedroom, and the bedroom from the living area.
HOUSE FUNCTIONALITIES / AMMENITIES:
I will just briefly list these here and include picutre location shots. And it should be noted that this list and pictures are current day, looking nothing the way I first bought it. However, I still found it attractive when I first bought it. It was just a little rough around the edges.
Proceeding on the left outside from rear to front (except where noted) is:
1. The 110 AC house generator compartment In the far left rear (next to the potty) and accessible from the outside.
2. The shore power input compartment (ie, the 110 AC hookup line) just ahead of the house generator compartment and accessible from the outside.
3. The AC to DC converter for house lighting and battery charging located inside under the left bed where the shore power input compartment is..
4. The grey and black water dump levers and drain/dump pipe located underneath the shore power compartment. There are two holding tanks directly under the rv where the shower and potty are located. Each has a capacity of 25 gallons with a status light on the master house control panel over the refrigerator.
5. The rear access to the refrigerator compartment and where 12 volt input from the roof solar panel is found. On the inside, the refrigerator was relatively new and is capable of running off natural gas or 110 AC electricity.
6. The master house control panel located over the refrigerator on the inside. It tells you house much charge each 12 volt battery has, the amount of water left in the water tank, how full the two holding tanks and the natural gas tanks, along with some other switches to control house functions.
7. The twin battery compartment which contain an active and backup 12 volt battery..
8. The external shore water line input for direct water hose hookup.
9. The 14 liter LP natural gas tank located directly under the driver's seat and close to the engine, which really unnerves me.
10. Two exterior window awnings, one for bedroom window and one for dining area window, which give a nice homy look from the outside when parked and extended out.
Proceeding on the right outside from rear to front (except where noted) is:
1. The bath/shower on the inside with hot and cold water. Potty and sink is in the center.
2. The furnace heater vent & compartment which was for a 2000 pound ( at least it semed that much) heater under the rear of the right bed. The heater was a rusty mess, so I replaced it with with an onboard vacuum cleaner.
3. The 40 gallon water tank In the same area as the furnace and on the inside under the bed with a fill line accessible from the outside. The on-board water pump is next to the tank under the bed.
4. The water heater under the stove with an outside vent and which I replaced with a tankless water heater.
5. An LP stove and oven with overhead light, fan and venting to the outside.
6. A built in mix-master.
7. A dual kitchen sink.
8. The entry door auto step which is electrically retractable.
9. The foldup exterior awning covers the entire mid section.
Lookng at the rear is:
1. The bicycle rack I installed supporting all tv, radio and CB antennas.
2. The roof ladder.
3. Inside in the closet is the security system I installed.
And proceeding across the roof from rear to front is:
1. The two hatch covers which I replaced and added the protection of metal vents..
2. The 12 volt DC solar panel which I installed.
3. The swamp cooler whose shroud I had to fiber glass to protect it from the sun.
In addition to these amenities, there is an abundance of drawer and storage space. It also has quad audio speakers, two in the back and two over the driving area. I replaced the onboard am/fm radio with a 12 volt amplifier connected to the speakers and through which I could attach and listen to anything, including my cell phone which has tons of music on it. It also has a CB radio which is scratchy (probably from the way I reattached it to antenna mounted on the bike rack that I added). For a tv, I use my laptop that I can connect to the dish box, or the broadcast antenna, or provided rv park cable tv. For security, I ripped out the mickey mouse security system that the previous owner tried to install and replaced it with my own designed system that basically detects motion and sets off a noise maker.
And finally, "NO", there is no dishwasher, garbage disposal or laundry washer/dryer.