It’s the beginning of February 2018 and we find ourselves camping in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Not our favorite place to spend the winter. It’s worked out though because we’ve just kept our heads down and got some work done. We’ve been in full gear over our work projects and working hard to get them into your hands. We’ll get to that in a minute though…
Last time on our blog, we briefly mentioned in our last campground review of Little Pee Dee State Park that the harsh winter blast we received in early January knocked our heater / thermostat offline. So during the cold weeks that South Carolina has seen in over twenty years, we had the lovely experience of having no on-board heating system. Well that never resolved itself.
“Since when do problems resolve themselves?”
I can hear you thinking it! Well in our View it seems to happen all the time. We have so many intermittent issues and random failures that mysteriously rectify themselves that we’ve started to think that the rig is gas-lighting us. Every time we go into a repair facility for a diagnostic they can never replicate the problem. Yes, we know it means the problem still exists, but if it can’t be diagnosed; it can’t be fixed.
Time Really Does Changes All Things
The nearest cluster of repair facilities to where we were was Myrtle Beach. Fortunately for us, the South Carolina State Park system is amazing to snowbirds and is running a special for discounted camping at the state park here. We booked a site, drove over the coast, and started making appointments.
We really can’t speak highly enough about the South Carolina state parks. In our opinion, it’s such a better state to winter in than Georgia or Florida. The weather is much more even-tempered than Georgia. The cost is significantly less than Florida. And the attitude of your fellow campers is way chiller and more relaxed than in both places.
One of the first campground reviews we ever posted was a fairly negative one about Myrtle Beach State Park. We should probably get on writing an update at some point. While many things about that review are still true, our opinion of the park has changed dramatically. We still don’t like the town… but if you place yourself properly inside the campground and camp at the right time of year, it’s actually pretty nice.
Masters of the Maintenance-verse
Back to that dreaded maintenance thing… shit happens. Things tend to break whether you live in a house or an RV. However, when things break in an RV, it seems so much more… time-sensitive. We’re really bad about getting repair professionally done though. The two of us are both fairly intelligent adults that know how to Google, YouTube DIY maintenance videos, and ask tons of questions on Facebook groups, so fixing it ourselves is always the preferred method. But sometimes you just need to let the pros look at it.
Here’s our list of winter repairs:
- Dodge Sprinters Driver Side Airbag Recall
- Propane System Cleaning & Inspection
- Semi-Annual Mold & Mildew Cleaning Extravaganza
- Full Sorting / Reorganization of All Our Things
Dodge Sprinters Driver Side Airbag Recall
Apparently Mike wasn’t stoked about having a face full of shrapnel so when we found out that the driver side airbags were recalled and that the parts had finally become available, he insisted we get done that first. The airbag recall actually happened a few years ago. It affected both the passenger and the driver side but they didn’t come out with the parts for the driver side until this past year. We already had the passenger side done last year.
Even though we drive a Sprinter chassis (which is a Mercedes build), our particular Winnebago had the off-brand Dodge version at its core. It’s still a Sprinter, but all recall work needs to go through Dodge. We’ve had a lot of bad experiences with Dodge dealers in the past, so anytime we need to bring our rig in to a Dodge dealer, we always expect some crazy problem when we get it back. I was nervous about picking the right place. However, the folks over at Addy’s Harbor Dodge did a great job getting our airbag (and steering wheel) replaced in just over an hour.
Propane System Cleaning & Inspection
Propane and propane related accessories are dangerous, mmmkay? When you have a problem with something that attached to your propane system—such as a heater—get a professional to take a look at it. I’m all about DIY until there is a gas line involved. When our heater stopped igniting in early January, we stopped using it entirely.
Well, according to Camping Connection, it all just need a good cleaning. They weren’t able to actually replicate the problem, but they did go through and clean all the systems. That alone seems to have fixed the issue. In addition to cleaning and testing the propane system, they also unseized one of our outer compartment doors. Embarrassingly, we ought the rig with that door locked up and it’s been that way years. That’s fixed now.
Finally, they gave us a definitive answer about one of our wish list items: getting a T-junction installed. We’ve wanted to get on installed so we can attach an external propane tank when we boondock. Apparently that’s not going to happen though. That space is already being taken up by line that runs out to the generator. Oh well.
You bumped into the ceiling, which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get… NOTHING!!! You lose! Good day, sir!
—Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Semi-Annual Mold & Mildew Cleaning Extravaganza
It’s been a crazy winter here in South Carolina when it comes to the weather. We’ve had fluctuations from as low as 7 degrees to as high as 80 degrees. Mix that with East Coast humidity and you are begging for a mold problem. Every since our gross-out in South Texas, we’ve been cleaning and inhibiting mold in our rig every 6 months.
This includes pulling everything out, drying it out, cleaning up every nook and cranny with bleach and/or vinegar to kill the spores, and spraying everything with an all natural mold inhibitor that prevents it from growing back for a while. You can get away with only doing this only once a year because of the inhibitor. If you don’t use a mold inhibitor, you should recheck every 2 months if you’re camping in high-humidity areas. We prefer twice a year because I’m very sensitive to mold spores.
It makes a huge difference and we recommend that all full-timers do this regularly to stay healthy and protect the things you own.
In the process, we discovered that our closet had been ill-prepared for the winter. I started pulling things out of the back and noticed a nice layer of mildew over everything that we hadn’t touched in a few months. Fun right? Nothing beats having to wash and sterilize every single article of clothing you own. Nonetheless, it was discovered and cleaned. We also had plenty of extra Reflectix insulation on hand to create an insulated mildew-free barrier to prevent any future problems. Things have been pretty dry in there ever since.
Full Sorting / Reorganization of All Our Things
Speaking of all those things, when we do this mold cleaning, we also go through our items. As you live and work in a tiny space, junk has a way of collecting, multiplying, piling up in unventilated corners, and spreading a mildew problem to some of the nicer things you want to keep. Since we’re in the process of cleaning each item up anyway, every single thing we own is evaluated for it usefulness. If it’s broken: we fix it. If it’s unfixable or unuseful: we get rid of it. Then we reorganize and repack it all. It magically doubles out storage space every time we do it. It’s a great way to hit refresh on your living environment.
But wait! That’s not all!
Just like in a sticks and brick house, there always seems to be something that needs fixin’. We still have a hefty list and only about a week left here in town. We’ll probably just resolve to figure it out on the go. In addition to all this crazy repair work, we’ve been very busy with their business plans.
This past month, I wrote a guest blog article on behalf of Tiny Kitchen Cuisine over at The Frugal RVer. This was pretty exciting because it was all about a topic I know very well—how to save money and still eat gourmet food! (Psst… we eat like royalty on a shoestring budget.) The best part is that I proved to myself that I still have the chops to get quality work done while loitering in a parking lot!
Our other big exciting news is that we ready to package our first app for the Apple Store! We’re on our last few days for testing before sending it off for review. This app was specifically designed with travelers in mind. We think it’s going make a huge difference in the lives of full-time RVers. A more thorough update and official announcement about this awesome project will come soon. We’re both super excited to a see it about to hit the marketplace.
Additionally, Mike has already started to lay the groundwork for another app that we’ve been talking about building and we are coming into the final stretch of development for our first mobile game—DerbyGrrls: a strategic roller derby card game for iPhone! So much is going on that we can barely contain our excitement.
It’s been a long road, getting from there to here.
Stay tuned for more updates!