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Fulltiming thoughts

The Old Girl all nice and shiny the day I bought her.

The Old Girl all nice and shiny the day I bought her.

I just started my 3rd year of fulltime living in the Fish Bus which is a 1993 National Dolphin 32D. The mission statement has changed since I purchased the Old Girl over 4 years ago. For the first few months, the Bus was used for weekend trips and the occasional extended trip.  During the Christmas Holiday in 2005 we covered over three thousand miles from Dallas to West Texas to Baton Rouge,LA visiting family.

Soon after I moved into the Old Girl full time and then embarked on the current adventure with my brother.  Since August 2007 I have put 4000 miles on the RV traveling to various job locations.  During that time I have not been at a single RV park or location where I had to pay for hook ups. I have put over 600 hours on the Generac propane generator in that time frame.

So I guess by now you are wondering what the point of this post is?  I have been thinking lately about what I would like to change on the Old Girl and the stuff I would never change.  My situation is fairly unique I guess and I have specific from my recreational vehicle. I vary seldom have guests so sleeping space is not an issue. I cook on the stove very little but the microwave does get a workout. So as I voice my thoughts here please keep in mind YMMV (your mileage may vary 🙂 ) .

Dolphin 32D Interior

Dolphin 32D Interior

First and foremost, the carpet would have to go! Whenever it rains, I live in a sea of mud at the various job sites. Try as I might, I cannot keep the mud out of the bus. I take my muddy boots off on the porch or on the front steps and I still find mud all the way back in the bedroom. How in the world does it get there??? I would much rather have a hard floor. Wood or linoleum or even those stick on tiles would be better than this carpet.

Next, I have no use for that fold out couch except as a place to put stuff. Right now , It has a straw hat, a lunch cooler, 3 paper back books and a t shirt I wore last week laying on it. If I took it out and that useless barrel chair across the aisle, I think I would have room for a little desk and a comfy chair like a recliner. It would be heaven to sit somewhere besides the dinette and be able to work on the computer and see the TV.

A two burner cook top would be better than the three burner I have now. Thank goodness the Old Girl doesn’t have a stove! I would also love to have a bigger freezer. The Norcold refrigerator is decent size but the freezer space is totally inadequate.

The Old Girl doesn’t have a single slide out. My brother has a 33′ Heartland Fiver with 3 slideouts and I do enjoy the room inside but I have never really felt the need for a slideout for my own use. Sorta odd, huh? I do have encased awnings over each window and then the big encased awning over the door. If it was up to me, I would do away with that big awning and just have small ones over each window. The window awnings stay out 24/7 in the summer because they keep the heat out so well and I really don’t have to worry about them if a storm blows up. I can count on one hand the number of times I have had that big awning out.

What about the old argument over generators? Diesel vs Gas vs Propane? Many of the older recreational vehicles like mine have the propane generator because that was usual and customary back in the day. A propane generator like my 6.6kw Generac has its’ advantages. Propane is always cheaper than diesel even if the energy value is less. Propane burns nice and clean and makes for less wear and tear on the generator itself; meaning the generator has a longer life. I will agree with that. Mine has been virtually trouble free. However, if I had it to do over again I would go with a diesel. One fuel for both genset and RV and we usually have several hundred gallons of diesel readily available here on the job. It would make my life much simpler.

I have debated the 30amp vs 50amp power supply. I have a 30amp service on the Dolphin 32D and have made some modifications that allow me to run both AC units simultaneously. I also changes out the old Magnatek Charger for a newer Progressive Dynamics smart charger. With all those modifications, I have no need for 50amp service. If I was buying again, I would just by an motorhome with 50amp service and be done with it.

What about the power plant in the Old Girl? I have a 5.9l Cummins rated at 230hp. I have pulled a 28′ car trailer and my Suburban 2500 4×4 with this little engine all over the place with no problems….. and I get 10-12mpg consistently. I can only imagine why someone would need a 500 or 600hp diesel in a recreational vehicle????

Looking back at this post it looks like I am pretty satisfied with my motor home. You know, I really am!

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