First of all, I apologize for the long gap between posts. It has been a very busy couple of weeks. As you may recall, Toni flew out to Arizona for a wedding shower, leaving me alone just outside Elkhart Indiana. After
dropping Toni at South Bend airport, I settled back in at Potato Creek State Park. It was a great spot to spend a week, with lots of hiking trails and mountain and trail biking. The beagles and I enjoyed our stay, keeping pretty busy enjoying great weather. I did have some big plans while in the Elkhart area. Elkhart is the RV capital of the world, with the vast majority of all RVs built within a 30 mile radius of town.
Our oldest son, Matthew, is going to be attending a class for the Air Force in Detroit for the next couple of weeks. He was driving out from Oklahoma City and made a slight detour to visit with me a couple of days. It was awesome to see Matt and Jack (his husky), even if only for a day or so. We also plan to head up to the Detroit area after Toni returns to spend a weekend exploring with Matthew.
We are closing in on close to a full year of full time RV travel. There is one thing we have been struggling with since we embarked on this journey. Our 2006 Jayco Seneca is built on a 2006 Kodiak 5500 chassis. This chassis has a 22,000lb GVWR. This means the maximum total weight of our RV, including full fluids (fuel, propane and fresh water) and all our stuff and selves (Toni, myself, Bagel and CC) must be under 22,000lbs. Prior to beginning our full time RV living, we attended the RV Dreams Booncocking Rally in Quartzite, AZ in 2013. At this rally we had our rig weighed with full fluids and our normal load of goods. At that time we were at 20,975lbs. That had us slightly concerned, but we were relatively sure that all our “stuff” for full time living would be less that 1,000lbs. Well…..in November 2014, after two months on the road full time I had the nerve to finally get weighted and see how things looked. Crap! We were at 22,320lbs! We spent the next several months purging even more “stuff” and tracking the weight of each item we trashed. Hopefully this would solve the issue.
Fast forward to July 2015, we cruised into a scale prepared for good news. WHAT!! Now we came in at 22,740lbs with full fluids. Not good. At this point I was very concerned that we may not be able to solve this
issue by dumping things like our disc golf sets. This brings me to the time in Elkhart and the plan. One thing that has always bothered us in the 3rd slide on the RV. This slide contains the kitchen, meaning plumbing and such that has to move in and out creating all kinds of issues. Plus, the slide takes up valuable real estate under our awning. This hatched our idea, what if we eliminate the slide out? This would of course mean closing in the wall, new paint, cabinet work and a ton of other things. But, the big question was how much weight would this save us? I spend my time in Elkhart determining just this. I spoke to Power Gear, the manufacturer of our slide system to determine how much all the components of the slide mechanism weighted. We never use the microwave, there is 69lbs. Eliminate the Corian solid surface counter tops and use a lightweight material. Rebuilt my exterior TV enclosure from lighter materials? I left no stone unturned.
Being in Elkhart, I also visited several RV surplus stores. Could I get cabinet doors and such that match to use in the remodel. Are there lighter appliances? Can I buy the exterior fiberglass skin to make the new wall? How are the walls actually constructed? This in particular lead to my touring several RV manufacturers factories for tours to see just how these things are put together. Plus the tours were just plain cool. I used a CAD program to design the new layout and floorplan in the Seneca with the slideout removed. All this along with many late night phone calls with Toni in Arizona to discuss my findings. It was a VERY busy week! I felt like all I did was run back and forth to Elkhart and sit in front of my computer.
Not entirely true, I did manage to squeeze in a few bike rides and some hiking with the beagles. For the most part, I just strained my brain to come up with a plan. While I know there are TONS of RVs out there running around that are over the GVWR, we are just not willing to live with that risk. We have fears of insurance not handling a claim if our unit were weighted and was over. There is no doubt that a coach is capable of handling more than the GVWR, but exceeding it is just asking for problems. Every RV is weighed at the factory and given a CCC (cargo carrying capacity). The CCC is the total amount of people and gear you can put in the coach and be under the GVWR. It is scary, many coaches have less that 1,000lbs of CCC. Think about that, a couple of people and you basically have no room left. One reason we chose a Seneca in the first place is the heavy Kodiak chassis. Our CCC on the sticker in our RV is 2,998lbs! That is excellent. The problem, I believe all the modifications we made to the RV, see this post and this post, we added too much weight. I feel all the upgrades were worth while and greatly enhance our living in the RV, but the bottom line we are just too heavy.
So…..what is the outcome? We have come up with a plan. What is the plan? I have done all the research and planning. You will have to wait for the next post to hear about it. In the mean time, Toni did return to me on 7/31! We spent a little more time in Elkhart and visited the RV/MH Hall of Fame. I highly recommend a visit to anyone that enjoys RVs. It covers the entire industry since the beginning. Tons of RVs to check out from old to new. Endless information in the library and just a general great time. You could spend hours, and we did. They even allow you to spend two nights in their parking lot boondocking, which we took advantage of.
Onward to Detroit to visit with our son Matthew……This entry was posted in Blog and tagged fulltime, gorving, indiana, kuhl, kuhlodyssey, livingthedream, nomadlife, rv, rvblog, rvlife, seneca by Kurt Kuhl and comments are open.