One Month with Bigfoot

by jdroth on 12 February 2015 · 0 comments

Kim and I have owned our motorhome for a full month now, and we’ve had a chance to form some impressions. It’s important to note that we haven’t actually done anything in the RV yet but clean and stock it. (We’ll make our first trip this weekend.) That said, we’re pleased with the purchase so far.

We’re especially pleased with how roomy and homey the coach is. While we worked to stock and clean it, everything felt cozy and comfortable. For me, this sort of space elicits happy memories. My two brothers and I were raised in a 63-foot-long mobile home. We didn’t have a lot of room, but we got by. Our Bigfoot RV feels somewhat similar. (I already wish it had a bathtub, though.)

The mobile home where I was raised
The mobile home where I was raised

I’m also glad that the motorhome is easier to drive than I’d anticipated. In the olden days, I had my commercial driver license so that I could deliver boxes for Custom Box Service. Driving that 26-foot delivery truck was work: the rig was sluggish and slow and sometimes fussy. Our motorhome, on the other hand, drives much more like a passenger vehicle.

Still, I try to keep a couple of things in mind when traveling:

  • First, the Bigfoot is top-heavy. It’s important to take corners slowly so that the rig doesn’t tilt or tip over.
  • Second, the RV tends to “drift”. That’s not to say that the wind affects it — although I suspect it does — but that there’s a sort of swaying motion as I drive down the road. I’ve heard this is normal, but it’s still unsettling. In tight lanes (such as in construction areas), it’s vital to slow down more than I normally might.

I spent some time the other day watching YouTube videos of RV crashes. I shouldn’t have done that. After seeing others contend with corners and wind and so on, I’m more nervous than I was before. But maybe that’s a good thing?

A lot of folks want to know where we’re storing the RV. We’re grateful to have found some friends who are allowing us to park in their driveway for a few weeks. These folks live 45 minutes away, on five acres at the end of a dead-end road in rural Oregon. A couple of weeks ago, we drove out, gave them a tour of our rig, and then put on the RV cover.

An RV cover is very much like the cover for your barbecue grill — but on a much larger scale. Here’s how to install an RV cover:

Kim and I have installed and removed the cover several times now. As long as we’re careful about not getting the straps tangled, it’s a straightforward operation. Usually. But we recently learned that there’s a reason the RV cover comes with straps. “I don’t think we need to tie it down,” I said as we finished installing it at our friends’ house. “It’s not going to come off.”

Last Saturday, as Kim and I were dressing for a dinner date, I got a text message from one of my friends: “The wind blew off your cover,” she said. “How do I get it back on?”

“Wow,” I said. “I guess we need to tie that down. I’ll be down in about 45 minutes.”

Bad news by text!

This was a pain, obviously, but in a way it was a good thing. The rain fell heavily last Saturday, so this gave us a chance to be sure our roof repairs were effective. I sped to the farm to see if we had any damage. We did not. The cover had been off most of the day, but inside the coach, everything was dry.

The cover had blown off the Bigfoot
I arrived to find the cover had blown off our Bigfoot.

It took fifteen minutes to put the cover back on
Fifteen minutes later, everything looked better.

Working on my own, it took me about fifteen minutes to get the cover installed (and tied down). It wasn’t difficult but even in light rain, the process left me drenched.

A drowned rat
This photo doesn’t really convey how wet I was…

Meanwhile, back at the condo, we’ve spent some of our free time packing things for the motorhome. Some of this is guesswork, of course. Which clothes do we want to keep in the RV? Which dishes? Maps? Books? Food? Until we make a couple of test trips, we won’t know for sure what we actually want to keep with us on the road.

I want to err on the side of less. I’d rather find myself needing to buy something I left behind than having to get rid of things because I overpacked. (This is similar to my packing philosophy for international travel.)

So, things are good after one month of RV ownership. We like the Bigfoot 30MH29SL. But this weekend will be the true test. We’ll drive up to Bridge of the Gods, where we’ll spend a couple of days learning how to operate everything. (And, of course, we’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day — we chose this location because of its proximity to several hot springs!)

I hope to have more happy news to report next week…

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