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Living in a Motorhome on the Road

We’re on the road.  We left San Carlos, Mexico to spend Easter in Tucson, Az with family before heading out in our ‘new’ used 1995 Fleetwood Bouonder 34′ motorhome to Phoenix and work a four day Flea Market.

We got a great deal on the motorhome- but at a cost.  The major problem with the motorhome is the fuel system.  We were 90% certain the fuel pump was causing the problems but it could have been any number of sensors that are hard to track and potentially expensive to replace.

Our other BIG problem was the title.  We bought the motorhome from a California Dealer, who in turn bought the motorhome at a repossession auction.  The dealer literally bought it at the auction, drove it home, and two days later we bought it from them.  The dealer, with great assurance, gave me all the paperwork I would need to register the motorhome in Arizona.  Well, either they lied or they didn’t know any better but after about 4 trips to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department offices and numerous phone calls both to the dealer and the MVD I was still no closer to registering the motorhom after two months.

We fixed the fuel problem (it was the fuel pump) but we still don’t have a title or tag on the motorhome.  We tried again here in Phoenix to register it but we got more forms to fill out (by the dealer in California) and, luckily, a 90 day permit for the motorhome.  So we’re quasi legal.

The motorhome was structurally sound but the previous disgruntled owners decided to remove every piece of electronics in the motorhome.  This included the car stereo, the TV, ALL the speakers, the roof top antennae, and a roof top mounted satellite dish.  We don’t really care too much about any of those things, but the gaping holes left behind are a bit of an eyesore.  We still haven’t fixed them yet.

One of the furnaces needed a new igniter board, the water heater still needs a little tweaking for the spark igniter to work 100%, the batteries are on their last leg, the front windshield needs to be re-installed with a new seal, it needed two new front tires (replaced), the roof needs a recoating, and the list goes on….

But it runs!  We made it to Phoenix without a hitch.  I even towed the stock trailer with the motorhome (thanks to the strong 7.5l 8 cylinder Ford 460 engine) without any trouble.  We brought the Suburban with us as a safety measure and it sure is nice to have a vehicle that is shorter than 34′ to move the trailer around and make trips to the store.  We’re paying for it with the added expense of fuel.  We filled up both vehicles in Tucson before leaving and we had to fill up again after this 4 day show was over.

A note about that.  The motorhome has a 7kw Onan generator on it, which works great.  After spending all day in the heat working it sure is nice to come back to the motorhome and kick on the two ice cold Air Conditioners in the motorhome using the generator- but it sucks down 1 gallon per hour of fuel!  There was another motorhome near us and he used the same Honda 2kw generator we have for the sailboat to power his lights, microwave, television, and coffeemaker because it only uses 1 gallon every 8 hours unlike the generator.  Smart move.  We’re going to start doing that as well.

The show in Phoenix takes the cake for the worst show to date.  On average, sales from 3 out of 4 days combined are still less than my average sales for ONE day at ALL the other shows we’ve ever done.  That bad.

The good news, there were 4 big inflatable bouncy rides for kids and they let all the kids play on them for free because attendance was SO poor.  Emma played three days straight from morning to night on those bouncy rides.  We would walk back to the motorhome after 6pm and she would be asleep by 6:30pm

After it was all said and done we made a profit of $193 for 4 days worth of work.  Not earth shattering.  We spent that on gas getting to the next event.

We really liked having the motorhome so close.  I could walk back and once inside the motorhome I was home!  We made nice meals, cold drinks, hot water, and a comfortable bed.

Coming from living on a sailboat, the motorhome in many ways is far more decadent.  We don’t have to be as frugal with the water or power.  Having air conditioning and hot water for a shower are really a luxury.  With the basement storage, we can store the BOB stroller, my tools, an air compressor, and we still have over half the storage bins empty.

Driving from Phoenix to Miami, Arizona we stopped at Oak Flatts National Park where the camping is free.  It’s beautiful country.  We pulled in and within 10 minutes we were enjoying a cold beverage from the propane fridge.

An internet card would be helpful to stay connected with the world, but not an absolute necessary.  We have resorted to paying McDonald’s (or Uncle Donald’s as Emma calls it) for their internet access in the form of happy meals and coffee.  We try to pick the ones with Playgrounds for Emma, but after leaving Mexico we really noticed how expensive fast food is in the US.

There’s more work to be done on the motorhome to make it more reliable and more comfortable but it has proven to be a manageable way for us to continue selling our mini donuts at fairs and festivals across the country.

We’re in Globe, Arizona now.  I have to get our health permit for Gila County today for this weekend and run a few errands.  After that, back to Oak Flatts National Park until Friday.

You know an ICE COLD draft beer in Mexico is a very affordable price of approximately $1.25! Click Here to Buy Us a Beer.

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