As it turns out, I will be living in my Casita sooner rather than later, starting near the end of April in fact. My roommate and I are breaking our lease four months early and will be saving ourselves a good deal of money by spending those four months living in a local RV park together with one of her cats. Hopefully we won’t drive each other mad.
So, I have around five weeks to get from where I am now to living in my RV, yikes! There are numerous things to think about, from mail, and storage of the roomie’s things to what all I need to buy.
In a previous post I talked extensively about my thoughts on buying stuff to prepare to go full-timing, which basically comes down to buying only what you absolutely need at the onset, and then make purchases along the way as you discover you need other stuff. This method is going to serve me very well, since I’ll be stationary for the first several months with ready access to places where I can purchase additional items. My current (evolving) list of what needs to be purchased in the next month is as follows:
List of stuff to buy for the RV:
- fresh water hose, and filter
- disposable gloves
- RV scrub brush and bucket, microfiber cloth
- surge guard
- full size sheet set
- covers for cushions (the roomie’s cat is not declawed and likes to scratch furniture)
- leveling blocks
- weight distribution hitch
- tire pressure gauge
- proper toilet paper
- laptop and mobile broadband card
Some of the things I consider necessities I already have, such as wheel chocks, a 30 amp power cord, chains for hooking up to tow vehicle, a water pressure regulator, and an electric heater which may or may not get replaced with a propane one next winter when I actually need one. The Casita also came with a sewer hose mounted in a hollow PVC pipe attached to the tongue, but I don’t know what kind of shape it’s in without pulling it out of there and I want gloves before I handle it. It’s very likely I’ll be replacing that right away as well.
Along with stuff to buy, there are a couple fixes I really want to get working on before I’m living in the Casita.
As mentioned in my last post, there was a rivet missing on the roof that had been patched over, but the patch had seen better days. My first thought was to put a new rivet in, and no, I don’t know how to rivet. But after consulting the finest resource available to modern day man (the internet) I discovered that the reason why that rivet breaks so often on Casitas is because there is a lot of movement in that area, and typically replacement rivets will just keep failing.
Fortunately, there are a lot of other rivets holding that cabinet up, so one can just plug the hole up and leave it, much like the previous owner had done with the original patch. I took the caulk off the top and discovered that indeed there was a screw of some sort underneath that was being used to fill the hole, hooray.
I had a few other questionable spots as well: places where the caulking was cracking or missing, and rivets that were missing the little plastic caps and bases on them. I’ve never owned a RV before and wasn’t sure what to do about this stuff so I took pictures and posted them up on a forum for Casita owners to get opinions on how serious they looked and how best to fix them. Within days I had several informed responses that were really helpful. The general consensus was that none of my issues were big problems by any means, but working on them now would keep them from becoming problems in the future.
If you will be purchasing your first RV is in the near future, do a little digging online to see if there are any forums or clubs around for the brand of RV you want to buy. It’s invaluable to have those people to talk to when things go wrong or you aren’t sure how how to do something.
The number one issue was the rivet hole. For caulking equipment, I spent $26 to buy a caulk gun, a plastic caulk scraper (needed to remove the old stuff, and for fiberglass plastic is recommended over metal to avoid damaging the gelcoat), a small container of acetone (silicone caulk leaves behind this residue that nothing will stick to, and the only good way to remove it is with acetone or lacquer thinner), masking tape (to make lines with and keep the new caulk from getting where it shouldn’t), and little disposable caps to put on the unused caulk to keep it from drying out.
I got all of this stuff from a Lowes, although the Home Depot in town would have had it too. One thing they didn’t have however was the actual caulk I needed. Silicone can be used on fiberglass trailers, but most people on the Casita forums didn’t like using it because the seal just didn’t seem to last as long as it should and yet it’s so difficult to fully remove. I went to the Camping World thirty miles away instead to get this sealant called Proflex, which is sold especially for RVs and lists fiberglass for its recommended uses. It costs about $16 for a 10 oz tube, but it’s possible a similar sort of thing could be found a marina or boat repair place for less.
So far I’ve only filled in the microwave rivet hole with the stuff, to test how well it works. It’s been out in rain twice since then and I’ve had no issues with leaks, so I’ll take that as a positive. I’m hoping to fix a little gap in the bathroom moulding and also redo part of the caulking around the bathroom vent on the roof with it too, but have yet to have another day off without a chance of rain, silly spring.
For it being my first time caulking, I’d say it went quite well. I have a few pictures of the prep and setup, but none of the actual caulking process since holding the camera and the caulk gun at the same time wasn’t going to work. Maybe when I do the vent my roommate will be available to film it. The little plastic bowl with water and the dawn soap was for cleaning off the area ahead of time, and cleaning off my finger after smoothing out the dollop that I placed in the rivet hole.
Replacing the rivets that are missing their plastic bases is going to be a bit more difficult and require more gear. I’ve ordered the rivets I’ll need from Little House Customs, a specialty store run by and for Casita owners, and will be acquiring the rest of the gear I need once the rivets arrive, more on that to come.
And now it’s time to work on cleaning up the apartment. We have an initial move out inspection tomorrow and I haven’t really been keeping up on my bedroom and bathroom, ahem. Expect a lot more in the coming weeks about my RV living progress, but as always if you have any specific questions or comments share them below. Happy trails all!