Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Closing down the RVing show. Everything is for sale, so sad to say.

Ah, time for a change. Our full time RVing life is pretty much completed and now, we have to sell our faithful Clifford (2000 Volvo VNL 64T770) Heavy Duty Truck with a Smart Car flatbed on it and our 40' King of the Road Crown Marquis 5th wheel fully self-contained trailer (DakotR).

We have lived in DakotR since 2007 and loved every moment of the time. Even in Fallon, NV in 2013 in -19 degrees below zero fall weather and for 2 years as City Park Docents in Sequim, WA on the Olympic peninsula. It has provided us a full retirement lifestyle wherever we ventured across the United States.

Due to health issues, we had to stop traveling and finally bought a house in St Augustine, FL. Both the truck and the RV are here and for sale.

The NUT:

‪  Contact me: 

  • (904) 297-8851‬  SMS texting is fine:
  •  Budd@webdoms.com
  • We are in St Augustine, FL. The vehicles are also here.
Sharpen your pencils (or whatever) we are ready to deal. These prices are just a starting point for negotiations but are pretty accurate for the condition.

The King Bed, the dining table, Flat-screen TV, and chairs are the only furniture.

In this documentation, I have tried to open the whole Kimono to give a perspective about the whole of the Full time RVing life. It is not just about the places. it is also about the ongoing consumption of equipment, supplies, and life expectancy of the whole.  It is also about outfitting an RV into a home that works for you.

Please be aware that I personally did a lot of these upgrades and repairs so the costs were often only for products and materials.  Services and upgrades performed for a fee can easily triple the costs of changing things you discover you don't like so take your time to evaluate and mentally test-live in any potential RV home and then choose wisely. That is what we did for nearly 5 years before buying this king of the Road unit and we have been so happy with this unit we never were even interested in replacing it.

First: some details from the 1999 King of the Road Brochure:

Link to the original 1999 King of the Road Brochure PDF (lower Res)  <<<  LINK

Link to the original 1999 King of the Road Brochure PDF   (Caution: Same as above but Huge High Res PDF file)

Along the way, I made a number of upgrades to DakotR :

  • Replaced that tiresome double bowl kitchen sink with a deeper and much more usable single bowl stainless steel sink. I replaced the kitchen faucet with a pull out manually switchable stream/shower with a high rise neck to make for more room to fit pots and pans under it to wash.  
  • Of course, I also replaced the puny RV shower head in the bathroom garden tub shower with a nice Water Pik unit that gives far more enthusiastic showers.
  • The water pump has been replaced and I swapped out the 10-gallon gas/electric water heater with a Precision Temp tankless water heater for unlimited hot water.
  • The washer and dryer have been truly nice to have everywhere.
  • The living room AC died and I replaced it with a 15.5kbtu AC/Heatpump that is amazingly quiet even on high speed and with remote control. The bedroom also has a 15.5kbtu AC/Heatpump on a digital thermostat. All AC units are commonly ducted through the ceiling to all rooms so either unit can be used to heat and/or cool the whole unit if desired.
  • The typical RV toilet was replaced with an elongated raised ceramic toilet with a hand sprayer for cleanup and easy change valve gasket.
  • There is a 5k-watt gasoline RV Generator in the front compartment with only a few hundred hours of running time on it.  We just rarely needed it in the way we traveled.
  • I added slideout covers overall 3 slideouts to make it easier to keep their roofs clean and make it easier to close up after sitting long periods where leaves might accumulate on those roofs.
  • The original 27' manual awning on the curbside was unfortunately ripped off by high winds crossing through Montana but it was really hard to deploy and put away so I never replaced it, opting, instead for the slide-out covers.
  • There is an 18" Dish network manual crank up dish on the roof but today, there are far better choices for satellite reception. I carried a Dish Turbo 1000.4 triple LNBF dish on a tripod I set up for long stays and it has worked great for 10 years+.  I used it with a Dish Hopper DVR that has 4 tuners in it and records HD just great.
  • Replaced the typical day/night corrugated window shades in the bedroom with true black-out shades with easy up and down.

Some more RV detailed history:

We took our time evaluating our needs, wants, and costs to be sure we did not have to keep trading up as we progressed.  We have been very happy with our choices and the results.  The F350 was the only thing we had to "trade up". 

$  73k  - Overall,  since 1998 our costs Trucks and 5th wheel.
$  10k  - Upgrades including the bed for the Smart Car
$  10k  - Maintenance/repairs including tires.
$  93K - Overall total 1998 - 2019
A little more detail about our history and progress into Full Time:
  • 1971 - 1983 : We had motorhomes in sizes from 24' to 35'.  Prices ranged from $6600 new to $12K used. 35' was a new Holiday Rambler Imperial.  Great unit!
  • 1983 - 1998: No RVs. We decided to downsize through an RV into solid retirement... somewhere else.
  • 1998 - 2003: We looked, studied, and evaluated many dozens of setups.
  • Motorhomes were better with kids but for the 2 of us living full time, it was clear from our experiences that a big 5th wheel with a big carrying capacity would work best.
    • Turns out we were right!
  • 7/2001 - $27k -  Bought used 1999 F350 4x4 Crew Dually in 2001 @32k miles
  • We were told it could pull ANYTHING... NOT!
  • but to be fair we were targeting about a 32' 5th wheel.. not a 40' 21,000lb GVWR KOTR
  • 11/2003 - $39k - Bought the 1999 40' King of the Road.
  • Waaayyy too much trailer for the F350 or even an F550 (we tried one). At purchase time we were already looking to go to a class 8 truck/tractor HDT: (See HHRVRESOURCES.COM )
  •  7/2004 - $ 720 - I went thru CDL training at Johnston, NC Community College.
  • 11/2004 -  $34k - Bought Clifford (2000 Volvo 770) @562k miles
  •  1/2005 - $-16k - Sold F350
  •  9/2007 - Moved into DaKotR full time -
  • Parked mostly in the back yard until my wife retired in 2011.
  • This gave us time to figure out what we did and did not need with us.
  • Our kids began renting our house from us (and still are renting today).
  • Son is a contractor so the 40-year-old house is being slowly upgraded for a few $$$ concession on the rent
  •  6/2010: Norcold 1200:12 cu ft refer died (again) Replaced with a 23cuft Residential refrigerator. Yay! Hard ice cream finally.
  • 1/2011: Wife "retired" due to firm downsizing
  • 3/2011: She went to CDL school per our plans. She was the oldest female to graduate in the school's 62 years of operation.
  • 8/2011: Moved to St Augustine, FL for the next 21 months
  • 7/2013 left Raleigh for Oregon coast via SD, Tetons, Yellowstone, fall Amazon job in Fernley, NV.
  • 1/2014 - Heading to Southern Oregon Coast for winter then explore Pacific NW all next year.
  • Fall 2014 -Spent 2 years as on-site City park docents for Sequim Carrie Blake Park.
  • Leased a spot in Escapees Park at Chimacum, WA from 8/2015 - 8/2018. Terrific place and people.
  • Fall 2016 - headed to St Augustine, FL 
  • 2017 - Series of serious medical issues and surgeries. 
  • Nov. 2019 - Bought a house in St Augustine, FL - No more RVing due to medical stuff.

A few notes may be useful here:

I generally take care of most repairs and upgrades to the rigs. A few issues have taken some $$ to remedy 

Truck: (I Paid for service of these items)

  • Replaced Water Pump (incl)
  • Replaced flex exhaust coupling twice (get Stainless the first time this goes bad) (incl)
  • $1600 - Electrical problem:  Bad pin on ECU connector.
  • Replaced muffler  (incl)
  • Replaced 1 cab airbag and air fitting (incl)
  • Transmission heat exchanger leaking oil. Removed and blocked. (incl)
  • $760 - 4 - Michelin Recaps for rear Tandem
  • $600 - Replace Slave solenoid on Clutch
  • $6700 - Design and build Bed for Smart Car
  • $450 - Bought Ramps to load Smart Car onto the truck.
  • $518 - Replace worn U-joint carrier on rear of front axle.

Work I did:

  • $140 - Replace fan motor in Dash A/C unit
  • $  60 - Replace Wiper Motor
  • $345 - Install BrakeSmart trailer brake controller in F350. Later moved it to Volvo and converted to air brake system from hydraulic system.


  • Dealer installed 3 dexter torsion flex 7k axles and 8k brakes.
  • 6/2006 - $ 740 - Replace all tires after 3 blowouts of originals
  • 9/2013 - $1200- Replace all tires after 2 blowouts
  • Replaced the following:
  • Both Furnace motors
  • Hot water heater (upgraded to precision temp tankless demand heater)
  • Refrigerator - Put in Residential Refer when Norcold died
  • Water Pump - Upgrade to Variable flow 5.6 GPM
  • Thermostats - Upgrade to Wireless Radiothermostats
  • Kitchen Sink - Upgrade to a stainless single large bowl
  • Kitchen Faucet - Upgrade to a much taller unit for better clearance
  • Bath faucet
  • Showerhead - Upgrade to WaterPik
  • lavatory faucet - Upgrade to handheld head
  • Toilet - Upgrade to taller stool with hand sprayer and easy change seals
  • Added electric fire log set under TV
  • Upgraded to flat-screen digital TV
  • Replaced carpet in Main living and kitchen with Allure Ultra PVC Cherry flooring.
  • Sealed roof end caps, slide-out seams, sky lite, vents, and plumbing vents with Eternabond tape and sealant.
  • Installed UHMWPE sliding pads under the curb slideout floor to make it slide easier. The kitchen slideout also could use these installed. 

At present:

  • some windows have fogged
  • May need some new awnings in a few more years
  • The roof EPDM is still ok but the time will come when it will have to be replaced.
  • The rear ladder is a little crunched.  Made a great tree-finder when doing a blind back-in.
  • Need to replace one wheel side skirt broken by flailing blowout tire.
  • Kitchen slideout rollers need some greasing/ oiling
  • Curbside slideout had motor magnetic brake fall off which keeps it from creeping when traveling. Only ever moves a few inches, though.
  • Bathroom lavatory faucets drip - I have the replacement valve cartridges available.

Choices we made:

The biggest ongoing issue for most RVs is water leaks, both external and from plumbing issues/failures and the internal structural damages they may cause.
For this reason, we chose the KOTR 5th wheel with an all-aluminum superstructure so if leaks happened and went undetected no structural integrity would be compromised. The difference in thermal characteristics is minuscule compared to the $$$ to repair structural damages and we have been ok in -19 below and 105 degrees above zero.



Clifford: 2000 Volvo HDT:

No comments: