Our New Home on Wheels
Updated: Apr 19, 2022
On December 11, 2021 we picked up our Alliance Avenue 32RLS fifth wheel trailer. Five months before our scheduled departure across the country we brought our rig back to Sonoma County for functional modifications for full-time living. This shake down period was planned to work out the "bugs".
Our first week was tough (Herrick Vineyard Property)
Living in the rig for an extended amount of time really reveals what initial challenges need to be addressed quickly. We had no hook-ups when we arrived in Healdsburg on a Sunday night in the rain. Backing up the rig in the dark was a challenge in the best conditions. Well, I barely touched the rear of our truck cab with a little kiss from the Ally nose cap. No big deal because I stopped in time but we "baptized" our RAM 3500 and now know the limits of our turning radius,
The weather in the area was near freezing at night that week. Because our 2-6V lead acid golf cart batteries failed to provide enough 12 volt power to last we were cold throughout the night. Our interior was in the low 40 degrees. Plenty of propane for the heater, just not enough amps to keep the heater fan functional. Karen was not a happy camper. Not the warm bed she was use to when "glamping." Used our Honda 2000 generator to charge up the batteries every day with some degree of success.
Full hook-ups and our cat disappeared
On December 19th we looked forward to moving to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds with 50 amp service. Unfortunately, prior to packing and hooking up for the short ride south, our cat disappeared. Sully didn't show up all day and we were worried because he didn't come home for breakfast. He had a GPS monitor on his collar but I couldn't get any signal. We waited until the last moment but no Sully. We left him some food and planned to return to search for him after we got set up at the fairgrounds.
I had a scary moment after leaving our friend's property in Healdsburg. As I drove down Old Redwood Highway I suddenly realized that there was a railroad trestle just south of Eastside Road that I would pass under! How tall is the rig?! With Karen following behind me in our Toyota Avalon she watched as I drove under the 13' 11" structure. The 32RLS is 12' 10"....dodged a bullet.
We spent the Christmas and New Years holidays with friends and family in Santa Rosa until January 8, 2022. We had plenty of water pressure, electricity and full sewer hook ups. Nice to have an electric fireplace with heater, microwave, toaster and Keurig...very civilized. We continued to return to Healdsburg every day in search of our beloved Sully, but to no avail. Our next location was Westside County Park out at Spud Point, Bodega Bay, CA.
Westside Park (no hook-ups part 2)
We pulled into space #23 and set up. In addition to our Honda generator I pulled out our 100w solar suitcase panel and solar controller. We used the panel to charge the batteries during the day and augmented with the generator after sunset until the 8 PM quiet period. Much better luck with power management, but quickly realized a more efficient battery system was in our future.