Great first adventure in our 1982 280
We packed up the four boys (ages 3 months, 2.5 years, 8.5 years and 11.5 years) and headed about three hours away to Holland RV in Holland, MI to have seatbelts installed in A Silver Lining, our 1982 280 Turbo Diesel that we have now owed one whole week.
We spent the night in Holland RV's parking lot with electric and had a good night in the rain. The next morning we discovered a few minor leaks, the ice maker (which I'd fixed) was no longer fixed, our tailpipe had fallen off, and a few other issues. The service center was fabulous to us and gave us a minivan to use during the day so we didn't have to spend the day in their waiting room. Altruism or self-preservation? Regardless, it was nice to explore the area. We made a list for Mike, the manager in service and they got to work.
They were not able to put three belts on the back couch because of the generator below but were able to install one which is better than none. They also put one on each dinette seat and added a third to the front couch. Now we have plenty of seating options for the 6 of us and can separate the kids when necessary and we can place a carseat rear-facing for our littlest fellow.
The leaks were simply loose roof vent frames and a loose a/c up top (I think we'll eventually need a new gasket there, but so far so good). The chassis A/C is probably in need of major repair or replacement so we passed on that and did not have it charged. The ice maker is said to need a new harvester but has since produced ice again with no problem. I'll keep an eye on that and if necessary, I'll track down a harvester and replace it. Any advice on this, I'm all ears (eyes).
I think that was about it. We picked her up at 5 and headed to Holland State Park and had a terrific night. Campfire, meeting new camp friends, showing off our new Airstream, meeting a 1991 Land Yacht owner, and just enjoying being together and doing something different that did not involve video games or tv.
The negatives: The repair bill, although I'm sure fair, was painful. Adding the 4 seatbelts plus all of our add-ons turned into our first big chunk of change invested in the 280. Our toddler was somewhat maniacal but we're hoping he'll get used to overnighting in a motorhome and stop acting two years old soon. The baby and big guys did great and we're experimenting with sleeping arrangements. Hubby and I decided we do not need the custom addition to the back bad that turns it into a full queen. That's good news because the addition makes it necessary to climb over the bed to/from the loo and with two boys doing that during the night, it's not fun. It also frees up a closet that housed the additional wood-backed cushions. We'll hold onto them just in case, but for now, we like having a pathway to the bathroom.
Hubby did his first dump station and came out alive with no incidents like the RV movie which was our greatest fear.
So, that was our first trip. We plan to get to Airstream Factory in Ohio as soon as they'll take us to put in the front seats we picked up on Craigslist. We would like to do the same thing, go down at night and stay on the property to be there early, then find an RV park for the next night.
The stove worked great and I highly recommend the stovetop toaster we got at General RV in Mt. Clemens. For four bucks, it is great and easy and small to store. Toast was perfect, too.
We made a list of what we forgot and it's not that long. I'm sure each trip we'll add to it. We also hit a thrift store called Africa's Child in Holland and got a nice little Mr. Coffee that can mount to the wall and a few other little kitchen items. It has to be one of the neatest resale shops I've ever been in, but I digress.
What else? Great weather, nice state campground, excellent wide site with electric, near clean bathrooms that had nice, hot showers, nice little playground, all across from Lake Macatawa which is connected to Lake Michigan.
Thanks to all who contributed advice and suggestions--all have been helpful and useful.