Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Scoopy Gets Road-Ready

When last we blogged of our adventures with Scoopy, we were celebrating our first RV-style Thanksgiving holiday in a wonderful lakefront setting with our entire family of five in attendance. It seems like forever ago, and I guess it was, because here we are nearly three months later and we have not spent another night in our beloved home away from home. That would, under normal circumstances, make us very sad, but the past few weeks with Scoopy have been anything but normal. We do miss her dearly, but lately, she's been very busy and has had little time for us!

As you know, Scoopy is a beautiful and well-maintained rig, but beyond the routine care and keeping, she also appreciates a bit of extra attention. Not just a cut and color, but a new style. Perhaps a little nip and tuck, a bit of Botox here and maybe some Juvederm there. And why not? She works hard and she deserves it. So let's just say that for the past few weeks, Scoopy has been enjoying a well-deserved "spa" vacation, m'kay?

While at the spa, Scoopy's modified sine wave inverter will be replaced with a new Magnum 2812 pure sine wave inverter, along with four brand new Lifeline AGM batteries. These upgrades were necessary to support Scoopy's new residential refrigerator, a stainless steel 18 cubic ft. Samsung french door model. She'll get a few more electrical outlets, a new kitchen faucet, a few LED lights, some new shelves, and a few other minor upgrades here and there. She'll also get a new Thetford Aria Classic china toilet, which is a huge upgrade from the Thetford 135 we had in Alfred Hitchpop. We used the T-135 mainly as a wine cooler and bedside table, so this changes everything!

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Linda inspects our residential fridge.            Our spiffy new faucet.

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New LED lights are installed above our kitchen cabinet and living room.                                                       

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A toilet that fits our requirements!           Removeable separators.       4 brand new Lifeline batteries.

Additionally, Scoopy's new companion, Toadie Hopper, a 2013 Chevy Sonic, will be fitted with a baseplate and wiring so the two can travel together harmoniously.

During our time in Scoopy over the last few trips, we paid extra attention to anything that seemed as though it could use some attention or an upgrade. We made a very extensive list and before we turned Scoopy over to the RV Spa, we emailed them our list. They took each item very seriously, and now when we call in and identify ourselves, we hear, "oh, you're the six-pager". Yes, we have six detailed pages of stuff for them to check out. I tell you that for a reason. Before we even adopted Scoopy we knew we wanted a residential refrigerator. When I researched shops in our area, I came across one in particular that caught my attention, Auburn-Kent Valley RV Center.

Auburn-Kent Valley RV Center. If you are in Washington and need repairs – go here!

I went to the "About Us" page, and this is what I read:
A long long time ago and far away (but not really) we used to work for a small RV dealer (that is true). That dealer came upon some financial difficulties and decided to close their business. Then we thought, well, now what? Since we all liked working together and knew each other so well we thought that maybe, just maybe, we could start up our own repair center and stick together.  Looking at the alternatives it made sense. We could sit around and collect unemployment or do something about it ourselves. We looked and looked for property but everything we found was either too big or too small.  Then we talked to the landlord of the space we used to work in and lo and behold he needed someone too! Well, we worked out a deal and then we moved in. We cleaned and we painted and we cleaned and we painted some more.  It took awhile to get the word out but thanks to our customers they have been more than helpful in spreading the word. We have been busy ever since. We give thanks every day things have worked out allowing us to stay together and stay employed in these hard times and we feel we are on the right track. So now you know!

How can you not appreciate that story? So I fired off an email and asked whether or not they could install a residential refrigerator. The owner, Tami, forwarded my email to Jeff, asking if he could reply to me with details. Jeff replied, and from that moment on, we were bonded. Consider this: we had not yet adopted Scoopy, yet Jeff sent multiple and detailed responses to my "newbie" questions. He even offered suggestions on storage and maintenance. It was months later that I contacted him with our detailed list. Let's just say that when the time came for us to choose a "Spa" for Scoopy, there was no doubt.

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Jeff shows us the back of our old fridge. Some mild burn marks could have been a problem in the future.

It was sometime after that we checked them out on and found that Auburn-Kent Valley RV Center is not only tied for the greatest number of reviews, but also for the number of most "excellent" reviews in the entire state of Washington. I have every confidence that when Scoopy checks out of her stay at the spa, our review will put them in first place.

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Scoopy will be glad to be out of rehab!

Were there items on our wishlist that we didn't get? Yep, a couple or three. But we learned a lot in the process of trying to make these changes.
Captain's Chairs:  We wanted to upgrade Scoopy's captain's chairs to new one that included integrated shoulder seat belts. What we found out was that the manufacturer of Scoopy's chairs, Flexsteel, will only provide replacement chairs if they are exactly like the existing ones. Apparently, it's a liability thing. So the only way we were going to get new Captain's chairs with integrated seat belts was if we purchased used, or an off-brand. Let's just say we saved ourselves about $3k by crossing this item off our list.

Early prototypes for the captain’s chairs. Sadly we could not make it so.

Dishwasher: Don't be throwing shade at me for this one - I will not even apologize for trying to get this upgrade in Scoopy. I hate washing dishes. I was absolutely willing to let go of our propane oven if I could replace it with a Fisher-Paykel dish drawer. Anyway, it didn't happen. The oven and stovetop are connected, and if I want a dish drawer I have to replace the entire stovetop. I was still thinking about this when Steven piped up and promised that he would be my dishwasher. Each and every reader of this blog is now my witness, so let's not ever let him off the hook.

Back-up camera: Before trading in Ace Yukon for little Toadie Hopper, I was totally reliant on my back-up camera. I felt it was vital to have one in Scoopy. Yeah, nothing changes "vital" to "luxury item" faster than an outrageous price estimate.

In the end, to (mis)quote Mick Jagger, we may not have gotten everything we wanted, but we absolutely got everything we need.


  1. We have certainly been enjoying our new residential fridge. You will also.

  2. So exciting!! I love seeing the photos (and thanks for the prior long email - I love reading about all that stuff). You are replacing two of the things that would have been next on our list: the refrigerator (residential, way to go!) and those annoying little lights that got so damn hot! You mentioned in your email that you decided to wait on a few changes (the built-in dinette and "Steven's area") until you actually live it if for awhile. Good decision. I often thought about how to re-configure both those areas, but couldn't give up the under seat storage or decide on a better configuration for the area behind the passenger seat.

    And, BTW, Steven will be keeping up a wonderful and loving tradition... Odel ALWAYS washed the dishes (an still does). :)

    We are SO GLAD that YOU two bought Scoopy. It is wonderful to see her kept up as she deserves. Can't wait until you retire and head out - we have so many happy memories and know you will enjoy your travels just as much.