A year ago, my 10-year-old son and I set out on an adventure that ultimately was not the adventure we’d planned on having. This taught us a few things, not the least of which was how to make lemonade from lemons. It taught us that “plan B” is just as valid as (and often better than!) “plan A”. And it taught us that plans have a way of – well – getting in the way of the moment. So – we rearranged last winter’s plan and enjoyed it very much, and then we came home to family and friends, and embarked on a new year.
In July we found another Rialta – an older one this time, but in far better shape on the interior. The exterior is – well – showing its age, let’s say – but then again, so am I. Perfect! The price was impressively low, necessary for our consideration, as we’d spent a fair portion of our adventure money on the previous winter’s plan B. It did have a few issues, but none that have dissuaded us — yet.
One minor issue was the fact that the engine wouldn’t start. This was only an issue for about a month while Evan and I researched and consulted with other owners of aging Rialtas and, with the help of good people who love to help others, (big gratitude here!), we proceeded to work our way through the fancy Volkswagen electrical system, and we finally identified and pretty much resolved the issue. By “pretty much” I mean mostly. As in – it usually starts, and if it doesn’t, we know what to do to correct that minor glitch. So that’s not gonna stop us. And if it does, we know how to hot-wire the engine if we must. 🙂
The Rialta did have a few aging issues, as we all do. Created in 1995, a few of its amenities were no longer youthful or charming. We set about a little bit of a re-birthing here and there, but there really was nothing that a little paint and some new flooring couldn’t handle. Evan chose the paint color, and he chose the areas that would be painted. The mind of a ten-year-old is creative and fun, so – why not?
I think he did a great job.
Here are the colors before the painting:
And here are Evan’s color changes:
We also set about removing old, well-worn carpeting.
Here I have a hard-working little helper removing the old stuff!
THAT was a job and a half:
Here we have finished the cleaning up of the old flooring and we have cut and laid the luan subfloor:
And VOILA! We have a new floor that is now not only fresh and clean but also capable of being swept of little-boy crumbs!
Before we did the floor, we found that the refrigerator wasn’t working. That little problem demanded a lot of research and more help from a friend willing to text suggestions. Unfortunately, I had to remove it from its nest to work on it. That was hard, but nowhere near as difficult as returning it to its nest!
That behemoth of a refrigerator wasn’t working properly mostly due to the aging of one tiny portion of its inner workings.
See those slits rusted over from 20 years of moisture? That’s a burner tube, and those slits need to be wider so that the thermocouple (the metal rod next to it) can do its job. Or something like that. Or maybe nothing at all like that. But for some reason those slits needed to be wider.
So now they’re wider.
And then the little burner box around it needs to be sealed with some special high-heat silicone stuff, and the exhaust pipes re-wrapped.
This probably would have taken a few hours if I’d known what I was doing – which I did not. But after about a week of working on it, we put it back in with help, tried the refrigerator again, and lo and behold – it worked!
There have been a few other things we have had to work hard on over the past several months, most of which we’ve been able to resolve. We do have the original generator, a Generac NP-30g, which is 20 years old and only has 27 hours on the clock so in essence is sort of brand new, but we haven’t been able to convince it to work. That, however, has not been for lack of trying. Here’s Evan trying:
Since repairing the generator isn’t worth our limited funds, we’ve decided to forego that repair.
I did pay professionals to repair the important stuff. We do have all new tires and brakes, for example. But we have learned so much in this process. Perhaps the greatest lesson has been the importance of persistence.
Here we’ll show you around our little “house on wheels”.
Evan wants you to see our “telescoping” bathroom – it slides out from the wall to make a little room, complete with shower, and then slides back in when not in use. The sink and table fold up:
Here’s the so-called “dinette” area that magically turns into Evan’s bed:
And the front bed which is created from the rear captain’s seats:
A little area in the front where we can play card games and such:
The kitchen, which REAL RV’ers tend to call the “galley”:
And a view from the back to the front:
We are pretty much packed now, (Evan’s fishing gear included!) with the exception of food and Evan’s stuffed animal friends whom I expect to be hanging out all over the RV throughout the trip. That will make it our home.
All we need to do now is roll on down the road.
Today would have been my mother’s 95th birthday. Evan and I spent the day bringing special birthday treats to those of her close friends and relatives who were available to visit, whether in a nursing home, assisted living facility or in their homes. All agreed that she would have been our greatest champion for this adventure, cheering us on and – most likely – wanting to come right along with us.
So – we will pack up her spirit of adventure, her love of life, her passion for joy, and her deep and abiding respect for the bond between mother and child, and we will set off on the day after Easter – the time of the new covenant.
We would be grateful if you will remember us in your good thoughts and prayers.
If you see this, wave: