Living in 8 tons of Love – Life with Ms. Lucy

Sunset in the mountains of Western North Carolina

Sunset in the mountains of Western North Carolina

Since May 10, 2012, we have been living in Ms. Lucy, our 1988 Holiday Rambler 35 ft. Alumalite RV.  She has sheltered us from the rain, the wind, the heat during the summer and the cold so far this winter. Even tho’ neglected for at least a decade, she has been faithfully repaying our attempts to restore her by amazing us with her capabilities.  – For example: when we purchased her, the Previous Owner said that her LP heating system didn’t work. According to him, the blower didn’t “fire up”.  We were apprehensive thinking of going through an entire winter with only 2 radiant space heaters. So, reluctantly, we tested her heating system – an LP gas system with floor vents and a blower. And, . .  as reported, her blower did not “fire up”.

Not one to give up easily, Bill took out a removable panel and we cleaned the furnace compartment, then we pulled up all of the floor vents, and cleaned  the vent grates and ducts as well as we could. Then, with the vents and panel back in place and we tried again – BINGO – Ms. Lucy produced heat!! She has been reliably heating the RV for us ever since and her thermostat (which at first had to be manually turned off and on)  has become more functional and reliable with use too.  We can now get a good nights sleep knowing that Ms. Lucy will keep us warm (but not too warm) through out the night. Of course, before using the furnace overnight, we got a reliable C02 detector!

The shower, unusable when we first got Ms. Lucy, now gives us a first class high powered  shower! Bill replaced all the old PVC tubes and pipes, the plastic faucets with brass & chrome, and the antiquated old hand held shower head with a spiffy new adjustable oxygenated head that can is incredible. Ms. Lucy responded with her excellent and very quick LP Gas Hot Water Heater that provides more than enough hot water for an invigorating shower with a good 90 second blast at the end.  I’ve yet to figure out how this can happen with a 6 gallon capacity, but it does, day after day!!  Fortunately, I have never been one to stay in the shower for half an hour at a time, and our youngest (who was famous for her ability to drain an entire 40 gallon water heater of every drop of warm water during her marathon showers)  lives on her own now!!

Ms. Lucy still has her original “Atwood” Wedgewood stove and oven, both of which work beautifully. She turns out a great roast, and countless loaves of Sourdough bread, baked chicken and enormous pots of soup, as well as the occasional frozen pizza, with ease.

Bill has just gotten a Multi-meter (see previous posts by Bill) and has begun the process of testing out all of the circuits and fixtures. He has already brightened up the dining area by rewiring the main overhead light fixture making it functional again and is working on replacing all the old style lighting with LEDs both inside and out. Ms. Lucy was originally designed to use vehicle back up / turn signal lights for her interior illumination. (She is a 30 amp. Rig ) So updating her lighting is a huge improvement.

We have a lot more fun to go, with the biggest expense being new tires all the way around. She takes HUGE tires – 8 in all, and they are not cheap!!  Since she was not driven much over the past decade, the tires aren’t particularly worn – but they have aged from exposure to the elements. As many RV owners know, unless you travel extensively, RV tires usually rot before they wear out. So . . .  before we are truly mobile, we need to replace most of the eight tires.

Cosmetically, she needs some paint work done on the outside, especially on the hatch doors and on her “nose”.  She has an aluminum body, so there is no rust!!! Just weathering and checking, which I can hand sand and re-paint, incorporating some Celtic designs along the way!! Inside, we are planning to renovate her dining and “living room” areas to maximize the space in ways that will work better for our own life style. We are also replacing the carpeted areas of the bathroom and bedroom with  vinyl flooring which is much easier to clean and maintain – as well as being healthier for the allergy – prone.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Ms. Lucy was built with quality and designed to last. She is truly a grand old girl and we are technically the fourth owner. The original owner, took very good care of her and kept detailed records of her repairs. When he died, his family inherited her, and she sat idle for a few years, when he finally sold her to the fellow who had her prior to us. So although the first owners used her as a vacation vehicle, maintained her well and enjoyed her very much, I don’t think she has ever been as loved and cherished as she is today. – I realize that there are some people who think that a machine is just a machine and to impose human characteristics on a machine is a coping mechanism called personification.  I disagree.

It has been my experience that once in a while, you come across a machine, that just has a little extra something – perhaps it was made with care and quality, and well taken care of. But that special machine, seems to absorb the care and affection you give to it, and to respond back with more than expected. Ms. Lucy is one of those machines.


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