Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Making Phannie our Own–Creature Comforts

We humans are really programmed differently, aren’t we?  The comments on my recent posts—which I love getting—reflect the diversity of thought and opinion that makes us all part of a fascinating mosaic.  For example, it hadn’t occurred to me that some folks would have a disdain for air conditioning and consider it a necessary evil, but I can certainly understand the desirability of enjoying fresh air when you can. 

For us here in Texas, it’s hard to remember what cool, fresh air is like.  The problem is that there isn’t any during the five months that constitute the main travel season.  The reason it’s not fresh is because our wind is first routed through hell and then out over the landscape, parching it like a giant hair dryer.  That’s why Amarillo isn’t a port city on the Gulf of Mexico—the hellish wind has dried it up!  And that explains why we added the third air conditioner to Phannie and why we would probably call a wrecker if it went out.

We actually admire those rugged folks who ignore the harsh elements and do things like drive with their windows down on a July afternoon in Texas.  There is a certain cachet, I suppose, in leathery skin and crow’s feet that imply durability--like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Old Testament, for example; they certainly could have used some cool air!  I suppose we would have survived had we lived before Willis Carrier invented air conditioning in 1902, but who would want to?

That brings me to some other creature comforts that we added to Phannie.  When the coach was built, Tiffin installed two sleeper sofas that faced each other across the center aisle. This configuration is great for visitors, who could look directly at each other while chatting, but not so great for watching the TV, which is installed in the front end of the coach.  Being prone to getting a stiff neck, I instructed the dealer to remove one of the sofas.  Then we found, at Dillard’s, two euro-style swivel recliners—perfect for TV watching and snoozing (something we seem to do more and more often).  They’re very comfortable and easy to move around as needed.
In this photo, the slides are in; when they’re out, it’s much roomier for the recliners.

The next item to be dealt with was the mattress in the bedroom.  It’s hard for me to imagine why Tiffin would put such a sorry mattress in a multi-hundred thousand dollar motorhome!  It’s even harder to imagine how the previous owner endured it during the time he owned it.  In readying each of the RVs we’ve bought, one of the first things to go has been the mattress; it was no different with Phannie.  We found a newish technology Serta I-Comfort king to our liking, and the store delivered to Phannie and took away the thing that it replaced: You really couldn’t call the old one a mattress; it was merely a rectangular object upon which you could place a bedspread to give the appearance that a bed was underneath.  I'm fairly certain that sleeping on it would have been fatal.

Finally, there was an issue with the, uh, toilet.  Shockingly, the factory had installed a model whose bowl could not be filled with water after flushing.  We had never seen that before and, well, let’s just say that’s not acceptable and let it go at that.  We ordered it replaced with a top-of-the-line porcelain unit that works as one accustomed to indoor plumbing would expect.  We’re still scratching our heads over that strange toilet installation, wondering if it had something to do with the fact that the Tiffin motorhome factory is in Alabama.  (Just kidding; we love Alabama and Alabamans!)

We are readying for a shakedown cruise on Monday; I have an all-week training course in Oklahoma City, and we will let Phannie and Mae stretch their legs as we get more familiar with them.  I'll be posting a bit more often for the next few days during this trip.


  1. Good luck on your maiden voyage, and I agree toilets need water, how would the dogs get a drink if they didn't have any. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna......

  2. Whoa! I was just catching up on blogs and look at all of the changes here!!!

    Congratulations! And, welcome to the motorhome world. We wish you many happy, trouble-free, safe and COOL miles.

    We look forward to hearing about your maiden voyage to OKC. By the looks of things, you're going to get a chance to give your genny and those three ACs a good workout.

    Safe travels!

  3. I often wonder if any of those RV builders ever spend any time actually living in one of their own products. Seems like if it looks good on paper it is assumed everything will be honky-dorry. Of course all of we folks who actually live in & drive these things know better. And design flaws & problems do not seem to make any distinction between a higher end coach or a lower end one. They all have their annoying foibles. And, some have silly toilets by the look of it.

  4. Having lived the first third of my life in the Hinges of Hades (not Texas), I can identify with the temperature trials you describe. Get yourself to the cooler regions asap. Phannie and Mae might appreciate it too.


  5. Good luck on your shake down cruise. You two must be so excited. We can't even image why a toilet would be made that can't be filled after it is flushed. So strange. Your chairs look nice and comfortable! Good job!

  6. Mike, my friend, you just continue to crack me up. Have a safe trip and enjoy the time in a beautiful air conditioned motorhome.
    Sleep in your comfortable bed and make good use of that new toilet.
    Well, I didn't know any other way to say it!
    Twin Fountains is a fine RV Park in OKC.
    Enjoy your new RV.
    Hugs to you and your lovely bride!
    E & M

  7. Sounds like you may be just about finished with the improvements you need. Good luck on your first trip with her and "stay cool".... :-)

  8. three air con' lounge chairs and a new mattress!..sounds like perfection to me!..enjoy your maiden voyage!!..I am sure there will be tales to tell when you return!

  9. Love the blog. You and Sandy have a safe trip. Can't wait to hear all about your adventures!
    See you both soon, Archie

  10. It sounds and looks great.

    Be ready for the HEAT in Oklahoma. We are back in Texas right now and it is cooler here than in OK.

    Travel Safe

  11. The toilet still has me stumped. Makes no sense as to why they would have a toilet without water in it. I definitely agree with you on mattresses. And we got rid of a futon thingie in our motorhome and bought Jim a recliner cause his neck really gets stiff trying to watch tv at an angle. Have a great time going to OK. You'll sure find out if those air conditioners are going to work or not.


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