Our Itasca and The Projects

January, 2015

The evolution of our Itasca:

Our Big Blue has evolved from its original white with graphics to the coach below. Our first change was to have it painted but I simply couldn’t live with the aqua color of the new paint job. I began checking around for another solution. Someone suggested I look into “wrapping” the coach, and I liked what I saw.
2015-1-22c2 Big Blue lookin' good in Fresno


December, 2015: The old manual patio cover was a hassle to operate so I almost never used it. I decided that we needed a new, power awning that I could actually use when I wanted to, so I had this one installed. They offered only one blue, and it turned out to be such a great match that it looked custom. Now, with the push of a button I can power out the new awning when I choose to. What a great improvement!

2014-7-8d at Little Crater window view
The very cozy interior with lots of room in just a 30 foot coach.2012-10-8a big screen working!
The TV down where it belongs for easy viewing.

2015-1-22d Big Blue lookin' good in Fresno

Commercial vehicles with  lots of advertising on them are almost always vinyl wraps. I liked the style of the full body paint option on the 2005 Winnebago Journey motor homes, and decided to follow that pattern and one of the color combinations. I missed the colors a bit with a brighter blue than the colors I tried to copy, but I think the result is waaaaay more attractive than the aqua colors. I asked the company that wrapped the coach to put the name Big Blue on each side, and now our coach has a name: Big Blue. I like it.

I didn’t get the coach looking this good without a lot of hassle. The outfit that applied the vinyl did a lousy job. Their attention to detail was horrible and I had a lot of additional work to pay for to correct their sloppy work. I created a page of photos on this site that shows how poorly the work was done. Check it out here then scroll down to “Vehicle Wraps”.
2015-1-24a2 me 'n Big Blue at GuajomeYep. After a lot of frustration and waaay too much $$$, I’m finally pleased with the look of Big Blue!

2015-10-26a Thanks, Mr. Sam

A sign I had made to show my appreciation for all the free nights in the safety of Walmart lots. Yes, indeed, Thanks, Mr. Sam!

October 27, 2014

Here’s our Itasca before the poorly chosen paint scheme:2014-5-13d road side diner

 …and after:2014-10-27d coach done

2014-10-27c coach done

The new look that I couldn’t live with. Still, I really liked that Begone sign – the painters did a fine silk screening  job.

It was a timely decision to have the coach repainted; it’s a 2006 and the years had been hard on the vinyl graphics and they were beginning to fray. Thanks to Craig, our son who owns a large finishing company, for the paint job. While  I couldn’t live with the colors, it was my own fault for choosing them. I thought I chose light greens. One neighbor said he sees green, but I see light blue and aqua and so does almost everyone.

It was a shame that I picked such lousy colors because the employees at Craig’s business removed all the  lower storage doors, the back bumper, and other items to paint separately and did an excellent job.

September 9, 2012

Our “New” Winnebago Itasca!

2012-9-9 coach a

2012-9-9 coach ePresenting our 2006 Itasca coach! She’s the Sunova 30 model, with just 15,000 miles. I guess the challenge is to put 100,000 miles on her, too!

It was time, nearing 100,000 miles on the odometer, to begin looking around for another coach. Then, when the tire separated on the last trip and caused $6000 in damage, I got serious about getting a new coach. (The story of the incident is on the “Oceanside July 2012″ page here: http://coachpotatosrvsite.synthasite.com/oceanside-july-2012.php.)

After much research and shopping, We settled on the Itasca. I seriously considered a diesel for the first time, and seriously rejected the idea once again. A diesel just doesn’t pencil out. But for our Itasca, as engines go, the improvements include the new V-10 3 valve version with 362 HP, a big increase over the 310 HP of our 2001 Rexhall. And also included was the five speed automatic transmission instead of the old four speed. Driving the new coach home two days ago, I discovered that it is higher geared and I hoped to see an improvement over the 8 MPG average of our Rexhall. I’d be happy to see 8.5 or 9 MPG. Time will tell.

March, 2014: Time did tell and we get 7 to 7.5 MPG overall with the Itasca. I reckon that 52 HP increase in power costs a bit more gas. Even so, after a year and a half, and having rolled up 15,000 miles on her since we purchased her, we are very pleased!

She offers some nice amenities we didn’t have on Ol’ Rex. The water is always hot when we reach our destination because the engine heat is plumbed back to the hot water heater while underway. That’s a nice touch. We also have our choice of using shore power or propane to heat our water when parked.

We also have discovered that the dual pane windows make quite a difference in heating/cooling. She is very well insulated and it shows during hot or cold weather.

The automatic jacks are a nice touch, too. I simply press a button and she’ll set herself level. I always get a kick out of watching her do that!

One drawback is that she has less closet space than did Ol’ Rex, but we get by.

We really like the booth type dinette, too. We have had four seated at the dinette, but mostly it gives us lots of room for eating, or computing, or for whatever we need table or desk space.

And here’s hoping we put 100,000 miles on her, too!

We didn’t quite put on 100,000 miles on her, but we did put on 48,000 miles in about 4 years …

On June 8,2016 we sold Big Blue because we had purchased Cecil the Diesel and we darn sure didn’t need two RVs! 2016-6-8a bye-bye Big Blue

Bye-bye, Big Blue, we had a great time…

New Itasca Projects:

October 2012:

2012-10-8a big screen working!2014-5-2b coach woodwork

A new, 32″ flat screen TV sits atop a stand where a chair used to be. What was the overhead TV is now empty and covered with a panel.

It was impossible to watch TV in comfort in that ridiculous location. The smaller TV in the bedroom, which was perfectly placed to whack one’s head into during a nocturnal trip to the potty, was also removed. Now the new TV is down where it belongs and is very convenient to watch – just like at home. I’ll never understand why so many RVs come with TVs located above the windshield where they are so inconvenient.

Michelin tireAlso in October, in remembrance of the two separated tires on the last coach and the thousands of dollars in damages done by them, I had six new Michelin tires installed on the new coach.

A trip to Oceanside was planned soon after, and I was ready with six tires, all dated 2012, and the older tires, dated 2005, were gone. Faith in my tires had been restored!

September 2012:

After getting the new coach, setting it up to my liking was quite a chore for about three to four hours every morning the first couple of weeks. I had to get into and out of the coach during those summer mornings before it got too hot.

One improvement I added and really liked on ‘Ol Rex was the curtain behind the cockpit. I kept the curtain and the hardware to hang it when I sold her, and hung it back up in the new coach:
2014-1-16z cheers after a long day's drive
Here’s a later photo while on a trip to Texas that shows the curtain drawn. It gives us privacy without having to mess with the windshield curtains and it makes the area to heat or cool smaller. It is also very quick to close and open, unlike the windshield curtains.

Next, I installed the XM and CB radios. I blacked out the bedroom windows with aluminum bubble wrap to keep it nice and dark in there. I have ordered a new flat screen TV to mount in front of the couch where it belongs.  With the help of Dish TV I got the satellite TV working fine. I installed the cockpit curtain to isolate the cockpit from the rest of the coach to make it easier to heat or cool while driving. And of course it took some time to get all the stuff from the old coach loaded on the new one.

2012-9-15a dash upInstalling the radios was made easier with Itasca’s flip-up dash board. That sure beats working behind the dash from the floor!

The lift-up dash is convenient, but the dash sure does rattle and bang on rough roads, and there are many here in Kalifornistan. A secure tie down of some sort should have been engineered into it. As it is, I use rubber snubbers to help keep it from banging around. 

2012-9-15b XM installed


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