My Fifth-Wheel RV

A Guide to Living the RV Life
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A funny thing happened on the way to the RV Dealer!

We are Ron and Phyllis Field and we reside in Wellington FL, which is a bit west of West Palm Beach. Our raison d'etre is to hook up our fifth-wheel trailer and go somewhere, nywhere, as often as we can.

Curiously, we never had any intention of buying an RV. We didn't need one, we didn't want one, and we certainly thought we couldn't afford one. One day Phyllis' brother came down to visit, and he drove his big 40' pusher that he had recently traded his old Bounder for. He had said he needed to go to an RV dealer to pick something up, I forgot what, so I looked up the closest dealer in the area and we took a drive there.

While we were waiting for him to do whatever he came to do, I started peeking around into the fifth-wheels they had on the showroom floor. One in particular attracted my attention so I went inside, sat down on the couch, looked around and yeah, you can guess the rest...

After a bit of haggling we became the proud owners of a new 37' Open Range 391RES fifth-wheel camper, bought right off the showroom floor!

Ok, so this story isn't unique, but it is certainly odd considering the fact that for decades had been avid backpackers. Bare minimum, essentials only, just what we could carry on our backs. We would spend days at a time hiking places like the Appalachian Trail, camping in the backwoods, staying by rivers and streams, and swimming under beautiful waterfalls.

One thing we liked about backpacking was the fact that we were essentially out in the woods by ourselves - no boom boxes, no beer coolers, no loud noises and very few people. The only things we wanted to see were animals and the only things we wanted to hear were birds and crickets.

Well, things have changed. Now we generally camp surrounded by other campers, and enjoy it, and unlike before when we were backpacking, we also enjoy having lots of other people around.

We've had our rig for about eight years now and have made lots of interesting trips. Since the trailer is getting a bit long in the tooth I have had numerous opportunities to address problems, and also make some custom modifications to the rig. This has become especially compelling since our rig's manufacturer, Open Range, went out of business a few years ago. It is next to impossible to find a dealer that will work on it now, or even provide parts. So we have been left to fend for ourselves, but have been surprised to find that many, if not most, typical fifth-wheel repairs aren't all that scary if you are wiling to do a little research and experimentation. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, or in this case, repairs.

Being a prolific documenter of almost everything I do [mostly due to my profession as a computer programmer] I have produced write-ups and diagrams about almost every system on our rig. A short time ago it occurred to me that other folks might also like to have access to the documents I have accumulated, as well as the knowledge I have gained, mostly by hook, crook, experimentation and lots of web searches.

This site is intended to grow, mostly because I intend to provide facilities to encourage user participation. When I get the blogs going, I hope that everyone will find it a convenient place to find out things, and even add their own comments and experiences.

Oh, one more thing. We have a Dodge Ram 3500 truck for pulling our fifth-wheel. Some time ago I ran across a photo on a friend's Facebook page of the very first Ram truck. Click here to see a truly vintage machine.


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Ron graduated from Georgia Tech and is a retired Windows software developer. His interests and activities have included scuba diving, sky diving (over 100 freefalls), tennis, and he holds a brown belt in TaeKwonDo karate. Ron has been doing long distance running (including marathons) almost all his life and has racked up around 11,000 miles along the way - almost half way around the world! Ron is tired now.

Ron is currently into doing website development, including this site. He developed this site in order to share the experiences gained working on his fifth-wheel. He has produced a plethora of documents and diagrams which can be found on this site, and is currently working on a collection of how-to videos to help you along in doing your own repairs and maintenance.

He loves crossword puzzles and has been doing a puzzle first thing in the morning for years. He is also a big fan of Merle Reagal's Sunday puzzles in the Washington Post. If you would like to see Ron's all-time favorite maddeningly diabolical crossword question and answer, click here.

Ron is also working on a new website for orchid lovers, motivated primarily by Phyllis' love of collecting and growing orchids. The site link will be posted here when it is ready, probably sometime in early 2019.

Phyllis is a retired real estate agent. Her interests have also included scuba diving and tennis, and she has even made a few skydiving jumps with Ron. She has played tennis for about 40 years. In 2000 her tennis team went to the USTA nationwide finals at Palm Sprints CA. She also did a bit of fencing when Ron was in the Air Force in Texas. She holds a 1st Dan black belt in TaeKwonDo karate. Yes, she outranks Ron, in more ways than one!

She loves orchids and currently has around 200 beautiful plants in her collection. She is also finding time to rekindle one of her prior passions - oil painting.

We also foster dogs. Over the years we have found homes for over 50 dogs and puppies. This has been a rewarding experience, and we will likely do more after the long trips are over.

Oh, and yes, the tiger is real!

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