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April 08, 2006

Watch RV: The Makeover Live!

Space dilemma
Friday, April 8, 2006, 1 p.m.

The overnight debate at RV Rescue revolved around a familiar dilemma for RVers: how to manage best with limited space. In this case, the question was how to make the bathroom work best with the bedroom redesign. Options included taking out one wall and substituting a curtain when needed for privacy, or cutting the bottom half of the wall and letting the bed extend under it. The solution (as of this hour!) ended up being neither, but a plan to cut off part of the door to make an angled entrance across the corner of the bathroom.

Meanwhile, the slideout crew from Lippert Components was getting all the mechanical components in place as the crowd kept a watch on the progress of “the hole,” which also conveniently provided an inside look at the motor home. There, progress could be seen with the priming of walls for a new covering.

Another point of debate was the placement of the refrigerator, which may involve the repositioning of wiring and other elements. The crowd witnessed the first exterior changes to the motor home as the prep work for both the front and back of the motor home was completed and the paint cans opened. A white vinyl wrap was also starting its way around.

Other sponsor crews got into the act today, including a tow hitch installed by Camping World and wheels and tires installed by Workhorse Custom Chassis.

The ever-present crowd was kept entertained by the ongoing patter of Don Woodard and Bob Williams, who also kept of stream of door prizes going out.

But with the start of the exterior wrap and the interior redecorating, suddenly the project was starting to look doable. “Pretty neat,” said one passerby.

Afternoon turns into Demolition Day
Friday, April 7, 2006, 7 p.m.

Today was Demolition Day at RV Rescue. Crews literally ripped into the ’84 motorhome, leaving only cabinet bases, a few cupboards and the lavatory walls intact. And those are soon scheduled to be altered.

The biggest challenge was “getting everything done with everyone in there,” said Melody Rose. The 27-foot motorhome got pretty crowded as walls came down, beds came out (the back window) and even the shower was hauled out. But the crowded working conditions also meant more hands on deck, and by mid-afternoon a pile of discarded parts was growing high outside the Winnebago.

Finding out that the new refrigerator needed four more inches of space was an unanticipated wrinkle. But hey, no problem — just cut through the neighboring closet from top to bottom and bingo, you’re ready for a refrigerator. Oh, and you have to move this vent. Minor detail. “We have a can do attitude,” said Claude Legare of RV Mobile Service. About the only attitude you can have with this venture.

The biggest crowd attraction was what Don Woodard predicted in the morning: cutting a chunk out of the street side of the motor home just behind the driver’s compartment. This was a job for the “Bling Team” — the nickname given to the metal fabrication crew from Lippert.

It began with a round of careful measurements. The Bling Team already had the shell of the slideout prefabricated, so there was no margin for error. Then the power saw went to work. The outer layer of aluminum came off and the crowd perked up. Then came the insulation and interior panel in one big chunk – the crowd applauded. Suddenly, with a huge hole in the wall, the motorhome seemed to have more space. It certainly made it easier for the crew — and the RVtoday camera crew — to get in and out.

Melody also had her challenges — some of them from the RV Rescue crew. One of her creative touches was to eliminate the bottom part of the lavatory wall to accomodate a new bed dimension. But a crew member suggested eliminating the entire wall and creating more space in the bedroom. The paneling from the wall could be reused elsewhere. The pros and cons of the move moved around the circle of crew members but Melody ended up getting her way.

And, toward the end of the afternoon, the hints of things to come were starting to appear: brackets for a new microwave; a cutout for pass through storage trays; metal framing for the slideout opening.

“Boy, that went fast,” said one crew member as supper time came in. And, at this hour, it’s still going fast.

Tarconish family introduced to The Rally crowd
Friday, April 7, 2006, 12:45 p.m.

"What are they going to do to it?" That was the question on everyone's mind as the crowd at The Rally gathered around the RV Rescue area asking questions of RV Rescue designer Melody Rose and other RV Rescue team members this morning. By the time of the 10 a.m. introduction of the Rescue project by host Don Woodard, people had filled up the stage area seating and crowded along the fence surrounding the RV Rescue area.

"This is a one-of-a-kind event," said Don. "You're going to have to see the hole they're going to cut in this thing. I told them I'd like to do the cutting." Don was referring to the slide out to be installed by Lippert Components that will be among the major improvements to the 1984 motor home.

Don also introduced the Tarconish family — father Ed, mother Barb, and children Jake and Emily. "I hear you're big Penn State fans?" Don asked. Led by Emily, the Tarconishes let out a "Yeah! Whoo whoo!"

The "miles and miles" when they went to Indiana was Jake's reply to the farthest they had ever driven the motor home from their Pennsylvania home. "A more comfortable and newer motorhome" is what Ed said he was hoping for. Barb wouldn't mind some newe curtains.

John Waters, president of Dometic USA, thanked all the participating companies for contributing to the makeover and noted the great venue for the makeover at the Daytona Speedway — very appropriate as a place of great innovation that created a lot of new products, the same that Dometic bringing to the RV industry.

And some special "helpers" were also introduced by Don — Mike Tarconish and Teressa Hartzell, the younger brother and sister of Ed. They were also part of the initial interviews conducted by RVtoday TV host Stew Oleson.

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