TBUTLER

Members
  • Content count

    2651
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    44

About TBUTLER

  • Birthday 08/26/46

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Sandpipers Resort, Edinburg, TX
  • Interests
    Aviation, travel, photography, astronomy, hiking, bicycling, tennis, golf, bowling

Recent Profile Visitors

42164 profile views
  1. VIP(smart) Wheel Wiring

    At FMCA in Indy, they had a Prevost with the wiring compartment opened, no way to work on that, just go to the manufacturer and pull out your credit card. I was amazed that Talgutbir was able to trace the wiring through the spaghetti that exists beneath my dash.
  2. Bedroom TV Upgrade

    My solution was not as elegant as the fancy swing out mounts. We picked up a bargain (what was a bargain at the time) when Circuit City was going out of business. Floor model, fit inside the box. You can see results in my posting from many years ago here on the forum. Screen size is sacrificed but the increased resolution more than makes up for that. I had to use the base mount as the rear mounting apparatus on this TV was plastic. It would not have survived the frequent earthquakes we experience. With the space around the TV, I didn't have to worry about speaker location, it works fine in the small space of the bedroom and a viewing distance of about 10 to 12 feet.
  3. Can't expect everyone to be like you. Not many jobs where you can take weeks off from work. Would you vote to shut down FMCA for your idea of the holiday season (with pay for all employees)? Think of everyone working in the shops, stores, gas stations, police, fire and even the minister or priest, getting paid for the job. Louise is also Lutheran and she celebrates as you but works it into a busy life. And I wouldn't define beta testing the website as commercial exactly, it is volunteer work for a non-profit organization. Enjoy your holiday in the way you want, in this country you are free to do that - and all others are free to spend their time as they wish.
  4. RV Remodeling

    I attended a workshop at FMCA this summer. An excellent presentation by Master Tech RV showed a sample of their work. Presentation by the company owner and operator. Excellent facilities, high quality work. I had a water leak in our shower and used their tech's on site to fix that. They did a very nice job. They are located in Elkhart, IN
  5. Fridge Not Cold Enough

    You haven't indicated the model so what fits is a question I can't answer. We did our replacement for our Norcold 1200 in 2011. The link will take you to my post with information and pictures. There are numerous other discussions on this topic. As said above, a search for Norcold or for Residential Refrigerator will get you to some of the other posts. There are a variety of models that will replace that unit, most will require some adjustment in the cabinetry. You will get a larger refrigerator if you fill the space successfully as the rear part of the Norcold is devoted to the cooling equipment and the empty space needed to operate it safely.
  6. For sixteen years we have returned to the Rio Grande Valley, in the southern tip of Texas, each fall. We enjoy the mild winters and the abundance of recreation, natural resources and wildlife in the area. The December issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine is dedicated entirely to the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). This publication from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is an excellent resource for those looking for a spot to visit in the winter, perhaps like us, you'll find it to be just what you are looking for in a winter residence. In commemoration of their 75th year in publication they decided to focus on a single area of Texas and the staff decided that focus had to be on the RGV. They sent the entire staff to the RGV, housing them at Estero Llano Grande State Park south of Weslaco. Every article in this issue of the magazine is about the RGV; its people, nature, history and recreation. A one year subscription (10 issues) costs just $18.00. There are regular offers in the magazine for $12 per year and 2 years for $20. You should be able to purchase this issue at any Texas State Park. You can read any or all articles in this issue at: https://tpwmagazine.com/
  7. toad braking

    We have always had diesel coaches. Our braking system (Roadmaster's Brakemaster system) works off the coach air. When brakes are applied in the coach, the air pressure line to the toad applies pressure via a air cylinder to the brake pedal in the toad. The system is totally proportional (light braking in the coach causes light braking in the toad, ditto for hard braking). Also, the brake in the toad will not be affected by using the engine brake on the diesel coach. Inertial systems will activate when the engine brake is applied as anything that slows the toad will activate the inertial brake. Adjusting an inertial system may help but if it completely avoids this you will likely lose much of the braking assistance the system can provide. Having the brake in the toad on continuously while making a long downgrade descent will result in hot and worn brakes in the toad. Installation involves connecting the air line from coach to toad, snap connections at both ends, takes a minute or less. We have to install the brake cylinder, a pin connects it to the mount installed on the floor under the drivers seat and the other end clamps onto the brake pedal. The line from the brake cylinder to the incoming feed from the motor home is installed under the dash, another snap connection. We also have a break-away system which will apply the brakes if the toad happens to "take a left turn when we are making a right." Having the toad roaming free is never a good thing. There is a pressure storage cylinder (in the engine compartment of the toad) that will apply pressure to the brake in the toad if the break-away cable connecting the coach to the toad ever pulls the plug (a switch activator). That is an additional piece of the Brakemaster system but I consider it a very necessary given that we are traveling on public roads with other traffic. A free roaming toad will most likely destroy itself and may well destroy other property or kill other people. We keep a tote bag in the toad with the break-away cable and air hose. The six feet of cable and hose coil into a 12" x 1" space. The brake cylinder is stored in a storage bag that came with it. The cylinder assembly is about 18" x 3" overall. Depending on our situation, these are either stored behind the drivers seat on the floor or if we are staying in an area for a while or may have passengers along, they will be behind the rear seat in the cargo area of our toad.
  8. Firearms

    Ditto here. We were full time from 2001 until 2010, now travel all summer, winter in our mobile in Texas. Our current coach has 170,000 miles on it. We've visited every state in the US in the motor home, except Hawaii. We have visited every province in Canada except Nunavut. We don't stay in high end campgrounds or resorts, we do boondock occasionally, everything from Wal-mart to vacant property and rest areas. We have never had a single incident when we felt threatened. Louise will put the step cover in when we aren't in a campground. Given enough of us out and about, someone will have a problem from time to time but my experience says that it is very rare. When I returned from Viet Nam, I took great personal delight in being able to relax in the back yard and not be under the gun. Living in a peaceful land where being civil and kind to one another in a time of peace is one of the things that I am most thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
  9. I had to check my last blog entry to see when it was posted. It was September 6, not quite three months ago. Since then we have been on the go... We spent a month with our daughter and her family in California. Our granddaughters are growing up fast but a few golden moments still to go. We took them to a working farm. A 1940's version of a poor working farm. We slept in the rehabbed chicken coup. The girls fed the cows, gathered the eggs, bottle fed some really large calves, made friends with an aging bull that was as big as a house, well, maybe a chicken coup. The girls loved the tire swing and the adopted kittens. Thankfully they didn't ask to take them home. During our stay in California I spent several days communicating with everyone in government I could to convince them to get on top of the situation in Puerto Rico following hurricane Maria. My comments were the same that I heard from numerous others, this was an extreme circumstance. The nature of the island and the near total destruction was going to make recovery here much more difficult than any other area. Today as I write this, most of the island remains without electrical power and hundreds of thousands of island residents have left the island and come to the mainland US, mostly to Florida. There are many in and near Houston and throughout Florida who are dealing with the aftermath of Harvey and Irma yet today. They are so much better off than those in Puerto Rico. Roads and bridges remain out of service. Food and water are difficult to get in many locations. Huge numbers of people are living in what remains of their homes with no hope of secure shelter in the near future. Give what you can to agencies involved in hurricane relief. Our return trip from California has lately involved a trip north to Elkton, Oregon to the Oh-Ho (the Oregon House) for a week with the above family. This year they were off to Mexico and we got relieved of grandparent duty a week early so we made plans to attend an event we haven't been able to see in 16 years on the road. We were able to get last minute reservations with the Monaco International Chapter of FMCA to attend the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. I can spell it without looking it up or playing word check lotto - now. We invited our friends, former FMCA members, now without the big wheels, to join us at the Fiesta. Five days dry camping with four adults on board - and we loved it! The event is spectacular. We were parked four rows back from the launch field. Our gathering point for meals and socializing was right on the front line. I attended most launches and recoveries. I was hooked. If you attend, and if you love balloons for the flying or the beauty or the excitement of the launch and recovery, you will love it also. There were 550 balloons this year and most launched in the morning and returned by noon. The evening glow is fun, no flying but great chance to visit with pilots and crews. We left Albuquerque buoyed by the events of the five days at the Fiesta. We paced ourselves across west Texas and headed for Corpus Christi. Since 2012 I have been active in a group called Texas Master Naturalist. Formed from a splinter group from the Master Gardner group in San Antonio in 1998, the Texas Master Naturalist program has expanded to more than 40 chapters state-wide. Each year there is a statewide meeting of participants. In years past the meeting has been at remote resorts near interesting nature sites. As the size of the organization increased, the character of these meeting has changed. This year almost 600 Texas Master Naturalists gathered at the Corpus Christi Omni Hotel. I have attended several of these events and enjoy the chance to meet and talk with Texas Master Naturalists from other areas and learn about what they are doing. We spent the weekend of October 20 - 22 in Corpus Christi before making the trip to our winter retreat in Edinburg, Texas. So now we're home. Unpacking, cleaning up our mobile home residence, settling in to our winter routine. We have excellent lawn care during the summer but now that's my job. Lots of little things like having the air conditioner serviced, loading the refrigerator, turning on the DirecTV receivers, getting caught up with six months mail that has been stored. We have the letter stuff delivered but the rest sits in a container waiting for our return. I have created our bicycle ride schedule for the park, Louise has conducted her first book club meeting. Louise spend a weekend in Austin for her retirement occupation, the Texas Silver Haired Legislature, a senior citizen group organized to promote and look out for the interests of senior citizens. She is very good at this. So the holidays are upon us. We will bicycle South Padre Island Tuesday this week. We play golf on Monday, I bowl in a league (as a substitute for a friend) on Wednesday, Thursday is a day of leisure for me, my chance to mow the lawn. Louise plays cards with groups of ladies whenever she has a chance. Friday our park bowling league begins it's season with an organizational meeting. The weekend? This weekend we are painting the deck and porch. With luck, we'll have that finished tomorrow. I spent last Sunday helping band birds, a citizen science activity. We capture birds in mist nets, the birds are measured and weighed and tagged with a leg band and released. If or when they are recaptured, we learn about their travels, habits, age, and many other possible bits of information. It is basic avian research. The kind of thing that professional scientists are too busy to do. The professionals are delighted to have the data. They, their graduate students, and others use the data to increase our understanding of the life of birds. This is one of my volunteer activities for the Texas Master Naturalist program. I will attend a chapter meeting Monday night and will receive my re-certification pin for 2017. Re-certification requires eight hours of advanced training and 40 hours of volunteer work each year. Retired? Yes. How else would I be able to do all this?
  10. Freightliner Parts - Lower Cost & Great Service!

    Regarding Oasis dealers, this is what the Freightliner website lists as the distinction of Oasis dealers. They indicate more than 90 across the country. I have the 24-7 Direct app and it works great for finding dealers. The app lists all the services each dealer provides. "OASIS DEALERS The Freightliner service network includes more than 90 Oasis Network dealerships specializing in RV service: Dedicated motorhome facilities and service bays Specially trained service technicians Secure parking Amenities exclusively for motorhome owners To find an Oasis location near you, use the locator tool above, download the 24/7 app, or call 800-FTL-HELP." Now, given that, once on the app, any indication of the Oasis designation is missing as far as I can find. I can't tell but don't think that the app locates only Oasis dealers. Nor can I find any reference or search capability on the main Freightliner home page. This is similar to what I see with the Cummins Coach Care. There is a corporate attempt to make accommodations for motor home owners but the word never gets to the people who are designing the website or contact information. The RV facility designations tend to be pretty much stealth designations, hard to find. So you get the response Oasis... what?
  11. Anti Gravity Hose

    I've had numerous sites like this where the sewer connection is elevated either by the land contour or more aggravating is the elevated pipe. That seems to be a requirement in states in the northeast. With a fifth wheel, the sewer exits the unit at a higher level than in a motor home. No choice but deal with it - walking the hose to drain the last amount - or use the macerator. Sure hope the connections and the condition of the hose will prevent leaks!
  12. FMCA Plates

    The last time FMCA was in Gillette, we picked got an FMCA decal made by Simply Etched Stickers, now using the name Graphics on the Road. That was in 2013, still looks great! I put it on the front of the coach, above the windshield on the passenger side. I'm using the second egg on the ladder on the rear as the paint(ink) on the first one has faded. The cost was reasonable and they made them on-site. You could order one or two and not use the physical plate. I think they look much better than the traditional plate. This company also does all the fancy window decoration decals. Good people with a good product.
  13. Exhaust Brake & Lower Gearing

    On our coach, I just engage the engine brake and it will downshift automatically as the speed allows. If it doesn't slow the coach enough, then I use the service brakes to reduce speed. As it comes into range (RPM) to allow a downshift, it will do so. I watch the RPM and when it nears 2400 to 2500 for our coach, it is about to shift up to the next gear. Applying the service brake will keep that from happening if I don't want it. I have never had to use the up/down arrows to downshift, the Allison 3000 does it all. One of the keys here is to top the hill at a reasonable speed. When you see the steep grade sign, ease up on the throttle and coast over the hilltop. Then engage the engine brake before you start accelerating on the downgrade.
  14. San Antonio & Fort Worth

    Boerne, Texas is a great place to stay to see the San Antonio area. We spent a month at Alamo Fiesta RV Park there several years ago. Just stopped recently and friendly and nice sites as we recalled from before. From there you will have access to the "hill country." This includes some really scenic country to the east and west of San Antonio. You will be about an Hour from Austin and less than 30 minutes from downtown San Antonio. Catch a holiday parade in San Antonio if you can. The River Walk is a favorite of ours. There is the Mission Trail NP, a good place to get your National Parks pass. There are way more than three days of things to see here. Gruene has a great dance hall for boot-scootin'. Fredericksburg, the home of Admiral Nimitz, has the National Museum of the War in the Pacific. I like to use the AllStays Camp and RV app to find campgrounds and places to stay. They have all the Wal-Mart stores indicated for overnight parking or not allowed. It also lists everything from dump stations to fuel and repair shops. It has many small campgrounds that aren't listed in other resources. We also depend heavily on RV Park Reviews to find the right kind of park for us. Enjoy your visit and come back soon!
  15. Albuquerque Balloon Festival

    For those attending next year, we just returned from our first time this year. We are Monaco International members and stayed with that group in the campground just south of the launch field. We were a five minute walk from the field or you had the option to sit in the group assembly area and watch everything from that viewpoint, a few low buildings on the field block total view of activity. As Bill Adams said, morning activity then not much happening until evening. We had a great time. There is nothing like being on the field in the middle of all the activity as they prepare and launch the balloons. Then if the weather is right, many will return to land back on the same field an hour or so after taking off. Again, being right in the activity was spectacular. I was making a movie of a balloon coming right at me to land. I had to grab the tripod and step out of the way as the Zebras (launch and landing officials) ushered the basket to the ground. Nothing like being in the middle of it all. By the way, we were able to get tickets to attend in September, seemed to be less interest from the group this year. Even a few spots were left at the last minute due to cancellations. They were taking non-member and non-Monaco coaches, as long as you were FMCA, you could have had a spot there if your timing was right. It may be a trend, maybe just this year, but it could be a possibility to check in the future. These were really premier sites, dry camping, we were in the fourth row of motor homes from the field. I stood on the roof one morning and watched a balloon land about 100 feet behind us, just off the parking lot.