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Everything posted by TBUTLER

  1. Atwood 8520 Furnace Won't Start

    The sail switch on our furnace is easily accessible. It is in the fan housing mounted on the side toward the outside opening. I think it was four screws to remove the cover from the fan and the switch was right on that cover. The coach isn't in the driveway right now so I can't give model and year information. Ours failed once and I had it replaced by a repair shop. The second time I removed it myself. I was showing Louise how it worked, flipping the switch, and a ball of fuzz fell from the switch housing. I put the same switch back in the furnace and it is still working today, something like ten years later. Depending on your furnace, it might be a user serviceable or replaceable part.
  2. On our way...

    Very nice account of your return to the RV lifestyle. I hope you keep writing, even after the "new" wears off the experience.
  3. With fond memories of our last convention in Gillette, WY we have jumped at the chance to register for 2018. The facilities were excellent, we enjoyed the various trips offered and had a lovely time. I used the link on the e-mail announcement to get to registration. I looked for a way to access registration here on the website but couldn't find it. I guess it will surface sooner or later. Louise and I are going to try working the welcome committee this time. We're looking forward to welcoming you to Gillette in July!
  4. Lack Of Air Pressure

    Less than 15 hours from problem to solution. What a great crew this is!
  5. Do you have Internet in your RV or do you use Wi-Fi when available at parks, restaurants and stores? What is the best way to stay connected online? This question came as a personal message to me from a new FMCA member. I am posting my answer as a way to offer up our solution to internet connections and to allow others to respond with their own ideas. Probably the best internet solution is to have your own satellite connection. You can put a big dish on top of your rig and get a direct satellite link anywhere you go... but you have to be parked for it to work... and you have to have a big budget... I checked satellite connection prices and the units with installation run about $4000+... And the monthly rates seem to be static at about $100 per month. I don't have that kind of budget and I'm not running a commercial operation so can't justify that kind of expense. Also, the set up when you want to use the dish is more time consuming. The dish has to search to find the satellite and then establish a connection. Not convenient for a quick check of the weather while stopped at a highway rest stop. So as you might guess, we don't have a satellite connection. Our own personal best solution is to use a combination of methods to access the internet. What works in one place may not work in another so we have: 1) cell modems, we use T-Mobile because their rates are lower (and they are slower than Verizon or AT&T), cell modems work on the go, you don't have to be parked. I can check the internet while driving down the road, even in some really unexpected places like I-80 in nowhere Nevada! The cell modem is our most useful and common connection, it seems to work almost everywhere. By the way, the Verizon and AT&T modems work at higher speeds but mostly in urban areas, you will likely find them running slower in many of the places RV'ers hang out. Their networks are getting more robust all the time but it is a slow process and they may never reach Yellowstone NP or Glacier NP! One big drawback is that we can't afford to use the cell modem in Canada. Rates for roaming in Canada are outrageous so we lose this form of connection when we are there and we sorely miss it. 2) wi-fi, we recently added external modems with higher power output and an enlarged antenna (see my post on the forum, Internet to go). Wi-fi is so much faster than cell modems that it is our preferred connection if we can get it. Since we have the cell modems we won't pay for wi-fi in parks unless the cell won't work there. The quality of wi-fi varies extremely from park to park. I don't see that changing any time in the future. Things will get better but you still find parks that have bad electricity so I'm sure their wi-fi will never be great. We pretty much ignore the wi-fi at restaurants, coffee shops, etc. When we use wi-fi it is usually in RV parks. 3) dial-up, we still maintain a dial-up account for those few places where neither the cell nor the wi-fi work. We use earthlink because it has so many local numbers available nationwide and we can get 800 service when necessary. We also like earthlink because it has a very effective screening process that has almost completely eliminated spam from our e-mail. We are encountering fewer and fewer places where dialing in is necessary. Still, I use the internet for all my financial activity, statements, payments, etc. so I can't afford to be stuck without service entirely for any length of time. When we started full timing almost eight years ago, this was our sole means of connecting. We got the cell modem about a year and a half later and about a year after that wi-fi began to become more common. What does all this cost? We are paying for two T-mobile modems, about $80 per month total, wi-fi is free when we can get it, the dial up account is about $20 per month, so we're spending the same $100 per month that the satellite service would cost, just haven't coughed up the $4000 for the initial equipment and installation. We could eliminate one of the T-mobile modems but since I went to Windows Vista, we haven't been able to link our two computers together for internet service through one modem. We used to be able to do this before I began using Vista. We could pass one modem back and forth but my wife uses her computer actively and she needs to be connected at will. We have both become quite spoiled, being able to use our computers connected to the internet in the RV. We now find it tremendously inconvenient to have to leave the RV and go somewhere to get internet service.
  6. That is pretty much my point. If you are taking money you have stored away, you have to consider the returns on that money which you are giving up. In the case of current returns in the stock market, that would not be a good exchange unless you have a horrible interest rate on our motor home loan. If you have money in a savings account, sure withdraw it, I don't know where you can get a return on savings or even money market accounts that equals a loan interest rate. But then if your savings account is your emergency fund, you are giving up that level of security that you have built up. Come one emergency and then you have to find a loan at the going rate. You could secure it with your home or with your motor home.
  7. I'm interested in the details of "self financing," how exactly do you do that? Where exactly does that money come from? Savings, retirement plan, investments?
  8. Paint Checking: 2005 Monaco Executive

    No insurance won't cover that - unless you smash into something! I decided not to try that! I'll wait to see the result before I make any recommendation. Dealings with the shop have been shaky at best. I expect to see the result in the next few days. I'm going to stop by the shop this afternoon to see the progress. Last visit it was primed and ready for paint.
  9. Water Pump Inoperative

    Lighted switches will continue to work as a functioning switch even when the indicator light fails. Find the 12V fuse panel in your coach. Your owners manual should have information on where it is located. Fuses should be labeled and are usually easy to pull and examine. If the fuse is good, put a test meter on the incoming line to the fuse to determine if power is arriving at the fuse. If so, pull the switch and test it for power. If you have power through the switch then it is time to go back to the owners manual to determine where to find the water pump. Take your test meter and check the power supply at the meter (be sure the switch is on). If the power is good to the pump and you have determined that it isn't frozen, the the problem must be a failure of the pump.
  10. Paint Checking: 2005 Monaco Executive

    On our coach it is the deep red accent that shows checking. It is made worse by buffing or polishing. It is the kind of thing that you really only see if you examine the coach up close. The integrity of the paint isn't affected, no peeling or discoloration shows on our coach, now 14 years in service. The 3M coating on the front of the coach is a different story. Our coach is in the shop right now having the entire front cap repainted.
  11. Weather Cycles

    On the bright side, the days are getting longer, nights are shorter and each day brings us closer to spring! Happy New Year!
  12. Slide Canopy / Water & Snow

    Our coach has a winter kit installed. There is a heating pad under the fresh water tank and an electric heater built into the compartment where the waste tanks and the water connections are located. The water pump and other water distribution is located in the same compartment as the water heater and the inverter which keep those warm. So some coaches may be not for winter, ours is well equipped to withstand normal cold weather and some sub-freezing. I wouldn't want to subject it to constant below freezing temperatures without some additional basement heat. Use of the heaters does require at least a 30A connection or the generator to operate them.
  13. Prince George, BC To Washington State

    Yes, that route is good for RV's. If you don't have the Milepost, you might consider getting one. This guide is revised every year and gives current information on road conditions, fuel, food and things to see. You will be with a tour group but it also covers all the route to get to and from Alaska and is a guide for those parts of your trip as well. You may also find something of interest you would really like to see on that day when the tour group doesn't have something planned. It is a great guide to making the trip to Alaska and we will have one anytime we are on our way to Alaska.
  14. No matter where we go, we're home! A second motto applies to our winter residence, "You're never too old to have a happy childhood."
  15. Do You Have A Motorcycle With You While RV'ing?

    No motorcycle, sold it when we went full time. No longer have the bug but I still recall some great rides. St. Louis to Lake Havasu City, AZ one year for spring break, cold, rain, flu. Snow on the roadsides in Flagstaff, great to get into the desert and smell the flowers. Met Louise's mother for first time. Rained all day the last day returning.That ride proved Louise was a gamer so I married her that winter. Just celebrated 25 years last week. Mississippi River, River Road, St. Louis to headwaters, Lake Itasca in MN, crossed the Mississippi on every bridge going both directions. Fourth of July in campground in Minneapolis. We're in a tent, some idiot built a campfire with several wood pallets. Flames 30 feet high! Nearly drowned in storms on the way from St. Paul, MN to Wisconsin. Spent that night in a motel with a hot tub. Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox standing guard outside the motel. Crossed border into Canada and couldn't get Canadian Pike in restaurant because there was no shipment from US because of the 4th of July holiday! Poured water out of our boots on the way to the Corvette Museum, Bowling Green, KY. Visited Mammoth Cave, rode through Thoroughbred and Bluegrass country to Louisville and KY Horse Park then froze all the way back to St. Louis. I went out for pizza while Louise soaked in a hot bath in hotel on way home. Hauling pizza and beer on a motorcycle! Rode to Hilton Head, SC to visit Louise's oldest daughter. Summertime, hot weather all the way. Spent considerable amount of time working on bike! Did a weekend tour of Missouri wine country, came home with a case of wine in the saddle bags. Loved staying at biker motels. Then I took up flying! More great stories...
  16. Slide Canopy / Water & Snow

    I have often thought of making a PVC pipe frame to insert under the canvas cover on our slide outs. I've never done it but this would be light weight, could be push together and take-apart for easy storage. I would use an inverted T to support a single pipe under the canvas. For longer stretches you could insert several inverted T's to support a longer stretch of pipe which would establish a peak or simply prevent sagging. I think the latter might be the better approach as a peak drains both toward and away from the sides of the coach. We had a heavy snowfall on our coach one winter, six inches on the roof. It was several days before I got on the roof to clear it. The slide out covers were completely flattened on the slide out roof. The following summer, the large slide out snapped a spring. I lay the cause of that on the extended time that the spring was at max torque. It could be a coincident but it is the only time I had a spring break or should I say a broken spring. As a teacher I had regular spring breaks!
  17. Glacer NP To Vancouver CA

    Then the AllStays Camp and RV (phone app or computer linked) would be an excellent resource for you. They have extensive listings including city parks and out of the way small spots that allow RV parking. They also have all the Walmart locations and indicate those that allow and don't allow overnight parking.
  18. Portable Soft Water Units

    What an interesting observation. I hope that you asked your dog about the taste part of this statement!
  19. Portable Soft Water Units

    After years of enduring hard water we purchased a Travelsoft water softener in the fall of 2013. This isn't the blue in-line filter that you see some people using. That is simply a water filter. The Travelsoft water softener is a real water softener that works the same way a household unit does. It requires salt, crystal, not pellet as you have to feed the salt through a 1" opening. A charge of salt will last several weeks to several months depending on the water where you are staying. One of the primary driving forces for us was the water at our daughters home. They have a deep well in Missouri limestone and the calcium from the rock is a significant part of their water. People in our Texas campground, now home, said that water was soft water but when we put a Sears home water softener in our mobile home, there was a real difference. I transport the water softener in the storage compartment next to my water/electric compartment and pull it out and hook it up in a few minutes. One hose from water supply to water softener, another hose from softener to water input for the motor home. I have always used the quick connectors for our water connections so the number of connections is never a problem. I also carry several additional lengths of hose for the occasional long distance water supply so that also isn't a problem. When finished I shut off the water at the supply spigot, release the pressure with a drain at the bottom of the water softener and that also drains it as I'm unhooking and storing hoses. You don't have to drain it to store it but it makes it lighter to handle. Still, it will be 31 pounds, I have the model 1200 which is the smallest. It can be stored/transported lying down, it measures 21 inches tall. I get a 40 pound bag of crystal water softener salt and carry it in a plastic container. I keep a two charge supply of salt under the kitchen sink and when that runs out, I dig out the container with what remains in the bag and refill my small container. We are out on the road in late April or early May and return home in October so that works for the long haul. If you were vacationing using the small container would last you for a month or more. It takes six pounds of salt to recharge this softener. We have used this for four seasons now, I use this at every stop, even a single night stop. Besides conserving soap for shower and laundry, soft water also leaves less residue around water fixtures and on the shower walls, etc.
  20. Glacer NP To Vancouver CA

    That looks like a great trip and the time of year should make for some interesting sightings. If you have time, I would suggest continuing on north from Jasper to Lake Louise and then to Jasper. We found all the national parks along here to have full hook-ups for RV's available. We were able to get reservations on short notice at each one of these locations. There are great hikes all along the way and plenty of wildlife to be seen while driving as well as hiking. Don't overlook Waterton Lakes National Park which is the Canadian park adjoining Glacier, just across the border. We saw more wildlife there in a single day than in Glacier in a week. There is a great hotel there, stop and get lunch. It could be a good spot to start and end a bike ride as this park is less mountain and more valley. We hiked extensively around Lake Louise and enjoyed a great serenade by alpenhorn or alphorn, outside the Fairmont Chateau at the lake. Continuing north you will travel a part of Hwy 93 designated the Icefields Parkway. The highway continues on to Jasper National Park and the town of Jasper. At Jasper we took the Skytram and hiked the high country. Called to return as a storm approached, we had lunch at the Summit Restaurant, sharing a booth with a group of Canadian college students and enjoying the thrill of a mountain thunderstorm at a table under a glass roof. We bicycled among a herd of Elk and luxuriated in the warmth of Miette Hot Springs. I'm not sure what the weather would be here in September, if you were there in late August, weather would probably be excellent. Out of Jasper if you head west on Hwy 16 through the mountains then south on Hwy 5 to Kamloops, you are on your way to one last treat. Heading west on Hwy 1 out of Kamloops to Hwy 97, just a few miles north on Hwy 97 is the turnoff to Hwy 99, The Sea to Sky Highway or as you would be driving it, the Sky to Sea Highway. This will take you to Vancouver. This is a scenic road, not to be rushed and you won't be able to. It is two lane and has a short section of switchbacks, nothing our 40' coach with Trailblazer in tow couldn't handle. There is plenty to see along the way so allow several days on this road. Sidetrips for your trip might include Calgary where the Stampede is held in July. Drumheller, east of Calgary, has a the Royal Tyrrell Museum, a spectacular dinosaur museum. South of Calgary is the Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site. We arrived and parked in the parking lot for RV's and were met with a golf cart ride to the entrance where a Native American (First Nations) group was performing native dances in costume. The site has a great visitors center and trails. You can also visit the site of the Frank Slide which occurred in 1903 and buried part of the town of Frank. Ninety people died in 90 seconds as the summit of Turtle Mountain tumbled down on the outskirts of Frank. The interpretive center has great displays. Parking is limited but we found parking for our rig with car in tow on the weekend of the grand opening of the interpretive center so I'm guessing you should have no problem. RV Park Reviews has campgrounds in Canada, with reviews of people who have visited. We have also used AllStays Camp and RV, the phone app for the US sites and the web site for the locations where we don't have phone service. AllStays also has reviews and covers Canada as well as the US. I find their scope of campgrounds much more comprehensive but some of their listings are not RV or full hookup sites. They are very good about indicating the type of facilities and their features. Whatever route you take and places you visit, I'm certain you will enjoy your trip.
  21. Prince George, BC To Washington State

    Hey, thanks for the reference Carl. We took Canada 99 going N to Prince George. Known as the Sea to Sky Highway, for you it would be the Sky to Sea Highway! It is a great trip unless you have had your fill of scenery and remote travel in Alaska. We found interesting stops along the way north from Horseshoe Bay where there is a fantastic mining museum (Louise and I both enjoy mining and industry sites). We stopped to rest at a lake, lots of logs along the shore. We watched and heard an otter devouring a large fish, crunch, crunch, crunch, yummy with crunchy bones. Each town along the way has something to offer, great experience. Going south, take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island because, hey, when will you ever get a chance to get there again? The Dingy Dock Pub in Nanaimo is a unique and excellent place to have lunch or even better, a sunset dinner. Beautiful scenery and more on Vancouver Island, spend a day around the Provincial Museum in Victoria, see Buchart Gardens, absolutely spectacular, it's another day experience. Spend a week on Victoria Island. You can catch the Blackball Ferry back to the mainland, Port Angeles, on the Olympic Peninsula or take the Canadian ferry back to mainland Canada. Either way you will make your way back to I-5. We also loved our time on the Olympic Peninsula, plenty to see in the National Park and along Hwy 101(small and curvy, take your time) on the Hood Canal (not a canal it is really a fjord carved out by glaciers) on the way south to Tacoma where you pick up I-5. Diesel was never a problem as long as you don't mind the prices, now discounted with the exchange rate with Canada being what it is. When we traveled to Canada in '06, the exchange rate was in their favor. Now, 99 is not interstate highway. There is a short but snaky section which would be downhill going south and it is two lane all the way. We loved that part of the trip, would not have wanted to miss it. We did all this with the 40' coach in the signature below, towing a Trailblazer EXT.
  22. New Mexico, Carlsbad and Albuquerque Areas

    The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville is a must see attraction at Christmas. It is a monster Marriott Hotel, shopping center, open air restaurants and more, all within a six story atrium (indoors). The whole place is decked out with outrageous decorations, Christmas trees, lights, and garland. Miles of garland, ornaments that are 10 feet tall hanging from the ceiling, Christmas trees 20 feet tall made entirely of poinsettias. You will have to pay for parking (not cheap for RV's - stay in an RV park and take the toad or a taxi to save on parking) but once inside, it is free for the seeing. Spend as much of the day as you want, have lunch, enjoy stretching your legs for a while.
  23. Furnace Performance

    You have to remember that the furnace is heating not only the air but all the cold furniture and the walls and ceiling. If the outside temperature is really cold and if the insulation in the coach is thin, you could be losing heat to the outside through the walls and ceiling. All RV's are not insulated as a house is. We have a 40 foot coach and one furnace. It sometime takes 20 or 30 minutes to cycle off for that kind of temperature change then will run again shortly. This may repeat for several hours until everything (walls, floors, stuff in cabinets, clothes in closets, etc.) has warmed We have good insulation and double pane windows except the windshield. Do check the functioning of the furnace but don't expect home performance from an RV furnace.
  24. Need Side Camera Parts

    Safari was part of Monaco at the time your coach was manufactured. You could contact them and see if they can help you. Their customer service line is 877-466-6226. The line is still active, ask for the parts department. They may have information on your coach and be able to help you get replacement parts. When I have called they always ask for the last six digits of the Mfg. serial number (not the VIN) If that doesn't work, you may have to try salvage yards. There are a number of them devoted to RV's that are located around the country. The link here will get you to an extensive list of those salvage yards. You can also search for other articles regarding salvage parts by putting that in the search slot on the FMCA forum page, top right. Specify Topics under the search criteria (on the left) and that will get you dozens of discussions on salvage parts and possibly some other references. The salvage yard, Colaw, is widely used by people that I know. They do ship parts and stand behind them if there is a problem.
  25. Full Timing Annual CG Fees

    I can't argue with you, we're having a cool spell right now. I cancelled out on golf today, rain showers and cloudy skies. Sun and 70's tomorrow. We had a touch of snow, just white on the top of the grass, Friday, December 8. That was our first real cool spell for the winter.