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My Essential RV Gear

Over the last few years, I've acquired some things that I feel are pretty essential to my safe and successful RV travel. These are not household items, camp site bling, or basic RV items like sewer hoses, water hoses, or electrical cords, but more in the tool and gadget category. This is not a complete or recommended list for other RVers. It's a list of the essential RV gear that I tend to use frequently and key items that I figure might save my bacon.

I'm publishing this list in the spirit of sharing the information on what I use. I purchased and use all of these items listed. I make no warranty as to how well they work, only that they work for me

Safety First Aid Kit - I made up my own kit. It's got band aids, gauze bandages, alcohol swipes, pain meds, cold meds, ointments, antacids, etc. I can get sick on the road just like I do at home. I keep it handy near the driver seat in case I need it if there's an accident. Fire Extinguisher - A no brainer, every coach should have at least one. Flashlights - I have a bag with at least 4-5 small led flashlights. This KJL LED Flashlight is super bright and can be used as a spot light. This one - Mini Cree LED flashlight is also bright and easily fits in a pocket. I keep a small mini Cree LED above my visor so its handy. I also keep one in my back pack/bug out bag and keep one in my bike bag to use at night on my bike. I just can't have enough of these things. Emergency Beacon Lights - I carry a set of Emergency Beacon Lights just in case I break down on the road at night.

Electrical Non-contact voltage tester - This is an essential item for checking for hot skin conditions, testing for current, and testing outlets. I use it every time I plug in the RV. Surge Guard - I use the Technology Research 34730 30 amp Surge Guard. It protects my rig for open grounds, open neutral, low voltage, and voltage spikes. Electrical pedestals get lots of use and the outlets get worn. I've had it work on electrical pedestals that have worn or broken outlets or a faulty breaker where its easy to have loose ground wires or poor connections. 50 amp to 30 amp adapter - I've used this quite a bit when the 30 amp plug on an electrical pedestal is bad or worn. I've also used it when a site only has 50 amp service. For me, it's a good back up item to have. 30 amp to 15 amp adapter - I use this when a 30 amp outlet isn't available. Electrical Connectors - I carry an electrical connector kit with a wire cutter / crimper tool. This comes in handy if I need to replace a DC appliance or fixture (alarm, water pump, light). Spare Fuses - I carry a selection of spare fuses for the coach and the RV. I haven't blown a fuse yet but have used these to help out other RV'ers who have blown a fuse.

Plumbing Water pressure regulator - I carry a couple of these items. Many campgrounds have high water pressure and I need these to protect the plumbing in my RV. Water Container - I carry a 3 gallon container to fill my water tank when a threaded spigot isn't handy. It comes in handy when boondocking or camping at festivals. Spare Water Pump - The water pump is one of the RV's most critical mechanical components. It's fairly easy to replace but may not be easy to find one for my specific rig if it breaks while on the road. A spare one is pretty inexpensive to carry.

Miscellaneous Temperature Sensor - I just got a Non-contact digital temp sensor. It's inexpensive, small, and easy to use to check the temperature of items like tires, hubs, and electrical components that can overheat. Tire Pressure Gauge - My RV doesn't have a TPMS. I carry long stem dial tire pressure gauge that can reach the stems of my dual tires. Portable Air Compressor - I carry a 12V portable air compressor that will inflate a truck tire. It's good to have if I notice an under inflated tire while on the road. Leveling Blocks - I carry a set of Lynx Levers and Lynx Caps for leveling my RV. Waste Cap - I've gone through a couple of these so far when the plastic tongs have broken. Another inexpensive spare item that I carry. Tool Kit - I carry a bag of basic tools with an assortment of screw drivers, pliers, nut drivers, teflon plumbing tape, and socket set.

To see a list of my technology gear, see the Tech Stuff page on my blog at http://jdawgjourneys.com.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. I earn a small commission if you use any of the Amazon links to buy a product. It doesn't cost you any more for the product.




italo

italo

 

Family

Why have Diane and I kept motorcoaching the last ten years and moving full time next month?

Here is the answer to that question:

http://www.myrandomviews.com/blog/family

-Gramps-

-Gramps-

 

Looking for your input and recommendations on our trip to the Grand Canyon and NM

My wife and I are planning our first major road experience in our new/used Fleetwood Excursion 39S. We want to start off retirement with a trip to see the Grand Canyon and New Mexico. I'm in planning mode, spontenaity doesn't come easy, and I'd welcome ideas and recommendations from veterans of similar trips.   We'd welcome your input on everything from sites to see, routes to take, restaurants to try, RV Parks, activities , events and special locations to visit.   We are starting out from Minnesota in late spring. My wife and I turn 60 this year so we should be up for most activities. Our coach will be ready to roll and we welcome hearing from everyone that's been there and done that.   Thanks!

Fmca-fleetwood

Fmca-fleetwood

 

Planning a Trip to Alaska

I am sure there are some of you all out there that have previously make the trip to Alaska. We live in Florida and would like to find a route from here to Fairbanks. I talked to a couple last summer in South Dakota
that traveled through I believe he told me Montanna into Canada. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Lex and Karen Cauffield
Lake Placid, Florida
Gulf Stream Tourmaster Constellation 45g
Jeep Grand Cherokee

medic103b@gmail.com

Cauffield

Cauffield

 

My Winnebago View - A Two Year Summary

It's been about two years, since I traded my 2012 Roadtrek 190 for a new 2014 Winnebago View Profile. In those two years, I've logged about 40,000 miles and spent over 300 days traveling in the View. The View has worked out to be a great motorhome for my travel lifestyle. It's small enough to be a nimble traveling vehicle. And it's just large enough for me and my wife to stay put for months at an RV park for the winter. I've had good luck with my View. Lots of people ask me how I Iike it so I figured I'd write about my experience with it over the past two years. I wasn't asked to write this, I'm not getting any compensation for writing this, and I don't have any affiliation with Winnebago or any dealer. I'm just writing this in the spirit of sharing my experience with others. What I Like Best Two things. First, I like that it's efficient. My fuel mileage averages right around 16.5 mpg. I travel about 20,000 miles per year. At my fuel mileage, that translates into about 1,212 gallons of diesel fuel. Using an average price of $2.40 per gallon, I spend about $2,900 on fuel per year. If I had a comparable sized gas motorhome, my fuel mileage would be about 8.5 mpg and I'd be spending almost double what I currently spend on fuel. Second, I like that it's nimble. The motorhome is small enough so I can pretty much go everywhere and stay everywhere. Because of this, I don't tow a car. When I stay put in Florida for 3 months, I travel around by bike, trolley, or rent a car for a day at a time, when needed. It's also easy to unhook the RV and drive to a store. What I Like Least I really don't have much to complain about. There are two things I can think of that would be nice to have. I have a model 24V with two twins beds that turn into a king size sleeping area. The bed is comfortable and I sleep fine on it. But, It would be nice to have a walk around bed with a regular queen size mattress. The second would be having a little more counter space for cooking preparation. It's tough to cook a big meal in the kitchen. The diesel engine does require some extra steps to resupply the DEF fluid every few hundred miles, but it's an easy DIY task. Problems My motorhome has been very reliable and I've had very few problems. When I took delivery, the refrigerator did not get cold enough and was replaced before I drove off the dealers lot. Some drawers also had to be adjusted. In the past two years, I've only had two failures within the motorhome. One was the spring on the refrigerator catch latch broke. I was able to replace this myself and the cost was a couple of bucks. The second was a pressure relay switch in the AC unit failed necessitating the whole AC unit being replaced. This was replaced under warranty. On the chassis side, I had some issues with the Check Engine Light (CEL) and the exhaust treatment system. I had several check engine light incidents which we believe were caused by bad fuel. I wrote about one of these problems here - The RV Breakdown Blues. One incident was caused by the DEF tank sensor being out of calibration. One other was caused by a bad NOX sensor, which was replaced under warranty. None of these problems caused any performance issues or caused the engine to stop working. I also had an issue where the Mercedes Benz key fob stopped working for the coach and passenger side doors. Winnebago replaced a wiring harness to fix a short in the wiring. This was covered under warranty. I need to have a Mercedes Benz dealer reset or replace the door SAM unit to resolve the problem. Maintenance I'm a firm believer in having all the scheduled maintenance performed. Every year, I take it back to the dealer to have all the appliances checked, burners cleaned, the AC unit checked, and have the propane system tested for leaks. This service usually costs me $250 each year. I replace the under the sick water filter every year, sanitize the water system twice a year, and flush out the hot water heater each year. I also do the winterization my self. I replaced the original two 12V dual propose batteries with two 12V true deep cycle batteries after two years. I got the replacements at Sam's Club for $80 each and installed them myself. The original batteries where working fine, but they were starting to discharge faster. I could have tried to get one more year from them, but decided to replace them before I went to Florida. On the chassis side, my 2014 Mercedes Benz 3.0L turbo diesel engine has a very long service interval - 15,000 miles for oil changes, 30,000 miles for a fuel filter, 40,000 for air filters, and 60,000 for transmission fluid. Some of these seem excessively long and being an old shade tree mechanic, I do the oil changes myself about every 10,000 miles. I can do an oil change for about $130. The dealer charges about $290 for this service. The fuel filter can go for 30,000 miles, but I have it done at 20,000 miles. It's easy to access but can be tricky to disconnect and reconnect cable and hoses. It's a $60 part, but I have the dealer to this for $300 parts and labor. The cabin and engine air filters are easy to change. They cost $20-30 each. I do these myself and save the extra labor that the dealer would charge. I also replaced the original tires at 36,000 miles. The original Continental tires had some tread life left and I probably could have driven on them for a few more thousand miles, but I wanted to replace them before going to Florida. I replaced the Continentals with Michelin LTX M/S2 tires. Here's a summary of my maintenance cost for the past two years; RV Appliance and AC Tests $396
RV Propane Tests $120
Water filters $120
Coach Batteries $160
DEF Fluid $150
Oil Changes (4) $631
Fuel Filters (2) $632
Air Filters $45
Tires (6) $1355
Total $3,609 So, for the first two years, all my repairs were covered under warranty at no cost to me. Routine maintenance was typical for the annual mileage that I drive (20,000 per year). I could have saved some (maybe $430) if I had stuck to the recommended service schedule. And, I could have saved some money by going with less expensive tires. Looking at these expenses caused me the question what my maintenance costs might have been for a similar size gas engine model RV. If I had a gas engine motorhome, I may have done twice the number of oil changes, but they would have required half the amount of oil that my diesel engine requires. So, my guess is that the oil change expense would have been about the same. I would have avoided the Fuel Filter expense and the DEF Fluid expense, but all the other expenses would have been incurred had I bought a gas engine motorhome. Summary Overall, I've had good luck with my Winnebago View Profile. I didn't have any breakdowns but I did have a few unscheduled trips to Mercedes Benz dealers to diagnose some CEL incidents. The coach part has been pretty good other than the AC unit failing. I think my experience has been typical of other View owners. Also, the dealers I've dealt with (both Winnebago and Mercedes Benz) have all been very accomodating and helpful. I like that I'm saving a lot on fuel expenses having a small motorhome with a diesel engine. Over two years, that savings is almost $6,000 compared to a similar sized gas engine model. That savings is substantial to me. Given the efficiency, nimbleness, quality, and reliability of my View, it's been a good choice for my travel lifestyle. You can read more about my travels at: jdawgjourneys.com

italo

italo

 

RV Thanksgiving: Feasting Large In Spaces Small

It was once suggested to me that celebrating Thanksgiving in our RV was an utterly ridiculous notion. “HOW can you prepare such a grand meal in such a small space?!” “WHAT on earth could you serve without access to a full kitchen?!” “WHO would ever want to join you on such an adventure?!” Never one to back away from a challenge, I am here to break it all down for you. Hopefully, by the end, you will be convinced that you, too, can have your own epic campout for your next Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving and eating go hand in hand. Good eating, that is. So if you are going to eat well, then you need to prepare it well. RVs are not known for their spacious kitchens, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make magic happen. You just need to be creative! The turkey fryer – The first time that I heard about this method, I was completely repulsed. Turns out that this way of preparing a turkey is DELICIOUS! The outside is crispy and the insides are super moist. But it's important that you take precautions. Do not do what anyone did . Or . If, after seeing these, you would still like to try frying your turkey, then you can use an indoor fryer or an outdoor fryer.
The toaster oven – Everyone should have a toaster oven. I have a full-size oven in my home, and my toaster oven is used far more. It just makes so much more sense when considering heat and energy output. Some toaster ovens offer fancy options while others are quite simple. These compact ovens are perfect for a batch of mashed potatoes, stuffing or baking a pie.
The slow cooker – This kitchen wonder saves my life every holiday season. Slow cookers come in all shapes and sizes, large and small. They can handle casseroles, ciders, breads, dips and so much more. One year we even used ours to cook our holiday ham.
The barbecue – No RVing adventure would be complete without the ol' trusty Bbq. There is something so wonderful and comforting about cooking outside over an open flame, and to do so on a holiday makes it that much more special. Have you tried barbecued turkey breast or grilled root vegetables? Divine!
I don’t know about you, but I like a Thanksgiving dinner that offers a lot of options. A few main dishes, a lot of sides and a generous array of desserts is the perfect ticket. The joy of holiday campouts is that you get to eat all of this amazing food for at least a few days. Meal planning is an important part of RVing, even more so on holiday weekends. I have thrown together a sample of what one of our Thanksgiving plans would look like: Turkey breast – to be roasted in heavy duty foil in barbecue.
Many types of sausages – to be cooked on barbecue.
Onions, carrots and celery – to be roasted with turkey breast on barbecue.
Stuffing – Prepare before trip and store in zip-top bag. When ready, empty contents into 9X13 pan and bake in toaster oven. When finished, remove and cover in foil.
Green bean casserole – Prepare and bake while stuffing is cooling.
Sweet potato casserole – Thanks to my slowcooker and Pillsbury. Works every single time.
Mashed potatoes – Make these ahead and freeze. When ready, pop in the microwave and serve hot.
Gravy – Heinz Home Style with some beef bouillon added for depth. Microwave and serve.
Cranberry sauce – Okay, the child in me still can’t get enough of the cranberry in a can action. You can have your fancy cranberries because mine are so awesome, they don’t even need chewing.
Buttered peas – Microwave the frozen peas. Top with a pat of melted butter.
Black olives – Again, canned. No Thanksgiving is complete without 10 olives on 10 fingers.
Pickles – Every year these make a showing on our table. They are small, they pack a punch and they have just always been there.
Cheese platter – This doesn’t need to be fancy. We like sharp cheddar, swiss, a soft goat cheese, nuts, fruit (dried and/or fresh) and some crackers.
Hawaiian Rolls – Always buy more than you think you’ll need. They go really fast.
Banana Cream Pie Jars – Banana pudding, Cool Whip and crushed Nilla wafers layered in a mason jar. YUMMM!!
S'mores – We kick these up by including peanut butter cups, Starburst (yes, Starburst), pretzels and caramel filled chocolate squares.
Spirits – wine, beer, Kahlua, Bailey's and bourbon. For sharing of course.
Speaking of sharing, this is really what Thanksgiving is all about. The camping community is made up of wonderfully adventurous, kind and lovely people who just want to have a good time. Mix that with a four-day holiday dedicated to food and fun and you have the recipe for epic memories. It is a beautiful experience to see how campers come together to share and care. The drinks flow freely, the food is never-ending and you are surrounded by people that become lifelong friends. I know a group of people who met for the first time at a campground’s Thanksgiving party in 2007 and have gotten together every year since. After all, tradition is what Thanksgiving is all about, right? So there you have it -- the how, what and who explanation as to why you should spend your next Thanksgiving in your RV. You don’t need an enormous space to create an unforgettable meal for your friends and family. While planning and patience are critical, gratitude truly is the most important ingredient for your ultimate Thanksgiving campout.

Roadzies

Roadzies

 

New at This

My name is Gene and I am new at this RV activity. I live in the Sacramento area but I am visiting my sons on the East Coast. While in Bradenton Fl. I purchased a 39 foot 2004 Sahara Safari. On or about the 15th of this month I will start my adventure home. I will be leaving from Yulee Fl. This should be an interesting trip for me lol, wish me luck
.
I joined this club hoping it will teach me a few things along the way. I have been a boater for 30 years and joining a boat club was the key to a great life of boating.

I am a 69 year young single man that is not afraid to try something new and looking forward to getting started on my trip home. I plan on stopping at rest stops and Flying "J's" for rests each night.
So if anyone out there has any tips for me, I would love to hear from you. I will take advice from anyone experienced in the RV world. Man woman child, whatever, lol.



Gene

genepopeye

genepopeye

 

Labrador - Part 3 - Rocky Road

Our trip through Labrador picks up on Sunday morning as we depart the Paradise River Rest Area. The bridge over the river is a long metal bridge and it was talking to us as the morning sun began to warm the cold metal structure. As the metal expanded there were occasional loud metallic bangs that echoed through the canyon of the Paradise River. We crossed the river and continued on our way.

Traffic on a Sunday morning was very light. I counted five vehicles in the first two hours on the road. The condition of the road was excellent for a gravel road. We made good time with few delays. Later in the morning the construction crews were out again and we had numerous short delays. We began seeing construction crews for a private company. They were assembling the poles for a electrical distribution line from a new dam being built near Goose Bay. Near the north end of Highway 501 we encountered paving crews. It was only the last 20 miles but we were glad to see paved road.

Highway 501 ends at Labrador Highway 500. A right turn takes us about 20 miles into Happy Harbor and Goose Bay. We stopped in Goose Bay for fuel. Fifty gallons of diesel at $3.53 per gallon (conversions from liters to gallons and Canadian Dollars to US Dollars) topped off the tank for the remainder of the trip. From Goose Bay to Labrador City Highway 500 is paved road in good condition. We left Goose Bay about 3:00 and got to Churchill Falls about sunset. We had hoped to tour the Churchill Falls Power Plant but everything we heard indicated that the tours were no longer available. The Churchill Falls Hydroelectric Power Plant is completely underground. The town of Churchill Falls is a company town, built to support the building and operation of the dam and power plant. We found a vacant lot and parked for the night.

The next morning we set out for Labrador City. The trip took about four hours with a short stop to take pictures of a black bear that crossed the road ahead of us. Arriving in Labrador City we found the Grenfel Hotel where we turned in the Satellite Phone we had picked up in L'Anse-Au-Claire. We had parked at a large parking lot for a shopping area just across the street from the hotel. It was now about noon so we had lunch in the motor home. As we were finishing our lunch there was a knock at the door.

Opening the door, I saw a couple, an older man and woman. They were just curious as to what brought us to Labrador City. This isn't a place that attracts many visitors. Labrador City is a mining town. We talked for a while, gave us some tips about the road ahead and answered several other questions for us. One of their tips was a suggestion for a stopping place for the night. There was really only one suitable place to pull off the road and spend the night. That was an abandoned mining town. The town had been a thriving town until the company decided to close the mine. With the stroke of a pen, the town disappeared. The only thing left are the streets. I looked it up on the internet, Gagnon.

Labrador City is on the western border of Labrador. Leaving Labrador City the road turns south and we cross into Quebec. As this happens the road becomes a gravel road again. In fact the road was now more like an operating mine road. The road was rough and heavy truck traffic was constant. We could manage little more than 15 to 20 miles per hour and we had about 40 miles to go. We had also been warned that the road would cross railroad tracks a dozen or so times. Most of the crossings were rough. Completing this gauntlet, we arrived at a stretch of paved road and made better progress.

We arrived in Gagnon shortly before sunset. The pavement divided into a boulevard with numerous side roads visible. Most of the roads are now overgrown with trees. All the buildings are gone, removed, salvaged, not decayed. The sidewalks are there, visible in places. This mining ghost town sits on the edge of a large meteor crater, Manicouagan which has been dammed up and now forms Reservoir Manicouagan. The crater measures 60 miles across and was formed about 300,000 years ago. The iron and nickel being mined in the area were likely associated with the meteor though I don't know that for sure. At any rate, the dam has produced a large circular lake which can easily be seen on a map of Quebec. The highway, Quebec Route 389, skirts the eastern edge of this crater. To the south of the crater the outlet is dammed by a dam identified as Manic 5. It is the first (or last depending on how you view it I guess) of five dams across the river on its way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It was the only dam we saw, the others are away from the road but there were signs for the road to each of the remaining four dams.

Quebec Route 389 is partially gravel and mostly paved. The road runs through rough mountainous terrain with curves, climbs and descents which makes for slow travel. The road is also heavily traveled by truck traffic in support of the mining and power generation industry to the north. We learned that signs indicating Traveaux meant road work or detour in French! There were many traveaux along the way. We drove from Gagnon to Baie-Comeau in one day which completed our exploration of the loop through Labrador and Quebec.

We had driven the entire route, approximately 1030 miles, in four days. Each of our three nights we boondocked where we could find a place to park. There were few places to stop and no tourist activities. This area is poorly mapped, our mapping program only shows the roads we traveled if we zoom in very close and then many of the features are not labeled. There were biting flies in the remote areas which made outdoor activities very unattractive. So why go there? I learned a lot about the area by simply seeing the terrain and activities along the route. This is a very remote area to visit and being able to tour any remote and little explored area is exciting in its own way. I would love to go back and spend more time if the roads were all paved and there were more facilities for tourists, RV parks, scenic viewpoints, information signs, and parks. I don't think these will be available any time soon and if they were, they would destroy the very wilderness nature of the area.

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

7 Favorite Finds and Our Best in Show From The California RV Show

The 63rd Annual California RV Show Going to RV Shows stirs up emotions for Ryan and myself. Mostly deep, dark jealousy, but we also like to mix in shades of envy and longing. No matter how many times we give ourselves the pep talk -- "We love what we have" or "We don't need bigger/better/faster" -- we always seem to fail at not saying, "OH MY GOODNESS I NEED THAT RIGHT NOW." Happens. Every. Time. This time I had a strategy and it was foolproof. Instead of going to the California RV Show with the intention of window shopping and drooling, I went with the objective of sharing my very favorite finds with all of you. This made it much easier for me to stay an emotional arm's length away. Well sort of .... The Most Luxurious RV Shower EVER Seriously? Look at this Four Seasons equivalent shower!! Cedar bench and flooring? My current bathing arrangement only allows for pinky sized travel bottles, whereas this shower you could have Costco-sized bottles AND someone standing there to scrub your scalp for you. I am not going to lie, I cried a little at such a sight. Blown Away Okay, the ceilings in this bedroom felt like we were standing in a cathedral. And at the top? A ceiling fan! I can't tell you how many times I have lied awake in our RV bed wishing that the air would move. I have tried fans, but between that roaring noise and Ryan's snoring, there is zero hope for sleep. However, a ceiling fan would move the air quietly, Ryan could relocate to sleeping absolutely anywhere else in the coach and I could sleep like a baby. Perfect plan. The Perfect Passenger Dash Abierto: Cerrado: This dash sang to me. I sat there opening and closing for at least 10 minutes. The dash and I bonded while I pretended to type on my imaginary computer while driving on an Alaskan Highway. We looked amazing together and every RV needs to make the passenger dash look like this. How Deep Is Your Love A few months back Ryan spent days remodeling our bathroom just so we could install a deeper sink. Turns out all we had to do was buy a new RV! I kid, I kid but I am happy to see that deeper, wider sinks are becoming a more standard feature in the coaches. No, You Lock It Up This feature might look tiny and insignificant but let me tell you that this refrigerator door lock is GENIUS. When we travel, our fridge looks like we are trying to keep bears out. God forbid Ryan needs a cold drink while driving because it will take me 20 minutes to untangle all of the mechanisms we put in place to prevent the door from flying open. This little door lock is brilliant and I hope that the inventor makes as much money in their lifetime as the guy that invented coffee cup sleeves. The Rossittos Will See You on The Patio Now Okay, I don't love Toy Haulers. Mostly because I don't love the "toys" that go with them. But holy patio! You get a bathroom, small kitchen and a huge, outdoor seating deck AND an entire house on the inside? Kind of awesome in my opinion. It would take me awhile to get over the rubber floor smell though. You don't get that at the Four Seasons.... Come On, Baby, Light My Fire Who needs a fireplace indoors when the point of camping is to have a fire outdoors? I hear you. But hear me out -- if you are like us and camp any time of year, this incredible feature can be a lifesaver. Heat, ambiance, TV and all while it is 30 degrees outside. The kids can warm up on the floor while I warm up with bourbon on the couch. This is a win/win for everyone!! Best in Show Remember earlier when I said that I could easily and objectively examine all of the RVs at the show and not get attached? I LIED. Behold the most perfect RV of All Time: The Forest River Berkshire 40BH (pic courtesy of Forest River website) Couldn't you just cry? Look at this kitchen: The bunk beds: THE CLOSET: The Master Bedroom: The Living Room (Note the fireplace AND our stuff thrown down like we already live there): Ryan In The Shower: The Perfect Layout: The Crushing Reality: So, we did it again. We managed to go to a great RV show, become green-eyed jealousy monsters, passionately fall in love with a coach that would make all of our dreams come true, and then sadly tear ourselves away from this new love, only to drive home in silence. When we got home, Ryan and I talked about how lucky we were to have all that we did have, and that we really didn't need more. I agreed. But I did ask if he could install a fireplace. And a ceiling fan. And then a fridge lock. And then ...

Roadzies

Roadzies

 

The 63rd Annual California RV Show

This weekend we visited the opening weekend of the 63rd California RV Show at the Fairplex in Pomona, California. It was hot, hot, HOT. The RVs and trailers were unbelievably gorgeous. Every person I talked to was having blast and it was 110 degrees outside. Thank goodness for the delicious Pink's hot dogs and the iced cold beer. Another 100 bonus points for every air-conditioned RV that we stepped into, because otherwise we would have melted. I took some pictures to share with all of you. In the next few days I would like to present some of our favorite finds at the show. The Best RV Show goes until October 18 and, if you would like to go, I have some VIP tickets to share exclusively with my FMCA friends. Drop me an email to roadzies@gmail.com and I will get them to you! (I only have 15 left.) Please meet your show director Tom Gaither! He and his amazing team work all year to put on this amazing show. Opening Day! Lance Trailer Giveaway Happy People Gone Camping Show Tent So Much Eye Candy Doing The Math Fancy Kitchen So Big For So Small! Insane 5th Wheel Interior Kid Handprints. Everywhere. The Shower Height Test Fair Food! The Moment Ryan Fell In Love Miss California Two Tired Campers

Roadzies

Roadzies

 

Banishing Beverly Hills Birthdays

Birthdays were never a big deal when I was growing up. In Beverly Hills, the discussion of age was/is as taboo as talking about a favorite plastic surgeon. I remember having only one birthday party when I was a kid. My parents chartered a very 1980s bus that drove me, my brother and 30 of my parents' closest friends to an ice cream parlor. Did I mention that there was a bartender on the bus? I went on to have my own magnificent kids and I truly believed that I was going to become the Birthday Party Queen. In fact, my daughter’s first birthday party was a monstrosity. There were pony rides, endless platters of catered food and oversized stuffed animals for every single guest. At the end of that epic party, Ryan and I sat down and re-evaluated what we were doing. We didn’t want to ignore our family’s birthdays altogether, but we also didn’t want to create narcissistic party monsters. That’s when we made the decision that birthdays would become opportunities for family adventure. The birthday boy or girl would get to pick a destination for our family to visit. For the first few years, Ryan and I picked the locations, everywhere from Carlsbad to Ashland. Now that the girls are older, they love to start planning their next birthday trip immediately after this year’s birthday. Okay, sometimes even the same day. Our motorhome has become the chariot that carries us away on these birthday adventures. Noweadays, depending on work commitments and time, we typically plan for a weekend getaway. In lieu of presents, we spend that earmarked money on campsites, food and adventures. The birthday celebrant gets to choose the entire menu and the big dessert. We have made everything from burgers to spaghetti, birthday cake to handheld apple pies. These birthday celebrations have become our most treasured family moments. We have replaced the “stuff” with memories. Fun, beautiful, life-long memories. Someday, as our roadtripping tribe grows, I hope our daughters will invite their camping friends on these adventures. After all, the more, the merrier. Now, I'd like to share a few favorite recipes that our family has enjoyed on our RV birthday trips. Birthday Camping Recipe Collection Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Hot Dogs Time: 50 minutes Serves: 4 Ingredients 2 cups of uncooked macaroni pasta Water for boiling pasta ¼ cup of butter ¼ cup of all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon of salt ½ teaspoon of ground mustard ¼ teaspoon of pepper ¼ teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional) 2 cups of milk 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1 package of hotdogs, cut 1” chunks Preparation - Heat oven to 350 degrees. - Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. - While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour, salt, mustard, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. - Cook on low, stirring constantly. - Slowly add milk. Bring to a soft boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. - Add cheese and stir until completely blended together. - Combine the cooked pasta, cheese sauce and hot dogs. - Pour the combination into a greased casserole dish. - Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until bubbly. Campfire Baked Beans Time: 1.5 hours Serves: 4-6 Ingredients 4 15 ½ oz cans of pinto beans ½lb bacon 1 medium onion, chopped 3 garlic cloves, diced 1 ½ cups of brown sugar 1 ½ cups of ketchup 3 teaspoons of yellow mustard 2 Tbl of smoked paprika Salt and pepper to taste Preparation - Empty cans into a colander and rinse thoroughly. Set aside. - In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, ketchup, mustard, and smoked paprika. Add the beans to the mixture. - Fry the bacon until crispy. Reserve a few tablespoons of grease. Chop bacon into small bits and then add to bean mixture. - Using the reserved grease, fry the chopped onion and garlic until soft. Add to bean mixture. - Pour the bean mixture into a dutch oven. Place on a grate over a low campfire. - Cook until bubbly. Note * The longer the beans cook, the better the flavor. Add water if mixture becomes too thick. 3 Ingredient Cherry Chocolate Dump Cake Time: 1 hour Serves: 4-6 Ingredients 2 20oz cans of cherry pie filling 1 box of Devils Food Cake mix, not prepared 1 ½ stick of butter, melted Preparation - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. - Grease the interior of a 13x9 dish. Pour the cherry pie filling into the dish and spread out into an even layer. - Pour the cake mix over the cherry pie filling layer. Be sure to spread the cake mix out into an even layer. - Drizzle the melted butter over the top. - Bake for 1 hour. - Note – Midway through baking, check to see if there are uncooked cake patches. If there are, carefully mix into itself and continue to bake.

Roadzies

Roadzies

 

Our 2015 vacation trip

June 26, 2015 we departed our Florida Home and set out to engage our out west tour. We had to leave home without our little dog (Maggie) she went on to a better life in doggie heaven. Our first stop was
St. Louis, Paducha, Ky, on to Mitchell, SD, the Bad Lands, Custers State Park, Mount Rushmore, Win Cave, Hot Springs, Cody Wyoming ( Yellowstone NP) The Grand Tetons, on to Salt Lake City stopping at the Bonneville Salt Raceway, The Mormon Tabneracle, on to California, visiting Napa Valley and San Francisco, traveling to Bakersfield,Ca., and crossing the Desert to Williams,Az. We toured the Grand Canyon, the Route 66 town of Williams and traveling south on 89A to Sedona. Departing and traveling to Okalahoma City, then to Memphis, Tn. ending up in Knoxville at our friends house. We usually spent 2-4 days at each location traveling in the Jeep.
Our 2001 Monaco Diplomat worked very well towing our Jeep Grand Cherokee. It was a bit sluggish when the OD temp was above 100 degrees.
Since this was our first trip out west we were very glad that we purchased our Senior NP pass. The only problem we encountered was school was not in session so most all the parks were filled. We camped at
KOA campgrounds.
It was very important to us that we stop at each states visitor center and get a map of the state and information of that particular states attractions.
We arrived home in Florida the first of September. The longest vacation my wife and I have had together.
We did trade motorhomes at Buddy Greggs in Knoxville for a Gulf Stream Tour Master 45T.

Cauffield

Cauffield

 

Labrador - Part 2 - Into the Interior

After our three day stay at L'Anse au Claire we set out on a drive across Labrador. We had some idea of what we faced but only the journey would really tell us what was ahead. I had queried numerous people about the nature of the road and received many different assessments. Depending on personal perspective and the vehicle being driven the same road may get widely varying descriptions. That was certainly the case for the road from Red Bay to Goose Bay. Labeled as the Labrador Coastal Highway, it connects coastal villages from L'Anse au Claire to Goose Bay via road routes. This is a recent development. These villages have historically been connected by boat and ferry. A few of the villages have airfields and all are accessible by helicopter today. Leaving L'Anse au Claire, Labrador on Saturday morning, we drove north on NL Hwy 510. As in our previous trip north from L'Anse au Claire we drove about 10 miles in dense fog. Then suddenly the fog was completely gone, the sun was shining. Once we reached Red Bay the paved road turned to gravel. We were facing about 328 miles of gravel road. The road started out very wide, probably 40 or 50 feet wide. We were able to meet vehicles without getting too close together. The gravel was small and the road was smooth as a gravel road can be. There was nothing to reduce dust however and we generated our own tail of dust as did every other vehicle on the road. With a large vehicle there is almost no speed at which you won't raise a dust cloud. Dust would plague us for the entire 328 miles of road. About 30 miles from Red Bay the road began to narrow. Just 95 miles into the gravel we encountered our first challenge. We had a flat tire. I'm going to describe this flat tire as a lucky flat tire. The tire monitoring alarm sounded just as we were passing the road to Charlottetown. I slowed immediately and pulled into a clearing at the roadside. It was the outside dual on the drivers side. We got out, heard the leaking tire and immediately disconnected the toad. Once that was done I backed the motorhome into the clearing to get it completely off the road. Then I set out in the toad to the fishing village, Charlottetown, just 12 miles from the motor home. Reaching Charlottetown I drove almost all the way through town before finding the general store. I went in and explained my situation. A conversation between two ladies and a young man resulted in the name of the person in town who could fix our tire. The young man said he would lead me to Ivan's place of business. He did so and introduced me to Ivan. While I was talking to Ivan, he was on his way back to work. Ivan had several reasons why he couldn't come right away to do the job but as soon as his daughter returned with his truck he would come fix the tire. He said about two hours. I returned to the motor home trusting that Ivan would show up sometime in the afternoon. Two hours later Ivan pulled up next to the motor home and proceeded to fix our flat tire. It was a 1 1/4 inch metal screw that punctured the tire. Before leaving us, Ivan advised us that the next place to get off the road would be just before we crossed the Paradise River. He seemed to be encouraging us to continue on to that rest area. He also advised us that we could get internet access at any of the highway department garages along the route. You see what I mean when I call the flat tire a lucky flat tire. Being 4:00 in the afternoon now and only about 150 miles for the day we decided to take Ivan's advice and continue on to the Paradise River. The ride was uneventful until about 20 miles before the rest area. Those last 20 miles were extremely rough, potholes and large rocks dotted the surface. We drove slowly and still gave the rig a good shaking. We reached the rest area about the time the sun set. We had now completed 150 miles of our gravel road challenge, We had driven about 200 miles since leaving L'Anse au Claire that morning. During the day we have been accompanied by a variety of vehicles from large trucks to small cars. Traffic was never heavy. Many times there was no traffic in sight and other times we might meet several vehicles in a row. Cars and large trucks were able to pass us relatively quickly so we never had a group of vehicles in trail for very long. The scenery along this section of road was typical of what we had seen in Newfoundland, lakes and forest. We saw many a small camper parked in the brush alongside a lake. Usually there was only one camper, as if people preferred to be the only person at that lake. If you love to fish, this must be near ideal. There were roadcuts that indicated the glaciers had been here. We saw numerous cuts through eskers, deposits of water worn stones that were from rivers that flowed within the glaciers. When the glacier melts, it leaves these are snake-like ridges and the road cuts through them show the rounded boulders and gravel of water born rocks. Charlottetown was located on one of may fjords along the Labrador coast. Goose Bay is at the western end of the largest of these fjords on the eastern coast of Labrador. Along the way we were seeing a great deal of road work. Much of the work seemed to be widening the road to match the roadway we started on. Being so remote, the rock for road construction and repair was being quarried on site from the roadcuts, hauled to a nearby rock crusher to be processed to size and then hauled back to the site where needed. We saw mine size trucks and equipment, much beefier than the typical road repair equipment we see in the US. In most places traffic was stopped by a flagger and the delays weren't too long due to the sparse traffic. I believe I mentioned the flies which are abundant and quite a pest in Labrador. Many of the flaggers wore fly nets covering their head and neck area and had gloves on so that there was a little skin as possible exposed.

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

Autumn Tomato Soup Recipes

Happy First Day Of Fall! The year is flying by and it’s a bittersweet feeling for me. My kids are growing up so quickly and we have a huge list of adventures that we would really love to experience with them. Knocking off Mount Rushmore from our RV Bucket list was biggie for us, but now we are needing a new goal. In my mind it’s Washington, D.C., but we will see what Ryan has to say about that. Fall is officially the kickoff of “Soup Season” for our family. Warm, thick and savory soup is a magical meal wonder that we crave anytime, anywhere. We enjoy ladling it over rice, mixing it with crushed crackers or sometimes just right out of a mug. If I have done my homework and we are planning a trip, I will prepare a soup ahead of time and then freeze it flat in a Ziploc bag. This way I save room in our tiny freezer and then I only have to heat it up in some boiling water. Sometimes I am not so organized and I need to wing it. This is where my heavy pot or slow cooker comes in handy. In honor of the season's arrival today, I have three tomato soup recipes to share. They are all RV friendly, though some are much easier than others. If you are hitting the cold roads this season, these soups are sure to keep you and your loved ones warm. Three Minute Tomato Soup Time: 5 minutes Serves : 1 Ingredients 1 large ripened tomato ¾ cup of water 1 tsp consommé bullion (you can use cubes or jarred.) 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil Ground Pepper to taste *Parmesan cheese, garlic powder or any other desired dried herbs if on hand/desired Preparation - Remove the stem from the tomato using a sharp knife. - Turn the tomato over so that the bottom is facing up. Slice the tomato into quarters. - Place the tomato into a bowl with the water, bullion and olive oil. - Microwave for 3 minutes. - When finished, carefully remove the skin from the bowl. Use the back of a heavy spoon to softly crush the tomato. - Add seasonings to taste. - Enjoy! Simple Slow Cooker Tomato Soup Time: 5 hours Serves: 6-8 Ingredients 1 quart of chicken broth 2 28oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes 4 Tbl of butter ½ onion, chopped (optional) 2 large carrots, chopped (optional) 2 large stalks of celery, chopped (optional) 2 cloves of garlic, peeled ½ cup of heavy cream Salt and pepper to taste Preparation - Add chicken broth, both cans of tomatoes (juice included,) butter, vegetables (optional,) and garlic to slow cooker. - Cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. - Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. - Add cream (optional.) - Add seasonings to taste. - Enjoy! Roasted Tomato Soup Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes Serves: 4-6 Ingredients 4-5 cups of fresh tomatoes (If small tomatoes, halve. If larger, quarter.) 6 cloves of garlic, peeled 2 small onions, quartered ¼ to ½ cup of olive oil (depends on your liking) 3 cups of vegetable soup stock 2 bay leaves Fresh Basil, chopped 2 Tbl sour cream (optional) Salt and pepper to taste Preparation - Preheat oven to 450F. - Spread tomatoes, onions and garlic onto a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil. - Roast for 30-40 minutes, until caramelized. - Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer into your large stock pot. - Add the vegetable soup stock and bay leaves into the stock pot. - Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Boil until the liquid has reduced by 1/3. Remove Bay Leaves. - Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. - Season with basil and/or salt and pepper. - Place soup into bowl and garnish with sour cream. - Enjoy!

Roadzies

Roadzies

 

Labrador - Part 1

It has been almost a month since we finished our trip to Newfoundland and Labrador. I needed the time between the trip and this post to put it all in perspective. We had a wonderful interesting and sometimes challenging trip through Newfoundland. On the 22nd of August we took the motorhome on the ferry from St. Barbe, Newfoundland to Blanc Sablon in Quebec. While waiting to board the ferry we were treated to a very interesting event. A moose swam across the bay from the far shore to St. Barbe. After shaking off some water the last we saw of the moose she was strolling into St. Barbe. It was quite a long swim but there wasn't a hint of panic or tiring, she just kept stroking away until she reached the shore. The trip across the Strait of Belle Isle was interesting. The ferry was tacking against the current all the way across and it was noticeable in watching from the deck as we approached the landing at Blanc Sablon. We were to learn later that many shipwrecks occurred in the area due to the strong current. I enjoyed watching sea birds and the villages on the Labrador coast. Once we reached Blanc Sablon, QC, we drove north about six miles to L'Anse au Claire, NL. We stayed at an RV park associated with the Northern Lights Inn in L'Anse au Claire. The park was very humble, utilities were at the rear of the coach, the surface was gravel and our 40 footer was by far the largest vehicle in the park. We were happy to have full hookups and internet service. We traveled north to the Point Amour Lighthouse one day and enjoyed climbing the Lighthouse to the top for a great view of the coast. Stories of lighthouse keepers are most interesting and this one was no exception. The lighthouse owner bought a Ford Model T which was the first vehicle in Labrador. There are pictures of the lighthouse keeper and his family and other items from the late 1800's. The lighthouse itself has walls constructed of local stone and has walls that are six feet thick. The next day we drove north to the Red Bay National Historic Site. The drive was quite instructive. We had been socked in fog all night long. Driving north we drove out of the fog about 5 miles north into bright sunlight. The road meanders north from one bay to the next. Between bays the road goes up and over high hills. Each bay hosts another small village. Red Bay is a small town and the site of 16th century Basque whaling camps. Recent excavations on land and underwater resulted in discovery of a large ship for transporting whale oil back to Europe. There was also a small whaling boat known as a chalupa recovered. That chalupa is on display in the welcome center. Imagine a chalupa that has been on the bottom of the bay for close to 500 years. Artifacts from the camps and the large ship are on display in a visitors center. The archaeological work that was done is amazing. We took a boat across to an island that was the site of several whaling camps. Walking a trail we saw the remains of various buildings or shelters where whale blubber was rendered and whale oil was put into barrels for shipment. Before leaving Red Bay we drove north just a few miles north to scout out the next part of our trip. From Red Bay north toward Goose Bay there is a single road, the Coastal Road. The road is entirely gravel until you reach the area of Red Bay. The final 20 miles into Red Bay are paved. If all you want to do is see a little of Labrador I would recommend that you take the toad to Sablon Blanc and stay at the Northern Lights Inn. The Inn looks quite nice and has a restaurant. Another possibility would be to take a tour which would include bus transportation to the tourist sites mentioned above as well as a stay at the Northern Lights Inn. We wanted to do more than this so we brought the motor home over on the ferry. After three days in L'Anse au Claire we set out to see the rest of Labrador. I'll describe that journey in my next posting.

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

My Low-Cost RV Solar Install

I just got back from eight days of dry camping and got lots of comments and questions from people about my RV solar setup. I installed the system last year and wrote a blog post about my DIY Solar Install. It was something that I researched, designed, and installed myself. I added a second 100W flexible panel this spring and have used the full setup a few times this summer. Thought I'd do an update on how it's all working. As a "sometime" RVer, most of my overnight RV stays happen at establish campgrounds. I'll boondock at trucks stops and camp Wal-Mart when on the road for quick overnight stays. And, I do a little bit of stay put dry camping in the summer -- usually at music festivals or beach/lake-side camping. So, my needs for off-the grid power tend to happen infrequently. This is one of the reasons I decided to go with a portable solar setup. Something I could use when I wanted and needed. I wanted it to be low-cost. I also wanted to have something I could take with me when I trade RVs. So, my install is pretty simple, small, and inexpensive. My electrical needs are also small. My 25-foot Winnebago View is pretty efficient with all LED lights and DC radios and TVs. My basic needs for power are for lights, monitors, and the water pump. (my frig runs on propane, AC, and DC). The biggest draw I tend to have is for charging battery operated electronic gadgets (phones, laptop, cameras). I have a 1,000-watt inverter (that powers half the coach outlets) which I use mostly for charging this stuff. I have two 12-volt group 24 wet cell batteries in my RV (they came with the RV) which gives me about 170 amp-hours of electricity. There are probably better battery setups, but these work for me. Here's a link to a vlog that I did on my solar setup: I'm very pleased with the setup. With the two 100W panels, I can avoid having to run the generator to charge my batteries. I camped for a week at a festival this summer and didn't use the generator at all. Just two weeks ago, I dry camped for eight days and only ran the generator two to three times for short bursts when I needed to use the microwave (luckily I didn't need to use the A/C). The solar panels kept my batteries fully charged each day. I did all my electronic charging during the day, watched a little TV, and listened to my satellite radio every morning. The portable setup is pretty quick to put in place. It takes about five to seven minutes to hook everything up. The downside is that I have to unhook it all and put it away if I move the rig. With the portable set up, I get pretty good efficiency being able to move and tilt the panels towards the sun. They even work good on cloudy days putting out 2 to 3 amps. The two panels can fit in my storage compartment under the right rear bed. The rigid panel is a tight fit and I only carry it when I know I'm going to do some stay put dry camping. I really like the flexible panel for weight and ease of storage. It only weighs 4 lbs vs 16 lbs for the rigid glass panel. I carry it with me on all trips just in case I stay as a stop that doesn't have electricity or allow generators. I've read that Renogy has put a temporary hold on selling the flexible panels due to some reported problems with the panels. You can read about one persons experience here Winnie Views RV Updates. I've had no problems with my panel so far. As I said above, I like my setup and it works just fine for me. Total cost was about $600. Considerably less than having a professional company do a permanent install on my roof. The list of materials and suppliers is listed in my prior post (DIY Solar Install). So far, I've been pleased with the Renogy panels. The portable install was easy for me to do because I'm familiar with wiring and working with electricity. When I have it setup (i.e., on display) I get lots of comments and curious people stop by asking me how it all works. Hopefully this write-up and vlog will help some others. Let me know if you have any questions. You can follow more of my journeys at: http://jdawgjourneys.com Disclaimer: I received no compensation from any of the suppliers or manufacturers of the equipment that are discussed in the article or video. I purchased or made all of the equipment discussed in the article and video. I make no warranty or claims as to how this equipment will work, only that it works for me.

italo

italo

 

THE Family Roadtrip Song Playlist

My kids recently asked me, "Mommy, what is your favorite song?"Well that's just like asking me to choose a favorite camping spot! Absolutely impossible. I love so many songs that the soundtrack of my life is hours upon hours long.Roadtrip music is very special to me. I can be sitting in my smoggy LA office, and the moment Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" hits my ears, I am immediately transported to the Painted Desert. I can hear the kids squealing with excitement as they stare out of the window in awe. "Lady Writer" by Dire Straits brings me right back to the streets of San Francisco. And I can almost feel the Hawaiian breeze on my face when George Winston's "December" starts playing. Music paints the moments in my life.I have created this playlist specifically with families in mind. I have plenty of playlists ready to share with you all, but we will first start off with music that all ears can listen to.Now, I am also going to ask a favor. Would you kindly share your favorite songs with me? My soundtrack is always open to new music. 
 
The Ultimate Family Roadtrip Playlist 
 
Holiday Road – Lindsey Buckingham
 
American Pie – Don McLean
 
All Over The World – Electric Light Orchestra
 
Cool Kids – Echosmith
 
Hit The Road Jack – Ray Charles
 
The Power Of Love – Huey Lewis & The News
 
Fleetwood Mac - Rhiannon
 
Twist & Shout – The Isley Brothers
 
Take Me Home Country Roads – John Denver
 
Firework – Katy Perry
 
Chain of Fools – Aretha Franklin
 
Beyonce - Halo
 
All That You Are – The Goo Goo Dolls
 
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
 
The Other Side Of The World – KT Tunstall
 
Mine – Taylor Swift
 
ABC – The Jackson 5
 
Down Under – Men At Work
 
Team - Lorde
 
Counting Stars – One Republic
 
September – Earth, Wind and Fire
 
Eagles – Hotel California
 
Pharrell Williams – Happy
 
Life Is A Highway – Rascal Flatts
 
Beating Heart – Ellie Goulding
 
My Silver Lining – First Aid Kit
 
Best Day Of My Life – American Authors
 
Hopeless Wanderer – Mumford and Sons
 
You’re So Vain – Carly Simon  
 
The Finer Things – Steve Winwood
 
Kiss Me – Sixpence None The Richer
 
Every Breath You Take – The Police
 
Glory Of Love – Peter Cetera
 
Learning To Fly – Tom Petty
 
A-Ha – Take On Me
 
Make Your Own Kind Of Music – Mama Cass
 
Run To You – Bryan Adams
 
Mr Jones – Counting Crows
 
The Best Of What’s Around – Dave Matthews Band
 
Dream On – Aerosmith
 
I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston
 
Superstition – Stevie Wonder
 
If I Could Turn Back Time – Cher
 
Adele – Rolling In The Deep
 
Clarity – Zedd
 
I Bet My Life – Imagine Dragons
 
Jack And Diane – John Cougar Mellencamp
 
Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics
 
Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen 

Roadzies

Roadzies

 

Stamp Collecting Forum

Hello guys!

Anybody know how to meet stamp collectors here? I'm collecting cars on stamps.

Looking for friend to trade stamps. Also you can find me on the best stamp collecting forum http://philatalk.com

Best wishes in New year!

Collector

Collector

 

How I Burned, Blew-up and Flooded My Way to a Tankless Water Heater!

This is a story about how not to install a tankless water heater. After many an RV trip using only the standard 6-gallon water heater, my family and I were fed up with our quick, cold five-minute showers. I felt it was time to upgrade to a tankless system. Being the amazing handyman that I am, I decided to install it myself. First things first, I removed the stock 6-gallon tank by draining it, disconnecting the electrical and propane (of course with propane shut off), and removing the outer heater door frame so that I could gain access to the mounting screws. Removal was easy. I had this in the bag. Next, I sized up the new Attwood 90205 On-Demand Hot Water Heater and found that if I removed the outer flaps, I could still use the original door (this may not be recommended, but it worked for me). After that, it was just reconnect the propane, electrical and water lines. This all took maybe 45 minutes from start to finish; however, I was not finished. Not by a long shot. Everything went very wrong when I decided to check the propane connection with a lighter. Yes, fire. I couldn't tell if I smelled gas or not, so I stuck a lighter up to the connection, and a small 1-inch flame appeared. I sauntered back to the propane shutoff, thinking that this was no big deal, but the flame had been directly under the electrical connection and thus melted all of the wires. Of course, this then required removing the entire system and repairing the damaged wires. Nothing dangerous, but time-consuming. Once the wires were fixed, I reinstalled the system and, this time, checked for propane leaks with soapy water. I found no leaks and proceeded to smugly start her up. I cranked up the heat to enjoy my new endless hot water that was brilliantly installed, and of course it worked perfectly .... Until it started to drip water from an internal connection. So, with a slightly bruised but intact ego, I bled the water out of the tankless water heater and fixed the leak with some Teflon tape. No biggie, really. At this point I had spent about three-and-a half hours on this installation. I was still somewhat proud of myself, thinking this time it was done. So I turned it back on and went inside the house to get my wife so that I could show off how hot her next RV shower would be. And then it happened. *BOOM*!!! Steam started pouring out of the water heater door. I rubbed my eyes and checked to see if I still had all of my limbs and appendages. Once I investigated the accident site, I realized that after draining the water from the system, I had forgotten to bleed the air before turning it back on. I then summarized that the 50,000-btu burner boiled off any water left in the system and then popped the pressure relief valve. Or so I thought. After letting it cool and reassuring my startled family that I was still in one piece, I reset the high-temp kill switch. I then turned on the water pump and tried to bleed the air from the system. But when I went to use the sink, I wasnt getting any water from the hot side. Still clueless to what had really happened, I left the water pump on and went to investigate what was really going on. Ten more minutes went by before I, and my eviscerated ego, found out the true meaning of that big bang. The hot water connection behind the water heater had blown completely apart and the water line was flooding a void between two storage boxes. The underbelly of my rig was a swimming pool, and I began to regret my brilliant idea. San Fernando Valley springs are not mild by any means, and I spent three hours, in 102-degree weather, on my back removing all of the water out of that space. It took another two hours to replace the broken water line. In the end, I did it. I am a mechanic by trade and I do not give up. There were quite a few bumps and booms along the way, but I accomplished my goal. But I have to admit, on our next RV trip, it took two hours to figure out the settings on the water temperature switch. My family had to stand there naked and angry while I investigated. And yes, I may have had to rush out of the RV in nothing but a very small towel to double check the system when I thought I heard a noise, but that's the way it goes. None of us burned our flesh off, and we then took a seven-minute lukewarm shower. Totally worth it.

Roadzies

Roadzies

 

RV Trips: Florida Caverns State Park

The Florida Caverns State Park is one of those perfect half-a-day side trips, offering a guided tour of a fascinating geologic wonder, some nice hikes and an opportunity to kayak and explore a wilderness river that offers up a blue hole as a bonus. And at the end of the exploring, there’s a nice campground available, too, if you’re in need of a place to overnight. Located near the town of Marianna in Florida’s panhandle just off I-10, the underground tour offers inspiring vews of limestone stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, flowstones and draperies. Formed about 38 million years ago when sea levels were much higher and the southeastern coastal plain of the United States was submerged. Shells, coral and sediments gradually accumulated on the sea floor. As sea levels fell, these materials hardened into limestone. During the last million years, acidic groundwater dissolved crevices just below the surface creating cave passages large enough to walk through. You can still see some of those fossilized shells, as well as fish skeletons embedded in the limestone throughout the subterranean system . On the ceiling of one of the underground rooms our guide used his flashlight to show off what he says is an ancient shark’s tooth. The tour lasts about 45 minutes and reminded us a lot of the Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. Developed in 1935 during the height of the depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Projects Administration. Both groups emerged from President Roosevelt’s New Deal, established in 1933 to provide jobs to men during the Great Depression. Using not much more than pickaxes, shovels, wheelbarrows and a flatbed pickup truck, it took nearly a decade to carve out an underground path that wanders between “rooms” of the caverns. Most of the tunnels and caverns are about 25 feet beneath the surface, Subdued lighting runs throughout the system and, like any good cave tour, there will come a moment when the guide will turn off all lighting to show how totally dark it is underground. Although the tour is not strenuous, there are places where the passages are very narrow and low, meaning you need to be flexible enough to be able to duck down and walk under spots that are no higher than four feet or so. A welcome bonus in visiting the caverns during the hot and steamy Florida summer is the constant year-round temperature of 65 degrees in the caverns. Hiking trails run throughout the 1,319-acre park and kayaks can be rented to paddle the Chipola River, which has a deep blue spring – named the Jackson Blue Spring to differentiate between the Florida’s Blue Springs State Park near Orlando – flows at an average rate of 76 million gallons of water a day. With five other smaller springs, it feeds Merritts Mill Pond, a major scenic and recreation area. Click the image to enlarge: You enter the caverns through a door that takes you 25 feet beneath the surface. Some of the rooms are quite large. A statue out front honors the nearly 10 years it took for CCC workers to excavate the path through the caverns. They call this the “Wedding Cake.” It requires you to stoop to navigate through some of the spots. A ranger explains how caverns and caves are made. More beautiful formations

Roadtrekingmike

Roadtrekingmike

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