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Tire Insurance

Can anyone recommend a tire insurance company that actually delivers on advertised promises in the event we should have a tire issue while traveling.




Living Small

LIVING SMALL May 22, 2016 From my Blog: My rules for full time living in a small space, that happens to be on wheels.        LIVING SMALL-JUST CLICK HERE (but you knew that already!)  




How to Drive Your RV Partner Nuts

When I think about RV travel, I envision places, destinations, camping, adventure, and the open road.  There's also lots of mechanical and how to stuff that comes to mind. But RVing is also a people activity.  It can be done with groups, by couples, or solo.  I have yet to RV with a group, but I've done it with my wife, son, and solo.  I don't mind traveling solo.  But, having a partner along to share the fun and adventure with enhances the whole RV travel experience. There are blogs and articles written about how to do solo RV travel.  But, I haven't seen much written about the interpersonal aspects of RV travel.  And, that got me thinking about this subject. I was going to write a piece about how to enjoy RVing with your partner.  But, then I turned it around and thought, perhaps writing an antithesis piece on this subject would be more fun. Being married for almost 40 years, my wife and I have quite a bit of experience in driving each other nuts.  In fact, I may be an expert at it.  My wife and I are polar opposites.  She's an extrovert and I'm an introvert.  She's left brain and I'm right brain.  She's a touchy feely socialite and I'm analytical loner.  But most of the time it works really good for us because we complement each other and fill in each others gaps. Author Robert Fulghum said - "Where ever you go, there you are."  When we're RVing, our personalities and behaviors come with us.   I can attest that what drives us nuts in our normal life, also drives us nuts in our RV life.  Driving someone nuts is not all bad.  It's just part of normal life.  We are all capable of doing it.  When traveling with a partner it's good to know what some of the triggers and behaviors are so you can minimize the breakage and misery. I know from my experiences that these nine things can drive your RV partner nuts! 1. Never Doing What Your Partner Wants A trip plan / idea has to start with someone.  On many trips, I usually take the lead on the trip planning.  But, not soliciting input from my wife on the timing, schedule, places, or attractions is a sure recipe for a trip disaster.  Also, not listening to her ideas on things to do is just asking for fight and will easily lead to items #3, #6, and # 7. I always review a trip idea and potential schedule with my wife before I book anything.  I know how she likes to travel so I plan accordingly - no long drive days and plenty of rest stops.  I also try not to over schedule so there's extra time for unexpected stuff that she might come up with. 2. Over Reacting to Little Annoying Stuff I've been guilty of this.  Your partner cooks a meal and sets off the fire alarm in the RV.  How about flushing the toilet while you're flushing the black tanks.  Or, your partner doesn't understand conserving power while boondocking and drains the house batteries by leaving all the lights on for hours. Some of this stuff can be maddening.  But I have to remind myself - it's all little stuff, it's all easily fixable, and not worth having a hissy fit over. 3. Holding a Grudge The small confines of an RV are a bad place to hold a grudge.  Driving down the road with hours of the silent treatment takes the fun right out of a trip like a flat tire. When I sense that something is bothering my wife, I try to get the issue out and discuss it.  At least we're talking.  And I try to resolve the issue before nightfall so we don't ruin another day.  If it was something I did, I am quick to apologize and try to make amends.  And, I try to remember the adage - "Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?" 4. Not Sharing the Work I don't expect my wife to do all the cooking and cleaning on a trip.  We share the chores.  I cook about half the time and do my own laundry.  When traveling we've worked out our routines.  I do the driving. She cleans out the RV when we stop, helps with the setup, and keeps me fed with snacks and treats when we're on the road.  We've found a good balance so no one person feels overburdened. 5. Constant Critiques This rarely happens with me or my wife, but it is one I'm sensitive to.  I have certain codes of conduct that I live by.  One of those codes is to never ever criticize or make fun of your partner in public.  Also, if you feel you have to give a critique, then pick the right time, say what you need to, and be done with it.  Don't belabor a point or constantly relive a bad experience.  Constant critiques will lead to the next item. 6. Not Wanting to Be on the Trip Traveling with someone who is miserable is no fun.  My wife doesn't enjoy traveling as much as I do.  So, when contemplating a trip, I always make the offer to my wife - "Is this something you want to do or do you want to pass?"   I don't want my wife to feel pressured to do something she won't enjoy.  It's no fun for her and no fun for me.  That's the main reason I travel solo at times.  My wife is fine with me going off on a solo trip.  She's not holding me back and I'm not imposing something on her.  If a trip isn't going well, it's best to turn around and head home.  RVing shouldn't be the source of misery. 7. Non Stop Texting & Talking on Your Cell Phone This is sort of related to #6 above and a pet peeve of mine.  If you can't be present on a trip or can't stand to be away from your friends, then don't go on the trip.  It's fine to be sending pictures and messages to friends while on a trip and to stay in touch with family and friends.  And, if a real family or friend emergency comes up, then you need to deal with it. But, ignoring your partner so you can be consumed with the daily minutiae of your friends lives or spending the day on the phone helping them deal with their child's latest bad behavior crisis, is bad behavior in my book.  It doesn't happen often but when it does, it drives me nuts. 8. Not Giving Your Partner Girl / Guy Down Time RV travel can foster closeness with your partner.  But unlike being at home, when you're in the RV there may not be many opportunities to go off and have some girl time or do some male bonding.  I'm sensitive to this.  My wife needs her nap time, shopping time, Facebook time with friends, etc.  Every so often I need to go off and do some male bonding or zone out on TV sports.  Not respecting these needs will cause discord.  My wife and I are pretty good at respecting each others needs for down/alone time. 9. Driving Around Aimlessly This one drives my wife nuts. Trying to find a place to park the RV when out shopping or dining can sometimes be a challenge.  I'm a little picky about where I leave my RV.  I want enough space to get in and out  and need a space that's fairly level.  My wife doesn't seem to fully appreciate this because she doesn't drive the RV.  So, when she catches me driving around searching for the right spot, it drives her nuts.  It's right up there with being lost and not asking directions. I know this behavior can set her off.  So, I have to prep her, keep talking about what I'm trying to do, give assurances, and make fun of myself when I'm caught driving around aimlessly.  Otherwise, there's a risk of getting the silent treatment. So that's my list.  My wife helped contributed to the list so it's really our list.  Such a list may make us look like a couple of psychos, but we're two lunatics who love each other and most of the time enjoy traveling together.  We've learned to be aware of each others crazy quirks and are doing our best to deal with them or make light of them. Driving each other nuts has been part of our 40-year journey.  It's not all bad, because driving another person nuts is one of the key features of real true love! Follow more of my travels at:  http://jdawgjourneys.com





.. We are now fulltimers...no stickhouse to worry about... http://www.myrandomviews.com/blog/2016/4/20/full-time-here-we-are





Here is something worth posting again from my blog here, now moved to my own blog page

This subject pops up every now and then in the Internet forums, rv.net, IRV2.com, FMCA.com, where I hang about on a regular basis. It may be a post titled "Is your Class A a Money pit?" or "A motor home costs a whole lot more than you think it does!" The people who post these kinds of entries may or may not really have a problem with what a coach or any other large RV may cost. They might just be bored. It's Sunday night and the DW is watching "Real Housewives of xxx", so there is nothing better for them to do than post some sad story about how broke owning a coach is making them.

The last time I saw one of these threads, I responded to it. I said that owning a motor coach is like having kids. You make a huge financial investment, with no return, but they make lots of good memories, are good for the soul, and will greatly improve one's life if you let them.

I believe the RV lifestyle is under-appreciated by most people who are not part of it and also by some who are. Becoming a Motor Coacher has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me and my wife. Has owning one depleted my bank account? I suppose it has, but then, maybe not.

I might have put away the money that I spend each month paying for my coach. I might have put away the money I spend on trips, including gas and food and camping fees, but I doubt it. I would have spent all of my trip and fuel money on airplane tickets, hotel rooms and cruise ships, or something else. The chances are that even if I did save it, a lot of the money could still have disappeared without me spending a dime of it.

The present economic situation has poked a whole lot of holes in a lot of financial balloons. I just try to take advantage of what our coach can do for us. I may have to spend money on gas, a new water pump to replace a squirting frozen one, new wiper blades to replace frozen ones, a new water filter to replace a cracked and frozen one, but considering what our coach does for us it is worth it.

I can tell you this that minus the monthly payment, the time I have spent in Florida, which included eight nights at Disney World, didn't cost us much at all. Not when compared to what two weeks would have cost staying in fancy hotels and eating out. I wish I could have stayed there a lot longer. Responsibilities called me home.

Home is a very subjective word when you own a motor coach. Home is where my coach is. I felt quite at home in Fort Wilderness. As a matter of fact, the guard who checked us in said, "Welcome home, Mr. Parker."

It was home. A few years ago we spent New Year's Eve in Saint Augustine and the next day climbed a lighthouse. My daughter was there and my son-in-law and my grandson. My wife was there and so was Teddy Bear. I had my favorite DVDs, my favorite beer, my favorite books, some of them anyway, and the things I like to eat the most. I also had great cable TV.

At night we listened to music coming from the Disney Parks. We also heard the fireworks and, if we walked a little ways from our site, could see them, just over the tops of the trees. If we wanted to ride the monorail, we did. If we wanted to take a boat ride, we did that, too. We went to one park, and saw Cirque Du Soleil, followed by sushi at Wolfgang Pucks. We pin traded, we took Teddy to the Waggin Tails Dog Park. We basked in the 70-degree sunshine. We even had the pleasure of spending time with our friends Gary and Janis. What could be better than that?

It was wonderful. It was wonderful until we had to say good-bye. We had to say good-bye to the warmth of our surroundings, our friends and our family. We said good-bye and then made our way back north. We came back to the cold, to work and to our son, daughter and grandsons, whom we missed a lot.

It won't be long before we take our motorhome back out on the road and enjoy another great trip. We will make new friends and see new places.

So, I don't worry about "depreciation" I try to appreciate the emotional and spiritual return I get from my poor financial investment. I hope that all my fellow Coachers and RVers do the same.

aka "Gramps"  http://www.myrandamviews.com




How Much Does an RV Lifestyle Cost?

This question is not a new one. Just do a Google search with the words - "the cost of rving" and you'll see lots of articles from RVer's detailing their costs. But, it's a question that seems to keep surfacing. I recently got some emails asking about the cost of RVing. I also got an email from someone asking if I would write a blog post about how to travel frugally in an RV. I'm not into writing "how to" articles or into giving advice. Also, there's already bloggers who do a really good job covering the frugal RV travel subject. But the emails got me thinking. There's probably folks who read travel blogs or articles and aspire to get into RVing. They probably have questions about what it costs. Not about the cost to buy a rig but what it typically costs to travel in an RV. The idea for what I could write began to jell. I could do a post to share my insights and info about what an RV lifestyle really costs. And, while writing it, I'd figure out what it's really costing me. Before I spent any money on RVing, I first had to answer some questions. Planning My RV Lifestyle The first thing I had to figure out was what type of RVer I wanted to be when I grow up. Was I ready to sell the homestead and go full-time or just be a part-time RVer? Was this RV travel idea just a temporary itch that needed to be scratched (like a one time year-long trip around the United States) or a permanent part of how I wanted to live? Did I want to do road trips and always be on the road or do more stay put seasonal RVing? I figured out that I wanted to be a traveler and spend much of my retirement years exploring the United States. My wife wasn't into doing all the travel but she was fine with me traveling solo. We weren't ready to uproot and sell our house, so I'd be traveling part-time. I also wanted to do a little seasonal stay put RVing (e.g. wintering in Florida, vacationing in Maine). My RV lifestyle also needed to support my regular lifestyle. I'm a minimalist and somewhat frugal person. I like to keep things simple. I also needed to travel within my means. Figuring this out was key to determining the type of RV I wanted and it was a driver in what my RV lifestyle would cost. The Costs are All Relative For me, my RV lifestyle is an added expense to my current living expenses. It hasn't displaced too many costs. I look at it as all relative to my current living expenses. Many things like food, health insurance, medical bills, taxes, car maintenance, property maintenance, other insurances, utilities, clothing, cell phones, and entertainment have all stayed pretty much the same since I started traveling. Some have gone down slightly. I don't drive my car as much anymore, especially when I'm in FL, so I am saving some of fuel. Also, my electric bill goes down when I'm traveling and in Florida. I also got rid of the newspaper delivery, all subscriptions, cut my cable TV, and got rid to my land line. I did some of these things before I started traveling and even more after because I saw less value in them. But, my RV lifestyle did add new expenses and those are the ones I'll discuss - the ones that are directly related to my RV travel. I won't get into minutia with spreadsheets of costs. I'll keep it simple and put them into three categories - RV Related, Fuel, and Lodging. RV Related Expense The upfront cost of an RV can be the biggest expense in an RV lifestyle. Which one you buy is all related to what type of RVer you want to be. Towable versus motorhome. Class A bus versus Class B van. Gas versus Diesel. New vs Used. And the costs for RV's are all over the place. You can buy a used towable for $5,000 or spend $500,000 on an upscale diesel pusher. Which one a person buys is all based on that person's needs and budget. I won't try to answer the question of which one is the right one to buy. The only right answer is the one that's right for you at the moment. But, the type of RV will be a factor in the ongoing RV maintenance and related expenses. I wanted an RV to support road trip type travel. I wanted something I could drive anywhere. I wanted something that would be efficient and not be costly to maintain. I wanted something I could live comfortably in for weeks or months at a time. My first RV was a Class B Roadtrek van. That RV fit all my needs except the "live comfortably in for weeks or months at a time". After two years, I traded the Roadtrek for a Class C Winnebago View Profile. The View provided just the right amount of added space and was still small enough to be able to go anywhere. I wrote about my experience with the View in this post - My Winnebago View - A Two Year Summary. My ongoing annual RV related expense for the View over the past two years have been as follows: RV Maintenance: $1,800
RV Vehicle Insurance: $763
RV Excise Tax: $1,081
RV Registration & Inspection: $79
Incidental Expenses: $375
Total $4,098 The RV Excise Tax expense is a value related tax that applies to my domicile state. Not all states have this tax or they may call it a license tax. Some have personal property taxes instead. Some states don't have this type of tax. There are some incidental expenses that come up like replacing a sewer hose each year or replacing RV parts that break. This might total around $200 each year. Also, there's memberships (FMCA, Coach-Net, Good Sam) that total $175 each year. These expenses are specific to my RV and they're some what static. The Excise Tax reduces as the value of the RV goes down. I do some of the routine maintenance on the RV (oil and filters) to save a few bucks. Fuel This expense is driven by how many miles I travel, the fuel efficiency of my RV, and the price of fuel. I drive all over the country each year and log about 20,000 miles per year. Some drive more and some drive less. If you stay in a certain geographic area, then it's easy to limit the miles you drive and save money on fuel. My RV is a very fuel-efficient vehicle. I average 16.5 miles per gallon. Some days I get 18 mpg and some days I get 14 mpg. At 16.5 mpg, driving 20,000 miles per year, I burn about 1,212 gallons of fuel per year. My RV uses diesel fuel. This year the price of fuel has been falling, which has been great. Using an average of $2.30 per gallon (It's lower now), my cost for fuel last year was about $2,800. Last year, when diesel was close $3.80 per gallon, my cost was $4,600. Price is a big factor as is efficiency. If I had a similar sized gas RV that got 8-9 mpg, my fuel cost would almost double. The fuel efficiency of my a rig was a big factor in selecting my specific RV because I planned to drive a lot each year. If you don't drive a lot then fuel efficiency will be less important. Lodging By far, the largest RV lifestyle expense can be for parking the RV overnight. It's also the one that can be controlled the most by where and how often you travel. Campgrounds and RV parks all charge fees for overnight stays. The rates can be all over the place based on type and location. National and State Parks usually have rates lower than private campgrounds. I've seen fees typically in the range of $20-30 per night. Some places with minimal facilities can be as low as $12 per night. These places may be lower in cost but they're also at some of the most beautiful places. Private campgrounds or RV parks are usually slightly higher in cost. These usually can be in the range of $30-$45 per night, but it can go a lot higher. I've seen some high-end RV parks in Florida with water front sites charging over $100 per night. Prices at private campgrounds can also vary by season or special event. Campgrounds near Daytona all raise their rates for Speedweek and Bike Week. RV parks tend to have more amenities like full hookups, wi-fi, swimming pools, and cable TV. And some offer discounts for weekly or monthly stays. But there's also some places where you can stay for free. Many federal lands such as Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or US Forest Service areas allow free camping for a certain limited time period. These areas are usually undeveloped (undeveloped = no hookups or facilities) and many are in the western states. A good resource to find these areas can be found at this website : Ultimate Campgrounds. It's also possible to park overnight for free at many Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel Restaurants, and truck stops. The OvernightRVParking website is a great resource to find these locations. It cost $25 per year to use this website, but it pays for itself with just one overnight stay. The key to staying at these places is to always ask permission to see if overnight parking is allowed. When I travel across country, I try to stay at truck stops or Wal-Mart while I'm going to or from a destination. Once at a destination, I usually stay at public or private campgrounds. When on a road trip, I try to use free overnight stays about 15-20% of the time to save some money. When I'm in Florida or on a stay put vacation, I'll stay at a campground of RV park because I want water and electricity hook ups. I don't track my detail expenses in this area. I'm usually in FL for at least 12 weeks each year and stay at an RV park. That's my largest lodging expense at around $4,200. There's another 12 weeks of road trip and vacation travel that I do each year. Looking at the number of days and an average rate, I probably spend another $2,100 for that lodging. That adds up to around $6,300 for lodging for about 6 months of travel. Many probably pay much less for lodging. You can boondock in Quartzsite, Arizona for the whole winter for less than $200. You can find RV parks in California, Arizona, or Florida that have monthly winter rates for around $500. If you're don't care so much about location and don't want to pay a lot there are many opportunities to save money on lodging expenses. And there's some who do all their road trips staying at truck stops or Wal-Mart. Summary So, I figured out what it's costing me for my RV lifestyle. It adds up to around $13,198 per year for me to be part-time RVer. I didn't include food as an RV travel expense because I pretty much eat the same or more simply on the road as I would at home. There are also some incidental expenses like tolls and propane for the RV that are minimal (maybe $250 per year). I buy a National Park pass each year for $80 which gets me into all National Parks / Monuments for free. I'm not much of a shopper so I don't tend to buy souvenirs. I may take a tour sometimes, but that's part of normal entertainment expenses. When I plan a trip, I use an average daily expense of about $100 per day to plan the budget for a trip. That figure includes food, fuel, and lodging but it's what I use to figure out the cost. Some do it for less, but it's good have this type of figure for planning a trip. When I retired and before I started RVing, I budgeted around $6,000 for a two month Florida condo rental each year and still had a vacation condo that cost me $6,000 per year in fees and taxes. I sold the condo to buy an RV and use the RV now for Florida so my savings close to what it costs me to be a part-time RVer. For me, that $13,000 is money well spent. Some spend that much keeping a vacation home or taking a couple of week-long cruises each year. That amount would probably only pay for one day stay in a hospital. But for me, it's buying some priceless experiences and memories. I'm traveling 6 months of the year, seeing some great sights, and having a ball. You can read more about my travels at: http://jdawgjourneys.com.




Adventures of a Shadetree Mechanic

Our travel schedule for this summer is taking shape. We have a short trip coming up in two weeks so it is time to get the motor home road-ready. I took it out for a short drive several weeks ago and had it safety inspected for the Texas license renewal. Lights, wipers and horn all work. A brief look a the tires and a check of the current registration and insurance papers, verify the VIN and I'm good to go.

On that drive I was reminded of a recurrent problem we've had. Our alternator has been slow to kick in, sometimes taking 5 or 10 minutes to start producing current. Once it gets going, it is good and has never failed us completely. I've taken it to a shop and they've checked it and found it working properly. Of course the problem is that it is thoroughly warmed up when I arrive at the shop. The problem shows up when we've been parked for several days or longer.

I talked to a friend who has the same model and year coach as ours. He had his alternator rebuilt at a local repair shop, Ernie's Service. He is a NASCAR fan and has done some racing so he knows engines and engine service. I'm not a mechanic, I don't even play one on TV. I've done shade tree mechanic things like oil changes and simple replacement of parts of varying kinds. Using his information I tackled the removal of the alternator.

Our motor home is a diesel pusher. The engine is mounted backward with the "front" of the engine facing the opening at the rear of the coach. With a side radiator arrangement, the engine compartment looks like there is plenty of room to work until you get yourself into that space. I've got a hose clamp strap end poking me in the chest and the oil dip stick digging into my shoulder. My feet are planted on the engine mounting frame and I'm leaning over trying to reach the wires which are located on the back side of the alternator as I'm looking at it. Not only are they on the other side of alternator, they are at the bottom of the alternator.

So I'm hunched over the engine, my back is against the top of the compartment, I've got a trouble light to illuminate the area but nowhere to place it that will allow it to stay as I struggle with wrenches and stretch to get a better view. With my head now down behind the alternator, my glasses start slipping up onto my forehead. Whenever I tackle a job like this I always develop an appreciation for those who go to work every day to face challenges like this.

There are five wires, the two main lines and three small sensor lines attached to our Leece-Neville alternator. I had been cautioned that one of the lines was hot even when everything in the coach was shut off. I did unplug, shut off the auto generator start, shut down that inverter/charger and then shut off the battery disconnect switches for both the house batteries and the chassis batteries. I checked voltage on each line and found only one of the sensor lines with an active current. I disconnected all the other wires and then the live sensor line. I had no problem, no spark so that seemed to be the solution. I covered the end of each wire with electrical tape to avoid inadvertent contact and sparking. Each wire had to be labeled to be certain that they were re-attached to the correct terminal. I used colored electrical tape to identify the wires and photographed the terminals on alternator to help me remember exactly where each should go. There were two terminals that had no wires attached.

The next challenge was removing the serpentine belt. I understood the nature of the tensioner but didn't know exactly how to release the tension. Checking with my friend, I got the low-down on the relatively simple procedure. I hadn't even noticed the square indention in the arm of the tensioner. That indentation serves as an attachment point for a 1/2 inch socket driver. Use the breaker bar as a lever and pull the tensioner just enough to release the tension on the belt and slip if off the alternator. Louise provided the third hand that I needed as an awkward position and ability to release the tensioner required two hands on the breaker bar. Louise was able to easily slip the belt off the pulley on the alternator.

The final challenge was to remove the mounting bolts. The top one was easy, the nut came off without a fight. The second bolt, on the bottom and more exposed to the spray from the rear wheels was stuck tight. Of course the only place I could get any torque on that bolt was on my back under the motor home. I sprayed a little Liquid Wrench on the bolt and gave it a few minutes and it finally came loose. Once broken loose, I could remove it working from above.   I slipped the top bolt out of its collar and the alternator was free. Now I had to lift it free of the mounting and out of the coach. I had to stop several times to re-grip, the pulley doesn't make a very good hand grip! An alternator is filled with copper wiring and is quite heavy. Working in an awkward position with limited space to move makes lifting something much more difficult than just picking it up. Getting the alternator around the mounting points and clear of the wires and other obstructions was something like solving one of those puzzles with two pieces of wire linked together. Once out I placed the alternator in a plastic pan lined with cardboard for it's trip to the repair shop. I didn't want it rolling around in the car.

I couldn't find Ernie's Service on my first try. It is located at the intersection of two interstate highways, I-69 and I-2 in Pharr, Texas. It is difficult to explore the access road in the area so I started to make a second try. As I circled back toward the area where I though the shop was located I spotted an auto repair shop. I stopped and asked directions. The mechanic in the shop knew right away where the shop was and how to get there. I was two minutes away and had been looking in the wrong place.

Pulling into Ernie's Service, I assessed it to be a pretty simple operation and I was correct. They work on generators, starters and alternators. Walking into the shop I find myself among a sea of scrapped electrical equipment. Ernie is definitely waiting for the price of Copper to rise. I told him I needed an alternator repaired. He asked what kind of vehicle it came from. I replied "a motor home", expecting a groan of some kind from Ernie. But that isn't what I got. He turned to his assistant and said, "probably a 2825." I went to the car to retrieve the alternator and sure enough, there on the label was "Sales No. 2825LC." I thought, "OK, this guy knows this alternator, this is good."

Re-entering the shop a woman who had been standing next to Ernie met me in front of the counter and took the alternator off my hands. She took it to Ernie, he looked it over commenting on the condition as he turned it over. He was pleased it wasn't corroded, my work with the wire brush had paid off. He said they would put it on the test stand, "no charge." They hooked it up, their electric motor spun the alternator, faster and faster and still the needle on the gauge didn't budge. They hooked up a battery and still no current could be detected.

Ernie agreed with my assessment of the problem, brushes might be the problem. He would fix it if he could. He muttered something about possible other problems, electronics, etc. He said they would replace the brushes and bushings. The charge would be for parts and labor, labor being $40.00 per hour. Then he said, "11." I'm thinking "11, 11 what, 11 hundred, as in dollars?" He meant 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. I was stunned, it was 4:00 p.m. and he was going to have it done tomorrow morning. Our trip is coming up in two weeks and I was just hoping I'd be able to get it back several days before then. His assistant assured me they had the parts in stock.

He called about 10:30 the next morning to let me know that the alternator was ready. When I picked up the alternator, Ernie showed me the brushes. They were little stubs about the size of a pencil eraser. New ones are over an inch long. There was hardly anything left of them. Ernie said they were stuck in the channel that holds them, he had to force them out of the holder. That would explain why they weren't making contact until things warmed up. We were lucky they hadn't failed in some remote location like the roads we traveled last fall in Labrador! The bill for the repair was less than $80.00. I was amazed. If I had gone to a shop and had the alternator removed and a rebuilt one installed in it's place, the bill likely would have been more like $800, I know because I've had it done several times. Of course that would have involved someone else doing the removal and re-installation. So I was well paid for my mechanical adventure.

Re-installing the alternator was easier and faster than the removal process. I didn't even drop any of the tiny nuts or washers. An inventory of tools used and putting everything away finished the process this morning.

If you are in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and need starter or alternator service, Ernie's Service is the place to go! The shop looks humble but the service is fantastic and prices are really reasonable. Even if you have someone remove the part for you, take it to Ernie, you won't be disappointed.

Next on my list of things to get road-ready is the water system. Louise wants to do some cleaning and has informed me that she needs to have the water on. Each day will bring another task, loading clothes, food, tools and other supplies. Tires are on the last thing on the list. I'll adjust the pressure when we're ready to leave. The Pressure Pro sensors indicate the tires have held their pressure during the winter. I've got a set of tires waiting at a shop on the way to our destination for this first trip. With the new set of tires we should be ready for a good summer of travel.




Beware of Blue Beacon Truck Wash

i took my 2016 Newmar Dutch Star for a wash at Blue Beacon Truck Wash. For $36.00 I thought it was a good idea, not true. They are very fast and don't care about their work. While bushing the wheels they broke off two tire pressure monitors worth $100.00 and immediately denied the damage even though one was laying on the floor next to the wheel. I guess it must have rolled along from Florida with us and ended up taking the same route to El Paso Texas. Don't expect anything fro corporate headquarters because their $11.00 and hour supervisor said he did not break them off even though I was in the coach when both tire sensor alarms went off went out and saw him brushing the last tire.




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.





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

Here is the answer to that question:





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!




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.

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





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




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.




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.





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.




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 ...




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