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About bradleytsteele

  • Birthday 07/28/1957

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Longview, Texas
  • Interests
    My family, church, sports, music, my Harley Road King Classic, NASCAR, Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, golf.
  1. Thank you and "Howdy" to you, too, Peppyjay. We have had our coach for a while now and have had our share of adventures, or, misadventures. I just have not blogged about them but really should. Be safe!

    1. f424363


      do you have any photos you can share of your custom built entertainment center? We are trying to do the same but everyone wants a photo

  2. Enjoyed reading your Santa Fe adventure.. Glad things worked out for the best for you.I'm new at this Rv'ing, also..So looking forward to lots of adventure too. Im from Tyler...so as we say in Texas.."Howdy Neighbor"...Take care..

  3. Brad, Welcome to the forum. Seeing that you are from Longview I thought I would take this oppertunity to invite you'll to join The Lone Star Chapter of FMCA at one of our up coming Rallies. Due to the opressive heat in Texas we don't have any rallies in the summer. Our next rally is in Durant, OK at the KOA at the Choctaw Casino. We would love to have you come.

    Herman Mullins 2nd V...

  4. I have a 2007 Gulfstream Tourmaster that has the same Mercedes engine with the old undampened lines. Last week, while returning home to Texas from Florida, it developed a leak which I noticed while refueling in Tallahassee. I had to put my wife and daughter in a rental car ($500) so they could get home. I stayed with the coach. I took it in to a reputable repair facility where they discovered the ruptured line. Freightliner in Tallahassee had a replacement. The line was replaced although not with the dampened version as I was unaware of the recall and design modification. The repair bill was $389.00. I proceeded home and made it to Louisiana when I noticed another leak. I had to pay $1,200.00 to be towed to Freightliner in Shreveport where my coach now sits. I found this thread and when I discovered the Mercedes recall, I immediately called Freightliner and made them aware of the recall. I was told they would look into it and call me back. That was yesterday. I intend to request reimbursement of all of my out of pocket expenses from Mercedes. As a lawyer, I may have more leverage than most people but I am hopeful that they will do the right thing since the line is defective as designed. I will keep you posted as my claims move forward. Brad Steele Longview, Texas
  5. Gramps, What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it. Our pets are so much more than that, aren't they? Brad Steele
  6. Dear Readers, By now you know we have made it to Witchita Falls and, of course, we made it to our final destination for our shake-down cruise, which was Santa Fe -- not without incident(s), of course. But we made it there and back home to Longview, Texas. Although we had our share of mishaps along the way, I'm pleased to report that my marriage to Ms. Wendy is stronger than ever (I hope) and that Gracie and Coco enjoyed the trip immensely. You would have thought the two of them had been RVers all their lives, although they did tend to bark a little more than I would have liked. Being small dogs, I suppose they have to try to show how tough they are. Along the route to Santa Fe, I will report that we had one of the windiest (is that a word?) trips that I have ever been on. We had crosswinds the entire trip from Texas to Santa Fe and back. I know that my forearms are a little stronger as a result of trying to hold our 42-foot Gulf Stream on the road. Ms. Wendy's eyes kept getting big as we would drift to her edge of the roadway. She would grab for her imaginary steering wheel and pump her imaginary brake -- I suppose because you feel so darn helpless in the passenger side captain's chair. Plus, I will admit that I tend to be somewhat of an aggressive driver when I'm in my pickup truck. I'm usually in a hurry and have little patience for people who seem to have all the time in the world to get wherever it is that they intend to go. So, Ms. Wendy and I struck a bargain when we purchased our coach: I had to sign a contract to drive safely and not aggressively, or else she would abandon me somewhere along the road and leave me with the dogs. Now, that might be a tempting offer to some folks, but I rather enjoy my wife's companionship and the dogs don't cuddle near as good, though they do cuddle. So, I am pleased to report that on our initial journey Ms. Wendy only had to scold me a couple of times about my speed: "Slow down, you're going too fast to suit me" is what she said. And, for the sake of our marriage, not to mention my legal obligation under our safe-driving contract, I would slow to a safer speed, and everyone was happy. I mentioned that this trip was our first RV Adventure but said it would not be our last, and it won't, if the Lord's willing and the creek don't rise, as they say in Texas. I used the word "adventure" because that is descriptive, I believe, of the entire trip, including night two in Santa Fe. Now, for those of you who have been to Santa Fe, you know that this charming town is blessed in many ways, including having an array of wonderful restaurants. I am somewhat of a foodie in that I love to cook and fancy myself as an amateur chef. So, I asked my friend from Longview, who owns a home in Santa Fe, for some good recommendations on places to eat. He suggested a number of places and we ate lunch at one on our first trip to the Plaza and we made a reservation for the next night to go to another. But, as we sat around our coach, enjoying the Santa Fe Skies (that is where we stayed, too, by the way), we decided we would rather stay in than eat out. So, since I did not bring much in the way of food to cook, we called in burgers and I went to pick them up and brought them back to our camp site, where we sat outside with Gracie and Coco and watched game 6 of the NBA finals. I knew at this point that we were true RVers because that is what we preferred to do -- stay in camp, rather than eat out. I also mentioned that I hoped this blog would sometimes be informative, if not funny. You may say, "How can a new RVer have anything to say that would be informative?" Well, I'm sure many of you reading this have years of experience in an RV. But, Ms. Wendy and I had an experience in Santa Fe, on our second night, that has hopefully prepared me like a good Eagle Scout should be. You see, after we had gone to bed, along about 1 in the morning, Ms. Wendy woke up to the sounds of someone yelling outside our coach. She thought at first that it was some kids who had come by our campsite earlier in the day. She told me to wake up, that I needed to go outside and see what was wrong. Now, I was in a dead sleep and I figured that some couple was fighting and I am smart enough not to try to get in the middle of a fight (I learned that lesson the hard way, but that's another story). Then, my wife looked out of our bedroom window and saw a huge fire burning up the other side of the ridge of which we were on top. More importantly, the winds, now blowing at about 40 mph, were blowing the embers toward our coach and over the top of it. I was aware that very day there was a grass fire burning northwest of Santa Fe that had consumed over 9,000 acres at that point. I told Ms. Wendy to get the dogs and put them in my truck and get in the truck and get ready to leave. I brought the jacks up and started the engine to let the air pressure build. My plan was to be ready to get ourselves out of the campground if the fire spread toward us. Then, I went to see what was on fire and discovered that a gentleman's Fifth Wheel RV was totally engulfed in flames. He had managed to get himself out and get his vehicles and propane bottles away so they would not burn. I am pleased to report that the fire department got there quickly and contained the fire to his RV, although the RVs on either side had some heat damage. Thankfully, and praise God, no one was hurt or killed. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time falling back to sleep when I've been asleep for any length of time. So, as we lay back down that night, we got to thinking and talking, What would we do if our coach caught fire? Would we be able to get out if the fire was blocking the door?. So, we put this experience to good use for us. We made an escape plan. We found the exit window and are prepared to use it if necessary. We are buying a second fire extinguisher to put in the rear of the coach where we sleep. And we will have a designated meeting place if we get separated. And we decided that we would save ourselves over our property, if it came to that. Hopefully, it never will. So, to sum up, I learned three things from this, our first RV Adventure: 1. Always check the weather of your destination before you leave. A temerature of 114 degrees is no condition to travel in, what is, in effect, a metal box. 2. You can't back up a toad vehicle with tow bars attached. Don't try it; it doesn't and will not work. You will regret it. 3. Have an escape plan in the event of a fire and a meeting point every time you camp. It might just save your lives. Oh, yeah, I learned one other thing: I love RVing and cannot wait for our next adventure. See you down the road, Brad Steele
  7. I'm jealous of those "cool" temps. It was 100 in Longview yesterday with heat index of 103. Today, only supposed to be 95.
  8. Dear Readers: As I mentioned, in preparing myself to be a good RVer, I read lots of articles and books about the RV lifestyle and tips for do's and don'ts. I anguished for a good month or so about what kind of vehicle I should be towing behind my Gulf Stream. Should I acquire a Saturn and join the "in" crowd? (I had read it is the most popular vehicle, but I'm not really a Saturn guy). Plus, I already have enough vehicles titled in my name with two sons in college and a daughter who is about to be driving. I didn't really want to buy another vehicle. And I considered the way in which my vehicle should be towed. Should I get one of those things (a tow dolly, I think it's called) that you drive the front two wheels onto and let the back two wheels ride on the ground? That didn't look very safe to me, although I'm sure many of you use them with no problems. Should I get a trailer and just tow it with my vehicle loaded on it? I spent hours thinking about this issue alone. To complicate matters, I own a 2008 Harley Davidson Road King Classic, which I intended to take with me on occasion. Should I get a hydraulic lift installed on the rear of the coach and carry my bike that way? I could not get the thought out of my head of that beautiful motorcycle falling onto the hood of my truck and the whole she-bang falling off onto the freeway somewhere between here an yonder. And, which towing method was the most cost-effective? So, I took the Eagle Scout approach: I did all of these things -- well, not the lift (yet anyway). I bought the Blue Ox Aventa III tow bar and had my '08 Chevy 4wd PU converted AND I had a trailer custom built to haul my motorcycle and a vehicle when the trip so dictated. I think, but I am not sure, that I still came out a little cheaper than buying the lift and the tow bar combination. At this point, it's only money, right? In any event, now that you know what I went through to get to this decision, you no doubt know that I read that you cannot back up your vehicle when it is being towed with a tow bar. Knowledge is a good thing, so I've heard. But as I found myself at the end of day one, eager to get to our spot and begin camping, literally, now between a rock and I hard place, I just had to try to back up. I really only needed to back up about 15 feet to be able to turn to the right and avoid the huge boulder that my truck was about to encounter, on less-than-friendly terms. So, after sizing up the situation and debating the same with Mrs. Wendy (she told me not to) I made the decision to back up. What did all these people know anyway? Well, I discovered what they know and had already told me: YOU CAN'T BACK UP A TOAD VEHICLE. And now I know why, too. It's because your front tires will go wherever they darn well please when you do, that's why. Moreover, your tow bar will get in a bind, which makes it even that much more difficult to unhook ( and you will have to unhook). Suffice it to say that had I just been paying a little closer attention to my route when I entered the park, I would not have been trying to make an impossible turn around a huge boulder and I would not have needed to back up nor would I have needed to unhook. But I can't say I wasn't warned. Better yet, I could have just listened to Mrs. Wendy in the first place. She would agree with me on that! Well, after straining and anguishing and much gnashing of teeth, not to mention of few expletives, I was able to unhook the truck, back it out of the way, back up the coach, aim it to the right and head it to our spot. As I'm sure many of you can testify, the beverages taste a little better when you have had to earn them. I know mine did on that night, our first night, as RVers! Brad Steele
  9. Dear Readers, First, let me say a thank you to the moderator of the FMCA online Community, for his kind words and welcoming me to this community of folks. I hope that what I have to say will be worth reading and perhaps funny, if not informative. When we last spoke I had decided that we would head out on our first big adventure to Santa Fe rather than Big Bend National Park. We had a limited amount of time for this initial trip and the distance between Longview and each destination was essentially the same. One thing for sure, I did not need nor intend to turn our coach into a 42-foot-long oven in the West Texas desert. Although I had been to Santa Fe years earlier, the thought of margaritas on the Plaza and cool mornings sipping coffee outside was more than a little appealing. So, when all the votes were cast, it was unanimous: We would head to New Mexico and spend our time "out west." Gracie and Coco were especially pleased about this decision because they had heard that the rattlesnakes are a little bigger in Texas, like everything else. In reality, the dogs didn't give a hoot where we went as long as they got to go with us. As I mentioned earlier, I had told Mrs. Wendy to expect the unexpected, to prepare for little mishaps to occur and to be flexible. I mean, that's the key to happiness on the road, isn't it? Well, as we were loading the coach and getting ready to leave, but before I had even started the engine, Mrs. Wendy began to close the bathroom door when the doorknob simply broke into two pieces. Of course, I went to investigate this unfortunate but somewhat funny incident, laughing and saying, ha-hah, I told you things would happen, and then I closed the bathroom door only to discover that it was now impossible to open. This is great, I thought. We are about to leave on our first open road adventure and I can't even use my own bathroom! What a bummer. But, with the help of a friendly screwdriver and my old house shoe, I got the door open (the house shoe was used as a door stop from this point forward). The problem with the door knob is that the thing- a- ma- jig that screws onto the whatchamacallit broke in two. Suffice it to say that not even duct tape would fix this. So, I am now in the market for a pewter door handle with matching knob. Lowe's may have this if I'm lucky, which is in doubt at this point. Nevertheless, we headed out and, after dropping off Exhibit "A" from our marital union, the precious Miss Allison, at summer camp, made it all the way to Witchita Falls RV Park for our first night in the coach. Boy was I excited. And I won't bore you with all of the details of his leg of the journey, but I am pleased to report that only one other motorist flipped me off the entire trip and that was in Ft. Worth, as I was trying to proceed onto highway 287 near downtown. If you've traveled that road before, you know what I mean. If you have not, think Daytona 500!!! As we entered the RV park I began to think about how nice it was going to be to get our rig all set up, the slides out, the music playing, the wine poured. Unfortunately, I was not thinking about the best route to our designated spot, so I ended up trying to turn left around this huge boulder only to look into my side mirror and see that my toad was about to cross that boulder from the side. In short, I had made a fatal driving error: trying to turn where I had no business trying to turn. Moreover, thanks to the Toad, I could not back up. Or, could I??? More to come later. Brad Steele
  10. Montie, I had a 32" LCD tv and Onkyo stereo receiver mounted inside the first bay of my 07 Gulfstream Tourmaster. The bay was already pre-wired for cable/sat/elec so I had a custom stereo shop build a box inside the bay to hold the tv mount and to house the stereo receiver and two small speakers. I also had him put to external speaker plugs next to the receiver so I can plug in two Peavey external speakers. I bought collapsible stands on which to set the external speakers. This set up will be used to tailgate and/or Nascar events. I also had an IPOD dock added so I can listen to my music outside as well. Total costs to me excluding the TV was about $2000. It's not cheap but I am enjoying it. Watched the NBA finals last week while on the road and a few of our neighbors joined us to watch, which was fine by me. Brad Steele
  11. Thank you, Gramps. I've seen some of your pictures on the site. Thanks for making me feel welcome to this community of folks. Brad
  12. Dear Readers, I have always wanted an RV. I love the outdoors and I love to travel. I looked a long time before settling on a 2007 Gulf Stream Tourmaster with 17k miles that I purchased for 20k less than book value. It has everything I wanted in a coach, and it looks good, too. No buyer's remorse for me. I'll introduce you to my traveling companion: my lovely wife of 17 years and my best friend, Wendy. I would describe her as a somewhat reluctant RVer. You see, she camped all of her life as a young child with her family in a small travel trailer. When she was still very young, one of her trips ended in disaster when the trailer came off of the car and was destroyed. This happened right after she had been standing up in the front seat of her parents' car. No doubt angels were watching over her when her mother insisted that she sit just before the accident occurred. Remember when all kids road lying down in the back windshield or the floorboard? And no one wore seat belts! My other companions for this first great adventure were Gracie, age 5, and Coco Chanel, age 8 months, our two maltese. Unlike Wendy, Gracie and Coco are keen on traveling and were very excited, like me, to finally hit the road after prepping for our trip for two months. I have read enough in this forum to know that all RV trips are adventures, full of fun and excitement. I also have read enough to know that all RV trips have at least one misadventure. So, as I prepped the coach, I also prepped my wife, for I wanted this trip to be fun for her, too -- not just for me and the dogs. I told her that we could expect that at least one negative thing would happen and the key to success on this trip was how we handled the negative and our attitudes. I assured her that short of a tragic accident, equipment could be repaired and "things" could be fixed. More importantly, our marriage was strong, so I knew it could survive this "shake-down" cruise as it were, right? Right? So, it was in this light that we began planning our first great adventure: to Big Bend National Park, Texas, a place I have never seen. I am an Eagle Scout and the Boy Scout Motto is "BE PREPARED." Those who know me say I have taken this motto to an extreme in my 52 years, but hey, what were all those merit badges for if not for this? My wife and friends will tell you that when I go somewhere, I tend to take everything I own plus the kitchen sink. I say I would rather not need it and have it than need it and not have it. Plus, an extra kitchen sink might come in handy. Actually, as you all know, the planning of the trip can be just as much fun as the trip itself. So, I bought a few books and read them cover to cover. I actually bought two written by the same lovely couple with the same intro, RVing for Dummies or something like that. I had our coach looked at from one end to the other by certified mechanics. I had all fluids and belts changed. I put on new tires -- no inexpensive purchase as you know. I had my 2008 Chevy PU fitted for use a "toad" (I told you I read books). I bought all of the right stuff. I even had a great TV (which I pilfered from our bedroom -- I never watch TV in bed anyway) and had it mounted in the front bay so I could watch all the great sporting events while sitting outside. Oh yeah, I got the new in-motion dish and every channel DirecTV has, plus a couple more. In short, all systems were set and ready to go. Now, for those of you who are blessed to live in a more desirous climate than east Texas, you don't have to worry much about the heat. But where I'm from, it's all I worry about, especially now. Today, for example, it was 97 degrees most of the afternoon in my back yard. And that's in the shade, folks. And it's not a dry heat, either. So, as I began prepping for our Big Bend National Park Adventure, I started looking at the weather forecast for our week of travel and it was not pretty. The predicted highs in Big Bend were to be 114 degrees every day. And although Big Bend is in the desert and therefore the heat would be "dry," the Eagle Scout in me came to believe that the two roof airs would in no way keep our coach cool enough to be pleasurably occupied. This also led me to believe that Mrs. Wendy would not be happy in a hot coach even if it did have a TV on the outside. And you know what they say, "If momma ain't happy, nobody's happy (and that includes the dogs). So, I did what any good Eagle Scout would do under the circumstances. I decided to point the motorhome in a different direction: Santa Fe, New Mexico. And boy, am I glad I did. Well, I'm new to this blogging and my fingers are getting tired, but do I have a story to tell you, you betcha. But, it's going to have to wait a while as it's after 10 p.m. and therefore, way after my normal bedtime. Plus, I got to work tomorrow. Remember, I said those tires cost lots of money. Good night, everyone! Brad Steele
  13. bradleytsteele

    Brad Steele's Photos

    Santa Fe Adventure
  14. Photos of our trip to Santa Fe
  15. Photos of our trip to Santa Fe
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