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About Roadzies

  • Birthday 09/30/1977

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    The USA!
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    With children
  1. 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.
  2. Roadzies

    New at This

    Welcome Gene! Congratulations on your new purchase and this community is a wonderful place to start! We wish you the very best of luck and can't wait to hear about your adventures. All Our Best, - The Roadzies
  3. 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 ...
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your doggie. However your trip sounds like it was wonderful and thank you for sharing! And Congrads on your new rig!!
  7. 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!
  8. Thank you for sharing your trip! Was it nerve wracking putting your rig on the ferry? - Miri
  9. Thank you Carl! I love those songs.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. Thank you for such sound advice! Slowing the pace is EXACTLY what we need to do.
  13. Oh Mike I can't help but sob as I read and re-read your words. My heart is broken with yours and we wish you nothing but the best as your heart heals. - Miri & Ryan
  14. I saw Mount Rushmore with my own eyes!! This particular trip was a bucket list item for me and nothing could be more thrilling than driving to Mount Rushmore, in our RV, and with our two kids in summer. Dream come true, really. While seeing the beauty of Mount Rushmore was thrilling enough, the trip itself was waaaay more eventful than we had anticipated. Last year we drove to Tennessee from California for the holidays and I didn't think we were going to come back in one piece, let alone maybe at all (more on that another time!). This RV trip was far more educational but equally as exhausting. Here is the breakdown: 12 days on the road. Our family is thinking more and more about when it might be a good time to full-time so you would think that 12 days would be nothing. However, 12 days NONSTOP was a lot. I need to consult with the FMCA family to better plan our trip. 5 cities hosted us over our 12 days. Cedar City, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, Hill City and Las Vegas were all good places to stay in their own way. Cedar City and Cheyenne are great for quick overnight stays. Salt Lake City far surpassed our expectations and we cant wait to go back. Hill City is home to the Mount Rushmore KOA and that campground is a certified resort. Incredible set up there. Lastly, Las Vegas is my home away from home. She sparkles, she sings, she plays and she never stops feeding me great food and fun drinks. I love you, Las Vegas. 2770 miles round trip. Again, not really that much but that does bring up the gas question. $1,255.28 was the gasoline bill. Insert large frowny face *here*. 1 rather large windshield chip. I am sure many of you know that stomach-sickening sound and when you hear it happen it is such a helpless moment. Luckily it was in my line of sight and not on the drivers side. If you want to find any of that lucky. 155 Gigs of data deleted because I was extremely careless. We bought a dash cam for this and subsequent trips. The Dash Cam pictures were so crisp and so clear and sooo beautiful and NOW THEY ARE GONE. Learn from my mistake and do not multitask when uploading and deleting files. I assumed that I was completely capable of talking on the phone, transferring cam files from the microdisk to the external hard drive and then deleting the data to make more room. Ok I might have also been watching a rerun of Castle. That's when I deleted EVERYTHING off of the hard drive. So now I don't have pretty videos to share. I almost didn't have a husband when I finished. Luckily, after a few beers, Ryan found it funny-ish and told me Lesson learned. 3 tires that are worn one way and 1 tire that is worn waaaaaaay differently. Truth be told, I packed too much. Remember how we took out the bed underneath the couch and made it food storage? Turns out that you shouldn't weigh that down too much. I am now considering packing only cotton candy and popcorn for all of our other trips. (That wouldn't be too terrible, right?!) Between the 8 gallons of water and the super-heavy pantry I packed, Ryan realized that the left front tire was wearing way too fast. He originally assumed it was a bad tire and that we needed an alignment when we got home. Nope ... alas, I just need to not pack like the apocalypse is coming. 1 ATV off road adventure that we will remember fondly and make us laugh for the rest of our lives. The Mount Rushmore KOA is a mind-blowing resort. Whether you are tent camping, RVing or lounging in one of their cabins, this campground has it all. One of the activities they offer is renting on of their 4 seat ATVs and take it off roading on the trails they have around their property. Ryan's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when he heard about it and I cant say that I was as enthusiastic. I was worried about the girls and quite concerned that their brains were going to get rattled around in their little heads. But the You will regret this if you don't argument won me over. Again. So off we went and it turns out that this was the most fun activity we did together on the trip!! The kids LOVED it, I haven't laughed that hard in years and Ryan was very smug as he drove along to us hooting and hollering. I even drove and the girls were very impressed. Ryan was right and I would have missed out on such a great time. If you guys get a chance to go, you should absolutely do it. Also no brain damage. Whew! 4 stoic presidents carved into stone. Mount Rushmore and all its glory was the entire reason we took this trip. As a kid, my parents dragged me to Paris and London for years. Now I realize that this sounds snotty but in reality my father only wanted to drink at pubs and my mother only wanted to shop. I didn't see anything significant or historical until I went with a teen tour years later. I used to beg my parents to roadtrip across the country and they would tell me repeatedly that I was describing their personal version of ****. That's when I swore that I would roadtrip with my family one day and it was going to be glorious! Of course when we arrived at Mount Rushmore it was a surreal moment for me. As I walked hand in hand with my nine year old through the flag covered entryway, I had tears in my eyes. That's when she looked up, saw Mt Rushmore and said words to me that I will never forget. Ok Mom, now we have seen it, do you want to head back now?! Parenting. Not for the faint of heart. 1 exhausted mother. We didn't actually plan on making Las Vegas our last stop. I just couldn't resist the lure of an endless hot shower, room service, slot machines and bloody marys. I am only human after all! I am learning, albeit slowly, about this RV life. I am coming at it too fast and too furious. We need to slow down and leave room for error and surprises. Our RV trips have undoubtedly brought us closer as a family and the girls are not just sisters but best friends. We laugh more, we play more and we are definitely more flexible. I still need a glass a wine at 4 p.m. (ok breakfast sometimes) and Ryan isn't exactly Mr. Sunshine while driving. But we are working on being better travelers while realizing our dreams at the same time. Now that I checked Mount Rushmore off of my bucket list though, where should we go next?!
  15. After several trips of constantly turning on the generator so that the kids could watch TV or my wife could charge her laptop while driving, I finally decided to install an inverter to power the coach with the house batteries. After some research this is what I came up with: * Disclaimer - I am not a mechanical engineer. These are the rantings of an ex Master Mechanic who has spent hours doing his research. Please if you consider doing this, do your own do diligence. Pure Sign Wave Inverter There are many articles out there that detail the differences between pure sign wave and modified sign wave inverters. Simply put, pure sign wave is safer for sensitive electronics like cell phones or laptops. I chose a Samlex America SSW-2000-12A 2000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter for both its price and 2 year warranty and the Rep at Samlex was very helpful in answering all my questions. The Install According to everything I read it was very important to keep the inverter close to the batteries, but not exposed to the elements. My house batteries are just behind my right front tire but are not protected from the elements. So I went with the closest storage box and ran 2/0 Gauge AWG battery cables with a 300 amp inline fuse. Then I ran a 30 amp power cord to the rear storage box and connected it to a 30-Amp outlet. The final step was to install the Samlex inverter remote. That was easy enough and now the whole system works perfectly! Next up - Let's add some solar!! What do you guys think? - Ryan
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