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    Jupiter, FL

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  1. I replaced the four AGM batteries and I'm still having trouble with the inverter. So I guess I need to replace the inverter. Do you have any suggestions for 2000 Watt Inverter with 3 120 VAC outputs?
  2. I have four 6 volt AGM house batteries that are 5 years old. Recently two of the batteries in the same series line have bulged significantly and test BAD. The other two batteries in the other series line test good. Is it just bad batteries or is the charger overcharging. I have an Airpax Dimensions Inverter/Charger which has a three stage charger with the switch correctly set for battery type.
  3. We tow a 2007 Jeep Liberty 4X4 it is very easy to put transfer case in Neutral and Key position does not drain batter like on most cars but most of all I like that it is build rugged enough to go over curbs because that does happen. The Jeep with it high ground clearance and off-road suspension is very forgiving. It is also fun for doing some minor off-road exploration.
  4. We frequently stay at Walmart as we travel to and from our primary destinations. We use Microsoft Streets & Trips with POI Megafile available for free download at msstreets.com and our Rand Mc Nally GPS Navigation System for RVs which shows which Walmart permits overnight camping and provides the telephone number to verify. We generally call the number in advance to verify and to ask where they would prefer us to park. We have found that most Walmarts located in areas that would be a final destination; i.e. Florida as stated above don't permit overnight camping. This generally due to local ordinance promoted by the campground owners and the fact that the Walmart parking lot would be filled with RVs staying multiple days.
  5. marcyberliner You sound like you are either a FT WM or have some connection FT because I could not understand number one why you would do 7 caravans or your lack or understanding on why you would pay any outfit to put you at risk especially in Alaska. We would have been much better on our own. I have much better communication equipment than either the WM or TG. We had to be towed two times and neither time was the WM or TG able to assist us. The first was a broken hydraulic line most likely from the Top of World Highway's pot holes and washboard dirt road. The second time was from a pot hole or 2X4 that blew our toads tire and destroyed rim and running gear. The WM lost his Toad 3/4 the way through the Trip and the TG dropped out 3/4 of the way through the trip due to mechanical breakdown. We also lost two other rigs during the trip. One rig broke down only a 1/4 of the way through the trip and lost the remainder of the tour and the money associated with it. I got the impression that the more people who broke down or got sick with the flu the more money the WM pocketed. Our misery was FT's added profit. Unlike RV Alaska Tours (http://www.rvalaskatours.com), FT does nothing to help prepare coaches and toads to minimize damage. RV Alaska insisted on minimum protection for toad and in Dawson Creek helps caravan members place film on coach and wire mesh over radiators. We had people in our group that had no idea of how to prepare for this trip. Even with our prep based on RV Alaska Tour information we had significant paint chipping of coach and toad. I lost count of the number of broken windshields in our group. Even with a yoga mat across our toad's windshield we still got hit with stone in bottom right corner of windshield.
  6. We did send letter to Fantasy Tours and independently we had conversation with FT follow-up but no formal response was received to either. You are not understanding, the caravan tour group does not provide necessary safety equipment; i.e. satellite phones, inter-coach communications, etc. You are placing you and your significant other in danger in Alaska. It is not like being in the lower 48. Cell phones do not work 90% of the time. If everything goes well, you don't need the caravan to provide security or the additional $7,000 to provide you good time friends. You expect the caravan to provide security. In all three of our breakdowns, we were on our own because neither the WM nor TG had any form of communication to support us. We had to make our own arrangements for tow trucks and repair facilities. There was no benefit to travelling with a caravan to us. In addition, we were subjected to worthless Disney World type tourist attractions which the WG most likely received compensation. At one such location my wife was sick from flu from other members of caravan, I requested that I be given a bad of "pay dirt" from this attraction because we had already paid for both of us for this attraction. The WM said it would cost us an additional $10. When I complained that we had already paid the full price of admission via our $7,000 fee, he arranged to get us a bag of "pay dirt" as long as we didn't tell any of the others suffering from the flu; i.e, money he pocketed. I think that people supporting FT are either totally ignorant or they are associated with FT as WM, TG, etc. because they do not understand the risk that FT places their customers or how they thrive on the failures of their customers.
  7. We did the tour last year with Fantasy Tours and would not recommend it. See my post "Selecting an Alaskan Caravan". Because the roads are so poor because of frost heaves, it is very hard on equipment. Also, the fuel cost driving there and back as we did to Florida were greater than $8,000. Fuel in Canada and Alaska is very high and getting higher this year. If I were to do it over again, I would take a cruise. We could have taken 5 cruises for the $26,000 in fuel and repairs that we spent last summer and we would not have beat up our coach or added all of that mileage. It also would be safer to take a cruise. Most of the caravans do not have any form of communications outside of the major cities and lack personnel trained for medical emergencies. What you see and do for the most part with these caravans is like going to Disney World. It is all make believe. The only big thing you would miss is the the terrible roads, broken wind shields, and hundreds of paint chips on your coach and toad. If you think you must camp, rent and beat up the rental and not your equipment. Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed Alaska but would not do it with a caravan number one because we did not see any added value. If fact it was added expenses for activities that we would not have done. We also would not do it again because of the abuse our coach and toad experienced from the poor roads; both experienced significant paint chipping from the rocks and stones thrown by opposing traffic.
  8. If the caravan tour group does not provide necessary safety equipment; i.e. satellite phones, inter-coach communications, etc. you are placing you and your significant other in danger in Alaska. It is not like being in the lower 48. Cell phones do not work 90% of the time. In addition, you don't want to pay for junk; i.e. Disney World make believe Alaskan Villages, gold dredges, and other such worthless activities. If you want that just go to Disney World. Fantasy Tours does the same routine and has the same equipment or lack thereof no matter who is the WM. As I said I have not had any response to my complaints about their service. We were stranded three times with no communications other than our own. Neither the WM or TG could communicate with anyone unless they used our cell phone booster. During the Top of the World Highway portion of the trip, no one had communication capabilities for two days and hundreds or miles. If you or anyone in your caravan had a medical emergency, you were out of luck big time. Do not risk your life to the caravan outfits that do not have your safety in mind.
  9. I would agree that a cruise is the way to see Alaska. This past summer we did an Alaska Caravan. With Caravan fee $7,000, fuel from FL and back another $7,000, repairs to the coach from the roads in Alaska, campground fees, etc. the total cost was $26,000. We could have taken several cruises for that amount.
  10. I do not recommend Fantasy Tours. See my post "Selecting Alaska Caravan". If you want a good safe tour provider “ALASKAN DISCOVERY RV TOURS” they have reliable communication with Satellite Phones, provide their own internet connection, help you prepare coach and toad to minimize damage which will occur, and everything is a la carte so you don't pay if you don't want to participate or can't participate due to breakdown or illness which happen with us on the Fantasy 2013 tour.
  11. Last year we selected Fantasy Tours for our Alaskan Caravan 2013 because of their affiliation with FMCA. The following is a portion of the feedback I provided to the tour company at the end of the tour on July 28, 2013. As of 3/4/2014, I have not received any feedback from Fantasy Tours. Feedback Questionnaire Questions and answers: 12. What part of the tour did you enjoy the least? We had two mechanical breakdowns while on the tour that impacted our ability to utilize normal tour provided meals and/or campground facilities. Each time we missed campground, meals and entertainment. Each time the Wagon Master (WM) failed to try to compensate us by providing meal vouchers or alternate campground fees; i.e. Fairbanks Salmon Bake or campground fees when we had to return to Valdez Eagles Nest campground. Because one of the tour participants had a flu virus that spread through the group, Patty (my wife) was not able to attend the Gold Dredge #8 tour in Fairbanks, AK. As part of the tour each tour participant received a bag of “pay dirt”. When I asked the WM for a bag of “pay dirt” for Patty, he told me it would cost me $10. I protested saying that we had already paid for her full entry and should not have to pay additional fee. He later gave me a bag of “pay dirt” but admonished me not to tell anyone else on the tour about this “deal”. In our opinion, these actions amounted to either Fantasy and/or WM pocketing addition profits at the expense of their customer’s misfortunes. The Irkutsk, BC campground and meal were terrible. The water coming out of the faucets was black. The voltage was minimal; i.e. 104 VAC. The grass at campsite was so high that automatic RV steps would not fully extend. The meal was canned cream corn and overcooked beef of some type. 14 How do you rate the included side tours? Some of the side tours were too Disney like for our taste; i.e. the River Boat Cruise and Gold Dredge #8 in Fairbanks. Both of these tours were an insult to the intelligence of your customers to pander them for worthless trinkets. 22 Additional comments: Wagon Master Strengths and Weaknesses: · Strengths o Knowledge of tour routs, facilities, and tours. · Weakness o Technical understanding of minimum voltage and water quality requirements for RV’s. o WM failed to establish social interactions within the group by failing to promote gatherings other than those required by tour. The majority of social gatherings were imitated by customers. o Both the WM and his wife lacked genuine empathy for their customers. They went through the minimum requirements to meet Fantasy Tour questionnaire requirements but nothing more. Example: When coffee ran out the response was “It is going to take an hour to make more” and then provided no additional coffee. The same type of attitude was evident on other occasions. So if you were not first in line for any food type of occasion, you were out of luck for coffee or anything else that was provided. Because of this people would show up an hour to half hour before schedule to ensure they got their meal. o Two of the meals required customers to provide essential ingredients; i.e. eggs for omelet in a bag and chili for chili dogs which for the money spent for this tour was insulting. o The “Family Style” meal provided in Fairbanks was just that. If you were at the far end of the table, there was either nothing left or it was the pieces that no one else wanted. We felt like the classic “Redheaded Step Child” with little to no food worth eating. Tail Gunner · Strengths o The TG has strong trouble shooting ability. o The TG has great empathy for customers especially during customer misfortunes; i.e. breakdowns and illness. · Weaknesses o Experience and knowledge of routes, tours, campgrounds, etc. o Leadership skills were not evident but that is part of TG role. Additional comments: We feel that Fantasy Tour placed their customers in extreme risk by not having reliable communication in the remote areas of Alaska. The WM and TG should have been provided with satellite cellphones in order to communicate to emergency service providers in the event of medical or mechanical emergencies. In the two mechanical breakdowns that we experienced, the TG was not able to contact emergency services or WM using their personal cell phone. Because the caravan can be stretched over 50 miles, the use of Walkie-Talkie radio is not adequate due to their short range. Customers should be provided VHF radios for more reliable communication with WM and TG and other customers. The Fantasy Tour Insurance gives a false sense of security for the customer’s investment in that it fails to include mechanical failures incurred. We did not realize this until we encountered two mechanical failures that could have cost us major losses. This travel insurance fails to cover normal losses during this tour; i.e. mechanical breakdowns or illness. This insurance is duplicate of insurance we already have. The Fantasy Tour VEHICLE PREPARATION CHECKLIST fails to provide adequate instructions regarding the preparation for road conditions in Alaska; i.e. protections for vehicles and their radiators of from rocks and stones. Note: Both WM and TG suffered disabling damage from radiator damage to their RV or TOAD. Overall we were terribly disappointed in the services provided by this caravan and will NEVER participate in another tour or caravan of this type again. If you absolutely want a caravan tour of Alaska, I recommend that you take an Alaskan tour with “ALASKAN DISCOVERY RV TOURS" which we hear about from fellow FMCA members after we return and told them our story. This caravan uses satellite phones for external communications and VHF radios for communication between members of the caravan that are not spread out over 40-60 miles like other tour groups. This tour company ensures that vehicles are prepared to prevent as much damage as possible prior to the trip. This company also emphasizes history and cultural elements of Alaska and not the Disney like tourist attractions.
  12. When I was replacing my tires, I was told by the shop that 90% of the tires they put on coaches are XZE's. I am currently on 49 day caravan in Alaska with many twisting and turning roads and I'm still very pleased with how well these tires have performed in comparison to the XZA3's. Because of my past experience with the XZA3's, I'm still gun-shy of right-hand turns but as I get more confident my cornering has improved.
  13. The following link is to MS Streets and Trips "The Points of Interest Mega File". The POI Mega File is a free map template containing hundreds of pushpin collections for truckers, RVers and other travelers. It has the nearly every POI you could think of using. Please read instructions for use of the template. You do not want to keep all types of POIs because the file will be to large and take a long time to load. Delete all types of POIs that you feel you will not ever use. http://msstreets.com/poimegafile/
  14. I was recently advised not to use silicone spray to lubricate HWH Jack Rods because it could damage seals. I checked on HWH website and found that they recommend only WD-40 when necessary. Cleaning Jack Rods ml47149.pdf
  15. I recently replaced my original XZA3 275/80R22.5 with XZE's. I can not tell you how much safer I feel! I feel that the XZA3 contributed to a severe under-steer problem. This was most noticeable on a downhill turn to the right with the road slopping right to left. The coach would change a whole lane before I could comfortably get it back under control. This provided many heart stopping moments especially for an unfortunate couple on a motorcycle. I originally thought it was my air leveling system and had the senors checked but they were found to be working properly. Now that I have changed tires the problem is gone. The only issue I had was that my 90 psi rear tire pressure (based on four corner weight) was too soft and was causing rear tire sidewall to flex in heavy crosswinds. I increased pressure to 100 psi and solved the problem.
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