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Found 9 results

  1. Does anyone have a solution for parking an RV while going on a cruise? Sometimes we want to go to FL and then spend a week on a cruise. Where would we park or store the RV? any solutions or ideas? thank you for your suggestions!
  2. It began as a common problem: cruise control would not latch. Lots of owners have commented about having to cycle their Smartwheel Cruise Control ON/OFF switches before latching can occur. Then, another oddity: turning the dash lights rheostat on would unlatch/disengage the cruise control. Later, the system stopped working entirely. I could, on occasion, get it to engage for brief periods. No single event ever defined the inevitable unlatching, the longest it went without disengaging was a half-hour, during Interstate driving on a recent trip. When I contacted our chassis tech support representative, he said such issues are usually a Caterpillar ECM problem. Since, technically, the failure was an intermittent issue, I suspected the old culprits of corrosion, broken wires or looseness that plague all older chassis. The ECM is connected by two complex multi-pin plugs, in an area prone to spray, dirt. On the 2006 C13, it is located just forward of the fuel filter. The aft of these two plugs, taking in yellow braided wires, handles engine sensors. The smaller attends to other functions, like cruise control. I crawled underneath, used a 1/8" allen key to loosen the smaller of these, sprayed it with electronics cleaner, carefully snugged the plug into place and tightened the hold down screw. Still, no cruise. "It's the chassis ECM, not ours," insisted the Caterpillar shop foreman, when I raised the white flag and called for an appointment. He added that, for no charge, he'd plug in the ECM and prove his point. I hastily agreed, hung up and started driving to Holt Caterpiller of Fort Worth. They are the same folks who replaced all of my intake solenoids, accessing the engine by dismantling the bedroom closet -- they reassembled the doorframe and rehung the doors without leaving a trace -- for less than $1800. To shorten the story, let it suffice to say the computer revealed the "Inactive" status of the cruise control, and the technician could get it latch, but only in the high-idle mode. We agreed to a road trip with me driving and him using the laptop. He threw the switches for Retarder modes, Adaptive Cruise enabling, experimented with some other ideas on the screen while I drove. Eventually, I had cruise control with unlatching anytime the engine brake power was ON or the dash lights were illuminated. For the life of me, I cannot understand the latter, unless it is an inhibit to prevent night use of VORAD, the primative adaptive cruise control with which the original RV was equipped, later decommissioned. Finally, the technician mentioned that my brakes were showing engaged on an intermittent basis. We opened the generator bay and examined the backside of the pedal assembly. Two simple pressure switches are there: the inboard attends to cruise control, the outboard activates the brake lights. I instantly found a wobbly spade connector on the former, and when I crushed the interior slightly and slid it back into place, that line on his screen obediently said "OFF" and remained that way. All the way home -- a trip of forty miles -- the cruise remained engaged. Now, with a long trip to Florida looming, I have the simple luxury of driving with my fingertips!
  3. We are driving our motor coach from Florida up to Seattle this summer, then going on a cruise for 14 days to Alaska. We are looking to park our 42ft. RV somewhere where we could have electricity to keep the refrigerator running. We had hoped not to have to pay full RV park rates for that many nights. We've already checked with Lake Pleasant RV park, they do not have any openings. It looks like cruise terminal parking could be upwards of $35 a night :-(. Does anyone have any suggestions on who we might be able to contact for this? Thanks, John & Jackie Tice (P.S. We are also looking for a dog sitter for our beagle Holly!)
  4. After two days at sea we arrived at Savusavu, Fiji. The city of Savusavu is located on Vanua Levu, one of two large islands in the island nation of Fiji. There are dozens of other islands in the group of islands that make up Fiji. At Savusavu, we had a tour to Wiasali Rainforest Reserve. Billed as a strenuous hike, this lived up to its billing. There were 15 people on this shore excursion. Eleven members of our group fit into a van and the remainder of us rode to the reserve by taxi. Louise and I had the first taxi, the remaining two people had the last taxi. We arrived before the van which had stopped to fuel up on the way to the reserve. The rainforest reserve was about a 40 minute ride from the town of Savusavu where our ship was anchored offshore. Once the rest of the group arrived we were welcomed by our guide. The official language of Fiji is French and our guide was partially fluent in English. He had some difficulty translating names of plants into English. As we started down the trail we were going down into a deep valley in the rainforest. Our guide walked ahead of us pointing out orchids, palms and other plants along the trail. Unfortunately the trail was a narrow single file trail. That meant that the group was strung out for some distance. Louise and I were the second and third people in line and if we walked quickly we could hear what he was saying to the first person behind him. We asked him to stop repeatedly so others in the group could hear what he was saying but it was no use, he wanted to keep going. We tried asking questions which would allow the group to catch up and that worked sometimes. We saw a number of different kinds of orchids on the walk and heard a Barking Pigeon but never saw it. Actually I may have seen it flying but at a distance it is hard to get enough details from a flying bird to truly identify the bird to its species. The bird I saw was a pigeon and was the correct color but never having seen one before and not having a guide book to consult, I can’t claim to have seen a Barking Pigeon. Hearing it was enough to be able to say that this bird had an appropriate name, it really did sound like a barking animal. Reaching the bottom of the valley we paused for a few minutes along a small stream and enjoyed the view and the cool air near the water. Our guide lifted a long leaf submerged in the water and stirred up a crawdad-like animal in a pool in the stream. Then we began our climb back to the top of the hill. The trail was a loop trail so this was new territory. The trail was as steep as the trail down with many steps, some normal size and others being twice as high as a normal step even a few that were larger. They were at least constructed steps and we weren’t climbing up rock steps which can have uneven surfaces and be a challenge to find the best place to step on each step. Since we were trying to keep up with our guide we didn’t have much time to look around as we climbed the hill. Again we managed to stop him with a few questions. Louise and I decided that we would think seriously about just doing these explorations on our own. This particular shore activity was fairly pricey and we could have easily hired a cab and taken our time exploring rather than getting the trip that we did. So we put that in our memories. We aren’t the kind of people who like tours. I like having the freedom of not being on a schedule and having to rush through things. Likewise I like to be able to pause and look at things that interest me, take some pictures and then continue on the trail. When we returned to the town we had some time to walk around and explore some shops and vendor booths before we returned to the ship. The theme for the night was dressing as Fijians so we both got a good warm shower and put on our finest souvenir Polynesian clothes for dinner. We skipped the show for the evening and went to our room for some rest after a stressful day on shore.
  5. We had two sea days on our way from Noumea, New Caledonia to Fiji. Both Louise and I enjoy the enforced relaxation of the sea days. There is plenty to do on the ship not the least of which is to just relax. Louise enjoys playing cards and I enjoy relaxing in the sun or shade of the upper decks. Our stateroom is on the lowest passenger level located mid-ship which is our preferred location. Being both low and in the center of the ship, we experience less movement than almost anyone else on the ship. Louise experiences motion sickness and this was a special concern on this trip. We are on the Pacific Ocean which can be anything but pacific. The Paul Gauguin is a small ship for a cruise ship. I equate ship size with stability and minimal motion. The Paul Gauguin surprises us because it is more stable than we expected but the Pacific Ocean is performing as expected, it has at times been a rough ride. Despite being on the lowest passenger deck, our stateroom is quite comfortable. It is larger and more luxurious than any stateroom we’ve had before. We have a full bathtub, good counter space in the bathroom and a regular European style toilet. There are two closets plus drawer space for clothes and plenty of other cabinet space for our belongings. What looks like a window in the photo is actually two portholes just above the waterline so we have a good look at the sea any time we want! We have a fridge stocked with soft drinks and beer. All meals are included in the tour package as well as all drinks including the minibar in the room. Room service is also included, no charge. Three restaurants operate during meal hours. There is no buffet open all day long. This is fine with us, snacks are available at any of the bars. The food has been excellent and the service is fantastic. As with most cruise ships there are plenty of on-board activities, performances, games, bars and casino. The entertainment has a decidedly Pacific Island twist with both the on-board band and the performers being from the area. Louise formed a bond with the group of bridge players the first day at sea and they play on sea days regularly. We've met no end of friendly people on board. Most of the passengers are from the US or Canada with a few from Britain, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.
  6. Noumea is the capital of New Caledonia. It is the largest city in these islands and has many multi story buildings in the business district and also condominiums and apartments in buildings up to ten stories high. Located on the island of New Caledonia is a large port with shipping facilities as well as docks for cruise ships. We were within walking distance of the city center. Within sight of our ship was the major portion of population and in the opposite direction a large nickel smelting operation. Nickel mining is the heart of the economy of New Caledonia. We had two days in port in Noumea. During our stay we took two guided tours on the island. The first was a tour of the botanical garden and bird sanctuary. We were driven by bus to the garden and then toured on foot with a guide. French is the first language of the people here but many including our guide also speak English. We were introduced to a number of trees common on the islands and also saw many of the birds which are common here as well. Other than the waterfowl, the birds were all caged. Louise and I took our binoculars which we found to be very helpful in observing the birds, even those in the cages. Tropical birds have such wonderful colors we enjoyed being able to see them as best we could. The binoculars help by gathering more light which makes the colors more vivid. Even birds in the shadows show nice color in the binoculars. Of course they also help us see more detail that would be missed without magnification. The first evening in port in Noumea we were entertained by a local group performing native songs and dances in the theater on board the ship. A troupe of five women and four men entertained us for about 40 minutes. They had two guitars and three ukuleles, all other instruments were made of materials used by the indigenous people. It was a high energy performance with men dancing for one number and then women dancing for the next. Our second tour was the following morning. We were taken by bus to a park on the Dumbea River just a few miles outside Noumea. There we were given instruction on kayaking before launching our kayaks for a trip upstream. With about 10 kayaks in the group, we were a small enough group to see and hear our guide throughout the trip. The Dumbea River is a source of drinking water for the city of Noumea and is known for its wildlife. At our put in point, the river is near enough to sea level to be partly salt water but as we move upstream it is all freshwater. After about an hour working our way upstream, we stopped. Those who wanted could swim, we and another couple chose to continue kayaking on upstream for a short distance. This allowed us to get away from the large group and move more quietly. We saw several flocks of birds and some ducks on this part of the trip. We were back at the ship by lunchtime. Having developed a good apatite during the morning, food was welcome. We spent the rest of the afternoon on the ship. At 6:00 p.m. we left port sailing for our next stop in the Fiji Islands.
  7. By evening on Wednesday the seas had calmed somewhat and the ride to our next stop is much gentler than the previous days ride. Our route took us further west and south. The day was cool with light winds. The captain informed us that we were cruising at a relaxed 7 knots, down from the 12 knots of previous days. We had plenty of time to reach our next island paradise, Lifou, part of the Loyalty Island group. On Lifou, we toured a botanical garden and vanilla farm. The botanical garden tour was interesting with many plants we had never seen before. Some looked similar to those we know from the US but many others were completely new. There were flowers of many colors and a few interesting birds as well. The vanilla farming was new to us. Vanilla plants were introduced here in the late 1800’s. Unfortunately, the island has no insects which are capable of fertilizing the flowers. Wisely, the farmers have declined to introduce any new insects to the island to fertilize the flowers. Farmers here have to do the fertilization by hand, one flower at a time. This limits the size of a crop to the quantity that can be hand fertilized by the workers on any particular farm. The total production of vanilla beans from Lifou are consumed within New Caledonia. Sugar cane farming is important in the islands and it is used for rum which consumes much of the vanilla production. Following the visit to the botanical garden and vanilla farm we were taken to the Cliffs of Jokin, a scenic area along the northern shore of the island. The road to this area was single lane. We never met another vehicle but had that happened, one vehicle would have to pull aside into the brush for the other vehicle to pass. The cliffs themselves provided a high overlook on the lagoon below. The waters were a beautiful blue green with a clarity that allows looking at the bottom of the lagoon. The island is an uplifted coral atoll and the cliffs are ancient coral reef. We walked down 200 to the lagoon which gave us a good view of the cliff face. It is quite a beautiful area with the dark cliffs, some shallow caves and a small island near the base of the cliffs. We lingered here before returning to our bus. Once we returned to the dock area we spent some time browsing the market area set up for tourists. There was a dancing group performing at the market. With bamboo columns pounding on ground for drums and ankle bracelets of shells they danced and sang. The group consisted of two young girls, the older was the song leader. Her role was to start each song with the others chiming in after a note or two. There was on adult woman and three young men. The young men sang and danced. Their faces were painted and unlike the smiling girls, they were serious, striking a variety of threatening poses. Two older women worked out front of the dancers, quickly weaving palm leaves into baskets. We picked out a sundress for Louise and a shirt for me. We wore them to dinner that evening. Since retiring I have adopted tropical wear for my formal attire and the shirt certainly fits the bill. Louise in her sundress becomes a bird of paradise, everyone noticed how beautiful she was wearing the bright dress covered with hibiscus.
  8. This is the cruise that started the whole trip to New Zealand and Australia. We signed on for the cruise and later decided to make it part of a longer trip. Now with our exploration of New Zealand and Australia behind us we are exploring another part of the world. Our cruise started in Fiji on Saturday, May 31 in Lautoka, Fiji. Leaving Lautoka at sunset we sail for a day and a half to the island nation of Vanuatu. Once known as the New Hebrides Islands, this group of many islands is sparsely inhabited with many small villages on each island. We visited three islands starting in the north at the island of Ambrym and traveling south to Efate and then Tanna. At Ambrym we were stationed offshore near a small village. Known as the Black Island for its practice of black magic and its black sandy beaches, Ambrym has a population of 8000 on an island about 20 miles in length. There are two volcanoes on the island and we were planning to visit one of those volcanoes in a driving tour and hike to the volcano rim. That tour was canceled so we missed our chance to visit the island. There was one tour that did go ashore for a welcoming ceremony which included a native dance which features custom made masks. Those who were on the tour said it was quite an impressive ceremony. At the island group known as Efate, we put in at Port Vila, the capital of these islands. These islands are like a state in Vanuatu. This is a commercial center for the islands and has shops and stores that you would expect in a poor nation. We signed up for a tour that included a visit to the Hawksbill Turtle Sanctuary on Tranquility Island. We were driven in vans through the city to a small harbor and transported by small boat to a larger sailboat. From there we were transported across Havana Harbor to Tranquility Island. On the way across Havana Harbor we are told that the harbor hosted many Allied warships during WW II, serving as a servicing and replenishment base for those ships. The harbor was named for the British warship, of the same name. During our visit to the Hawksbill Turtle Sanctuary we learn about their mission to prevent the extinction of these beautiful turtles from this part of the Pacific Ocean. We were served a barbeque featuring local fruits, vegetables, breads and meat. Following lunch those who wanted could snorkel the reef just offshore of the island. We took the boat ride to the reef and spent a half hour snorkeling an amazing reef. It wasn’t huge but it sported an amazing array of coral and a wide variety of reef fish. Tanna was our third and last island in the Vanuatu islands. As we continue south the weather gets cooler. This is after all the southern hemisphere and we are weeks away from the beginning of winter. The voyage from Port Vila to Tanna had been a rough ride with the ship rolling constantly. At Tanna we were not in port but were stationed off shore with service to the shore on tenders. We had signed on for a beach day with tender transportation to the beach. That tour was canceled due to rough seas. Operation of the tenders for the remaining tours was very slow due to the high swell. Even with two tenders running it took until noon to get everyone who had a scheduled tour to the shore. Shortly after noon one of the tenders broke down so the entire effort was shifted to getting everyone on board. We spent the day relaxing on board the ship.
  9. Who's going on the FMCA's Cruise aboard the Carnival Liberty in January? http://fantasyrvtour...beancruise.html We are booked and looking to arrange Dining Room seating with other FMCA members. We thought it would be automatically done that way, but it seems that is not the case. Why sit with people you may not have anything in common with - when you could dine with other RV'ers. Lets get together for Dinner. Debbie and Dennis DeLorenzo
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