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106  Main Forum / Adventure Anywhere / Natchez Trace Parkway - TN, AL, MS on: April 11, 2014, 03:45:34 pm
We are wandering the Natchez Trace Parkway and it is very nice. They have three campgrounds along the parkway that are free. There are no hookups but they have a water spigot to fill your tanks, flush toilets (no showers) and each site has a picnic table and shared trash can. They have a camp host on site and post the ranger's number if you have any problems. You pull in, pick a site and set up. No registration, nothing. Some are level, some not so much. I spoke with a local and he said campgrounds hardly ever fill up. We are in the Merriweather Lewis site right now and it is mostly empty. We've seen quite a few rigs from Quebec as the French Canadians head back north. It's fun hearing the copilot yelling at the driver in French. The arm waving is the universal language and your brain gets to translate the words creatively (unless you know French, then you are stuck with reality).

If you are in this area and want a laid back boondocking experience, these campgrounds should do it. They limit you to 14 continuous days at each campground with a total limit of 30... I assume per season or year. There is a town with KOA and private campgrounds nearby if something goes wrong and you need to bail on the boondocking. The scenery and overlooks are not as spectacular as the BlueRidge Parkway but the rolling hills of Tennessee are very pretty with farms and meadows, cows and sheep and a few little waterfalls to see.

The website is: http://www.nps.gov/natr/index.htm  NOTE: there is a Natchez Trace Scenic Trail (with advisories on the website) that you can hike on. We are on the beautiful paved parkway watching spring pop out.

 
107  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Rig baths on: April 11, 2014, 08:52:41 am
Even campgrounds on city water balk at having rigs washed. City water fees are meant to cover the cost of the water going into the "house" and going into the sewer system to be cleaned after it leaves the house. Some areas allow separate meters for outside water use such as irrigation, sprinklers, car washes, etc. that do not put the water back into the system to be processed. That water is then charged at a lower rate. Since most campgrounds don't have that double meter thing (unless they set up a separate wash area), they would be paying a good bit more for the water spraying out onto all those RVs.
108  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Boon docking questions on: April 09, 2014, 08:09:10 am
Pisgah will be beautiful in the spring with the waterfalls and wildflowers. There is a Cradle of Forestry exhibit there that is very good. If you get a chance to run up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah Inn has awesome views from their dining room. Check with the Ranger when you go in to see if it is hunting season for anything. If so, and you like to hike our on the trails, they recommend you wear orange vests. We happened to roll in one time on the first day of deer season. At the recommendation of the Ranger, we rolled right back out to pick up a couple of inexpensive vests from Wal-Mart. We carry them in our day pack to this day. Better dorky than dead.
109  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Showing prospective buyers. on: April 05, 2014, 08:27:40 am
Mike, we showed our 2552 to someone considering a 2350. The front is the same on both models so it was a better match but they really wanted to check the quality of the build. There are a lot of companies out there with pretty pictures on the website but you only see what they want you to see and you can't tell how solidly things are built. This couple had poured over the website but wanted to touch one (cabinets, fixtures, etc). Now that they've seen the 2552 they aren't sure... They might be buying that instead (it's the lure of the bathroom and comfy twin beds). We also gave them a brochure. Since you seem to be showing your unit a lot I suggest calling Earl or Karen and requesting some. I know the same info is on the website but having it in your hands is better.

110  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Rig baths on: April 03, 2014, 08:42:15 am
We don't wash ours as often as we like but have seen a few truck washes along the way. We've yet to try them as it was usually too cold to play in water. Most of the campgrounds we've been in specifically state "NO WASHING OR REPAIRS" of the camping units but we are also usually in State or County Parks. Some private campgrounds allow it. One we were at said it was allowed for an added cost. Don't know what that cost was. I saw one gentleman doing "stealth" washing. He had a little spray bottle, small Tupperware "bucket" and sponge and would wash one small section at a time like the door of the truck or one area of the side back to a window, etc. I saw him out there every day doing just a bit. I don't know how he got a good rinse, though. Places that allow long term stays usually allow washing of the rig. We carry our own extendable brush, sponge and collapsible bucket.
111  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Wipers on: April 03, 2014, 08:34:07 am
Mike, we look forward to your future reviews on the wipers. Now if you want to really make gift giving difficult, go full time. Our family had to get really creative trying to figure out what to give people that live in a motor home. Our rule is: Consumables - gift cards for Cracker Barrel and other national chains, food we can open at the gift giving event and share, etc. The most creative was an awesome homemade cream/salve. THAT got a spot on board even though it is in a glass jar. Some things you just make exceptions for. If you plan to go full time sometime later, make that wish list now. We bought a ton of stuff to outfit our new home. If we had thought it through and planned early enough, we would have had an Amazon wish list for everyone to look at and possibly received some of our RV gear as gifts (instead of the very nice gifts we got that are in storage).
112  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: MICHELIN TIRE RECALL on: March 31, 2014, 09:15:19 pm
RUN AWAY! We finally ran back south and are so much happier. It's still cold at night but beautiful during the day and WAY better than the northern states. It took us two not too long days of driving to go from chipping ice in Harper's Ferry to hiking, lounging and exploring in central Tennessee. There has to be someplace you'd rather be.
113  Main Forum / Photos / Re: Maiden Voyage on: March 31, 2014, 09:05:01 pm
What awesome scenery for your maiden voyage. Those are beautiful pictures.
114  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Where can I rent a Phoenix Cruiser on: March 29, 2014, 05:37:07 pm
Don't know if I should mention this but we were surprised to find our leaking, rattling (but new-ish) rental unit was built by Thor. Found it on the door jamb when checking for something else. I'm sure this was one of those price point deals but it did make us think. We feel that we lucked into the quality of the Phoenix since we didn't really know what to look for.
115  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Where can I rent a Phoenix Cruiser on: March 28, 2014, 06:28:20 pm
We're on that list of owners that guard our Phoenix like gold. We'll show it to people but long ago (like before we bought it) we agreed that no one drives it but us. We had to relax that rule when mechanics were checking the engine but we did give them the evil eye before reluctantly turning over the keys (and usually rode with them). Being RV newbies, prior to ordering we rented a 25-30 foot class C to help us decide which options we wanted and if we could live in that size space. The rental rattled and leaked like crazy but we learned a lot during those two weeks, applied that knowledge when choosing options, and are extremely pleased with our PC. It isn't an apples to apples comparison but was as close as we could get. We kept a notebook and pen on the table in the rental and wrote down all our thoughts about the rig - good or bad. It sat right next to the brochure for the Phoenix so we could compare what we were sitting in to what we would eventually buy.

Good luck with your quest. If you do decide on a Phoenix, I'm sure you'll love it!


116  Main Forum / Around the Campfire / Re: Easy Breakfast Bake on: March 28, 2014, 10:19:05 am
Excellent Mike! This is one of our favorites also. We tend to bake the larger recipe then cut any leftovers into substantial squares, wrap and freeze. We've also made this one in a Dutch oven over the coals. For cooking at camp with no mess, we precook the sausage at home and drain it and cool it then toss it in a gallon baggie with all ingredients above the Bisquick. A second baggie gets the Bisquick and pepper. A third (snack) baggie holds the 1/2 cup of cheese for the topping and can ride on top of the food in the sausage/potato baggie. The eggs ride in an egg case. Milk in its own container. We toss the dry food baggie into the greased pan, mix the eggs, milk, Bisquick and pepper by squishing it together in the second baggie, then pour it on. Just remember to keep the 1/2 cup of cheese in it's own little baggie for the final topping. Your cleanup will be the pan it bakes in and the serving spoon. The baggies zip shut and go in the trash.

I haven't tried the other impossible pies on the Bisquick site but I hear several are very good.
117  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / How do you store your spices? on: March 27, 2014, 09:32:08 am
We started with just a few spices thinking we could get by but we like to cook varied meals and the spices are adding up. I've been looking for a fairly efficient but functional method of storing a small quantity of many different spices. I've seen overpriced travel packets of little metal tins with screw on lids, screw together round plastic containers that make a tower of spices and, the one I am considering, locking pill boxes with labels on each lid for the spices http://www.handyhausfrau.com/2010/03/portable-spice-kit-for-camping-or.html  http://willowhavenoutdoor.com/wild-edibles-recipes/quick-cheap-backpack-spice-kit-ideas-2/ 
I've ordered some of the locking pill boxes but haven't gotten around to raiding my son's spices and filling them yet. Has anyone tried this? Does anyone have a better method? We don't have the need or space for a full bottle of each spice.

Side note: We are now carrying a full bottle of one spice I found in the south (and on Amazon) - "Slap Ya Mama" Cajun seasoning - hot (they have original which I assume is milder). It contains salt, red pepper, black pepper and garlic. WOW, quick ZING! We highly recommend it.
118  Main Forum / Around the Campfire / Re: Gypsy cooking on: March 27, 2014, 09:12:45 am
Syd, the pulled pork was actually a Food Network thing http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/robert-irvine/bbq-pulled-pork-sandwiches-recipe.html - we use Jack Daniels BBQ sauce with it and the McCormick Grillers Sweet and Smoky Rub (Irvine spice in recipe no longer in production). Super easy crock pot recipe. We make extra and freeze it without the sauce so we can use it for BBQ sandwiches, wraps, nachos, salad toppings, etc.

Judy - don't forget the wine! We've quickly learned to carry a bottle of wine even though we don't usually drink it. It seems to be an RV staple. We may run into you in New England. We are booked into Acadia for two weeks starting July 13th. One week at each of their two campgrounds - with the granddaughter. You want entertainment, sit and watch John try to keep up with her (then he naps to recharge).

We look forward to meeting all of you again on the road or maybe back in Florida.
Holly
119  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Lazy Furnace on: March 27, 2014, 08:39:02 am
Thanks all! We have run away. We just crossed into Tennessee last night and will be rolling again today. We know it's colder than normal everywhere but 57 sounds awesome right now. We received two calls from CW yesterday morning with the message that our part was in. We did not respond as we were chipping ice off the tow bar and thawing locks with a heating pad so we could leave. They would not have liked anything I had to say at that point anyhow. We'll call today and tell them no thank you (the one man did ask the other day what I wanted him to do with the part if we weren't going to have it installed... I had to bite my tongue and avoid answering). Once we stop driving I plan to do the survey for the store and contact that CEO. I'm sure all Camping Worlds are not the same and even some that are bad at one point will get new managers or new service techs and then do a great job but I don't know if we'll ever use them again. Once it warms up we will have Atwood refer us to someone and just stay in place until the repairs are done. We are not due anywhere until mid-June.
120  Main Forum / Around the Campfire / Re: Gypsy cooking on: March 25, 2014, 07:21:56 pm
Our "everything" actually fit quite well when we started out. Now we have too many packaged foods and too many bags of not so healthy foods and too much paper that has come to visit and overstayed its welcome. We just need to clean out the food cabinets and cut back on impulse buys. A few items that save us a lot of space compared to what we've seen in some RVs are nesting pans from a camping store with one removable handle (similar to http://www.rei.com/product/765750/rei-campware-nonstick-cookset-medium except ours is from GSI and has three pans with lids); our bowl and measuring cup set (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006BSBRWK/ref=gbrc_tit_r-1_1762_de582161?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_t=701&pf_rd_s=right-new-1&pf_rd_r=0T82RXH5091A9WTVBB1Q&pf_rd_i=20&pf_rd_p=1725241762); and a silicone baking set that can be jammed together or used to buffer noisy items. I couldn't find it online anymore but it has two round cake pans, one loaf pan, a square pan and a muffin pan. All but the muffin pan sort of nest - with help. We have one metal sheet pan that fits in the oven with a Silpat liner that fits in it. So far, we've had everything we need to cook on. The crock pot lives under the bed and the BBQ tools are in the outside bin. We won a baby 6" electric frying pan at the last Intervec-Phoenix rally and that's sufficient for two people - with creative cooking.

I heard a rumor that the newer PCs have deeper cabinets over the couch. THAT would help the boxed food storage greatly and might be an upgrade we do somewhere down the line. The current cabinets are deep enough now to hold square "canisters" of flour, sugar, rice, etc. and all those little packages of bread type bakery stuff we shouldn't have bought until we used what we already had. That's the key - replace only when you've used what's already there. The Phoenix actually has a lot of storage. It's just a matter of reducing what you take with you and then GUARDING THE ENTRY to keep unnecessary stuff from sneaking in. (aka - who bought those two bags of chips anyhow?)
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