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106  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Kitchen sink vent - aka "What smells bad?" on: April 14, 2014, 04:29:06 pm
Thanks Tom, but it was not propane. I'm real sensitive to smells and knew it wasn't propane but we couldn't figure out what it was. I've never heard of instant-flow. Is it safe for RV pipes (pex)? The drain wasn't plugged, I think we just had gooey stuff in there that we percolated. I figure some black lagoon type creature would have crawled on up if we hadn't flushed it out. True kitchen science. We're going to try to avoid creating new life forms from here on out.
107  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Macerator compartment labels on: April 14, 2014, 10:59:01 am
The tanks are reversed on the two main styles of units. Some units have a smaller grey water tank and larger black water tank. Others have a smaller black tank and larger grey. It has to do with the way the tanks fit under the rig with the different bathroom configurations. It's possible this tank location change is the reason the valves may be swapped.
108  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Kitchen sink vent - aka "What smells bad?" on: April 14, 2014, 10:54:52 am
We are always pretty frugal with our grey water and use Tubtrugs for dish washing so most of our nice soapy water is then dumped down the toilet to the blank tank. We decided to practice extreme water management recently while boondocking just as practice for our two weeks in Acadia with no hook ups. All went well until we kicked the propane water heater on for a few hours (we only turn the hot water on when needed).

We started getting a really funky smell that we tracked down to under the sink where the hot water heater lives. We were afraid something melted, burned, died, decayed... something! After dismantling the lower cabinet around the hot water heater (and finding a nice wrench that Phoenix lost in there) and much sniffing of random objects (definite ewwww), we guessed it was the vent for the drain pipe. We figure whatever sludge was in the pipes got heated up and fermented or did something and the odor was wafting out the little metal screen under the sink.

We promptly dumped a bunch of baking soda down the drain and hit it with vinegar to bubble out as much as we could. It still smelled, though not as strong. We then filled the sink half way with warm water and put in about 10 times more Dawn dish soap than I usually use and pulled the plug to give a good whoosh down the drain. When we got up this morning the smell was gone! We will try to remember to do a good drain/trap cleaning before we boondock to avoid the stink in the future.

So if anyone gets a weird smell under the sink (but not from the top drain), try the super cleaning tricks before you dismantle your cabinets. It's so much easier.



109  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.

 
110  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.
111  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.
112  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.

113  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.
114  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).
115  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.
116  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.
117  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.
118  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!


119  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.
120  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.
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