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211  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Suggestions for modifications on: June 14, 2016, 09:08:51 am
Thanks Barry, that's the way we'll go if we toasted the one we have. We taped over it and will call today to see if they'll send the lenses for the sensors. Then comes cutting the paint and caulk to get her off. Seriously NOT looking forward to that part but we recently caulked a few items on the rig so we have the caulk ready to go when we put the light back on. We are out again all next week so we'll be camping with no light if it shorted out. So sad. We have full hookups and would have left it on every day when we went out so that it lit up for us on the way back in. We love having the light kick on automatically. Guess we'll tote our flashlights each day... or, more likely, forget our flashlights and stumble around trying to find the door. We've got experience in that too.
212  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Suggestions for modifications on: June 13, 2016, 04:06:30 pm
Thank you! We will tape it today but it has rained since they were broken out. Hopefully the light hasn't shorted and all will be well.
213  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Suggestions for modifications on: June 13, 2016, 02:57:45 pm
We also bought the StarLights smart light 1000 porch light (motion detector with daylight sensor), and shipped it to Phoenix. They installed it prior to the paint phase. Once we got it, we replaced the clear lens with amber. If we remember to turn it on, it lights up as we approach so we can see to get into the house safely.

We posted the above note way back when. An update is that we still love our StarLights smart light but are now in a bit of a pickle with it. As stated above, we shipped it to Phoenix before the paint phase and it is painted with matching full body paint. Well, somebody smashed the lense covers over the motion detectors and it doesn't look like just the plastic covers can be replaced. They didn't smash the amber lense over the main light (which would be easy to replace), just the little squares over the motion sensors (and possibly the sensors themselves, we're still trying to figure out what works and what doesn't). It happened at our "secure" storage site (we know because we had the rig out, washed her, camped in her and used the light then returned it to storage for a week, and they were broken out when we picked her up again). I can see the caulk line around the light so it's possible they painted the rig and painted the light and then installed the light. If so, we can replace it or take it apart and maybe fix it. If we replace it with an identical light, our choices are white or black, either of which will stand out on the coppery brown background. If the rig was painted with the light in place, and the new light doesn't match the footprint of the old light, we will have a white area around the light. Argggg.

We figure someone was doing something they shouldn't and thought the motion detectors were security cameras so they smashed them. We didn't find anything missing on our rig (so far). We just returned from a trip and will report the vandalism to the storage facility. Maybe someone was doing something to the rig next to us.
214  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Cleaning exterior of PC on: June 13, 2016, 07:33:21 am
See Ron, there is always a solution. Yours would be more functional and graceful. If you build it, upload a picture for the rest of us. If anyone tries the Peter Pan routine, upload that one too.
215  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Campground Host on: June 12, 2016, 09:02:20 pm
We would definitely be up for it if we weren't still stuck in Maryland. Mid-nineties this past weekend and humid. Gotta love it. We hope to be back out on the west coast by the end of next year and will be looking for camp host jobs. I hope you find awesome host buddies. That would be the icing on the cake for what sounds like a great hosting job.
216  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Cleaning exterior of PC on: June 12, 2016, 08:55:41 pm
Ron, you're a DIY type of guy. It's time to bolt some nice sturdy pulleys in that garage ceiling and strap into a climbing harness. With a little grace and style and you can fly like Peter Pan without putting your weight on the front of the Phoenix. We don't have a garage so we'll have to hunt for a really sturdy tree limb to pull it off. I'm not sure I trust John on belay for me but I could probably control the rope on my own... or recruit the granddaughter. She's been a zip line pro since she was about 4. The parents let us do it.
217  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Pros and Cons of Insulated Glass and Rear Ladder/roof rack on: June 06, 2016, 06:53:55 am
If it is the type that cranks open instead of sliding, then you check from the outside. Crank open a window then go around outside and look at it from the edge. The two panes of glass with a spacer between is visible. The outer pane is large than the inner pane. The inner pane and spacer fit inside the window frame when closed. The outer frame aligns with the fixed glass on the rest of the window.
218  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Drying Hooks on: June 04, 2016, 07:23:31 am
We found these hooks and tested them out last weekend. They work really well in the Phoenix. They are similar to skirt hanger hooks except they are individual hooks with a little rubber coated tip.

They fit on the closet rod, over the shower enclosure (with the rubber tip touching the glass), over the shower door, over our towel bars, on the handles of cabinets, hooked into the awning rails, etc. They were handy for drying clothing, towels (two or more per heavy item), dish rags, etc. I plan to test them out on the awning with a decorative sheet (called "tapestries" online) hung on the awning as a sun shade. We found them to be incredibly handy.

We do have a tripod type drying rack but for quick items here and there, these work great. I clip them one to the other alternating left side/right side in chains of six and hang them on the closet rod when not in use. We don't drive with them in place as they would swing around and possibly scratch finishes but we stow everything before travel anyhow.
219  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: How Much Are You Towing on: June 04, 2016, 06:56:52 am
We tow the Subaru Forester behind our 2552. We are full time when on the road so it has gear inside it as well as gear loaded in a hard case roof top carrier (which undoubtedly causes extra drag). We also have the Swing Daddy bike rack on the back of the Subaru loaded with two bikes. I don't know what the weight of all that is, but it's up there.

We're the same as PAX going up steep inclines, some slow down but not extreme. We crossed Kansas in strong cross winds and our friends following behind said the Subaru was all over the place, back and forth in the wind but I never felt it.

We have no problem towing and usually don't know the car is back there.
220  Main Forum / General Discussion / Subaru Class Action on: May 31, 2016, 04:02:30 pm
We tow a Subaru Forester standard transmission and love it... except it kept asking for oil and smelled a bit like burning oil on occasion. We checked what we could and had it checked at several service centers and they all said it was fine, these cars use more oil. Well, not so much. We received a class action notice and had Subaru check it out (again). They checked it over and did an oil change and told us to track exactly how many miles we drove before the oil light came on, then bring her back in. We did that today and they determined that our oil consumption is outside the acceptable range (by almost half again) so we have to do the expensive repair to fix it (which we are going to double check is totally on Subaru's dime). They have to pull the engine and replace seals or some such in the engine block. It will take at least a week but they will give us a loaner car for that time frame.

This affects several models from 2011-2015; Forester, Impreza, Crosstrek, Legacy, & Outback - both Automatic/CVT and Manual Transmission. The oil issue is not caused by towing but is a problem in the engine itself. John said they also give us a three year extended warranty which will hopefully cover any issues caused by gutting the car. Here is the class action website:
221  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Norcold Class Action on: May 31, 2016, 08:18:07 am
George, did you have visible leakage or just verified your model was included in the suit? I found this article by the RV Doctor for those looking to see how their refrigerator works - there are some great photos showing cut away tubing and typical problems:     

We'll be pulling the exterior panel off the refrigerator to check for leaks on ours and will take pictures to post. I don't know yet how many of our coils are hidden in insulation.
222  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Side Slide Window on: May 26, 2016, 05:43:41 am
Judy, a ranger told me that some of the best tide pooling is on the Schoodic Peninsula BUT it is very "cliffy" and you have to watch the tides as they come up quickly and can trap you out on the rocks. So, if you guys are shore walkers, go early (follow the tide out), enjoy, and take pictures to post if you find really cool stuff. We didn't make it over to the Schoodic so I guess we have to go back sometime.

As for the side slide window, please keep us posted. I've also seen them in other motorhomes and it has a mini-sunroom effect that I like. The Phoenix slide doesn't go out very far so the window might have to be relatively small and located close to the outside wall. We also have those "scissor" supports on the side that may get in the way. I don't know, I haven't checked it out yet. I suggest cutting a paper window to see how big it could be. Once you align it inside, do the same outside (spacing in enough for the outside wall) and see where it all hits. A window on each side of the slide would give you the ability to look back toward your hookups without having to run back to the bedroom windows to check on noises and problems (and your spouse while they hook up or unhook).
223  Main Forum / Around the Campfire / Give the gift of Science on: May 10, 2016, 06:12:34 am
BUTTERFLIES - This is to all the parents and grandparents out there (or the curious). Amazon has a special today on Insect Lore kits - both butterfly and ladybug. I just paid $16.00 for a refill cup of caterpillars direct from InsectLore. Our 5 chrysalises have been hanging for a week so we will have butterflies any day now. On Amazon you can pay $15.00 and get the kit with the pop up habitat OR pay $18.00 and get the habitat set with two cups of caterpillars (5 in each). My granddaughter LOVES raising butterflies. They are painted lady butterflies and can safely be released anywhere in the world. I highly recommend these sets. NOTE: there are two types of set; one has LIVE caterpillars so the cycle starts immediately; the second is a voucher where the receiver sends in for butterflies when they are ready. It costs an extra $8 to redeem that voucher so the live kit is best if timing works. The caterpillars are in a self contained cup so no random critters wandering around. You don't open it until a few days after they all go into a chrysalis. Then you move the lid with the chrysalises into the habitat - again, all is contained. It takes 7-10 days from receipt to chrysalis and another 7-10 to butterfly. They recommend releasing after three days of observation.

This is an awesome gift to ship to a child. Just make sure someone will be there to receive the caterpillars or they leave them on the porch. They are insects but they can only bake in the sun so long.

The ladybug habitats are also on sale. I bought one years ago but it went to her daycare so I don't know how it went. I'm considering buying a new kit since it is cheaper than the refills.

We raised butterflies once and put host plants and flowers into the habitat for the butterflies instead of releasing in 3 days as recommended. The butterflies laid eggs. LOTS of eggs. Once the thread-size caterpillars hatched, we cleaned their waste daily with a tiny paintbrush and fed them host plants until they grew up. We built a big habitat out of a clear bin and had almost 100 chrysalises. This was a huge amount of work but we enjoyed watching them grow through every life cycle stage. Chloe wants to do it again. (Note that if you do this, you have to use flowers and leaves that have not been sprayed with pesticide).

So, give the gift of science and raise some pollinators today and enjoy your butterflies!
224  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Emergency preparedness on: May 08, 2016, 07:27:26 am
One more important item. Once you figure out what should be in your kit, make a list - clean, concise, easy to read - and tape it to the inside door of a cabinet or some other easy to grab place. If you have specific "Go Pack" put the list in there (preferably in a zip lock baggie). Panic time is NOT the time to count on memory to make sure you have everything you need.

In a perfect world, all your stuff is already in a ready to grab kit. In the real world, your cell phone, charger and other items are in use elsewhere or were pulled out to show someone or to use for some reason. Use your list, grab your stuff, and roll out.
225  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Emergency preparedness on: May 08, 2016, 07:20:53 am
I'll be honest and say we don't have a set kit put together but when a tornado was bearing down on us on the Natchez Trace, we did quickly grab basic items that we always have handy. John and I have had survival training so it's kind of funny but after the bare basics, most of what we brought was to keep the cat happy, or as happy as a cat can get locked in a stinky cinder block bathroom with a bunch of strangers while a storm screamed through.

Part of what you need for your kit will be determined by your own skills and where you are. Short term the cell phone, charger (solar charger is even better), weather radio, cash, passport and/or driver's license, credit card, check book, flashlight, first aid kit, water bottles etc. are great. Several of these assume you are somewhere with signal or power or stores where you can use them. That night on the Natchez Trace, we knew there might not be a Phoenix to go back to. The tornado swung overhead and touched down just a few miles away... but it WAS a few miles away so all was well.

Remember that if you need medications, those have to be with you. You don't know when you will get more. Never let your prescription run down too low.

If you are in a MAJOR disaster, you should be prepared for basic survival. You can go several weeks without food. You can only go three days without water. You need shelter. I recommend everyone tuck contractor weight trash bags (2 per person) into vehicle glove boxes or emergency kits. You can wear one to keep in heat and keep out rain, you can tie a string between two trees and make one or two into an A-frame tent, you can use one as a sun shield. Quick, easy, light weight shelter. They can also carry water or capture water when it rains. A mylar emergency blanket can do many of the same things as well as being shiny enough to attract attention from rescue teams.

Water. If you remembered your water bottle and are not in the arid desert (different skills needed there), you only need one more item: iodine tablets. I have strained pretty murky water through my bandanna (or t-shirt), treated with iodine, and drank it. I'm not dead. They sell a two bottle set that has iodine tabs and something that makes it taste less nasty. I find that worth the extra cost. Another option is a Lifestraw that will clean hundreds of gallons of water. We have a full fledged backpack water filter but these other items are better suited to a go bag. Whatever you get, make sure you know how to use it. The iodine tabs are tiny, the Lifestraw is super handy but takes more space.

Next up is fire. Get some of those magnesium sticks that shoot awesome sparks and stick one in each kit. Make sure you practice with them first. You need dry tinder (tiny burnable stuff, pine needles, cotton pocket lint, little strips from inside broken sticks (when it rains, wood is wet on the outside, dry on the inside). Get out your pocket knife and learn how to make wood shavings. Then build fires. Small, hot fires are best. Practice the skill before you need the skill.

I have a Boy Scout cap that says "Attitude, gotta have it." This is so true. The most important thing you can have is a good ATTITUDE. The best way to get a good survival attitude is self confidence... which you get by knowing what you are doing. There are classes, books, internet sites, etc. that can get you to that point. Hands on is the best way to get it into your brain. Challenge your friends and family. Have contests and build fires, purify water, build shelters using the items in your survival kit. Test different ways to do each thing. Then put together your kit, kick back, and enjoy the world.

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