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226  Main Forum / Around the Campfire / Gypsy cooking on: March 24, 2014, 08:41:23 pm
We enjoyed talking to all our new Phoenix owner friends while in (warm, sunny) Florida and one of the topics that kept coming up was how we were handling food since we are living full time in the Phoenix and not doing the level of eating out that most people do on short trips. We keep a running grocery list and hit Walmart or grocery stores as needed just as if we were at home. We have smaller storage areas for the food so we have a shorter list of staples. One thing we do is restock on the more creative foods when we go Gypsy on friends and family. We joke that the Gypsies are here and that we steal their internet, laundry facilities and showers. If they have the ability to plug us in, we steal the electricity also. But we are good Gypsies. We do the dishes, walk the dogs, feed the fish and repay their kindness by leaving food in their freezers (while also stocking ours). We do this by using a cook book I found called "Fix, Freeze, Feast" by Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik. The authors each ran one of those "make-it take-it" places before the market crashed and the recipes are based on the same principle. Most are marinated meat but there are a few other types of meals. Recipes are based on "club packs" like you get at Costco or Sam's Club. You label zip-lock freezer bags, plunk the chosen meat into them (usually 4-6 servings per gallon bag with 2-6 bags per recipe) then measure the other ingredients and put them in the bags. They get sealed and laid flat to freeze. They can then be stood up on end like books on a shelf. If you like you can print the cooking instructions onto labels and slap them right on the bags before freezing. You thaw them in the fridge overnight and have a really nice entree ready in about 20 minutes after you start cooking. When we had a bigger fridge, we would toss two or three in the fridge on Sunday (flipping periodically) and they would make good, quick meals during the week. We love the Rose City Teriyaki Flank Steak, An's Pork Chops, Shanghai Stir Fry, Caribbean Pork Tenderloin and several others. We make several recipes during each prepping session (using some of our hosts spices and such if we only need a little) then split the finished goods with the host, putting half in our freezer and half in theirs. So far, we have received rave reviews and have ALWAYS been welcome back. I bought the e-book and have it on board on my Kindle. I'm sure there are other books out there with similar recipes, this is just the one we use. If you are preparing for a trip and want to simplify your dinners but have good flavor and variety, I highly recommend it. And if you are planning to go Gypsy on someone, it goes a heck of a long way toward getting invited back.
227  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Thermopane Windows on: March 24, 2014, 08:05:44 pm
Tom, still waiting on the furnace part. Camping World said 7 days, which would be last Thursday. We called on Thursday and they told us they should have said 7-10 days. I figured with Saturday deliveries today would be number 10 so we called and they said it isn't in yet. John asked them to check and call back... nothing yet. We'll pester them in the morning. If they can't give us a date or tracking info, we might pack it up and head south and start over again. My only concern is that the furnace doesn't turn on at all since they looked at it so if they did something, we may have trouble getting it repaired under warranty. I keep telling myself they shut it down for safety since the gas valve was opening but it wouldn't ignite. We'd open her up and check if it wasn't so darn cold.So bottom line - we are stuck in Maryland again freezing.
228  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Thermopane Windows on: March 24, 2014, 08:59:12 am
Going back to the thermopane windows. I believe all our "house" windows are dual pane, both fixed top and operable bottom, with the possible exception of the emergency exit over the driver side bed. I don't know if it is thermal or not but a large amount of cold air pours down on me while John sleeps fairly snug and warm. I can hold my hand under the half with the standard window and it is colder than solid wall but it does not seem to have the massive air infiltration that the emergency window does. It feels like we have an open window even though it is locked shut and cannot be pushed open at all. Is this normal?

I'm going to buy one of those silver bubble window shields and cut it to fit in the space just to cut the draft. Fresh air while sleeping is good but it's 20 degrees out there! I was hoping with thermal windows we wouldn't have this kind of a draft.

On another (cold) note, I have draped a sheet type thing across the lower opening of the cab, pushing it against the wing walls and draping it to the floor. It does make a difference. When I drop my arm over the draping between the front seats, it is like sticking it into a freezer. It is at least 15-20 degrees colder up there. I bought cheap emergency space blankets and am going to tape a couple together and try to rig them into a quick hook up wall from ceiling to floor across the front. If it works, I'll post pictures and info. I hope to rig it to work two ways: one floor to ceiling where entire cab is closed off; and one where it drapes under the TV and cabinets so we have access to those.
229  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE on: March 20, 2014, 08:14:43 am
This brought a question to mind on silicone rescue tape. We bought some at the Hershey show before we even decided on an RV.  One use noted in the sales pitch was quick, waterproof fixes on plumbing connections with a recommendation to wrap connections before they shake loose and leak. Has anyone used the stretchy tape for repairs or preventive maintenance? (I've been told you can buy the same tape cheaper at Home Depot).
230  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: DW missing Class A on our new lot on: March 18, 2014, 10:05:33 pm

The PC requires a little extra planning on our part in that regard.  No nightmares yet.  We love our PC.

We tow a Subaru Forester behind our 2552 and yes, we do advance planning for gas stations. We use the "gas buddy" app to find best prices along our route. I then select that station, pull it up on the map screen and zoom in. I can frequently tell if the layout will work for us or not. If it looks bad, we pick another station.

We've gotten into and out of a couple of tight squeezes and had to drop the tow vehicle only once, though we could have made the turn at that station, we just weren't paying good attention and didn't swing far enough on the way in. Using the map method you can also figure out a way around divided highways and construction zones that route you away from the highway instead of back onto it after you fill up.

There are times we do the slow approach, eyeball the layout, and drive on by. Even the easy access ones become impossible when the Coke delivery guy parks his truck across the exit lanes you need to use. If we ever get desperate for gas and there are no easy access stations, we'll drop the Subaru on a straight away, fuel up, then hook up again. NOT something we want to do, but it might be necessary for those out-of-the-way, itty-bitty gas stations that try to cram 8 fuel pumps into the space that was designed for 2.
231  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Lazy Furnace on: March 14, 2014, 08:24:12 am
Tom called and recommended we first call Atwood then do a drop in at Camping World in Winchester VA and ask if they can take a quick look. Atwood said it sounded like our propane regulator needed adjustment (Special tool needed to test pressure). We walked in to camping world with massive wind gusts and freezing temps and looked pitiful and cold. The girl at the counter said no quick look, you need an appointment but the service manager walked in just then and took pity on us. He said yes we need an appt. And he could take us right away. The diagnostics showed the ignitor was giving one spark. If we were lucky enough to ignite with one spark, we got heat. We assume it is easier to ignite when it is warm so cold killed our chances. There is a device on the circuit board that controls the igniter and it is faulty. They think we heard a switch click for each ignition attempt instead of a series of clicks made by a normal igniter. They are ordering the part and hopefully it will be here in a week, otherwise we will be stuck in Maryland again.
232  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Lazy Furnace on: March 13, 2014, 08:29:42 am
Update on furnace. We pulled the outside cover again and John watched for the little fault lights on the left wall. He could smell propane when it was trying to ignite so we know some propane is getting there. The fault lights were for "ignition fault lockout". We spoke to Kermit and he said if there was a low pressure situation with the propane, it's the refrigerator that gets finicky first and ours works fine as do the water heater and stove. We figure it is something inside the furnace that prevents the ignition during cold temps OR a something restricting the flow to the point it doesn't work when it gets cold. Kermit made it clear he will reimburse for the repairs if it is something Phoenix did. We are in Staunton, Virginia and topped off the tank with 4.7 gallons of "northern" propane just in case. The furnace ran fine - turning on and off and igniting without a problem for an hour or so then refused to ignite at all as soon as it hit around 45 degrees out. It wouldn't light this morning either. (Darn nippy in here even with the heat strip and space heater- got her inside temp up to 48 so far).

Now we just have to land in one place long enough to get the furnace looked at. We called around down in Georgia and one repair shop said they'd need to keep it 3 or 4 days for testing - not a good option when we live in it and don't have any relatives nearby to go Gypsy on. Camping World there had a two week wait for an appointment. Couldn't do that either since we had to run for Maryland. So, once we get to run south again, we'll try to find a certified Atwood repair shop. We prefer to be in a warmer climate so we don't have to winterize and drag all food and freezable products out of the coach.

Just a heads up to anyone thinking of going full time - any time you have to leave the coach where it can potentially freeze you have several steps to take. We stow the dry goods in bins, pack the refrigerator and freezer contents into a collapsible cooler and insulated bag that we carry, go through every cupboard and bin and pull out everything that can freeze and burst or be damaged by cold, then winterize the rig (easy part). We can do all that and pack our travel bag and the cat in about two hours. All but the dry goods go in the car with us and into whatever heated space we are staying in. Then we find a hotel or cabin that allows pets (critters narrow down the options considerably). Our preferred solution is to find someone that lets us camp in their parking lot with electric hook up if possible or get the rig back each night and book a site nearby.

Will post again when we have resolution in case someone else hits this problem. Even if you usually camp only in warm weather, I suggest you test your furnaces when it is below freezing in case yours has the same problem. It would not be fun finding out it doesn't work that one time you get caught in a freeze.
233  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Roof top carrier on: March 12, 2014, 04:27:44 pm
Paul, if you really want to carry a hard top carrier on the roof, I'd call Phoenix. I've seen other posts where Phoenix has sent owners the diagram for the roof structure so they can mount solar panels, etc. Also, there are posts from Keelhauler showing how he had Phoenix add another cross bar to the roof rack configuration so that he can carry his kayaks up there. Kermit may have suggestions for stowing gear on top. You may be able to add standard short rails and cross bars the same as you would mount on a car. Whatever you decide just remember down the road that your rig is now taller than what it originally was and may not fit under all the bridges and overhangs you could go through previously.
234  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Water in outside rear compartment on: March 11, 2014, 03:29:00 pm
Good tip on the hoses. Thank you! We'll give that a go. That and the wipe down should keep most of the moisture out of that bin. Just a side comment - we have our outside weather station sensor tucked up in the right outside corner of the back bin and the other day it read 105 degrees in there when the sun was full on the back end. It was about 65 outside. We know the sensors are not dead on accurate but probably get within 5 or 10 degrees and it was baking in that bin. John said "oh, I don't believe that" and opened the bin... then said "well, maybe - it's REALLY hot in there".
235  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Water in outside rear compartment on: March 11, 2014, 09:20:35 am
Bob, we had our fabric pet pen in the rear bin and when we pulled it out recently it was wet and mildewed. We didn't see anywhere things were leaking and wondered if it came from the hoses either draining a bit more while we bounced along or possibly moisture on the outside of both hoses and electric cables. We wipe them down before stowing but even a little water can add up to a puddle if you have enough items draining in there. We plan to clear out the rear bin to see if water is gathering even when it is empty. This test phase has to wait until we are back down in warm weather in a few weeks. If we find a leak or find there is no leak and it is just drainage, we will post it here.
236  Main Forum / Adventure Anywhere / Re: Trip Planning via PA Route on: March 09, 2014, 06:51:57 pm
We liked Twin Mills Resort which is 40 miles east of Elkhart or about 20 miles east of Shipshewana We also stayed at Shipshewana North but you can hear the traffic on the interstate and it is a drive into town - unlike Shipshewana South... however, there is an Amish custard stand on site at the North campground so that makes up for a lot. We loved Potato Creek State Park but that is a trek from Shipshewana and it is difficult to get in on a weekend during the high season. If you hit Potato Creek, try to get into the renovated loops or plan on having an extra extension cord to reach the posts in the older loop. Your best spot all depends on what you plan to hit while you are there. If you plan to spend days enoying Shipshewana, then the south campground is the best location... and is very close to their giant flea market.
237  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: still enjoying the southwest in our PC on: March 06, 2014, 07:49:04 pm
Awesome pic. Stay warm for the rest of us.
238  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Lazy Furnace on: March 05, 2014, 08:37:21 am
Tom, John thinks we filled the tank outside of Asheville, NC back in October or November at a KOA. We peered into that little tube with a flashlight and it looks shiny clean (don't tell, the manual says you aren't even supposed to open the cover unless you are a certified tech). We'll see if we can pull the tube and check for critters farther in when it warms up a bit today.
239  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Lazy Furnace on: March 05, 2014, 07:21:08 am
Mike, stove works fine this morning and it's below freezing, fridge was on propane for about 6 hours the other day and it worked fine with no faults but it wasn't under 40 degrees. We haven't used the extra propane port yet. I know with propane it isn't necessarily the tank that freezes, it's the lines. Our Boy Scout troop had 11 lb tanks and woke one morning to frozen lines. We learned to turn propane off at the tank and let the stoves and lanterns go until they burned out then turn those off. That cleared the lines enough that the propane worked in the morning. Not as easy to do on the rig but might be needed in bitter cold weather.

I have the Trailer Life "The RV Handbook" by Dave Solberg 4th Edition and "Woodall's RV Owner's Handbook" by Gary Bunzer 4th Edition. However, I never thought to look there until you told me to. Thanks for the help, I'm off to read.
240  Main Forum / General Discussion / Lazy Furnace on: March 04, 2014, 07:46:27 pm
Our furnace is finicky. We thought it was a random intermittent problem but now we think it just doesn't like to run when it gets below around 35 degrees. We usually use a little ceramic space heater while we are plugged in with the heat strip as backup but are headed north and know we are going to be in some evil cold temps so we figure we'll need the furnace. We turned it on the other night and it fired right up, burned for a few minutes, then turned off. When it tried to turn back on it didn't ignite. We hear the fan, then the igniter, then the igniter, then it all turns off and we have to cycle the thermostat controls to turn it back on and it does the same thing. We tested it during the day and it worked fine (sometimes took two shots with the igniter but it did light). Then we tested after it got cold that night and it flaked out again. It usually runs once even when very cold but won't ignite a second time. We checked our propane and it is at 2/3 (on the tank meter, we didn't rely on the idiot lights). So we've had two thoughts, neither of which fit the scenario well: 1) something overheats so after the initial burn, it won't go again... but it tries to go; 2) the propane is freezing/liquifying in the lines so it isn't getting enough to burn... but it lights that first time.

We plan to call the factory but figured we'd hit the owner pros first to see if you can shed light on the problem. As always, your help if VERY greatly appreciated.

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