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286  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Full-timing in You Phoenix Cruiser? on: October 24, 2015, 05:38:34 am
We were full time for a year and a half. The first year we also worked half time out of the coach via the internet. We are temporarily grounded while we care for our granddaughter but are both ready to go again as soon as we can get back on the road. We then plan to stay on the road in our Phoenix until we either can't do it anymore or don't want to. Part of our travels can be found on our blog The ads were stuck in there by wordpress, we apologize for them.

The Phoenix has performed wonderfully. It took us a long while to slow down our travels and to feel comfortable with life in an RV but we now realize we can go just about anywhere, do anything. We chose the 2552 for two main reasons. 1) length: some state and national parks have a 30' limit. That said, many can accommodate longer rigs so we don't know how much a 2910 or 3100 would have limited us. A few times, we barely fit in the sites. 2) weight: the added slide in the 3100 takes about 1,000 lbs off your possible payload. We have not weighed our rig yet so we can't say if that would have been an issue but I'm pretty sure it would. We did add a bank of cabinets behind the passenger seat with a flip up desk and a few other weight adding items plus we carried a full office for the job - small printer, mini scanner, two laptop computers, cell phone booster with interior and exterior antennas and all the office paraphernalia of paper, pens, notebooks, etc.

My recommendations if you are seriously considering full time: 1) Do it now - that was the one regret of pretty much all the full timers we've met - they waited too long (mostly to hold on to what they have and know: the house, the stuff, the garden). You never know when something will happen that stops you or limits you. Do it while you can. 3) Reduce now while you plan. Get rid of or pack up all that stuff in the closets and kitchen cabinets and basement. Label it clearly. Use your kitchen with the stripped down "RV stuff" and see how you do. You'll find a couple good knives can replace a whole draw full of gadgets. If there is something you really miss and know you will use a lot, go dig it out of that box and add it to your RV kitchen gear. Do it in steps. One pass through each room to get rid of the "low hanging fruit" or easy pickings. A second pass to part with things that you thought you wanted the month before. A third pass to get down to the hard core necessities. If you are holding onto it for your kids for after you die, give it to them now. You can always borrow it back if you have to but we found they don't want most of what you have. They already set up a house with their own tastes. Our son wanted a few keepsakes and that was it. 2) Sell the stuff. We paid a bunch of money to store stuff thinking we would come back and settle again. Within two months on the road we knew that was a mistake. When we stop traveling it will be to settle into a much smaller house in an area with a much lower cost of living... with room for our RV. We are actively selling off almost everything we stored. We don't want to pay to store it anymore, we don't want to pay to move it across the country, and we figure it won't fit in our planned little retirement house. It would have been soooo much easier and cost effective to get rid of it up front.

Hopefully we'll get the blog updated this winter so it shows our first year and the explains why we did what we did and how things worked out. We want to show all the things we carry in the RV and how we organize and store stuff but we just stripped it all out for the winter so that will have to wait.

If you have specific questions, send me a personal message through the forum and I'll do my best to answer them.

Enjoy the dream!
287  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Inspect Your Roof, It Might Need A Touch Of Caulk Here And There Like Ours on: October 24, 2015, 05:07:45 am
Ron, I know you only get a few weeks a year in the Phoenix but your posts look like most of those weeks are in the southwest. I'm wondering if the dry air might have an added affect on the sealant. I know when we were in Colorado and Utah, the dry air was killing my sinuses and skin so I figure it would do the same to the rubber and sealants on the rig. Just a thought.
288  Main Forum / Around the Campfire / Re: Halloween Food - Pumpkin Pasties on: October 20, 2015, 11:19:10 am
Update on the pumpkin pasties. You can make ahead, freeze, then bake and they are still awesome! I assembled them, cut the vents, then immediately froze them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Once frozen, I put them in a zip lock baggie then into a box (to avoid crushing when we dug through the freezer). To cook, take them out of the freezer, put on parchment on baking sheet, coat with egg wash to get a beautiful golden brown, then bake according to the recipe. DO NOT THAW first - they get squishy. It may take a little longer to bake since they are frozen. I just kept checking. You only need to bake long enough to cook the pie crust and get the filling heated. We will be cooling ours before serving so no one burns their mouth. Our granddaughter, Chloe, designed the vampire faces since these are for Halloween. We like them a lot.

These pasties have a high crust to custard ratio so you need more pie crusts than usual for a can of pie filling. I kept running out then decided to cut costs and make my own (first time since high school Home Ec class, I think). I used this recipe and it was great. BUT since it is lighter and flakier, the pasties are more delicate. On the road I will use frozen or refrigerated crust since I don't carry a pastry cutter with me.

The picture shows them assembled and ready to freeze but not baked yet.
289  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Sold and Sad on: October 03, 2015, 07:37:32 am
I too have enjoyed your posts. With all your years of travel you must have a wealth of information in your head to go along with those wonderful memories. Perhaps you can draw on that knowledge from time to time and tell us where to go... but in a good way.

I wish you well with all you do.
290  Main Forum / Around the Campfire / Halloween Food - Pumpkin Pasties on: September 27, 2015, 08:02:51 pm
While testing foods for a Halloween party, I ran across this recipe for Pumpkin Pasties - these are goooood. Being efficient (or lazy), I took the easy route with Libby's pumpkin pie filling and packaged pie dough. You mix and cook the pumpkin custard first, not in a pie shell, then cool it before putting into the pasties. I made some of these with a pumpkin cookie cutter as well as the fold-over circles shown in the recipe (and with a ravioli maker but didn't like the custard to pie dough ratio on those). This is easy enough to make in an RV using the prepared foods I used and you are supposed to be able to get put them together and freeze them then bake them later. I'm testing that and will let you know how that goes once we've thawed then baked those. Instead of slits to vent the steam, I cut little faces into the tops to help with the Halloween theme.

I thought this would be a great way to turn pumpkin pie into finger food AND allow for portion control... until I ate some, and then some more and then had to force myself to stop from eating ALL of them. So make lots and have fun!
291  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Picker Upper on: September 27, 2015, 07:19:06 am
I periodically check to see what's out there. Just looked. Interesting pure volunteer opportunity to do from home is working on"The National Map"

I plan to spend some time checking out all that map site has to offer.

Another Oregon position is in Welches which is at a day use area on the western slope of Mt. Hood. We stayed in Welches when we first fell in love with Oregon. You do clean bathrooms but you get your final full hook up site plus they pay $8.50 a day per couple and you work 4 days on then 3 days off together so you can use the money for gas to explore a gorgeous area. Or save the money and hike some amazing trails. Just watch out for the banana slugs. Those babies are BIG!

If you are thinking about camp hosting, check out - you can put in the filter that you need an RV site (or housing for those that don't have an RV at the moment) and a state and even narrow by type of job. John and I would prefer "interpretive host" to camp host just because we like to learn and teach but I expect we'll be doing everything once we get into it.

292  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Picker Upper on: September 27, 2015, 06:31:59 am
Not sure. The family thing has us here for now. We expect a few months local once my son returns so if it is summer we'll try for Greenbrier State Park here in Maryland. Nice park that we did short trips to this summer and they were short several camp hosts (and there's no bathroom cleaning which is a plus for us). We also considered James Island County Park outside of Charleston, SC if it is winter. They had 14 camp host couples to help run their holiday light display a few years back. The weather was very moderate and it is a really nice park (and no bathroom cleaning). BUT our love is the Pacific Northwest. We were offered a job as Interpretive Hosts at a lighthouse along the Oregon Coast but could not accept it due to the family issues and we would really love to get back there. We want to spend a good bit of time in Oregon and Washington so we may hop around there a while. And, if John is fretting over the money due to our retirement detour, we just might give that Amazon job a try for a season.
293  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Picker Upper on: September 25, 2015, 08:22:18 pm
I know I paid more but I've checked out some of the cheaper ones and you can't pick anything up with them. We checked one at the Hershey show and I got the evil eye from the seller when I tested it right there and it didn't grip anything I tried. I saw the folding ones online but wondered if they would hold up to hoisting a can of soup from an overhead shelf. Some things I pay more for. I need to protect what brain cells I have left and cans HURT!

Ron, as for volunteering, we don't tell anyone, we just do it. That way there are no expectations or requirements so no failure if we opt to not go a certain way. If we do litter pick up as part of a camp host job, THEN we'll have to actually do it on schedule. Of course, taking a hike as part of your job is pretty cool.
294  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Picker Upper on: September 25, 2015, 10:34:10 am
I recently bought the Grip'n Grab from Amazon - this is a very cool tool for about $15.00. When in camp I do a lot of walkabouts as well as hiking and we always pick up trash along the way. Some of the trash is downright nasty so this tool lets us keep picking up trash without putting our hands on cigarette butts or used tissues or buggy food containers. I wouldn't carry this on a heavy duty hike but definitely on shorter ones. I picked up squished cigarette butts, single pieces or paper, wet receipts stuck to the road, tin cans and even a full water bottle. It does a great job with all of it. We plan to do some camp hosting when we get back on the road so we are getting a second one for John so we can both do the cleanup with ease.

It also works around the house to get hard to reach items. They advertise it holds up to five pounds but the strength of your arm and the angle will determine what you can lift with it. I can easily get cans and boxes out of the cupboard several feet above me. One caution - if you get one, DO NOT lift heavy things OVER your head. This particular tool seems to be nice and strong and grippy but I would not trust any tool or the strength of my wrist to keep a full jar of spaghetti sauce from clocking me in the head.
295  Main Forum / General Discussion / NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt MD Open House 9/26/15 on: September 22, 2015, 07:59:33 pm
For those that live in the DC area or are passing through, this Saturday is also a free open house at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. Tons of stuff going on with free tours and activities and access to some of the techs.

If you are not in the area now but this sounds good, it might be something to hit next year... especially if you plan to be in the area already for the Intervec/Phoenix Reunion.
296  Main Forum / General Discussion / Free day at Museums 9/26/15 on: September 22, 2015, 07:53:53 pm
Our AAA magazine had an article on Smithsonian's Free Museum Day. The Smithsonian museums are always free but once a year they get other museums to let people in for free. You have to register with your name and email and print your ticket, good for free admission for two people to one museum that day. The free museums are all over the country and you don't have to be local so even those on the road can enjoy. John and I plan to hit the Newseum down in DC that day. We've been meaning to go and this will save us around $46.00. Museums are so expensive - living near DC we are seriously spoiled with all the excellent free museums so it is hard to cough up the cash for the ones that charge. Check out the website, search the list or the interactive map and see if it works for you.
297  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: RV Shows?? on: September 22, 2015, 06:15:34 am
Commenting back on towing the Subaru Forrester - it is a standard transmission / stick shift all wheel drive. We put it in neutral to tow. The Forrester also comes in automatic but that cannot be towed four down.
298  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Hershey RV Show 2015 on: September 22, 2015, 06:12:31 am
This is purely my opinion but Kermit seems to seek out the cool RV stuff and add it to his babies. He is very proud of what he builds and seems to have a goal of making the best RV he can. Phoenix doesn't necessarily flaunt it though. We researched and compared RVs and chose the Phoenix but even with all that research, plus seeing one at a show, plus a factory tour, there were cool features we didn't know we had until we took delivery. One example is the in-tank flushing system. This is really cool and would have been a plus on my list but I didn't know about it. I knew others offered it for an additional charge but there it was as a standard feature on our Phoenix.
299  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries on: September 22, 2015, 05:54:27 am
I'm clueless about these things but would it make sense to mount a new battery monitor in the same place as the old one? My brain says all the wires are already there, they just don't feed to a digital display. Even if the wires aren't there, you could run them and just pull out the old monitor since it is useless anyhow. (Though the height might be an issue).

I know you'd find a use for all those rectangles over the stove. They will call to you until you use every one.
300  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Hershey RV Show 2015 on: September 20, 2015, 08:09:16 am
And again - I found the paper amongst the mass of show goodies. They pay $10.75 for days, $11.25 for nights plus that extra $1.00  per hour completion bonus. Over 40 hours a week is paid at time and a half. You get a full hook up site with an electric allowance. They make arrangements with local campgrounds, give you a list for the area you were hired for, you pick one and reserve your site, the bill goes to and is paid directly by Amazon. Job descriptions, requirements and some videos are on the website.

The sites may change over the years. They used to have one in Utah but no longer need outside help. The camper force fills in where the local work force cannot supply enough labor for the big holiday push. They don't want to take away jobs from the locals.
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