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91  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.
92  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).
93  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.
94  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.
95  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.
96  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!


97  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.
98  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.
99  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
100  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.
101  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?)
102  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Lazy Furnace on: March 25, 2014, 06:33:30 pm
Update on the furnace. Camping World in Winchester VA didn't actually order the part until yesterday even though they wrote up the ticket for it on the 13th (something about the bookkeeper being on vacation - lots of parts didn't get ordered). Now they say it is only coming from two hours away so it should be here tomorrow. (So why did we have to wait in the cold for two weeks? We could have driven up to get it in one afternoon). Our conversations with them were not very satisfactory. One excuse they gave was delays caused by the procedure needed to process a warranty claim.  We called Atwood again to find out if we could go somewhere else or if we are locked in with them. Funny thing - they never contacted Atwood. They didn't order the part from them - which would have been free. They aren't actually an authorized Atwood service center (some Camping World's are, this one isn't - the service manager told us he was sure they were - he was wrong - you'd think he'd know). I have an email in to Kermit to ask if they contacted him. We doubt it but want to make sure before we walk away from them. We will head south to somewhere warm where we don't need a furnace. There we will find an Atwood Service Center and get it fixed. We DID check the furnace to make sure no parts are missing because Atwood won't send free warranty replacements unless they get the bad part back.

Another oddity. They told us the bad part was a piece on the circuit board that triggers the igniter but the part on the work order that they ordered (yesterday) was the igniter...
103  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Thermopane Windows on: March 25, 2014, 05:44:54 pm
Thanks Ron, I'll give that a go tomorrow when the sun comes out. We are apparently iced shut at the moment. I can open the red levers but the window does not budge and I don't want to put undue stress on the window or the seals.
104  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Thermopane Windows on: March 24, 2014, 08:56:22 pm
I'll have to check the window seals, etc. extremely well and maybe call Kermit. There must be something wrong with our emergency window. Last night we slept with one space heater on between the beds and the privacy curtain closed (as we've done in the past but maybe not when it dropped so low outside). We have the truck vents off and the drape across the bottom half of the cab as I mentioned in an earlier post. When I got up it was tolerable (but still quite cold) in the bedroom area but our weather station showed 20 degrees outside and 40 degrees inside the kitchen/living area of the coach. With two space heaters (or for awhile one heater and the heat strip) we got it up to 58 after about 2.5 hours. We are leaving both heaters running tonight just to have a warmer base temperature to start with in the morning. We went back to the space heaters because the heat strip tends to blow right to the cab area and stirred up all that very cold air I had trapped behind the half curtain and actually dropped the inside temp for awhile. We dragged one heater out of storage and it is old and not as energy efficient so we have to run them on low to avoid tripping our power. We also have the computers on, tank heaters, cat's bed warmer (she's 18, she needs it), etc. so we are probably maxing the power. The coach is finally warm so we plan to keep both heaters running all night (with them cycling off when they reach their set temp). Fixing that window and blocking the cab should put us back to snug and warm - just in time for spring to arrive! (which is pretty much on schedule with getting the furnace fixed too).
105  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.
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