Monday, November 30, 2020

St. Augustine, Florida - November 2020

For the fourth year in a row we took the RV up to St. Augustine for Thanksgiving week. This year we decided to change our normal RV park and we booked into Compass RV Resort. This is a Sun RV Resort property that had been named Indian Forest Campground.

We have usually stayed at the KOA on Anastasia Island due to the convenient shuttle to take to town. The Old Town Trolley in St Augustine has a shuttle that goes from the island hotels and campgrounds into town with stops at the Alligator Farm and Lighthouse. The shuttle runs hourly, making it fairly convenient. We decided to change campgrounds this year for the simple fact we do not really like the KOA (most we do like but this one has some poor sites). We gave up the hourly shuttle, but Compass RV Resort does sell Old Town Trolley tickets and there is a shuttle at either 9am or 10am. A return shuttle can be arranged from old town if you get to Stop 1 by 5:30pm.

As far as the campground is concerned, we will definitely be returning. We had our rig in spot 105 which is a pull through on a corner by the storage yard. We had a nice area out front to give us more space and the traffic was minimal. Lots of dogs going by which was a challenge with our Boston Terrier, but no incidents occurred. Do to our outings in town and the temperature we did not take advantage of their very nice looking pool. Everyone there was friendly, courteous, and very helpful.

Old Town

St Augustine was, as usual, a great place to be for the holiday. They had their annual Night of Lights event that runs through the season and is a site to see. Over 3 million lights on all the businesses and in the main avenue park. Walking St George street for all the little shops was enjoyable as well. We made sure we ate at one of our favorites, Meehan’s Irish Pub. For Thanksgiving we had dinner reservations at one of St Augustine’s oldest restaurants, The Raintree. Service and food were impeccable and we’ll be back next year (make reservations early).

In the past, we would take the Old Town Trolley special Night of Lights tour. This year we decided we would try and get a horse drawn carriage after Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately for us the wait time was an hour and half. So we chose to look around a bit on foot and then returned to the campground.

We did take the time to visit the Fountain of Youth this year and it was a really great decision. There are many things to see and experience – well worth the admission price. Next year we have decided to go into the original Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum.

Although we did not visit this year one of our recommendations is to see the Medieval Torture Museum on St George Street. A truly educating and enlightening museum that exposes a little discussed part of our human history. The museum is a private collection and some may be surprised at the devices and methods used – and may even see some still used today.

So as it stands, St Augustine for Thanksgiving has become our tradition. I’ll be making my reservations in the spring to ensure I get the site I want and we will enjoy our time there again. Feel free to check out some our pictures in the Gallery or send us a message with questions.

Check out St Augustine Tours

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Inverter Saga

The one item we truly enjoy about our rig is the residential refrigerator. The double door fridge and freezer drawer allow us to stock supplies for the long term – much longer than the little two-way fridge we had in our previous rig.

During our Savannah trip in September 2019 after dropping shore power to get ready to leave the inverter, located above the propane tank began beeping and the lights in the coach started flickering. Removing the panel I found the inverter flashing an error code and the voltage (which was more than adequate). The ProWatt 2000 inverter error code indicated it was overheating. Mind you the inverter had been off for 6 days. Since we were headed home I simply turned the inverter off and we’d deal with the mostly empty fridge items later.

The coach went in for service at our local Camping World (yes, I know, most would say not to go there but they sold us the rig and i still had an expensive extended warranty I decided to use.) They found the inverter to have a burned capacitor and replaced it with the same model (warranty covered it.) When they started testing it the GFCI outlet onboard the inverter kept tripping whenever the fridge compressor started. It was only pulling the expected 2amps. The attempted further diagnosis but then simply shrugged their shoulders.

As I usually do, I started an intensive online search about the issue and it all came down to one thing – the GFCI outlet was simply too sensitive for a residential fridge of this size. And more than one post or solution was to replace the GFCI breaker with a standard outlet. The other option was to spend about $500 on an upgraded Xantrex inverter. I opted for the former.

I removed the inverter from it’s tight home above the propane tank and removed the front panel. After disconnecting the GFCI outlet I wired the new one and replaced the front panel. I turned the battery shutoff back on, manually started the inverter and used my outlet tester – it showed “Good.” I then re-connected the remote start wire to the inverter and shutting it off manually. Next I pressed the remote inverter switch inside the coach and in a few seconds saw the front panel of the refrigerator light up and start displaying its status. I checked the inverter and it showed no error codes and flashed the voltage which was a little low but expected as i had yet not had the rig plugged in to charge batteries.

So ends the inverter saga and hopefully no issues. We have a trip planned to Saint Augustine, Florida and will see how it does during that journey.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Welcome to Our Dream

This site and it’s hopeful great future has been a wishful target for some time. As we started our RVing experience and also began our plans for retiring in our RV fulltime; there has been a need to somehow both share our experiences with friends and family as well as provide knowledge to others that may desire this lifestyle. We hope to exposer the lifestyle, budget tips, maintenance tips and, of course, destination reviews along with pictures.

As of this publishing we are not yet living and traveling in our RV fulltime. We do try and use our rig at least once a month for a week or so at a time. Currently Jeff works remote which allows him the flexibility to work from anywhere he has internet access. We do have a jetpack for wifi along with a cellular boost antenna that ensures we have a strong signal.

The current goal of going fulltime is just over a year away. Jeff will be able to start claiming social security, Beth will be close to her pension and hopefully our investment nest egg will be robust by then (although we see no need to be dipping into it on a regular basis with our current budget outlook).

We want to thank everyone who stops by and hopefully we provided some insights – more are on the way. Feel free to contact us with questions, comments, and requests.