Thursday, February 25, 2021

This RV Upgrade Really Sucks

First a shoutout to a great online store for RV upgrades and accessories - This current purchase has not been our first and probably will not be our last. This one came courtesy of one of their emails, as we had never really looked into this type of item - but we are looking forward to installing it and then putting it to use.

Ok, enough with the theatrics - introducing our current upgrade task - the Dirt Devil CV1500 Central Vacuum With Vroom RV Retractable Hose System. After taking a look at the reviews and the details of this item we decided it will be well worth the money (about $249). We will eliminate our old broom/dustpan and the "dust buster" hand held vacuum we use. The current plan is to install the power unit under the kitchen sink on one side, wrap the Vroom hose up around the sink and mount the access hose against the inside of the opposite kitchen cabinet door. The extended hose (35 feet) will reach back to the bedroom, bathroom and easily into the cockpit. 

The hope is to have this installed for our upcoming Key West trip. Jeff plans on actually making a video of the item and the install process. We'll publish that here on the blog for all to view (and maybe laugh out loud or some such). Stay tuned....

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Where Am I Going and How Do I Get There - Part 1

Almost all RV forums and discussion groups will eventually have what can become a rather heated argument over trip planning and usage of GPS. For us, Jeff is the planner and his background in IT, along with a Type A personality, contribute to his obsession with planning and trying not to be caught "off guard". Of course, no one can predict events so Jeff also has patience and flexibility. 

Planning an RV trip, outside the quick little weekend somewhere close, requires some sense of direction and the ability to plan a route that is both safe and in most instances quick. The discussion of planning routes and timing arrivals/departures can be rather complex; thus, this topic will be split into segments. 

The one thing to remember, this is just one method and some people prefer the "winging it" style. We do not have any desire to be staying in rest stops, Walmart or the like so we plan our trips with not only the destination in mind, but stops along the way. 

A major component of one's plan is how far you want to travel in one day. Some people use mileage and others use time. We do a combination - we prefer to be stopped by 3pm and we prefer to keep our miles to about 250 in any given day. If we can average 60mph that's about 4 hours of drive time. Then we stop, hook up and enjoy the evening relaxing at the pool or outside with some rum or vodka concoction. 🍹

Once you decide what your travel style is like and if it is the planner type, these posts may be of help. If you're a "winging it" style, maybe you can be enlightened to how planners think so you can understand another point of view. Jeff used to be a "winging it" and slowly moved to the planner style. 

As a planner, you will want to review and look at the different tools that you can use. There are several options, some free some not, and they all have different features. Through trial and error we chose our main planning options -, excel, google maps and our Garmin RV 890.

We only use GoogleMaps to help pick our destination campground and use it in conjunction with RVTripWizard. We export trips from RVTripWizard into Excel and, after adding some columns, we create a completed trip with destination/arrival times and stopover times. As we begin our trip, we put our daily destination into the Garmin and it provides us traffic and weather delays as well as estimated arrivals and counts down our traveling day.

So, that is our style of planning and the main tools we use. In Part 2 (coming soon if not already there) we'll detail how we use RVTripWizard. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Inverter Saga - Part Deux

Life can throw you a lot of curves and time can escape from you so quickly. I realized that I had been neglecting this blog and amidst a lot of life events. Beth and I are fine, physically; but have had some intense things going on with her Mom. It has finally settled and now more can be done to continue our journey to full timing. 

Looking back on prior posts I noticed that I never provided an update to the inverter saga. Since the time I modified the inverter we have made 2 trips. Each trip had no issues with the modified inverter. 

I do take some level of precautions, which probably mean nothing but my own feeling of security. I do not start the inverter while I am connected to shore power. Once I disconnect either at home or at a park I then turn on the inverter. It powers up just fine and the refrigerator operates as it should. Also, before I connect shore power, I turn the inverter off (this is done using the remote switch in the coach).

So, as far as it appears, the modification of removing the GFI and replacing with a standard outlet was a success. I'm sure the switching component would work when connecting/disconnecting shore power, but I feel more comfortable with my process especially since we are not sure why the first inverter burned out.

Next trip is coming mid/late March - Boyd's in Key West for a week....will be a well needed vacation and  Jeff's birthday celebration trip.

Where's my Mail?

One of the most interesting (or irritating depending on your outlook) things I see on RV groups is people asking how to get their mail while being full time. Many of these people have simply sold everything, jumped in their camper and hit the road with no prior planning. I might like living spontaneously in where I go to dinner but not how I live. For each their own and I wish them well along their journey. I’m somewhat a planner and like to have my “ducks in a row” so I’m not scrambling later.

Even in our digital world, we cannot live without mail of some type. Most of the time our monthly credit card bills and the like can be viewed online; but, there are other things that still rely on mail notices – vehicle or license renewals, for example. As a Floridian I can perform my renewal online but I need to have a place to receive the actual paperwork or license.

As a full time RVer the first step before resolving the mail issue concerns picking a domicile state. Another post will deal with that specific and suggestions. Suffice it to say you need to decide where you want your address to be located. Once that decision is made you can then research mail forwarding services.

Mail forwarding services provide you a physical address in your domicile state and will collect your mail as it comes in. Depending on the service you usually can view scans of the envelopes online and choose to have the item forwarded to your current location, shredded, or held for future disposition.

Of course, some full timers may have decided to keep their residence or have close family that will allow them to use their address. All of this is moot if you fall into that category. 

There are numerous mail services and I’ve listed some below. Some are strictly in one state while others can provide a physical address in multiple states. Again, picking your domicile state is critical. Each has their own rates and variations of service levels. All will require a completed USPS Form 1583.

As of this publishing we have not chosen our mail forwarding provider. We do know that Florida will be our domicile, and the Escapees service is on top of the list right now. Since we are already Florida residents we only need change address and get new driver’s license, etc.