A Beautiful Day In A Beautiful State Park

Since we are spending two nights at Raccoon Valley RV Park at Heiskell, TN, we had today to do a little sightseeing.  We decided to check out Norris Dam State Park and if we were up to it after that we’d drive on in to Knoxville to see the Sunsphere tower adjacent to the Knoxville Convention Center.

The state park was very beautiful and peaceful.  It seemed as though we were the only ones there.  We started our visit by stopping at the dam West End Overlook.  From there we had a great view of the Norris Dam, the spillway, and the hydro-electric plant.  From there we drove on down to the marina and then to the drive over the top of the dam and on into the campground area.

I don’t know how many campsites they have, but they have over 20 really nice cabins.  We only saw one occupied camp site and all of the cabins were vacant.  It’s mid-week and the season really hasn’t begun just yet.

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After leaving the dam and the campground, but before exiting the park, we stumbled upon another attraction at the park; the old water driven Grist Mill and the museum.

There were a few kids playing in the stream at the outlet side of the mill while their mothers watched nearby and just a couple of other visitors to the museum.  Here’s the video of the little ones playing in the stream.

The slide show below contains pictures from the museum in the park.  All of the artifacts in the museum had been collected by one couple, Mr. & Mrs. Will Lenoir.  They had been collecting for over 60 years and wanted to help preserve Tennessee’s heritage by giving their collection to the State Park.  It’s quite a collection and we spent much of the early afternoon there.

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Leaving the park we drove on through the little town of Norris.  There were a lot of pictures in the museum of early days in Norris, when the TVA built the dam (1933-1936) and I’m guessing that’s how the town came to be, from all the workers employed while building the dam.  The pictures showed the “Norris Drug Store”, the “Norris Gas Station” and so on.

It’s a cute little town, reminded me of the Andy Griffith show and Mayberry – everything clean and tidy.  Too bad I didn’t stop and get any pictures to share with you.

Back at the park we’ve met 3 different couples.  Our new next door neighbors Jerry and Marsha from Florida on their way to Kentucky for an off-road event (see the pix of their rigs)

 

That’s an off-road buggy, a BMW motorcycle, AND a canoe under the buggy (that’s a spare tire for the buggy up front)

 

 

 

450 hp diesel with the trailer attached measures 70′ long! Four slides (two on each side) on the coach

Then Kathy and I had a nice visit with Jon & Cathy from Milford, OH on their way back home from Florida.  They are members of S.O.W.E.R.S. (they volunteer their time working on various mission projects around the country).

As I was taking the trash down to the dumpster, I met Karen and Lino, also from Ohio.  They are on their way back home from Florida where they had flown down one-way to purchase their new (used) 5th wheel trailer and pick-up truck.

Karen has retired recently and Lino hopes to retire by the end of the year and then they’ll become full-time RV’ers and Karen may revive her home-based graphic arts and web design business working from the road.

Although we’ve been blessed with seeing much of the country and that’s certainly a perk of this lifestyle, I think what’s even more of a blessing is having been given the opportunity to meet so many great people from all over the country.

 

 

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

An Amazing Trip to Fort Morgan

An Amazing Trip to Fort Morgan

Staying at Summerdale, AL at the Escapee’s Rainbow Plantation RV Park.  This is a large park with lots of permanent residents that own their lots and have permanent homes on those lots.  There are also about 100 or so shaded RV lots for folks that might want to rent for a day, week, or longer.

They have a big clubhouse (we’re going for lasagna dinner tomorrow night) and a great looking pool, but they say it’s not quite up to temperature just yet.

Our site is nice and well shaded by a large Water Oak tree and the neighbors we’ve met are great.

Our site at Rainbow Plantation – Summerdale, AL

Today (Tuesday) we took a drive down to the beach, (we’ll go back tomorrow with chairs and towels) and then we drove on west to visit Fort Morgan.

Construction of the fort was started in 1819, took 15 years to complete, and is located on Mobile Point so as to be able to protect the shoreline from the north during the Civil War.

It’s interesting to note that the US government leased slaves from local slave owners to manufacture the over 30,000,000 (yes, thirty MILLION) bricks to build the fort.  I’m not going to go in to all the details of the construction and design, but I found it really fascinating to read all the placards located along the self-guided tour.

If you’d like to learn more, follow this link to the official site.

Here’s a few pictures I took with my Samsung S7 Smartphone.  I’m still amazed at the clarity and the resolution of these pix from a PHONE!

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We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Bill Williams River Wildlife Refuge – Lake Havasu, AZ

We saw some beautiful sights on our way up to Parker Dam and Lake Havasu, and once we finished lunch at Lake Havasu City, Kathy suggested we work our way back down to visit the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge.

It’s really a great facility with lots of paved walkways, plenty of shaded places to sit and just take in and appreciate all the different vegetation and water fowl, and enjoy all that we have to enjoy in this beautiful country of ours.

There are 3 park host RV sites there and we talked with one of the hosts just as we were leaving.  He’s been there for a few years and does everything from taking care of the beds and the trails, watering the batteries in the solar banks, maintaining the golf carts and utility vehicles, to daily maintenance of the Visitor Center and the Education Center used by schools and other groups.

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We had an opportunity to use our new Vortex Optics 10×42 Binoculars to see the birds, and boy were they great at bringing everything up close and so clear too!

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Quartzfest – Ham Radio Convention In The Sanoran Desert

There were two reasons for our trip to Quartzsite, AZ this past week.  The first was because we were so close (3+ hours) drive time from there we just HAD to see what everyone has been going to see and do for so many years, (The big Vacation, Sports, and RV Show).

Then I found out that this week was also the 20th annual Amateur Radio Convention known as “Quartzfest“.  Being a ham radio operator since the late ’60’s, (My call is WB8BHK) I thought it would be fun to hang out with some like-minded people.  We were all camping in the same area … on BLM land about 6 miles south of Quartzsite in an area known as “Road Runner”.  Quartzsite is just above Yuma on this map.

Sonoran Desert

Camping in the desert there is free for up to 14 days.  Of course, you need to be totally self-contained (fresh water/waste tanks/batteries/generator/solar) since you are in the desert with no utilities or hookups.  When we showed up on Sunday, the registration desk showed we were rig #239 … by the time we left on Thursday there were just under 600 rigs/hams registered!

The purpose of the Quartzfest Convention is to provide a time for education (through seminars and forums), sharing of ideas, display and demonstration of radios and antenna projects, and of course — to have fun.

The Sonoran desert treated us well while we were there, although Monday was VERY windy.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were beautiful sunny days with low winds and temps in the 50’s to 60’s.

The pictures in the slide show below illustrate just some of what we saw surrounding us in the desert.  Some of the interesting RV rigs with all kinds of antennas.   Check out the pix of the guy in his electric recumbant bicycle, he was zipping around all week silently.  Take a look at Mark’s company web site here.

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Check out this short video of our trip to Quartzfest 2017

We’ll have subsequent posts of our day trip to Lake Havasu and Parker Dam along with a post about the Big RV show at Quartzsite.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog.  Do you purchase any products from Amazon?  If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search.  By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more.  We’d really appreciate your help.

Thank you,

Herb & Kathy

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Getting Ready for Quartzsite

The big RV Show in Quartzsite starts this Sunday (Jan 22) and we’ve been doing some things to the coach to make sure we’re ready to go.

We’ve been watching some of the YouTube videos about the Quartzsite RV Show and “The Big Tent” and we’re looking forward to the event and seeing all that it has to offer.

We’re planning on dry camping just a few miles south of town on BLM land with hundreds of other Ham Radio Operators that have an area that will be used for Quartzfest 2017.  This is an official ARRL Amateur Radio Convention.

In our cars, we get so used to everything working just fine that we take it for granted that all will be “ok” when we turn that key.  It’s too easy to do that in the motor home as well.  But if something should go wrong, it could cost thousands of dollars and make for a really lousy day – especially since the coach is not only our mode of transportation, but it’s our home as well.  If it has to go in the shop for mechanical issues, we’d have to pay for a motel bill – and that’s not good.

Before we head out we always want to check the following.

  • Check the water level in the deep cycle batteries since we’ll be using those to power our; lights, fresh water pump, refrigerator, water heater, and tv.  I try to water the batteries monthly anyway even while we’re hooked up to shore power because they can boil off even while they are in “float” charge sitting here at the park
  • Check the engine oil level and radiator water level
  • Check and adjust all tire pressures (coach at 90 psi cold and the car at 30 psi cold)
  • Check the food inventory to make sure we’ve got enough in the fridge and pantry to last us a few days
  • Empty the black and gray tanks and fill the fresh water tank
  • Do a visual check of all the exterior lights (turn/brake/hazards/headlights)
  • Lower TV and radio antennas

The day is just about finished and all the above has been completed and we will be ready to head out Sunday morning.  We work here at the RV park on Fridays and Saturdays, so our plan is to leave Sunday morning, (it’s only a little over 3 hours to Quartzsite) and come back Thursday afternoon.

I’ll have plenty of pictures and video to share with you after we get back.

In the meantime, we’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog.  Do you purchase any products from Amazon?  If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below.  By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more.  We’d really appreciate your help.

Thank you,

Herb & Kathy

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

And now for the REST of the story …

As a follow-up (part 2) to Honey, shouldn’t we get those toad brakes installed? I wanted to let you know that all is well.

The folks at Little Dealer Little Prices in Prescott Valley, AZ did a great job.  We had stopped in a month or so ago and talked with one of their technicians (Lance) and he told us it would probably take 4-6 hours to get the system installed in the coach and the car (toad).

I called the service desk last Friday, talked with Colt Sullivan at the counter and we made the appointment for today (the next Tuesday).  We got there about 9:30 and Lance was ready and got right on it.  He finished up about 4:00 p.m., we hooked up the car to the tow bar and Kathy and I took a spin or two around the lot and all worked beautifully – just as Roadmaster had promised.

I have to say it was a real pleasure working with the folks at Little Dealer Little Prices.  They actually did what they said they were going to do, they did it on time, they didn’t charge me more for things they “found” and we were treated by any of the staff we encountered with courtesy and respect.  They have a comfortable and clean customer lounge (the old western schoolhouse) and their WiFi is open and works great.

I shot the video of their showroom and placed it in part 1 of this post, but since then I shot a few of the hallway and offices, wanted to share these with you.  The slide show is below.  If you’re viewing this post from an email sent to you, you MAY not see the slide show.  Just click on the post title up at the top of this email (by my head shot) and you’ll be taken directly to the blog where you will be able to see the slide show.

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So we’re back home for a few more days until we head out to Quartzsite.  I’ll write more about that as we head that way and once we’re there in the desert.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Honey, shouldn’t we get those toad brakes installed?

Kathy’s been asking me this for a while now and yes, I know the answer should be in the affirmative.  But I’ve been putting it off for far too long.

We have driven this coach with the Saturn (Toad) in tow from Ohio to San Diego and back, from Ohio to Vermont and back, and most recently from Ohio to Camp Verde, AZ then from Camp Verde to Tombstone and back, and next week we’ll be towing to Quartzsite.  All of this has been without any braking assist system installed in the toad.DSC_0033

My rationalization for not getting the system installed was that the car (’06 Saturn Vue) is mostly plastic and only weighs about 2200 pounds.  Each time we pulled it I proved to myself that I can stop “ok” even with the toad cramming up our back end.

But it was not a real comfortable feeling.  Especially when it was a HARD stop, like when that light turns yellow just at the wrong time.  Yes, we stopped but nonetheless, it was a bit anxiety provoking.

So, I recently bought the Roadmaster auxilliary braking system. brakemaster This is a small air cylinder that gets installed in the toad and actually pushes the brake pedal when I push the brake pedal in the coach.  There are no wires or electric hook-up .. just an air line from the rear of the coach, over the tow bar, through the toad engine compartment and on into the drivers compartment and then connected (via a quick coupling) to the air cylinder that applies pressure to the brake pedal.   This is a truly proportional braking system.

A month or so ago, we were day-tripping over in Prescott Valley and stopped to talk to the service department at Little Dealer Little Prices.  I had already ordered online the BrakeMaster kit, but I needed to talk with one of their mechanics to make sure he was comfortable installing the system and to get an estimate on how long it might take (cost).

So today was the day to come on over with the coach and car and get it installed.  Kathy and I will “walk the lot” looking over their inventory and there’s a TSC (Tractor Supply Co) right next door so we can walk over there, that’s a cool store to look around in.  But first down the road a bit for breakfast at Dennys.2017-01-10-09-42-45

Then we came back to the shop and I shot a short video of their showroom.  This place is SO COOL!

They have their showroom set up like a campground (at nite) and all the offices look like an old western town.  Cute idea, I wish I was creative like the person who dreampt (sp?) up this theme.  But I guess that’s why they get paid the big bucks, eh?

Here’s the video of their showroom … Check it out

We’ve been here since about 9:30 – it’s noon now and hopefully we’ll be back on the road to Rancho Verde RV Park in Camp Verde later this afternoon.

If you are on Facebook, do me a favor and Like us (the park) on the park Facebook page.  I’ve recently been assigned the task of ADMIN there and am trying to post some content of interest and get the LIKES up.  On Facebook, look up @ranchoverdegreenoasis (or follow this link) and LIKE us.  Thanks.

I’ll post an update later today when we have the task completed and do a test drive with the TOAD hooked up and travel back home.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

RV Sewer Hose Installation and Tank Flushing Tips

Here’s my first attempt at an instructional video.  I’ve seen a lot of different configurations – found out what works and what doesn’t.

For what it’s worth, maybe this short video will help someone avoid some problems down the road.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

How well is our fridge working?”

When we started RV’ing we soon learned that the typical RV refrigerator could be susceptible to wide temperature variations and not real efficient at cooling.

We learned that it was best to “pre-chill” the fridge, letting it work at cooling down for at least 24 hours before loading it up with food.  We also learned that because it is not your typical household compressor fridge but rather an evaporation system that it’s best to put food that has been pre-chilled (from a conventional fridge) into the RV fridge.  Also …. DON’T stand there looking for something to eat with the door open!  Know what’s in the fridge and what you want BEFORE opening the door – that way you’ll be successful at keeping more of the cold air in the box instead of rolling down onto the floor and your feet.

OK, so we did all that …. but is it really working?  We installed a typical round-dial refrigerator thermometer and it kept showing 50 degrees or higher!  dial-thermometerThat’s no good.  We want to keep our refrigerated food somewhere between 34 and 40 degrees.  We turned the control on the front of the fridge to “Coldest”, but still showed around 50 degrees or so.

Finally out of frustration wondering if the fridge was working and if we needed to call a repairman, we installed one of those digital indoor/outdoor thermometers and “voila”, it shows us at a glance what the temp is inside at any time without us having to open the door to look at the grossly inaccurate dial thermometer that we hung on the shelf.

Since buying the digital indoor/outdoor thermometer for the fridge, we’ve also bought another one that I placed the outdoor sensor in the coach basement water compartment.  The water compartment has the fresh water supply piping so in that compartment I installed a 60 watt light bulb that is connected to a plug in thermostat that comes on at 35 degrees and shuts off at 45 degrees.  Now I can monitor that compartment temperature and be comfortable knowing my light bulb hasn’t burned out and the system is working and I can monitor this from my easy chair in the coach any time of the day (or night)

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Amphibious Motor Home!

My friend Donna Carver sent the link to this video to me.  I didn’t believe it was real at first, but after watching the video, I think this is actually for real – how amazing!

I have no idea on the price but I’m guessing it’s close to a mill …. late correction, just Googled that question and the MSRP starts at $850.000.  Too rich for my blood.

Cool nonetheless.  Anybody wanna go halvsies with us?

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy
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