Category: Camping

We Are In The South

By , November 24, 2010 7:18 am

As we drove through South Carolina, I got my first glimpse of palm trees. I love palm trees. They remind me of warm sunny weather. That’s the first sign we were in the South.

We stayed over night at The Oaks at Point South Campground in Yemassee, SC. It is a lovely wooded campground set amongst trees. The trees are covered in Spanish moss. That’s the second sign. The third sign are bugs and warm weather.

CampgroundSpanishMoss SpanishMoss

We took a nice morning walk to the lake by the campground. We saw beautiful fall colors, Spanish moss, saw palmettos and wild life. No bugs bothered us! Yeah!

LakeFallColor

JWKFootBridge Path SawPalmetto Woods

It was great to see fall colors in the South (palm trees, Spanish moss,warm weather, and bugs).

The Berkshires and Zip Lining

By , September 14, 2010 8:46 am

We left Rochester, NY area and are making our way to Maine. David and Brenda from OutsideOurBubble.com has been such good hosts and traveling buddies. They took us to see our second Great Lakes, Lake Ontario at the Port of Rochester. And I got to taste three different flavors of milkshakes (from Jonathan, David and Brenda) even though I didn’t order any milkshake. :) 

 

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Our first stop was in Verona, NY at the Turning Point Campground. That night we went out to a churrascaria restaurant. After dinner, Brenda and I wanted to take some pictures of the guys but they kept making faces. We all had a laughing fit; our stomachs hurt from too much food and too much laughing. We ended the night by enjoying a movie at David and Brenda’s RV Home Theater called Runaway Vacation or RV starring Robin Williams which we had never seen before, go figure! It was a hoot!

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Our second stop was in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. We traveled on the Mohawk Trail. There was one hair pin turn, some twisty roads and good scenery. It was too early for fall foliage. We look forward to seeing fall foliage at Bar Harbor.

    IMG_4205  Mohawk Trail

We camped at Country Aire Campground in Charlemont for two nights so that we can go zip lining. Zoar Outdoor Canopy Tours did a great job! We all had a blast! Later on that afternoon, we went into the town of Shelburne Falls for a nice stroll on the Flower Bridge. We also dined at Goulds Sugar-House Restuarant the morning before we checked out. The pancakes were good!

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Bar Harbor here we come!

Geneva and Geneva-On-The-Lake

By , September 7, 2010 1:17 pm

We miscalculated when we would arrive at our friend’s home (Brenda & David from Outside Our  Bubble) in upstate NY. We had told them IMG_3293we’d be there on Wednesday but on Monday afternoon we realized at our rate of driving we would be there on Tuesday! (We are going to be caravanning with them to Bar Harbor later this week. This will be our first caravanning trip, we are excited about it!) Because we didn’t want to disrupt any plans they may possibly have, we decided to stay at Geneva State Park in Geneva, Ohio for two nights. Our final destination that night was supposed to be in Conneaut, Ohio.

What a nice park! I had used the words “what a great little park” to one of our neighbor in the campground and he said “little?!?”, that is when I realized it wasn’t so little. The park is located on 698 acres on the shores of  Lake Erie,  the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes. The average depth of Lake Erie is 62’. Even though it’s the smallest lake, you still can’t see the opposite side!

campsiteThe park has 89 electric sites and only 4 full hookups. It is surrounded by  mature trees and the sites are widely spaced out (some sites are more shaded than others). We are a 38’ RV and our neighbor has a 40’ RV and he managed to park his tow vehicle on the same pad. The state park offers a lot of activities including fishing, hiking/biking, boating and hunting.

The state park is located just minutes away from a great little village called Geneva-On-The-Lake. The village calls itself  “Ohio’s first summer resort”. The village seems seasonal and comes alive at night during the high season. The village offers restaurants/bars, wine tasting, arcade style video games and fishing.

Another attraction in the region is the Lake Erie wineries and icewine. The region has “15 award-winning wineries”. One of the wineries right in Geneva-on-the-Lake is the Old Firehouse Winery. We ordered a sample tray of their sweet wines. The sample tray includes 10 – one ounce samples of sweet or dry wine and it includes a souvenir glass. We ordered a sample of the sweet wines. We both liked “Frosty Peach”. Frosty Peach is described as “full-bodied, semi-sweet 100% fruity wine with the aroma and taste of fresh peaches”.

sweetwinetasting

Not bad for a miscalculation!

RV Capital, Amish Country and Corn Belt

By , September 7, 2010 12:59 pm

Northern Indiana covers all of the above distinction. Elkhart County (Elkhart, Middlebury, Goshen and Nappanee) alone produces more than 50% of the nation’s RV. As the RV capital, it rightly has the RV/MH Museum Hall of Fame, all kinds of RV manufacturers/service centers/accessories/campgrounds and rallies.

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The area also has a good sized Amish community, where delicious baked goods and horse drawn vehicles are the norm. We enjoyed the family style Thresher’s Dinner  at Amish Acres Restaurant Barn. Our Dasy’s stomach ached with too much food. 😉 We admit we succumbed to their baked goodies. We bought too many cookies and pies to keep track of, I personally feel like a little piggy! They were good, some more excellent than others.

IMG_4108 IMG_3219 IMG_3220       IMG_4026   IMG_4100 IMG_4105

Everywhere you go, you see corn and more corn and soy bean. Indiana is part of the corn belt. Corn belt refers to Midwestern States that predominantly grows corn and more recently soy bean. Most of the corn grown are grown for feed.

While in this area we also met some wonderful friends in Plymouth. A couple invited us to dinner one night and showed us his expansive collection of model train communities of towns and villages. The collection covered his entire basement, of course it didn’t start like that. One day his wife went away, when she came back, he had built another section ! 🙂 It is his passion and his stress reliever. We had a great time with them.

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We spent a week at Pla-Mor Campground. At the beginning of the week, there were plenty of sites available but towards the Labor Day weekend the huge campground was almost filled! Right next to us was an old Class A styled Airstream. We have friends from Kenosha that have an Airstream trailer, so we had to take some pictures for them. It could have easily found its place in the RV Museum. 

IMG_4114IMG_3286  IMG_3285

Stops On The Way

By , September 5, 2010 5:26 pm

We stopped at three different locations from Golden, CO to Bremen, IN. We drove over 1,000 miles. Yeah, we go far! Even though Jonathan did all the driving it was rough on me!?! But I’m learning and coping as a passenger. I haven’t driven the Star yet. I’m afraid. Jonathan said he’s afraid of me driving too. So that didn’t engender a lot of confidence in me either! I think after I take an RV driving class I would feel more confident.

I wonder how many “co-pilots” drive their rig…Kudos to those ladies! (Now back on track…)

Our first stop was in North Platte, NE at the Buffalo Bill State Recreation Area (SRA).  We drove about one mile on a gravel road to get to the campground. Campground offers electric only (some sites have 30 AMP and some have 50 AMP). It was hot and there was no shade but we were glad to have the AC running. It wasn’t bad as a stop over.

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Our second stop was in Waterloo, NE at the Two Rivers State Recreation Area (SRA). It is a huge park with a lot to do (fishing, swimming, biking, etc…). We took our mountain bikes out and rode around the park. Some sites have water and electric (all electric are 30 AMP only), some are electric only and some are dry camping and tenting. It was a pleasant park with lots of shade trees (I learned something about cottonwood tree!!! ) and “lakes”.

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Our last stop was a boondocking site at the Mississippi Valley Welcome Center in LeClaire, IA. It was a nice place that overlooked the great Mississippi River. It had free WiFi until 8PM. For dinner, we order out from the Bier Stube. We demolished the great German food before we could take any pictures! It was yummy! Jonathan said the beer was good too.

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Clear Creek RV Park Rocks!

By , August 26, 2010 7:25 pm

While in Golden we stayed in Clear Creek RV Park.  The creek, Clear Creek, flows along the campground for about 15 miles. The creek is cool, rocky and clear. There is also a great paved path along the creek. People walk their dog, run, bike and  walk the path (we did the latter two). With the windows open we hear the bubbling water in the creek.

ClearCreekRVPark

Jonathan couldn’t resist not getting an inner tube to go down the creek, so he bought two for us! 

ClearCreek  InnerTube JWKinWaterJWK_BBQinClearCreek

While here, Jonathan got to use our new grill too! He’s getting the hang of it. 🙂 This is his second time using it.

Clear Creek is just a cool park. We have enjoyed our time here.

Our two nights along the way to West Yellowstone

By , May 25, 2010 9:56 am

We left Moab, UT on Thursday May 20th and arrived in West Yellowstone, MT on the afternoon of Saturday May 22nd.

We spent one night at Devil Creek RV Park outside of Malad City, ID off of I-15 . It has a great view of the Devil Creek Reservoir and not too much else.

DevilCreekRV_Overview

How can you do wrong with this view? I enjoyed my coffee and daily reading to this view. There were birds out eating insects. There was also a ground squirrel rooting in the grass right in front of The Star (I had to wake the husband up for the ground squirrel, he likes critters). Then we both got The Star ready and went out for a little walk along the reservoir. It was a good start to our day.

DevilCreekRV

After that we continued our way on I-15 to Hwy 33  and then spent Friday night at Beaver Dick Park in Rexburg, ID. This park offers free camping with no hookups. Yes, free camping sites do exist! We have found them at freecampsites.net and freecampgrounds.com. It is a nice park and the Snake River runs along it. After we arrived a large group of tent campers, another RV and two other pull behind trailers showed up. The tent campers were in the front half of the park while we were in the back. There was still plenty of room for more people.

BeaverDick_Sign StarBeaverDick

After a pleasant night in Beaver Dick Park, we made our way on US-20 to West Yellowstone. We encountered snow! Since we left Florida we had Spring, Summer and now Winter. It’s going to be cold in West Yellowstone! Here’s the forecast for our week in Yellowstone: the nights are expected to be in the 20s and 30s while the days are expected to be in the 40s through the 60s. This is a great time to see baby animals in Yellowstone.

winterUS20

A couple days at Sanibel Island – Florida

By , April 26, 2010 11:52 am

After the rainAfter our stay in the Everglades and south Florida, we needed to work our way back up the coast as we made some kind of progress towards Texas.  One of our stopping points was Sanibel Island, Florida.  Parked

We don’t have many pictures and we didn’t do much.  This was mostly just a nice place for us to wind down for a couple days after all the non-stop activity of the Keys, the ‘Glades and Big Cypress.  We did some very minor RV maintenance, ate some good food and went bike riding (with just a little bit of shopping thrown in to keep Dasy happy). 😉

Be warned, the ground get’s very soft when it rains.  I came back from somewhere to find the TW laying down on the job. I had to put a cutting board under the kickstand to stop it from sinking.  I should have just left the TW on the hitch rack.  The one time I took it out, it ran out of gas and I had to push it back.  Of course, if I’d paid a little more attention, I might have realized that I didn’t have the fuel petcock turned on correctly. :S  Lesson learned.

 

Dinner!The Seafood Combo from the Island Cow…  very tasty and enough for both of us. 🙂

PeriwinklePeriwinkle Park

Signs for Periwinkle Park, the only RV spot we could find on the island.  The signs are easy
to miss, especially in traffic when you need to stop a 38’ motorhome and a Jeep.

Five Fingers

A little shopping…  I tried on some Vibram Five Fingers.  Right size, but I didn’t like the style.  You can find out more about them at BirthdayShoes.com if you’re interested.

After the rains…  Drainage is a bit of an issue when you’re already at sea level.  This is one of the main roads through the park.  It was probably eight inches at the deepest point.

 

Nice yard
Dirty

Nature’s windshield washer fluid – It rained, which got all the Everglade’s bugs “unstuck”.  I took advantage of it to do a much needed windshield cleaning. I was standing on the Jeep bumper and I still couldn’t reach the top. 🙁

 

Note: We’re still playing ‘catch up’ on the blog. I’m posting this from Texas about two weeks after our actual stay there.

Big Cypress

By , April 14, 2010 3:59 pm

Note: We’re actually in Gulf Shores, AL right now… just catching up on where we’ve been.Strangler

IMG_1911After Shark Valley in the Everglades, we kept on the Tamiami Trail and headed up to Midway campground in Big Cypress National Preserve.  We found a couple campgrounds in BCNP, but Midway was the only one that indicated there was 30 amp electricity available.  Much to our surprise, it’s actually 50 amp! 🙂  This is a good thing, because our rig doesn’t run on 30 amp for some reason that we haven’t figured out yet.

Midway is actually a really nice campground. IMG_1899 It doesn’t have sewer at each site, but it has water and electric, paved sites and is very pleasant.  There is a dump site if you need it and simple bathrooms (no showers).  It’s just kind of carved out of a chunk of the forest, with the sites all situated around a “borrow pit”, complete with alligator (I’m sure there’s more than one, but that’s all we saw).

SnakeAfter getting settled in, we did some driving around on “scenic trails”.  They’re pretty much dirt roads through the forest.  But it was still interesting.  We saw several gators, plus a few snakes.  I think the snakes were eastern hognose snakes, but I can’t swear to it.  Generally, if I don’t know what a snake is, I don’t get close enough to find out the hard way. 😉

After the driving tour, we headed back to camp and I started looking around some of the pamphlets weA view from the walkway picked up.  I found we had just enough time to make it to a “night walk” on a boardwalk over a gator hole, so we headed out for that.  Even though we were a couple minutes late, there were a couple of rangers there waiting for us.  Surprisingly, we had the tour to ourselves!  The boardwalk is pretty interesting, as the terrain changes quite quickly from one end to the other.  It’s located at the Storter parking area.

Crazy FrogIt was nice and fairly interesting, even though it wasn’t completely dark until about half way through it.  The rangers were fairly young and I think they were expecting either a lot more people and/or a much younger crowd (kids).  They were nice and they knew what they knew, but I was a bit surprised by how much they didn’t know about the area and local wildlife.  I guess it can’t be helped, as they relocate to different parks all over the country.  They can’t be expected to know everything about all the southern beasties running around the swamp. 😉

We got back to the parking lot to find Star Fred setting up a computer and preparing to set up a telescope.  Star Fred is quite an interesting dude.  He’s really into stars and he can talk about them… uh… probably forever, if you let him. 😉StarFred

That just about did us in for BCNP, so we bunked out for the night and then headed up to Sanibel Island, which will probably be my next entry.

‘Till then!

Launched!

By , April 5, 2010 6:11 pm

That applies to the shuttle and ourselves. 😉

We officially started “being mobile” last night.  We drove from our previous long-term parking spot in Ocklawaha to Titusville yesterday afternoon.  We arrived in Titusville and got set up at a restaurant parking lot with several other RVs.  We met some great people who share my “geekness” and then got up early this morning to watch shuttle mission STS-131 launch. 

ShuttleShot

We watched the lift-off from the top of the RV and had a pretty sweet view.  We’ll post more pictures and maybe a video once we get some power.

Right now, we’re parked in Florida City with no electricity and a hi-jacked wifi connection.  When we get to a powered location, we’ll tackle the rest of the pictures and posting.  My desktop is the only machine we have that can process hi-res video and it needs to be plugged in to do it. :S

Say hello…

By , February 19, 2010 9:24 pm

…To my not-so-little friend!

Manatees at Salt Springs

Manatees at Salt Springs

We spent a good part of the week at Salt Springs Recreation Area campground in Salt Springs, Fl.  Today was our “check-out” day, but I managed to get some early morning time in the kayak and the manatees happened to be back. 

More later, but I just wanted to shoot out a quick update and let everyone know we’re still here.  Sorry for the time taken, but we had no signal out there and we really didn’t have anything important enough to make us hunt down some civilization. 🙂

Things You Can Learn In An RV Resort

By , December 29, 2009 12:28 pm

SewerValves

What you are looking at above is the correct way to hook up a sewer hose in a 2001 Newmar Dutch Star motor home.  The reason you are seeing it is because it’s not quite as obvious as you might think it is. 

The purplish tint is applied to stuff that’s not really important in this post.  What’s important is that are usually two valves in a motor home waste system and they empty into a sewer hose that normally goes through the floor and then into a sewer cap.  IMG_8934

In the picture to the right, you can see the different valves and labels.  The “sewage water holding tank” (commonly called black water) is the valve for dumping everything from the toilet.  The gray water valve on the right dumps the waste water from all the sinks and the shower. 

When we got the Star and I started checking everything out, I couldn’t get the clear elbow to attach to outlet correctly.  I also couldn’t get a sewer hose to attach and then bend backwards to go through the big hole in the floor.

IMG_8936 In this picture, you can see the clear elbow attached, but it sticks out too far.  Normally a sewer hose goes on the bottom of that elbow and then goes through the hole in the floor.  The elbow sticks out too far and there isn’t enough room for the hose to come up through the hole.

I figured that someone had damaged the original pipe system and then replaced it all with the stuff we have now.  I was planning on ripping it all out and rebuilding it.  But first, I wanted to see what the original system was supposed to look like. 

Luckily, while we were at Sun N Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, we spotted another Dutch Star that was very similar to ours.  We stopped as the owners were coming out so I asked if I could look at the guy’s sewer system. 

As we were walking around to the sewer bay, I started to explain my issue.  The gentleman mentioned that his outlet pipe swiveled down to line up with the hole.  When we got to the bay and started looking, I instantly realized it was exactly the same system as ours.  Hmm…

IMG_8937So, here’s what our sewer pipe outlook and elbow look like if you swing the whole assembly down into place…  perfect!

We probably would not have figured this out.  I might have gotten lucky and realized it moved when I went to rip it out, but that’s not really very likely.  Just talking to another owner and doing a bit of exploration saved us a lot of time, effort, inconvenience and probably a fair chunk of money too.

In short, if something doesn’t seem right on an RV, ask others who would have had to deal with the same issue.  If you can find someone with the same unit, that’s even better!

Next stop, Sarasota…

By , December 20, 2009 6:56 pm

The Star is all cleaned up, packed up and ready to roll a little further south.  We’re heading to Sarasota tomorrow morning. 

PackedBays

We have some close friends and some family in or near Sarasota, so we’ll be spending about a week there catching up with as many of them as we can track down.

We’ll be staying at the Sun ‘N Fun RV Resort, which also happens to be where Duncan and Jessica of Traveling On The Outskirts are currently workcamping.  I’m not sure what else we’ll be up to, as I’m waiting on everyone involved (ahem) to tell me when we’re doing things so I can plan other things around them.

See you when we get there!  🙂

Fight The Power!

By , December 14, 2009 6:21 pm

Lightning

Photo from Kuzeytac on flickr, under Creative Commons license

A soon-to-be RV’er posted on her blog about a couple of RVs she is considering and an issue came up about the power.  One RV is 30 amp, the other is 50 amp.  There’s some confusion about which is better and why.  I don’t have an answer for that particular question, but I can shed some light on the differences between the two and how RV electrical systems work in general.

Warning: This is going to be long and somewhat technical… proceed at your own risk! 😛

RV electrical systems

Let’s start with how RVs are wired.  As far as I know, almost all RVs have two distinct electrical systems:  AC and DC.  This pretty much applies to just about any RV, whether it’s a tow-behind, fifth-wheel, or motorhome.  Some of the real small ones may only use one type, but that’s the exception, not the rule. 

AC (alternating current) is what your house has.  If you plug a toaster into a three prong socket, it’s using AC.  Normally the AC sockets in your house put out somewhere between 110 and 120 volts.  We’ll just say 110 to keep it simple. 

DC (direct current) is what your car has.  If you plug a cell phone charger into your cigarette lighter socket in your car, it’s expecting to get around 12 volts (although it can actually be anywhere from 11 to 15 volts).

An RV is a house and a car, so it has both.  All the engine stuff is 12 volts DC.  If it comes in a car, it’s probably 12 volt DC.  This includes a majority of the overhead lights (just like a car dome light), the headlights, turn signals, radio, cigarette lighter socket, power seats, etc.  All the house stuff is AC… microwave, washer/dryer, air conditioner (the one with the thermostat… the one on the dashboard isn’t really electric and only works when the engine is running, so it doesn’t count in this discussion). 

When you’re actually staying in an RV at a campground, you’re probably using some odd mix of both AC and DC stuff.  We use our air conditioners (AC), our microwave (AC), our coffee maker (AC), our radio (DC), and our overhead lights (DC) a lot.  So, we really need both AC and DC power to be comfortable.

I’ll address DC stuff in a separate post some day, for now, we’re dealing with AC.  I just needed to make sure everyone understood what I was talking about first.

Amps and plugs

So, what’s the deal with AC and what types are there?

That’s where the “amps” come in.  IMG_0177Saying an RV is 30 amp or 50 amp isn’t technically accurate (so don’t flame me about it). It doesn’t mean that an RV needs 30 or 50 amp, that’s just what it’s set up to use.  It’s also generally used to describe the type of socket that it uses when plugged into “shore power”.    Shore power is simply what you plug it in to when your parked at a campground and need power for your appliances.  It’s normally a collection of sockets and breakers on a post right next to your parking pad (picture to the right).  We’re going to call that a pedestal.

Here’s a short table with the different plugs and sockets that are generally used:

Amperage (Amps)

Plug (male)

Socket (female)

10/15

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IMG_0178

30

IMG_0170

IMG_0169

50

IMG_0176

IMG_0171

 

You should notice right off the bat that the 10/15 amp looks like your normal house appliance plug.  10 and 15 amp plugs are pretty much the same, although there are some subtle differences we aren’t going to worry about right now.  I’ll also mention the odd-ball, a 20 amp plug.  I don’t have a picture of one because they’re not normally used around a house or RV and you should have to worry about them unless you’re trying to run a drill press or something.

The 30 amp plug looks kinda like your normal house plug, but has bigger prongs and they’re “tilted”.  This is to make sure you don’t accidentally put it in a 10 amp socket. 😉

The 50 amp has even bigger prongs… and there are more of them. :S

Your RV is going to come with one of those plugs, probably the 30 or 50.  So what’s the difference?  Power!  …How much you get and how much you can use.

Feel Da Powah!

Almost everything that uses electricity can be measured in amps.  Amps is simply a rating that describes how much power something can or does use.  Different appliances use different amps.  A regular 40 watt light bulb in your house draws less than half an amp.  A 1000W microwave oven can draw almost 9 amps.  A car headlight is generally between 4 – 5 amps.

So, if you’re plugged into a 50 amp outlet and you’ve got a 50 amp RV, you can use a great big air conditioner (cools quickly even when it’s real hot out), your big microwave (cooks evenly and fast), a great big TV and a sweet treadmill for working off the microwave burritos. 🙂

But, if you’re on a 30 amp circuit, you can run a smaller air conditioner (takes longer, doesn’t work as well when it’s really hot outside), use a smaller microwave (takes longer, may not cook evenly), get a smaller LCD TV (LCDs use a lot less power than tube types)… and, uh, go jogging. 😉

I mention the treadmill because I remember some RVer somewhere wanting one or having one…  Normal treadmills can draw about 15 amps… 20 if you’re “husky” and run fast (I know, but it’s the best I could come up with).  Oh, ladies… your amazing 1800 watt hairdryer can draw about 16 amps on a bad day!

So, your 30 amp RV is parked and plugged in.  You’re running on your treadmill, while drying your hair and the air conditioner comes on…  For a split second, then everything stops!  Why?  Well, you exceeded your amperage.  Treadmill, 15 amps…  hair dryer, 15ish… You’re already at 30 amps.  The air conditioner is just the straw that broke the camel’s back. 

Actually, it should have only broken a breaker.  What’s a breaker?  One of these switchy things:

IMG_0179

Those are meant to stop you from using more electricity than the circuit can handle.  Generally they’ll save you from bad things happening.  What happens when you bypass them or when they don’t work right?  Something starts melting or burning.  Different wires can handle different amounts of electricity.  If you try to get too much electricity on one wire, it gets hot and will start burning stuff.  Fire is generally not a good thing to introduce to your RV.

“So, Jonathan… if I want to use lots of electricity, I just need more amps for my RV, right?”

I’m glad you asked!  The short version is “yes”.  The long version is not so easy.  Since we’re already way into the long version, I might as well just give it to you.  Go take a look at the picture of the 50 amp plug again.  What’s different about it when you compare it to the 30 and the 10/15/20?  Here’s a hint… start counting.

It’s got FOUR prongs!!!  The others only have three.  Well, if you’ve got only three prong sockets on your pedestal, there’s not really a good way to get another prong on there.  This is where we start messing with adaptors and stuff.

I’m tired of typing, so I’ll try to wrap this up and I might explain some more later…

Adapters and Cheating

The best pedestal you can find should have a bunch of sockets and breakers…  it’ll have a 50 amp socket and breaker, a 30 amp socket and breaker, and probably a couple of 20 amp sockets and breakers.  That there is electrical gold! (Well, assuming it’s actually wired right and putting out the amperage its supposed to).  You can plug in anything into the right socket and it’ll work!  Most excellent!

But what happens if you have a 30 amp plug and only have a pedestal with a 50 amp socket?  Easy, you get an adapter.  50 amps is more than you’ll need, so the adaptor just kind of ignores the extra prong on the 50 and lets you use half of it.  But, the circuit wasn’t designed to be used like that, so go easy on what you use…  Air conditioner and microwave at the same time are probably ok, just don’t fire up the hairdryer too. 

Ok, so what happens if I have a 50 amp plug and I only have a 30 amp socket?  Err…  things just got complicated again.  What you basically have is an RV that wants 4 wires (prongs) but you’ve only got three.  You can get a single adaptor that will allow you to physically plug the 50 amp plug into the socket, but there just aint enough wires available.  One of your 50 amp wires isn’t connected.  That can cause one of two things to happen.  If you have a fairly simple electric system, you can probably run half your appliances.  Maybe the air conditioner will work and nothing else does.  Maybe it’s the other way around.  Chances are pretty good that something important isn’t going to work…

…Or, nothing works at all.  That’s what happens with our RV now.  IMG_0167It’s got some smarts and knows what you’re trying to do.  It doesn’t like it and simple refuses to do anything.  I’m pretty sure our “transfer station” is the brain behind this (picture should be over there on the right).   While it’s annoying when we don’t have a 50 amp connection, it does save us from blowing up the microwave or air conditioner, so I guess I can’t whine too much.

There is one more option for tricking the system if you really need to.  I have no idea what this thing is called, but it can work in a pinch.  It’s a weird adaptor that has two 30 amp plugs connected to a 50 amp socket.  The theory is that you can take two 30 amp circuits and combine them into a 50 amp.  It’s risky.  You HAVE to be sure that they are different circuits first.  When you pull up to the power pedestal in Uncle Bob’s Wonderful Campgroundland, do you have any idea what kind of monkey wired that pedestal?  Nope, neither do I.  Did he use one circuit and just wire each plug into it?  Maybe… it’s cheaper that way. He only had to run one wire and it works if you’re only using one plug at a time.  What happens when you use one of these funky adapter things if the pedestal isn’t wired with individual circuits?  IMG_0174I have no idea, but I’d bet that it’s not good and I don’t want to be the one to find out.  Oh… campground employees tend to get real torqued up if you use one of these “combiner” things and they find out about it.  Just for reference, there’s a picture of one over there to the left.

Shutting Down

Ok, I have more to talk about, but I’m tired of typing and you probably didn’t make it this far anyway.  Maybe I’ll go into the adaptors and stuff and how they all work in a future post.

Not An Elektrishun

Ok, I hate to say it, but I know I have to… I’m not an electrician.  I don’t play one on TV.  I didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn last night.  Any of the above is based on my limited understanding and research.  None of it is guaranteed to be accurate and I’m not responsible for anything you do or anything that happens.  I’m sure I have some bits in there that some electrician-type friend (that would be Rob) will ping me on.  I’ve probably got some of the jargon a bit whacked and I may have used amp as a verb when it should have been a noun or some such nonsense.  I’m just trying to present an idea of why this stuff matters and how to deal with it.  Don’t beat me up over it.  Oh, if anyone of our readers does have a link to a better description of this stuff, feel free to post it.  If you’re shy, just email me (addy on the About Us page) and I’ll post it up with this entry.

If you’re in an RV (or going to be), there will come a day when your plug don’t fit someone’s socket.  All I’m trying to do is stop my peeps from freaking out about it. 😉

Note from the editor: Much of the 50 amp stuff I figured out thanks to my awesome family who wired up a 30 amp connection before we got here, then had to call an electrician back a few weeks later to wire up a 50 amp when we got the Dutch Star.  You guys rock! 🙂

Additional note from the editor: If you’re the one with the treadmill, email or comment with the following information from the tag near the plug on the treadmill – Volt (V), Watts (W) and/or Amps (A).  At least two of those should be listed.  If (A) is listed, that tells you how much they expect it to use.  If the other two are listed (V and W) I can tell you how to figure out the amperage.

Our stay at Pocahontas State Park

By , November 3, 2009 12:26 pm

Note: This was a little over a week ago, we’re catching up on the posts. 😉

IMG_0143.jpgWe uploaded another review of one of the places we stayed, Pocahontas State Park (PSP).  You can find it and all of our place review under the Parks and Places menu above.  There’s a handful of pictures there, but the full set is available on our Flickr page.IMG_0144.jpg

We arrived on a Friday and settled in for a long weekend.  It’s a nice park with good camping facilities and we enjoyed ourselves.  On Saturday, Rany (Dasy’s sister) and her husband, Seth, came out to join us for dinner.  I procured a nice set of steaks and corn on the cob from the local grocery store and we had our first attempt at grilling our dinner.  It rained on and off, so I ended up making a shield of sorts out of tin foil.  It actually worked out really well and the steak turned out fantastic.  The corn could have used a little longer on the grill, but it was still good. 

We stayed outside under our awning talking about friends, family and our upcoming adventures.  All in all, it was a good time and we thoroughly enjoyed our first attempts at “entertaining” in our new home. ;)  It’s a bit small inside, but with the awning and good weather it works out great.

IMG_0141.jpgWe were at PSP for the weekend and planned to leave on Monday.  We got a call on Sunday, however, that one of Dasy’s cousins wanted to buy her car, which we had taken with us and planned to keep in Florida.  So, we extended our stay for another day.  Dasy drove the car to her parents back in Northern Virginia, while I ran some errands and then went up in the Jeep to retrieve her.

Unfortunately, the Jeep decided not to cooperate.  I noticed while driving up I-95 that it was wobbling quite a bit and I frequently had to “over-steer” to correct it’s path.  I’ve had this happen before and am fairly familiar with the cause.  I pulled into a Pilot truck stop to check it out and found I was correct in my assumption…  The main bolt that connects the drag link to the frame had loosened a bit and was allowing the front axle to wander back and forth a little bit.  IMG_0122.jpg

Since all my tools are in storage, I sent a quick email from my cell phone to a bunch of my off-road buddies in Off-Camber Crawlers and continued on my way.  10 minutes later, I had several offers of help from fellow members with tools and garages. :)  I made it without incident to Ed’s place and he promptly went at it with an impact gun and some loctite.  That fixed it right up!  I continued to Dasy’s parents place, had some food and some internet access and we headed back to our “home”, minus one car. 🙂

The next morning, we did some minor exploring of the park, then headed south.

 

 

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Good morning!

By , October 29, 2009 12:50 pm

Just wanted to let everyone know we’re at Hilton Head Island, SC.  We got up early this morning to get to the beach for sunrise.

On the beach

I’ll post up some info about Pocahontas State Park and our trip here in a bit.

We’re cooking now…

By , October 25, 2009 4:36 pm

…well, we were last night. ;)  We had Rany (Dasy’s sister) and her husband, Seth, over for dinner last night.  We are parked at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, VA.  Cooking grates are provided, so I picked up some steaks and corn-on-the-cob at the local Food Lion.  Between rains, I managed to get it all cooked on the grill.  The corn was a touch under-done, but the steaks were excellent and definitely worth the effort.  We look forward to many more. 😉

Switching topics here…  we sold Dasy’s car.  We now have to go back to DC tomorrow in order to pick up the title (which I didn’t realize she’d stored) and transfer it.  It doesn’t make much sense for us to completely uproot just to drive up to DC when we have to come back this way anyway.  The cost of gas for the RV is a bit prohibitive as well.  So, we just extended our stay at the park for another day and will drive the Jeep and Lexus up in the morning and I’ll bring Dasy back in the Jeep.  It’s not exactly how I would have planned it if given the option, but I don’t mind driving a couple hours in order to be rid of another vehicle…  and Dasy’s much happier about not having to drive to Florida.

No pictures this time… I just wanted to do a quick status update for everyone.  Pictures will follow in a day or two on the full update.

Now at Pocahontas State Park

By , October 23, 2009 7:13 pm

Just a quick note that we’ve moved on to Pocahontas SP and are getting settled in.  In the meantime, you can check out our quick review and some pictures of Bull Run right here.

Details, details…

By , October 21, 2009 11:58 am

BullRunCampsite

We’re still in Bull Run Regional Park and will be for a couple more days.  We’ve been taking care of all the little details needed for us to actually get “gone”.  Here’s a quick idea of what we’ve been up to…

  • Jeff at Adrenaline Offroad installed new ball joints in my Jeep – I’m now comfortable towing it long distances, but still need a new front drive shaft.
  • We installed a new battery charger in the RV, as it still isn’t charging the engine battery when we’re plugged in – this is a hack until we can track down the real issue, but it works.
  • We dumped the waste and refilled the water tanks – I’ll probably write an article on this later for those who don’t know what’s involved.
  • We re-arranged almost everything in the basement storage areas.  We got a bunch of bins from Costco that allow us to stack much more in the basement.
  • I installed the TV, Playstation and HD antenna – We get a handful of very strange channels on the TV, so I’ve clearly got to figure out something there.
  • We bought a new radiator heater for our long-term wintering in Florida…  It should do a better job than the small forced air heater when we’re parked.

We’re going to be re-arranging quite a bit more as we settle in, but it’s getting there. 

I added a new tab up above for the parks and places that we’ll stay at.  There’s not much there now, but we’ll fill it in as we go.  My sprained ankle is slowly on the mend, so hopefully I can do some exploring in Bull Run before we head out this weekend.  I’ll update the page for that once I can.

Other than that, we’re just muddling along…  saying goodbyes to friends, remembering last minute things we need to put into storage (or reclaim from storage), last minute maintenance, etc.

Finally on the way!

By , October 15, 2009 7:22 pm

JeepBullRun

Well, the house is officially rented and we’re out.  We’ve relocated to Bull Run Regional Park, which is about 20 miles away.  We’ll be here until the 23rd, then start working our way south.  We’ve got at least three days of solid rain forecast and temperatures should be dropping steadily.  That’ll make arranging stuff in the RV a bit more of a hassle, but I guess we should probably get used to it. 😉

The park is pretty nice, but since I’m coming off a sinus infection or smthng and I managed to sprain my ankle a few days ago, I’m not really up to checking it out very much.  Hopefully I’ll get some more pictures and info about the park later.

In the meantime, we just wanted to post up and let everyone know that the adventure has actually and officially begun!

My lovely wife has said that I can’t end this post without showing some of our hard work…  Here’s a couple shots of the kitchen and family room.  You might recognize them from a previous post I made…  Just imagine a big fish tank, some rugs, etc. 😉

EmptyHouse2

EmptyHouse1

 

 

 

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