Friday, May 24, 2013

....aaaand we're moving on from the Visa...

We decided that as much as we loved the Tundra, it just wasn't working out great as a daily driver for either of us.  And, well, the Class C's have been calling for a we decided to buy a Winnebago and sell the Visa and Tundra.  Follow our continued adventures at our new blog: Adventures with the Winnebago

CT - Charlie Brown Campground

Another great spring kickoff rally with the Dog and Trailer crew!  The weather could not have been more spectacular and the company and accompanying food fest was unmatched.
The kids had a wonderful time playing, frogging, and having Nerf wars.

Moms and Dads had a great time visiting with friends old and new, going for a great run in Connecticut's "quiet corner" through the nearby state forest, and of course enjoying some well-earned margaritas from the Margarator!

And the food fest known as the pot luck is about to commence!

A great time had by all, and of course over all too soon...a weekend was just not long enough.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Poopy Talk: Macerator and Tank Probes

So, I thought I'd write a post about two items in the poopy department that we really appreciate. Nobody loves this part of RV ownership and use, but the convenience of your own bathroom while enroute and at various destinations sure is sweet and worth the trouble in our opinion.

First, we've been using our Flojet Macerator for almost a year and it sure makes tank dumping quick and clean.  Especially with the low profile of the Visa, we have run into a lot of sewer hookups that are higher than our outlet where gravity is not our friend.  After doing a "slinky juggle" one too many times we decided to cough it up for the Flojet.  Every time we use it, we're glad we have it.  We tapped into the wiring in the back of the refrigerator compartment and just pop off the access panel to plug in the pump.

Second, like everyone else in the RV world, we were constantly getting the misreads on the tank sensors.  Not an earth-ending sort of problem, just one of those things that bugs you.  We tried all sorts of stuff, from detergent, the spray wand, to the ice cubes in the tank trick, to no avail.  We pretty much have it figured out that we need to dump our tanks every 4 days, but still it bugged us a bit.  It didn't bug us hundreds of dollars worth and/or lots of tinkering worth, but when we came across Horst Miracle Probes we decided for $35 it was worth a shot (we only had problems with our black tank - gray has been reading fine for us so far.)  So far they seem to work like a charm!  We now get empty readings and 1/3 readings!  You still get the lack of preciseness of course, with the configuration of the 1/3 - 2/3 - Full sensors  (i.e. you could be well over 50% full but not quite at 75% and still reading 1/3) but at least a valid general idea is good enough for us!

And even if you don't plan to buy the miracle probes, their YouTube video explaining why sensors misread is super helpful in understanding what is going on: Why RV Tank Sensors Are Inaccurate

WV - Falling Waters Campsite

Once again, a really convenient overnight stopping spot about 6 hours from home.  We cranked the heat and stayed warm and cozy for our last night on the road on this 2 week Christmas adventure.  In the morning we got up, re winterized the plumbing, then set off to home.

GA - Savannah South KOA

Just an overnight stop here, but as with most KOA's we've stayed at it was convenient and comfortable for a pull in and sleep over.  Funny thing was that it is at the same exit as Louis' Truck Wash, which we had visited on the way down to FL to get the camper and truck a bath after all of the road salt in Pennsylvania!  So if you're looking for a clean camper and a comfortable overnight, this is a great stopping spot.

Note on Louis' Truck Wash:  the Google address and directions are incorrect - it is located right across the street from the TA Travel Plaza and not way off on some side street. They were super nice and did a fantastic job!

FL - Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake

Since we've been reading Harry Potter as a family (and listening to the audio books in the car and in the camper) for the past 6 months or so, we decided to stop in Orlando for a few days to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal...actually the visit was Theo's big Christmas gift - announcement brought by owl on Christmas morning (well, stuffed owl, but still...)

I had read about Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake on the DIS boards and decided this was a good option for us for this visit.  It turned out it was!  Very nice park, and we could honestly spend a few days just hanging out there: bass boats to rent, pool in the warm season (closed during our visit), nice bike/walk/run trails, and two disc golf courses!  We got new discs for Christmas, but got a little intimidated by the more experienced disc golfers out there when we went to go I think we'd try to play in the early morning or late in the afternoon if we were there again...and skip a couple of the holes by the water!  This is a pro course!  Anyway, we did take advantage of the trails and playscape:

The park has two camping areas - one for tenting and cabin stays, and one for RV camping.  We were at the RV area and had water and electricity.  In addition to the shower house there is a laundry room, which was convenient (but note that it closes at 4pm, so you can't expect to use it in the evening after playing all day)
The sites were pretty nicely spaced and we didn't feel like we were on top of each other.

The location of the park is great for visiting Universal, but would be a bit more inconvenient for Disney.  This would be a great spot to stay before or after a trip to Disney or for a short visit to Orlando.  There is a Publix grocery store just down the street, so really convenient for stocking back up.

In order to get the early entry and express pass benefits at Universal, we booked a hotel one night and Kansas slept over at Best Friends over at Disney where he had done some daycare before.  That worked out well for our visit, and since the rate at Turkey Lake is around $20 a night it didn't break the bank to keep our site and not use it for the night (well, the camper used it ;) )

A few pics from Universal...including Butterbeer!  Yum...oh so sugary!

FL - Seminole Campground

We stayed at Seminole Campground for the week while visiting my parents for Christmas.  Very convenient since it was only about 5 miles from their house. Nice campground in a great location for visiting the Fort Myers area.  Very much an RV place, with sites close together, but the sites were really long and much of the landscaping is nice and natural.

Our site was along the Popash Creek which runs through the campground and feeds the Caloosahatchee River.  Lots of Spanish Moss hanging from the trees and just a general old Florida feel here.  Apparently the campground changed hands a few years back since there are some not so great reviews from a few years ago, both online and among my parents' friends.  I trusted the recent reviews and was not sorry...whatever they've done is great.  The facilities were nice and clean and the staff was very nice and friendly.  They pick up your garbage and recycling from your bin at the end of your site and the man doing pick up had to have stopped a dozen times a day!  There were lots of seasonal campers here and they could not have been a nicer group of people, everyone we chatted with was very friendly.  Oh, and there is a little breakfast-lunch trailer in the common area which looked and smelled great, but since we had Grandma and Grandpa's cooking nearby we didn't try it out :)

They also had a nice walking trail and dog park on the other side of the creek, which Kansas enjoyed every morning.

During our visit we hit the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium
Fort Myers Beach:

The Shell Factory, which is dog-friendly and ever so kitschy:

And Manatee Park, which was the coolest thing ever - canoeing and kayaking with manatees in the wild!  So cool!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dog Rest Stop: Exit 173 off of I-95 in NC

Also in Roanoke Rapids, NC - a rest stop for dogs!  Yay! They have a great dog park at the Halifax County Visitor Center off of exit 173 in Roanoke Rapids.  We didn't stop on the way down, but we did on the way back up.  Such a nice thing to stretch those puppy legs and meet and greet other dogs (and their people too).  They have two fenced runs - one for big dogs and one for small dogs, and also have nice fresh water bowls for thirsty puppies.  Kansas met four new friends and had a blast!

The park/visitor center is conveniently located across from a big Evil Empire (Wally World), so while Kansas and I played and socialized, the boys went in and bought our pink juice for re-winterizing.

We will definitely be stopping at this exit again on our north-south travels!

GA - Jacksonville North KOA

Another great overnight spot on our way to FL.  Not as warm as when we stayed last spring, so no pool time for Theo, but Kansas made a friend at the dog park named Sadie.  She was a yellow lab and full of energy - he was a happy boy to get some good playtime in...and of course he slept hard!

NC - RV Resort at Carolina Crossroads

This was a great stop-over spot off of I-95 in Roanoke Rapids,NC:  RV Resort at Carolina Crossroads.  Perfect for an overnight, and reasonably priced.  They have a special $25 "overnight express" rate if you arrive after 6pm.  This place seems to be just a year or two old and has immaculate facilities.  They were so nice that Kevin and I both decided to shower there rather than in the camper before meeting up for breakfast with his sister and brother in law for breakfast.  No pics of the campground, but here are a few of our breakfast: