Before You Leap: Downsizing

September 2017 marks our 10-year full-time anniversary.  Here are some thoughts on making the transition to RVing.

Try downsizing BEFORE you make the leap into RVing. About the most you can hope for is around 400 sq ft of space (living and storage combined). If you are used to and enjoy 2000 square feet or more of living space, this idea may cause you to break out in hives.  Do what works for you to downsize, if you have a lot of STUFF try boxing up things and write the date on the box.  If it has not been open in 6 months  – you don’t need it – donate it. If you have family and friends that could use things that you have multiples of – give it away.  You could even sell it all off to help pay for your next adventure! In our house in Virginia, I had a home office and a reading room. Now, I have a laptop and a Kindle and that works for me.  You may find it liberating to let go of the THINGS that own you. Items that held memories for me I kept for a while.  However, after a few years of being boxed up in storage and me not having space to display them, I realized they weren’t getting the love they deserved;  so I gave them away too.  First, I took photographs of the items and then family heirlooms went to family and the rest donated. If I am feeling nostalgic, I load up those pictures as a slideshow and just let the memories wash over me without the need to display them on a shelf where I would lose space and end up dusting them twice a week or risk them breaking in travel.

 

Before You Leap: Location

September 2017 marks our 10-year full-time anniversary.  Here are some thoughts on making the transition to RVing.

Where you want to travel can impact your choice of RV. If you fancy the bustle of city life and lots of amenities you are going to probably need a different set up than you would if you like off-grid travel and roughing it. Our coach has a dishwasher and heated tile floors, so you know which I prefer.  While the size of your coach doesn’t keep you from visiting places, it can be a logistical nightmare. The State and National Park systems don’t have a lot of options for coaches longer than 35 feet, a lot of them don’t have full hook-ups (water, electric and sewer). Even more, have roads that were built in the 50s and make traveling with a big coach unsafe. That is not to say that you can’t visit the parks – you just have to do a lot of prep work, research and most likely find a park nearby and drive in with your towed vehicle.

If you’d rather just wing it, you are probably better off with a smaller RV. If stopping at a friends house and parking in their driveway or taking the older less traveled roads a Class B or Class C may work better for you. If you want to set up camp and go Jeeping, then a towable trailer might do the trick. The point is, there are a lot of options and doing the research based on what you want and how you want to go forth is your best bet.

Another option that a lot of people take is seasonal camping. For whatever reason, visiting family, escaping inclement weather, keeping up residency or medical visits; staying in one spot for part of the year has advantages.

Google Maps is fantastic for planning out your bucket list.  You can create trip maps and lists. If you find a place you want to visit, say every NHL arena, add each destination with a “star,” and you can plan a route accordingly.

There are also many apps that can help you plan your route. Safely guiding you away from low clearance and to fuel stops. But, more on that later.

 

 

A schnoz only an ENT could love

For the past 10 years or so… I (Michael) have had chronic sinusitis.  Almost like clockwork, twice a year I’d get a major flare up (allergy season) which would promptly turn into a full blown sinus infection.

Sometime in February of this year, we happened upon a site talking about a procedure called balloon sinus dilation ( or balloon sinuplasty ).  We knew we would be leaving the Vegas area toward the end of March, and we had a family visit at the very beginning of March, so we opted to start the process of finding a Dr to consult on this as soon as the family visit was over.

We ended up being very lucky with the scheduling!  I’d like to extend tremendous thanks to Dr. Ashley Sikand and the entire team at ENT Consultants of Nevada!  They were truly exceptional every step of the way.

March 9th – Initial consult, MRI, and review
Inspection and MRI review showed I had narrow sinus passages and fairly large inferior turbinate.  Turbinates are bony structures inside the nose covered by mucous membranes which act as radiators to provide warm moisture to the air entering the sinus.  This combination prevented proper draining of my sinus and lead to the easy triggering of infection due to the stagnate fluid in my sinus. A prime candidate for balloon enlargement and turbinate modification!
March 14th – The Procedure!
The procedure took about 45 minutes from sitting in the reclining chair to walking to the recovery room. I was monitored for another few minutes as paperwork was completed, then I was on my way home (with Lehnanne driving of course — I was on Ativan & Oxycodone, no driving for me!)
March 23rd – Follow-up
Visual inspection showed I had all but completely healed! All that remained was a small spot on my turbinate, but the good Dr said it would likely come lose in the following days.

A few notes about the recovery:

  • Pain during recovery was nearly non-existent.  Thus, I didn’t need to take any of the prescribed Oxycodone after the procedure.  This will, of course, vary based on how much modification you need to have performed and your tolerance of pain.  I did take a couple of Tylenol to knock down a slight headache for the first few days after the procedure.
  • There was sinus pressure in the lower sinus which felt a LOT like a sinus infection.  It took just over a week for this to subside (I called in on the 6th day to confirm this was normal — it was).
  • I was advised not to blow my nose for 4 days after the procedure.  I never knew how much I’d miss being able to blow my schnoz until this.  I did “cheat” a little by gently blowing with both nostrils open on day 3 — Oh sweet relief!
  • Perform the sinus rinses!  Since you can’t blow your nose, this will be the primary method of removing the… debris.. which forms/collects in your sinus during recovery.
  • Beware of Clindamycin!  It’s a broad spectrum antibiotic which I was prescribed to help minimize the risk of infection.  It is notorious for significant disruption of your intestinal biome! (another post on that to come)  I understand the reason for using it, but I’m still paying the price.

Have you noticed this post is not really photo/video laden so far? Continue reading “A schnoz only an ENT could love”

Office Space

After seeing the custom built desk Chris at GeekRV had, we went crazy with ideas for our workspace. Thanks to Ron Gatchell we have enough space, and it looks like it came from the Tiffin factory floor this way.

 

A few highlights and details about our design:

Slides Out
  • The Corian is 144″ long, and our need was for 133″ in length, so the main top took up almost ALL of the $850 piece of Corian.
  • To gain the extra functionality that we wanted, we gave Ron our existing Buffet and Tabletop (along with all the cabinetry) so he could re-use it in our new desk!
  • Both sitting areas have pull-out keyboard trays
Pull-out work surface
  • In between the two sitting areas, we incorporated a pull-out workspace extension for soldering, 3d printing, etc..
  • We also had a pull-out Laptop storage cubby built into the middle area to keep up to 3 laptops safe during travel
  • Since Lehnanne is a lefty, we were able to include a pull-out writing area for her on the far left side, above the drawers.

But, my favorite part!!!  Is the pop-up monitor!  The lift was purchased directly from the manufacturer, Nexus 21 (be warned, they are pricey, but made in the USA and are very high quality).  Video below:

LVM Resort Lot 62 — For Rent!

We’re going back on the road starting Saturday, March 25th.  As such, our lot at the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort will be available for rent while we’re gone!


Along with all the benefits described at the LVM Resort web-site, as an added perk, we are leaving our 300mbps / 30mbps cable Internet active on the site!  If you request and stay on Lot 62, you’ll have Wireless and direct Wired access to this super high-speed, non-shared Internet link.  You’ll also be able to use our grill, fridges, build-out, and the patio table & chairs.

You’ll need to contact the LVM Resort directly ( ph: 702-897-9300 ) and request Lot 62 specifically.  Please note that we have no control of the rates, availability, nor the resort rules.  All reservations must be made via the LVM Resort office.

Here’s a (not-so) quick video we made when we purchased the lot which gives a good look around.

Have Pet, Will Travel

As RVers we know the stress that can come with rolling into a new place and have to find a vet. Some times it is just a matter of asking a simple question. But, we’ve all been there. WoofTrax knows what that is like so they teamed up with Ask.Vet to provide you 24hrs connectivity to an actual veterinarian by text.

Ask.Vet powered by WoofTrax

You may know of WoofTrax from their app “Walk for a Dog”, it is my favorite exercise app. Even if you don’t have a pet that requires walking you walk for shelters. You can find more information by CLICKING HERE.

CoachProxy — Officially available!!

We are so happy to say that CoachProxy for the Tiffin motorhome is now available for sale!

It took longer that we had hoped as we made adjustments based on the feedback of our beta testers and actually redesigned the interface and some hardware components. Being a startup, this took some time but so happy to report that we feel great in being able to finaly release the product.

CoachProxy
CoachProxy

To remind you, CoachProxy is a plug and play control product that is for Tiffin Motorhomes that are 2015 or newer. With a device such as your cellphone, tablet, or computer you can control any device that is on the Spyder system locally or from anywhere in the world! (Worldwide if your motorhome has internet access.) It also is the first Voice Activated interface to your motorhome! Thats right, if you have full time Internet and an Amazon Echo or Dot, you can upgrade the CoachProxy to support full voice control. “Alexa, turn on main light.” It will also alert you to your tank levels and battery voltage via text to email. (Again, Internet is required.)

So the store is NOW OPEN so get them while you can! —> https://CoachProxy.com

Note: It is recommended, but not required, that your motorhome have it’s own internal Wi-Fi network running. Meaning you connect all your devices to your own Wi-Fi SSID and that the router is then connected to the RV park or JetPack for Internet.

You can build one for under $100 if needed. Feel free to check out this tutorial by David Bott… Secure Private Wi-Fi for Under $100.

Want to control your Tiffin Coach? Feeling Talkative?

As you may recall, we announced CoachProxy some time back and we are currently in the beta test phase of the release. The beta program is going very well and I did something you may not have expected this soon. We think this is really cool and wanted to share it.

No better way really to show this other than a video. So, here you go!

Voice Control is really for the advanced users, but it does show what we are able to do with CoachProxy in a Tiffin motorhome. I just had to get away from the normal development and do something fun. This capability does require a CoachProxy, an Amazon Alexa enabled device (Echo, Tap, Dot (must be ordered via Echo), Fire TV, etc), and an always on Internet connection (required by Amazon Alexa devices).

Our new lil’ slice of Vegas!

We’d like to announce that we have purchased a lot at the LVM Resort in Las Vegas! We closed the deal yesterday, so it is officially ours now. Some studious followers may have noticed that we moved onto the site about 3 weeks ago and we’ve already been doing some upgrades here and there.

Without further adieu, here’s a video tour around the site!

Tank Treatment – Out w/ the Old, In w/ the New

TST Tank Treatment - Bye bye..
Bye bye TST Tank Treatment

We’ve been pretty consistently using TST Orange liquid tank treatment over the years of our RV’ing. Occasionally, we’d pick up the packets instead of the liquid, but usually the liquid. It had performed pretty well (we thought), but in our recent trips out west in the heat, it simply didn’t hold up.

Each time we’d flush either toilet ( mid or rear ), the foulest stench would emanate throughout the coach (cause the AC’s are on) and it’d take easily a few minutes to dissipate.  It was so bad, I ended up troubleshooting the vent system for the black tank to ensure there wasn’t a disconnect in the wall where the vent line ran, etc.. VERY horrid smell.  We figured out that it was just that the holding tank treatment wasn’t holding up.  We tried double and triple doses with only very limited success.  As the tank crept above 50% full, the stench would return.

Watching a YouTube video from LoveYourRV, I caught him talking about Happy Camper holding tank treatment and decided it couldn’t hurt to try it.

Hello Happy Camper!
Hello Happy Camper!

All I can say.. is WOW.  We’ve had several 90+ degree days here in Vegas, days that would normally send us rushing for an exhaust fan after a flush.. and NOT A SINGLE WHIFF of the tank has come forth from the belly of the beast!  Even when the tank was up around 80% full, still nothing.  Completely odor free.

Now, I will note that the Happy Camper treatment is considerably more expensive ( by almost 3x ), but I was trying to use 3 times the dosage of the TST Orange and still had odor issues, so on a per-dose of effective odor relief, it’s a win.  And on a WAF (wife acceptance factor) scale, it’s not even close.  Happy Camper‘s we now are.

Introducing CoachProxy!

The time has finally come to reveal what we have been working on for some time now for our fellow Tiffin motorhome owners or soon to be owners. CoachProxy!

CoachProxy

CoachProxy is a simple, intelligent interface for operating your coach from any web browser, whether that’s your Phone, Tablet or Computer and is capable of doing this from anywhere you may be, on any number of devices!  Items such as lights, shades, heated floors, and vents to name a few. It can also alert you to things such as your tank levels getting to high or your batteries too low.  ‘Continue Reading’ for more details and a VIDEO! Continue reading “Introducing CoachProxy!”

Bardstown, KY

As you may have guessed from the photos we are in BOURBON COUNTRY. Visiting the folks and having a blast just catching up and shopping in town.

We don’t get to see Michael’s parents as often as we would like and the new coach puts some distance restraints on where we can stay near them. Bardstown is Dad’s home, so it makes for a nice visit.

This time around we skipped the distillery tours – after all I am already a Maker’s Mark Ambassador – and just stayed in town shopping. The fellas were patient and great about all of it because they knew The Rickhouse was the finish line.

We met up with Tom and saw his beautiful and throaty Shelby Cobra — as a Tesla owner I can tell you I do not miss most things about ICE vehicles — but when it fired up and I could feel it in my chest. Oh how I wished my Daddy could have seen it.

So, back to the shopping.

Hurst Discount Drug was a nice little shop. Diner, pharmacy and gift shop all rolled into one.

The Olive Spout was fabulous. Alexis was very helpful. I sampled several vinegars and came out with a 750ml bottle of my favorite – Gravenstein Apple White Balsamic.

We popped into Making Good Scentz and it smelled so yummy in there!! I came away with several lip balms – because you know I am all about the lip balms – and a lotion that smelled so yummy I had to. After all, when you are in BOURBON COUNTRY you will buy all the things BOURBON!! Yep, BOURBON BARREL scented lotion!!

And before we went to the Whiskey Museum we made a visit to Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace. Soft t-shirts, bourbon chocolates, bourbon, and a ghost story closed out the visit.

Again many thanks to our wonderful parents. We had a fabulous day and we are so grateful to you have you both in our life.

xoxo,
Lehnanne

*BIG RIG note — White Acres Campground in Bardstown, KY is a great place to stay while you are in the area. Easily fit us, with pull throughs at about 90′ long. Spacious, and easy in and out.