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Wow! Where do I start? I can’t believe it has been a month since Tex’s retirement ceremony. So much has happened! I meant to keep up with posting on here but our days have been so busy, I have barely been able to breathe! We have been getting up super early and going to bed late at night and I just haven’t had time to get anything else done except the absolutely necessary for that day!

First off, I have to admit to keeping a HUGE secret for the past 10 months or so. Megan, Amanda and I conspired to surprise Tex and for Amanda, Kegan, Megan, Aaron, Caleb and Henry to come to Seattle for a week and be able to attend his retirement ceremony. The story we told Tex was that Amanda had to work that week and couldn’t come because she was changing school districts and that it was too expensive and too far for all four of Megan’s family to come.

So on Sunday morning the week of the ceremony, Tex woke up hurting from his recent neck surgery and moved to the couch. While he was lying down, Megan, Aaron, Caleb and Henry drove up in their rental car and just opened the door very quietly with Caleb leading them inside. Tex woke up and was so confused! He had no idea what was happening. Once he realized what was going on, he started tearing up and tears fell down his face! SCORE!

 So on Sunday, we played with the two grandsons and made last minute preps for the ceremony as well as getting the RV and trailer road ready since we have never driven this RV anywhere yet.

All the while, we were all still keeping another secret. While Tex went to work Monday, little did he know that Amanda was actually flying in as well. So, when Tex came home from work on Monday, he walks in the RV and Caleb whistles really loud (really he just squeals because he can’t actually whistle.) This “whistle” was the tip for Kegan to slowly open the bedroom door and come running out to Papa! SCORE! Here come the tears again!

I have no idea how we successfully surprised him. There were several times that I almost spilled the beans and said something about groceries while they were here, or doing something while they were here and had to quickly cover it up.

Even Tex’s bosses were in on it and had to have a separate sample script going around during the months prior to the ceremony. This was because there was several times when the girls were discussed during the ceremony and the script had to flow like they weren’t actually going to be there. I have to thank CDR Rasmussen, CDR Boba and Capt Romanowicz for all their help and for going along with my crazy scheme! They really came through and I am so appreciative of their help!

Now for the ceremony – it was awesome! Tex didn’t want a formal, stuffy ceremony, so we had a casual, funny, serious ceremony that was just perfect. Everything went exactly as planned and we couldn’t be happier. I totally thought I would cry during the whole ceremony but I only cried a bit during Tex’s speech. It was so heartfelt, serious, funny and truly showed his servant heart and his strong patriotism. I am so proud of him. I never dreamed 31 years ago that he would even go into the military much less retire with over 30 years service and accomplish so much during his tenure.

The XO brought this down the aisle at the end of the ceremony as a joke.

The day after the ceremony, we did a few touristy things with the family and went to the Space Needle and the Children’s Museum. The next day we celebrated Caleb’s 3rd birthday a few weeks early.  We then spent the rest of the week playing with the grandkids and doing a million things that had to be done to get all of our stuff, the RV, the RZR and the trailer road ready. It was a crazy week but we had great fun. Tex and I quickly realized that we are so glad we had our girls when we were young because we were exhausted by the end of the week.

Amanda and Kegan flew home late Saturday afternoon and Megan, Aaron, Caleb and Henry flew out Sunday morning. At the same time Megan and crew were leaving for the airport, we actually pulled out of the RV lot and headed out on our first day of traveling. Boy, was that bad planning on our part!

We should have planned for a few down days after the kids left before we left but when we made our travel plans, we didn’t know the kids were coming and we thought we had 5 days planned to rest. When the plans changed that the girls could both come, I couldn’t just change our plans because it would give away the fact that they were coming. So as it turns out, Megan and crew left at the same time as we did on Sunday morning.

We weren’t the only ones exhausted We weren’t the only ones exhausted We weren’t the only ones exhausted Even the girls were exhausted!

The first few days were long driving days and were exhilarating and exhausting but we did that on purpose as we wanted to spend some time in Topeka, Kansas and see several friends that live there. We stayed in Topeka for 3 nights and had meals with 4 different friends while there. There were many more that we wanted to see but we just didn’t have time. So all you Kansas friends….we will be back to see you guys soon!

We finally arrived in OKC on July 3rd and haven’t stopped yet. Since the ceremony, we have not even had one day without some event or appointment, even a month later! We are still running on adrenaline and are going to crash very soon.

Our home in OKC for July & Aug

The reason that we had to get to OKC in such a hurry and to even be here during the hottest months of the summer is that Tex decided to apply for his VA disability benefits from OKC vice Seattle. The Seattle VA office is inundated with applications and we felt that we were get his doctor appointments and the overall claim processed quicker in OKC and that has certainly turned out to be true.

We met with his VA Veteran Service Officer on July 6th and he formally applied for benefits that day. Because Tex is still on active duty until 1 November, that allows his application to be processed under a special program that speeds the process up a bit. They also have a contract here with civilian doctors that require Tex to have all of his doctor appointments completed within 45 days of his application date. What a huge relief! We were concerned that we may have to stay in OKC for several months and might not be able to get to AZ in November.

So once he applied for his VA benefits, we had a ton of other stuff that had to be done. One huge thing we had to deal with was the 5×10 storage unit that we still had here that we needed to empty. It was stuff that we didn’t have time to deal with last summer when we sold the house.

But first, let me just remind you of one big issue….the HEAT and DEW POINT! Oh my word! It has been over 100 degrees with 70-90 dew point. I mean, it is MUGGY and HOT! We have enjoyed the Seattle summers for the past 3 years and are not happy we are back in this heat. Just walking outside for 10 seconds and my clothes are wet from sweat. The girls are especially not happy! They are used to sitting outside all day and going on long walks and getting to see so many people and other dogs.   Here, it is so hot that no one goes outside unless they have to go somewhere, no one goes outside to sit or go for walks and the section of the park that we are in is mostly construction workers so there is no one to talk to anyway.

On top of the..

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Coastie Castaways by Susan Collier - 8M ago

It is finally here! Today is the BIG day! Tex’s retirement ceremony is today! Official retirement date is 1 November but his last day of work is today.

                  

I am feeling so many emotions right now it is hard to put them into words. Joy, sadness, pride, relieved, stressed, anxious, ecstatic, excited, frightened, joyful, liberated, and so many more. But I have to say that I am so proud of Tex and his honorable service to the U.S. Coast Guard and our Country for over 30 years. He has served this Country admirably and has sacrificed more than you will ever know while at the same time has provided for and raised our two wonderful girls, Megan and Amanda.

Megan and Amanda also deserve special recognition today because they served and sacrificed probably more than anyone. Moving every few years, changing schools, and leaving friends behind and having to make new friends is super hard and they did it without question. Being a military brat is one of the hardest jobs in the military.

Most of you are probably not aware that the dandelion is the flower of the military child. It may not seem obvious, but it makes very good sense when you read the following anonymous quote:

The Dandelion – The Flower of the Military Child

“The official flower of the military child is the dandelion. Why? The plant puts down roots almost anywhere, and it’s almost impossible to destroy. It’s an unpretentious plant, yet good looking. It’s a survivor in a broad range of climates. Military children bloom everywhere the winds carry them. They are hardy and upright. Their roots are strong, cultivated deeply in the culture of the military, planted swiftly and surely. They’re ready to fly in the breezes that take them to new adventures, new lands, and new friends.

Experts say that military children are well-rounded, culturally aware, tolerant, and extremely resilient. Military children have learned from an early age that home is where their hearts are, that a good friend can be found in every corner of the world, and that education doesn’t only come from school. They live history. They learn that to survive means to adapt, that the door that closes one chapter of their life opens up to a new and exciting adventure full of new friends and new experiences.”

This describes Megan and Amanda perfectly. They served right along side of us and made many more sacrifices than Tex or I ever did. It isn’t easy growing up with peer pressure and such, and being a military brat just adds a different layer to all of the challenges they faced. But they faced them head on and grew into confident, well-rounded adults who we are proud to call our daughters.

The past 30 years have flown by. We have thought about this day for so many years, it feels a little surreal that it is here. And even though leaving the Coast Guard is a little sad, as I stated in our last post, we are ready. We are ready to begin Phase II of our life together. Retired life will be vastly different in every way imaginable, as all we have ever known is military life in the Coast Guard. I am sure it will take Tex a while to adjust to his new-found freedom. He is so used to being told where to work, where to live, what to wear, and how long his hair can be etc. that it will take a while for everything to sink in and for him to really de-stress and relax.

And while today may be a bittersweet day, we are so excited to start our retired life and to hit the road in our motorhome and see this beautiful country that we have served for so long. So if you see us out on the road, stop us and say hi! We can’t wait to start our new journey!

“In life, it isn’t where you go, it is who you travel with”

                                                           Charles M. Schultz

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Washer and dryers are one of those things that are not a necessity to have when you camp on weekends or long vacations, or even as a full time RVer, but it sure does make life a whole lot easier!

During the first year as a full time RVer, I used the RV park laundromat.  While it is nice to get a bunch of laundry done in a timely fashion, it became apparent that a public laundry was just not working out.  One reason is that Tex has military uniforms and we have to wash those regularly.  I never knew who had used the machine before us and it seems like everyone likes to wash dog beds and other really gross stuff in the machines.  I couldn’t trust the machine not to ruin his very expensive uniforms.  It also was very expensive to wash and dry.  It took at least 2 cycles, sometimes 3 to get things dry.

We finally made the decision to buy a combo washer/dryer unit after living in our first motorhome for about a year.  Our RV at the time was already plumbed for a unit so that made the installation process super easy.

We bought a Splendide combo washer/dryer from Camping World while it was on sale. I was able to pick it up myself to save on shipping costs and it actually fit in the back of the Jeep!

A combo washer/dryer does have a little learning curve.  You can’t just use it like you would a regular washer or dryer in a house.  If you follow the directions and tips in the user guide, it was actually quite simple.  There are two key elements is using the combo machine. The first is to use small loads. You cannot stuff the drum full as it won’t be able to tumble and dry without wrinkles. The second is to take the laundry out a few times to shake them while they are drying and that lessons the wrinkles as well.  I usually hang up our clothes before they get fully dry and that allows the wrinkles to fall out.

The installation in our first RV was super easy but one thing that we did have to do was cut a hole in the side of the RV for the vent.  Now, that made us both NERVOUS!! Inside the space where the washer/dryer goes, was a stencil on the wall marking where to cut to install the vent. Tex had a special drill bit made just for cutting large, circular holes, so it was actually a very simple process.

Success! Being silly sticking his arm through the hole!

After cutting the hole, he installed the vent and then he and I carried the washer/dryer inside through the motorhome door. He hooked up the water lines and we placed the unit in the space. All in all, a very simple procedure and it was so worth it!

When we bought our new RV in December 2016, it had a space for a separate washer and dryer. However, instead of installing two separate units, we decided to stick with the Splendide combo unit and use the space above it for storage. We desperately needed storage and we have been very happy with the combo unit for the past two years, so that decision was easy.

Instead of us installing it ourselves though, we went ahead and had the dealer install it for us prior to us picking it up. Best decision ever since Tex was recovering from back surgery at the time!

Now that we have used the Splendide washer/dryer combo for over 2 years, we have found it to be a great addition to our RV. We have been very happy with our purchase.  It is very convenient.  I can wash early in the morning or late at night and can do it in my pajamas if I want.  I highly recommend having a washer and dryer in your RV if you plan to full time. You won’t regret it.

DISCLAIMER:  We are not compensated by Splendide or Camping World for this review.  These words are strictly from our experience and our opinion.  We will not be held liable for misuse of this article or in the event they don’t work for your individual use or situation.  We recommend doing your own research and gather other reviews prior to purchase. 

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Coastie Castaways by Susan Collier - 9M ago

Recalculating……that is what we are about to experience exactly one month from today. As any RVer or driver can relate, Recalculating is the last thing you ever want to see on your GPS, but we are actually looking forward to the experience of recalculating our “normal”.

You see, our lives are about to be turned upside down and we can’t wait! The next few months we are about to experience the biggest transition that we have gone through in over 30 years! But as they say in the Coast Guard, “Semper Paratus” or Always Ready and boy are we ever ready!

On 1 November 2017, Tex will retire from the U.S. Coast Guard with over 30 years of service, but with his accrued leave and permissive time off, his last day of work and retirement ceremony is June 20th, one month from today! We are about to leave the only life we have known and set out on our next journey together. It is terrifying and yet exhilarating!

1987 2017

The past 31 years have passed in a whirlwind. It seems just like yesterday that we met while attending Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, OK. It was 1985 and we were so young but ready to take on the world. We were engaged within a month and married 8 months later.

1986

Everyone we knew, both family and friends, told us we would never make it, that we were too young and that we were making a big mistake. Funny thing is, all those people that said that are now divorced and we have now been happily married almost 31 years. We have two beautiful daughters and three grandsons and I can enthusiastically say that we are as happy as ever!

Caleb Gunderson Henry Gunderson Kegan Harrison

A year after we were married, we were blessed with our first daughter, Megan. Shortly thereafter, in October 1987, Tex enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and we began our new military lifestyle. Talk about recalculating! Two moves and 4 years later, we were blessed with our second daughter, Amanda.

Megan Gunderson Amanda Harrison

For the past 30 years the Coast Guard has sent us to many amazing places including St. Louis, MO; Washington, D.C.; Charleston, SC; St. Petersburg, FL; Galveston, TX; Topeka, KS; Petaluma, CA; Oklahoma City, OK; and finally Seattle, WA. We have experienced so many amazing things and also experienced some very sad times. I will post about all of those at another time.

But back to our recalculating adventure: When we moved to OKC, we bought a brand new house there and had planned to stay upon retirement.   But life has a way of changing things and our plans slowly morphed into a whole new world. You see, we bought a fifth wheel RV and began taking long weekends and vacations in the RV and became hooked on the travel. A few years later, we upgraded from a fifth wheel to a Newmar Ventana 37’ motorhome.

Our home in OKC on half acre Our first RV, Keystone Outback 30′ Our second RV, Newmar Ventana 37′

As we continued to RV on vacations, we began to rethink our plans of living in OKC post-retirement. We decided that we wanted to travel full time in our motorhome and see this great country that Tex has served all these years. During this process of rethinking our plans, the Coast Guard decided that we would not be allowed to stay in OKC for his last three years before retirement. This meant orders and this time to Seattle, WA.

So, with orders in hand, we had a big decision to make and only a few months to complete the plans. Do we keep our house and rent it while we are in Seattle and move back to OKC upon retirement OR do we keep the house and keep it rented and travel in the RV full time upon retirement, OR do we sell the house and travel full time in the RV after retirement with no home base?

As I said, we decided that instead of the normal retirement in a stick and brick house, we wanted to travel and see the country. We didn’t want the added expense and worry of owning and renting a house when we would never be around to take care of it and we didn’t want to be tied down to any one place anyway. Since we didn’t have time to sell everything that we owned as well as the house and because the housing market was still in a downward spiral, we decided to rent it to Amanda and her husband while we were in Seattle with the knowledge that we would sell it before we retired.

Since we knew we were going to travel full time in a few short years anyway, we decided to start immediately and live in our motorhome during our last duty station in Seattle.  It allowed us to get a feel for full time living and has been a wonderful learning experience.

Now, three years later, here we are.  Our house has sold as well as all of our belongings, Amanda and her husband live in OKC and own their own house and have a young son and Megan and her husband and two sons live in Dillingham, Alaska. Tex’s terminal leave starts in a few short weeks and we are about to recalculate and make the biggest change of our lives. We roll out of Seattle on June 25th!

As I stated earlier, 30 years seemed to slowly pass by but in reality, it happened in the blink of an eye. Now we are about to make a huge transition from military life to the civilian life. As much as we have loved the Coast Guard, we are ready (Semper Paratus!) to move forward and turn it over to the next generation. We are ready to recalculate our future and travel in our brand new Newmar Ventana 41’ motorhome and have no worries except of where we want to go next.

Our current home, a brand new Newmar Ventana 41′

Our current plans are to go back to OKC when we leave Seattle so Tex can apply for VA benefits. This will take about 3-4 months. We will be in New Mexico in September to have solar added to the roof of the RV. We will then travel around the SW a bit and end up in Gold Canyon, AZ, just east of Phoenix for the winter. This is where we will spend every winter as we have a yearly lease at an RV park there. That will enable us to leave our flat bed trailer on the lot, and have a small shed to store the RZR in when we don’t want to take it with us and also provide us a place to stay if we ever want to stop for a while. We have several friends that stay there as well, so we are really looking forward to our winters in Arizona.

As you can see, “recalculating” doesn’t have to mean something bad. It can mean that you are about to experience the next grand adventure! We are Always Ready and can’t wait to get out on the open road! June 25th can’t come soon enough!

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Coastie Castaways by Susan Collier - 9M ago

Tex and I both have several neck and back problems and have had many surgeries. We have tried just about every mattress on the market over the years. Pillow top, Temperpedic, you name it, we have tried it.  The problem is that Tex needs a soft mattress and I need a firm mattress. So if a mattress worked for one of us, then the other one was miserable.  The one mattress type that we had not tried was a Sleep Number bed. 

As you may be aware, each Sleep Number bed is made up of two air chambers, one on each side of the bed, and then it has a foam padding that you lay on top of the air chambers and then you zip all that up inside the cover. The cheapest Sleep Number bed has no foam padding over the air chambers. As the models increase in price, the more inches of foam padding you get. The dual air chambers allow each person to have individualized comfort and support, exactly what we need!

We had talked about buying a Sleep Number bed for several years but two things always held us back. First was cost and second was the fact that if we hated it, we were stuck with it and that would be a horrible, expensive mistake to make.

So we did a lot of research and also asked all of our friends and family what their thoughts were. It seems as though you either love the Sleep Number bed or you hate it.

We did find that the majority of the people that hated it had not tried the bed recently. They were basing their reviews on many years ago. We also found that the bed manufacturer makes changes to the bed construction every 2 years and they just recently went through one of their most extensive rebuilds ever. Due to this, we felt like we couldn’t put as much weight on the negative reviews.  Plus, every one is different and has different needs in terms of bed support so it is very hard to judge what will work for you based on someone else’s experience.

Before we purchased our bed on-line, we decided to go to the Sleep Number store to try out the bed and see what we thought. The salesman was very knowledgeable and very honest. We told him our past history and our health issues and why we were looking at Sleep Number beds. He had Tex lie down on a bed and inflated and deflated the bed and taught him how to find his perfect “number”.

Tex fell in love with the bed but there was one problem. The store does not stock the two models that are specifically made for RVs because they do not sell very many of them. The problem is the fact that the construction and level of foam padding of the Sleep Number RV mattresses are a little different than the normal Sleep Number beds. The only place to buy the RV specific models is Camping World and they do not have any that you can try out

The salesman was super helpful and told us where the RV models fell on the level of the regular models and how much foam padding the two RV models had. We decided to go for it and came home and ordered the RV Premier model. This model has 2” of foam padding as opposed to the RV Deluxe model with no foam padding on top of the air chambers.

When we installed our first Sleep Number bed in our 2006 Newmar Ventana, it would have been a simple installation except for the fact that the motor for the air chambers had to be under the platform for our bed because that is where the outlet was. This required we cut out holes large enough for the air hoses and power cord to come through. The hoses are in the center of the head of the bed so we had to cut a hole in the center of the platform against the RV wall.

           

Sounds simple enough but each RV is made different and our platform did not have much space between the wall and the bracket that allows the platform to lift. We had to undo the bracket and cut a long, narrow hole and then to put it back together.

Once that was done, we were able to put the bed together and start inflating the air chambers. Once the chambers were full, we put the foam padding on top and then zipped it all closed with the cover.  We put our sheets and blankets on and couldn’t wait for bed-time.

                                 

When we installed the King size Sleep Number bed in our brand new Newmar Ventana, there were no modifications needed. We just hid the motor in a little space next to the bed and plugged it in and set it up. Super easy.

We have now had two Sleep Number beds, our first was a Queen Sleep Number bed in our prior RV and we currently have a King Sleep Number bed in our newest RV and I am thrilled to report that we still LOVE the bed!!!!! Certainly wish we had done this a long time ago as it has been the best purchase we ever made! Tex found that his perfect number is 50 and my perfect number is 60, which proves what we have always known. He needs a softer bed and I need a firmer bed.

If you have been considering a Sleep Number bed, we highly recommend them. If you have any questions about them, just leave a comment and I will be happy to answer them for you!

DISCLAIMER:  We are not compensated by Sleep Number or Camping World for this review.  These words are strictly from our experience and our opinion.  We will not be held liable for misuse of this article or in the event they don’t work for your individual use or situation.  We recommend doing your own research and gather other reviews prior to purchase. 

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Do you love to display flags when you are at your campsite or boondocking? I think most everyone does, whether it is a college or pro sport team, a state flag and/or a national flag such as the American flag or Canadian flag.

As a military family (Tex has served over 30 years in the U.S. Coast Guard), we are extremely patriotic and love to show our pride in the USA. When we owned our home, we had 20’ flagpole in the yard.

When we went full time in our RV, we still wanted a way to display our flags. At first, we used a flagpole that was made of PVC pipe and was put in front of the RV in the ground. This worked ok but we wanted something that was taller that could be seen from farther away.

We researched several options and decided to use a 16’ pole that attaches to our rear ladder on the back of the RV made by Flag Pole Buddy.  We bought our 16′ Flag Pole Buddy Kit from Amazon because, at the time, it was cheaper than buying directly from Flag Pole Buddy so be sure to check prices before you buy.

The key features are:

  • Sturdy RV flag pole system that adjusts to fit most RV ladders
  • Mounts to any flat surface
  • Easy one time installation of holders
  • Accommodate flags up to 3‘ x 5‘ & able to fly multiple flags
  • Collapsible pole for easy storage with carrying case

Flag Pole Buddy makes flagpoles that go as high as 22’ high but we didn’t want anything that tall because we were concerned about the wind at that height and the pole swaying too much.

Whatever height you decide to buy, the flagpole is super easy to setup.   It has two brackets that mount on the ladder the first time and then the pole just slides in to the bracket without having to climb the ladder.  It can display two 3×5 flags at one time or you can put the National Ensign at half-staff by using the lower set of clips.

We also bought a solar LED light from Amazon that goes on top of the pole to illuminate the flag at night. This puts out just enough light to illuminate the flags but not too bright to disturb others around us.

We always display the National Ensign as well as the Coast Guard flag.

We have had several people in the RV park comment on how they love the flags and they especially love how they look illuminated at night.  Every one has unanimously stated that they are going to buy one since they had seen how great it looks on our RV.

So, if you want to display our National Ensign or any other flag for all to see, we highly recommend Flag Pole Buddy.

DISCLAIMER:  We are not compensated by Flag Pole Buddy or Amazon for this review.  These words are strictly from our experience and our opinion.  We will not be held liable for misuse of this article or in the event they don’t work for your individual use or situation.  We recommend doing your own research and gather other reviews prior to purchase. 

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Coastie Castaways by Susan Collier - 10M ago

One of the safety features that we use that we consider indispensable is a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

A TPMS is a sensor driven system that monitors and shows status on the current pressure and temperature of your tires on not only your motorhome or truck, but also on the car, trailer or boat you are towing.

This is very important as a lot of times, especially if you are driving a 30,000 pound motorhome and pulling a 4,000 pound vehicle, you will not necessarily know that you have a tire that is either losing air, getting too hot or is about to blow.

With every TPMS system on the market, each tire is filled with a little sensor that replaces your air valve stem cap. This sensor constantly monitors the pressure and temperature of each tire. Each sensor allows you to set a high and low pressure point so you can custom make the alarms sounds based on your specific needs.

As you know, Tex does a ton of research prior to making any purchase. He looked at every TPMS system on the market. Most of them had very small monitors that made it difficult to see when you are trying to look at it driving down the road. Tex wanted to be able to just glance over and get a quick look at the status and not have to stare at it for a long time.

Also, most of the TPMS systems used very small icons that you had to memorize what they meant. This, along with the small monitors, could be a potential disaster. There are a ton of things that the driver has to watch and if you sit and stare at a small screen for very long, it is easy to get distracted and something bad happen.

Tex finally chose the EEZTire Pressure and Monitoring Syste made by EEZ RV Products.

EezTire is quick and easy to set up. It has one of the largest monitors on the market at 3 ½ inches in diameter. The batteries have a 3-4 year expected life and the batteries are easily replaced. They are CR 1632 batteries that sell most everywhere. This is a huge benefit, as you do not have to send the sensor back to the manufacture for a new battery like most other systems.

Other benefits are their 3 year warranty and 24/7 technical support. On one occasion, we sent an e-mail to EezTire on a Sunday asking if we could buy extra O rings for the sensors. One of the owners, on a Sunday, immediately replied back that they provide these free of charge and would ship them to us. How is that for customer support?!

EezTire is super easy to read. It scrolls through each tire, changing every 5 seconds, giving you the pressure and temperature readings. The large display is easy to read and there are no small icons to memorize.

We got the “non-flow through” type sensor. We did not see any reason for the larger “flow through” sensors, as you still need to remove the valve cap anyway, so why not just remove the sensor.

We also do not use the theft protection caps that came with the system. The theft protection caps just add more weight and require a special tool to take them off. Just seems like a hassle that isn’t necessary. You will see one of the theft protection caps in the picture below.

Also in the picture, you will notice that we numbered each sensor with a permanent marker. This is necessary because we programmed each sensor for a specific tire.  On a separate piece of paper that we keep in the box, we have each tire numbered with the required air pressure so we know which sensor belongs to which tire and what the pressure should be, just in case we forget.

More specifics about EezTire TPMS:

Monitor Features:

• Reliable and easy to install
• Large LCD screen. Built-in rechargeable lithium battery
• Automatic backlight.
• Configurable high/low pressure warnings.
• Configurable high temperature warnings.
• Visible and audible alerts.
• Selectable pressure units.
• Monitors up to 22 tires maximum.
• Long range between sensors and monitor (Optional Booster/Repeater available for rigs over 53 feet)
• Per axle measurements can be configured on the tractor

Sensor Features:

• System comes with 10 Sensors, Additional Sensors Are Sold Separately As Needed
• Sensor Replaces Existing Valve Caps
• 3-4 Year Battery Life, Replaceable Batteries
• Light Weight – No Need For Rebalancing Tires
• Monitors Both Pressure and Temperature
• Water resistant
• Individually coded sensors.
• Anti-theft design

We have now used the EezTire TPMS system for several years and it works GREAT! We absolutely love it. Tex finds it easy to read in a quick glance and it is super user friendly. We highly recommend EezTire TPMS to everyone.

DISCLAIMER: We are not compensated by EEZ Tire Products for this review. These words are strictly from our experience and our opinion. We will not be held liable for misuse of this article or in the event they don’t work for your individual use or situation. We recommend doing your own research and gather other reviews prior to purchase.

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Coastie Castaways by Susan Collier - 10M ago

As an RVer, space is always an issue. In order to conserve space in the basement in regards to power tools, Tex invested in the Ryobi One+ system. This system has over 70 tools that work with the same battery platform, which makes it perfect for an RVer. Tex keeps two batteries plugged in and charging at all times, so when he is working on a project and one battery runs out, he always has a backup ready to go.   We currently have the drill and impact wrench as well as the orbital buffer.

The orbital buffer we use is the One+ 18-volt 6 in Buffer (P430G). This buffer is perfect for the do-it-yourself RVer who plans to wash and wax his or her RV instead of paying someone to do it. This is the buffer that was briefly mentioned in our review of Meguiar’s wash and wax products that we use and recommend.

                      

The Ryobi One+ 6 inch buffer (P430G) is very lightweight, weighing only 4 pounds, and super easy to use. Since it is cordless, it enables you to use it anywhere with no cords to struggle with. You can get on a ladder to get the top of the RV without worrying about tripping over the cord and falling off the ladder. It also has a side handle that allows you to extend your reach even further, which is a great feature when trying to reach the top of the RV while on a ladder.

We have used this buffer for several years and it has never failed us. Ryobi is a trusted brand and we like the convenience of using the same battery for all of our power tools.

DISCLAIMER:  We are not compensated by Ryobi or Amazon for this review.  These words are strictly from our experience and our opinion.  We will not be held liable for misuse of this article or in the event they don’t work for your individual use or situation.  We recommend doing your own research and gather other reviews prior to purchase. 

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Just like with a car, if you have a travel trailer, fifth wheel or motorhome, you know how much dirt and debris accumulates, even when you haven’t driven it. It is amazing how dirty it can get just from rain kicking up dirt and dust from a gravel or dirt pad. And we all know how dirty the RV gets with dead bugs and other road debris when traveling.

The only thing different from washing and waxing a car is the size of the RV and how big of a job washing and waxing it truly is. If you are like us, you don’t want to spend $10-$12 a foot for a wash and wax when you know you can do it yourself with a little time and elbow grease.

Enter Meguiar’s. Over the years, we have asked several RV detailing companies as well as boat detailing companies what products they use for washing and waxing. More often than not, Meguiar’s was their answer. After more research, we decided to use Meguiar’s G7164 Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo and Conditioner to wash both our Jeep Wrangler and our Newmar Ventana motorhome. To wax, we use the Meguiar’s M6332 Flagship Premium Marine Wax.

Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo and Conditioner

Meguiar’s G7164 Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo and Conditioner is a rich and luxurious car wash product designed to both gently wash and condition paint in one easy step.   This formula has strong suds that gently and safely foam away tough dirt and road grime leaving amazing looking paint. The shampoo nourishes the RV finish and creates a slick surface that encourages water to flow off in sheets, thereby reducing drying time. It uses safe, biodegradable detergents that won’t compromise your wax protection.

It doesn’t take very much shampoo to wash, just one ounce of shampoo to one gallon of water. It is best to wash when it your RV is cool to the touch and in as much shade as possible.

We have used this shampoo for over 8 years and have never been disappointed. It keeps our paint in great condition. When we had our first Newmar Ventana, it was a 2006 model and even at 10 years old, people thought it was brand new because the paint was so beautiful. We highly recommend Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo and Conditioner to keep your RV looking brand new. You can get it most anywhere car products are sold as well as on Amazon, where it is usually cheaper.

Flagship Premium Marine Wax

Once we have finished washing the RV, we use Meguiar’s M6332 Flagship Premium Marine Wax to wax it. This wax is very easy to use and gives a deep gloss to fiberglass and gel coat surfaces. It protects against harmful UV damage as well. It reduces oxidation, fine scratches and swirls. The great thing about this wax is that it is specially formulated to be effective by hand or with a polisher.

We have used this polish for many, many years but have really seen just how great it is while we have been located in Seattle for the past 3 years, where we are constantly battling rain and mold. We don’t wax every time we wash because with this wax, it just isn’t necessary. Rain just beads up and runs right off and the shine is just amazing. Once waxed, the paint is super slick to the touch. We usually will wax twice a year, even while in the PNW.

It is super easy to use and comes off as easy as it goes on. Our typical routine is that Tex will use the orbital buffer to apply the wax. We then wait a few minutes and I come behind him and use a microfiber cloth to remove it. If I can do that with my limited strength and neck issues, then that should tell you how easy it is to remove. Just as with the shampoo, it is best to wax when the RV is cool to the touch and in the shade. If it is in direct sun, then it is much harder to remove the wax.

As stated with the shampoo, you can get it most anywhere car products are sold as well as on Amazon, where it is usually cheaper.

DISCLAIMER:  We are not compensated by Meguiar’s nor Amazon for this review.  These words are strictly from our experience and our opinion.  We will not be held liable for misuse of this article or in the event they don’t work for your individual use or situation.  We recommend doing your own research and gather other reviews prior to purchase. 

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Coastie Castaways by Susan Collier - 11M ago

I don’t know about you but trying to find an honest, reliable and knowledgeable RV repair facility is like finding a needle in a haystack. If you have been around RVs for any length of time, you have heard lots of stories from people who have had horrible experience getting their RV repaired.

So, if you find a quality RV repair facility, make sure that they know they are appreciated.  Yesterday, we took a pizza lunch and drinks into our favorite RV repair shop, Auburn Kent Valley RV Center, LLC, located in Kent, WA, just outside Seattle.

We ourselves have experienced some very bad repair service at Camping World in OKC, where we bought our first Newmar.   Several years ago, we took our motorhome to them because our rear A/C had quit blowing cold air. When we took it in to them, we told them we had to have it by a certain date because we had military orders to move to Seattle. They assured us that it would be repaired in plenty of time.

After inspection, they told us that the A/C couldn’t be repaired and it had to be replaced. They ordered it from their Dallas location, which was only 4 hours away. Two weeks went by and the A/C still had not arrived. I could have driven down there and back in one day but for some reason, they couldn’t get it delivered within the two weeks. We finally had to pick up the RV without it being repaired.

When we got to Seattle, we called a mobile RV repair company and he came out and found that it was just a small part that needed replaced. He happened to have the part on the truck and fixed it immediately. It only cost us $200 instead of the huge cost of a brand new A/C.

Another example is a mobile repair facility here in Seattle. We have been in this RV park for 3 years and have seen this particular company come here several times. We have personally seen this guy get under an older gentlemen’s RV steps and purposely take apart wires and tell him that he needed brand new motor for the steps when in reality nothing was wrong.   We have seen this guy overcharge customers when he thinks he can get away with it as well as perform questionable service repairs.

So when we experience quality, reliable service, we want to SHOUT it from our RV roof!!!

Auburn Kent Valley RV Center in Kent, WA, a suburb of Seattle, is just such a place.

This is a small, family run RV repair facility that is beyond fantastic. Tami and Tim are the owners and are the nicest people you will ever meet. They have about 10 employees who are all super knowledgeable and will go out of their way to help you. Aryn is the one who you will talk to on the phone and she is super sweet and in some amazing fashion, remembers everyone!

But their jewel is their service tech named Dave. He has way too many certifications and licenses to list and is super knowledgeable in all things related to RVs. Electricity, propane, appliances, flooring, it doesn’t matter. Dave has the knowledge to repair just about anything. He is the kindest man you will ever meet and has never met a stranger. He takes the time to explain everything he does in layman’s term so that anyone can understand. Dave also does mobile repairs and comes to us for most of our repairs. If something is too complicated, then we take the RV to them.

Everyone on staff at Auburn Kent Valley RV is very knowledable and very honest. They will do everything they can to help you keep your costs down. They do warranty work, regular repairs and upgrades. They do quality work and keep you informed along the way. The RV is ready when they promise it to you and their work is impeccable.

We truly can’t say enough good things about Auburn Kent Valley RV. They are the only people, besides the manufacturer, that we allow to work on our Newmar. They worked on our 2006 Newmar Ventana and have already done some work and upgrades for us on our brand new Newmar Ventana. We currently have window awnings on order and Dave will be doing a mobile visit to install all of them.

All of this to say, if you are ever in Seattle or the PNW in general and need service, Auburn Kent Valley RV Center in Kent, Washington is the place to be. Look them up and tell them that Tex and Susan Collier sent you!

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