Friday, March 9, 2018

RV Insurance Time Again

Each year I look forward to the time when I do some research and call RV insurance companies for a new quote.  I am regularly surprised to find that the lowest is not always the expected one.

I start with last year's list and put a call out (like on FaceBook Group or Tiffin RV Network) and then add a few companies to my list.  Last year we went with National Interstate but we received a note from them they were getting out of the business.

I use the same criteria and go over the same coverages with each agent to get the quote.  I also make sure they know I am a Full-timer as some will not cover RVers in that category.

Next, I try to talk with someone for a quote.  Most are glad to walk through the process which takes about 10-15 minutes to come up with a number.  I pay in full for the entire year to get the discount and be done with it.

One thing I found is that even though a broker may offer insurance from the same company (e.g. Progressive), the often do not come up with the same price.

Here's a look at my spreadsheet:
This is a series of snapshots of my spreadsheet.  If you'd like a copy of the actual Excel file, I'd be glad to send it to you.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Winter 2018 Travels Campsites

I look back over the months or years and forget exactly where we have been.  Or the route we took during different times.  So I need to 'document' our travels along the way.  It makes it a lot easier to remember where we were when...

We left Virginia Beach the day after Christmas and have been as far West as Redlands CA (near San Bernardino CA).  We are currently at a very nice place in Casa Grande Arizona enjoying the very Palm Creek RV Resort (between Phoenix and Tucson).
I like to take a snapshot from time to time to recap where we've been and this post is a look at a most of the campgrounds where we have stayed in the last couple of months.

Our first stop was in South Carolina.
We stayed at a campground just off I-95 after a long day on the road.  We stayed here previously in 2010.

In the Fort Walton Beach area to see Karin and then the next morning we drove to Pensacola to have breakfast with Bill.  It was the first time we parked the Roadrunner in a Cracker Barrel RV spot.  It was tight but it fit.
Overnight stop in Lake City Florida.
On a lake but more importantly, it was near the Interstate and we were able to get satellite access for the night.

Our next day was a fairly long one but we made it to NorthLake RV Park outside of Houston to see nephew Drew and Mark (and his wife Dean-na, and little one Kayley.)  
We were going to make it a short stop but we ended up staying at the campground for a couple extra days to wait out the ice storm in the Fort Worth area.

From Houston we went to Fort Worth (actually Cowtown RV park in Aledo) to see my brother Brad and his wife Sue.

We spent five days there before continuing on through the great state of Texas.  We had an overnight stop in Monahan's State Park.
Very unique and interesting sand dunes in the middle of the west Texas oilfields.

Deming NM was our next overnight stop and we like staying at the Escapees RV park there - Dreamcatchers.
The sites are wide and spacious and it is an easy in and out access.

We drove next to Benson AZ to spend the night and go out to dinner with Brenda and Kit.
We were together with them on a Care-A-Vanner build in Sioux Falls SD last fall.  

From Benson we made the short trip to Davis-Monthan AFB for a few days.
We were in the dry camping area but right across from the laundry and bathhouse.

Catalina State Park north of Tucson AZ.  One of our favorites.  Beautiful sites.  Great hiking at the park.  10 miles from my brother Marty's place in SaddleBrooke retirement community.
We only stayed a few days before leaving for Quartzite AZ to meet up with friends.

Our travel plans continued out to California where we had a couple of stops.   First one was at El Centro Naval Air Station.
If we like to check out military campgrounds if we are in an area where we can find one.  This turned out to be a great one.

Farther west, we made our way to Redlands CA to see friends Bob and Sue.  We camped at a great County Recreation campground in Yucaipa which was a couple of miles from their place.
Our stay was too short but we needed to get going and head back to Arizona.

We had our second stay at El Centro Naval Air Station.

Next we made our the way back to Catalina State Park north of Tucson.
After that, we returned to Agave Gulch FamCamp at Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson AZ.  
Sites are fine but a little tight.  Great location.  WiFi in this spot worked well.

We are now at Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort in Casa Grande AZ which is about half way between Tucson and Phoenix.  
We are here to see friends Karen and Steve.  This is probably the nicest place we have ever stayed in terms of the park and facility.  Wide campsites, level, friendly people, golf, pickleball.  Great place to walk or bike.
More on this place later.

That's bit of a lengthy look at where we've camped in our travels for the last 2 + months.  We are looking forward to more warm weather and time with family and friends!

Hope you are all well and enjoying March!

That's all for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

No Rodents or Elephants!

Over the past few years we have seen the increasing popularity of LED lights on RVs.  The lights on the underside of the main awning makes good sense to me.  The color lights, blinking light show, strobe lights never did.

Until I learned another reason for them. I have long said that you learn something everyday in this lifestyle.  There is more to the 'bling than meets the eye.  While engaged in conversation at an infrequent happy hour (for us) at Marj and George's. Rick and Cath talked about all the damage that he had on his truck due to rodents.

Some rascals crawled up under his truck and chewed on some wires and it was a mess.  Before it was all over, it caused several thousand dollars worth of damage.

The conversation moved to LED lights under the truck and how that would keep the rodents from climbing up into the harness and wiring and all.


I thought LED lights under the vehicles and rig were for cosmetic purposes primarily.

I was lamenting about our neighbors lights a few weeks ago while we were camped at Catalina State Park.  They were across from us with the majestic  Catalinas in the background.  I was prepared to enjoy the sunset bouncing off the spectacular Catalina Mountains when I noticed our neighbors had raised the hood on their car and hung a mechanics light.

And it was right in line with our sight of view of the mountains!

Ugh!  What was going on there?  So much for that idea!

Fast forward a couple of weeks later to our time here in Agave Gulch Campground (otherwise know as the Davis-Monthan AFB FamCamp, and we were at one of those infrequent but fun happy hours with friends.

Rick was talking about how badly some rodents had crawled up under his Ford F-150 and chewed us a wiring harness.  It was pretty bad.  As in $2500 bad.  It cost him that much to get it fixed at dealer.  Since then he and another friend we were with - George - have both used LED lights to ward off rodents.

I told my brother about it and he was a bit skeptical.  So much so that he said, "No rodents now and probably no elephants...?".   Right.  But then he wasn't paying to get the wiring redone on his F-150.

It got us to thinking and the light bulb went on.  After all these years, I thought the rope LED lights under RV's were just the latest bling on the market.  I didn't realize they served a useful purpose.

After coming to that realization we started talking about doing a rope LED perimeter for our coach to keep the buggers (and rodents away.  I started at Amazon and found a number of varieties.  Pam was a Costco and sent a picture of this to me.
We decided we'd get enough lengths to circle the Roadrunner and if we didn't like it, we'd return them.
I kept the boxes and the parts that came with it.  Each box had a bag of rope light holders to attach it to a surface like a fence or building or something of that nature.  I didn't need any of those to spread it out on the ground.
It also came with a controller and a remote.  I had a five foot extension cord to plug it into the pedestal and then connect the controller which was connected to the first rope light extension.  

Shortly before dark, we turned on the lights and set them to the strobe mode.  It looked pretty cool.  Pam looked out the window after about 30 minutes and notice the light beams bouncing off the side of our neighbors' RV's.  Not too sure how much they were appreciating that, so I quickly got the remote and set it to a constant light.
We were satisfied with the result and think we'll keep them.

Another consideration then became how to store them when we pack up and move.  We looked for some type of cord reel at Home Depot and came up with this:
I wound the entire connected length of almost 100 feet onto it and it fit.  It was a close fit, but one reel will work when it is time to pack up and move to another site.

Hopefully we will not see any rodents under the Roadrunner.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Hiking the Nature Trail at Catalina Park

Catalina State Park has some great trails for hiking.  The one we chose is the Nature Trail.  It's a 3 mile wake from our camp site to the Natural Trail and back.  We picked a warm and sunny day.
It was only a few hundred yards on the trail before we stopped to snap a photo of the Catalina Mountains in the distance.
The desert was quiet except for the four or five birds that were chirping and cooing and making their regular morning greetings to each other.
The saguaro cactus is a monument to itself.  This old beauty is several hundred years old.
The trail began near our campsite and meandered through the wash to the trail head where we took the turn up the hill marked "Nature Trail."
There were a few signs telling of the indigenous animals including this display and info about the mountain lion.  Yikes!  We were ok without a personal appearance...
Years from now we will remember this selfie among the many we have taken over the years.  
The signs appeared to mostly be new and made of sturdy metal.  The information on them told the story of the of the creatures living in the area.
The mark of a well done display is enough information to explain things and hit the highlights.  These markers accomplished that.  I didn't care about the latin name of the desert dwellers or the biological history of the palo verde tree.  I just want the common name of the flora and fauna and maybe a few tidbits.
From the top of the Nature Trail, we could see the Catalina's in the distance and the rest of the beautiful scenery.
It was great day to go for hike.  Hopefully there will be more to follow.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!