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Old 04-28-2018, 10:42 PM   #1
Scarecrow
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Default Things I Learned This Month

So, another month of wandering has come to an end. And - not that it matters - I did learn a few things after 16 months of ownership, and nearly 7 months of full-time driving (meaning, I drive a full month, and then go home).

1) Reading the Owners Manuals yet another time helps to refresh your memory. Or exposes you to things you zoned-out on the first 3 or 4 readings. Such as, how to actually turn off the refrigerator without pulling a fuse (dummy me!). Or how to use the door locks to prop open the refrigerator doors in a professional owner way -- NOT by using a towel or bungee cord (Jeez... could anything be easier?). Or how to defrost the fridge -- yes, this is the first time I've actually defrosted the fridge before leaving -- and it explains why I kept finding some mold in the unit upon my return.

2) The Equalizer Leveling System connections are exposed to road grime and weather, and just might cause a jack to not retract or deploy. Maybe all systems are. ALWAYS CHECK YOUR JACKS VISUALLY before attempting to drive away. There was ZERO WARNING from the system that one jack did not retract.

3) I figured out my Bathroom Turned Into a Store Room issues, finally. And I remembered to bring the keys this time! **But more on that in a minute...

4) The Screen Door Sliding Panel kinda sucks. I tried everything to fix the fit of the small brush "sealer" to keep bugs out. But the cheap materials used bowed badly from weather, so I am replacing that entire assembly with a flat aluminum panel when I return. I will, of course create a removable plate to access the latch.

5) The Recliners and the Corner Shower Doors are the two main culprits of squeaking and creaking in my rig. Still wrestling a bit with those, but, at least, I tracked them down.

6) Lithium Batteries are a real pleasure to have onboard! There's a sense of freedom that comes with a system that recharges so fast, and uses such little juice over night. Or so it seems. Extreme temperatures might change my opinion.

7) Just go! The mountains are calling, and you MUST GO! Obstacles to travel are mostly mental. I really enjoy wandering. I do not need to be parked at some exhibit every hour of the day. Driving up and down the coast, or along a murmuring creek is pure Heaven for me. This is the perfect coach for that.

8) True Boondocking is a little scary. I was surprised by my anxiousness when I overnighted at Huckleberry Flats near Eugene. NOBODY was there. It was pitch black. But Oregon has over 35,000 black bears, and I was damned nervous for some reason. Friends and family nearly forcing me to carry a gun did not help -- I do not have one in the coach, yet. Kind of avoiding it for many reasons. But my nephew insisted on giving me a brand new laser-sighted Ruger for Christmas, so I guess I'll need to learn how NOT to shoot myself... someday.

More on this, the woods are not silent. Every strong wind sounds like a heard of elephants coming your way when you are alone. But I'll go back and try, again.

9) Boondocking is not necessarily "easy". Nearly 99% of the Walmarts in California and Oregon disallow overnight camping. Many jurisdictions have local laws disallowing it. Most State Parks want you to only camp in assigned areas. BLM Land is not easy to find, and does not get listed on a lot of RV Apps.

10) Stopping for the night at about 4pm is just about the right time. Driving from 8am to 8pm is very tiring. There's just so much to see! And so many herds of elk to sit and watch -- I saw three groups in Oregon.

11) Finally, I learned to put some things where they make the most sense. I think Einstein once said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over-and-over again -- and expecting a different outcome." Like placing a spray cleaner you use every day in a cabinet that gets blocked every day -- right when you need to get access to it. Or placing items that fall out of an overhead cabinet nearly all the time BACK into that same cabinet.

** Almost forgot... I did remember to bring the correct keys for the locks. And I was determined to NEVER remove them from the coach. So, my last thought as my second plane took off from St. Louis on the way home was... wait for it... waaiittt!! "Weren't my house and car keys on that ring with the keys to those locks when I tossed it into the safe on the way out the door??" Yes. They WERE. And $300 later, I now have a new set of car keys.

The real reason I chose Scarecrow as my avatar is this line in the song:
"If I only had a brain..." (yep... that's ME bashing ME!!)
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Old 04-28-2018, 11:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Things I Learned This Month

Hey, at least you are willing to admit you are “learning”! As for boondocking; you are safer than you are almost anywhere in Maryland! Our daughter lives in Davidsonville (near Annapolis) and the crime is crazy. Do get some bear spray which is more effective and safer for you than a Ruger with a laser. Doubtful a handgun would even slow down a bear. Just remember, most of the critters are no more eager to encounter you then you are to have an up close and personal moment. They can hear and smell you long before you’re aware of them. And get a good walking stick to carry whether you use it for walking or not. Can be used for lots of things. And lastly, a good LOUD whistle and wear it around your neck. Animals hate high, loud, shrill sounds.

I have been boondocking since Boy Scouts over 60 years ago. Encountered Black bears a few times and they just ran away. Never met a Grizzly face to face but came upon fresh scat (still steaming)and scratching tree in Yellowstone. I retreated back the way I came rather quickly! Had a racoon quickly followed by a pack of hounds go through my tent about 2 a.m. one night! Never did get back to sleep!

Good times. And thanks for the information and laugh.
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Old 04-28-2018, 11:41 PM   #3
mikeme
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Default Re: Things I Learned This Month

Good notes.

and yes, there is a pressure switch on the auto level system, but if the electric valve does not operate, the pressure will be achieved with a jack down.

the advice to always check those jacks before driving off is on the money.
.
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Old 04-29-2018, 06:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Things I Learned This Month

I try to take these "lost key"-issues in stride, and laugh at myself. I'm not very religious at all, but if God exists, I think it's her way of keeping me humble. "You think you're so damned smart? Take THAT, you old fart!!"

And I try to learn at least "something" from these daily dramas.
For example, when I was trying to figure out how to get a new key, I checked online and got a lot of conflicting responses or ideas.
Buy one on Amazon -- this is hit-or-miss with third-party knock-offs.
Buy one on eBay -- REALLY hit-or-miss with those Sellers, these days.
Does need to be programmed -- but I had no way to retrieve the Key Code, etc.
Does NOT need to be programmed -- I found out that, yes, it DOES.
Go to the Dealer -- but you MUST get your car towed there so they can program the key.
Just buy the Emergency Key, which is hidden in the Key Fob as an insert -- I found out that gets you access to the interior, but will not start the car.
Use a local specialist in Mobile Key Replacement that will come to your car -- which was the exact solution I decided upon. Only a little bit less-costly than the Dealer, but no tow charge involved.
And I found out AAA is mostly USELESS. They have let me down in nearly every situation, so far.

That Mobile Key Replacement Tech showed up on time on a Saturday. Then could not program the key easily because Chrysler builds-in a password to the actual Key Code within the car's computer. He could bypass the computer passcode, but not the Key Code Folder. He had to go online and access a subscription-only website at Chrysler in order to retrieve the Key Code. His explanation was "The manufacturers are really trying to block all outside parties from being able to replace keys!" So, I learned this key replacement ain't necessarily easy.

Next, he explained everything he was doing. And showed me that the Key Fob has a way to start the car even if the Key Fob battery is dead: You use the Emergency Key to get inside, then simply hold the Metal Insignia Plate that's on the back of the Fob directly against the Start Button, touching it. My plate reads DODGE. It will start the car without you pushing the Start Button, so long as you also press on the brake at the same time (which you must do when you normally press the Start Button). I'm not sure if the metal creates a closed circuit of some kind with the metal ring that surrounds the Start Button, or if there is some residual signal capability within its circuitry -- but it works. He said "Most people don't know this." It might be in my Manual. You know, the one we never read.
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Last edited by Scarecrow; 04-29-2018 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 04-29-2018, 09:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Things I Learned This Month

Scarecrow,

You sir are an absolute hoot! Thank you for joining this forum and bringing with you your humor, humility and sense of adventure. I for one would vote that you are a great asset to the forum (if there was a vote to be had).

Bob
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Old 04-30-2018, 12:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: Things I Learned This Month

Great post as usual, thank you! I get anxious Boondocking when there is no one around too. However, it isn't the critters I worry about, it's the crack crazed thieves and other low life people that I'm afraid will show up in the night...

Thankfully I'm more motivated by your point #7 than my fear of fools and couldn't agree more, "Just GO..."
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Old 04-30-2018, 02:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichNJohn View Post
Great post as usual, thank you! I get anxious Boondocking when there is no one around too. However, it isn't the critters I worry about, it's the crack crazed thieves and other low life people that I'm afraid will show up in the night...

Thankfully I'm more motivated by your point #7 than my fear of fools and couldn't agree more, "Just GO..."
Consider that "Crack crazed thieves" are more afraid of being alone than you are.
And they are very unlikely to wander the back country looking for victims.
The variety of victims in populated areas is much more attractive.
And even crazed crackheads know a vehicle out away from everyone else is much more likely to be occupied by an armed person.

This is not to say that your hackles should not rise if a vehicle pulls up at 3am. That indicates it is time to either vamonos or arm yourself. Or....Start playing the recording of the pissed off Doberman.
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Old 04-30-2018, 04:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: Things I Learned This Month

Or the racking of the Mossberg 12 Gauge shotgun. Or both. Go all Jack Reacher/Ray Donovan on them.
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Old 04-30-2018, 04:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klipstr View Post
Or the racking of the Mossberg 12 Gauge shotgun. Or both. Go all Jack Reacher/Ray Donovan on them.
Add to that Nate Romanowski and Henry Standing Bear. Let's not forget the ladies either! Anna Pigeon and "Vic" Moretti.
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Old 04-30-2018, 05:42 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 4wheeldog View Post
Consider that "Crack crazed thieves" are more afraid of being alone than you are.
And they are very unlikely to wander the back country looking for victims.
The variety of victims in populated areas is much more attractive.
And even crazed crackheads know a vehicle out away from everyone else is much more likely to be occupied by an armed person.

This is not to say that your hackles should not rise if a vehicle pulls up at 3am. That indicates it is time to either vamonos or arm yourself. Or....Start playing the recording of the pissed off Doberman.
My work experience dealing with crack crazed, low-life pieces of schit is they don't use reasoning and, although unlikely they may venture in the backwoods, there always exists the possibility one can stumble upon a cook and his kitchen or grow.

Not all criminals are crack-crazed or stupid. Only the stupid end up in the Klink. Statistically, how many get-away and never caught cannot be accurately calculated. Google the "Dark Figure of Crime." It is estimated for every one crime reported, four go unreported. Personally, based solely on empirical observation, I believe it's triple that amount. Only an opinion. Crimes occur anywhere, anytime and most people are victims waiting to happen because they lack situational awareness. I am always armed, even at home. Some may consider this being paranoid, I consider it being prepared.

Just last week my brother-in-law was robbed at his business.
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