Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Quick Tip-Radios

motorhome and jeep in a campground with title text
Turn you radio on…seriously.

We found that using the CB radio in the coach along with a hand-held CB radio has made backing into spots, light tests, pulling through tight areas, etc. all so much easier without getting confused by hand signals or shouting loud enough to be heard by one and all.

So, whether your rig is a Class A, B, C, fifth wheel or tow-behind, you’ll find two-way communication via radio a real plus in the long run.

See it on YouTube
https://youtu.be/wSUwquFWm1g
(You may need to copy and paste the link into your browser)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Tall Ships Galveston – Elissa

Stern view of tall ship Elissa
She’s the Official Tall Ship of Texas and a wonderful symbol of the seafaring history of the Gulf Coast.

Built in 1877, Elissa was the oldest vessel at Tall Ships Galveston. She was also the longest at 205’.

Check out our YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/dC7vNN8S7F8
(You may need to copy and paste the link into your browser)

ships wheel
Elissa has quite a history over all those years, and if you’d like to learn more, check out these links:
https://www.galvestonhistory.org/attractions/maritime-heritage/1877-tall-ship-elissa-3
https://www.galveston.com/texasseaportmuseum/

We got to see her under sail another time. Here’s that video: https://youtu.be/SqfSy9FHFK8

And here’s a post our earlier visit:
https://aswegorv.blogspot.com/2017/12/texas-seaport-museum.html

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Tall Ships-Oosterschelde

stern view of a schooner
 Oosterschelde at Tall Ships Galveston was a sight to behold! And she was one of only two ships that had tours below decks as well as topside.

Registered in the Netherlands, she was built in 1918 as a sail-powered freighter that traveled from Europe to Morocco and the Mediterranean.

Brought back to the Netherlands in 1988, she was restored to full glory and now sails the world.
Schooner ship in full sail
You can learn more about the Oosterschelde and her story at: https://www.oosterschelde.nl/?lang=en

And check out our Ooosterschelde YouTube video at: https://youtu.be/X6IK-Iy5hjg

Our YouTube Channel is: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJCiPrX41kycHwHUL4HXnGQ

💻Links not working? Just copy and paste the links into your browser.
 (Apparently there is a Blogger wide-issue with some links). 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Tall Ships-Lynx and When and If

Video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/vkifJwhh-Fw 
(Copy and paste the link into your browser if this hyperlink doesn't work--we are trying to get the issue resolved)

The Lynx and the When and If, a pair of American tall ships. It’s Two-fer-one…sort of. Well. At least in this episode.

We were able to board the Oliver Hazard Perry, Picton Castle, Oosterschelde and Elissa for tours, but the Lynx and When and If were occupied elsewhere…they had a special ticketed event…short sails in Galveston harbor, aboard either one of these two vessels.

And while that was appealing, it was way out of our budget.

However, we did get to see these two small, sleek boats under sail, and more than once.

Known as America’s Privateer, the Lynx was built in 2001 and was inspired by a real tall ship…a privateer that was in the War of 1812. It, too, was called the Lynx. You can learn more about the Lynx at http://tallshiplynx.com

When and If was built in 1939 at the request of General George S. Patton with the goal: “WHEN this war is over, and IF I survive, Bea and I are going to sail around the world.” As a result, the schooner yacht When and If was built for comfortable cruising as well as sport racing.  You can learn more about her at https://sailwhenandif.com



Thursday, April 26, 2018

Tall Ship-Oliver Hazard Perry

Not the War of 1812 hero, but the boat named for him. The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry.

(The SSV stands for Sailing School Vessel)

We had a great time touring all the boats at Tall Ships Galveston, and each one was unique in her own way. In the case of Oliver Hazard Perry, it's just a baby when it comes to the tall ships. Built in 2013, she calls Newport, RI home. She is 200' long and carries 14,000 square feet of sail.

Other trivia, she has 7 miles of rope, 160 belaying pins and that 14,000 sq. ft. of sail translates into 20 sails. And what looks like a gun deck in the distance is in reality a row of port holes.

She also carries a noble naval name, that of US Naval Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry who led the US fleet to victory over the British Navy in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.

His famous quote? "Don't give up the ship!"

Check out our YouTube video at: https://youtu.be/8YVDC8kHKN8

If you'd like to learn more about SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, visit their website at: https://www.ohpri.org

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tall Ship-Picton Castle


The Picton Castle is one of my personal favorites from Tall Ships Galveston.

With her profile, you can just see her sailing about the South Seas trade routes. She has a unique, cool, funky, quirky style that’s all her own.

Maybe that’s because she was built in 1928 and yet feels young at heart.

It was neat to walk her oiled clear-pine decks, and catch little glimpses of life on board…like where they stowed oranges and bananas.

The cabin and below deck areas were not open for tours, which I can understand. At just 179’,  I’m sure the crew (and Fiji the cat) appreciate the privacy!

Check out our YouTube video for the "on-deck" experience:
 https://youtu.be/28kzImzKJQw

Oh, and if you always wanted to experience a tall ship adventure…check this out: Picton Castle is taking a year-long around the world voyage! So, if that’s a must-do dream of yours...there’s info on their website.

If you would like to learn more about the Picton Castle, her voyage and more, their website is: http://www.picton-castle.com

Friday, April 20, 2018

Tall Ships Galveston-an overview

tall ship at dock with flagsWhat a blast! We were able to get to not just one, but two days’ worth of the Tall Ships, and even that was not enough to see and do everything!

There were performers, vendors, tours, competitions and more between the main festival grounds and the Strand (historic downtown Galveston).

And there were the boats…amazing vessels of days gone by. Of romance and pirates and imagination. Beautiful. Hard working. Majestic.

4 people on a dock in front of a tall shipAnd people…lots of people. Including a couple of our favorites! We met Tom and Stacie Langlund of RV Texas Y’all. (rvtexasyall.com)

We’d been trying to connect while we were here in TX, and we were able to meet at Tall Ships. The fun part? We’d been texting back and forth but at last communication they were over across the bay at Texas A&M. As we walked in, who should be coming in on the water taxi as we walked by? Tom and Stacie! What timing! They’re great folks who have loads of info. You’ll want to check out their blog and YouTube channels.

If a picture’s worth a thousand words…video must be priceless…check out our YouTube “overview” of Tall Ships at https://youtu.be/7vJxX9IIfmE and be sure you stay tuned….we’ll have some videos that give a closer look at the Tall Ships in future videos.

Oh, and here’s a few pictures to whet your appetite.

two acrobats




looking up the mast of a tall ship

Tall ships as seen from a water taxi

tall ship mast and dingy


tall ship at dock








Friday, April 13, 2018

Tall Ships Galveston Parade of Sail

two tall ships under sail
Oosterschelde and Oliver Hazard Perry
We're sharing our experiences from Tall Ships Galveston is a series of blog posts and videos. And first up: the Tall Ships Galveston Parade of Sail. We watched the parade from the porch deck of the bathhouse at Stewart Beach on what proved to be a very breezy, overcast day. The weather wasn’t beautiful, but the boats were!

And since a picture is worth a thousand words....here's just a few of them for you to enjoy
two tall ships sailing
Elissa and Oliver Hazard Perry
You can also join us on YouTube as we launch a series of brief videos from our experiences at Tall Ships Galveston. You'll find the Tall Ships Galveston-Parade of Sail video here: https://youtu.be/jHA-c-jH_EM

You can also learn more about these Tall Ships from the links below:
Elissa https://www.galvestonhistory.org/attractions/maritime-heritage/1877-tall-ship-elissa-3
sailing ship
Lynx
Oosterschelde  https://www.oosterschelde.nl/ship/?lang=en
Lynx  http://www.tallshiplynx.com/
When and If  https://sailwhenandif.com/
Oliver Hazard Perry https://www.ohpri.org/ship/
Picton Castle http://www.picton-castle.com/


Sailing ship
Oosterschelde

Sailing ship
Oliver Hazard Perry
Sailing ship
Picton Castle

Sailing ship, official tall ship of Texas
Elissa

three tall ships under sail
L-R: Oliver Hazaerd Perry, Oosterschelde and Elissa

ships under sail
Oosterschelde and Elissa

Two american tall ships under sail
L-R: When and If with Oliver Hazard Perry




Thursday, April 12, 2018

Quick Tip-I See You

Or it, as the case may be.

Sometimes working on an RV requires some ingenuity, like when you need see something you're working on, but can't get in to see what you're doing.

Chris was anchoring a stray wire in a small closet when we ran into just that.

How small was it? The closet door opening is about 8".  (Closet interior is a whopping 10-11" wide)

Anyway, in order to attach the tie down for the wire, he had to drill back in behind the door frame,  but couldn't really see what he was doing. And it was a very tight working space so I couldn't hold a mirror to help him see the area he was working on.

I love divine inspiration. Here's what we came up with.

We had a hand mirror with a handle.

We also had some thin Velcro wrapping strips.

So we simply put the Velcro through the hole in the handle, and then attached it to the clothes pole in the closet.

Voila! Not only could Chris see what he was doing, it even bounced some extra light onto the area he was working in.

Oh, and if you're wondering about that wire, it went to the outside "porch" light on the driver's side. No switch for the light and no power in that line. Chris spliced a line with a simple in-line switch off the closet light and now we can control that exterior light easily.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Gear Review-Renogy Suitcase and Power Pack

Some things are baby steps. For us, getting into boondocking means that solar power is among those baby steps.

We started with a couple basic solar items that we can continue to use regardless of adding a permanent system. Since we purchased these two so close together, I’ll roll it into one review. (Caveat: This is a first glace review…after we’ve really put it through some paces with some boondocking, we’ll do an update.)

Renogy 100-Watt Solar Suitcase with Controller

This is our first step into solar (after we updated all 12-volt interior lights to LED that is-that post is here). After some research it felt to be the best bet for us. And when we got it…we were very pleased.

The pluses:
Solid and well built. We really liked that it had the aluminum frame as opposed to plastic.
Easy to set up
Impressive case. Seriously…solid, molded to fit and well made.
Size-it easily fits into a storage bay
Even on a cloudy day, we were getting almost 20 volts (as per Chris’s volt meter)

The Minuses:
Battery clips. You use these to connect the panel to the battery. That part is obvious. However, it would be nice if they were better quality. Cables are great, but the clips themselves feel a tad flimsy, and the plastic insulation on one the handles fell off.

Owner’s manual is pretty worthless…print is so small you can’t read it without a magnifying glass! We got more help from YouTube on doing the initial setup. (Good thing we had internet available here!) That’s where we learned it’s almost just plug n play. Once you connect it to you 12-volt battery bank, you access the menu on the controller to be sure the right battery type is selected and to set your temperature info to Celsius or Fahrenheit. Renogy should consider replacing that manual with a basic quick start guide.

Overall, we are pleased and are looking forward to putting it through its paces with more testing here and on the road. Here's one like ours:

Renogy 400-Watt Rugged Power Pack

We added this to our solar mix as an additional unit to store power (we currently have a basic two deep-cycle battery bank for house power). We thought portable power would be a good plus and we could charge it off the solar panel in addition to the 120-volt power when we have electricity available in a campground.

And yes, so far we like it. We have tested it a bit with Chris’s keyboard, CPAP machine, recharging electronics, etc., and have recharged it via shore power and 12-volt power. It proved to be a good, steady power source.

Pluses:
Well built
Lithium Battery, so it can store anywhere.
Quiet
Easy to read display
Clear Connection points
Compact size, easy to carry

Minuses:
Wish we knew this before, but you can’t charge it off the suitcase solar panel with a built-in controller as the power pack has its own controller and they cancel each other out. Chris made a modification to the panel’s wiring and once we run the Power Pack down a bit and we get a fairly sunny day we’ll test that out. At this point, it looks like his adaptation will work. (Yes, we will be sure to let you know whether or not it does)

The controller is not waterproof. (Since we purchased this, they have come out with a waterproof one…guess we should have waited) But if the weather’s bad…you wouldn’t have it out anyway, right?

But even with these minuses, we’re pretty pleased with the Solar Panel and Battery. Here's one like ours:

As We Go is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Campground Review-I-35 RV Park

I-35 RV Park
Elm Mott, TX
Stay: Jan 2018
www.i35rvpark.com

This well-named park was a just a quick and convenient over-night stop for us.

And well named as it is right alongside I-35, so yes, there is quite a bit of road noise. Sites seemed to by typically spaced apart and it was easy to pull our rig into the pull thru site. SItes were quite level.

We took a nice walk around the main section of the campground. It appears to be very well maintained and even offers covered sites for long term folks.

They had a large dog park as well as a walking trail and a pet wash station. Yes…it’s a very pet friendly campground. Laundry and restrooms/showers are super clean too.

And then…. there’s a free breakfast…. yup. Free. Breakfast. Cooked to order. Tips appreciated.  But we opted to just eat quick and leave in the morning so I can’t comment on the food.

We would use this location again of we needed a quick overnight stop with hookups.

Monday, April 2, 2018

RV Mods-Let There be Light

older style rv overhead light fixture
 We recently did a big changeover in Miss Emmy. An operating systems change that also updated her looks…sort of a win-win.

Miss Emmy had the usual array of almond colored RV light fixtures with incandescent bulbs.

First thing we did when we picked her up was to swap some of those out for LED bulbs. (We had a few left over from our previous coach)
ceiling in a motorhome

But that didn’t cover all of the fixtures.

Since we want to do some boondocking, we decided to go ahead completely update with new  LED fixtures.

Good call...and in more ways than one.

marine style overhead lightWe discovered that some of the old fixtures had rust inside or were in horrible shape, like the one over the table that we replaced with this marine fixture when we first got her, back before we knew we'd be blogging! Trust me, it was not good and sorry...I didn't get a "before" photo. (It was, after all, was pre-blogging days)

older style rv overhead fluorescent light fixtureWe recently replaced the galley light over the sink (read the post here), and that helped us get  re-started on the process.

Well, that and wanting to get Miss Emmy more prepared for boondocking.

man looking at old RV light fixture hanging from ceiling First major swap out: the 2 overhead fluorescent tube fixtures. We found some on Amazon that looked to be the right item and ordered them in. After all, everything is surface mounted when it comes to RV lighting, right?

Wrong.

We soon discovered that the original fluorescent fixtures were actually recessed into the ceiling even though they appeared to be surface mounted.

We also found the new fixtures were slightly smaller that that opening.

man drilling a piece of wood re-framing a section of motorhome ceiling But there's always a solution...Chris re-framed the opening with some 1"x 3" lumber we got at the local Do It Best yard (Unexpected blessing: since we only needed a short section...they let us have some scrap lumber for free!)

Once the re-framing was done, I painted it with some basic white craft paint. A $1.50 bottle of paint was far more practical in this case than a whole gallon!

Once the framing was in place, the installation was pretty typical.
New fluorescent LED light for RVs
Afterwards, we did some testing. The old fixture was a single switch on-off only. Basically, both tubes were either on or off. No in-between. It drew 13 Watts of power.

Our new fixture has 2 switches, one for each tube. When both are on, it draws only 6.2 Watts. Now here's the best part....we're finding that for most of our needs...just a single tube is sufficient, that means using only 3.1 Watts.

new LED light for motorhome ceiling We replaced all of the standard-issue almond colored RV light fixtures as well.

The new fixtures were almost identical in size, and Chris only had do re-drill a couple of holes for each to mount the new ones.

illuminated motorhome LED light fixture Since we had already installed some basic LED bulbs in the fixture, we didn't see a huge difference in wattage...but we did get a super boost in brightness, and are finding that we typically use just one side of the dual lamp fixtures, and even then we don't need all of the overhead lights on!

We also got the exterior lights replaced with LED fixtures.
illuminated motorhome LED porch light

So now, we are all set, at least lighting-wise, to do some boondocking. We have drastically reduced our power needs for the evening just by swapping out the light fixtures, which reduces demand on the batteries....and it gave Miss Emmy a little fresher look inside too.

Oh...and it reduced unwanted heat from those lights too, thus reducing need for A/C (and fire/burn risks from hot light bulbs).

Whew! It sure is nice to be long term in a spot so you can do some of these updates!

Here are some lights like the ones we now use:

As We Go is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter

motorhome at night under a full moon
We hope everyone had a blessed Easter Sunday. I know we did!

Today we attended out first Son-rise service on a beach, which was really cool!

And it's quite the event here on the Bolivar Peninsula.

Pastor Kay, pastor of the church we're attending here, strongly recommended getting there early...really early, as in a full hour, to have a decent parking spot and seat. Oh...and to bring our own chairs.

And so we did. We got up at o-dark-hundred. Or at least what felt like it. We got there around 6 am (service started at 7), and I'm glad we did. Within a half hour, 2-3,000 people were on the beach for the Son-rise service.

It was a wonderful Easter for us, even though we needed a nap later! (Can I have 2 naps today?) And we think it was even more wonderful for the folks that accepted the invitation and were baptized right after the service. (We missed that...had to go home, eat, and freshen up for the regular church service!)

But, you don't have to get up at o-dark-hundred for a taste of the Son-rise service scene, just check out our video on YouTube!

(Oh--and we didn't video the service itself...want to avoid any copyright issues!)


And just in case the video didn't work:
YouTube Channel link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJCiPrX41kycHwHUL4HXnGQ
Video link: https://youtu.be/muQfrEv3ri0

Saturday, March 31, 2018

OHMIGOSH...

….That was way more fun than I thought it would be.

And what is “that” you ask?

I just set up a *gasp* YouTube channel and created our very first (and very short) video clip. And had a blast creating our first "official" video clip.

Please check it out and help us grow our channel.

And how do you help us grow? It’s painless and free, honest! Just watch the video. And if you want to help even more…give it a thumbs up...or even better…subscribe to our channel!

In fact, our channel is so new…we don’t even pop up in the YouTube search engine yet. Your likes and subscriptions will really help us get to that point, but in the meantime, here’s the link to see what our first baby-step into YouTubing looks like:

Our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJCiPrX41kycHwHUL4HXnGQ

Video link: https://youtu.be/YZ6qeyBkQF0



THANK YOU SO MUCH for helping is grow!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Getting Ready to Boondock

motorhome in a lakeside campsite with several ducks
 One of the things we looked forward to doing once we started our full-time RV adventure was to get off the beaten path a little and go boondocking.

But one doesn’t just buy a rig and find a spot in the desert for a week.

Well, at least we don’t.

We need to be sure Miss Emmy is ready for that adventure. And while we’re at a long-term site here in Texas, we’re doing just that.

Oh, and if you don’t know what boondocking (or dry camping) is, it means camping without full hookups, relying solely on your batteries, propane, and holding tanks for as long as you want to, or can. It can be anything from Wally docking or Blacktop surfing (overnighting in a commercial parking lot), to days, or even weeks, on public lands somewhere (such as National Forest or Bureau of Land Management lands) Those sites are often referred to as dispersed camping. There's even Mooch Docking, which is staying at with friends or family who have enough driveway space to host you for a bit.

By the way, a great resource for finding spots are the Frugal Shunpiker Guides!
(Yes, this is an affiliate link with Frugal Shunpiker. We receive a small commission if you purchase through our link)

Now, some folks want to stay out as long as they possibly can when boondocking, but we wouldn’t be one of them, at least not yet.

But I digress.

fluorescent light fixture for RVsWe are getting Miss Emmy ready. And it’s a step at a time. We just updated all of her 12-volt interior lighting (and porch lights) to LED fixtures. That will greatly reduce our electrical consumption. As an example, one of the old fluorescent fixtures draws 30 watts. The new LED fixtures draw 6.2 watts, IF we use both tubes. And we are finding that one tube is usually more than enough light! (On the new fixture, we can select one or both of the tubes. With the old fixture we had to use both.)

And as a bonus, even though we are using “standard” RV fixtures in the celling, the nice white updates the interior very nicely over the old tired (and discolored) almond-colored ones. (It also got me to paint the ceiling air return white to finish the update look)

Man looking at a renogy solar suitcase panel
Chris takes an early look at our new Renogy 100-watt
portable panel
Our next update: adding solar. We ordered a Renogy 100-watt suitcase portable solar panel kit. We think that will keep our house batteries topped off nicely. We also got the Renogy Rugged Power Pack 400-watt hour generator to give us some additional storage capacity, plus the ability to use Chris’s keyboard anywhere without drawing down house batteries (or buying AA batteries by the case). We can also operate his Cpap machine on it and recharge electronics like cell phones, etc.

Now that we have all of that in place, we can comfortably boondock a night or two without hookups.

We do need to get our onboard propane generator repaired. It runs but doesn’t produce. That will probably happen when we’re back in SD for work camping.

And we do have to goal of eventually getting a permanent solar install with roof panels, larger, newer inverter and battery bank (go from 2 to 4 batteries), etc...

And we’re testing our holding tank capacities. As in, how long can we go before we have to dump (empty) the grey and black water tanks? So far, for the two of us, at least 7 full days without really changing any of our habits for water usage. That’s plenty…I don’t see us doing more than that at a time…well, at least not yet.

instant pot
Won't be using this or other cooking aids on solar...
It also means thinking a little differently on meal prep. We don’t have a massive battery bank. Just a pair of standard 6-volt deep cycle golf cart batteries. Using the Instant Pot or induction cooktop is out.  They draw far too much power.

And don't even think about using the microwave/convection oven or air conditioning.  (Well, at least not until the generator is fixed-good thing we basically follow the weather.)

So, menu planning/cooking will make some minor shifts to using the propane stove and grill. And when I make my tea…. the hot water will go into a thermal carafe for use throughout the morning. If I want more tea later in the day….cold brew to the rescue!

We’re looking forward to getting off grid for short periods of time and enjoying the “free” camping that comes with. And we can start soon, when we begin our trek northward later in the spring.

Do you have any "must haves" or ideas for boondocking? Share them in the comments below.
(By the way, we're a family-friendly blog, so please keep it nice. Inappropriate content of any kind will be deleted)

As We Go is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.