FL State Parks Tag is taking off!
A couple years ago the state of Florida put out a new vehicle tag. This tag featured a kayak in the mangroves, along with some of our favorite animals in the area.
This tag cost $35 to put one on your car. $25 of that goes directly to the state parks.
Our family loves using the state parks and with the lifestyle we were taking up, we pre-ordered our tag when the option opened up. About a year ago, we were finally able to pick up our new tag at the tag agency near our home town. It looked GREAT on our truck!
March of 2023, the social media for the Florida State Parks posted this on Facebook.
Our choice in getting this tag has helped place over 800 bottle filling stations in the state parks. This will help reduce trash in both the parks and landfills.
You can order your plate from the Florida State Parks Foundation.
Putting a 5er on a Diet
Part of living full time in an RV, means making choices. Sometimes that with locations, other times, that has to do with what you can or can not take with you to your next location.
We have gone through processes of eliminating some of our favorite dishes. You know that one coffee cup you cant live without with the cute cats on it. Or getting rid of the 4th pair of running shoes when you only have one pair of feet.
But how do you shave weight from a trailer when you want to carry an extra bag of chocolate chips?
We have seen some things that are attached to the 5th wheel that do not serve a purpose for us. Two of the obvious ones for us where doors and valances.
This new Keystone Arcadia 3550mb only has 2 doors on hinges dividing sleeping rooms. We took them down and put up curtains. This shaved about 5 pounds per door. They opened in a manor that was intrusive to moving around the house.
The valances on the windows. These were brown boxes placed on top of the blinds to give it a more homely feel. Counting around our 5er, we have 13 different windows with these little brown boxes attached.
With a short discussion with the family, we decided they were not needed. The valances where visual clutter and a dust catcher.
Each was held on by 4 screws, and took only a couple minutes each to get off the walls. About an hour later, I weighed the whole stack and found that we cut 31 pounds of valances off the RV. 31 pounds!! that is almost 4 gallons of water. Or could be 30 bags of coffee. That is the weight of a big box store bicycle.
So putting our 5er on a diet let it lose over 40 pounds in a matter of a couple hours. I wish I could lose weight that efficiently.
Space Coast Marathon
I will be participating in the Half Marathon at Space Coast this year. It is the Sunday after Thanksgiving and always a good time. If you are thinking of doing it, use my signup code so I get credit, then get 5 of your friends to join and you’ll get $20 off registration!
Here is my link.
I hope to see you there!
How to light stove/oven in an RV with Propane
Living in the RV does not mean you lose all the creature comforts of home. Reality, the RV is home. Breads, baked goods, baked pastas, and dehydrated foods are all things we love to have for meals or snacks. To get this we do have to bake in the RV. One issue we see is added heat coming in the RV, but that is a necessary evil to deal with.
Our Keystone Sprinter 32BH comes with 2 30# propane tanks. They are linked together at the regulator with a switch and an indicator.
Make sure your tank is turned on, turn the handle counter clockwise until it stops, and if you have a selector switch, have it pointed to the tank you just turned on.
Our stove has 3 burners and an oven. This is why we have 4 knobs controlling the flow of gas into the stove. The 5th knob is an ignitor. Twisting this produces the spark that lights the gas!
Let’s go over how to light the stove. LP gas has to flow from the valves at the knobs down to where the fire will be lit. The burners will light quickly because the travel is short. Turn the burner knob to a medium spot and strike the ignitor. This should give you a nice flame on top. If you are coming from an electric stove to a gas stove, it may cook hotter than you expect, therefore experiment some.
Seems simple enough, right? But with the oven, don’t get in a hurry. Hold the pilot on, count to 5 strike the igniter. Probably wont light the first time, count to 5 again, and strike. Our oven usually takes about 20 seconds for gas to get to the pilot light. Once the pilot is lit, hold the knob long enough for the heat coupler to get hot. This tells the stove it’s ok for the pilot light to get gas, because there is a flame. Then set your oven to the desired temperature.
Turn on the exhaust fan! This moves gasses and exhaust out of the rig. If something smells rotten, turn off the knobs, open some windows, let it air out and then try again!
Happy cooking! Comment below on your favorite dishes to cook or bake!
Who doesn’t like the smell of a new RV? The fresh paint, the off gassing of the carpet, the drops of antifreeze in the shower…
Along with all the goodness of putting your fresh finger prints on everything comes the idea that during manufacture, mistakes were made. Barnes On Move along with many other RV owners suggest having a shakedown run with your RV on the first available time possible. For us, we will always camp in the parking lot of the dealership the night of purchase, maybe even a few extra days.
The idea here is to find broken stuff, get it on a list, and added to the file before leaving on any long trips. Hopefully someone can fix the small things immediately for you before taking total possession of the unit. Sometimes they forget to turn the hot water bypass off on the water heater. This can actually cause a burned out element in your electric side of the water heater, but that is a story for another time. If you have particular questions about your unit, they can then answer it on the spot and not try to do it over the phone or bringing the unit back in.
So here is our story of how the warranty work went for our unit. As you know, we began our RV journey late 2021 with the purchase of a Keystone Sprinter 32BH. The layout was good, the price was reasonably in budget, size was large enough for 3 person family, 2 dogs, and 1 Russian tortoise.
First biggest problem we found was NO hot water. Being the curious tinkerer I am, I went digging. First found out that one of the wires was not hooked up to the gas controller. Secondly, the bypass was still ‘on.’ Third, the electric side did not work at all. Called the service center at the dealership, and was told, bring it in so we can take a look at it. Break out the calendar, and set a date.
Keeping track of days here, 1 day for setting appointment and finding problems.
Day of appointment getting close, we move into the campground at the dealership. Morning of appointment, we have to move out the humans, the dogs, the tortious, and find a place to relocate for the day. Reminding everyone we are full time.
Everyone is moved out, slides in, porter takes our house back to the bays. A few hours later I get a call, ‘we’re all done, come get your unit!’ I then ask about the water heater, and they said…”all fixed.”
Crank up the truck and head to the dealership. Chat up the service writers for a few minutes and find out by implied words that a less than favorable tech worked on my rig. This kills my warm fuzzy feeling and we plug up the trailer to double check that work.
It appeared from a quick look that the tech’s troubleshooting was only running water in the sink to see if it was warm. Full grey tank reinforced this idea. Of course, my electric side of the water heater still doesn’t work.
Call over the tech, he tries again.
After watching him flounder a few minutes I show him how to check the electric heating element and he then realizes it was busted. He finally swapped the element, but it shouldn’t have taken an owner showing how to do a job.
Oven never worked higher than 350° until it was replaced.
Door was not installed correctly. Only authorized to reinstall door.
Leaking window. Only sealed the outside, yes it stopped the leak, but the sealer that should have been between the window and frame may have a defect.
Loose negative terminal.
Every problem we see takes multiple days and makes it difficult for a full time family. I am saddened by the quality of rigs from the ‘Rona’ times. I don’t know what we would have done if it was months wasted at the dealership.
Oh yea…extended warranty. $200 evaluation fee. $50 deductible at that shop. And multiple days to get work or parts.
Warranty work is just a part of life with any purchase, I hope your stories are more entertaining than mine!
Comment or tweet @BarnesOnMove with your story!
Getting it fixed!
Social Media Planner
Tossed this together to help keep thoughts straight when putting together your social media post. Use it if you like it.
This allows you to keep the thoughts straight on What, When, and how on the post.
Add a comment if there is a box you need added…
Making the RV Bunk Ladder user friendly!
Our beautiful home has some quirks just like every other house that we have had. Our home is a home on wheels, and is a 37 foot fifth wheel. A bit smaller than we lived in prior, but it does get us where we need to be.
The model is a Keystone Sprinter 32 BH. The BH stands for “Bunk House.” Purchased so our son could have his own room, the bunk house made the most sense at the time. It has 2 beds, and a fold down sofa, for one kid. Pull out the extra bunk (and ditch some weight). Now 1 bunk bed and one sofa. He chose to sleep on the sofa.
Fast forward a few months, and we are now trying to make a better space for him to do his school work while the rest of the house is also working. We need the sofa to be a sofa!
Now comes the hard part. The ladder included in the RV is not user friendly. This metal ladder had rungs that were 1 inch and square with the side rails. This made climbing the ladder by stepping on the corners every time you went up to the bunk very uncomfortable.
Finally one of the adults ask our son “If the ladder didn’t hurt the feet, would you sleep on the top bunk?” To which he answered yes. Now a bright idea had to be created into existence. We decided to add solid large steps to the painful ladder, a modification that would improve the usability.
Easy you say! Making a bunk ladder user friendly should be easy! I thought so, too. The plan was to cut a notch into a few boards and bolt them on. First trip to the big box store, I get screws (1/2″ #8 wood screws) and a 2x4x8. Along with stain that would hopefully match the interior color.
Step 1: Measure the Length of the steps. Cut the board to length, mine were around 10 1/2″ and there are 4 steps. Cut a 5th one for testing and setup. Dry fit them to make sure they fit properly between the verticals of the ladder.
Step 2: Angles and Cuts. Prop the ladder up as it would be on the bunks, and measure the angles of the side of the step, and the top of the step (long edge and short edge). I used the Iphone’s “measure” app to get the angles. Worked well enough to get the point. Using the table saw I set it up to make the first cut of 35 degrees. Set the gate where the cut will be near the center of the board, and carefully rip a cut through the Test step.
Reset the table saw to 25 degrees, measure the depth so it falls at the end of the cut. Set the gate so the cuts match at the apex, and rip the next cut.
Test fit the one to make sure the cuts line up on the ladder rungs. Adjust your measurements as needed.
After my test fit, I made my adjustments, ripped one cut through 4 steps. Then set the table saw to the other cut, and ripped through the steps again, creating an angled channel in the steps.
Step 3: Clean the edges. All the cuts were rough and needed to be cleaned up and the sharp edges needed to be cut down. I used a 1/4″ rounded router bit to dress up the steps. I then attacked each with some 80 grit sand paper to get rid of any splinters or rough edges and print that may have been on the boards. Followed this up with a slow grind on 800 grit and got a nice smooth step to go on the bunk ladder.
Step 4: Blend to surroundings. Our Camper is a grey interior. We matched a stain as close as we could find from the big blue box home improvement store. Stained the steps as directed.
Step 5: Attach steps to bunk ladder. I drilled 3 holes on each of the ladder rungs. Fitted each step up, and attached them with 1/2″ #8 wood screws.
Step 6: Move it back in. After sufficient time for the stain to dry and quit smelling, we placed the newly user friendly ladder back into the bunk room.
This morning project made this painful ladder that came with our RV into a useful set up steps to get into and out of the upper bunk. This allows our child to use the upper bunk without the pain of the original bunk ladder. The additional weight of a couple pounds is worth the usability of the ladder. And mamma is happy, too!
Where are we?
This week we are in Eustis FL!
Plans include, but are not limited to: Breweries, Coffee Houses, Restaurants, Hiking, and small town photography! If you are near, reach out, we’d love to hear from you.
This relocation is being used to catch up on publications and business practices that we have neglected while at home base.
Last month or so we have spent getting our doctor’s appointments completed. Catching up with maintenance of RV, warranty work, repairs, etc.
Drone services have expanded into photogrammetry (a lot of photos that gives a high resolution image of the ground.) And I am learning 3d imaging of buildings and large objects to be used in 3d worlds, or advertisements and information to clients.
Please take a minute to share our blog/website/social media so we can share what we have learned with a wider array of people. Thank you.
As we are all preparing for the storm, remember to take care of you, your family and your pets!
Stuff can be replaced, but life and limb is harder to fix and replace!
Having said that, we will be moving out of the 5er for a couple days, putting it in storage mode, because I really don’t want to deal with broke stuff, I am tying the axels down to anchors…
Be safe out there, and don’t drink all the beer!
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