Is Your RV Warranty Worthless?

I begin this article by asking the question if your RV warranty is really worth anything. I found out through experience mine didn’t seem to be worth as much as I thought. That has something to do with my particular circumstances and somebody else might find that the same warranty, from the same manufacturer, on the same model and year RV to be worth more. Maybe. Maybe not.

By way of laying some groundwork, one needs to understand that RV warranties are different than other warranties such as those on automobiles in terms of who is obligated to perform warranty work. Take my Ford truck for example: if I’m not mistaken, any Ford dealer that has the ability to repair my truck under the terms of the applicable Ford warranty has an obligation to take in the vehicle for repair. That means wherever I go, be it 1 mile from home or 1,000 miles, if the truck needs warranty attention any qualified Ford dealer I wish to bring the truck to for repair has to accept the job. They sign onto that when they become a dealer.

As an RV owner, however, you may find that dealers willing to take in your RV for warranty repairs are few and far between. That’s because, unlike the automobile industry, RV dealers are not obligated by way of contracts with RV manufacturers to accept RVs for warranty repairs unless they are the selling dealer. Such is my understanding, anyway, and I’m sure I will be corrected if I am mistaken. It’s not only my understanding, but it has been my experience. I have been turned away for warranty repairs by several authorized dealers of the brand that I own. So, if like me, you bought your RV from a dealer 800 miles from home, or if you travel in it–and who doesn’t?–you may find yourself far away from a dealer willing to perform warranty repairs. The dealer nearest my California home that is an authorized dealer of the brand of RV I own flat out refused to take in my RV for warranty work, and they were not the only authorized dealer of my brand to do so. [READ MORE…]

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Yucaipa Regional Park Campground, Yucaipa, CA

Along Zanja Peak Trail
We stopped at a little stone bench somebody made along the trail to Zanja Peak in order to enjoy the view and snack on some trail mix. (Click or tap to enlarge.)

We stopped here for the second time in January of 2019 for a few days on our way from the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park area to the San Francisco Bay Area. We had been here once before and liked it enough we thought it was worth at least an extra day or two instead of being just a one night stopover. The park has quite a bit of bird activity this time of year. Although we didn’t see the osprey or a bald eagle reportedly seen recently, we did see red-tailed hawks, black phoebe, say’s phoebe, American coots, mallards, western bluebirds, yellow-rumped warblers, American robins and northern flickers and some LBBs (unidentifiable little brown birds).

The campground is adjacent to some hills. While there we enjoyed a hike to Zanja Peak that involved an elevation gain of 1,000 feet or so over roughly 2 miles one way, 4 miles out and back. Views were nice especially since nearby mountains had a dusting of snow. [READ MORE…]

“It slices, it dices…”

The Chef'n VeggiChop is had powered. It's surprising how fast it chops things up.
The Chef’n VeggiChop is hand powered. It’s surprising how fast it chops things up. This shot gives you an idea of its size.

I’m hardly the kind of person from whom you’d expect a review of a kitchen gadget–usually I write about things like solar panels, batteries, GPS units, motorcycle clothing and the like–but this review is in fact about a kitchen gadget which hints at the influence a certain wonderful woman has had over my life 🙂

Now, to be truthful, most people would be and should be alarmed should I write about preparing food. Why? Just taste my cooking… and I use the word cooking very, very loosely. Fear not, however, because I cannot take credit for this review. It was written by Diane after using the Chef’n for many months. While I am the chief bottle washer in the RV my lovely companion, Diane, is the head cook, always making delicious and healthy meals for the two of us. Thank you, Diane!

Diane has used the Chef’n many times. I think it fair to say she recommends it because it does a good job, is small, lightweight, uses no batteries or electricity, and doubles as a storage container: all things which are plusses when operating in the cramped quarters of an RV sometimes without a ready supply of household electricity and where the weight of things can really matter. Available for under $20 it’s also inexpensive.

Now, to be honest, not everything I touch in the kitchen turns to mud. Although there may be some debate about it, I do declare that I’m pretty darn good when it comes to making a peanut butter sandwich. There is one other dish I can do a bang up job with, and that’s lentil soup. For that I use the Chef’n to chop up the carrots and onions which it does quickly and easily saving me quite a bit of slicing and dicing, not to mention all those tears.

The four parts of the VeggiChop.
The four parts of the Chef’n VeggiChop.

PRODUCT REVIEW
by Diane

Chef’n VeggiChop Hand-Powered Food Chopper

THE CLAIM:
Chop large pieces of fruit, vegetables, boneless meats, herbs, nuts, and even ice without electricity; perfect for pesto, hummus, salsa, guacamole.

WHY YOU MAY WANT THIS:
Small, lightweight, no batteries or electricity, doubles as a storage container, works well.

THE FACTS:
Performance:
The product description on Amazon is accurate in that it REALLY does chop food. As its name implies, it is designed to chop, not puree. It’s absolutely wonderful for things like onions, carrots and egg salad. I was able to make cauliflower rice (but not mash), my hummus and guacamole came out more grainy than creamy, and soft fruits and tomatoes had more texture than blender smooth. That being said, I didn’t mind the compromise because I could boondock and have my hummus too!

Ease of Use:
It is not too tough on the hand as far as gripping the handle, but pulling out the cord does take some back and forth arm movement that requires average mobility. It has only a 3 cup capacity, so it’s good for about 2 servings depending on your recipe, but I didn’t find any problem in making things in several batches for a larger crowd. I even made my regular double pie crust recipe in it! I just had to divide the recipe and reload the Chef’n a couple times and then combine the batches. In fact, this gadget is so quick and easy to use, I often opt to use it even when I have a full-sized blender/food processor available!

Nice Features:
•Comes in 3 colors: red, black or green
•Non-slip ring on the bottom keeps it stable
•Storage lid

Tips:
Adding ingredients – The top of the blade mechanism has a recessed hexagon for connecting to the lid. It can collect finer ingredients like flour and prevent the lid pin from engaging properly. Put a finger over the hexagon when pouring into the chopper.
Cleaning and Storage – Take care hand washing the very sharp blades! Make sure the chopper is completely dry before storing it to discourage mold, especially if you are on the road. The care instructions do caution not to submerge the top because the cord is enclosed and won’t be able to dry out, but otherwise it’s even dishwasher safe. (The Chef’n VeggiChopper is available here.)

I also really like this sturdy multi-use dish brush with a useful suction handle to keep fingers safe when cleaning the blades.

[Editor’s note: the article titles “It slices, it dices…” is taken from a very old TV commercial which as I recalled has many times been parodied and as such is intended to be humorous. The Chef’n chops.]

Samuel and His Brave Spoon

Front Cover of Diane's wonderful children's book: Samuel & His Brave Spoon
Front Cover of Diane’s wonderful children’s book: Samuel & His Brave Spoon

While I am probably best known for my stunning photography, insightful intellect, razor-like wit, charm, and good looks–OK, I made that up, it’s really for being a grumpy old man–today I become known for something else.

I am most pleased to announce that my beautiful, funny, sweet and loving partner Diane has published her first book, Samuel and His Brave Spoon, which this first day of 2019 has become available on Amazon.

So, what has this to do with me? (I did say that “today I become known for something else.”) Well, I had the distinct pleasure and privilege of doing the photography for Samuel and His Brave Spoon, and while photography certainly isn’t new to me–I’ve been at it for over 50 years–the photography in this book is quite a departure from the flower and landscape photos with which I am most associated. Diane, a talented artist and maker of things, created a wonderful series of collage-illustrations for the book from things one finds around the house. This called upon photographic skills I learned as a commercial product photographer in days long past and inventing digital post-processing techniques in PhotoShop.

Part of a scene from the classroom in Samuel and His Brave Spoon. Diane created this collage from things commonly found around the house: the tree from a brown paper bag and green construction paper, the animals from felt, paper and a marker, etc.
Part of a scene from the classroom in Samuel and His Brave Spoon. Diane created this collage from things commonly found around the house: the tree from a brown paper bag and green construction paper, the animals from felt, paper and a marker, etc.

Samuel and His Brave Spoon is a children’s book, but it’s not just a typical book for children. It’s a book about a special child who is quiet, and the book teaches us all about recognizing the gifts of a quiet child mistakenly labeled as shy. It teaches children and adults alike about showing empathy towards others. The collage-illustrations in the book were made from items found in most households, not just to illustrate the book but as examples of art kids can create themselves while providing them an outlet for self-expression and at the same time recycling things that might otherwise become landfill.

I mentioned above that Diane is a talented artist, but I sold her short in so doing as she also brings to the book her skills as a former Head Start preschool teacher, poet, writer and mother who has raised three wonderful kids to adulthood. Having been a sensitive and quiet child herself Diane understands well the nature and situation of such children as she offers suggestions and guidance to us adults in order to help them as children find meaning and self-confidence through artistic expression.

Diane shows us all how wonderful creativity can be expressed with things found around the house.
Diane shows us all how wonderful creativity can be expressed with things found around the house. Samuel’s teacher is made with macaroni eyebrows, crinkle-shred packing material hair; a paper plate face with rubber band mouth that says “oh!” as it emphasizes the look of surprise found in her hard-boiled egg and green celery eyes; bead and paper clip earrings.

Samuel and His Brave Spoon is geared but not limited to children in the three to six year-old range, their parents and teachers. If you are fortunate enough to parent or teach such a child or if you know somebody who does, Samuel and His Brave Spoon incorporates humor while offering guidance and teaching empathy in order to help the quiet child find confidence through self-expression.

[Note, 2/5/19: Readers’ Favorite has just posted this 5 star review of Samuel and His Brave Spoon.]

Available now on Amazon.com.

Campground Review: Cajun Haven RV Park

Cajun Haven: One Ray of Sunshine
I didn’t look closely at this campsite, but it was colorful and seemed the owner of the RV was exercising some inventiveness in decorating. To me this site was something of a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary environment.

We stayed at Cajun Haven RV Park as a one night stopover between New Orleans and our next one night stopover in Texas on our way toward Potters Creek Campground in Canyon Lake, TX. Reviews I found of Cajun Haven prior to camping there were a little bit mixed as they often are. In my own experience, management was very friendly, access to I-10 very convenient, and our campsite was pretty level as were the others because the campground is on a flat open field. There is a small lake or large pond at the campground. Apart from that written above and the rate of $20 for full hookups with 50 amp service, oh, and the free entertainment provided by ducks waddling around the campground there is little I can find to say about Cajun Haven on the positive side. [READ MORE…]

Campground Report: Claystone Park, Lake Tobesofkee, Macon, GA

View of Lake Tobesofkee from the campground at Claystone Park.
View of Lake Tobesofkee from the campground at Claystone Park.

CAMPGROUND NAME: Claystone Park, Lake Tobesofkee Recreation Area
LOCATION: 6600 Mosley Dixon Rd., Macon, GA 31220
KIND: County
SEASONAL: No
RATES: We paid $25 for full hookups with 50 amps in November; rates may vary
STAY LIMIT: 7 days
CLUBS: None
RESERVATIONS ACCEPTED: Yes
FIRST-COME-FIRST-SERVED: Check with office
CAMPGROUND WEB SITE
CAMPGROUND MAP: see below
HOSTED: I don’t think so.
PHONE: 478-474-8770, 478-474-8771
EMAIL: None of which I am aware.
GPS: 32.83132, -83.77728
GOOGLE MAPS

Campsite map of Claystone Park Campground at Lake Tobesofkee, Macon GA
Campsite map of Claystone Park Campground at Lake Tobesofkee, Macon GA. We stayed in #42. Campsites in the 40s have concrete slabs covering part of the sites (see map). Our site was easily long enough for our truck and fifth wheel. There would have been room for another vehicle as well.

ACCESS: Via paved surface streets
SITES: 43 or so
SURFACING: Asphalt for some, concrete and gravel combination for others
PULL THRU: Yes
BACK-IN: Yes
MAXIMUM RIG SIZE: Some sites such as the one we were in (42) could accommodate the largest of rigs. Many others were of good size.
TENTS: Yes
LEVELNESS: The sites in the 40s seemed more level to me. These are the pull-thru sites with concrete pads and full hookups.
SHADE: Not in the sites in the 40s, but elsewhere yes, quite a bit
SPACING: There is a grass median of maybe 20′ – 25′ between sites in the 40’s. In general, sites here are not stacked one on top of the other… there is some breathing room.
TENT PADS: While there are tent sites–with electrical hookups at that–I did not see tent pads.
FIRE GRILLS: Yes, for campfires and separate waist high BBQ grills, at least at some sites.
PICNIC TABLES: Yes
PETS: On leash

Click HERE for the full campground report.

Too Much of a Good Thing – Electricity

EMS Remote IMG_5169_1200
This remote display panel supplied with the Progressive Industries EMS-HW50C alerts you to any errors, voltage for each leg as well as current draw for each leg. A bypass switch on the left allows you to easily use generators that don’t work with the EMS or to bypass the EMS for other reasons.

When we bought our new RV it was for us a sizable expenditure. Such being the case we considered things we could do in order to protect it. A good polymer treatment for the paint was one thing. Another was a Progressive Industries 50 amp hard-wired electrical management system (EMS) in order to protect the electronics from, among other things, power surges, high and low voltages sometimes encountered at campgrounds. Progressive makes a number of EMS systems, some intended to hang on the power pedestal and some to be hard-wired into the RV.

Another measure of protection we purchased was a 50 amp voltage regulator, a Hughes Autoformer. This device can boost campground voltage when it falls dangerously low allowing you to safely use equipment that might otherwise be damaged by the low voltage. They also make a 30 amp model. [READ MORE…]

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