User Reports

Note: User Reports not shown below may be found using the drop down navigation menu at the top of blog pages (doesn’t always work) or the blog Search function (magnifying glass icon under the banner photo at top right of blog pages).


Many so-called product reviews merely repeat manufacturer’s claims about the features, benefits and claimed performance of their products whether or not they are true. The idea is to sell you something and earn a profit. Whether or not the review actually provides you with useful or honest information is of less or no concern those whose  primary interest is to profit financially.

In contrast, my User Reports are generally based on my personal experience with a product or service, things I have personally used and evaluated. My primary goal is to provide you with useful information that is as accurate as possible so as to be of service to, not to separate you from your hard-earned cash.

That said, there are links on my blog to products and services that if purchased via those links may in some cases earn me a small commission. Maintaining this blog requires a huge amount of time and energy and some financial expense. If you find something on my blog that is useful or entertaining please express your appreciation by making a Favorite (Bookmark) of this Amazon.com link and use it whenever you shop Amazon. It will cost you no more and I will feel appreciated and encouraged to continue blogging for you. Thank you!


2017 Ford F350 Super Duty, Dual Rear Wheel
2017 Ford F350 Super Duty, Dual Rear Wheel

HOW TO GET THE BEST DEAL ON A NEW CAR OR TRUCK WITHOUT EVER TALKING TO A SALESMAN

Part One

If you’re like me, when it comes time to purchase a new vehicle you become filled with dread at the thought of being worked-over by a team of sophisticated, sleaze-ball sales reps in the offices of a car dealership. If you don’t experience that sense of panic, you should, because those guys can sell ice to an Eskimo while making him feel like they just saved his life.

In my recent quest for a new vehicle I have learned that, thanks to the Internet, if you handle things wisely you can get great price without leaving the comfort of your home, indeed without ever talking to a sales rep. Here is how I did it… (READ MORE)


FIXING CHIPPED WINDSHIELDS

The kind of bullseye you never want to hit--or have hit you--a chip in your windshield. This one was really small, just 1/4" across. If not attended to promptly, over time little chips and cracks can spread, eventually necessitating windshield replacement.

Bullseye
Pronunciation: /ˈbo͝olzī/
The center of a target in sports such as archery, shooting, and darts.

Well, that’s one of a number of definitions. In any kind of target practice the bullseye comes first. Next you aim and take your shot. Usually it’s regarded as a good thing to hit the bullseye. There’s another kind of bullseye where the order is reversed: the shot is taken first and the bullseye appears second. Not always such a good thing. Case in point: driving down the road a pebble got tossed at my windshield by a car in front of me. It made a small chip in my window surrounded by little cracks. Turns out this kind of damage is called, you guessed it, a bullseye. Here, you don’t hit the target. It hits you! Like I said, not such a good kind of bullseye. I’m not totally sure if the damage to my windshield would best be considered a bullseye or star damage. It may be a hybrid. I think it’s just a technical distinction with each being treated the same way. If you’re headed to Alaska, another area famous for windshields getting cracked, or just curious about a way to potentially save hundreds dollars… READ MORE…


FROGG TOGGS: A BROKEN PROMISE OF WATERPROOF CLOTHING?

Wet Vest
Here’s a shot of me wearing the down vest I wore under my Frogg Toggs just after coming in from my walk in the rain. The dark areas are wet. My Frogg Toggs didn’t keep me dry.

I already had a Precip jacket from Marmot with their proprietary waterproofing material and some pants with a GoreTex lining, both of which offer protection from rain, but I wanted to reserve those for hiking and use something else while riding my motorcycle. Enter Frogg Toggs. I hadn’t heard of them before, but when I was in a sporting goods shop somewhere the salesman tried to interest me in them. I wasn’t sold. I thought the material had a strange feel and the fit seemed awkward. Some days or weeks later, when I was in a motorcycle shop in Montrose, Colorado when they turned up again, and I read the promotional materials promising waterproof clothing, I took the Frogg Toggs plunge. READ MORE…


50% OFF CAMPGROUNDS WITH PASSPORT AMERICA

Passport America, Save 50% on Campsites

There probably aren’t too many RVers that haven’t heard of the 50% off campground discount program known as Passport America. If you haven’t, this post will serve as your introduction to this program which I believe is very worthwhile. If you’re already familiar with PA there may be a tidbit or two in this post that all save you money on other things you weren’t aware are part of the program. READ MORE…


GARMIN RV 760 LMT GPS AND BC-20 BACKUP CAMERA

Garmin RV 760LMT GPS
Garmin RV 760LMT GPS

I would much rather be with my RV760 GPS than without it! Despite its shortcomings–and every GPS unit has shortcomings–I never drive my RV without using it, the backup camera being one reason. All GPS units have shortcomings, you just have to learn to live with them. READ MORE…


GOPOWER 120 WATT SOLAR PANEL KIT

The solar panel portion of the GoPower GP-PSK-120 solar panel kit
The solar panel portion of the GoPower GP-PSK-120 solar panel kit

In this report I will be writing about the GoPower 120 Watt portable solar panel kit, model GP-PSK-120. Originally I rated this product “Don’t Buy” but since then the product has changed and so has my approach to reviewing products. Realizing that a product may well suit the needs of one person but not those of another I think it makes more sense to simply describe my experience with it and let readers decide for themselves whether or not they would want to purchase. READ MORE…


WeBoost Drive 4G-M (formerly Wilson Mobile 4G) RV Cellular Signal Booster

Wilson Mobile 4G RV Cell Signal Booster
Wilson Mobile 4G RV Cell Signal Booster. Now sold under the WeBoost brand name.

The idea behind this product is to boost cell signals thereby improving your ability to both make cell calls and transfer data (Internet) in locations where it can otherwise be difficult or impossible to do so. I’ve used one of these for almost a year (as of April 2015) as I’ve traveled about the country in a motorhome. So, it’s from that vantage point my comments are issued. READ MORE…


 

MAKE YOUR OWN NATURAL, EFFECTIVE LIP BALM – IT’S CHEAP AND FUN!

The most basic recipe for lip balm that I found called for coconut oil and beeswax. That's all, and it made really nice lip balm. I also used Vitamin E in some of my recipes. That's shaved beeswax in the bag. I should have put the tubes in the photo with the other lip balm making tools. So sue me.
The most basic recipe for lip balm that I found called for coconut oil and beeswax. That’s all, and it made really nice lip balm. I also used Vitamin E in some of my recipes. That’s shaved beeswax in the bag. I should have put the tubes in the photo with the other lip balm making tools. So sue me.

This is my blog, created to regale you with tales of my RVing adventures. So, “what does lip balm have to do with RVing?” you ask. Everything… nothing. Depends on your point of view. For me, RVing means going to beautiful places in nature. Sometimes it’s cold and windy up in the mountains and my lips tend to get dry and chapped. Sometimes it’s hot and dry in the desert and, well, my lips tend to get dry and chapped. Either way, I’m a lip balm-aholic. I never leave home without it. READ MORE…


 

Malfunctioning RV Holding Tank Sensor Probes and Potential Fixes

Here are three KIB Enterprise MP5 holding tank probes. On the left is what they look like delivered. The nuts need to be loose in order to press the other end into a 3/8" hole in the tank. In the center I've tightened the nuts a little bit and you can see how the rubber grommet is beginning to compress as it would once inside the tank and the inner nut tightened. After insertion and tightening the first nut, the electrical connector is placed over the threaded post and then the second nut holds it to the assembly. On the right you can see the probe is merely an assembly of five simple parts: a grommet, a stainless steel screw, a washer and two nuts.
Here are three KIB Enterprise MP5 holding tank probes. On the left is what they look like delivered. The nuts need to be loose in order to press the other end into a 3/8″ hole in the tank. In the center I’ve tightened the nuts a little bit and you can see how the rubber grommet is beginning to compress as it would once inside the tank and the inner nut tightened. After insertion and tightening the first nut, the electrical connector is placed over the threaded post and then the second nut holds it to the assembly. On the right you can see the probe is merely an assembly of five simple parts: a grommet, a stainless steel screw, a washer and two nuts.

I was recently faced with what may be the most ubiquitous problem in the world of RVing: a malfunctioning holding tank sensor system that incorrectly reports the fill level of the tanks. There are already a great many posts online about the subject with all kinds of suggested remedies. These include methods that attempt to clean the sensor probes by placing various solutions into the holding tanks, to rinsing wands that in some cases can be inserted into the tanks, to replacing the existing system with a new one of the same or different kind, etc. In my search for solutions I haven’t, however, come across information about locating replacement OEM sensor probes or installing them, and it took a bit of doing for me to locate some probes and information about installing them correctly. Sharing information on these latter two aspects of the problem is what motivated me to make this post. If all you want to know is where to get new probes and the correct installation positioning for them, then skip to Locating and Installing Replacement Holding Tank Probes (below). I am not providing information about commercial or home made tank cleaning liquids or methods because I have no way I can adequately test them. READ MORE…


The Saga of the Mysterious Check Engine Light

Your check engine light may look like any one of these, or something else.
Your check engine light may look like any one of these, or something else.

Many of us have seen it and if you’re like me you’ve been puzzled by it–the Check Engine light on the dashboard of your car or RV. Normally, it illuminates with many other lights when first turning on the ignition, and then it disappears along with most of the others when the engine begins to run. What does it mean, though, when you’re driving merrily along your way and the Check Engine light comes on? Well, it could mean one of many things or point to more than one item that requires attention. The engine has a lot of parts and components, mechanical and electronic. Just which of these things are you supposed to check? Is it something urgent? Should you pull over and turn the engine off, or is it OK to continue driving? READ MORE…


 

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a.k.a. Travels With Charlene

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