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Monday, January 16, 2012

Quartzsite Shopping List

With our newly minted life as fulltimers, we're working hard to get in the proper frame of mind.  Slow down, drive fewer miles, stay longer in places, see the great sights of our beautiful country, and most of all, learn to live in less than 400 square feet.

Although we've had RV's (the Journey is our fourth), up to this time, they've always been for weekend and the annual vacation use.  You don't need a whole lot of specialize "stuff" to equip your RV with.

Now that the Journey is our one and only home (not missing the snow shoveling, the lawn mowing or the evil paintbrush), we want to make it as comfortable and fun to live in as possible.  There are many "nice to haves" and "must haves" to make life better and safer.

In the "must have" category, first up is the tow bar.  We have a Roadmaster tow bar that is supposed to be a non-binding unit.  It has two levers, one on each leg that when you lift them, they release the pressure and make disconnecting the toad very easy.  Especially when the toad is not directly behind the Journey.  I got this tow bar second hand from my dad when he sold his RV and it worked well for a while. I cleaned and lubricated it regularly.  Then it began to bind up on one side, even thought the lever was released, the shaft would not slide into the arm, it was stuck.  No amount of pounding with a rubber mallet would get it to release.  It was still usable, and for our part time travels didn't matter too much.  Now that we're fulltime, it has to be fixed.

Not wanting to buy a new tow bar, in Q the Roadmaster company will rebuild your tow bar.  That's going to be our first stop, to get on the list to have it done.

Next is getting an upgraded braking system for the Element.  I want to get one that is permanently in place and only has to have a single wire or line to attach to the car instead of one that has to be installed and removed from the brake pedal every time you go.

Then there is our "life line", our Internet connection.  We need to get a signal booster and we are pretty sure we're going to pursue one of the Wilson Trucker Antenna systems, so we'll be looking for a vendor who has one with the best price.  We love having the ability to use our computers anywhere and it is a little frustrating when the signal is weak.  (Yes, Sherry, I have not been able to post any comments on your blog or see your pictures, can only read your text.)

On the "nice to haves" is looking at solar panels.  We are mixed in thought on this.  We want to research the systems and costs because we are not sure we would benefit from the installation of them.
So far, the vast majority of our RV travels have been to RV campgrounds, the only off the grid stays we've had have been in Walmarts, Flying J's or moochdocking in our kid's driveways.  We know about the many wonderful BLM lands where you can get away from people and enjoy the solitude of nature. 

We have not been able to do that yet and other than our stay in Q, we won't be able to do this type of camping very often for the foreseeable future.  The rare time we will do this, we'll rely on our 8KW Quiet Diesel Onan generator to top off our batteries.  In the future if we're able to do more boondocking on BLM lands, then it might be worthwhile for us to install a system, they are not cheap.

We are going to look at in-motion satellite domes.  We have one currently on the Journey, but it is an older type.  It has a cable attached to the rotating head that picks up the signal.  It works okay, but at times loses the picture because the head has tracked the signal to the end of the cable and has to unwind and rewind the cable and then reacquire the signal, usually on an off ramp or a long curve in the road.  Sometimes when the signal is lost, it takes quite a while for the dome to reacquire it.  We want to see how much it would cost to upgrade to a dome that has a slip ring system, like on a steering wheel, where there is no cable at all.  We like having the in-motion system so the grandkids can watch their favorite TV shows when they travel with us.

Then back to the "must haves".  Marti is going to look at all the shiny things that a woman needs to adorn her body with, necklaces, bracelets, rings and so forth. 

Her reasoning behind purchases of this type is they don't take up much of the under 400 square feet of room in our Journey. ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


  1. I've certainly been happy with my Wilson amplifier and trucker's antenna for the last five years.

  2. That is a big list:) We have used a Verizon air card with cradlepoint router for quite a while and the vast majority of the time it works fine.

  3. When we hit the road in April, we are going to try and do without the high-powered SAT for TV. The rig comes with an HDTV antenna hooked into the 32" HDTV and we hope that will pull in local channels - not big TV folks we like our books on our Kindles. We are having a WiFi Ranger Pro Mobile Boost installed which should grab onto RV Park WiFi which we hope will be enough for our small daily needs - email & blog.
    Time will tell - I'm sure we'll have to make adjustments along the way.

  4. We got an Air Force One braking system. You don't even know it's there and just have to hook up one cable.

    We've pretty much gotten everything we need except a dash cover and new flooring to replace the carpeting.

    It takes time...and money.

  5. Your must haves sound like just that. As for solar, it really does require a lot of use to make it worth doing.

    I don't care if you see the pictures or even read the blog, I just miss your witty comments. So just log on and say anything and I'll be happy. :-))

  6. We're in the same boat re: solar. We're going to travel for about a year and see how much boondocking we'll be doing before we decide on installing solar; in the meantime, the generator will be our battery charger.

  7. We have 400 watts of solar panels on the roof of our Discovery, but I always advise folks to upgrade your battery storage first. We have 8 - 6V house batteries, up from the original 4. That way when you are running the gennie you are using it more efficiently.

    You won't need either here at Dogpound South though.

  8. you never really know what you need until you live the experience right? Good list so far folks...when we purchased this mh last June I was surprised to see a solar panel on the roof..what for I'm not we have 4 12v batteries...don't know what the prev owners plan was but it sure wouldn't work with this setup...

  9. I'll be interested to see what you find for a brake. I really hate having the kind that you have to hook-up to the brake pedal. Works fine but it's a pain to get off and on. Good luck with the list.

  10. Well, Marti does have a point there...

  11. have fun crossing the items off your shopping list!!..I am with Marti on the small trinkets!..they don't take up much room and do make us girls happy!!

  12. Sounds like a big shopping list. We have not yet invested in the antenna and amplifier but we probably should. I also hate the add a brake thing but we will live with it for now. Hope Marti finds some good trinkets

  13. You certainly have a list. I do know that Blue Ox has been here in the past rebuilding towbars. There are several solar dealers. Right now we have a couple solar experts with us. At least they will be able to help with questions. Just before we added our trailer, we were looking at the Ready Brake since it just attached to the coach without anything being put under the brake. I'm sure you'll find lots of options and lots of jewelry.

  14. Hi guys. On the brake issue, we currently have the Patriot "brake in a box" system. It has worked well for us for the past year, but like you we want something a bit more "convenient". We're having the SMI AF1 system installed in March.

  15. Sounds like you have your work cut out for you. We're (and by 'we', I mean Ron) researching batteries since ours are 6 years old and don't seem to be holding a charge like they used to. Always something.