Depending on Our RV Family

When we set out on our nomadic quest, one big anchor seemed to weigh us down.  That big question, “what happens if we need to vacate our RV to fly home for emergency, go on a non-RV vacation or meet a client in a different city for more than an overnight?”  Since we’re not keen on boarding our nomad cats, we needed to think about the ‘what if’ and figure out how we’re going to find worthy person(s) to take care of our precious furry family members. 


Who ya gonna call?

Since we started RVing, there have been a few times when we’ve come to rely on our RV family.  Since we were already accustomed to leaning on our military family, it was a no-brainer that we continue relying on our birds of feather; those who are like minded and commiserate our lifestyle…(read more)

Our first time facing this dilemma was when we first arrived in Castroville, Texas in late fall of 2015.  Our son’s Army Unit Family Readiness Group called us to let us know when their unit will be arriving home from Afghanistan.  We wanted both of us to attend his homecoming at Fort Carson, Colorado but we were pretty sure only one of us were able to go because that looming issue was going to hold one of us down.  

Once we parked Liberty at the Alsation RV Resort, unhooked and set up, we immediately met our neighbor.   We discussed among ourselves if we even dare take a chance on asking someone we didn’t even know and giving them access to our RV to take care of our nomad cats and coach.  Sounds pretty scary right?

We were apprehensive. I mean, who wouldn’t be?  Would you give your house key to a complete stranger that just moved into your neighborhood to have access to everything you own and your beloved furry family members?  However, in lifestyle we now live, we ‘learn and earn’ our new family on the road…trust; and that trust goes both ways.

So, we took the chance…  

We noticed our neighbors in the motorhome next to us had a cat sticker on their door which gave us that ‘hmmm, I wonder if…’  Well, we put it in God’s hands and trusted that he would guide us.  The neighbors were nice and found that they too, were military veterans so that put us a bit more at ease.  Still, it was a bit scary however, we packed our backpacks, fueled up Captain America, gave the key to them leaving precise written instructions on the counter.  We patted our fuzzyheaded nomads on the noggins and kissed them goodbye hoping return to everything in tact and happy cats.  Early morning, we drove a 900 miles from San Antonio, Texas to Fort Carson Army Post in Colorado.  

After five days of welcoming our son home and helping him get settled, we drove back to San Antonio literally holding our breaths.  As we drove back into the RV Resort, we were relieved to see our ‘then’ Cyclone Toyhauler still parked there looking the same as when we left.  We unlocked our RV door only to be greeted by our two sleepy-eyed kitties who were seemingly glad to see us.  We were thrilled that they had all of their fluffy hair and were still pudgy.  Sighs of relief and smiles beamed on all of our faces. We were grateful that they AND our home on wheels were taken care so lovingly.  It was then we learned that with this lifestyle, we CAN rely on our RV family should we ever we have to step away. 

Fast forward to February 2017, we were at a slow crawl with no real set schedule from making our way to San Antonio, Texas from southern Arizona to get our annual medical appointments completed.  However, we were stopped in our tracks in El Paso when we received a call from Dan’s mom to ‘come quick’ as Dan’s Dad was gravely ill back in his hometown in Pennsylvania.

Already stressed from finding boondocking spots on our way back to San Antonio, this just sped up the process and now the emotional aspect of Dan losing his Dad took a toll.  Our reservations for Fort Sam Houston FamCamp were penned in for March 1st; practically a whole month away.  We called to see if we could arrive earlier because of our family emergency.  Unfortunately, we were told there was ‘no room at the inn’ so we were scampering for a place to park Liberty near San Antonio to get a rush flight home. We thought at that moment that we were going to ‘have to’ board the girls; something we were emphatically against. 

But then our RV Family came to the rescue!

Our RV besties Timily (Tim & Emily) from Ownlessdomore who have crossed our paths several times in the past couple years of RVing helped us.  They were already in San Antonio, Texas at Lackland AFB FamCamp for their own medical appointments.  We connected with them instantly and in turn, they spoke to the staff to see if we could get a site in two days.  Unfortunately, this Lackland’s FamCamp didn’t take reservations, so there was no way to know if we’d get in or not.  So as we continued to make our way closer to San Antonio, Emily gave us an hour-by-hour assessment of what sites were coming open.  The day we were to arrive, she kept an eye on any site opening up.  Needless to say, her vigilance paid off.  When we arrived at the commercial gate to the Air Force base, Tim even met us and escorted our tired and weary souls right to our site.  

We immediately parked, set up our RV and shortly after made our flight reservations.  Before we could even ask, Tim and Emily were right there waiting for directions on how to care for Krissie and Kandi.  They even took us to the airport the next morning and picked us up when we returned.  Our kitties fell in love with Emily even though she’s not a ‘cat person’ but it seemed they grew on Emily…even though she’s allergic to cats.

We’ve appreciate that our RV family understands and commiserates our nomadic lifestyle. And of course, we do the same for others. Earning each other’s trust isn’t taken lightly. We always try to be good people and render help when needed…

…we have to because who else are ya gonna call?

Don’t think that we hand the keys over to just anyone.  Similarly, when we lived in our S&B (sticks and bricks), we have a mental checklist of how we pick our pet sitters and caretakers. To us, its extremely important that they not only ‘like’ cats but they must love ‘our’ cats because they are our furkids.  We’d want them to treat our girls just the same as we do.

Finally and worth noting, an RV is not like a S&B in respect to the mechanics and engineering.  Who knows better than our fellow RVers who know the electrical, HVAC, water and sewer systems. While there may be professional pet sitters wherever we park, if something goes awry with our RV, they won’t know what to do.  

So, if you’re an RVer who needs to leave your RV and/or pets to tend to family events or even a vacation or cruise, look no further than your RV’s door.  We’re not saying just throw caution to the wind.  Trust your gut and seek someone who will keep your home on wheels and all that’s in it safe and sound.

Our First Quartzsite Experience

In January of 2017, we boondocked in Quartzsite, Arizona with the Escapees Xscapers. Sadly, the weather was just plain snotty, cold, windy and rainy.  It reminded us of pre-winter days in New England.  Supposedly, we’ve heard that sort of weather is not typical that time of the year, but I digress.

So, what actually IS and WHERE is this place called “Quartzsite”?

Quartzsite is the Rock Capital of the World but to us RVers, its the Mecca west of the Mississippi where RVers make at least a once in a lifetime pilgrimage to. Quartzsite is located about 18 miles east of the Colorado River at the junction of US 95 and I 10 in southern Arizona.  

For the first two months of each year, this town blows up with popularity. Its famous Rock/Gem Show and Swap Meet as well as the RV Show are the town’s claim to fame. Its notoriety has grown to epic proportions as does its population from 4000+ residents to an estimated million visitors… (I’m just quoting what we’ve heard from area residents). It has become known for the largest gathering of RV’s in the whole world. We equate this to a bike week for motorcycles but for longer and with more people.

Now, if you happened upon Quartzsite during these two months, you’d see hundreds…no…thousands…no…make that tens of thousands of every possible kind of camper and RV known peppering the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) desert land ‘boondocking’ everywhere.  

You’d think we (RVers) had lost our marbles because, why would anyone buy a hundred(s) thousand dollar home-on-wheels with all the amenities to go live it up in the dry dirty desert?  Well, that question remains; we all do it for different reasons.  

 Quartzsite is an annual meeting place for some and a pilgrimage for others.  Some do it to get away from the daily grind to party it up while other more adventurous crowd goes hiking, dirt biking, or ATV riding. The usuals though, go rock shopping, RV shopping, and converge with big groups, etc.  

One thing we’ve learned; there is no right or wrong at the Q.

Captain America pulling our Landmark Liberty
 to our boondocking site near Dome Rock at the Q

Okay then, what IS ‘boondocking’?  

Also known as dispersed camping, dry camping or living off the grid, its when people, who live in homes on wheels or fabric houses go out and park in the middle of nowhere to live with limited or no amenities or hookups. That whole ‘let freedom ring’ thing. And, because its on BLM land, we really do it for free (up to 14 days per BLM).  There are no campground or utility fees unless you opt for one of the local campgrounds or RV parks.  

For us, our first Quartzsite experience was actually the perfect time to get away from the television because of the upcoming Presidential Innauguration. We had talked about trying this whole boondocking thing before and what better time than to start where there are amenities should we fail miserably at it.

So, being this was our first ‘long term’ boondocking adventure (more than 2 days at a time), this was a genuine learning experience.  

Owning our Landmark 365 fifth wheel with a residential refrigerator, convection oven, induction cooktop, keurig coffee maker, and other electricity suckers surely presented some huge power challenges. With a little ingenuity, patience and nerve, we got ourselves through.  

We called our friends…

A couple days after our arrival, we contacted our Heartland RV friends, Emily and Tim of OwnLessDoMore, who weren’t very far away and asked them to join us. They too, were new boondockers, so we did this whole experimentation gig together. Tim and Captain Dan worked on figuring out our dry-camping electrical power while Emily and I either relaxed, blogged or attended an Xscaper member-presentation or two…or bitched about having no electrical power.

Oh, about that ‘electrical power’…

Our coach was equipped with a 1000 watt inverter (because we have a residential refrigerator). Our battery bank lasted only about six hours which meant we needed to run our generator a few times a day to charge two batteries to keep running off that inverter. As we’ve shared in a previous blog posting, our Wen Generators have been our saving grace to allow us to boondock and going off the grid. 

But we also had to run the generator at meal times because, like I mentioned above, our coach is ‘all electric’ (convection oven and induction cooktop). We had to monitor our electric usage and not have it running all day or night. 

We also needed to run one of the generators during the night to supply power to a CPAP machine that requires humidification for one of us so that presented a whole other added issue.  

Since, Dan installed a 12volt DC outlet close to the bed so we could plug in the CPAP to feed off of the battery bank so we don’t have to run a genny during sleeping hours. 

Sounds simple, right?

To do that though, meant we had to beef up our battery bank from two 12volt house batteries to four 6volt house batteries when we got back to Texas in the next months.  We figured approximate cost for that mod would amount to a cool grand ($1000). We estimated that would enable us to run on battery power from 18-24 hours barring use of the convection oven, induction cooktop, and both AC’s. (Note: at the time of writing this, we don’t have solid data yet).

Though we enjoy owning a full electric coach, our issue of cooking while not tethered to an electrical source meant we needed to fire up at least one of the generators just to boil water.  Seriously???

So, anytime I needed to use any appliance that produced heat or excessive power draw (i.e. Keurig, induction cooktop, convection oven, etc.), both generators needed to be paralleled to power the higher wattage appliances. *sigh*  

Sooooooo, that beautiful and super-convenient Keurig coffee maker I loved so much became a huge inconvenient pain in the behind! In fact, as I have learned, Keurigs are the worst energy hogs!  Additionally, anything that has a heating element of some sort replicates.

So, we had to look at plan B; pre-making our coffee when both generators were on and storing the hot coffee in our thermos.

Well, Plan B didn’t work as well as we wished as the coffee in the thermos didn’t really keep them hot-hot until the following morning (24 hours).  So we moved onto Plan C; a French Coffee Press that Emily lent us.  Well, that made the most awesome coffee but it sure took a ton of water to clean, which then, we entered into a whole other issue; water conservation!

So, those are just a few things we learned on how to survive out there in the Arizona desert in our ‘all electric luxury’ 5th wheel. 

Now, about this whole DESERT living… 

The desert around Quartzsite is not the pictoral desert of beautiful, rolling hills of sand dunes you’ve seen in magazines.  The Arizona Desert is actually craggy and rocky with small mountains and ridges with tons of washes where torrential rain water collects in rocky trenches. What may look flat from a distance is actually deep trenches and troughs. Oh, and when it rains, you best not be anywhere near them as they flood quickly which is one of the reasons why ‘we’ parked up on high ground.

There are Saguaros Cactus, Chollas, Prickly Pear Cactus and Barrel Cactus along with small Mesquites and Junipers peppering the landscape.  Its scruffy and quite ugly actually which leads to the question ‘why would anyone really want to go there?’ 

Well, as they say, ‘when in Rome, do as Romans do’ and we did just that. We, as RVers, went to Quartzsite because it was just the thing RVers do…at least once.

On a good note, despite the cold, wet and windy weather we experienced, Quartzsite boasts awesome scrappy terrain full of single track and double track trails; the perfect playground for Jeeps, dirt bikes, ATVs & RZRs. Being ADV riders, we took full advantage and rode through the washes and trails; as solos or with other fellow adventure riding Xscapers. 

Lisa being her rebel self
Captain Dan at the base of Dome Rock
Our Xscaper ADVer group is ready to roll

So, there you have it.  Now you know what Quartzsite or ‘the Q’ is all about and our ‘First Quartzsite Experience’. We learned a lot. We failed at some and succeeded at others but we came out alive knowing what we need to do to prepare ourselves for next year.

The Corner That Put Winslow on the Map

Well, I’m a-runnin’ down the road, tryin’ to loosen my load

I’ve got seven women on my mind.
Four that want to own me, two that want to stone me,
One says she’s a friend of mine…

And there
we were
(how most of our stories begin…it’s a military thing) “Standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona”.  All this time, we thought this was a
fictional place in a popular 1972 
Eagles classic rock song, but no, it is very real.  What’s funny is we didn’t
plan on going there. 
We were OTR (on the road) this past spring and happened to stop for an overnight in nearby Holbrook.  We got parked our Landmark at the OK RV Park, unhooked and set up with ample enough time to go check out this notorious small town treasure. We like to go see things…the weird, the strange, the well-known and the unknown; this being no exception.  Besides, we both were and are big Eagles fans that enjoy their music.  To get there, we took I-40 exit 252, then east on Route 66 (Second Street) Northwest corner of Second and Kinsley Avenue.  
Captain Dan “standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona”

In 1999, a public park was opened commemorating the Eagle’s song ‘Take it Easy’ written by JacksonBrowne and the late Glenn Frey.  Today
stands a life-size bronze statue of Jackson Browne with a guitar on the corner
on Route 66 in Winslow.  In the middle of
the intersection is a huge Route 66 sign painted on the asphalt.  Only a few steps away from the statue is the park surrounded by a wall of bricks; each with a donor’s name and story describing
their fondness for Winslow.  There’s also
an amazing life-like two-story mural by John Pugh (behind Dan in the photo above)

A small
tidbit of history of Winslow:

Winslow, a busy northern Arizona town was thriving until the 1960’s.  A decade later, the construction of the I-40 bypass around Winslow began.  When it opened, local traffic lessened considerably and business patronage dropped. While the railroad remained and kept the town running, the much needed tourism came to a screeching halt.  Local restaurants lost to national chains such as Walmart and McDonald’s along the new Interstate highway north of the town.  Two decades went by and Winslow struggled commercially.  The town’s identity became lost; no more cars and trucks rolled through the town.  It lost it’s map dot.
However, in 1997, Winslow’s La Posada Hotel (a former Harvey House
on the Santa Fe Railroad long at risk for demolition)
was beautifully restored and
reopened. Listing of La Posada Historic District on the National Register
of Historic Places would serve as a first step toward re-awakening the
The Standin’ on the Corner Foundation was formed to create
a renaissance of Winslow. Determined to build on tourism, the Foundation took
advantage of the town being mentioned in the song “Take It Easy” made
famous by the Eagles. From 1997 until 1999, the foundation was busy finding
donors and planning design concepts. On September 10 and 11, 1999 the park was
opened to the public.  Across the street, stands Roadworks Gifts and Souvenirs and yes, they play(ed) nonstop Eagles music.  
Well, I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona,

Such a fine sight to see.
Its a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me…

Come on baby, don’t say maybe

I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me.
We may lose and we may win, though we will never be here again.
So open up I’m climbin’ in, so take it easy.

The 2006 release of the animated film ‘Cars’ brought
renewed attention to the efforts to save local U.S. Route 66 main street
businesses in towns long bypassed. While Winslow itself is not depicted
on-screen, the movie’s credits list both La Posada Hotel and Diane Patterson’s Roadworks Souvenir Shop at Standin’ on the Corner Park among the many Mother Road locations
at which Pixar studio personnel conducted exhaustive interviews as part of
extensive research for the film.
On October 18, 2004, there was a fire at the Standin’ on
the Corner Park (before it became notorious). While the face of the building and the actual corner survived,
the rest of the building was burned down. As of 2011, an attempt to restore
downtown Winslow tourism has been on the up.  Today, the town seems to be a thriving bustle once again with locals and tourists driving the Route 66 and frequenting the shops and cafes.  Old Route 66 is making a comeback.
Now, each time we hear that song, it will take us back to that special corner in small town, Winslow while we will singing along… 
Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy
Come on baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me…

Santa’s Top 25 Gifts for RV and Campers!

Ya know, this subject has come up a lot in discussion with
family and friends; even amongst fellow RVers around the campfire or happy hour. 
We get the standard, ‘we don’t
know what to get you for Christmas’

Well, come on now, it’s not that hard. While we don’t need weed whackers,
lawn mowers, cold winter parkas, mittens or boots, pieces of furniture, etc. we
still endeavor to see fancy decorated presents under the tree or open packages
with our names on it.  
We LOVE presents….LOTS of presents wrapped up in pretty bows!

Our son got it right our first Christmas underway two years ago; he bought a
ton of gift cards for national chain restaurants.  He appreciated that on travel days or times
we just didn’t feel like cooking, or while we are sightseeing or hiking, a
quick meal out is a nice finisher.  So, when
we opened up those little envelopes, shiny holographic gift cards fell out, we
were blissful!   He knew we loved Cracker
Barrel, Applebees, Starbucks, Carrabbas, Olive Garden, B Dubs, and other chain
restaurants nationwide.  I think he even
tucked in one for Shell gas station (because
they have diesel)
.  We were happy
campers!  We wonder what he and his wife
will get us this year as they know our nomadic minimalist lifestyle may limit them
in their shopping quest.

However, not ever being ungrateful and please don’t take
this the wrong way but sometimes gift cards can become generic.  We admit, we all like to open presents with
cool paper with bows and tags or even a little trinket dangling off the bow on
top.  Now realize, this may be ‘our’
perspective but it does give an understanding of what we (collectively speaking) RVers like or need for our travels.  So, we compiled categorized lists that push
the envelope your way to your practical gift buying.
  • Shark or Dyson Vacuum
    – Yes, even RVs and Campers need to be vacuumed.
      Get one that picks up pet hair, sand, gravel,
      They will thank you for it…and love
    you for it.
  • Handcrafted
    Personalized Banner, Flag or Sign
    – These are cool!  We see them all over the parks and make great
    conversation starters since we see their names
    (Hi Barb & Mike, you have two kitties too?!) If they named
    their RV, this would be perfect too! ***
  • Unique Outdoor Lights
    – party lights rock!
      You could get a
    string of lights, rope lights, solar spot lights, etc.
      We all like to decorate our coaches and rigs;
    inside and out.
      You can go ‘class’ or ‘sass’. 
These are specially designed RV Camper lights.

  • Portable Countertop
    Ice Maker
    – if we don’t already have a residential refrigerator, these are
    awesome for us who love ice in their cocktails or beverages.
  • Instant Pot or Crock
    – because RVers love one-pot meals. 
    They are easier to clean up after and can be left cooking while we are
    out hiking, shopping and sightseeing.
    Dinner can be ready when we get back.
  • Collapsible Kitchen
    Bowls, Colander, and Measuring Cups
    – they store beautifully and won’t
    break while in transit.

Ooooooo, look at this ‘cool’ portable ice maker!
Perfect for Happy Hours!
  • SD Memory Cards (mini
    and macro)
    – many of us have cameras. 
    Those of us who have Android phones, love the macro SD cards to hold
    many photos we take on the road.
      We love
    to show off our photos at table conversations and nothing is better than
    whipping out our phones that have a card inserted loaded with photos out the
    ying yang.
  • Portable USB battery
    – you don’t know how many times we’ve been out somewhere and the
    battery life on our phones just juiced out.
    We’ve had that happen in the middle of Death Valley and the
      Then we couldn’t take any more
    photos…because our phone(s) died.
      Now we
    have them everywhere; in our truck, our backpacks, our RV, Lisa’s purse,
      You can never have enough of them!
  • Electronic Picture
    – Since we are minimalists, we can’t have a thousand picture frames
    in our RV’s however, we love to show off our families and friends.
      Make sure you include an SD card…with a few
    of your own photos loaded on it!
    quality is a plus!
     (Hey Santa, we’d love one of these!!) ***
  • Dash Cam – we don’t
    mean to scare you but you can’t begin to understand how many times distracted or
    inconsiderate drivers do some awful driving moves right in front of us.
      We pray we won’t ever get into an accident
    (because pulling an 18,000 pound RV it isn’t going to be pretty!) but if or
    when we do, we need proof for court and our insurance.
      We bought one at Walmart for about $50.  Call it a ‘reassurance
    for insurance’
Dash Cams ROCK!

  • Hiking Gear
    some of us hike or trek.
      Ideas are a
    good easy compass, small handheld GPS, trekking poles, backpack(s), multi-use
    tool, waterproof topography maps, Nalgene or stainless water bottles,
    flashlight(s), small first aid kit, water filter kit, good granola bars,
      We already have these but we know
    these are essential for every hike.
    Oooooooh, a handheld GPS would be nice too! (Hint Hint!)
  • Binoculars – HA!  You can’t believe the many uses these
      Not only for spotting cool
    looking birds out our back window but also, in the passenger side of our
      While transiting, the passenger
    can look through them to see traffic up ahead, exit signs, fuel stations,
    wildlife, etc.
      (Oh Santa, please?)
  • LED Lantern and/or
    – we love to walk everywhere and sometimes it’s really dark
      Get one…two…or five…all
    different sizes too!
      Seriously, we can
    never have too many.
      We have about five;
    one in the truck, two in the RV, underneath storage compartment, and backpack.
  • Propane Fire Pit
    we bought our Outland on Amazon.
      These are
    amazing because most RV parks and Resorts no longer allow wood burning
      As well, firewood is expensive
    and not easy to acquire.
     Add in a couple
    of those small green propane canisters you can find in the camping section of
  • Portable Grill
    we LOVE our Webber Q 200!
      It heats via
      Pair it with a green propane
    canister (or 5!) you can find in the camping section of stores.
      Ours cost about $200.  Every RVer needs a grill!  

  • Small Hand-Carry Soft
    – fill this sucker up with a couple of can and bottle koozies,
    bottle/can opener, wine bottle opener, ice packs, vinyl tablecloth, wet wipes, etc.
      A ’12-pack’ size is great for a day trip out.  Also, a nice thing to have when we go grocery
    shopping to put our raw meats in to keep them from spoiling on the way home on
    hot days.
      We have one and its worth a
    million dollars to us!
  • Books of Post Card
    and First Class Stamps
    – no, really! 
    Some of us still like to ‘write home’. 
    Add in a nice pen and pencil set and some all-occasion box of greeting
    cards too!
      We still send birthday, get
    well, sympathy, and congrats cards.
  • Small Computer
    – those small portable ones…that fit in a small case.  We still need to print things like insurance
    cards, shipping labels, documents to sign, etc.
    Pair it with an extra print cartridge and small ream of paper.  Don’t forget to buy a printer cable too.  Again, we’re minimalists and big honkin’
    printers just aren’t going to work as we don’t have the space to store or set
    it up.
  • Plane Ticket(s)
    most times, we are going to be far from family.
    Help us to come visit you.  It
    also gives us
    ‘a vacation from our
    .  (again, humor us!) Pack
    them inside a small carry-on bag with some destination maps to make it fun!
  • Hotel/Spa Gift Cards
    – Don’t laugh!
      What some ladies wouldn’t
    give to get a comfy high class hotel room for a night because…they have
    bathtubs and spas!
      Sometimes, we enjoy a
    getaway and pampering even though we RV travel.
    If you know where your RV family member or friend is going to be, check
    out that area and find a reputable one.
    Then TELL them to GO.  Pair it
    with a nice restaurant and they will love you forever…and more!
  • Motor Carriers
    Trucker’s Atlas
    – these are a must, even if we have a GPS.  We check these for bridge clearance
      Generally speaking, the bigger we
    are (RV’s that is…), we are more apt to travel roads and highways that truckers

  • RV & Travel Club
    – always check with your RVing family member or friend to see
    which ones they have.
      Even if you don’t
    buy one, perhaps put cash in an envelope and say ‘this is for your Escapees
      It’s a thoughtful and
    practical gesture.
      Check out CoachNet, Escapees,
    Harvest Hosts, Good Sam, Passport America, AAA, etc.

  • Restaurant Gift Cards
    – like we mentioned, national chain restaurants are awesome, but please not
    McDonald’s or Burger King.
      Try for
    something healthier because we admit, we get caught up in eating local foods and
    most times, they are not exactly the healthiest.
  • Gas Gift Cards
    we ALWAYS need fuel! But please, make certain the fuel stations you pick have
    diesel in most places.
      That’s what most full-time
    RVers use for diesel trucks and motorhomes.
  • Home Depot/Lowes/BedBath
    & Beyond Gift Cards
    – we always are fixing something. We may need a
    certain tool or supplies.
      They also sell
    holiday decorations, grills and grill parts, outdoor furniture, patio rugs, plants,
    cabinet knobs, cleaning supplies, etc.
    SO much better than Walmart (humor
      We also like to change out our
    towels and bedding.
      Great for cooking
    tools too!
Gift Cards GALORE!!  Always check if there are expiration dates.

The list doesn’t end here though.  We are sure that there are probably a hundred…or
a thousand…or million other things that RVers would love to get as a gift. 
Things to keep in mind when shopping for your RVing friend
or family member; 
RV’s and Campers are small. 
We have limited storage space so keep that in mind when shopping.
  1. ASK what they would like. 
    You might get them something they already have or tried and it didn’t
    work for them or their RV lifestyle.
  2. Always include the receipt. 
    Ask the retailer if your gift can be returned at a different location as
    we travel around.
  3. Ask if gift cards have expiration dates.  Perhaps your RVer won’t be at that RV resort,
    or city until a year from now.
  4. If you get anything personalized, make certain you get the
    names and hometowns/state correct spelling (for signs, banners, flags…).  

So, if you’re reading this, whether you’re an RVer or a
family/friend of an RV’er, we hope this helps. 
Sometimes asking what they/we would like gets you the standard
“I don’t care” or “whatever you’d like” but really, it’s about what the RVer in your
life would like.  Holiday gift giving
should be FUN…for both of you!

Happy Holiday Shopping!  

WEN 56200i 2000 Watt Generator – Product Review

In late 2016, we purchased
WEN 56200i 2000 watt generators for our
Heartland Landmark 365.  We planned to use these for limited dry camping
(boondocking) and for emergency situations.  These portable generators are
2000 watt inverter generators that can be run in parallel to provide up to 4000
watts and approximately 30 amps.  We purchased them from Amazon along
with a parallel kit for a total cost of less than a cool grand.  

Liberty’s Lisa posing with our new power sources.

Description borrowed from WEN’s website:

WEN 2000 Watt Inverter Generator Item: 56200i
– Extremely quiet operation is comparable to the sound of a normal conversation according to the US Department of Health and Human Services
– EPA III and CARB Compliant 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts
– Great for campgrounds, construction sites, tailgates and power outages
– Produces clean power to safely operate and prevent damage to sensitive electronics such as smart phones, tablets, televisions and computers
– Includes two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle and one 5V USB port
Remember when you had clean and efficient portable power? The WEN 2,000 Watt Inverter Generator produces clean energy free of voltage spikes and drops. The WEN 2,000 Watt Inverter Generator produces clean energy free of voltage spikes and drops. Designed to mirror a pure sine wave, this generator limits total harmonic distortion to under 0.3 percent at no load and under 1.2 percent at full load, making it safe enough to run laptops, cellphones, monitors, tablets and other vulnerable electronics. Generate 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts of power. Our 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine operates at an extremely quiet 51 decibels, quieter than a window air conditioner or the average conversation. This limits its invasiveness while hunting, camping, tailgating and restoring back-up power. The lightweight design makes for easy portability while the ultra-efficient one-gallon tank provides over 6 hours of half-load run time. 
This fully-packed panel comes equipped with two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle and one 5V USB port. Maximize fuel economy by engaging the WEN 2000 Watt Inverter Generator’s Eco Mode. This feature allows the generator’s motor to automatically adjust its fuel consumption as items are plugged and unplugged from the panel, preventing the usage of unnecessary gasoline. Need more energy? Easily link up two generators using a parallel kit (sold separately) in order to share wattage amongst multiple units. Low-oil and low-fuel automatic shutdown with indication lights along with overload protection safeguard both your generator and your electronics from damage. And because this is a WEN Product, your inverter generator comes backed by a 2-year warranty, a nationwide network of skilled service technicians and a friendly customer helpline. Remember when your generator powered your electronics safely and quietly? Remember WEN.
Each weighs approximately 50 pounds and has one gallon gas tanks.

Our first thing to do was add oil and fuel to each generator and start them up to cycle the fluids through.
.37 quarts of 30W oil
1 gallon of 87 octane gasoline.
Each brand new generator took
about three pulls to start.  We let them both run at variable speeds for
about an hour and before hooking them to Liberty.

Paralleling the Wen generators using the Wen 56421 kit.
and providing full power to Liberty.

The generators were able
to provide power for Liberty’s residential refrigerator, battery
charger, lights and one 15000 BTU air conditioner with no problems.
 We only ran them for thirty minutes the first time. In the future, we
plan on conducting more evaluations to determine fuel consumption rate and
decide on what electrical appliances and devices we can power.  Liberty
has an Electrical Management System (EMS) on board that will shed power to the
desired appliances.  Liberty’s monthly maintenance plan includes
exercising the generators for two hours every month to keep them active and to
keep fresh fuel in them.  In the meantime, their light weight and small
size allow them to be stored in Liberty’s forward compartment.

After using the WEN generators for over 100 hours we are happy to report
on their success and reliability.  We have used the units in multiple
dry camping situations and one time at a campground that lost power for 14
hours.  The generators have been run for over 24 hours several times
with no adverse issues.  Ours averaged about 10 ½ hours of run time
on one gallon of gasoline.  We changed the oil in both generators
after 50 hours of use.  The oil change was straight forward and easy
to do.

Portable generators are
available from many different manufacturers and sales outlets
today.  They may not be for everybody depending on your situation,
but we have found them to be less expensive than installed systems and equally
reliable.  They have taken the anxiety out of dry camping with our
residential refrigerator and have allowed us to keep our batteries fully
charged while we contemplate if solar panels will be installed on Liberty in
the future.

Blog Post written by
Captain Dan

Disclaimer:  This review reflects only our
opinion of usage.  Though we receive commission via Amazon sales, we were not compensated in any way by WEN to publish
this review.  We will not be held liable for mishaps and/or misuse of any kind.  These opinions and review is our own.