Posted on February 1st, 2016 by Brenda.B
OK….So we get asked quite often about storage and if we have any tips and tricks on how we organize things inside and outside our coach.
So I’m going to give you a peak inside our coach and how we store and organize things. This is truly how we live. I did not organize anything ahead of time. I did not clean up. This is our life, mess and all. I am not sugar coating any of this and you are seeing the true glory of how we live. No judgement please.
Of course every coach and RV are different but some of these organizational items, tips and tricks can hopefully help anyone out there.
First, let’s start in the kitchen.
Paper and plastic are ok if you are “going camping” but for every day life, regular plates and silverware are nice. We use Corelle-ware for our plates and bowls. It’s lightweight and hard to break. Wine in a regular, although stem-less, wine glass is also nice. We used the plastic wine glasses for a while but we really missed drinking from glass. The stem-less makes them easier to store in narrow cupboards.
One important factor in packing cupboards, no matter what you are packing and storing, whether it’s in the kitchen or where ever, is using the rubber shelf liners. These are very versatile. You’ll see as this post goes on that I use these liners everywhere.
Not only can you line your shelves with them, which will help things from moving around, I also put small slices of them between things. Plates, bowls, bakeware, etc. Everything gets a small slice of rubber shelf liner. It not only protects from damage and breakage but it also will eliminate the clinking of glass down the road, which quite frankly can get very annoying.
As far as oils and other liquids, I like to put the containers in a plastic tub. A plastic shoe sized bin is perfect for this. That way, if there is any spillage or leaking, it is contained in the plastic container. The black item you see in the picture is a bookshelf holder. I saved these from our house to use in the cupboards. It helps keep the bins in their place and, in my mind at least, it will give a little extra help in stopping the bins with the oils and liquids from leaning against the cupboards and potentially falling out of the cupboard if it comes open on a sharp turn. This actually has never happened to us but I really don’t want to see what happens when olive oil falls from a high cupboard onto a tile floor. Any little extra prevention can go a long way in your peace of mind.
A label maker is your friend. I love my label maker. Don’t judge me. As you can see in the above picture, we like our spices. Baking, cooking, sautéing, stir-frying, you name it. We spice it up. A label makes finding things a lot easier. Saves time and your sanity when you are looking for that one particular spice.
Same goes for the canned goods. We have a large drawer underneath our kitchen sink. I like to store my canned goods here. It’s not only large but it’s also low to the floor. So I don’t have to worry about all that weight in an overhead cupboard. Funny thing is, I just recently started labeling the tops of the cans. I’ve been putting them in this drawer since we moved into this coach almost 2 years ago. I got tired of lifting up the cans just to find the one I was looking for. Well, you know what they say; necessity is the mother of invention. Well, I got out the sharpie and started labeling the cans. It took me this long to figure this little trick out but now I can see in a quick glance what I have and what I need. Sometimes the obvious just needs to slap you on the head a few times for you to figure it out.
I store my baking pans in one plastic bin in a cupboard. It’s nice to be able to keep everything together and it saves space by storing these items upright. As usual, I place the rubber shelf liner between the glass and such to keep things safe and stop them from clinking down the road.
As far as the pots and pans, I have one large drawer underneath my dishwasher drawer that fits all of them perfectly. Again, the rubber shelf liner is used on the bottom of the drawer as well as between lids and pans to protect them and stop the clinking.
In the large cupboard above our couch I store items that I don’t use on a regular basis. This coach unfortunately does not have a pantry so all the smaller items that I need to store, extra items, etc, I place up there. I bought a couple plastic storage drawers for these items. One drawer is for all my baking items. Baking soda, flour, sugar, etc. They all go into this drawer so all baking items are together. The other drawer and wire shelving next to that drawer is used as my pantry. Extra mustard, peanut butter, honey, cereal, new spices, etc are stored here until their counterparts are used up. This way I never run out of the staples that we use all the time. It saves running to the store every few days if we just run out of honey. Which by the way, would never happen because I’ve discovered that I have a honey obsession. I seem to be drawn to different artisan honeys and I always seem to be buying more. Much to David’s dismay.
Above the passenger side window I keep other items that we don’t need to get to very often. Extra medicine, deodorants, hair products, power cords and extensions, chargers, glues, fuses, you name it, it is more than likely here. These plastic shoe type bins are good for all these smaller things. Keeping everything together in one particular category is helpful. Again, I used the label maker to label the bins so I can tell at a glance which bin is for what item. The wire shelf is handy for stacking different items and utilizing all the space in the cupboard. Labeling everything also helps with the David finding what he needs without too much effort and frustration. He just needs to know which cupboard to look in; the bin is the easy part.
Back in the closet area we have lots of nooks and crannies we can utilize for storage. A hanging shoe rack is helpful in keeping the shoes off the floor. Now the Tiffin 45 footers have shoe cubbies built into the back wall area. That was a thought we had for this model however it was too late to put it into your coach. Well, now they have it and thus more storage space!
The clothes are on slim, velvet hangers. Being thin saves space and being velvet saves the clothes from shimmying off the hangers when bouncing down the road.
The shelves above the clothes not only are good for storing bigger items like towels but bins as well. These storage bins have a bunch of David’s electronics, wires and WiFi equipment that he is constantly testing and using. It’s an easy place for him to pull the bin out and get to what he needs without too much fuss. Plus it keeps things nice and neat looking when not in use.
Long handled items like brooms, mops and our Swiffer duster easily fit in the cabinet that the washer and dryer are housed in. A little bit of Velcro on the wall and a little on the handle will keep these items neatly stored until you need them. Space is limited no matter what motor home or RV you have; so utilizing every bit is important.
Speaking of space…
The outside basement area is just as important to organize as the inside.
Our friends turned us on to this awesome self-retracting electric cord reel that fits perfectly in our basement next to our basement fridge. As stated, it self retracts, and is easily accessible when ever extra power is needed outside.
And don’t forget about the thin space between your chassis beams and floor. We use this space to store a small stepladder and our extra step. Perfect size and it keeps these items that we don’t use very often out of our regular storage areas. Note…Make sure noting is in the way of the slide out sliders. You do not want anything crushed, or worse, a broken slide.
It’s also helpful that I have a very handy husband. If it’s broke, he can more than likely fix it. Tools are an essential part of RVing and no one should be without some basics. Keeping these organized is always a challenge for David and he’s forever rearranging this area.
We don’t have a ladder on the back of our coach (by choice) so carrying one is important. You do need to have a way to get on your roof or just to get up high for something. David found this a-frame folding ladder that he stores on the sidewall of the basement. He can still pull the basement drawer in and out without disturbing the ladder and it’s always handy whenever he needs it. He also has this telescoping ladder for other jobs. Different ladders for different jobs. Each has their purpose and each have been handy to have.
Plastic bins also come in handy underneath the coach in the basement. If your partner in crime is anything like mine, he likes to hang on to some items for the “just in case” scenario. I don’t really mind that much because the items that David keeps have come in handy more than once. Extra cables, parts, etc are all stored here and when something breaks, which inevitably it will, he can hopefully fix it with a spare part that he has stored away.
I hope this has helped in answering some of your questions on storage and organization. I can only tell you and show you what has worked for our space and us. It really is a trial and error in finding what works for you and your space. And remember, you can always keep things on the countertops as well. Velcro and Quake Hold (or Museum Putty) are great for keeping things secure. For instance, David’s Jura super-automatic coffee machine (very important for everyone’s sake) stays on the countertop all the time with just a little bit of Velcro. It has never moved going down the road and you can easily lift it up to clean underneath when need be, then just place it right back where you had it.
And don’t forget, those of you that travel with pets, don’t forget to store them away as well.
As you can see, we store Tory underneath the bed. It keeps her safe and sound and we can take her out when ever we want to play with her.
Just kidding. Our pets are our family. As you may know we have three kitties and they have the run of the place. However, kitties do need a place to call there own and go and hide once in a while. There really is no place in the coach for this so David took the storage space that we had underneath our bed and made a “safe” zone for them. He cut a hole out behind the storage area and they can easily get in and out of there through that hole. He even put a motion sensing light back there so no one can “sneak up” on anyone else.
It’s also a great place to store the cat carriers, which fold up nice and neat.
Hope this helped and remember, just because your home has wheels does not mean you will not have space and storage. (Well, that does depend on what you own I guess.) You just have to get a little more creative. Think vertically. Think walls. Label and use clear bins so you can see things easily.
Also, a reminder that everyone should know what your carrying weight is and that you are not unsafely weighing your coach down. Also make sure that when you are storing items, you evenly distribute the weight, left to right, front to back. Just something else to keep in mind.
Safe Travels and we’ll see you out there!
Posted on January 23rd, 2016 by Brenda.B
Well, OOB Fest 2016 has come to a close. We had GREAT people come out to visit us and everyone made new friends.
We had some rv’ers join us that had never boon-docked before and others had been old pros at it. We’ve all discovered that it doesn’t matter what level of rving you have, everyone is welcome. We all helped each other as the week went on. As a matter of fact, David was called upon to help out with 6 different coaches that had different electrical issues that arose. Not something he had anticipated but he was glad he could help. We all would laugh around the bonfire at night about the Quartzsite Gremlins that seemed to strike. We were glad that it all worked out in the end.
We had a great Tech Talk that David along with others answered questions that other rvers may have had. This was a popular talk and we will be incorporating this again for next time.
The pot luck dinner was popular and everyone had made wonderful dishes to share with the group. There was hardly a bite left over when we were through with it.
We had some amazing hobbies, arts and crafts that people do while on the road. We had one woman showing off her beautiful hand made rings and spoons from antique buttons.
Another couple has a lathe on their seasonal site in California and they turned wood into gorgeous pens, bottle toppers and other items.
I on the other hand am not terribly crafty so my contribution was empty wine bottles that I turned into tiki torches. Useful and practical but not terribly crafty the way I do it, but others I have seen are just wonderful. Oh well. I guess I have to step up my game for next time.
David got his quadcopter out a few times and tried to go for his 2 mile record. The head winds were just not cooperating though so he was not able to fly that far. Oh well…there’s always next year. Others brought their quadcopters as well and it was fun to fly with other people.
We had two movie nights under the stars. One night our friends at Dish Network came out and joined us and brought along some door prizes. That was nice of them and we want to thank them for joining us and providing a large speaker for the movie. We only travel with a smaller set of speakers and we had such a crowd that a larger speaker was nice.
The second movie night we premiered David’s OOB Fest 2016 quadcopter video of our gathering. Everyone loved it and you can see it below.
Every morning and every evening we had great bonfires to keep us warm. Out here in the desert, once that sun goes down, we had some chilly nights. We had a great gathering every evening for campfires and memories. Meeting new friends and exchanging ideas, recipes and favorite trips, we all learned a lot from each other.
And speaking of the evenings, in my humble opinion, I feel nothing beats an Arizona sunset. And boy, did we have some doozies.
There were too many pets running around to get everyones pictures but here’s a few. It was amazing to me that all the pets got along like long lost friends.
BK of course was just bored with it all. Being an indoor cat, he could only watch from the windshield at all the fun the others were having.
Once Saturday came around it was time to hit the big RV tent event in Quartzsite. Most people went into town that day to shop til they dropped. The main tent even goes on for the whole following week so when you go is really up to you.
Everyone had a great time and it seemed we got rave reviews for the get together. We are happy we could do this for our friends.
And as our thanks to our “OOBies” for attending our first OOB Fest, or “OOBerfest” as it is now called thanks to one of our members, we had made everyone t-shirts! It was great to walk around the tent event and see people with our t-shirts on. What a kick we all had when someone would eventually come up to us and ask, “What’s an OOB?”.
It was fun and to answer all of you wanting to know if we are going to do this again next year?
Yes. I think we will. A year out is a little far to plan something, as you all know, things happen. But from the looks of it, we will be doing another OOB Fest next year in Quartzsite.
Keep your eyes open for details as time gets closer.
So long for now and we hope to run into our OOBies on the road! Make sure that if you see us you stop and say Hello!
We love our OOBies and our OOBies showed us that they love us too. Thanks to all that came!
Hope you enjoy the quadcopter video that David put together for the first ever OOB Fest 2016! Please feel free to share it!
Posted on January 12th, 2016 by David.B
Just wanted to make a quick post to say “Where the heck are you all?” Oh wait, it is only Tuesday. You all will be arriving on Thursday, all 40 of you. Well, that is except for the six that are already here, two of which have been waiting for a few days already. So here we are waiting for your arrival. Fire ring area is ready, wood is being stacked, and the donuts for Friday morning are ordered.
When you arrive in the area, just look for the OOB logo signs. Ok, we admit, they are small signs, only 8.5″X11″ paper. So L@@K for them. You will find one by the street site where you are to pull off the road and they you will find three others leading you in. They are in color, so that helps.
See you soon! (And yes, you surely can arrive earlier.)
If you could not make it, please remember to check in on our LIVE CAM to see what you can see.
Anyway…we are here…though this time not as alone as in this video from last year…
Oh…I can not promise I will not fly past your RV like this. But I can say I carry insurance for it. :)
Posted on January 5th, 2016 by David.B
Ok, well we finally decided to get a new tow car. Yup, we let go of the 2008 Saturn Outlook we have owned from day one of getting on the road. In fact, it was bought just for that, to be our tow car when we started all this back in 2008. Nothing was wrong with it, but we thought it was time for a change after 7 years. It only had 42,000 miles on it when we sold it. (Well on the odometer at least.)
So we purchased a fully loaded 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited with 21K miles. (It is not so limited with it having every option that any of the line can have.)
So what did we do when we got it? Well first and foremost we got it setup for towing with the help of my fellow Tiffin coach owner, Michael Kidd of http://turtleherding.com. You see, it was his Jeep! Yup. Small world. We wanted one, he had one, and he already had the Blue-Ox tow plate and the electrical for the lights. (He purchased a Tesla and an enclosed trailer.) So we installed an Air Force One Braking system by SMI Brake. We already had the coach side installed as we had the same system in the Saturn and is the system we highly recommend. So of course we would have it in the Jeep. (It is one of only two systems that I am aware of that are an actual true proportional braking system that will reduce the stopping distance needed. Unlike other systems some of which could actually add stopping distance needed.)
So what did we have to do after that? Well take it off road of course! After all, “It’s a Jeep”. So we drove it into the Tonto National Forest recreation area and went off road. We found a nice place to park and then did a quick flight around the general area of course flying around the Jeep.
Other than that, we have not been up to to much lately. Just getting ready for Quartzsite.
Posted on December 22nd, 2015 by Brenda.B
One of our favorite state parks is Picacho Peak State Park in Arizona. It’s the first state park that we stopped at and camped at when we first came out west many years ago. It has a special place in our heart.
It’s located between Tucson and Phoenix. The closest shopping is about 20-30 minutes away. It’s right at the exit so it’s super easy to get to. There is an rv resort, ostrich farm (yes you heard me right), gas/diesel, a souvenir shop, Subway and a Dairy Queen at the exit but not much else.
We actually happened upon this state park by mistake the first time. You see when we stopped at the rv resort to see about staying the night, as we were just passing through, they would not let us in. Come to find out, they are a 55 and older park and we are not of age yet. In hindsight I now know that 55 and older parks do need to let a certain percentage of non-55 years olds into the park. However, we did not know that at the time. And quite honestly, with that attitude, we did not want to stay there.
It ended up being a blessing because the only other place to stay was Picacho Peak State Park. We had never stayed at a state park before so we did not even know if we could fit. Looking online, we were sure we could fit and they had 50 amps at the sites!
One of the things that still amaze us is how big the Saguaro Cactus‘s (Cacti?) can get. Our coach is over 12.5 feet and these cacti just towered over us. They can live to be over 150-200 years old and can grow up to 40-60 feet in size!
This is one of our fond memories when we first discovered this park. When we drove through these Saguaro’s for the first time, we felt like we were driving through a movie set, because TV and movies is the only place, up to that point, that we had seen such sites.
It’s not a very big state park however they have some great hiking trails. The Hunter Trail recently won the “Best of Phoenix” winter hike. From the Picacho Peak State Park website: It’s a four-mile-round-trip butt-kicker, harkening to the likes of Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak. Steel cables and planks help nervous hikers overcome the steepest parts, and the 360-degree view at the top of the surrounding desert and nearby mountains is well worth the effort.”
We had a nicely overcast day and decided it was a nice day for a hike. We are not quite up for Hunter Trail (well, David could, I could not) so we set off on the Sunset Trail.
With beautiful views all around, this trail was a great one to try. We hit the trail at around noon and got back to our coach by 4pm. We did not quite make it to the top of Picacho Peak so if you want to attempt this trail; I suggest you start off earlier in the day. We did not want to tempt fate with the overcast skies and the sun starting to go down.
Plus we had slow smoked ribs waiting for us back at the coach. Yes, before we left for the hike, David put a rack of ribs on our cooker. So dinner was done when we got back. Even better!
Another thing we love about this park (and yes, you can get these anywhere out west) are the sunsets. You can see for miles and miles and nothing beats an Arizona sunset. A perfect ending to a perfect day of hiking and ribs.
So if you find yourself on I-10 and your looking for a nice stop over, I suggest you check out Picacho Peak State Park. They have electric at the sites, potable water and dump station available, bathrooms (although we’ve never used them nor looked in them) sites are really large (we have a 45 foot MH and we fit easily with room to spare) and they come with a picnic table and fire ring. Some are pull-thrus but most are back-ins. You can reserve sites online and view them before you select it. We’ve always had really nice rangers and you never know, we may be your neighbors. (Special “Shout Out” to the two other coaches that recognized us when we were there this time.)
Posted on December 8th, 2015 by Brenda.B
While exploring the National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi we stayed at the Ameristar RV Park. Located just off the highway but super quiet, this rv park is run by one of the many casinos in the area. And since it is run by a casino conglomerate they do things a little, shall we say, different. It took me three full days to even reach someone to make a reservation. I kept getting either disconnected, left a message with someone at the front desk of the casino with the assurance that someone would call me back (they never did), transferred to who knows where were I would then be disconnected again or spoke directly with the rv park were they informed me that they were not allowed to make reservations for the park, all reservations had to go through an answering service. When I finally got a hold of someone they asked me questions such as amps and size of our rig. They then proceeded to say that they were glad I know what “amps” meant because they did not. Umm…ok. This is not getting off to a good start.
The park itself is “technically” big rig friendly, the lady I spoke with even said no problem, all their sites are 60 feet long, however with our coach being 45 feet long and having a tow vehicle, we more than likely will not stay here again. The roads were not made with big rigs in mind and therefore were tight and the sites were even tighter. We just fit width-wise on the cement pad. We had to cut through another site just to reach ours straight on. If we turned into our site right from the road we would have hit the lawn (as we did with the one behind us that we cut through) and would have had to maneuver back and forth just to get straight. We did see some smaller class A’s (probably 38 foot?) stay hooked-up with their tow vehicles for the night but their cars were partially in the street. Not to mention they too hit the lawn trying to park on the site. It would have been even more difficult if the park were full. Just not a comfortable situation but we made it work.
We were able to connect to the parks WiFi however they limit the speed to 1.8mb. Doable for some people but we switched over to our Verizon hotspot which worked well. They do have laundry and shower facilities but we did not check them out. Their location to activities in the area was great though. Although there are many casinos and such in the area, we came here to visit the National Military Park and this rv park was ideal for this.
When we find ourselves in an area that we have not been to before we like to find little mom and pop places to eat and shop. While we really didn’t do any shopping this trip, we did manage to find a really cool lunch spot after we spent the day exploring the Military National Park.
The Tomato Place from the outside looks like a funky fruit and vegetable stand. And yes…that is what it is. However…
When you walk through the boxes of fruit and vegetables, you get to these boarded over doors. Typically you would think, like we did, that this was some sort of back room for storage or something. However, I knew better having researched this place ahead of time.
You walk through these non-descript doors and you’re in the cutest, funkiest restaurant that we’ve seen in a while.
With such items on the menu as catfish and po’ boys you know you’re in for a treat. Everything is home made from the salad dressing, desserts, and everything in between.
They even make their own hot sauce that’s called Mississippi Fever. It was served with our meals and yes…it was good.
We also saw that they made bread pudding. Being David’s favorite, we cleared out their case of the 6 pieces that were in there.
When you find yourself in this area, I highly recommend that you stop here either for breakfast (which we did not try but I can imagine it is very good like everything else there) or for lunch.
You won’t be disappointed.