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Psst..Buddy…You Got Any Blue Bell?

Posted on April 16th, 2015 by Brenda.B

Sometimes, you know how you just happen upon a place and it’s awesome? Well… we found said place in Hoover, Alabama. The Whole Scoop Ice Cream Shop. Why might you ask? After all, it is just another ice cream shop. Read on.

First a little background info and how we ended up at this shop.

As you may or may not be aware, we have a slight, or not so slight, addiction to Blue Bell Ice Cream. It really is bad. Everywhere we go in the south or west (as that is there “territory”) we have to search for Blue Bell Ice Cream. Whether it is in the local grocery stores or in a specialty ice cream shop.

While visiting some friends in Hoover, Alabama they took us to a crack house…I mean, a Blue Bell Ice Cream shop…The Whole Scoop Ice Cream Shop. (I did mention we were addicted right?)

The Whole Scoop Ice Cream Shop In Hoover, Alabama

The Whole Scoop Ice Cream Shop In Hoover, Alabama

Memory Wall In The Whole Scoop Ice Cream Shop

Memory Wall In The Whole Scoop Ice Cream Shop

 

Of course with them selling almost exclusively Blue Bell Ice Cream, we were hopeful that they might have our favorite flavor, the ever elusive, very hard to find, if at all (because we can’t find it in any store anymore) Chocolate Peanut Butter!

And behold…They did! Yay!

Finding Chocolate Peanut Butter Blue Bell Ice Cream!

Finding Chocolate Peanut Butter Blue Bell Ice Cream!

This is where we literally jumped for joy.

OK…maybe we didn’t jump so much as just sit quietly and licked our bowls clean. Indulging ourselves with a couple scoops of chocolate peanut butter. We had our fix. (Long overdue.)

But seeing we had a taste, we weren’t satisfied with just that. Oh no. We sought out and met the dealer…hummm… shop owner, who happened to be on site watching his “employees” hand out little tastes to people like it was candy. Just giving them little tastes of this and of that, and then BAM! They are hooked and need to order scoops of it. So sad, for we knew it would not end there for them.

We told him how hard it was to find the chocolate peanut butter flavor. Both David and the owner, lets also call him “David”, came up with a solution. We could just buy a 3-gallon tub from them. That should last us a good long time…. Right?

Well, he didn’t have a spare one and we were leaving the next day to head to Florida. So ordering it was out of the question.

Boo!

However, we were coming back this way when we left Florida in a few weeks and we could have it ordered for that time.  He would just make a call to his “supplier” and make it happen.

Yay!

2 Pints Of Chocolate Peanut Butter Blue Bell

2 Pints Of Chocolate Peanut Butter Blue Bell

So our solution to get us by in the mean time? We bought 2 pints of course of the hard stuff. (Chocolate Peanut Butter)

Sad to say that didn’t last long for us but that was all the room in the freezer we had. The extra time in Florida did give us time to clean out our freezer to make room for the large 3 gallon container though.

Still doubtful it would fit, we called “David” when we arrived back into the area and asked if he could measure the container.

Yes! If the measurements were accurate, we would just be able to fit the 3 gallons in there. Crossing our fingers now.

A few days later the call came in, he had the “stuff” we wanted.

Time has come to pick up the 3-gallons of Chocolate Peanut Butter and really see if it’ll fit or not in our freezer so we could transport it across the state lines. Worse case scenario is we transfer it to a different container, or several, so we could surely hide it as needed. (And by that I mean hide my 1.5 gallons from David who was not going to get any of my portion.) Needless to say, we were NOT going to drive away from Hoover without some Chocolate Peanut Butter!

 

The Whole Scoop Ice Cream Shop In Hoover, Alabama

The Whole Scoop Ice Cream Shop In Hoover, Alabama

It Fits! It Fits!

It Fits! It Fits!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the verdict is…

It fits! It fits!

Life is indeed good.

So the lesson that we all have learned from this?

That YES, money can indeed buy happiness. OR at least rent it for a short time. You just have to make sure you have enough freezer space for said happiness.

Also learned, people can still surprise you. Thinking this was going to cost us a small fortune, after all, it is Chocolate Peanut Butter, that was not the case. We met a fair man with a willingness to help us with out with our little problem.  So A BIG Thank You goes out to David, yes that is his real name, the owner and the whole gang at The Whole Scoop Ice Cream Shop for making this happen. If you are in the area, please stop in and tell them we said hello. (And buy some ice cream of course.)

And please, no need to write to us about how to kick our addiction. We are fully aware of the withdrawal symptoms. We are starting our trek north and will soon be out of the Blue Bell territory. So we are just going to enjoy this 3 gallons for as long as we can. Only one painful spoonful a day. (Side Note: David added this last sentence and I want to go on the record as to say, I will not be abiding by the one spoonful a day rule :)  ).

Quick OTA Antenna Pointing Using SensarPro

Posted on April 7th, 2015 by David.B

Winegard SensarPro

Winegard SensarPro

Let’s face it, when we arrive at an new location we sometime need to setup and use our over the air (OTA) TV antenna. We do this for all kinds of reasons, but mostly to get local news and weather is my guess. (Seeing a lot of us use satellite dishes.)

If you have a crank up antenna that you can rotate, or a motorized antenna that you can turn like the one that comes on mostly all Tiffin products, then you have a much quicker way to be able to find the best pointing position before you tell your TV to scan for channels. Doing so saves a lot of time from having to scan for channels and then maybe have to scan again, or even again and then finely fine tune to get the best lock.

That is where the Winegard SensarPro Signal Strength Meter comes into play as it not only allows you to find the best direction. It also helps you fine tune before you scan with it’s built in meter; which even has a channel selector to help find your most watched network and lock on it. And the best part…it is a direct replacement for the standard plate switch that allows you to switch between the OTA antenna and Cable TV and I am going to show you my quick install.

It is good to note that in a lot of places the HDTV towers are placed somewhat in the same direction, however in other places, they are not as you may be in between two larger areas that each have their own towers. As such, you may need to make the choice on what channel you really want to lock into, and thus the direction.  But this device will help you do that. So when you check into a park, they usually give you a sheet that will tell you the local OTA channels, this is DIFFERENT usually than cable channel numbers and will look more like 13.1 ABC. (You can also look it up on line) The first digits is the HDTV channel number and is what will show on the display with the strength of that channel. The number after the dot are the sub-channels. Such as 13.1 (main) 13.2 (sub 1), 13.3 (Sub 2).  The broadcasters will carry different programming on these sub-channels. If you have the main channel, the sub-channels will be the same tuning.

Ok, with that said, here is a quick video of how quickly I can find our best direction after we pull into a park. This does not get into the “fine” channel tuning, but shows how you can find the strongest channel on the first scan and then achieve that best signal that channel can receive before scanning on your TV. Again, this is for ONLY antennas that can be turned. It is no good for you unless you can point your antenna.

Here is the upgrade install I did on our Tiffin Allegro Bus 45LP Solar Storm and it all starts out by removing the current cable selector that is installed in most RV’s.

Time to replace the standard selector with the SensarPro.

Time to replace the standard selector with the SensarPro.

 

It is actually easy to do, however it will require you to do some cutting based on the layout of the board on the SensarPro. The good news here is that the wood I was cutting was just thin cover board that I cut with my utility knife. You WILL NEED TO use the spacer that comes with it. This is due to where they have the screw holes. No way to screw that into wood based on where the screws go after you cut out the hole.

 

 

 

 

So, we first remove the old selector unit, paying attention to the name of the port each cable came off of. You can read this next to the connector. Then label or mark somehow each of the three coax cables. Antenna, Cable TV, and RV TV. You will also find two power connectors. The great news here is you can just pull them off the spade connector and you will use these as they will go right onto the SensarPro. Just please be sure to not let the ends touch or the power lead to touch a ground of a coax cable. I know the spade connector should be inside the sleeve just saying to be sure as you could blow a fuse and may never know it.

Removing old selector.

Removing old selector.

With cables removed, label the coax cables and be sure not to let the power spade touch anything.

Label cables and don’t let spade touch anything.

After marking the cables now slide the spacer over the wires so you can mount it to the board. And yes, I said mount it. The reason I did this was that I then used the spacer as the template to cut out the hole that is needed. So, I just used my utility knife and carefully cut out the wood inside the plate.

Wire run through space plate and put into place.

Wire run through space plate and put into place.

Spacer plate mounted and cut out.

Spacer plate mounted and cut out.

Now comes the time to connect the cables and wires to the SensarPro. This is very easy as the have nice cable extensions on each tap and are clearly labeled.  So seeing you labeled your cables (you did that right?) you just match them up. You will have one left over, TV 2, no worries.

After you have the cables connected, now put on the negative cable and then the positive and the SensarPro will light up and beep once. If not, well, hummm, maybe that fuse I warned you about?

Connect the coax cables.

Connect the coax cables.

All wired and powered up ready to mount!

All wired and powered up ready to mount!

All good? Great! Just now place it all back into the hole and use the screws that came in the kit to secure it to be spacer plate. Step back, and admire your work. ;-)

Ah!  So nice and and neat.

Ah! So nice and and neat.

 

Ok, now go read the instructions on how to actually use the SensarPro as I surely am not going to get into all that. Enjoy you new found faster signal finding and more cool things that light up!

The unit can be found in black or white on Amazon. Click Here

One Year In Our Tiffin 45LP Allegro Bus – Our Thoughts And Video Walk Thru

Posted on April 1st, 2015 by Brenda.B

About To Take Possession Of Our New Home

About To Take Possession Of Our New Home

Moving In To Our New Home

Moving In To Our New Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to think that it’s been a year since we took possession of our new home, our Tiffin 45LP Allegro Bus. The move from our other coach, a 42 foot 2008 Tour Master, went smoothly. The Tiffin had a bunch more space than what we were used to, so that was a nice.

The Tiffin Bus has really treated us well. There have been no major issues. We did have to replace a windshield from a large rock hit not a couple months into ownership. Not Tiffin’s fault for sure. We had to replace a couple air conditioners as well. Again, not Tiffin’s fault. Come to think about it, most of the items that we’ve had issues with have been from various manufacturers of those items. Tiffin however stands behind all there products and took care of everything quickly and easily. No hassles involved.

Changing Our Awning Fabric

Changing Our Awning Fabric

Our Tiffin 45LP Allegro Bus LED Lighting

Our Tiffin 45LP Allegro Bus LED Lighting

 

 

We find this floor plan to be the best for us. At least for right now. It really does feel like a little apartment and not like a motor home. We find ourselves constantly saying this. We have, of course, made a few changes and additions to make it more like our home however. Everyone has to add his or her own flair to there home right? Well we changed the awning fabric to be more of a darker grey than the lighter grey it had come with (Tiffin now is using a black awning fabric which we also do not prefer). We also added some LED outdoor lighting not only on the awnings, but also under the chassis as well as under the slide. Yes, the coaches now do come with lighting on the awnings. However, it’s just a white light and we like to have multi-colored to be, well, different. It also really gives us some great ground lighting when we are outside and we can change the colors based on our mood or season.

Going Through The San Juan Mountains In Colorado

Going Through The San Juan Mountains In Colorado

Our Bus Highlighted By The Milky Way In Colorado

Our Bus Highlighted By The Milky Way In Colorado

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our bus has taken us to some extraordinary places. Since we have had the coach we have explored Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Texas among others. (Gosh, Moab was so much fun and we met some great new friends.) There’s just so much of this gorgeous country of ours, it’s impossible to see it all. The coach handled the mountains as to be expected. We did slow down a bit going up hill, however, we were still passing semi’s. We’re not really in the mountains that much for it to really make a big difference to us.

A Chef Cooking Us Dinner For Our Anniversary

A Chef Cooking Us Dinner For Our Anniversary

A Chef Cooked Us Dinner For Our Anniversary

A Chef Cooked Us Dinner For Our Anniversary

 

 

The Tiffin kitchen was plenty big enough for David to hire a chef to come in and cook us a special dinner for our 20th Anniversary. The chef was impressed with the size and ease of use of the kitchen as well. The pull out island really comes in handy for instances like these. When you need to spread out your items to cook, not hiring a chef. That was a first.

 

 

 

 

We’ve met up with some wonderful friends and made new ones. Enjoyed the cool evenings around the campfire. Watched a little football and set up our movie screen for some movies under the stars.

Bon Fire At Our New Seasonal Site In NY

Bon Fire At Our New Seasonal Site In NY

Enjoying Football On The Outdoor TV

Enjoying Football On The Outdoor TV

Movie Night Under The Stars

Movie Night Under The Stars

Jam Session Around The Campfire

Jam Session Around The Campfire

Jam Session Around The Campfire

Jam Session Around The Campfire

 

 

 

David’s gotten his Cajon out and joined in around the campfire with some impromptu jam sessions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset In The Desert

Sunset In The Desert

Lake Powell, Utah

Lake Powell, Utah

 

We have been traveling since 2008 (FT in 2013) in our Tour Master and since we have moved into our Tiffin Bus it’s been much more enjoyable. We truly have a motor home we can take into colder weather and be comfortable in and let’s be honest, you can’t always chase the warmer weather. Sometimes the cold just finds you. We also have so much more space and luxurious items such as heated floors and a dishwasher that we’ve grown accustomed to this lifestyle much more now. This coach really makes it easy to be on the road and keep exploring. We’ve really enjoyed this year in our new coach and we look forward to many more. This truly is our home now and for the foreseeable future.

So would we do this again?

Sure. Perhaps a new floor plan may come out to entice us. But for now, we really like what we have. However we have sent Tiffin our ideas for a maybe a 45DB model. (Get it? DB for David & Brenda)  So you never know, we may do this all again.  Would you like that?

Would we buy Tiffin again? We surely would. For as mentioned, they have been great to work with from the start of our new home project; through todays blog post and we would not expect that to change.

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know we did a video on our thoughts of the new coach and a walk through video when we first came up for air after moving in. If you haven’t seen it or you want to see the final time-lapse video of the entire build process, you can see it here.

So now we felt it was only fair to do another video at our one-year mark and tell you how things have gone, what we still like and what we are disappointed in and could maybe be improved upon. These are our honest opinions as RVers that full time in their motor home. What we may be disappointed in, don’t like or do like, you may have the opposite reaction. So please keep that in mind.

Dyson…A Vacuum That Really Sucks For RVers

Posted on March 24th, 2015 by Brenda.B

First off, I want to state this upfront. This is not a paid advertisement. We truly love this product and have loved this company for years. We felt we needed to air our love out in the open about this product. Any opinions we really did come up with on our own and are in no way influenced by any of our cats and there reactions to said product, which is usually a “Run For Your Life” scenario. Except for BK. He is still one cool cat no matter what we throw at him.

And before some of you start sending us comments about throwing things at our cats rest assured, we would never do that. (Little spongy balls excluded.) That’s merely a figure of speech. That being said, we can proceed with the blog post I know you all are dying to read.

OK….So we all know space is limited in a motor home. I don’t care what size your rig is; you don’t have a lot of room for something like a vacuum. We all need one though.

Short of creating a time-share for a vacuum cleaner because let’s face it, that would be ridiculous, this is a great solution.

But first, before we awe you with our discovery, which I’m sure some of you may have already discovered, here’s a little history of our Dyson love.

Yes, I said love.

When we had a sticks and brick house, we had a large Dyson Animal vacuum.

Dyson Animal Vacuum

Dyson Animal Vacuum

 

 

We loved it. Boy could that thing suck up anything! It never clogged. Was easy to empty and clean. Had easy to use attachments and had a rotating brush head, which helped pick up every last cat and/or dog hair.

 

When we bought our first motor home we hated having to give up our large Dyson. But really, in a motor home, who really needs something that big? And where would it be stored?

 

 

 

 

Dyson DC24 Ball Vacuum

Dyson DC24 Ball Vacuum

After some research we were lucky enough to find a smaller version Dyson with a telescoping handle. The Dyson DC24 Ball Vacuum. It is hard to tell from the picture but trust me; this was a much smaller unit.

This worked just as wonderfully as our other Dyson did. However, we were still not happy about a couple things.

1: It was larger than we wanted for storage. Therefore it was a pain in the butt to get it in and out of where it was stored (in a closet amongst all our cloths) just to vacuum a small space and put it all back.

2: It had a cord and even though a motor home is pretty compact, we did have to move the power cord a couple times to maximize our reach. And let’s face it, in this wireless world, who really needs cords anymore?

3: We had a separate hand held vac for those smaller jobs that getting the bigger vacuum out was a pain. So essentially we had two vacuums.

Don’t get us wrong. The Dyson DC24 was a great vacuum. It still worked wonders on the dog and cat hair. And let’s not forget all that dirt, sand and debris we all carry into our rigs. We felt it cleaned really well and still was easy to empty and clean. It was just more bulky than we wanted to deal with.

Now Dyson has solved our problems with their stick Motorhead vacuums. I know stick vacuums have been out for a long time. However, they really have not worked all that well in our opinion. Especially when you’re talking about pet hair. They rarely, if at all, had a rotating brush head and they certainly did not have the suction or the ease of use/emptying of a Dyson.

The new Motorhead Vacuum line from Dyson however is Awesome! And I apologize to everyone in advance because once you own one of these; you will find yourself vacuuming ALL THE TIME (Or not, you will see later if you get through the video.) It’s so easy and quick. Lightweight and yes, even fun.

Yup, I went there. It brings the fun back to vacuuming.

Dyson DC59 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum

Dyson DC59 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum

 

I’ve been keeping my eye on these for a little while. They’re a few different models to choose from. Some with a Hepa filter, others without, etc. What I found out is that Dyson rarely, if at all, goes on sale. Kinda like Apple and their products. So we researched which particular one that was best for our situation and we got our new Dyson DC59 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum for Christmas.

 

 

And let me tell you…

 

This thing really sucks!

 

But in a good way. *wink *wink

Dyson DC59 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum

Dyson DC59 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum

Dyson DC59 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum

Dyson DC59 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum

 

First off, it is super compact.

So there’s my first issue solved.

Check!

It comes with it’s own hanging rack which is also the charging station. Great as this does not take up any precious closet space nor floor space for storage. You do however need to mount this somewhere where it can reach a plug.

The attachments are easily stored on the charging station. So no need to find a place to store those. You can see from the pictures that it is really compact. It fits nicely behind all the clothes on the rack so it really is unobtrusive.

 

Being cordless is awesome! I can take it anywhere I like.

Outside to the basement area.

The car for a quick clean out.

Easily vacuum the steps coming into the rig.

Anywhere.

So there’s my second issue solved.

Check!

Dyson DC59 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum, Model Not Included

Dyson DC59 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum, Model Not Included

Dyson DC59 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum

Dyson DC59 Motorhead Cordless Vacuum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living with three cats we find it easiest to keep the mini motorized head attached, as that is the one we tend to use most often, for those quick cleanup jobs. Essentially turning it into a great hand held vac with a motorized brush head.

And that’s my third and final issue solved.

Check! Check!

It’s really lightweight for all you people out there that have difficulty pushing a regular vacuum. It has a trigger grip for easy on and off. That means every time you let the trigger go, the vacuum turns off, thus saving you battery time. The battery lasts about 24 minutes on regular speed, less on super max but still sufficient. It doesn’t nearly take that long to vacuum a motor home so I’ve never run out of battery while vacuuming. It also easily transitions from tile to carpeting. No need for a different attachment.

Speaking of super max mode, for those times that you have something really ground in and you need a little (or a lot) of extra power, just push the super max mode and this will increase your suction.

BK Not Caring About The Vacuum Disturbing His Sleep

BK Not Caring About The Vacuum Disturbing His Sleep

 

 

Be careful with small animals or children in the area though. This thing really sucks. As you can see, BK could care less about the vacuum and it’s many great qualities.

Come on! You know I had to throw in a BK picture. He loves his fans!

#BKLove

 

 

OK…So I lied to you all earlier. I do have one, ok two, complaints, one of which is not really a complaint so much as a, “Really? That’s weird” observation. This unit comes with the long stick vacuum, a crevice tool, the smaller hand held motorhead tool and another attachment that has a lint brush material on it for furniture. So basically 4 attachments. My complaint/observation is that the storage/charging station only holds the unit (with one attachment on it) and two additional attachments, three in total. So there is one attachment that you do have to put in a drawer or somewhere. I thought that was weird. I solved that easily by just not ever using that one attachment. See, easy. The other, cost.  They are NOT CHEAP. But you pay for what you get in this case IMHO.

There are so many more features that I have not even touched upon. You can read all about them here.

We’ve been using this Dyson DC59 Motorhead vacuum for a few months now, giving it a really good break in period and I can truly and honestly say, we do love this vacuum (yes I said love again). We feel so strongly about this that we had to make a video about it and of course, we had to throw our own spin on it. We would not be doing our readers any service if we just did a regular old boring blog post and review now would we?

So without further adieu…