Posted on November 13th, 2015 by David.B
As promised, here is the plan on our 1st meet and greet during the big show in Quartzsite AZ. As you can see, we are lonely out here so please join us. (If you are not already on the list, please contact us or leave a comment below and let us know you will be showing up.)
When: Jan 14-17, 2016
Where: Quartzsite AZ – Plomosa Road – End of BLM camping area.
(Here is the exact area plotted on Google Maps of our location – CLICK with GPS info.)
Why: Just for Kicks and to meet others.
Bring: Firewood, Full Water Tank, Empty Gray and Black Tanks, Generator, snake bite kit (kidding), stories and anything else that may add to the experience.
CUT OFF DATE: January 1st, 2016 (We need to know how many by this point.)
More information on the 33rd Annual RV Show can be found HERE. They used our video. :)
“So what’s the plan Stan?” First off, the name is David, not Stan, but here is what we have come up with for our first gathering. Of course all of the below is weather permitting.
Thursday, January 14th – Arrival Day
* Arrive when you can today. Yippee! (Brenda and I will be arriving on the 13th to try to block off desert space.)
* We will try to arrange the coaches and RV’s, facing inwards along two lines. As you arrive and turn off into the desert, just look for our logo (paper signs) to make your way back to our group area and see one of us, or other volunteers (hint), for where you should park.
* 5:00PM – OOB Attendees Introductions and meet your hosts David and Brenda and ask the questions you may have for us.
* 7:00PM – Campfire starting where you again can meet other OOB attendees and learn what the RV show is like and what to expect. Also tips and tricks on how to conserve RV resources in the desert. Please bring in some firewood to help out with our fires or we will be kind of cold.
Friday, January 15th
* 9:00AM – Coffee & Donuts chat at the campfire area. Grab your favorite mug filled with your coffee, tea or liquor of choice and join us for a donut and chat with fellow RV’ers.
* 11:00AM – Do you do crafts while on the road? Come show off what you may do that may interest others who may care to also take up doing it. (Just ask Brenda about all the wine bottles.)
* 1:00PM – Tech Talks – Have questions, we may have an answer or at least an opinion. After all, RV’ers help RV’ers so come join in on the questions and also help with the answers around the fire ring.
* 3:00PM – Special video shoot talked about in e-mail. (Remember…Shhhhhhhh!)
* 5:00PM – Quadcopter flights and aerial group photo. Have a quadcopter? Bring it and lets fly out into the desert. This will also be our chance to take a group photo! And yes,we surely will look to make a video out of the footage. David will be going for a two mile out flight! (So get ready to walk if it goes down to help find it. LOL)
* 7:00PM – Movie Night! Come join us for a movie under the stars. (Movie yet to be determined.) If weather does not cooperate, we will do this Saturday.
Saturday, January 16th
* The Big RV Show opens. If you have never attended the show before, be prepared for a crazy time of people, food, and of course products of all sorts. From full motor coaches to replacement valve stems, you will find it at Quartzsite. Drive into town and make a day of it. Of course, feel free to go along with other OOB members that you have met to team up and car pool.
* 5:00PM – Pot Luck Dinner. Bring a dish to add to the table. (which reminds me, bring tables.) No idea what we may end up with, but that’s the fun of a pot luck. So grab your drink, plate, utensils, and chair and eat up. (We ask that food be placed at least by 4:50PM)
* 7:00PM – Campfire and Camp Jam (or Alt Movie Night). If you play an instrument, no Tuba’s please, feel free to bring it along and we will see if we can play something together. We also need people that of course can sing. Brenda and I can not. So we will TRY, and I stress TRY, to make this work as well as it being a sing along. :)
Sunday, January 17th
* The RV Show continues and so does your shopping. :)
* This is also departure day, if you so choose, as we have nothing planned other than a campfire. We do know most will stay till Monday for who really wants to leave after a day of shopping. :)
* Evening – Campfire for anyone still around or that is not too tired from all that shopping.
That is it for our first time doing an OOB gathering. Hope you like the ideas.
ATTENTION FIRST TIMERS TO QUARTZSITE:
Ok, a quick few things. First…What you bring into the desert, you will bring out. Leave no footprint. When you arrive, you will need to check in with the BLM Host right when you turn on to Plomosa road. (No charge) Then you will head further down to road to find us.
You will be in the desert and will have NO HOOKUPS! Therefore you will need to be sure to have a full water tank and empty black and gray tanks. You should also have fuel for your generator. If you do not have a generator, this really is not for you as you will need power as well as heat. So conserving is the key so bring and use paper plates, plasticware, and cups. Things that do not require washing! We will go over some tricks as to how you can conserve the first evening.
There is a service in town called the “Pit Stop” where they will empty your tanks and fill your water with good water. They can also fill your propane tanks.
Even though there is a SMALL grocery store in town, it is not cheep. So bring in any food you will want. There are also a few restaurants.
For trash there is a local dump right down the road as you go into town with limited hours. Best thing is to use larger garbage bags and when needed, drop it off on the way into town.
Other than that GOOD LUCK! :)
Again…If you are not already on our Quartzsite email list, see blow, or we missed you and you want to join us, PLEASE let us know by using our contact us page to be added to our list or leave a comment below. January 1st, 2016 is the cut off date as we need to know how many by that point. Thanks!
38 Currently On Our List (Please be sure you are on it. Last Updated 11/30 11:23AM CT)
Posted on November 7th, 2015 by David.B
On Thursday November 5th, 2015, RV’ers came together and fought an RV motor home fire in hopes to rescue a trapped dog. This 16 minutes of realtime footage was caught by our dash camera (BlackVue DR650GW-2CH). I digitally edited the footage without touching the timeline and added narration as the events unfolded.
It is totally amazing to say the least how things can change and “life happens”. One minute you are chatting with a friend you have not seen in some time, and the next you are side by side fighting an RV fire along with two other RV’ers.
The RV owner was not home at the time and we knew a dog was inside.
What totally amazed us was, as you will see, all of this time passed and yet, somehow, someway, we saved that dog even though it did not seem likely. We keep asking ourselves, how? How did he make it? With the heat, the toxic smoke, and the large amount of time, one would surely have thought the worst. And we did. But alas it goes to show you…DO NOT GIVE UP. Have Hope!
This fire is believed to have been caused by a Norcold fridge that had a recall per the fire inspector. To us, in our humble opinion, that surely seemed to be the case. The RV was a total loss and the owner was a full timer. This would be Brenda’s and my second RV fire we fought within the last 4 years.
Three chemical extinguishers and three foam extinguishers along with two garden hoses were used to knock down the fire and keep it at bay until the fire department arrived.
Good Samaritans RV’ers: David & Brenda Bott, Jim Andrews, John (man in red) and Unknown “Man on Roof”. Unseen is John’s wife Jone who brought over water at the end for the dog “Zoey” and to poor over my head to get the glass off of it as well as help flush my eyes.
We love the RV community that comes with this lifestyle this is an perfect example as to why RV’ers are great people that come together to help someone, or something, in need.
Enough…Let the video, along with me, speak for itself… (Available in 1080P HD using the settings.)
Posted on November 3rd, 2015 by David.B
Ok, we all know to make sure our batteries are up to date and working in our smoke detectors. If you do not know, you should replace the batteries once a year regardless if low or not. After all, you do not want a dead smoke detector or you just may end up, well, dead.
And let’s face it, how many detectors are in your motor home? I bet just one. Why is that for it surely is not cost related? I would think you would want one in front and back areas of the RV. Side Note…I find it strange that most are in the FRONT of a motor coach where nothing really is located that would make for a fire. Hummmm?
But have you ever considered adding a detector in the cargo storage area? Think about it for a minute, what’s down there? Well you have the electrical systems, fuel sources such as diesel or propane if you have an AquaHot. (Which is a running boiler – in the cargo area of the coach!) You may even have cleaning chemicals that could come in contact with each other and make for an issue. Ok, that last one is a long shot, but all the others are surely areas fire could take place with electrical being the biggest threat. It other words, it can happen and wouldn’t you want to know sooner rather than later? I know we surely would want the extra time gained to get loved ones out of the coach that a smoke detector in the cargo area could provide. After all, you will have no clue until your factory installed one goes off or you finally smell it inside the cabin of the RV.
I installed First Alert Atom Micro Photoelectric Smoke and Fire Alarm’s. As the name suggests, it is small. Very small. Which makes it great for RV use! I added one in the rear of our coach, one in the bedroom, and two in the cargo storage areas, at the front area and mid area by the AquaHot. They are so small I placed them on top of the main rails with double sided tape. To test to see if it would work, I did not tell Brenda and I set one off. Let’s just say it worked as she was napping and it totally freaked her out. (We will not get into what happened after that.)
The First Alert Atom alarms were the ones I just used when the idea came to me when I was walking through Lowes and had seen them. But surely you can use any alarm you would like. An even better idea would be using “linked” alarms as it could then also set off an alarm inside the coach at the same time as the detectors are linked wirelessly. The First Alert SA511CN2-3ST (which talks) or the Kidde RM-FM-DC are such detectors. I will be upgrading to the First Alert SA511CN2-3ST. One in the cargo area and one in the center of the coach.
In any case, if you had not thought of your cargo area, you now have and I hope it makes as much sense to you as it did us. You can find a two pack here on Amazon.
I did a video quick tip. Here you go. Also here is our post on a Foam Fire Extinguisher.
Posted on October 30th, 2015 by Brenda.B
While traveling south we took a few days to explore the Mammoth Cave National Park area in Kentucky. If you are not familiar with this area you should make some time to be.
Mammoth Cave National Park is Kentucky’s oldest tourist attraction, a World Heritage Site, and International Biosphere Reserve with 53,000 acres of natural preserve and the longest cave system in the world with over 4000 miles of passages and 400 miles of mapped passageways.
One thing we learned too late was to plan ahead, a few days before you get there is not enough time. It’s not your typical National Park where you can just go and explore the cave. Nope. Guided tours are given daily and are very popular. Reservations are not necessary but highly recommended, as certain tours will sell out quickly. Which is what we found out.
We are not ones to enjoy exploring areas with huge crowds; school tours are very popular here. The most popular tour has a capacity of 118 people! Yup, you heard me right. 118 people, all trying to hear the tour guide. Kids everywhere. Not our idea of fun. A couple of the other tours seemed interesting and small enough, however, with there limited runs, they were sold out when we were there. That’s what we get for waiting til the last minute and not researching before hand. Oh well. We’ll just have to come back.
While Mammoth Cave is named after and known for it’s caves, there are a lot of other fun activities you can do while visiting the park. There is a river that runs through the park that you can rent or bring your own canoe/kayak (which we did consider). There are horse back riding (rental or bring your own horse) trails throughout the park. However, with over 84 miles of above ground trails, we opted to go hiking.
It was a beautiful fall day. Not another person in site. Our kind of day. We spent some time exploring the trails while trying to follow the map the Park Ranger had given to us. Let’s just say the map was not the easiest to follow being a photocopy of a photocopy. The park office was out of stock of their regular maps and brochures so we made do with what we were given.
We came across a natural spring that was as clear as day. It came up from the cave system below and actually had some fish in it.
When we finished up our hike we decided that we could not leave this area, Kentucky’s cave capital, without seeing at least one cave system.
Another popular cave tour in this area is Diamond Caverns. Just a short 10-minute or so drive from Mammoth Cave and still within the National Parks boundaries, its Kentucky’s second oldest show cave, giving tours for over 154 years. And no, it’s not filled with diamonds.
We arrived just in time to catch a tour. With the tour only an hour long, we felt that was plenty of time. We’ve explored caves before you see, when we were in Carlsbad, New Mexico. So, in our opinion, once you’ve seen a cave/cavern, they all start to look alike after a while.
Sorry for the poor quality of photos but while you are in a cave, lighting is not really that prevalent, a flash would just ruin the picture and our phone cameras are only so good while in low light and of course, we didn’t bring any other cameras with us.
With all the activities to do in this area, caving, hiking, biking, kayaking, horse back riding, zip lining, etc, it sure is a good feeling to go back to our home on wheels. There are a few rv parks and campgrounds in the area to choose from. Mammoth Cave National Park has a campground, however, the sites offer no hook ups and is more for smaller rigs.
It was right off the highway but had no highway noise. Yes, there is a train but it seemed to run more sporadically and really wasn’t a bother. It was truly an easy in and out for big rigs and the site was big enough for our 45-foot motor home and tow vehicle, even if we wanted to stay hooked up.
There were many people that were here just for an overnight. The utilities worked well. All except the WiFi of course which they were working on improving. Alas, that seems to be the norm these days. Verizon was good in this area so we used that.
Many restaurants (El Mazatlan Mexican restaurant was very good) in the area and a grocery store (which we did not go check out). The office lady (Barbara) was really nice and she leads you to your site. Which for such a straightforward campground really is not necessary but appreciated. She even sweeps out the utility pole for any creepy crawlies in there. While walking around we noticed that they had some really nice garden areas. We would stay here again if in this area to explore or just passing through.
We only stayed in this area for a couple nights. Only exploring the one-day. When we get back to this area we will be spending more time here and yes, we will be making reservations for some Mammoth Cave tours well in advance. You are close to Bowling Green, Kentucky where yes, there is another cave you can visit. You can also tour the Corvette Museum, lots of antique shops in this area and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is not too far away. Lots more to do and we found out that Fall is a beautiful time of year to explore this area.
Posted on October 23rd, 2015 by David.B
Ok, short story and then a video as we have dash cam of it. (You all know we use a dash cam right? If not, we use a BlackVue Dash Cam.) Anyway, if you have ever been with a professional caravanning group you will know that one thing they do not do is travel in a long line. Nope, only 3 to maybe 5 RV’s at a time will head out even if they have 30 of them. Now there are a number of good reasons for this. Here are three which come to mind…
1) You have a less chance of blocking cars coming onto the expressway/Highway/Interstate etc seeing you are not a long train of RV’s.
2) When you all are getting on an expressway/Highway/Interstate etc, you are not all trying to get on at once.
3) You are not all trying to keep up with the leader and thus speeding or making other poor choices as you will see in the video.
But other than traffic issues, you also then have the issue of all of you arriving at the RV park at the same time and thus blocking traffic and entranceways! That is just bad for the park owner and does not get you all off on the right foot. :-) These are just a few reasons, if you want to know others, check out what a professional caravan group offers and take a trip. They are great fun and well planned.
But with all that said, doing a caravan with a group of friends is a great time. It is just so fun traveling with others and having a like experience and even make new friends if you do not know everyone. You also feel a sense of safety when traveling in more “out there” places. Brenda and I have been in a number of “friend caravans” and even took leads on the one we did when we went to Newfoundland. Oh how none of the group can forget the “Gooooooooood Morning Campers!” coming over the radios each morning as we headed out with complete drive details and weather reports. One day I did not do it, it seems, soon enough when we hit the road and I was reminded over the radio. (Dang you Curtis…I would have got to it.) But I digress.
We are here to talk about a BIG NO NO when it comes to traveling with large groups and that is…DON’T BUNCH UP and NEVER WAIT ALONG A ROAD SIDE! For in doing so, you are just an accident waiting to happen and endangering others. But why just say it when this would be come off much better if I just show you why from footage taken from our dash cam with me narrating. (Thus the info you will see at the bottom of the screen. Good thing the mic was off or you would have heard some “Bleep, Bleep you Bleep’en Bleep” kinds of things.)
All in all, safety first. After all, you will get there when you get there and travel is part of the adventure. The addition of a Dash Cam can also be a very good thing and does not hurt to have onboard.
Posted on October 12th, 2015 by Brenda.B
OK…So we all have our idea of what an ideal site is. Whether it’s on the beach, in the woods or on a hilltop overlooking a valley. They are all nice in their own respect. We like them all depending on the area we are in. For us, in NY, our ideal site would be a quiet end row site in a wooded area, though with an opening so not to block our Dish Network access, not a lot of kids near by, and nothing behind us but open or wooded land. Oh, and of course, good Wi-Fi. Is that asking for too much? I did say our ideal site, which would be in an ideal world. But alas.
We always find ourselves coming back to our roots, Rochester, NY. This is where our family, friends and doctors are. So every summer we return and were lucky enough that we found Southwoods RV Resort. You see, we also are very grateful (an understatement) as they offered to build us a seasonal site so that we may come back every year. Yes, I said, “Build us a seasonal site”. Why? Well we guess it was their way of being able to give back to us for what we did for them and the guests of their park. Read on.
I won’t bore you with a ton of details but the short story is this…
The Wi-Fi in the park was horrible. It was so bad David actually went up to the park owner and said…”Do you know how bad your Wi-Fi is? It’s really bad.” Being a mom and pop operation they had not updated there Wi-Fi in a while for costs can be hard on such a park. Well, David, being the techie and awesome guy that he is, offered to help, for free, asking for nothing in return, to design and install a completely new Wi-Fi system for the park and they took him up on it. At first I think they were not too sure at first if this was some sort of scam. Who would not think that? After all, someone willing to design, program and install a commercial grade Wi-Fi system for free? Oh come on! Too good to be true right? Well they put their trust in him and took him up on it. During our month stay, which extended into two months, we became good friends with the park owners, Mike and Sue, and they wanted us to come back every year. It surly was mutual that we wanted Southwoods to be our “home base” in the summertime. The issue however is that they are a really busy and full park most of the time, so getting a reservation for a long period of time, in the same site, is difficult at best.
Unknown to us, Mike and Sue came up with a plan. A few days before we were to leave last summer they drove us in their golf cart to the back of the park and pointed at some woods. They said, “Well, what do you think?”
“Umm….not sure what you mean”, we said. Being full of thick brush and trees we weren’t sure where they were going with this. Did they need more Wi-Fi back here? Nope….
“Well, we want you guys to come back every year so we want to build you a custom seasonal site to fit your motor home.”
What?! Really?! No Way!!! Yup way!
We were shocked and amazed for we are the ones usually helping others. As some of you know, we have done several Wi-Fi systems for RV parks. All free of charge. Either doing it all or just consulting. Look…David gets bored and this gives him something to do. And you know what…he is kind of good at it. But maybe I am bias. The point being NO ONE as EVER offered to do such a kind thing for us. But we surely have, and thank, other parks that allow us to come in any time. We have made some good friends helping out. In any case, this time, we were and remain blown alway as we wanted a lot that was ours. To always have a place.
So this is how the “Bott-Lott” (Spelling Intended), as it was dubbed, was born.
August 4, 2014 was the start of the “Bott-Lott”. What had to happen first was clearing everything out. Trees needed to be taken down and lots and lots of bon fires were burned to dispose of the brush. The fires burned so hot and for so long that when we went to check on the progress the next day; the pile of ash was still smoldering and still very hot under the ash.
Sad to say lots of trees had to come down. Good news is a few of them were already rotted out so they would have come down eventually anyway. We wanted to keep as many trees as we could.
Not much progress was made during the rest of the summer. We were already gone on another adventure and the owners were concentrating on running the park during their busy season.
Once we got back to Southwoods this past May (2015), Mike, his work camper Bill and David got to work. The area was cleared out more. More trees and brush went into the burn pile until we were finally ready to start building it up again.
We had to add lots of dirt to level things off. David was super excited to learn how to drive and operate the dump truck, roller, a bulldozer, and is getting “three easy lessons” on using a backhoe. (Mike is a total pro with all heavy equipment.)
The rain really did a number on this project. There were weeks sometimes that no progress was made because we had so much rain fall. And when it wasn’t raining it was too muddy to do anything. We were all hoping that we could move onto the site by mid June but alas, that was not to be.
Once the rain stopped and it dried up for a while, we were able to really make some headway.
The sewer pipe, electric, water and cable tv were all installed.
We wanted aconcrete patio to walk out onto, so we measured for a large 45 foot by 13 foot pad. Yes, we know this is big. Most people, we were told, usually stop where their awning stops. However, we like to be able to sit under our awning in the rain and still enjoy the outdoors. We also did not want to have patio furniture crowding our space. So large it was and it was a great decision. We love having the room to spread out.
Once the concrete patio was in and cured, we were able to put in the rv pad. We chose to go with repurposed asphalt as it will harden more over time and it is less dusty than the alternative, crusher run stone.
Once this was in it was, dare I say, time to move onto the Bott-Lott! So July 15, 2015 we moved the coach onto the “Bott-Lott”. Can you tell we were excited! End row site? Check! In the woods? Check! Quiet area? Check! No one behind us? Check! Low children activity? Check! Oh my, could it be our ideal site? CHECK!!!! And as a bonus…We’re not only on the end site…but in a circle and thus no one on either side! Super Check!
Well…we have a mud pit next to us as we do not have a lawn yet and more construction is needed, but this is home now.
Time to lay more stone for the fire pit area and have our first campfire with the Furno’s.
So what do you do when you want an instant lawn? You get sod of course. Now time to get rid of our dirt yard. I’m sure our neighbors are getting anxious for this project to be done soon as much as we are.
Almost done. Now we have a shed built on another congret pad that we had poured.
Once the shed was done we stained it and of course, surprise, surprise, David got to work putting in an outdoor theater. You see, that’s really the only thing that we miss from our house is our dedicated theater. So now we can enjoy movies and football and such outside on a big screen.
Oh yes, one last thing had to be done! The Bott-Lott party! We call it a “Camp Jam” where we invited anyone who wanted to come to gather around a campfire and have live music. A Jam session. Of course David got into that. This was our way of saying thanks to all the seasonal campers that put up with the construction project over the summer. And boy was it a project. It was also a way to say thanks to Mike, Bill, and Sue for making this happen for us. We are so touched by this. So we ordered sheet pizzas, played music, drank, and just had a good old time well into the evening.
One last way to say thanks and show how much this means, David produced a video with his quadcopter showing off our new home base lot….the “Bott-Lott”.
Oh, and that Wi-Fi network David built…Here it is…
We truly are grateful that the Southwoods community has embraced us like they have and that we truly feel part of the Southwoods family. Thank you to all that have helped in the building of the Bott Lott! Mike, Bill, Sue and the various seasonal’s that pitched in. Words can not express our gratitude.