Posted on August 21st, 2015 by David.B
We get asked a lot about what we do for security in our motor coach. Well seeing we have full time Wi-Fi and thus access to the Internet all the time, that opens up our choices. Because of this, enter Piper.
Piper is a Wi-Fi enabled home security device with many features that are rolled into one small device. The main feature being a 180 degree HD video camera that keeps an “eye” on things. Get it…. “Eye”? It is because it looks like a big fish eye. But it also monitors the levels of the light, sounds, and motion as well as reports the current temperature and humidity levels.
You can even set modes of operation such as Home Mode and Away Modes, and it can send you alerts via Push, Text, E-Mails and even call you.
Of course all of this is done by an app on your phone or tablet. The app also is what you use to look in your your RV/Coach with real time video and what is used to playback the recorded event videos. You see, when an alert takes place, it will start a recording and send that video off site to a cloud server where it is stored. This is great, then it can be accessed from anywhere and if a thief takes or even smashed the video, hopefully you will still have something. You can also of course download the video to give to the police or insurance company or just use it on social media if you so choose. Hey, you never know, you may catch your dog or cat doing something funny while you were away.
If you so see fit, you can add accessories to Piper such as setting up door and window sensors so that Piper sends you an alert and takes action if there is a security breach. Oh…You can also do automation items for you such as turning of lights or even appliances. Note however, I am not aware of any 12 volt accessories as this device, like the RING Doorbell, was made to be used in a home. So the plug in automation items as 110V items.
BTW…All of this, cloud storage and alert services…well they are FREE. You just buy the Piper.
Now Remember…This is a Wi-Fi enabled device. So it is not much good to you unless you have Wi-Fi in your coach or RV. In cases of using these types of Wi-Fi devices, you are much advised to also be running your own internal Wi-Fi network. You can find more information on that subject in this blog post of ours. This way your devices like the Piper or the Ring Doorbell can always be connected to your own network. In turn, your network is connected to the Internet via the RV parks Wi-Fi or your own HotSpot/JetPack.
So all in all, good things do come in small packages. Not only can you monitor your coach or RV while you are away, even being able to “look in” on it, it will alert you and can be set to even sound an internal 105db siren. If you have pets…I would highly suggest turning off that siren option as 105db inside a confined space is very, very loud. Your pets would not be very happy to say the least.
Like you have come to expect, here is a short video talk I did on Piper…
Piper can be found here on AMAZON.
Posted on August 18th, 2015 by Brenda.B
New York has a very large Steam Engine Association.
The association was formed in 1960 to promote and encourage interest in the operation, ownership and preservation of antique vehicles powered by steam, kerosene or gasoline.
They have over 100 acres of property near Canandaigua, New York and this steam show and tractor pull is put on every year.
The campground owner of Southwoods RV Resort, where our seasonal site is located, enjoys a good tractor pull and he has been to this one several times as it is only an hour from Southwoods. He thought we would enjoy it as we had never been to one and it has a steam engine museum and antique tractors on display. So we decided to get outside our bubble and see what a tractor pull was all about.
First off, the steam engines were pretty cool. The Allis Chalmers Corliss Steam Engine (located in the museum building) in the above left hand picture is pretty interesting. The flywheel is 12-feet in diameter and its calculated weight is about 9.2 tons. To run the engine at full load, a 300-HP boiler is required. The engine’s maximum speed is 150 RPM.
The engine is coupled to a 2300-volt, 60 Hz (cycles per second), three-phase alternator with 50-amp output per phase. A 125-volt, d-c exciter sits behind the alternator and beside the steam engine.
This particular engine and alternator were part of the first electric power house on Mackinac Island in Michigan. The power plant was called the Chippewa unit, where the engine remained in service until about 1948.
I’m sure some of this mechanical info will be interesting to some of you. I however had to copy this info from the museum as my eyes started glazing over when I was starting to read all these facts and figures. It completely went over my head. Mechanically inclined I am not. David on the other hand found it pretty interesting and to see that this particular engine was from Mackinac Island, a place that we have visited, brought it full circle for us.
The tractor pull portion of this event took place in the late afternoon and went on into the night. Luckily our friend Mike was in the first weight class of tractors, so we didn’t have to wait to long to see him pull.
What happens at a tractor pull? Well, there are generally different weight classes. This is how heavy your tractor is. Some tractors are beefier and can pull more. Therefore, there is a scale where everyone gets weighed in and you can add some weights to your tractor if need be. Then you go into whatever weight class you are. There are several, so the tractor pulls can go for hours.
You can see on Mike’s tractor he has some weights hanging off the side of his tractor. This added weight can help with keeping your front end down on the ground. Although, when you get close to the end and your tractor is struggling with the weight it is pulling, that front end is coming off the ground no matter what.
Speaking of the weight, this is all regulated as well. There is a weight on a sled that gets hooked up to your tractor. The weight is also on a pulley system. So with every movement forward, the weight shifts forward and therefore creates more weight pushing down. Therefore, the further you travel on the track, the heavier your load gets and the harder it is to keep going forward.
It can be pretty interesting. However, we are also thankful that our friend was in the early round of pullers. If we had to sit through hours of pulling, I think it might get old. At least for us.
All in all it was an interesting day. We got to learn about steam engines and see some really interesting steam driven tractors that looked like they were right out of a Willy Wonka factory.
And how did our friend Mike do in the tractor pull?
He took first place!
Posted on August 4th, 2015 by Brenda.B
So…It’s been a while.
What have we been up to?
Well…as you may or may not know, we have been working hard on the Bott Lott (spelling intended).
It’s taking longer than expected as we have had an unusual amount of rain this Spring and Summer. So as you know with any construction project, rain delays happen.
We will be doing a full blog entry on the Bott Lott once we have things done and we can finally come up for air.
David has been working right along side the construction team, Mike and Bill, to get this lot finished.
He’s been having a lot of fun along the way learning how to drive the various equipment. He now knows how to drive the high lift, dump truck, dozer and roller and he’s learning the backhoe.
Boys and their toys. He always has a big smile on his face when he’s driving one of these beasts.
And when David is outside working hard in the 90+ degree days in the sun, you can see the cats are doing their part inside.
Rotten cats that they are (I say sarcastically). Taking naps in the air conditioning. What a tough life we have made for them.
David did take a note from the cats and has found the perfect two trees to hang a hammock. We do have lots of trees back in the area that we are in so we are shaded for a good portion of the evening.
We’re so glad that we found Southwoods RV Resort and that they have accepted us into there Southwoods family. We love that we will now have a seasonal site to call home.
It truly is a great place that’s close to our family and friends and it makes a great location to just hop on the road for a few weeks to explore and then have a permanent place to come home to.
Speaking of hopping on the road, we will be heading to Vermont for a couple weeks soon, as we have never been there. So look for those entries soon!
Hope you all are enjoying your Summer and staying cool in this brutal heat.
Posted on July 18th, 2015 by Brenda.B
Call it a talent.
Call it a hobby.
Call it what you will.
We call it fun.
While living on the road we have come across many people with many different hobbies and talents. Whether it be photography, painting, knitting, quilting, wood working. Doesn’t matter.
It’s important to keep busy. Otherwise you’d just go stir crazy.
It’s also important to make sure it’s fun because once it no longer is fun, its just work and really…who wants that.
Now you all know that David is a very techie person. He owns and runs a few different online forums. Can trouble shoot just about anything electrically speaking. He enjoys flying his quadcopter and editing the video. More recently, within the few years, he has started designing and installing W-Fi networks for various campgrounds we come across that are in dire need. And let’s face it, there are a lot of campgrounds out there that need Wi-Fi help. That however is a whole other conversation for another time.
But with all of that going on, David found a hobby/talent that is on the total opposite spectrum of technology.
It’s called a Cajon. Pronounced… “Ka-hon”
What is a Cajon you may ask?
Well, without getting too technical, it’s a drum that is usually made out of wood that you sit on. It has guitar strings or something else inside it that you can adjust based on the sound you would like. Depending on where you hit the Cajon it will make sounds like a snare, bass and everything in between.
It’s small enough that it travels very nicely. We all love things that can serve as a dual purpose. This can be used as an extra seat if need be. It’s also great for an impromptu campfire jam. We call it a “Camp-Jam”.
Even better when you get invited to play at the campground social hour with the band!
The guys, Ryan and Reynold, enjoyed David’s playing so much around the campfire that they asked him to play with them at the poolside social hour for the campground that weekend. David was smiling from ear to ear.
So, is he having fun?
And that’s really the important factor in all of this.
Plus, now I can be a groupie and go home with the drummer!
Here’s a short video that I took from my prime front row seating at the poolside jam at Southwoods.
Posted on July 6th, 2015 by David.B
Ok, you must know by now I am a gadget guy and love my little electronic gizmos. So maybe it would be a shock for you to hear me say I installed a doorbell on our coach. Yawn! However it should come as no surprise that this is not an ordinary doorbell, oh no, nope! It’s a Wi-Fi video doorbell. I know what you are saying “Come on Dave, get out!?!?!” No I will not get out. In fact I am going to tell you more about it.
The Ring Video Doorbell is actually made for use on a house to replace your current traditional doorbell. But seeing we live in a motor coach, I had to of course install one. Hey, after all, it is our “house”. The best news to me was that it actually can run on it’s internal, rechargeable, battery! Yup…That means no wires need to be run or holes made in the coach. The batteries recharge via USB port and last for a very, very, long time. I have had this installed for over two months now and the battery is still at 85%!
What does it do you may ask? Well, when someone presses the button, it rings an app on your smartphone (Android or iPhone). From that app you can see the person at your door no matter if you are home or not. If you care to then chat with the person, you can do that via it’s built in speaker and mic. Even if you choose not to, it records the video onto a cloud storage area. Now the service does cost for the storage, however it is only $30 a year. (That’s cheap.) So that means even if you miss the call, your still get a video of anyone that pays a visit.
It even has motion sensitive areas. So you can setup zones for it to watch for motion and if detected, it will send you an alert and record the video. We do not do this however, for we do not need it to send us a notice and make a video every time we go in and out of the coach.
All in all, here is a video I did talking a little about it and showing you how it works on our coach.
Posted on June 29th, 2015 by Brenda.B
OK….So we’ve been to Quartzsite, Arizona a few times over the years. It’s an experience that we feel RVers should experience at least once in there adventures. Some people like to come year after year and make it a wintertime destination while others like to come once and they are done. When we go, we like to shop, eat and have lots of fun in the desert. With friends of course.
Because what’s Quartzsite without friends?
Certainly not as fun.
So we thought to ourselves, wouldn’t it be fun to have an Outside Our Bubble group? We could have everyone circle our RV’s and share adventurers we have all had on the road. Heck, we can have pot-luck dinners, movie nights and bon fires. Here is our last post on Quartzsite for more information… CLICK HERE
To the very first ever, Outside Our Bubble get-together, ever, and it will be in Quartzsite, AZ this coming January (2016).
The big RV show in Quartzsite, AZ is being held January 16-24, 2016 and that is the time everyone comes to Quartzsite. And remember, the show is FREE! (And so is parking in the desert.)
We plan on doing the OOB Meet-up: Thursday, January 14 through Sunday, January 17, 2016. We choose these dates based on it being right before the show opening weekend so we can, we hope, get a large enough space for the number of RV’s that care to come join us. Also note… Opening weekend at the show is really busy, so you may choose to say longer if you do not like crowds. We are NOT parked near the show itself as we like it less crazy.
We will be having movie nights on our big 11 foot by 9 foot outdoor movie screen, weather permitting of course.
We’ll be doing a pot luck dinner at least one night.
Bon fires and get togethers. (Please bring wood)
Quadcopter demos. Bring your own RC craft and join in on the flying fun.
Anyone that has a craft they’d like to share, maybe we can do that as well.
Oh, if you play a guitar or something, maybe we can do campfire music jams or sing alongs.
We park, in the free BLM area, on the northern side of Quartzsite. About 5 miles north on route 95 is Plomosa Road. Turn east onto Plomosa Rd (right if you are coming from Quartzsite, left from Parker). Then drive about 2 miles in and on the left hand side you will see our sign for the Outside Our Bubble group (near where the Montana 5th Wheelers meet). Turn left there and follow the road back to the Outside Our Bubble gathering.
Ok, Ok, here it is on Google Maps with the GPS location of where we will be. (we are in the desert, there is no “address”.)
Google Map of Location – Zoom out to see area and roads.
Not sure what the Quartzsite, AZ Show is like? Well…here’s a video we shot last year at Quartzsite of the big RV show and tent event.
Here we are parked in the desert…
The tent event is free.
The parking around the tent event and where we park in the desert is free.
Make sure you fill your fresh water tank and have empty black and grey tanks when you arrive. If need be, there is a place in town to dump and get fresh water if you plan on staying longer or if need be.
We dare you to find us! (Ok, maybe not “dare” you, but come join the fun.)
When: Jan 14-17, 2016
Where: Quartzsite AZ – Plomosa Road – End of BLM camping area (Google Map of Location)
Why: Just for Kicks!
Bring: Firewood, Full Water Tank, Empty Gray and Black Tanks, Generator, snake bite kit (kidding) and Stories.
If looking to join us, please comment below. We will then build a mailing list from the comments (Please verify your address) and use that list to keep everyone updated as we try to figure this out. This is NOT a professionally produced get-together, it is just for fun and what it will be is what it will be. :)
Hope to see you there!