Posted on April 30th, 2016 by David.B
Well the time has finally come to reveal what we have been working on for some time now for our fellow Tiffin motorhome owners or soon to be owners. CoachProxy!
CoachProxy is a simple, intelligent interface for operating your coach from any web browser, whether that’s your Phone, Tablet or Computer and is capable of doing this from anywhere you may be, on any number of devices! Items such as lights, shades, heated floors, and vents to name a few. It can also alert you to things such as your tank levels getting to high or maybe your batteries too low.
CoachProxy was developed along with our friends Michael and Lehnanne Kidd from TurdleHerding.com. They are fellow full-timers who own a new 2016 45OP Allegro Bus. We have spent over a year on this idea and are so excited to bring it to you as it is something that we felt was missing from such a wonderful motorhome coach line.
We set out to develop a product that fills this need at a low price point that was quick and simple. We do not pretend to be like systems you may have seen in other motorhomes, nor did we ever set out to be. While we surely would love to be able to take control of everything, we can only control what is on the Spyder Controls Multiplex System in the 2014 and newer Tiffin Motorhomes.
I will not get too much into it here as we have developed an entire site where you can find information on it. We even have a quick video that was shot, in typical David and Brenda style, on a whim with Michael and David. You know, it was one of those…”Hey, lets make a video” and Brenda grabbed the camera and we were off without a script or even knowing where we would go with it. All in all, it was something fun to do while at the Tiffin Service Center.
We hope you like CoachProxy and that you may care to have one of your own. Even if you don’t, we surely hope you will share this with other Tiffin owners by any means you may have. Be if Facebook, Twitter, community forums, email, US Mail (yeah right), or even around a campfire as you pull out your phone and say…”Hey, watch this!” as you light up your coach.
The video is on the site, but of course we would not be us unless we posted it here…
Posted on April 22nd, 2016 by Brenda.B
Just wanted to say that we are sorry to keep you hanging on the announcement we want to make and what the item is we want to reveal for Tiffin owners. We had hoped to make the revel a week after the post, but here we are on the 22nd and not a word. Nothing. Nadda.
You can be assured we are still here. Michael and David are very hard at work with the website for the reveal and on the little box itself. However, alas, it taking longer to do both seeing that both Michael and David also have the normal work that either may do.
Heck, David and I have not really had much to post about lately. We are back at Southwoods RV Resort and making sure the Wi-Fi is ready for this seasons guests. (See our live camera page for a live view of our site. You may even catch us outside as the camera faces the main view of the coach.)
Be assured we really, really, want to, announce what we have been working on for over a year. It is killing us. But we can not until we have things in place as we know what will happen right from day one.
What can we say now? Well, Michael has written a lot of lines of code. Decoded signals that the coach is sending all the time. And is fine tuning the product named….oh wait…almost slipped. David has been working on the site, the business side of things, and actually talking to other companies and manufacturers already. All in all, exciting times.
But things are close and I the guys will only let me leave you with this image…
…and also to point out that Whisper is also SO TIRED of the Wi-Fi stuff. First all the parks and now….hummm…I have to stop typing again before I say too much.
Posted on April 9th, 2016 by David.B
Oh my, what is Whisper so excited about with what is going on behind him? What are these two guys doing? Why are they smiling so much? Why are they so out of focus? (Oh, wait, that’s the wine making for that issue.) Ok, so maybe Whisper is more annoyed that we are keeping him up as the action in the background seems like it may be out of control or something. (Again…the wine.) But really, what is going on in the background and what is David holding that makes for all the smiles?
These are questions that will soon be answered that should make a lot of 2014 or newer Tiffin owners very happy. It has been over a year in development and Michael Kidd (http://turtleherding.com) and David, both techies, are very excited to be revealing all the work very soon. So, what is it? What can it be? Let’s just say, stay tuned and be ready to control yourself when the time comes.
Posted on March 17th, 2016 by David.B
Well, well, well, can you believe we have now lived full time in our 45LP Tiffin Allegro Bus for two years? Boy has the time gone quickly and we can only think that is because we have been having a great time traveling and making new friends along the way.
The coach has treated us great and we so enjoy the 45LP floor plan. We do like some of the tech changes Tiffin as put into the newer coaches, like more use of the Spyder control system to control things such as vents, blinds, additional lighting, and even the floors. It would be nice to have those as such things are lacking in our 2014 model and they sure would be nice. But it is interesting to us that even though a few other floor plans that have come out after the 45LP model, we would still, at this time, choose the 45LP floor plan for our needs if we decided on a new coach.
Without all the typing needed to talk about some of our thoughts, etc of the second year living in our coach and what we have been up to, we made another video where we sit down and chat with you about it. Ok, yes, it’s a one way conversation, so not so much a “chat” with “you”. However if you watch it a few times and take notes, you could always play it back and right before we say something or go on to a new topic, you can pause it and ask us a question and pretend we are answering it when you continue the playback.
If you care to re-live or play catch-up on our past videos on this subject, we have those available for you too.
Here is the blog post and videos of our Tiffin Allegro Bus 45LP complete time lapse video of build, tips on having a coach built and our walk through video which all can be found here.
Then we did a one year video on our thoughts of living in our coach for the first year. This can be found here.
And if you are all caught up and don’t care to re-live the past, then here is our video on our second year living on the road full time in our Tiffin Allegro Bus model 45LP. (3rd year in all living full time in a coach.)
Posted on March 2nd, 2016 by Brenda.B
Sorry there has not been any postings lately. We are currently parked at North Texas Jellystone RV Resort in Burleson, TX, just south of Fort Worth. We’ve been here over a month now as David has been working non-stop on improving this park’s WiFi system.
You see, a friend of ours owns this park and asked for David’s help in expanding his WiFi system. Well, that simple expansion has turned into a complete rip out and re-build of a new and improved WiFi system. The old system was just that….old. So in order to support all the traffic and a new fiber line coming into the park, a whole new system had to be built in its place.
David explains that whenever you put in a WiFi system in an rv park it’s always a “Best Effort” install. You see, it can never be 100% for everyone all the time. You have to remember that rv parks are always in flux. There are rv’s coming and going all the time.
So you may be just fine connecting to the local campground’s WiFi system one day but then you may get a new neighbor and all of a sudden you have half the signal or none at all. It could be how they are parked and the signal could be bouncing off their coach now. It could be where you physically are inside your particular rv, by a window vs behind a wall. It could be that their camper is made of aluminum and therefore blocking anything coming to you. WiFi signals do not pass through aluminum.
Keep in mind also that your signal, strength or speed is also dependent on what the rv park has coming into their park. Some may not have enough speed to adequately support all the users that are connected. We’ve been in some parks where just their location is a hindrance on how much speed they can get, such as this North Texas Jellystone. They are located just 15 minutes south of Fort Worth, TX and you would expect them to have every resource available but this was just not the case. They fell just outside the install zone for the AT&T fiber until now. They could not even get cable tv here, therefore no cable modems. Their only option up until now has been AT&T U-verse. Unfortunately bad WiFi is the norm throughout the entire US. If the park that you are at has decent WiFi, count yourself lucky.
If they have limited WiFi in certain areas of the park, well, David came up with a solution for that too. You can build yourself an antenna to help bring in the signal to your rv and create your own private WiFi within your rv, for under $100. Here’s the post that David did on that and a step-by-step tutorial on setting it all up yourself. I was able to follow David’s instructions on the video and set one up myself. So I know if I can do it, anyone else should be able to. This will not increase your speed, just help bring the signal inside your rv so that you can connect easier.
So with over 70 access points and bridges from Ubiquiti, fiber coming into the park, a heavy duty Cisco Systems Router and a dedicated server, this system should be great by the time David’s done with it.
Sorry to say, I can be of no help what so ever. David was able to bring in a friend that is a programmer and he has helped a lot. We really appreciate Michael and his wife for coming into the park for a couple weeks to help out on this install.
Whisper of course is no help. He falls asleep all the time on the antennas that David is trying to program. He and BK have been enjoying the Texas sun though. Come on….you knew I had to get a kitty picture in here somewhere :)
After long days of programming this does help.
David’s put in some very long hours. Typically starting at 8 in the morning or so and working until well past 9 at night. I’ve learned to plan out meals so they can be eaten without much effort. There has been a few times we’ve been able to go out and enjoy a restaurant, but then it’s right back to work. I feel bad that I cannot help in any way. I guess just making sure he’s eating and drinking something will have to do.
So, we are still here in Texas. We were planning on only being here for a couple weeks as this was just going to be adding a couple more antennas for an expansion. We do have to be at another rv park in Panama City Beach, FL for another expansion of their WiFi that David worked on last year. We’ve delayed them a little bit so hopefully we will be back on the road soon and headed to Florida.
This has really turned into quite some projects across the country. I think I need to start telling David that maybe he should start charging for this. Yes, he does this for free, just to help out the mom and pop parks and friends.
So sorry it’s been so long for another blog posting. Not much in the way of action has been going on here. Programming, programming and more programming. Oh what fun!
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!