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Heard of a Kamado? Neither Had We!

Posted on May 24th, 2015 by David.B

David and KamadoJoe

David and KamadoJoe

 

A Kamado? Never heard of it is what we had said. Have you heard of the Big Green Egg? Some of you may be saying yes, but I bet most are saying…Huh…A Green Egg? (Brenda wanted me to title this post “Why I took up smoking”.)

Well, quite simply, a Kamado is a grill/oven/smoker/Barbecue that is ceramic and made in such a way that it can hold temperatures from 200 to 750+ degrees for long periods of time.  A Kamado has been around for thousands of years and in different shapes. You cook with it using all natural wood charcoal and never use any fluids to light it. You control and dial in the temperature using a venting system.

Big Green Egg

Big Green Egg Family

The Big Green Egg is a brand that is well known and has a large following. I believe that to be mainly because they really came out with one of the first grills and built a niche at the time and thus created a great following that continues today. They are affectionately known as EggHeads.

Note I said, “niche”. This is because these units are not cheap. Not by a long shot. A Green Egg unit ranges from $400.00 for the smallest of the smalls, to $3,500 for the Extra, Extra Large and are tightly price controlled and can only be purchased via authorized dealers.

KamadoJoe

KamadoJoe

Thus enter competitors that have the same such offerings of “egg shaped” units but come in at lower price point and come with everything you need to get started. (unlike the Green Egg.)  So seeing these things are not cheap, we researched and researched and at the end purchased the KamadoJoe that you see me standing proudly next to above. Cost for the Classic KamadoJoe, $1,000 and comes with all you need to get cooking. There are other lower priced units, however, we were just not too sure about them based on pro-barbecuer reviews. You see, temperature control is the key. Without being able to keep a steady temperature over long periods of times, it can just ruin a what could have been a great meal.

The KamadoJoe had high marks for keep great temperature, customer support, and how it came with all you needed to get cooking. The Large Green Egg for example, which is the size of the Classic KamadoJoe, is $880 plus you need the stand, and sides, the heat deflector, etc. with each item adding to the cost and putting you well above the cost of the Joe.

Ok, here’s the catch for RV’ers. These things, being all ceramic, are NOT light. Nope, our Classic KamadoJoe weighs in at a whopping 188 lbs! So, needless to say, ours is not something that will be traveling with us. It will stay behind at Southwoods RV Resort on our lot when we travel. We surely will miss it and may need to get the travel size KamadoJoe Jr. we can carry in our bay, as well as be able to lift. With that said however we do have friends that have a medium Green Egg and it does go with them in their Tiffin Allegro Bus 45LP. I give him a lot of credit, as it is not small and not light at 113 lbs, so it is something to deal with in a cargo bay.

He also gets the credit for turning us on to cooking on a Kamado having cooked for us three times over a week making ribs and hamburgers. It was his ribs that got us hooked as we love us some ribs! I did not mention his name as he seems to hate that….So lets just call him “Jim”.  Thanks Jim.

So, what does one do when they end up buying one?  For us, it was to smoke us some RIBS!  How did it go for our first time?  Well let us show you with some photos.

Note…If you are not a meat eater…you can stop reading here. :)

First we started off with a rack of pork ribs and rubbed yellow mustard that would be used as a binder to help the spice rub keep in place. Interesting that you can not taste the mustard in the end.

Adding yellow mustard as a binder.

Adding yellow mustard as a binder.

All rubbed in now in the spices.

All rubbed in now with the spices.

 

We did the rub the night before so the ribs would really soak it in. We wrapped it in aluminum foil and put it back in the fridge.  The next day at about 11 am it was time to start the Kamado to get it up to temperature. Seeing you only use all natural charcoal in it and you can not use liquids as it will hurt the ceramic, it takes about 10 minutes to get it burning. We used all natural starter wood. Close the lid and let it start to get up to the cooking temperature, in this case, 225 degrees.

Then comes the fun part (as I say using air quotes). Getting it to hold at 225 as it is a balancing act between the amount of air/oxygen you let into the bottom, and how much heat you let out of the top. So you start adjusting, and adjust, and adjust until BAM, you got it within 50 degrees on the high side. So you then lay on the ribs, and seeing they are cold, it will bring the temp down. Over the next hour you check on it to get it to the 225 degrees (or whatever you need) ever slightly adjusting the air flow and heat loss.  At some time within that hour, you will get a lock on your cooking temp.  At that point you just let it be and check on the temperature now and again and you DO NOT open that lid. For as they say, “If your look’in, your not cook’in.” So there it stood for the next 4 hours until it was finely time to take a look!!!

4 Hours Later

4 Hours Later

Looking Good!

Looking Good!

Wrap them up!

Wrap them up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ta-da! Looks great! And at this point they are fully cooked. (Always check the temp though to be sure.) So what we did next was to wrap them in aluminum foil and put them back on for another one and a half hours. Why might you ask is it that we did not just dig in? That is because we wanted fall off the bone ribs.  Ribs so tender that literally the bone just peels on out. So back to again adjusting to get the temp dialed in and then again we wait. One and a half hours we would know the result and we could not wait. (We were kind of hungry after smelling them all day!)

And? And? Success! The bone just peeled right out of the ribs just as we had planned it to.

Falling right off the bone.

Falling right off the bone.

Bones just peal out.

Bones just peel out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what was the result of that work and final success other than a sense of accomplishment? I think the last photo says it all. No, let me say it for you anyway…Yummmmmm!

Seems that the ribs were a success.

Seems that the ribs were a success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So is it worth a $1,000 for a grill? Only you can decide that for yourself. For us, based on the above result, our answer is already a YES. We know when we had a bricks and sticks home we paid $300 for a regular gas grill and it surely does not cook like a Kamado. The next day in fact we seared one inch steaks at 650 degrees. Two minutes on one side, three on the other and BAM, steakhouse steak complete with that rustic taste you get with all natural wood charcoal. We see many years of great cooking ahead!

Lastly we again wanted to thank Jim, oh…I’m sorry, I meant “Jim”, for the help he gave me in learning on how to dial in the right temp.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) And Why You Want One!

Posted on May 18th, 2015 by David.B

tpms


This is our plea to RV’ers and as such, a Public Service Announcement! So please, please be so kind to share this post with others. 

As the title says…”Why You Want One”. And yes, YOU WANT ONE if you currently do not have one. A Tire Pressure Monitoring System, TMPS as they are referred to, are just that, a sensor driven system that monitors and reports on the current pressure of your tires on not only your motor coach, but also the car, suv, trailer, or whatever you may be towing.

 

Let me put it to you this way, a 32,000 lbs coach or even larger, pulling a 4,600 lbs SUV and the SUV blows a rear tire…will you know it?  Really, will you? Nope, you will more than likely never feel it as the mass of the coach and the shear power of it would mask any resistance you would feel. But besides that, I really would want to know if I was loosing air due to a nail or something while driving or even before I pulled out. And thus the Tire Pressure Monitor System comes into play.

Each tire is fitted with a little sensor that replaces your air valve stem cap. It will take a reading of your tire pressure and even the heat it can read through the valve stem. All systems I have tried allow you to set a high and low pressure point as well as heat level at which to sound the alert. However, heat is really not used as a high alarm and is usually left a high default value. But continue reading as to WHY you want to monitor it.

The better systems also monitor for slow leaks. Now this is important as some systems will only alert once the pressure gets below your set limit. I however want to know if I am loosing X amount of air over a given period of time thus BEFORE it gets down to my low set point. Why?  Well as you drive, your tires heat up and pressure increases in the tire. The hotter, the more pressure. It is not unusual to see a tire pressure climb 15 PSI or more based on the temperature. So, say that I run my front tires at 115 PSI, and my low point is set for 105 PSI. When driving, my tires may go up to 125 PSI. If I pick up a nail and start to leak, I want to know it before it gets to my low set alert point which would be already a 20 PSI loss. So a good TPMS also monitors the CURRENT tire pressure and thus will alert me if I loose X amount of pressure over X amount of time based on the last high pressure reading.

You may be asking why I would set my low point at 105 PSI then and not like 112 or something closer to what I set my pressure at. Well, that is because the reverse happens when a tire is cooled as the pressure will lower. If I have it set to close, then even overnight when the outside temp drops, so does the tire pressure and my system will wake me up if left on.

A TPMS is also not just for driving, it is also for starting out. Let’s face it, most of us do not go out and “thump” our tires to check them. As such, when your system is on, even when parked, it will alert you if your tire pressure drops from that nail you picked up coming into the park. After all, you may be able to see a front tire being low, but you will not be able to see the duel tires on the back as being low as one tire will keep the other lifted.  As such, you could roll out never knowing you already have an issue and you are then just going on borrowed time as one tire is not meant to carry that weight. At the same time the low tire will also be building heat. For as the more it contacts the ground due to the low pressure, the more heat it builds. You can guess what may soon happen based on one of these tires.

As far as to what you may be towing…MONITOR THOSE TIRES ALSO. As mentioned, if you blow a tire in whatever you are towing, you more than likely will not know it until some nice person pulls up to you and gets your attention. Nope, they are not trying to be nice waving at you as they go by…they are trying to tell you that you are dragging what you are towing.  You might not even be able to tell in the rear cam until you start to see the sparks from being down to the rim. These rigs we drive are so large and have so much mass and torque in the engine, that car you are pulling with the flat means nothing too it. (However that car will surely push you when trying to stop if you do not have a supplemental braking system, but that is for another chat.) You don’t believe you would not know it? Check out this video that I am picking up at 3:54 into it, and remember, you are seeing a smaller RV that is much much older and thus even less power than todays coaches and the guy never knew it. He was being followed for 6 miles… CLICK HERE.

So remember above I mentioned to read on…well…the TMPS system worked so well on our first trip with it as I was actually able to see that my front driver side tire of my Saturn Outlook was running hot as the temperature reading was much higher than the other tires. (I check them from time to time looking at the readings.) When I stopped I used my IR Heat Gun Reader and took a reading to be sure it was not the sensor sending bad data. Sure enough, the tire was 14 degrees hotter than the other tires. I looked at the brakes and sure enough, they were thinner than the others and more brake dust was on the rim. This is a sign that the caliper was not releasing all the way after the brakes were applied. So I took it in for service and the TPMS may have just saved us from a future braking issue. Note, even though it was not OVER HOT to make an alarm sound on the monitor, the system did allow me to “see” an issue that the brakes were making based on the increased temperature reading.

MonitorWe use the EezTire and it does the readings nicely as it scrolls through tire by tire changing every 5 seconds giving you pressure and temp readings. It has a large display and tells you things in English vs little icons. It also has a red flashing light and a loud alert when something takes place. Side note…I also tried the TireTraker/Hawkshead and it failed to deliver continued proper results for us. At that time, I was replacing a much older PressurePro as it lacked features such as rapid air loss and live display. Many people have the unit and it works great for them, just did not for us after having two monitors replaced. When it worked, it worked.

SensorOh, about the tire sensors, no worries on weight or anything as they are very small and will not have any affect on balance or valve stems. We have put 130K miles on our Saturn between driving and towing it and it is a non issue. I take off the theft protection caps as I do not find a need for them as I have never heard of someone stealing one. I also then do not need to fight to get it off by needing to use a special tool. I also did not see any need for the larger “flow through” sensors as I still need to remove the value cap anyway, so why not just remove the sensor?  As far as battery life of the sensors…I get about 1.5 years on them and they are very cheap to buy.  CR 1632 Batteries…25 pack for under $10.

One last thing…You will want to use a booster especially in larger coaches. This goes for any TPMS system as you do not want to miss your sensor signals.

So no matter what product you may buy….PLEASE JUST BUY ONE if you do not have one. It will make you much safer on the road. In fact, here, let me Google that for you so you can find a TPMS that fits your needs (Also see update below.) —–>  CLICK HERE

I also did a short video talk about this topic… Again, please be so kind to share it.

Side note…I also made a video long ago doing an open box of the EezTire and simple install info. It is on their website and you can find it here on our YouTube Channel.

UPDATE: Seeing I usually get asked if I will help program a TPMS if someone would buy one after I tell them about why they should have one, I got proactive. So to get you going quickly I contacted EEZ RV Products, maker of the EezTire TPMS system, and got them to offer FREE PROGRAMMING with FREE SHIPPING. You need to purchase directly from their site. Be sure to add the programming package into the shopping cart and use coupon code Bubble at check out and also choose USPS Priority Mail and use code Freeship for the free shipping.

Any other TPMS company that cares to offer the same, please reach out to us and I will add you above. The idea is to just get them on RV’s with no fuss.

(We make NO INCOME from this nor are asking for any.)

RV Washing with CR Spotless Water System

Posted on May 11th, 2015 by David.B

screenshot_915
Ok, what can I say, I dislike washing the motor coach. It is not the actual washing part that gets to me, it was the drying. Note that I just said “was”. As in I no longer have the issue of drying. You see, car washes have spot free rinse and so I was thinking that there had to be something I could use on this large motor coach. That searching is what led me to CR Spotless Water Systems and I had to check it out.

 

After doing much research and reading on various forums and car detailing websites, I concluded the CR Spotless Water System has to be what I was looking for. So off I went to order a system.

So you know what this is, it is a water de-ionizer. What that means in simple terms is that as the water passes through special resin, everything other than the H2O molecules are attracted to the resin and held. What comes out is mineral free water that won’t spot. It is the minerals in the water that will leave the water spots, so without minerals, no spots. No chemicals are involved.

Two of several CR Spotless models.

Two of several CR Spotless models.

Hard Water Spot and Marks

Dried Hard Water Spots and Runs

So then becomes the issue…which one? They have a number of models and on some of the sites the information was different then it was on the manufacturers own site. (BTW…Made in the USA.) The information that was different was the number of gallons of water you could expect to be able to run through it before needing to replace the resin. Some sites state 200 gallons while another said 150 gallons for the same model.

Be it 150 or 200 gallons it is VERY important to note that this number is surely not an exact thing as that all depends on your waters current hardness. If you travel you surely know that water out west in places like Utah and Arizona is very, very hard. As such, you will go through the resin quickly. But in a place like upstate NY, it will last much longer as the water is great. (Though it surly still spots.)

I of course wanted to get the best use I could for such a large coach and ended up with the top model, the CR20. However, after receiving it, I quickly realized it is not something I can carry with us full time in the coach. (Oops!) As such, this CR20 unit will need to stay here at Southwoods RV Resort where we are most of the summer as we visit family and doctors. (We have a seasonal site we go and come from as we travel the upper areas.) As such, I am now going to need another smaller unit to travel with, for after using it, I know I can not be without it.

So, how well did it work? As I just mentioned, I now can not be without one when we travel. I knew it would work, but WOW did it work. On our coach it is easy to see spots seeing we are on the darker side. But by the time we were done washing the driver side of the coach and walked back around to the passenger side that was in the sun, it was already dry, and better yet, it was spotless! We had not touched it with a towel, squeegee or anything. Not even the windows had spots. It was great for it would have been at that time we would have started to dry it and spent at least another 1.5 hours on it.

Spry Wands

Spray Wands

Now it is good to note a few things on how we wash our Tiffin Allegro Bus 45LP…

1) We use ONLY lambs wool pads on the coach when washing. Never a brush.

2) We use a mixture of 1 oz Baby Shampoo and 1/2 cup Food Grade Vinegar to 5 gallons of water.

3) Wet the coach with standard water a section at a time and then wash that section.

4) Rinse the section with the CR Spotless System. If you use it to wet it down, it runs through the resin and thus shortens the life of it.  You only use it for the final rinse!!!

5) You will want a spray wand to help reach up as it will help greatly to get the upper areas rinsed.

6) If the TDS meter on it reads 20, stop rinsing as it is time to replace the resin. (It is good to keep some on hand.)

And last but not least, watch it dry. Really, I bet you will the first time. I admit, I kept checking. ;)

So, want to hear about this in a video? Well ok, twist my arm, here you go…

crlogo

ALERT – 10% SPECIAL DISCOUNT
CR Spotless contacted us and offered our readers a 10% Discount until July 31st!!! At checkout use Coupon Code OOB15 (We DO NOT profit from your purchase.)

Thanks CR Spotless!
Website —>  CR Spotless Water Systems

Today Is The Last Free Day Of The RV Summit!

Posted on May 11th, 2015 by Brenda.B

Just a quick reminder that today is the last day to listen free to the RV Summit.  Plus, today is the day we are on the summit, so do you really need more of an incentive than that? :)

Personal Note: Please be sure to VOTE for US with feedback if you would like us back!!!!

Listen to our segment during the RV Summit

Listen to our segment during the RV Summit

So go online and be a part of this event that features 30+ RV and travel interviews.

Always wondered what it was like to live full time in an Airstream? Class B? Luxury Class A? Or maybe traveling around Europe on a budget sounds more like you. How does one handle health care while traveling? What about Wi-Fi?

Or maybe, since you’re reading our blog, you just want to get inside our heads and you always wondered why we did this or how we do things while being full time on the road.

So today is your last chance to listen for free.

So hop on over there and listen away.

And don’t forget, if you can’t listen to them all today, you can always purchase the entire set so you can always have them to listen to at your leisure.

Happy Listening!

Finding A Good Shop To Get Your Maintenance Done Is Important

Posted on May 3rd, 2015 by Brenda.B

Bay Diesel In Red Bay, AL

Bay Diesel In Red Bay, AL

Bay Diesel In Red Bay, AL

Bay Diesel In Red Bay, AL

We all gotta do it. It’s the yearly maintenance and check-up of our motor homes. The oil changes and filter changes. The top to bottom inspections.

Not something we all enjoy but it’s what keeps these beauties on the road and purring.

For the first time we find ourselves with a coach without a Freightliner chassis. We would always take our Tour Master (on the Freightliner chassis) to the service center in Gaffney, SC. We loved those guys and trusted them. However, with our new motor home being on the Tiffin Power Glide chassis, we were not sure where we would take it for service. We found out that we worried for nothing. Asking our fellow RVers where they took their homes on wheels, one place kept coming up over and over again. Bay Diesel and A/C, Inc in Red Bay, Alabama, just around the corner from the Tiffin Service Center and Campground.

What a great find and convenient too!

We had an appointment for 11:30am on a Wednesday to get a yearly check-up and oil change on our engine and generator. This place came highly recommended by everyone that we talked to. With our service work done at Tiffin and nowhere else to go, we headed to Bay Diesel early. Being right around the corner from the Tiffin Service Campground it took us no time to get there. Traffic was not an issue. Then again, this is Red Bay. I highly doubt traffic is ever an issue. Not to mention it’s just over a mile from the campground.

We got there at 9am hoping that if they had time, we could get in early as we were itching to get back on the road.

David Flying The Quadcopter At Bay Diesel

David Flying The Quadcopter At Bay Diesel

 

 

So what does one do while waiting for your appointment? Well…if you’re David, you get out your UAV and fly the area of course. He got some great overhead shots of the shop. No video, just pictures this time.

 

 

 

Bay Diesel In Red Bay, AL

Bay Diesel In Red Bay, AL

Our Coach Waiting For Service At Bay Diesel

Our Coach Waiting For Service At Bay Diesel

We gave the owner the pictures for a future website that he may or may not be doing at some point. Yes, this day and age you would think that every business had a website. Sorry to say that the owner, Chris, does not have a website for Bay Diesel. Really though, the word of mouth from other RVers keeps him busy from sun up to sun down, along with other diesel trucks in the area.

So let me tell you something about this place that really made our day. When we were in the office talking to Chris (who is an avid RC pilot himself) and his wife, who are very nice people by the way, a tech came in with a small jar of antifreeze that he had just drained from a coach he was working on. The owner of the coach wanted his antifreeze changed as he thought it needed it. After looking at the sample that the tech came in with, Chris and the tech both agreed that the antifreeze was fine and that it did not need replacing.

We were impressed to say the least. Some places, I hesitate to say “most” as I am an optimist, would just change the antifreeze and therefore charge the customer for it. After all, he asked for it to be changed, right? Not here. They are truly honest people that are not out to make a quick buck. They want to make sure you are happy and that your unit is in tip-top shape when it leaves them. Not only that but you are allowed to be in the bay while your coach is being worked on and ask all the questions you want. They want to make sure you understand what they are doing and what needs to be done, and more importantly, what does not need to be done or can wait until next year.

Coming in early and sitting in the parking lot waiting paid off in the long run. They took us in a whole hour and a half early and got us out just over an hour later, before our originally scheduled time I might add.

Our Coach In Bay Diesel

Our Coach In Bay Diesel

David Had To Help Lift The Coach

David Had To Help Lift The Coach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know I’ve said this before, but I’m going to say it again. The hydraulic lifts that they use to get these massive beasts into the air with ease still amazes me. Although, David felt the need to step in there and help out. Be it any way he can. Not really sure how much of a “help” this was though.

Bay Diesel Servicing Engine

Bay Diesel Servicing Engine

Bay Diesel Servicing Generator

Bay Diesel Servicing Generator

 

Not only was it time for the engine to get it’s oil changed and filters checked/changed but the generator needed it also. Even if you do not use your generator on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to have it serviced at least once a year. In our opinion that is. Being out west really did a number on our air filters.

 

We had two guys working on our engine and two guys working on our generator. However, I do believe that one of those guys on our generator was a trainee with the other keeping a watchful eye.

 

 

 

Thanks to the hard working guys at Bay Diesel we were able to get on the road and make our way back north (although I’m not sure why as it was snowing when we got there) in a few days.

With Bay Diesel’s integrity and pride, we will definitely take our motor home there for all of its service needs. We felt very comfortable there and very confidant that the job was done right and at a fair price.

RV Summit Update and Enter to Win $25 Amazon Gift Card

Posted on April 29th, 2015 by David.B

Just a quick follow-up post to the upcoming RV Summit. Our chat/interview will be on the last day, May 11th, we guess they are saving the best for last. (Ok, we said that, not them. Oh, and also David’s Mom said that so it must be true.), However there are great interviews all week, some from our other on-line RV blogger friends.

So if you have not yet signed up, what are you waiting for? After all, it’s Free for the week so listen while you can! You also will be able to order USB sticks for listening off line at a later time…So even if you can not listen during the week, sign up to receive information on how to get copies of all the interviews.

Click the image below for more information and to register…

Day 7 Interviews

Hey…Let’s do this…We would like to get the word out all we can so share this post and get entered into a drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card from us. If you Tweet it you get two entries and if you also follow us on Twitter you get an extra entry. (If you do not use Twitter just enter your email address to enter.)

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