The Happy Place Diaries

A Happy Life starts with a Happy Place

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First off I want to thank everyone that pays us a visit and subscribes to this blog.  While we may not know you, I am happy that you have made the choice to spend a few minutes of you day with us.  At the outset our goal has been to grow a community, no matter how large or small, we wanted to share our journey with you and along the way make friends and a contribution to those that love to RV, Camp, or just are looking for ways to increase the happiness in their lives.

This blog is a companion with our YouTube channel.  And to be honest, we have been putting more effort into it than the blog.  The YouTube Channel takes time in video, editing, and building the community on that platform.  More effort than the blog seems to take.  But we feel that we were a little to lofty in our goals to maintain both and do them both justice.
And so we are readjusting our schedule a little.  We have been posting on the blog three times a week.  The intent was to post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  We try to get our YouTube videos out weekly and have been struggling with consistency in that.  So we need to tweak the schedules a bit. This means that we are going to post to the blog every Wednesday and Friday.  Yeah, we are dropping the Monday content so we can get the video posted to YouTube every Tuesday.
This will be the schedule, but as content needs to be added we will on both platforms.  We will also be making an effort to increase out Instagram content which will mirror some of the content on the blog and Youtube, but will also have more fun stuff and pictures of our happy adventures.

Look for our readjusted schedule starting next week.
Thanks again for hanging with us on our journey!  We are having so much fun with this and over time we are sure to get better at it and provide added value to your online experience.
Have a Happy Day!

The Journey to HappinessTalk to any ten people and they may have a different view on what happiness means.  Some need lots of money and lots of stuff to be happy while others tend to be happier when life is simple and they value the things that matter most.  Neither one of the view points is wrong, they are just different.  In our case we tend to focus on those things that matter the most to use and view money as that tool that allows us the opportunity to do the things that make us happy.  We determined that enough is good enough.
We are not gamblers when it comes to pretty much anything.  I like to go to the casino every now and again and play, but it is strictly for entertainment, I don’t count on winning at the casino to pay bills and put food on the table.  The same is with our lives, we don’t gamble when it comes to the tings that make us happy.  We look to the sure thing.  Playing the Happiness Lotto is not a way that we like to play the game of life.  Now that is not to say that we don’t take some risks, it is just that we try to mitigate the negative outcomes as much as we can.  You can’t eliminate it all so that is where staying the course on our plans come in.  Being disciplined in how we use our resources and treat the people and things in our lives.  We don’t play the Happiness Lottery.
We try not to worry about the little stuff, we plan for how we are going to live, and we stick to the plan.  Spinning the wheel and hoping never leads to happiness.  When I was in Iraq we used to say that Hope is not a plan.  We can hope things are going to go our way but unless you do something to make it happen, it won’t.  So it is with Happiness.  You need to make it happen!  And we do.
Life is Good Today!

Be Happy.

tumalo state parkAs we prepare the RV for another weekend get a way We want to share with you our last trip to Tumalo State Park.  A gem of a State Park in Central Oregon between Bend and Redmond.  It’s about a 3 hour drive from our home, but worth every mile and minute.  This is one of our favorite places to camp.  There is so much to do and see in the area that you could spend a week and have a great time every day.
The campground sits right along the Deschutes river which offers great kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and rafting opportunities.  The fishing is world famous along the Deschutes and something that you should try while your there.
If you are into hiking, the network of trails in and around the park are outstanding and great hikes are all within 15 minutes of your RV.
And then there is Bend and Redmond.  Two really cool cities that are wonderful to visit.  Brewery’s and nice shops make the day in either Bend or Redmond something worth the drive.
If you are ever in Central Oregon, pay a visit to the Tumalo State Park.. you will be glad you did.

instance-management-tool-checklistAs seen in our last post, we are fans of planning and creating lists.  When we get ready for an outing we have a set routine so we do not forget anything, and yes this is a great lessons learned thing.  We didn’t always have “the list” and yep.. forgot things and missed things.  In the end it always costs money.  Forgetting things results in those last minute trips to Walmart or an RV store at a remote location which will always cost you more.  Shopping at a camp store will too.  Not to say that the convenience of a camp store is not nice, but they do have you when you get to the check out as they are the only game in town.
So we created a list to help us get on the road.  It is a simple checklist that is unique to us and how we get started.  It always comes down to the little things with us so checking and double checking is the rule.
We start with the inside.
Clothing, Food, and making sure that every cabinet is closed and secured.
We check for obstructions to the slide out to make sure that when we get to our site we can open the slide out without any issues.  We know that things shift and move during travel, so making sure that nothing is going to fall in the way of the slide out is important.  It can be as simple as a Dog bone that can derail the slide.
We check the bathroom to make sure the shower door is closed and secure.  This can become a big problem if it breaks.
Then we secure any loose items in the galley and give the inside a once over before we go outside.
Outside (after we hook up) we do a walk around.
We make sure the slide out is all the way in.
We check the outside storage cabinets and ensure they are closed and locked.
We check to make sure all the windows are closed and secure.
We check the rear bumper to make sure the spare tire is secure and the hoses and covers are not loose.
We check the stairs to make sure they are secure and in place.
We make sure the doors are locked.
We check the awning to make sure it is fully retracted.
We look to see if anything is hanging or not in place.  A good visual inspection will let you know if anything looks out of place.
Check the tires, lug nuts and tire pressure.
Make sure chokes are pulled.
This brings us back to the front of the trailer.
We check the tongue lock.
Make sure all the pins are in place.
Make sure the sway control is set.
Check the safety chains and emergency brake cable.
Make sure propane is off and bottle are secure.
Check the cable for lights and brakes.
Propane tank cover on and top door secure.
A visual inspection of the lights to make sure running lights, turn signals, and brake lights are functioning properly.
Inside the truck we check dash to make sure trailer is hooked up and reading.
Test brake output on dash indicator.
Lights on.
Tow/Haul set.
Mirrors.
A thumbs up from Teresa.. and we go.
This list does not change much.. we try to be consistent that way we tend not to forget anything. I am sure that the list could be longer and more detailed, but it does seem to work for us.
What do you use to get on the road, a list, an app, or just wing it?
Let us know.

Have a Happy Day!

In a recent video I watched from a great couple that I follow there was a discussion on how far or how long are you comfortable driving when traveling with your RV.
I thought this was not only a timely subject as we are planning our big cross country adventure, but it was a discussion that we have had repeatedly.
The video got me looking into our plan for June and as a result we actually added a day to the trip to accommodate our limitations on how far and long we like to be in the truck pulling the trailer.
I am typically ok within a five hour circle from home.  What ever that distance is, typically about 400 miles, we are comfortable with traveling.  It does require a stop or two to stretch our legs and take a bio break.  The nice thing about having the RV is that you bring your comfort station with you.  Bathroom, kitchen etc. is all just a rest stop or view point away.  I can stretch that to ten hours if we need to, and we will on our trip, but those days need to be spread out and have a great destination when we arrive.
One of the other things that we consider when planning is our arrival times.  Whether that has to do with check in times for camping near us or the time and distance that we travel, arrival times is a factor.  If we want to arrive and be able to see some sights we need to get into our camp site before 3:30 PM.  So that is what we usually plan around.  Again, when planning for our June trip and knowing that we are only staying in most places for one night, if we want to see anything we need to be in by 3:30.  So we back out our distance and the time it take to cover it and come up with our departure times so as to arrive by 3:30.

Screen Shot 2019-04-11 at 7.57.39 AMLike I said based on the time and distance and looking at how much I am comfortable with we added a day.  The spreadsheet above is the tool I use to plan.  It does not reflect the added day which will be at the beginning of the trip on the 16th.  That will cut the 10:45 drive in half and that way I won’t have to do two back to back long days.  We also through in a floater day (30th) the grey block that will allow us to either go home for a night in the way to LL Stubb Stewart or spend another day en route from Butte.
Without taking a look at the plan we would not know to make changes.  I know that some people don’t plan as much, but I like to know what I am getting myself into.  I also like to know that it’s doable.  On this trip we have not allowed for too much flexibility, but that is because we have places and people that we need to see and get to.  The fact of the matter is that we do have a few days in the middle that we can shift, move, or do nothing with.
Planning for us is key.  When we look at space and time, we want to fill it with how we are comfortable and keep it safe for our travel.  Its all about having fun and so we feel the need to plan to make it that way.
What are you comfortable with?  How do you plan? Let us know.
Be sure to check out one of our favorite YouTube Channels, You,Me, and The RV!
While you are it.. pay a visit to our channel!
Have a Happy Day!

540x360We love to camp at our Oregon State Parks.  They offer great locations with amenities and outstanding camping experiences.  Our State Parks are a great place for a weekend trip or staying for a week to take in the sites, relax, or just pass through on your way across our State.
We tend to spend most of our camping at the State parks as the prices are good, especially as a Disabled Veteran, but even at regular prices for what you get you can not beat it.  Most of the State Parks have full hook ups or at least power and water and offer dump sites.  There are some parks that are for tenting only or day use, but the parks we visit are all RV friendly.
If I had to have one beef with our parks it would be that many of them need a face lift.  Our Park system has been active for a long time and back when they established the RV sites the average RV was pretty small.  So the pads need some improvement at the older parks to adjust to today’s RV.  But even with that one minus the plus’s certainly outweigh any gripe I may have with our Parks.
It is nice to plan our trips around the State using the State Parks.  They are all right where the activities are.  The mountains, the beach, and the High Desert.  There is always something to see and do at or around our parks.  So we enjoy them as destinations, especially when we book our week long stays.
If you are ever passing through Oregon, plan to stay at one of our Parks, you will be glad you did!
A couple of our favorites are:
Wallowa State Park.
LaPine State Park.
Ft. Stevens State Park.
Check them out, they represent just a few parks, but they give us three completely different Oregon Experiences.
What are some of your favorite places to camp? Let us know in the comments section.

DIY-bandeau-1This week we added another upgrade to our Keystone Passport Travel Trailer.  We seem to be in a mode of upgrading some of the little things and some that may seem a bit larger.  As discussed in a previous post I understand why the manufacturers tend to go with “cheaper options” when constructing an RV, it all comes down to cost and time.. so be it.  In talking with a Keystone rep at the last RV show he gave us the “insider scoop” that if you want everything perfect you need to go to the factory and get it made that way.  Well for most of us that is not an option and when it comes to cost I think doing the little upgrades a few at a time will ultimately save you money in the long run.  Besides, being new to RVing I really didn’t know what I wanted until about a year in the RV and seeing other trailers.  So it really is trial and error for a while and then you fall into the get what you want mode.
For us every upgrade we make now is a plus.  The RV is paid off so all the cost now is added value to us and it makes the trailer more suitable to how we use it and meets our needs.  The thing that we have learned in this process is just how much you can do yourself.  Now there are things that I won’t do like drill holes in the side of my rig to install a Slider Topper.. nope.. way out of my wheel house.  But I am finding that many things can be done by myself and at a tremendous cost savings.  The case in point, and it cost me too much for this lesson, is this weeks upgrade.  We had installed (there’s the mistake) a set of Morryde Step Above steps.   We saw them at the RV show and immediately knew we needed them on our trailer.  They replace the existing fold out steps on the rig.  I spoke with the Rep from MorRyde at the show and demo’d the steps and some of the other MorRyde products.  They are fantastic, solid, super stable steps and they are great on the trailer.  I took the brochure home and did all the measuring to find the set we needed to fit our rig and went to Camping World to buy them.  They are running a $59 “We install anything” deal right now…. which is not entirely true after you pay for the parts and labor.. not to mention the item itself.  But I had them install it and came to find out one of my doors is smaller than the other and so only one set could installed.  MorRyde does not make the small door option yet.. I sure hope it’s coming.  The install took a few hours, I’m sure it is because they are installing a ton of stuff with the $59 deal, but what it amounted to was putting the stairs in and mounting them with 6 screws.  Six screws that are easily accessible.  After looking at what took Camping World 2 hours to do I kicked myself in the rear for spending the money on the install.  I could have done it in 10 minutes.  Had I ordered the steps on Amazon

6Exm0vKKTYe50TdyCU7OIgand had them shipped to my house I could have saved about $200 in shipping, labor, and install fees.  Lesson learned, look into the DIY options before you buy.
I have done a lot of little improvements to the RV.  Today I installed a pole in the closet.  We converted our bedroom closets using inexpensive drawers we found at Target so we needed to make the lined closet usable to hang jackets and shirts that need to be hung on hangers.  Took me 5 minutes and it’s done the way I wanted it.  The point is that I am learning to do it myself.  As we take our trailer out more and more and see what upgrades or manufactures are doing with the newer trailers we see things that we like and want.  From now on we will be always be looking at how we can do it ourselves before we jump to the install.  Now if it is stuff that I just not comfortable with then paying for piece of mind is always worth the cost.
So here is a list of the what we have upgraded or changed in our Keystone Passport to date:
New Mattress on bed
Installed cup holders around dinette
Bedroom closet drawers
Hall closet hanger
MorRyde steps
Slide topper
Replaced Door windows with Thin Shade windows
Replaced curtain stays as they have been breaking with zip ties
Replaced Scissor Stabilizers with Eaz Lift stabilizers
Vent Covers on the two vents on roof
Added antenna booster to TV
Lost of Command Hooks around to hang things
Tongue Jack replaced
Kitchen sink faucet replaced
Bathroom sink faucet replaced
Shower head replaced
Started changing our light bulbs inside to LED bulbs
Seat Cushions in Dinette replaced
I’m sure I am forgetting something here, but we are making the RV the best for us and we love it!
What are some of the upgrades that you have done on your rig?  We would love to know heck maybe it will inspire us to do more upgrading.
Let us know!
Have a Happy Day!

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