Window Up Grade! AP Products Thin Shade

11080005This week we upgraded the door windows of our Passport.  We went with the AP Products Thin Shade.
We went with these windows for a couple of reasons.  First, we love the shade that is built into the window.  The older windows allowed for privacy, but the look was just not what we liked.  The old windows looked like the glass that you find in a restroom.
Second, we love that the new windows match the smoked glass look of all of the rest of the windows on the trailer.  It makes the look of the RV much nicer and the door side now has a matched texture of the glass, it just seems to flow better.
Finally, the price was right.  We got an incredible deal on the set of windows.  We stopped by camping world.  The windows were on sale from $133 a piece to $119.  Then we got to the register we discovered thanks to the associate that there was another price marking on the box.  She told us that she had to charge us whatever the price is on the box.. so we got both windows for $180.
The project took only 20 minutes to install both of the windows, the hardest part was taking the old windows out.  Once I got them out and cleaned up the door the new install was quick and easy.
It says that the windows fit most RV’s.. they fit in our doors like fingers in a glove.  Perfect fit and great look.  Looks like they came installed from the factory… which begs the question… no it actually doesn’t.. I understand why the factory does not do the cool upgrades and I appreciate that.  The money spent later is well worth it because then you have the ability to customize your rig.
So another nice upgrade to the RV.  Glad we got it done.
Heres a video that gives you an idea of the project.
Have a Happy Day!

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March RV Upgrades

March is here and we look forward to some better weather.  25 degrees this morning here in Oregon, but we ready the Passport for another weekend adventure.  Last week we did some upgrades to the RV, one that was a must and a couple others that are just upgrades or nice to have.
smartjackFirst, the must item, and the more I think about it… yes it needed to be replaced, but we decided to replace it.. again, with a better one.  I am talking about out Tongue Jack.
On our last outing the Harbor Freight tongue jack that we replaced the original crank jack with finally gave out.  We got a good three years out of it so in Harbor Freight terms, we got our money worth.  It was a serious situation that when it finally did give out and we did a quick $60 fix (removed the urgency from the situation).  Last week however I went down to Camping World and picked up a new Smart Jack from Lippert.  It is a 3500 lb jack and has some cool features like setting the hitch height.  It was a super easy install and it is functioning great.  Lesson learned.  When you raise the Jack for travel and you hear the “Clunk”.  You have gone to far.  Repeatedly raising the jack to the absolute top will eventually wear out the gears and it will seize up.  The fix.  I am adding a strip of duct tape to the drop leg at the point before it reaches the top.  This will allow for some space so I do not reach the top and hear the “Clunk”.  This will keep the gears from seizing and wearing out.  You can see the install here.
faucetThe second upgrade we did was to replace the faucet in the bathroom sink.  We removed the standard plastic faucet which did not fit very well with the sink.  It was hard to wash hands, brush teeth etc.  We replaced it with the 4 inch faucet from Valterra.  This new faucet is higher and has a better reach into the sink.  The single handle is a nice feature that we like and it matches the faucet that we have in the galley.  We went with the nickel brushed look.  It goes well with the counter top in the bathroom, as it does in the galley.  This too was a real easy install.  Literally took about 10 minutes, mostly because I was shooting a video that showed the install.  I really like how it looks in the bathroom and adds to better functioning of the bathroom sink.  I wish we would have done this upgrade years ago.
So a word about things like hardware for the sink etc.  I understand why the manufacturers put in less expensive and lesser quality items like plastic faucets and sinks and hand crank tongue jacks in the trailers.  First it reduces the overall cost.  I appreciate that.  In most cases it cuts down on the weight of the trailer also.  That in the grand scheme of things is not that important to me.  My tow vehicle can handle the weight and the frame, axels, and build the trailer will certainly handle the extra weight of a new bathroom faucet.  So it really is a cost issue.  All of us are looking at ways to save money, but in the long run, if you are going to make your RV something that you love, you will eventually upgrade items.  We have been doing this little by little and one item at a time.  We find the items when they are on sale or when we can.  Little by little we have made the trailer better and better.  Many times its the little things that make a big difference.
57325753895__2428A478-4BF3-41D1-8114-C77E8A873B4DThe other upgrade that we are replacing is our stabilizers.  We bent one on a trip out to Sera and Sand RV resort a year ago.  It has not stopped the functioning of the stabilizer, but it is bent and I don’t like it.  I saw a video of a guy that replaced his stabilizers for beefier more solid stabilizers, again, the manufactures put on stabilizers that get the job done, but are lesser quality.  So we went to our RV dealers store and picked us up some of the EAZ Lift 5000 lb stabilizers.  Not that we will ever need or put 5000 pounds on each of the four stabilizers at any given time, but these stabilizers are …. well…. stable.  They reduce the wiggle and sway and are solid.  The old ones can literally be shaken by hand, the new Eaz Lift stabilizers give a fit and feel of stability.  I am looking forward to getting out and seeing the difference in our RV with these on.
Well, that is it for now.  We are doing some little things inside the RV, adding some personal touches, but major purchases are over for now… oh except the big upgrade.  For those of you that follow us on Instagram you saw it last week.. We paid off the trailer!  A major upgrade in for our financial situation!
What are some of the upgrades you have done?  We’d love to hear.
Have a Happy Day!

Happiness Tip #2 – Declutter

16864200_10210956663766032_2572772815531985169_nStuff.. more Stuff… and even more Stuff… Happy yet?

Stuff has become a dominate factor in most people’s lives.  A need to keep up with the Jones’s and wealth being measured in things.  But it does not bring happiness.

OK… I like stuff to, but it is important to know that the stuff should be something that enhances our lives, not dictates how our lives should be lived.

Clutter has caused many of us to loose focus on what is important.  Again, this adds to the stress of life.  I do not suggest I am perfect…. but I do know how to identify and correct problems.  Over the last couple years, we have started the reduction of clutter in our lives.  Everything from financial stress to stuff.  We have learned that there is a line that when crossed adds to stress and reduces our happiness.

Happiness is a state of mind.  When the mind is cluttered it does not function well.  Remember back in the day when you crammed for tests… your mind was so full of information that it could never operate efficiently.  Yeah, you may have passed the test, but you could have done better had you taken it with a mind that was prepared and not stressed.  Our happiness is not dependent on other people.  Keeping up with the Jones’s just leads to chasing our tail.  Getting deeper in debt and ultimately living someone else’s dream instead of your own.  When we declutter and take on our own dreams we tend to be happier.

Now I know that this is not a one size fits all post.  Some people have a strong desire to have more stuff… it makes them happy… until it doesn’t anymore.

What I have seen is people that have a constant need to have the best and newest.  I remember in High School when everyone had to have an Izod shirt.  That little alligator was a status symbol that meant you were part of the “haves”.  I think my shirt had a turtle on it or something, we were not poor or ever went without, but I have never been a fashion guy.. just ask my wife, she’s happy when I match sox.  But having the alligator was keeping up with the Jones’s, and that made High School kids happy.  But then we grow up.  Those of us that no longer chase the alligator move on to happy lives.  Those that keep chasing it never seem happy.. and that is sad.

A reduction of clutter in the home is also a stress reducer.  The home is easier to maintain and allows for life to go one.  Have you ever seen the TV show “Hoarders”?  Those folks are never happy and life is a mess.  So reduce clutter in your life and you see happiness become real.

Stay tuned for our final part of this series on Friday… Your Happiness Tip #3.  People in your life!

Thanks again for hanging out with us here at our Happy Place.  A Place where Happiness is the plan!

Have a Happy Day!

Happiness Tip #1- Remove the Urgency

16864200_10210956663766032_2572772815531985169_nI heard a good saying the other day as I watched a YouTube video from the Keep Your Daydream channel that reminded me of a leadership principle that I have used all of my adult life.  Remove the Urgency.
Today’s post will the first in a series of posts of things that I believe lead to or add to a happy life.
So lets talk about Removing the Urgency.  For many people the urgency of a situation gets in the way of thinking about the resolution.  Removing the urgency allows one to reduce stress and anxiety over the situation.  For example, when on a recent trip we hooked up the city water and within seconds of turning the water on it began to shoot out of the bottom of the trailer.  You could hear water flowing into the pad and it was coming quick.  The immediate action was to turn off the water.  Rather than go into panic mode I removed the urgency.  What was the worst that could have happened and how did it effect the rest of our weekend?  At the end of the day what did not having water mean in the grand scheme of things?  The answers were simple and it removed the urgency from the situation.
First, the water was off and no longer flowing.
Second, there are shower houses and sinks at the campground, so we still could take showers etc.
And finally, after a quick inspection of the trailer, there was no damage visible.
After a quick evaluation and removing the urgent need to get into “fix it” mode we discovered that the connection from the city water into the trailer had become disconnected.  An easy fix, but I know some people that would have packed up and called it a weekend, taken their trailer into the shop and disrupted their weekend.
Removing the urgency takes the stress away from the situation.  Stress is a major contributor to people being unhappy.  If we can do things to eliminate stress we can be happier.
Now I know that there are people out there that absolutely can not function without stress.  And I have never seen them to be happy.  I have seen that people that do not have the ability to remove the urgency from a situation often spiral out of control in decision making.  I have seen this in combat, I have seen this in wilderness first aid situations, and I have seen this in peoples everyday lives.  Simple situations become mountains that they can not cross.
Removing the Urgency from a situation can be applied to any if not all situations in our lives.  But it takes a willingness to not want stress and make things simple.  Simplicity is the key.  It allows you to declutter your thoughts and see things for what they are in the midst of a crisis.  We could have panicked in our water situation, but understanding that there was no need.  Panicking or creating energy around the situation would only lead to stress.
How many of you have had a flat tire.  There really is no need to panic or stress.. just change the tire and be on your way.  If there are more issues address them as needed.  But don’t let the situation get the best of you.  It will never fix things in the long term and only add stress.
So… The first part of being happy this week is to reduce stress by removing the urgency of the situation.
On Wednesday we will discuss reducing clutter.  Stay tuned!
Thanks for checkin’ in with us.
Have a Happy Day!

Old Man Winter

IMG_0252Well, Winter has finally paid us a visit here in the Pacific Northwest.  It’s been pretty mild so far.  Typical winter weather passed us by in December and January, but February has come in with a cold snap and even dropped a bit of snow.
A great opportunity to talk about winterizing the RV.  Now I need to make a disclaimer here.  When I mean winterize I am not talking Minnesota winterizing.  We do not go through the entire process of buttoning up the trailer for the winter as we use it all year long and keep it plugged in when the trailer is at home… kinda our RV Docking station.
So our process is simple, but we do it when ever we start seeing temps that are getting into the 30’s.
The first year we had our trailer I failed to completely prepare for the cold weather and paid the price for it.  $900 to be exact.
So here is what we do to prepare for the cold.
First.  We drain all the water out of the trailer.  We do this by unplugging the low point drain plugs and allowing all the water to drain.  Yeah… it’s pretty much that simple.
Second.  I pull the plug on the water heater and drain the 10 gallon heater tank.  This was the expensive lesson learned.  In our first year I drained everything except the water heater.  It froze, split, and the valve cracked.  A total replacement was needed.  So now I pull the plug and let it drain.  Have not had a problem since.  Our water heater does not have an anode rod, so pulling the plug is a bit more easy.  Once the water heater is drained I place a piece of reflectix in the panel that I have cut to size.  I am not sure that this does much, but it does add a layer of insulation and reduces the wind contact to the water heater.
g2JbTOBLSK6gloapvSdntgSecond.  I open all the faucets.  This allows for anything in the pipes to air out and expand.  It is also part of our breaking camp routine.  That way when we get into camp the next time we can bleed the air out of the system as the city water hook up is turned on.
Finally, I add a gallon of RV Antifreeze to all the drains.  I pour it down the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower, and toilet.  I use the whole gallon to make sure some gets into the holding tanks and leaves antifreeze in the P traps.
This has been an effective way to keep the trailer systems (water) from freezing up.  It also allows for us to still use the trailer as there is no antifreeze in the pipes for us to have to flush and we can always add more after the trip.
Sometimes, like right now when we are having sub freezing temperatures I will run our electric heater in the trailer.  It will keep the inside of the trailer at a bearable temperature.  We have that luxury because we have the trailer plugged into the shore power.
So that is our process for keeping our RV from freezing.  It seems to work as we have not had an issue with freezing since the water heater in 2017.  A $900 mistake that I won’t make again.  What is your method of winterizing your RV?  I know that we all do it a bit different.  Please share what you do in the comments.
Have you made one of those big money mistakes?  I am sure we all have learned our lessons the hard way.  Please share your story… promise we won’t laugh.
Thanks for joining our Journey!

The Journey

We just put a video up to talk about our journey.  We are looking at establishing direction with the YouTube Channel and as we study and learn what it takes to produce content for the channel we also are trying to refine our audience.  We don’t know what that looks like yet.  While one of our goals is to share our journey with everyone, we also want to maintain focus on the RV community and helping new RVers discover the joy that it brings.  It is our Happy Place!
So if you have not checked it out yet.. please consider it.  Subscriptions are totally Free!
Thanks for coming along the journey with us!

Camco Screen Door Bar

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I am sure that I am not the only one that is always looking at other RV’s and how folks set them up, gadgets, neat to have stuff, and upgrades or enhancements made to the RV to make is better, usable, or increase function.
A few trips back I was talking with a neighbor in the camp ground.  We were standing outside of their trailer and the screen door was open.  Attached to the door was a screen door bar, it caught my eye.  I asked him if his door came that way as I had not seen one before.  He told me he installed the bar and it took him about 10 minutes.
Recently I was at our local RV dealer getting the new fender for the trailer and I saw the screen door bars.  I think I paid about $13 for it.
I have been waiting for a rainy day to get some inside projects done and today was the day.
The install took 10 minutes, just like my neighbor had said.  Not a whole lot to it, but it certainly makes the screen door a bit more solid and it looks great too.
We had said we were going to try it on one of our doors and if we like it we will add it to the other.  Looks like I need to go get another one.  I really like it.
This is not a big WOW project, but something that anyone can do and just a nice addition to the Happy Place.
What are some things that you have done or plan on doing to make your RV perfect?
Let us know.

10 Tips for the Newbie… or…

Lessons that we have learned along the way.  We have been in our RV for just about three years now and have learned quite a bit about RVing and the how to’s and what not’s.
I put together 10 tips that can help the newbie to RV camping or help someone that may be trying to take a peak at how other folks do it.  We all know that we learn as we watch other people make mistakes or do things the way we like.  When we started out we took advise, some good and some bad, from people that had been doing this awhile.  We learned along the way what to listen to and what not to listen to.  What to buy and what to leave at Camping World.
So here are a few tips.  Further explanation is on the video.. oh and I am sorry for the poor video quality.  I’m playing with the things and still looking for a good video editor.. or better yet, learn to use the one I have.
If anyone has any ideas on the video stuff.. I am all ears and eyes.
Thanks for stopping by the Happy Place.. it’s great to have you along.
Remember that an Awesome Life starts with a Happy Place!

10 Tips for Newbies or lessons we learned

  1. When you first buy your RV.. get to know it. Press every button, open every door and run every system.
  2. Make it your own. We listened to everyone on how they did it, set it up, and got all the “must haves”.  You will find you will do things the way you do things… so pick and choose what you listen to and how you apply advice.
  3. Put together a tool kit. A screw driver with different heads is a must.  You will find yourself tightening loose screws all the time.
  4. Play around with your storage space.
  5. Establish a set up and take down routine. It will come in handy when it’s dark, wet, and late.
  6. Don’t spend a lot on trinkets and gadgets.
  7. Organization is critical in a small space.
  8. Do a walk around each time you hook up and get ready to pull.
  9. Get power adapters, extra hose and leveling blocks.
  10. When you buckle up for your trip.. go into relax mode. Take your time and enjoy the RV.